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MTangel

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About MTangel

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  • Birthday February 12
  1. Wow, your job sounds awesome, and you make baskets! I took a fibers class in college and made some, but I've never met anyone else who could. I'm looking forward to seeing your challenge!
  2. Wednesday Jan 11 Update Get up on time: still failed, but the early alarm shows promise! I actually woke up (doesn't always happen with later alarms), things didn't seem so bad, could almost think clearly, buuuut it was cold and my bed was warm and comfy so I stayed there. Basically, had a chance to do the right thing and waved as it went by. Whoops. During the day: Tried getting a small win first thing, was moderately successful. I got sidetracked once in the middle of it, out of boredom and habit, but bargained with myself to get it finished. The bargain was I could take a tiny break and update my challenge thread. Then I saw another thread, then I thought of another thing....back to wasteland. Evening: Avoiding the living room worked again! Ate a proper dinner at the table (like an adult!). I also didn't get my laptop out, but looked through a quilting catalog that arrived in the mail. Worked like a charm, but I won't have that option very frequently. After dinner: Bible study Ballet (online video again) for about 40 minutes packed breakfast and lunch for Thur washed and put away dishes Found the Monkey Tamers accountabilibuddy group. They use bricks and monkey poop! I'm going to join. Analysis: Try the early alarm again. Putting a rug by the bed would help with the cold floor, I guess. I've been thinking about getting an sunrise alarm clock for a while, but they're kind of expensive. The small win technique was fine, but I still put off the bigger project. Nothing like anxiety and perfectionism for fueling procrastination. Try the monkey tamer method of brick building Thur. Have a little self control, I'm an adult!
  3. I like the idea of digital tracking, since you can easily see trends over time and whatnot, but I find it hard to remember things that I've only seen digitally, especially books. Which makes no sense, I've never heard of anyone else having that trouble. I can't remember them like I can with a printed book. I don't even try to read more complicated books (lots of characters, or nonfiction) digitally. There's something about the words just scrolling endlessly by that makes them scroll right out of my head before they stick. Plus, without the book in my hands, I don't have that feeling for where I am in the book. I don't know, I guess I'm odd.
  4. It could the oven temp, but I always end up with bread that's dry on the edge but still raw in the middle. I actually prefer making banana muffins. Banana Crumb Muffins (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/17652/banana-crumb-muffins/) are my favorite. Seriously tasty but really easy, I've used them for a hostess gift, and whenever I want to impress guests. The only adjustments I make are to reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup, and add some spices to the muffin batter (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove).
  5. Monday Jan 9 Update Technically, I didn't start the challenge until Monday evening, so I don't have anything to analyze from the day. I did get a number of little tasks done that evening: washed, folded, and put away 1 load laundry packed lunch for Tue washed dishes (only a few, but I'm really bad about this) created my 4 week challenge set out clothes/etc. for Tue I ended up getting to bed very late, which is usually the case. Most days I'm watching a show or wasting time online. The days I'm trying to do stuff, I get started late and it takes hours. It seems that my comfy chair in the living room might be the center of the wasteland. I settle in and watch too many episodes of a show, eat candy for dinner, and never move. I can still waste time using my laptop at the kitchen table, but it's not as comfy so I'm more likely to get up and do something, or eat a real meal. I had such a late lunch Monday I wasn't hungry when I got home, so I just started doing things in the kitchen instead of sitting in the living room eating pre-dinner sweets. Analysis: avoid the living room Tuesday Jan 10 Update Get up on time: a steaming pile of failure. I had a 9:00 meeting at work and still snoozed until 8:20. Barely made it. During the day: I meant to try the Pomodoro technique, but never got around to starting the timer. I don't have a problem once I've really gotten started, but have a terrible time forcing myself to start. I did get things done, the bulk of it late afternoon, but it should have been done several days ago, so there was last-minute panic spurring me on. I don't think the "eat the frog" technique would work either, because it doesn't have a way to get started in the first place. Evening: Resisted the urge to sit in the living room (mainly so I wouldn't fail utterly on the first day of the challenge). I have lots of holiday leftovers in the fridge, so I also ate a pretty good meal: pork, cauliflower, and pineapple fried rice with a kiwi and two chocolate candies for dessert. A tip my mom shared over Christmas was helpful: plate your food at the counter, instead of putting the whole dish on the table. It helps avoid mindless second helpings. I did watch YouTube while I was eating (and after) so I didn't pry myself away until 8:30. The rest of the evening I did a few more little tasks before getting to bed late (again): ballet (followed online video) - only 1/2 hour, I had an awful stomach ache prepped breakfast and lunch for Wed washed dishes (or rinsed and put in dishwasher) paid bills Analysis: For Wed, try getting a small win first thing - complete a task that can be done in half hour or so, check it off the list to get momentum. Avoiding the living room worked well, but someday I will need to figure out how to control that space too (otherwise I'll never get to use my couch again!). Watching a show/YouTube is a time suck as well. Just staring at the wall while I eat is a bit boring, so try something to limit the computer time to just dinner. A timer, I guess? Or listen to music or audiobook instead? It's very convenient to have food ready to eat, I don't have enough energy or discipline left after work to make myself cook even simple meals. Packing lunch can take a surprisingly long time, depending on what I'm bringing. Next week, I'll try prepping several at once. Instead of putting leftovers into a big container, pack it directly into lunch portions. Then prep several days worth of fruit and veggies, and everything's ready without needing to spend time on prep and clean up every night. The few time I've been successful at getting up on time it was really early. My normal wake-up time seems to be in the middle of my deepest sleep, when I can hardly think, let alone reason with myself. Try an earlier alarm on Wed.
