The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I like what Mike Rails said, that he's shared Intermittent Fasting with family and friends, and they are too frightened to try. Note this carefully. AFRAID. Look into the science of it, and you'll see that our bodies don't start cannibalizing muscle tissue until about 50 hours of fasting. For a normal healthy person (and even for many types of illness--but check with your doctor!) there is just no serious downside other than discomfort and emotional distress. Imagine if our ancestors really had to eat every day, let alone five times a day. None of us would still be alive. But there is deep, wide cultural agreement that we have to eat every day, and three times a day. Why? Because most of our history as a species, food was scarce. It made sense to eat as much as possible, and store as much fat as possible. Oh, yes, and burn as few calories as possible.

This drive (Eat! Store! Laze!) is, in my mind, precisely why we are getting so fat as a culture. And it breaks my heart how many people cannot look directly at the calories in-out equation, instead looking at the micronutrients, birth signs, blood types, time of day they eat, yada yada yada. The diet industry thrives on tis kind of misinformation.


The 101 program

The concept of "Triangle Goals" is a natural extension of the core concepts involved here: that if you move toward goals in all three basic arenas (fitness, career, relationship) we will run into every demon, negative belief, poisonous emotion, value conflict and shoddy perception we have. It simply isn't possible to address all three simultaneously without waking up. Or at least, becoming aware of the percentage of humanity that spends their entire existence dreaming.

I don't specifically address "spirit" because that quality cannot be measured cognitively. But the Chakra model suggests very seriously that a human being with a healthy, balanced foundation will automatically evolve toward the spiritual. Everything is spirit, from that perspective: Earthly existence, time and matter are the dream, and balance is the key to awakening to that reality--within the dream. This is why Lucid Dreaming, training yourself to awaken inside dreams, is an excellent training for "awakening" within life itself, by the way.

To create Triangle Goals, just pick five-year goals in each of the major arenas. For a person who is broke, alone, and sick, such goals might be:

1) By Dec 31, 2015, All of my bills and debts will be paid off, and I will have a net worth of 100,000$

2) I will celebrate my second anniversary with my soul mate, in Hawaii.

3) I am in perfect health, and complete a 10K.

Once you have your five year goals, check to be certain they are in alignment with your conscious values and beliefs. Back up and determine what you will need to have in place in three years. One year. Six months. Three months. One month. One week.

What will you have to do tomorrow?


Morning and night, you should visualize your goals, and the flow along that path. If you cannot visualize the intervening steps, you have work to do. If you feel anything but pleasure in connection with the intermediate actions, you have work to do. When you have the goals and steps laid out, the questions becomes simple:

1) Do you tell the truth?

2) Do you keep your promises to yourself?

3) Do you see the world, and yourself, clearly?

As you move toward the goals, you learn things about yourself and the environment. You learn that there is conflict between your conscious and unconscious beliefs and values, and will have the opportunity to adjust those things. Wisdom certainly encompasses the ability to control wants and desires. The wise person desires nothing he cannot have. What is the point of the wasted energy? But how can you learn what you can or cannot have without actually exploring your psyche and environment? Nice Catch-22. This is why we get to be young. It is expected that we won't make the same mistakes again and again.


Last Day of the Year. How many of you set goals? If so, would you be willing to share them? What were your experiences with goal-setting last time you tried? any of you have questions about these issues?


Ethiopian_Infidel said...

I wonder if the fear over IF results from the practice being confused with anorexic behaviors. Obsessive dieting and fasting to the point of starvation is the obverse of obesity-promoting eating disorders, and possibly more immediately life threatening. Like habitual gluttony, anorexia is also often symptomatic of underlaying emotional trauma. Those unfamiliar with the goals and methods of IF may easily confuse it anorexia, and become understandably alarmed for the physical and emotional well-being of its practitioners.

Mike Ralls said...

>What were your experiences with goal-setting last time you tried?<

My last goals set were for the 101 program and my experiences were as followed:

1) Finish My Master's Thesis

ACOMPLISHED! This was huge. This had been hanging over my head for YEARS. It felt really good to get it done. My wife was very proud of me, and that also felt good.
A+ just because it was something that I had meant to get done for so long.

2) Attain a 13% body fat
FAILED. BUT, I did reach the lowest body fat of my entire life (around 16%, higher now after a bad holiday season) so I’m not real disappointed in this one. I’m not sure 13% was a realistic goal. I would have had to be perfect for the entire 101 days, and I’m not sure any goal which requires perfection is wise. That being said, I’d sure like to hit 13% by the May, when I turn 32 and just in time for summer swimsuit season. ;)

a. Workout at 6 times a week
ACOMPLISHED! I really got my exercise down and regular during the 101 program. I can definitely do six days a week of exercising no, problem.

i. Do Yoga at least once per week
ACCOMPLISHED – mostly. I skip now and then, but it’s pretty regular.

ii. Do Weightlifting at least 3 times a week
ACCOMPLISHED! I’ve made weight lifting a regular part of my routine in a way it wasn’t before, even if it’s not 3 times a week, it’s still usually at least 2.

