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  1. Hey there! No matter how many times I stumble around, I always find myself returning, so here I am, still attempting to figure out a rhythm for myself. I've taken a bit of time off-line to try out some things on my own. I've learned a few new things, and I believe I've gotten a solid idea of where I want my foundation to be. I know I've tried in the past to pave one and haven't had much success with lifting off it once it's there. However, I'm beginning to think that was due, in part, to being afraid to build on it, not trusting myself to keep the foundation, when I know that I'm more than capable of doing so. I also think I get stuck in my head too much; too much planning/analyzing/thinking, not enough doing (case in point: everything I post here). So here's to more actions and less head time; less time to doubt, to analyze & paralyze. My goal for this challenge is simple: drop my weight below the 200lb mark. I've been hovering between 210lb and 200lb for what seems like forever (hitting the 200lb mark was a bit of a rude awakening). I know what I need to do in order to get there, so this challenge is about making it happen in action, with all y'all crazy Rangers (and other friends ) to hold me accountable; when you get down to it, doing things for others is what drives me (doing these things for others, by proxy, gets them done for me). Here's how we're going to accomplish this goal: Hit my daily macro goals. Extra effort required during weekends. Walk 8-10k steps daily. Bring the Ranger companion whenever possible. Obligatory Ranger Companion photo: Attend regular Capoeira class weekly (2x per week, Monday & Wednesday). Be a more responsible adult (choose-your-own-adventure, see below). Choose Your Own Adventure (4th quest): Every week, I will choose one task (either from one group or both, provided two tasks are not overwhelming) from the provided list of adult tasks. I will do what I can within that week to complete the chosen task(s). If I complete it early, I will strike it out and pick another one to work on for the remainder of the week. If I do no complete it by the end of that week, then I will carry it over to the next week. I will set a minimum requirement of four completed tasks for this challenge. All right. Thread up. Time for action (afternoon walk) before I ramble on about this week's choose your own adult adventure decision. Yes, you guessed it! More weeks = more actions. I start TODAY. Goals rant (because I can't help rambling):
  2. Turns out the classes I’ve signed up for were even harder than I expected. However, the school has a really forgiving set-up for incoming student transfers. Instead of getting failing grades or being expelled for low marks, I am spending the next block in a self-lead placement test. My task is to challenge myself, do what I feel capable of doing, and log it all for review. I am allowed to drop in on classes, visit professors during their office hours, and all that good stuff… But ultimately, it is up to me to find what works and what doesn’t, then present it at the end of the block. At that point, they will do an evaluation and see how my classes should proceed. Part of the struggle last challenge (however minor) was that I was getting bored tracking the same stuff every day, so I stopped writing stuff down. Time for a format twist! I will still be trying to do a lot of the same, but also acknowledging points for other things I do. Each action I do will count for 3 points to be split across physical, mental, and emotional categories. They are not set in stone because one day going for a run could be 100% physical, another day it could be primarily emotional. What are these points actually for? Hey look, it’s a tracking log! I’ll have to be extra diligent with my paper logging to make sure my spreadsheet is accurate, since I won’t necessarily be logging the spreadsheet daily. **In addition to my regular tracking, I have some stuff in the background for me to keep in my awareness: -> We know I have difficulty with snacks at work, but I want to try making sure that, of the snacks I do have, they are primarily non-wheat snacks. I’ve had some pretty ridiculous headaches over the last couple weeks and while I know a lot of it was due to stress, I’m pretty sure some of it was wheat related. Ew. -> I would really like to get 2 chapters done this challenge (so, chapters 2 and 3 completed). I started chapter 2 a week or so ago, but pretty much started over from scratch today because I didn’t get very far -> Overall, just try to get back into the swing of things. I’m hoping that my mental/emotional state will allow me to have a schedule again by the end of the challenge. With last year as a reference, I’m not holding my breath, but I’m being a lot more aware and perhaps proactive this time around. -> Most importantly, play everything by ear and be as forgiving as I can be.
  3. When you first get your Driver and become a Kamen Rider, the path is never always crystal clear. You may win a few battles here and there, but there's an element of struggle. You're not sure how to use this power that you've been given. While you're struggling with that, your battles keep seeming easier and easier until you hit your first hurdle; a new opponent who's stronger than you. That's when it becomes clear; all those previous struggles were meant to prepare you for that first power up in order to defeat said opponent, so you can find your purpose. Sure, I feel like I've won a few of these first battles last challenge, but a few opponents that ran away before have returned, and they brought friends. I'm not at that hurdle yet, but I know it's coming. It's time I focus on what I'm really struggling with this month in order to be ready for my soon-to-come power up. Goals for this challenge are as follows: Continue to attend class a minimum of two times each week and stretch daily. I did well with class attendance last month, but I relied heavily on gaining that sticker to do so. Going to add it again so it becomes a habit that no longer needs a sticker. Stretching didn't go so well, so it's back to get better. Continue to journal daily and track all food and drinks in MFP. I did well with the journaling, but it followed the same as the one above; get dat sticker. I'm keeping it until I don't need it and adding my tracking to it as well. This is something I started recently, but it's been sporadic, and I don't want it to be, so there. Follow elimination protocol for caloric drinks, especially coffee-containing substances. I feel like I got a handle on my treats, so I'm moving on to a sub-par habit that I've picked up. I've been drinking the not-optimal coffee options for caffeine (see this chart for reference; I'm mocha and frappuccino -.-). This usually only happens when I succumb to Big Food, but I'll need to be extra conscious about it for when I do. Typical protocol; toss 1/4 for first two weeks, then progress to 1/2 for the second. Eat a home cooked or prepared meal for breakfast AND lunch a minimum of three times a week. Yeah, I know I was working on vegetables last month, but I really noticed just how badly I struggled with just EATING the food I brought to work and being too lazy in the morning to get up early enough to eat at home. It hurts my gut, waistline, and wallet, so I'm going to focus on this for now. It doesn't need to be squeaky clean, but it should still increase the quality of my food and decrease the quantity. I'm set with my strategy, now it's time to implement! Here comes Week Zero!