  6. This looks like a great plan! I've forgotten my lunch in the fridge before too, it makes me so irritated. There are a couple tricks I've used that help. First, a note where you can't miss it. There's a security flap thingy on my door, so I have to move the sticky note before opening the door. I also have a little lunch bag that I put on top of my purse (or work bag, whatever you automatically take with you). I'll see it when I try to leave, so I just pop my lunch from the fridge into the bag and it's ready to go. Just don't set it down on the counter or table once you've put your lunch in it! Done that too. Hang it over the doorknob or something where you'll see it when you open the door.
  7. I am frequently (daily, actually) horrified by how much I've wasted over the years. Opportunities to learn new skills for work or art, food that sat in the fridge until it rotted, skills that lay dormant until they wasted away (flute, two languages, drawing, etc.), money, and worst of all, time. It makes me sick to think of the time I've frittered away doing nothing of value. I've tried challenges in the past, here and elsewhere, and never stick to it. I have actually put more effort into obtaining unhealthy food or wasting time than the effort it would have taken to complete a goal. I know what I should being doing, but can't make myself do it. It was recently borne in upon me that the issue isn't that I can't do things, I just won't. The first instance was traveling for a holiday. I had to drive a long distance alone, and needed to get an early start. I did hit the snooze a couple times but miraculously managed to get up shortly after 6:00. My workplace is luckily flexible about start times, but I really should be there by 8:30. That hasn't happened in at least a year - I just can't make myself get up. Except, apparently, I can. I just don't. The second was finally cleaning my house. In the two weeks before my family arrived for New Year's, I spent hours each evening organizing, clearing out old junk, and sorting papers. It should have been done years ago, but I couldn't make myself get started. Except, well, I can, I just didn't. So, after that overly-long introduction, this is the beginning of the journey out of the wasteland. Why did I manage to get up and clean those times, but not usually? There are two daily requirements: Analyze and Experiment Stop and think - why am I not doing what I should be? Try the Pomodoro technique, list the disadvantages of procrastination, consider the end goal. Recap at the end of the day: did I do anything productive? What worked, what didn't, ask the Five Whys, look for triggers and weak points. The end goal is find a couple techniques that are effective at getting me to do what I'm supposed to, which will allow me to establish habits in the future. Get up on time: by 8:00 Sun-Fri, by 9:00 Sat This is serious enough that it has to be a goal now, even though it's been a miserable failure in the past. Sunday through Friday, 8:00 is the absolute latest I can get up and still get where I need to, Saturdays it's 9:00 to get to ballet. Success for the first goal will be measured by a daily journal entry that lists any accomplishments, what techniques were attempted, and analyzes time wasted. The second goal will measured simply by success or failure at getting up by the appointed time.
  8. I second Elastigirl's tips for adding veggies, especially cooking them different ways. You might even make it a kind of project, where you can focus on one vegetable for a week or two, trying different seasonings and ways of cooking it. Roasting, for example, often brings out a bit of sweetness. Bacon makes everything better - maybe bacon bits on roasted broccoli? Do you like fruit? It's not ideal to overindulge in fruit when dieting, but a 2-3 servings a day is fine and will add fiber to your diet. If you make a smoothie, it's really easy to add some veggies without even tasting them at all. Just be sure to blend the whole fruit to get the fiber, pay attention to how much fruit you're using in it, and don't add extra sugar. I especially like cucumber and strawberry. If you like that in smoothie form, the next step might be as a salad - same flavors, just more cucumber than strawberry. Very tasty with a little feta cheese and poppyseed dressing (I use this recipe: http://withsaltandwit.com/cucumber-strawberry-poppyseed-salad/).