> iii. Do Five Tibetans 6 times a week
FAILED. Did not really make the Tibetans a regular part of my routine. Did them once or twice a weak, but felt I got good work outs in other ways.

> b. “Eat good” six days a week
ACCOMPLISHED! I’ve all but eliminated processed foods (and feel icky when I eat them) and seem to crave healthier foods these days (with the exception of chocolate).

> i. Practice Intermittent Fasting (24, but preferably 36 hours) at least 3 days a week
ACCOMPLISHED! OK, I’ve actually fallen off the IF routine this holiday season before then it was regular as clockwork for a while. I feel like I can make IF a full part of my life now without much difficulty. Resuming Jan 1.
B+ (Due to the holiday season, otherwise an A)

> ii. Eat slowly and stop when full
FAILED. Completely and utterly. I still wolf food down and can eat when not full on eat days no problem, although often only because I feel I need the protein after a weight lifting session.

>3) Take care of my house
a. Fix Siding
b. Possibly replace Floors<
ACCOMPLISHED! I did a lot of work in my house, during this period, including the sidings, and most of the floors.

>4) Keep marriage with my wife Suzy strong and loving
a. Tell her I love her everyday
b. Show her I love her everyday<
ACCOMPLISHED! I am loved and my wife knows she is loved.

> 5) Decrease Anxiety Levels
FAILED. I would say my anxiety levels are at the same or even possibly a little higher than they were at the start.

> a. Do 5 minute miracle at least three times a day
i. On way to work, at lunch, at 3:00, on way home, before sleep
FAILED. Did not do this more than a couple of times. REALLY REALLY should have.

>b. Try to do 20 minutes of heartbeat meditation at least 3 times a week
ACCOMPLISHED! But only at the very end.

> c. Go to my church regularly and continue developing social group there.
ACCOMPLISHED! I'm part of the Youth Group advisers now.

> 6) Write 5-10 short stories
FAILED. I could have done more, but at least I got some done.

>a. After writing story, submit it for publication
b. After it has been returned/rejected resubmit it to different publisher<
FAILED. I submitted each story to at least 3 publishers, but I didn’t keep up the program of mailing them to 50 different publishers.

Mike Ralls said...

REVISED GOALS (Only those different from previous goals)
>iii. Do Doctor prescribed knee exercises 3 times a week
FAILED. Never consistently did this, but did do it an average of 1 time a week, I’d say.

> v. Learn Flow Fit
FAILED. Never did watch my Flow Fit CD. Forgot about this goal.

> iv. Drink no more than 3 alcoholic drinks a week on average.
ACCOMPLISHED. I definitely drink fewer than 3 drinks a week, on average.

>a. Sell, throw, or give away everything in house that we don't want
We’ve done a pretty thorough cleaning out of things.

> b. Take care of dry rot problem
ACCOMPLISHED. Dry rot was fixed.

> a. Write 1 story a week, every week
FAILED. But more because I changed goals and decided to do NANOWRIMO. That I ACCOMPLISHED, and finished my first novel (even if it is very rough and has an abrupt ending, it still meets the NANOWRIMO qualifications).

> Read and take notes on at least 7 books
FAILED. I don’t think I read 7 books in the time period. Maybe 4 or 5, and I didn't take notes on any of them.

Lobo said...

One very important caveat to whether IF is good for you.

My father-in-law just recently went diabetic. As part of his treatment, he went to a dietitian for counseling. He told her that he would get wrapped up in something (usually fishing) and would not eat anything until late in the afternoon or dinner. She explained that was why he developed diabetes. She also told him he had to start eating three meals a day on a regular schedule to manage his insulin.

There are conditions where attempting to follow IF is outright dangerous and you should most definitely consult with your doctor before trying it. You can be borderline diabetic for years and have no symptoms, in which case attempting IF can have disastrous consequences.

Mike Ralls said...

>Last Day of the Year. How many of you set goals? If so, would you be willing to share them?<