  4. Term is just about to start and I've got my schedule. Doesn't look like a whole lot on paper, but if there's one thing I've learned about the institute in the past month of getting settled, it's that looks can be deceiving. The Science of Mutation with Dr McCoy looks to be a real challenge, and Mutant Heritage: Explorations Through Sound with Ms. Monroe looks to be a pleasant diversion before lunch. Though I think it mentions something about a performance as part of the final grade? Yeep! The last class on the list is simply called Danger Room Prep. The only class description I could find was “required for admittance into Danger Room.” I tracked down one of the other students taking the class and they said it was pretty brutal- they drop tests on you without notice (really, it could be in the middle of another class or while you're asleep!), and you have to pass some number of them in a row before they will allow you to pass the class. Crazy! Looks like I'll have to work extra hard outside of class to make sure I can keep up! Oh, and I may have gone a little overboard with spending my sponsorship money last month, so I have to be extra frugal this month. Looks like fewer trips off campus to get snacks, and I'll just have to see what sort of grub I can find at the mansion. It's going to be a doozy of a month, and the challenge has multiple parts to it. There are parts to deal with the fact that mornings are freaking harrrd and parts that embrace the fact that maybe, just maybe, I can have a few good mornings here and there. There are parts that deal with husband leaving town for nearly 2 weeks, parts that will help me get in touch with my musical creativity, parts that will get me bendy. Oh right, and this part: *Kermit flail*AAAAH I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING (but apparently I'm studying to get a personal trainer certification? Meep?) So without further ado, let's get on to the actual challenge. Warning: some of this might look familiar. DAILY STUFF Morning routine Evening activity Snacks & H2O Bedtime routine WEEKLY STUFF Weekly plan X1 Music practice X3 Study 30 min X4* Yoga X3* Workout X2 Something about Arm Balances and another something about Flexibility Challenge? DEETS *some of this stuff is HARD MODE, and I am not allowed to feel guilty about missing it. Mornings are Hard. I liked the idea of studying in the morning because intellectually it's a good time for it. However, if I don't do it in the morning, that's fine. My weekly goals, especially yoga, are aggressive. So if I don't meet them, it's okay. Bring it!
  5. I know that I've been yo-yo-ing here on challenges a lot lately, but I think I figured it all out. I stretched myself a bit too thin, trying to take on too many things at once. So, I'm here to start from the very beginning, with what I know works best for me . Because in the end, all that matters is what works for me. And so here it is: I'm going to start my official Kamen Rider Training. Yeah, I know it's pretty obnoxious and childish, but it can get me really excited and motivated (read: HYPED). Part of my goals for the year include being much more authentic, even over here on the forums. So, that includes more honesty, more asking for help when it's needed, and MORE KAMEN RIDER! For the month of January, here are my simple starting goals: 1. Eat ONE CUP of vegetables DAILY. Kamen Riders know what best fuels them to fight for justice and humanity. For me, that means more vegetables. This sounds quite manageable to me. 2. Eliminate 1/4 of all treats. This basically means that I can still have treats when I'm craving them, but I toss 1/4 of whatever it is before I eat it. This has worked wonders for me in the past to successfully stop eating something (when I remember it), and I think treats (which means desserts of the refined sugar variety) isn't too big or broad of a category to overwhelm me. It's still a bit on the broad side, and I might still have trouble remembering, so I'm not going to upgrade to 1/2 for the full month. 3. Attend capoeira class a MINIMUM of TWO times each week AND spend a MINIMUM of TWO MINUTES correcting leg and hip muscle imbalance. Kamen Riders know how to fight, and they certainly know how to KICK. I have a tendency to not go to class when I don't feel like it (or when I lose sight of commitments, lose sight of my value, that kind of thing), so I'm slowly transitioning myself to the default of "JUST GO" when that happens. I know that I always feel better afterwards. And with the kicking comes hip and leg health, so I'll be stretching (using Focused Flexibility) and doing some PT exercises to correct muscle imbalances in the legs and hips. Getting up and doing them is hard, so I'll start with just two minutes each day and go from there. 4. Journal daily. Kamen Riders never forget their purpose, or when they do, a friend beats them up fights them until they remember. Knowing that small, progressive steps IS the best thing for me, I was inspired by Staci's sticker tactic and my own love of journals and journaling that I decided to combine the two. Instead of stretching myself out and having more than one place where I'm tracking my stuff, I'm going to put these hardcover journals I collected to use for tracking EVERYTHING, keeping it all in one spot. This should allow me a chance to be reflective and keep me present to everything I want to be changing and why. It'll also give me a place to brainstorm and keep notes as to how things are going so that I can better evaluate what I'm doing. I'll spend some time every day journaling; food tracking, logging training sessions, breaking big goals down into smaller steps, and just reflecting on my thoughts and feelings for the day, even if it's just for a minute or so every day. We're just getting started here. I'd have more of it finished (and this thread up sooner), but there's SO MUCH STUFF TO DO around the house that I've been spending a good deal of time getting that stuff managed this weekend. Become a more responsible adult is on the list of things to accomplish this year. Well, there it is, the new beginning of my journey. I didn't mean to be THAT long winded about everything, but hey, I'm being authentic and refuse to edit it. Let's Henshin!
