An introspective blog … monthly goals…poker… with a smidgen of Thanksgiving..

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time.  You get to spend time with your family, and talk about all kinds of things you aren’t really supposed to talk about.  Politics, religion, civil rights… all those thin-ice topics that nobody really likes to discuss in mixed company.  Well, we discussed’em!  It was fun, and even when there was disagreement it didn’t get out of hand.

Teresa is a marvel at logistics, and somehow we got this three bedroom house sleeping 4 families and friends.

Teresa’s parents slept in our bedroom, Amanda and Derek and their girls in the boys’ room, Dean and his friend Jen in my office on an inflatable mattress, and us (with the boys) on the basement pull-out.

It was great seeing everyone and I think I’ve done all the eating I need to do for the winter.  From here on out it’s just about hibernating and waiting for those robins.

I’m posting a blog since I’ve not posted one in so long, and I do want to get back into this habit.  I’ve been distracted too much by Facebook and Twitter that I don’t actually sit and compose my thoughts in a longer venue any more.  I miss the writing. 

I don’t consider Facebooking to be a complete waste of time, though.  Facebook is great because it lets me stay in touch with all those people around the world that I enjoy knowing without having to think, and plan it.  Everyone knows what I’m doing when I update, and I can keep pretty good tabs on people I’ve not talked to since high school (and probably not much then), or are just like me busy with the day-to-day of family life.

Plus people share some remarkable things, like this by Graham Gillette.

Turning introspective in 3, 2, 1… Several years ago if someone had said to me, “Playing poker is going to make you better at life” I probably would have issued a skeptical snort and drawn out ‘oooh kaayyy’.

I’ve mentioned in my blogs before that I see poker as a fully contained subset of life, although I probably didn’t say it that way.  It has just about all the skills you need in order to be good at life.  This does not mean that poker players are better at life.  Or that good poker players are good at life, or even the inverse.

And yet, poker has taught me some skills that I have brought out into my life and made my life better.  Would I have learned them if it weren’t for poker?  Perhaps, but maybe not as simply.  And certainly not as much fun.

I mentioned goals in my last post.  I’m following through on that and making goals again. 

One skill poker has taught me is how to be better at making goals.  Monthly goals are a common topic around this time of the month in the poker forums I frequent.  It’s a community activity and the goals posted may or may not have anything to do with poker.  Neither does the act of making goals have anything to do with poker.  You can certainly play poker all your life and never make a monthly goal.  What poker did teach me regarding goals is how to tell the difference between a good goal and a bad goal.

An example of a bad goal is “I’m going to make $100 at poker”.  There are too many outside influences on this that could prevent you from reaching that goal, and the goal itself may actually encourage bad behavior.  Outside influences would include probability, amount of play, pressure, and skill (sure, skill is an outside influence.. you can control it but it doesn’t change overnight).  When attempting to achieve that kind of goal you might play differently than you do than if you goal is simply “Make good poker decisions” or “Play 1000 hands well”.  And it is most likely to be bad differently, not good differently.

As I was considering my goals for December I thought to include a “lose xx pounds” goal, but I’m afraid this might come under that same heading.  If I pressure myself to achieve the loss of a specific number of pounds than perhaps I would do things that could adversely affect my health, like not eating.  Okay, okay, I wouldn’t stop eating… but I might give up.  And in a house filled with baked goods and ample left-overs I don’t want to give up.  And giving up would never get me to my long-term goal of wearing size 34 pants again.

Dry Content Warning: I’m about to discuss last month’s goals and this month’s goals.  I have a feeling this is going to be fairly dry and boring if it hasn’t already.  You can give up now and go back to doing something much more entertaining, like flossing.  If you stay you might want to go get a drink of water.  It will probably take a fair amount to wash this down.

My last month’s goals included playing a certain number of poker hands online (I was hoping to make enough money to withdraw some and supplement Christmas, but it didn’t work out), getting the a professional certification and exercise.  Playing the poker hands was easily achieved as I was attempting to qualify for a frequent-player award.  Achieving my professional certification was a bad monthly goal.  Perhaps ‘investigate requirements and plan my PMP certification path’ would have been more appropriate.  Not to mention I wouldn’t have had the money to pay for the test at the time anyway, since I was losing at poker and repairing vans.

My exercise goal was to exercise 4 times a week.  This may have been a bad goal as well.  Even though I did work hard to achieve it things like holidays and a bad week got in the way.  Okay, that’s a poor excuse, and I did use it as an excuse although I only intended it to be an excuse for a single day and instead it grew and swallowed more than half the week like the Blob consuming theater-goers.  Perhaps it is better for me to concentrate on achieving this on a weekly basis than a monthly basis, and then evaluate how well I met that goal at the end of the month.

If you made it to here I’m impressed.  You sure you don’t need to go clip your toe-nails or something?

Now this month’s goals (I guarantee this is boring)…

I’m going to keep the weekly goal of exercising 4 times a week.  I’d like two of these to be in the morning.  For my monthly goal I hope to have a 75% completion rate of these weekly goals.

I’ve been reading a book by Dean Koontz, “Odd Hours” which is the latest in his books about Odd Thomas.  I like reading and haven’t been doing much offline lately.  I want to read at least 2 other novels in December.  This will also involve going to the library.  Which means leaving the house.  Goals which make you leave the house are better than other goals (poker didn’t teach me that).

I also need to read a poker strategy book.  Probably “Professional No-Limit Hold’em, Vol. 1” again.  I may need a refresher on playing well since I’ve been losing quite a bit lately.  Obviously there is something I’m missing.

I still want to play online poker, and I want a goal of a certain number of hands.  5000 hands was fairly achievable last month.

Another weekly goal is to write a blog at least once a week.  I have missed the writing (yes, I said that before, but I did!)

Coming in 2009… I’m going to have brewing goals.  I want to get back into that.  I’ll unveil some longer-term goals.  I’m sure you’re waiting in breathless anticipation.

Next blog will be more entertaining and much less self-centered.  I’ll make that a goal, too.


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