Goals For 2010 (Stated on Dec 30. 2009)
1) Revise/Finish Novel & Submit it. Write & Submit 52 Short Strories
a. Do at least 1 hour of writing every Mon-Fri (Holidays free)
b. Do at least a total of 5 hours a week after work or during the weekend.
c. Write 1 story a week every week, no exceptions unless have written enough extra stories that I won’t be a week behind
d. After writing story, submit it for publication
e. After it has been returned/rejected resubmit it to different publisher. Do this at least 30 times before retiring story/novel.
2) Obtain at least a part time teaching job at a community college, and work there untill I have made over 20K from writing in a single year, then and only then may I _consider_ trying to make writing a full time career
a. Update Resume, submit it everywhere within driving distance
b. Network and seek help from contacts in teaching community
3) Attain a 13% body fat by May 2009. Keep for rest of year
a. Workout at least 5 times a week
i. Do yoga at least 1 long session a week, and preferably 2 or 3 short ones as well
ii. Do weightlifting at least 2 times a week. Lift
iii. Do Knee Exersises 3 times a week
iv. Learn Flow Fit
b. “Eat good” six days a week
i. Practice Intermittent Fasting (36 hours) at least 10 days a month
1. Do IF “perfectly” for month of January (16 days of 36 hr fasts)
2. Lose “holiday weight” by end of January
ii. Eat slowly on eat days, don’t overeat, and stop when full
c. Drink less alcohol
i. Zero alcohol until the 26th of Jan
ii. No more than 3 alcoholic drinks a week on average.
4) Take care of house payments
a. Don’t miss a single mortgage payment
5) Keep marriage with Suzy strong and loving and help with pregnancy as best I can
a. Tell her I love her everyday
b. Show her I love her everyday
c. Read books on how a husband can best help with a pregnancy and a newborn
d. Give everything I have to be the best father I can possibly be when the baby comes
6) Decrease Anxiety Levels
a. Do 5 minute miracle / breathing exercises at least three times a day
i. On way to work, at lunch, at 3:00, on way home, before sleep
b. Try to do 20 minutes of heartbeat meditation at least three times a week
c. Go to UU regularly and continue developing social group there.
7) Read and take notes on at least 20 books

suzanne said...


assemble 2 poetry manuscripts
write some poetry daily
reignite my blogging
same for my photography
knit like a mad woman
weight workouts 3 times a week
stretching 3 times a week
one day a week IF
one day fruits and veggies only
draw at least once a week
work on gaining reading fluency in Spanish
try writing something in prose
write a verse play (for radio)
continue being passionate

I think that's it

Marty S said...

Other than retiring by 55, in decent financial condition, I'm not sure I have ever really set any goals for myself. I have a bachelor's degree and two master degrees, but I never considered getting them a goal. They were just something that needed doing on the way to achieving my retirement goal. I always aimed to get the most enjoyment I could out of my years on this earth, but again I would consider that aim to be too general to really consider it a goal.

At any rate HAPPY NEW YEAR to all and may those of you who have set goals achieve them.

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

My goals for 2010:

1. To become serious about expanding my writing beyond technical publications. Immediately, My target is a pro-Atheist work along the lines of Sam Harris and other "New Atheists. Beyond that, I intend to write science popularizations a la Asimov, Sagan, Dawkins, etc. And I have a "sketch" of a science fiction/future history novel set in late 21st Century Africa.

2. To continue fitness and weight loss and maintain such gains.

3. To achieve proficiency in Java programming.

4. To decide finally if I want a second PhD (Astrophysics), and, if so, to direct all professional goals to becoming and Astrophysicist.

5. More international travel.

Lobo said...

Short Term Goals:

Continue working to maximize my finances by finding ways to reduce my bills where I can and avoiding gratuitous purchases.
Finish my stock program so I can start moving money out of index funds and into better investments.
Make maximum contributions to my IRAs.
Investigate new lines of income as a hedge against unemployment (a constant concern for contractors, even in my field.)
Get my shoulder looked at and figure out when I can have it fixed.
Exercise for 30 minutes a day.
Figure out how not to overeat.
Do the chores I'm expected to do in a timely fashion.

Marty S said...

Lobo: Be careful and analyze your projected situation at retirement before maximizing your IRA contributions. There are many hidden taxes on your IRA withdrawals. For instance they raise the amount of social security subject to taxes. So you may end up that you would have been better off paying the taxes up front.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Also check whether you're better off putting your money in a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA (they have different tax rules).

Lobo said...

Don't worry. I have a Roth IRA. I just haven't been putting as much as I should into the account the past few years. This year I want to get every last penny I can into it. As it is, it's my most conservative portfolio.

Besides, it's a hedge in case my other plans for world domination don't come to fruition. If I can engineer a six figure investment income without the Roth, then the Roth will be either walking around money or college funds for the younger relatives.

suzanne said...

I klnow I'm in the wrong thread with this, Steve
but after ranting and raving
at B. here in the lair
after reading your last entry
on "Power" and "Beauty"

as soon as I finish writing it out for you
I'll email it
and you can do with it
what you will. . .

Steven Barnes said...

Look forward to reading it.
We've had many folks consult with their doctors about IF. So far, none have been warned of "disastrous" consequences, although modifications have been suggested. I have always advised that students consult their health professional, however.

Steven Barnes said...

Look forward to reading it.
We've had many folks consult with their doctors about IF. So far, none have been warned of "disastrous" consequences, although modifications have been suggested. I have always advised that students consult their health professional, however.

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