  6. You'd think I would be used to it by now, things changing. Seasons pass every year, and every year winter comes. But now, I have to be stronger than ever against the oncoming darkness, learn to harness my powers, focus them. That's why I'm here at the Xavier Institute. Primary focus this round is going to be maintaining some sort of handle on my mornings as winter blows through. Working at 8 most days means waking up before the sun, which is something my body just does not want. Daily Morning Task (pick at least 2): Breakfast Shower PT Sun Salutations Supplemental tasks/facilitating the above: -Using a smart alarm to try to wake me up at the “optimal time”, possibly setting up a CAPTCHA to require leaving bed to shut off the alarm. -Completing the 6-week Sleepio course (already in progress) -Weekly planning, making sure to plan for (quick) breakfast options. Evenings get some love, too! I can't use the Danger Room yet, but the school has a gym to use until I earn that “privilege.” (On weekends, this is any time after 'morning') Daily Evening Task (pick 1): Capoeira/Workout Yoga/Balance Dance/Mobility -Weekly planning to make sure I get a little bit of everything. Capoeira will be a strict schedule (what with ‘leading class’ and all, yeeps) regardless of whether or not I get sidelined by the winter blehs. The others mostly fall into ‘what feels good today?’ and I still need to make sure I get some variety in! -Dance and Mobility can be a short 5-minute sessions just to not be a slug for a day. A few laps around the living room with animal drills or one or two songs to dance to. Better if it's longer, but this is “active rest day” material. Also: I will continue to monitor my water intake because it's so easy to slip when it's not super hot out, and when caffeine becomes a morning staple (trying so hard to avoid this). In addition to putting a focus on breakfast, I am also going to be keeping an eye on snacks at work. Not tracking them per se, but observing snack portion sizes (instead of inhaling an entire bag of crackers). The goal here is to slowly bring it back to actually eating meals, which have been rather scarce this last month or so! Also super bonus if I can shave off some unnecessary expenses on my grocery budget for December! (yes, I spent a ridiculous amount of time making this)
  7. Welcome to my brand new, daily(ish) battle log! I’m your host, SkiBlue. I’m glad that you’re here; thank you for your support and interest in my quest to level up my life. This is where I’ll be sharing my progress on what I like to call my life improvements; things that I’d like to work toward, build habits around, and will level up my life. This won’t really be taking away from me participating in six week challenges; on the contrary, the challenges will allow me the chance to hone in on specific priorities and trouble areas, while this log will give me a central place to update my progress for accountability and pursue other things outside of the challenges. I’m greatly excited for this; I’ve always struggled with enjoying the process, and now that I do, that will be the focus of this log, since sharing it with the Rebellion in the first place allowed me to make that final leap. Here is the most recent, comprehensive list of life improvements that I’m either currently working toward or in the process of planning to: reach and maintain a healthy body composition improve my relationship with food develop a regular sleep routine to build a regular sleep cycle become more active; get stronger and more flexible improve posture and reverse sitting damage develop money management habits develop habitual home management (improve adulting skills) develop time management skills at work and home include more socialization and appreciation include more hobby-work and skill-building As I work down this list, I'll update the log with the specific steps I'll be taking to make these changes possible. I’m hoping that with the Rebellion’s help, I’ll make those habits transition from daily checks to ways of life. If you’re still curious, head over to my list of concrete goals for leveling up my life, the things that this log is working toward, slowly but surely.
  8. At first, I wasn't sure if I should do a challenge this month, but realized that with this being the holidays, I definitely need it. I was also gonna do a Kamen Rider OOO theme, because December is my birthday month, and with Birthday Cake President, it would fit... Plus, an Anhk motivator wouldn't hurt... Okay, maybe it would. But I think I'm too hyped over all of the Neo-Heisei series bugmen in spandex that I don't really want to limit myself, now that I found out I'm not alone in my fandom. So here are the four major points I want to work on for the next month. They're obviously going to be quite similar to last month's, since they're not quite habits yet and need to be. 1) GET UP IN THE MORNINGS. Yep. This one's still giving me issues. 2) Eat enough food. I'm not eating enough, especially when I'm eating strict Paleo, so the goal for this month is to just get 2k calories consistently. This will obviously involve tracking food. I'm not going crazy and eating everything though. Grains will be limited, and I'll be trying to focus on getting as much protein as possible (130g) and having at least 1 cup of veggies in a day. 3) Progressively eliminate chocolate and cookies. The office candy is now an after-thought. I don't even want it anymore. However, Christmas means COOKIES in my family, so for the first half of the month, I'll be eliminating 1/4 of all sources of chocolate and cookies, and then progress to 1/2 in the second half of the month. 4) Move those hips! Still having leg and hip muscle imbalance issues, so I'll be spending up to ten minutes daily on strengthening exercises and stretches. Let's do this challenge with no continues!
  9. Hi. I'm back. I haven't really gone anywhere, just took a break. But now I'm having issues remembering and keeping track of the things I want to be changing, so here I am again. For the time being, my mission is to become a morning person. A good deal of my issues stem from my tendency to stay in bed until the very last minute every morning. Well, no longer! It's time I get hard-boiled about my commitment to myself and my health. This challenge will focus on making the most of my mornings. Goal 1: Get up! Alarm is set to 6AM on weekdays and 7AM on weekends (to try to keep my sleep schedule consistent). I will be using the Distant Alarm tactic to make sure I stay up when the alarm goes off. I'd do a gradual time increase for my alarm, but since the Husband's alarm needs to be set for the same time, I think I can Ranger myself through. Goal 2: Eat breakfast! Breakfast is important; therefore, it is the meal that I will focus on this challenge. Breakfast should be composed of animal protein and starchy carbs (for optimal thyroid function). I will aim for about 40-50g of protein, 35-55g of carbs, and 20-30g of fat. I may end up having a protein shake to help get those numbers up, but the bulk of the meal should be food that requires chewing. These are the key ingredients that I'd like to include in a morning routine. Morning people (mostly) have morning routines. I want one. I'm making it a priority. Goal 3: Move! My hips are still suffering from lack of mobility and uneven strength. I will be spending time every day doing a PT routine for my hips, legs, and core that involves some resistance training and stretching. Goal 4: Eliminate! I'm going to continue tossing out 1/4 of refined sugar cravings, to rewire the brain. In the words of the two men that are one detective...