  9. Thank you! I'll be writing it by hand. I have a little notebook that I've (halfheartedly) used for this before, and it still has plenty of blank pages.
  10. Haha! This gif is cracking me up! It looks like you're doing great on your challenge - you'll have lots of new books to enjoy!
  11. I'm joining this challenge rather late, as I wasn't sure I wanted to try again. I haven't managed to complete a challenge yet - I set it all up with nice simple goals and then I always ooze away. It's particularly frustrating when I try to be "fool-proof" and even have healthy food in the fridge, then just eat junk and laze around. If it's actually more work to find junk food than it is to eat properly, surely there must be a reason. So I decided to try once more and just start investigating - inspired by the famous investigative reporter Tintin. Investigate and Record Tintin observes what's going on around him and gathers clues to solve mysteries or help his friends. I'll be keeping careful records to help me piece together a better picture of my own habits and motivations (or lack thereof). Food and Mood Journal (14 points total for a week)Record everything eatenRecord moodsReview at the end of the week - look for patterns and triggersRecord Internet and TV time (7 points total for a week)Use stopwatch on phone to record all time on computerNote what you're supposed to be doing - why aren't you doing it?Be horrified at the end of the weekI'll be looking for the danger spots - where am I getting sidetracked? Are there particular times that I'm more likely to fail? Productive Sprints Tintin is always running after clues and finding adventures. My sprints aren't the running kind of sprints, but rather a timed (15 minute) session of productivity - housekeeping tasks, cooking, sewing projects, exercising. Week 1 - one 15 minute sprint per day (7 points total)Week 2 - nine sprints total - maintain one session per day, plus two extras (9 points total)Week 3-4 - twelve sprints total for each week (12 points per week) Establish Healthy Sleep Patterns Prepare for the next day's travels and get plenty of sleep to fuel my adventures! Begin wind-down at 9:45pm (7 points total for week)Prep for next day (clothes, pack breakfast/lunch/snack if applicable)Cat litter and sweep floorGet ready for bedLights out at 10:30pm (7 points total for week) Total Points for each Week Because I'm gradually increasing the number of "Productivity Sprints" each week, the points are slightly different. Also, since I'm starting late there are only four weeks left in the challenge. I'm thinking of giving bonus points for planning meals, but I'm not sure. Week 1 - 42 pointsWeek 2 - 44 pointsWeeks 3-4 - 47 points
  12. Well, I'm back to try to get all the way through a challenge this time. This summer, I'm working on ballet with the goal of joining the Professional Division classes in the fall. I've been dancing in the adult classes since last summer and would really like a more challenging class, but I need to really work this summer in order to be ready to move up this fall. That said, most of this challenge is actually still trying to build some very basic good habits - you know, the ones most adults are already capable of doing? I'll be working on meal planning and getting my diet under control (I only have about 15 pounds to lose, but it really shows a lot on my frame, especially in a leotard ). Not only will this help me return to a good weight, but it will help me eat healthy on dance days, when there isn't time for making proper meals. I will also be starting some basic housekeeping routines, trying to get in the habit of keeping things in some semblance of order. I really think you feel better when your habitat is clean, but it's so easy to let it slide! Food Goals: 1.) Plan meals for each week Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack - you cannot depend on your own willpower to choose healthy meals when you're hungryKISS - rotate a couple options for each meal, don't pretend you're a gourmet chef with a prep crewBallet days will need a light dinner to eat before leaving the office, then a snack to eat after classInclude any prep work that needs to be done the night before or earlier in the week2.) Plan and eat healthy meals I plan to start the first two weeks with basic plate portions - half the plate is veggies, 1/4 to a 1/3 protein, the remaining starchesReview after two weeks - if excessive cheating (no, really, that one leaf took up 1/4 of the plate!) I will try a modified 21 Day Fix diet to track food better.I have noticed that the weekends are particularly bad for me, even when I have time and ingredients to cook. I think I'll try to plan for leftovers or making a casserole-type dish earlier in the week that I can eat as healthy leftovers to keep on track over the weekend. We'll see how it goes. 3.) Keep a food journal This probably seems like overkill when I'm already planning out each meal, but I have an extreme weakness for snacking, especially chocolate and sweets. I hope by tracking any extras I pick up during the day, it will help me see any patterns to when the worst breakdowns occur. (accurate depiction of my house, but with destructive cats instead of tiny animal helpers) Housekeeping Goals: 1.) Weekly cleaning