  10. Because I might as well be proactive about it? Hand balancing goals: Handstand: get used to shifting weight between hands (pirouette bails), get a more vertical line facing towards from the wall (engaging shoulders, core strength). And stop looking at the floor, it's not that interesting. Geeze. Headstand: coordinate lowering head and walking forward/raising hips at the same time (pike push ups), "float" both legs to elbows together. Crow: uh, be able to do it for more than a few seconds? Queda de rins: on the right- continue progressions such as entering from standing (QdR push up) or from esquiva (lunge). On the left- just get better without jacking it up again (PT!) Actual challenge stuff: Balance *Skill-work- at least 1 session/week. Not just kick-ups for funsies (though those are good too) but mindful practice! *Before any hand balancing practice (at home or in class) I must have done my PT and a good solid wrist warmup. This means getting PT in early!! Adapt *Each week write out plans, challenges, speedbumps, etc to be more prepared- (Ties in directly with food planning, but is important elsewhere) Macro *Track calories (for data pool) *Track protein (100g goal) *Track water Flexy *Sun Salutations, preferably first thing in the morning *Stretch after workout/class *Yoga- at least 1 session/week
  11. Writer's block is making the writing of this challenge hard, so here's the barebones of it: Stuff that's going to just happen (or not) on its own: Class! - Capoeira training 2-3+ times/week Bodyweight training (primarily upper body and abs, at the gym) - 1-2 times/week Zombies, Run! - 1-2 times/week DareBee Combat HIIT program - 2-3 times/week (spreading it out like this makes it last ~10 weeks, and I get some HIIT in without wanting to punch someth- wait. YAY PUNCHING THINGS!) DareBee Daily Dare - Daily, because it's fun! (Part of a PVP!) Stuff that is really hard to keep up on so I'm going to be tracking it like a mofo: Body: *PT - Daily *Stretching - Daily/as needed (specifically after class, running, and BWW) *Sun Salutations - Daily, first thing in the morning *Yoga - At least once per week. This should not be as hard as it seems to be. Food: *TRACK calories - Daily *At least 100g protein - Daily *At least 8 cups H20 - Daily. By no means do I expect a perfect score. That would be laughable. But, depending on the category, would be happy with a score of 4-6. The food ones are going to be hella hard. Foreseeable challenges: In a week my work shift changes to 8-5. Going in a whole hour earlier in the morning than I'm used to means I have to get up a whole hour earlier too. Today I set my alarm for 6am, saw it was still dark out, and said 'eff that'. Tomorrow I hope to do better Funny that soon my sun salutations are going to be before the sun. =_=
  12. This will be the first time (I recall) not taking a break during Week Zero. I'm rolling with the same basic habits that I was working on last challenge (and practically forgot to keep tracking). I've added a few more ways to gain bonus points, but they're not really required. Just some things I would like to work on once the basics get easier. Eat Well: Continue brown bagging lunches on work days. Bonus points for eating at home on the weekends and in the mornings. Sleep Well: Be in bed by 10:30pm. Bonus points for staying up after alarm in the mornings. Move Daily: Continue to attend regular Mon & Wed classes consistently. Bonus points for any extra training. Love Daily: Track all food and drinks (including water). Bonus points for any time spent on the KonMari list. EDIT: Goals edited for a bit more simplicity and focus. Also, it's kinda dumb, in my opinion, to focus on getting up at a specific time when you don't go to bed at a specific time first, to make sure you get enough sleep.
  13. I love to learn, and I always learn best by making mistakes (I'm not going to go into MAKER lingo and call it failure, because around here, failure is only when you give up). Having successfully kicked my work candy snacking habit with the tactics of the Rebellion (and some more brain wire knowledge), I've re-evaluated my basic healthy habits and have a simple plan to steadily make those changes stick. Here we go! Main Goal: To decrease body fat percentage by 5% through good habits and to build up a Ranger attitude of self-love and confidence. Eat Well: Consistently bring and consume lunch during the work week. Bonus points for having lunch at home during weekends. Sleep Well: Alarm times for challenge: Week 1 - 6:30am; Week 2 - 6:20am; Week 3 - 6:10am; Week 4 - 6am. GET UP. Bonus points for getting up by 8am on weekends. Move Daily: Consistently go to class twice a week (Monday and Wednesday). Bonus points for attending samba classes, open gym Fridays, and any extra classes. Love Daily: Journal daily, including food, sleep, and activity logs. Bonus points for sharing logs on the battle log (minus the Dear Diary stuff). That about sums it up. See? It can be easy! And to embrace my authentic self, here is some Star Wars funnies! Because it can't be one of my threads without Star Wars OR funnies.
  14. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Back again with my basic challenge structure and its Mando theme. Because I WANT TO BE A MANDO MERC! As previously mentioned, I will be adding a co-op element to this challenge. I’ve listed the ways in which I can earn points this challenge (the same way I was grading before in the same structure), but with the goal points already calculated, the co-op elements will help earn points toward the goal (like in @Wild Wolf's previous challenge). The co-op players’ goals will stem from whatever mercenary job is running that week. Four weeks, four jobs. See you around the galaxy! Main Goal: To decrease body fat percentage by 5% through good habits and to build up a Ranger attitude of self-love and confidence. Haili cetare (Eat Well): GOAL 100 POINTS Clean Meal Eat breakfast in the AM Stick to packed lunches during the week When eating office candy, break off ¼ to toss, eat rest; increase to ½ at 2 week mark Nuhoyir (Sleep Well) : GOAL 60 POINTS Bedtime window of 10pm to 10:15pm Do NOT return to bed after alarm is shut off Verd ori'shya beskar'gam (Move Daily): GOAL 80 POINTS Pomodoros movement during extended sitting periods Capoeira class Acrobatics class Stretching/Yoga Bodyweight REPs Weight lifting Shereshoy (Love Daily): GOAL 60 POINTS Mando kit work Self-love/Confidence Meditation Journal/Tracking Food/Sleep/Mood Spread the Love Open Gym/Instrument Practice There's still time to sign up! Name: Species: Appearance: Primary Skills: Weapons & Equipment: Going Rate: Short Bio:
  15. June 17-19 is my first Capoeira Intensive! Eep! As the name implies, it will likely be rather intense but I do not intend on getting completely winded in my first 5 minutes. With this in mind, I am going to ramp things up a bit to get ready for 3 days of insanity. (Also, the Insane Inflatable 5k the weekend before the intensive. Whew!) Training: M-T-W - at least 2 classes Fri/Sat - at least 1 extra day of (focused) practice Filming whenever possible to critique/show progress At least 1 day strength training (BWW/Conditioning) Eat: 5 days/week “paleo-ish” 8 cups water every day Practice: Pandeiro 3-5 times/week, at least 1 time outside of class Whenever possible, make practice session long enough to hurt, and keep going! Portuguese 3-5 times/week Body Care: At least 1 yoga routine/week (Ideally 2-3) At least 1 prehab session/week (Ideally 2-3) Feet to the earth at least 3 times/week (back yard, walk around the block) Get a massage! 1 massage before end of challenge Saturday Stress Test (Pick one each week) No Chairs! All day, not allowed to sit on chairs, couches, benches, etc. Stand, squat, lean, or lay down. Sitting on the ground/floor is ok, but should not be taken advantage of. Bikes and toilets get a pass. Cars get a pass if they’re unavoidable. Really long walk: 2-3+ hours on the trails. Bring a picnic (ruck!) As above, only on a bike. Run (jog/walk), both morning and evening. Aim for ~half hour each excursion. Darebee Daily Dare Something else...? (suggestions welcome, especially for week 1 where I'll be road trippin') Soul Care: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. Do something every day to enrich or soothe the soul (see previous challenges for ideas). This may overlap or even override any of the above components of the challenge. Yes, it looks like a lot, and Yes it's a bit of a jump from the ultra-gentle approach I've been taking the last few months to take care of my head/heart-space. BUT it's still a reasonably forgiving and not too far off from what I normally do anyway. There's no strict scheduling involved, I don't expect to get 100% and with Husband's assistance I think I can finally snap this months-long PMS style mindless binge-eating at work problem. Also helps that the first 2 weeks my schedule at work will have me working normal hours instead of 4 long days to make up for one short day. WHEW. I just have to try to fill in the boxes over the course of the week (boxes with a slash are optional) Obstacles: May 6-7 I will be road tripping to and from Lincoln, NE, so lots of time spent in the car. 4-5 hour drive each way >.< Might have to skip the stress test for week 1 Husband’s work will be blasting into high gear over the course of the month, and he’s taking on an additional part-time job. He is the main provider of real meals in the house and he will have less time available to do so. BUT he’s really excited for salad season, so hopefully that enthusiasm will carry over to really good meals. Let the countdown begin!!
  16. Background: Now that that’s out of the way, New Challenge Time! So, as we know, I’ve (still) been struggling with some depression-related stuff lately. My last challenge was all about making sure I did at least something every day, whether it was solo capoeira practice or pull ups or reading a book or practicing some breathing exercises to get grounded and not succumb to a panic attack. This method was great at making sure I felt at least a little accomplished each day. On my rough days, I considered doing this again, but then I felt like it’s “not enough” - it’s very much reactive or just a method of not letting me slide backwards too much on my goals. On my good days, I considered switching back to a laser focus method and starting to hold myself accountable again… but then I cycle through the thoughts of how bad it will feel when I inevitably don’t do as well as I think I should. Depression is a liar and a bitch. So I’ve come up with a baby step up from my previous challenge: The Short List There are two lists: Mental/Emotional and Physical. Each day, I am to complete at least 1 category/item from each list. Each day, each list is pass/fail. Since I know that doing dailies is pretty darn hard to maintain (particularly on the Physical side), I will consider an 80% success rate pretty darn good. Since it’s entirely likely that all that is too easy (please let it be too easy, oh please let it be too easy!), I’m implementing a few bonuses. Stuff that I can feel extra good about accomplishing, but not beat myself up over if I don’t quite make it. I haven’t quite figured out what the bonus points will be for, but I will probably figure that out when we figure out how much our tax refund will be on Tuesday :3 it will probably have something to do with how much I get to spend on shinies now versus plugging away into savings or debts. WILL UPDATE WHEN I FIGURE OUT THIS DETAIL! To be clear: the only part that matters as far as completing the challenge is concerned is doing ONE item from each list each day at an 80% success rate. The Bonus Points are just that: Bonuses. Let's go!