tasks Monday - bedroom (change sheets, vacuum, put away clothes, tidy up)Friday - bathroom (clean mirror, wipe down sink and counter, clean toilet, sweep and mop floor)Saturday - kitchen and living room, laundry (wipe down counters, sweep and mop, vacuum rug, water plants, PUT AWAY clean laundry)The exact days may need to adjust, depending on the schedule. The bedroom and bathroom should both be quick, so they're weeknight tasks. No set rooms to clean on Bible study or ballet nights.2.) Complete nightly prep work Set out clothes/etc. for the next dayDo any prep work for the next day's meals (listed on meal plan)Prepare lunch and breakfast to grab and goClean the cat litter and sweep the bathroom and kitchen (seriously, you would not believe how far they track that litter!) Fitness Goals: 1.) Ballet or workout 4x per week I have ballet twice a week during the summer session, but I am on a family vacation for two weeks, plus there's a break in the summer classes.There is a great youtube ballet class (by a former NYCB soloist) that I'll use when ballet isn't in sessionFor workouts, I have modified the Beginner Bodyweight workout slightly (added a few special exercises that will be helpful for ballet)During vacation, we'll be camping part of that time, so hiking will be the workout
  13. It's really wonderful to see how much you love your wife and want to help her. I sympathize with her because I really struggle with motivating myself and getting bored quickly. My brother jokes that we work best when we're cornered like a rat in trap and under constant supervision. I've finally been really consistent this past year about working out because I signed up for ballet classes three times a week. I prepaid (and ballet is not cheap!), so I can't slack off later. I absolutely love ballet - it takes so much work to improve, but the moment when everything comes together makes it worth it. Maybe your wife just needs to start exploring some different activities to find one that's a fun hobby, rather than a chore. It seems like she's not interested in taking up tennis again - is she musical? She may enjoy dance, like zumba, swing/ballroom (you can dance with her!), ballet. Just try a few different ones - I like to watch nearly any kind of dance, but ballet is the only one I really enjoy doing. For most people, it's the other way around, since the other dance styles aren't as precise. There's scads of Youtube videos she can try at home if she doesn't like feeling silly in class, it does take a little practice to get your limbs moving the right way. She can try kickboxing or martial art type things. Definitely try hiking or walk to Mordor - that's really easy to scale as she gets in better shape and getting out in the fresh air makes everyone feel better. As others have said, diet is really important, but I don't have any suggestions. She's very fortunate to have you to help her - motivating yourself to cook something and eat properly when there's no one around to see you cheat is really hard!
  14. Tangled gifs! *squealing with excitement* I love that movie! It looks like you're doing great! I hope you get lots of rest this weekend and feel better!
  15. I'm actually making a mid-week update! To be honest, I haven't done that well, but for some reason I think it could have been far worse, so I don't feel very bad about it. Side note: Is there a way to make images appear smaller in a post? Monday: Rest day, so no ballet or workout. 0 ptsI did not pack lunch, but I did make dinner with veggies. 1 ptI did manage to squeak in a half hour's worth of useful behavior: making dinner and laundry. 0.5 ptsI did not turn of my computer at 9:30. This goal is actually very hard. 0 ptsTuesday: Ballet! 1 pt The past couple weeks the adult class has been meeting with the level 6-8 girls. It's equal parts frustrating and inspiring. They've all been dancing at least 3 days a week for years, so they're all really good and it's a bit embarrassing to feel like a blob of jelly wobbling around. But I'm also determined to have the nice extensions and perfect turns too, one of these days. I can't believe I'm getting all competitive with 14 year olds. I did not pack lunch again, because I had no food ready (I seriously need to start proper meal planning and weekend prep). I did pack snacks for ballet, which counts as dinner. 1 ptWay over an hour of productive time! After I got home, I ended up staying up til all hours prepping the Shepherd's Pie for Wed dinner. 1 ptI actually did put away electronics, since I was cooking. It didn't help me get to bed earlier, but that's okay. 1 ptWednesday Rest day, no ballet or workout. 0 ptsI didn't pack lunch today either. But I did cook dinner! I had it all prepped from Tue night, so I just popped it in the oven when I got home (late) from work. Then it came out just before I had to leave again, so I'm just now eating it. It's actually not that great. I think I'm going to adjust it a bit next time, it's edible and cheap, it just needs of bit more flavor. Upside, I now have leftovers! 1 ptAbout half an hour of productive time, since I played piano while it was baking. 0.5 ptsI did not put away electronics again, since it's 10:00pm and I'm still updating. 0 pts
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