  17. *Mandokarla: having the *right stuff*; showing guts and spirit; the state of being the epitome of Mando virtue - a blend of aggression, tenacity, loyalty and a lust for life If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results. This made such a huge difference in every aspect of leveling up my life last challenge, so it's here to stay. For good. I'm keeping the general format and grading scale the same for this challenge (grading will start next week). General goals will stay the same, but I'm upping the ante for a few of them. Hopefully, they're small enough changes that it won't push me back. Gotta keep that Rangerbrain in check. Oh, and in light of the recent development on my quest to become a member of the Mandalorian Mercs, I'm sure you can guess this challenge's theme. Main Goal: Reach 35% body fat through love and awesome. Haili cetare (lit: Fill your boots/Bon appetit): Eat well. Bring prepared lunches to work every day. Continue to minimize consumption of heavily processed foods and maximize consumption of whole foods. Nuhoyir (lit: slumber): Sleep well. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep and GET UP when the alarm goes off, not a half hour later. Verd ori'shya beskar'gam (proverb: A warrior is more than his armor): Move daily. Whenever I'm sitting still for longer periods of time, use movement Pomodoros (25:5). Don't forget to take care of problem areas (stretching hips and wrists). Train outside of regular classes. Shereshoy (lit: Lust for life - uniquely a Mandalorian word, meaning the enjoyment of each day and the determination to seek and grab every possible experience, as well as surviving to see the next day): Love daily, myself and others. Continue working through my sewing projects and begin work on my Mando kit pieces. Spend time with the Husband. And don't forget to reach out to friends and family every now and then. Haat, Ijaa, Haa'it (lit: Truth, Honor, Vision; said when sealing a pact)
  18. Get a helmet and strap yourself in. This will be a long and, hopefully, exciting journey, and I’m glad that you’re here along for the ride. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do. Below is a living list of my goals in life; they are constantly adapting and evolving as I level up my life, complete these goals, discover more concrete steps for each, and find new goals to work toward. Fitness Goals reach 30% body fat live without added sugar do a full, dead-hang pull-up reverse my anterior pelvic tilt deadlift 250lb/bench press 200lb/row 150lb Hobby/Skill Goals re-learn and become fluent in Russian complete writing my (fictional) stories complete costumes (list in process) join the 501st Legion/Rebel Legion/Mandalorian Mercs re-learn and become proficient in Physics/concepts learn and become proficient in Electronics get involved in the local Makerspace learn to align and use my telescope Capoeira Goals attend first ten classes achieve first cord level Life Goals get married (currently engaged, need plan of action) live off last month’s income (budget goal) live without social media (except the Rebellion) minimalize clutter (physical and digital) host weekly/bi-weekly game nights with friends train the huskamute Travel Goals Camp Ranger Fitness 2017 take the husband to Otakon take the husband to GenCon Feel free to join me in my daily grind to reach these goals. However, you will know when significant progress has been made along these goals and when they have been completed.
  19. I won't lie; eating Good Food was REALLY difficult during the last challenge, even after a successful W30. I've been stewing on the role of mindset in my quest to get healthy for the past few weeks, and I believe that's where I need to improve in order to make these changes stick. Inspired by those Rangers who've been taking a flexible, minimalistic approach to goal-setting, I'm following suit, in a way. My goals are a return to regularly scheduled programming; the foundation of my healthy habits, but the means have changed. I will aim for a minimum instead of a maximum and be counting any and every effort in my goal areas. While aiming to do all four daily seems daunting, they encompass a lot of effort choices on their own, and in my tracking spreadsheet, I've edited my formulas and formatting to account for a 70/30 compliance rating. As long as I'm hitting 70% compliance, I'll be RANGERING. My main goals have also evolved into smarter, more manageable pieces. I'm hoping that these changes will allow me to start shifting my mental focus from being too hard on myself for failing (and not being perfect) to appreciating my efforts and progress. Main Goal: Reach a healthy body composition by taking care of myself and my health. My current target number is 35% body fat. Goal One: Eat well. Do the best I can. Minimize consumption of grains, sugars, and Big Fast Food. Maximize consumption of veggies, proteins, and good fats. Find ways of making a sub-par situation better. Every effort counts. Goal Two: Sleep well. Give myself 8 to 9 hours in bed to sleep daily. I'll also be working to improve the quality as well, continuing my use of the Sleep Cycle app, remembering to wear my orange glasses, calming down after late classes with a bath, and maybe investing in some Natural Calm, but those aren't requirements. Goal Three: Move daily. This can take the form of Capoeira training, heavy lifting, bodyweight & endurance training, stretching, or yoga (or anything else that shows up). I should also be stretching at work, using Pomodoros to remind myself not to sit constantly (when my work flow slows). Goal Four: Love daily. This includes loving myself AND other people. Doing things for myself, like meditating, journaling, sewing, reading, writing, coloring, etc. This also includes spending time with the husband; gaming, model building, and all the other stuff we like to do together. We both need a bit more love in our lives.
  20. Because life has felt a bit like SadSherlock lately... Another format change woo! I'll probably be going back to the laser-focus format in the future because I really like the concept. But after having 2 challenges in a row "foiled" due to waves of depression, I'm going to try another format and kick it down to "no-fail" mode. It's GRAB BAG time! The grab bag will consist of various things I can do to earn points throughout the week (scored Saturday thru Friday) which focus on long-term happiness (physical, mental, emotional health). Each week, points can be allocated towards different rewards, which focus a little more on short-term happiness. Even if I score really low in a week, I should still have something to look forward to on the weekend, and any unspent points can roll over to the next week. There will be 3 of these rewards. At the end of the challenge, the total accumulated points will be tallied and there will be an awesome reward at the end. Let's get going shall we? The Tasks: The Weekly Rewards: The End of Challenge Rewards:
  21. This is the direct continuation of my previous challenge: same quests, same tracker. I had a hard time writing here in the past weeks. All boils down to choosing between doing things or writing about them. I tired to post from my phone when on a break, but I really don't like to write there. I am not sure it will change much, but I'll show up at least once per week Walking is my strongest point by far. Getting a step counter was really a good choice to keep me motivated. If I think about it is is weird to get pleasure from seeing a bar on a display getting filled, but as long as it work... at least is healthier than other pleasurable things... well not all of them, of course... The push/pull+karate routines need some adjustment: after two hours of capoeira I don't really manage to add another 20-30 minutes of exercises. So, I give myself 2 days off. The handstand and the stretches stay as daily practice. Food is on track but I still have the feeling (well, my stomach&intestines have) that some adjustment is needed. The big change of the past 2 weeks have been capoeira. It is the perfect mix for a monk assassin like me, and something completely different from what I have done so far. The unexpected (but not unwelcome) side of the training is that learn to sing solo and to speak Portuguese is integral part of the training. The casual sentence while fighting is something I am used to, but carry a tune in a language I don't speak while dodging kicks is a completely different story Long story short: I have plenty of inspiration for next challenge but for now I need to stay on my previous quests and strengthen those habits
  22. Actual video footage of the event from last year at my school. The guy wearing the bandana and doing flips is my instructor. >.< For this challenge, I’m going to shift focus temporarily from the standard and usual foundational quests to prioritizing my capoeira training. I’ve signed up for the Winter Games event; a three-day string of capoeira workshops and rodas, which also includes the batizado. In capoeira, the batizado is the initiation ceremony where a new student is tested on their basic knowledge (in the regional style). The prize is the first belt/cord ranking, which is solid green. Since I only started learning at the end of December, I’m going to need some supplemental training and practice to prepare for the belt test. This will be my focus, as I want to do my best. Changing things up, Ranger style! Main Quest: Do my best during the batizado test on February 20th and become proficient in the basic moves of capoeira. Goal One: Practice capoeira every day. Duh. I should be putting in practice time on non-class days (classes are on Monday and Wednesdays). Obviously, if you want to get better at something, then you should do more of it. Practice should consist of two of the three following parts: basic move practice, sequence practice, and movement drills. The sequences are going to be important; they are similar to katas in other martial arts and are what I will be tested on during the batizado. I’ll focus on the basic movements that are in those sequences (meia lua de frente, armada, queixada, martelo, bênção, aú, rolê, cocorinha, negativa, and rasteira) and practice some drills from class on my own. Goal Two: Do bodyweight training three times a week (specifically on non-class days). Capoeira is filled with bodyweight movements; the esquivas are akin to squats and lunges, there’s a lot of pushing yourself up off the floor (I foresee burpees in my future *groan*), and my back is always screaming after extended practice sessions during class. I’m going to be strengthening my weak points with this, combining capoeira movements with standard bodyweight exercises into a basic routine (following the NF exercise template). I believe this means that I'll be taking a break from my Olympic lifting, but once this test is over, I'll return to it and figure out a new training schedule. Capoeira-Inspired Bodyweight Routine: - 20x cocorinha - 10x push-ups - 20x esquiva de baixa (from ginga) - 10x inverted rows - 15sec. static cabeçada - 30 ginga Goal Three: Practice the songs and instruments at least once a week. This should be easy to achieve, but it’s necessary. I need to know one song and how to play one of the instruments at the batizado. I already know the basics of the pandeiro, atabaque, and agogô de castanha, I just need more practice. I have the opportunity to practice them after class and on open-gym Fridays. I will be taking them. Songs will be easy. We practice songs during the roda on class days, and I’ve got a collection of songs that we learned on Youtube; I need to make a CD so I can listen to them outside of class. That will definitely help me become more familiar with them. Goal Four: Eat Good Food. Ain’t givin’ up on this. I’m going to follow the W30 Good Food standards for the time being, so that I’m in peak condition for this training regimen. The only thing I plan to reintroduce during this time will be whey protein powder. I’ll gauge where my reaction is to it (positive or negative), and plan accordingly. This should also help keep my stress and Sugar Dragon in check, so I can focus on training. Even though the Winter Games/Batizado will take place during the third week of the challenge, I’ll keep this going for the full four weeks for simplicity and more practice. Can’t hurt, right? This challenge will start on Monday for me, the official start date, but it’ll roll in straight from the end of my Sugar Dragon quest, which I ain’t stoppin’ ‘til Sunday.
  23. This is going to be a good year. I can tell, because 2015 was a very good year for me; because I started taking control instead of just letting life happen around me. 2016 will be more of that, so it can only get more better This month I will be focusing my quests on motivation. A reminder of why I am doing these things, without the pressure to reach a goal right away, or the disappointment if that doesn't happen. Some are shorter term (goals that are possible to achieve in the 4 weeks), others are a little more ambiguous, long-term, or I have no idea how long they'll take. I guess... It's good to keep the goal in mind but still be sure to enjoy the journey! So without further ado... B is for Bend Stretch after class/conditioning/etc Dedicated yoga minimum 2x/week -> Ulterior motive: Bridge (general improvement, "no cheat" bridge) -> Ulterior motive: Start splits progressions A is for Atlas Ranger sub-job: Animal Affinity Take Atlas for a good walk 5days/week (Weather permitting, but don't be a wimp) -> Ulterior motive: Train 2 new commands M is for Move In addition to capoeira classes, work on conditioning and BWW Minimum 3 BWW/conditioning sessions/week (Conditioning can be short 7.5-15 minute sessions, but only if given enough gusto) -> Ulterior motive: 5+ reps of GOOD standard push ups in one set -> Ulterior motive: 1 pull up (unassisted) -> Ulterior motive: Bananeira/handstand away from the wall -> Ulterior motive: Queda de Rins (lift both feet off the ground) F is for Food Paleo-ish. Get it right Track food intake. 1 cheat day/week -> Ulterior motive: Get in the habit of thinking about and cooking 1 meal/week (scrambled eggs or post-workout slab of chicken do not count) -> Ulterior motive: Lose at least 4lb Stats:
  24. I almost didn’t do this challenge. I think it may have been the jetlag talking, but shortly after I arrived in France, I was pondering over how my last challenge was going and how to make my next challenge new and exciting and, well, challenging. I mean, the last few challenges have pretty much been (1) strength training, (2) running, and one other exercise-related goal, and a life quest. I felt like I pretty much had the pattern down. But it didn’t take too long to realize that I still needed the challenge to make sure I stayed on track. Yeah, maybe I would still go to all of my Capoeira classes, but having the motivation to do anything above and beyond that, while getting wrapped up in holiday markets and with winter right around the corner… That’s iffy. As for new and exciting… Not going to happen really. I’m doing “more of the same†and revisiting old goals (not that my previous goals are uninteresting in any way- I mean, capoeira and handstands? Hells yeah!). But while some of it (at least to me) seems like injury prevention, it’s all aiming towards becoming a true BAMF and not breaking myself along the way. First, let’s revisit my Main quest as it has shifted slightly since my recruit phase: Main Quest: Feel better in my own skin. Currently, progress is being made not only by changing the physical composition of my body, but also by challenging my boundaries, stepping out of my comfort zone (sometimes into others’), and taking itty bitty steps to trust myself more. Quest 1: BAMF Moves I will of course be continuing capoeira into this challenge. Running is taking a back seat here, as doing that 3 days a week in conjunction with my classes was proving to be rather...painful. I’d still like to keep up some running, because Zombies, Run! is so fun to listen to, and because I still want to do 5Ks come spring time. I will be allowing for some lower impact HIIT to replace some of the runs and get my heart pumping- honestly, as much as HIIT hurts at the moment, I think that’s a sign that I really should be working on that more. Also one dedicated strength training/capoeira practice per week, which will likely include animal drills, crow, and handstand practice. 2 cardio/HIIT per week 2 capoeira classes per week 1 capoeira practice/strength training per week 2 STA | 3 STR | 2 DEX Quest 2: BAMF Flexy Partly because I sit in a chair all day and get stagnant and I just want to be able to move, and partly because I want to just improve at flexibility so I can capoeira better faster. Goals here are to improve shoulder & upper back flexibility to help get into bridge, limber up the wrists and forearms to prevent injury there, and work on the ever-stubborn hamstrings. I will be cataloging some go-to stretches for quick cool downs after workouts, as well as doing some dedicated work, likely in the form of yoga. Short stretch after at least 3 of the “activites†during the week. 1 dedicated “flexy session†per week (likely yoga) 1 CON | 2 DEX Quest 3: BAMF Eats This was going to be a repeat- just keep counting calories, but with a pseudo-side-quest of researching ideas on how to consciously change what we eat at home without increasing costs. Husband recently discovered how cheap and easy it was to make pizza and pasta from scratch and lets face it- rice is ultra cheap, and filling, and darn good. Well, I got bored yesterday and started poking around a bit, made an off-handed comment about the paleo "diet" to Husband and he said he'd be all for it as long as we were both all-in. I pointed out that we had a cabinet full of french cookies and he agreed to one "cheat" day. I think the cheat day might move around a bit, rather than being a set day in the week. One day during every week (mon-sun), as long as there are not 2 cheat days together (except, maybe in the case of certain holiday shenanigans). Cheat day may end up being pizza/booze/game night (great for Saturdays) or romantic dinner out (not so great for Saturdays, we hate crowds and prefer restaurants on slow nights). I plan on continuing to track calories, if only for curiosity's sake. ALSO, I want to remember to take my supplements- cal/mag for keeping charlie horses at bay, and fish oils for all of the billions of things fish oils are for (Yeah, I'd like to incorporate actual fish into my diet, but it's expensive and/or not very good here in the midwest) 1 point per day eating Paleo. 1 point per day remembering to take my supplements. 1 WIS | 2 CON Life Quest: BAMF Esprit Stealing from a previous quest, I need to make sure I don’t lose myself over the next month or so. Between work (meh), exercise (yay!), and crochet/markets (I should be more excited about this than I am), it will be pretty easy to get sucked into it all. I will be making an effort to take at least a few minutes a day to do something that just makes me feel good about myself, aside from all of the above. Taking Atlas for a walk, spending time with the husband while not doing other things, meditation, taking a break from crochet to let my mind breathe, even skipping a workout without a penalty to points, all for sanity’s sake. 1 point per day 2 CHA **OBSTACLES** The holidays are upon us. Sort of. November is a pretty ridiculous month in my life with 3 birthdays the week of Thanksgiving. Plus we've got a wedding to go to on the Saturday before. Plus there's loads of stuff to do for the holiday markets. Food day(s) at work celebrating Thanksgiving (the week before), November birthdays (probably closer to the end of the month), the "holiday stroll" (two food days, one hosted by each half of the building in the first 2 weeks of December), and a team lunch for Christmas (where our team drives to a neighboring town and eats all the food, mid-December). This doesn't even touch on how much the holiday markets are going to be keeping me and my hands super busy. This is the importance of the Life Quest- As important as everything is, making sure I take some time to step back and breathe will be crucial.
  25. I have always (or at least, since middle school maybe) been interested in things from all over the globe. I took Spanish and French in high school and college and tried teaching myself Russian and Japanese. Language, music, food, scenery... I've wanted to see it all. But, seeing it all is not always an option. Thankfully with the world getting smaller, it's getting easier to experience different parts of the world without having to travel very far. Due to travel plans, I will be running the challenge for 7 weeks (starting yesterday 9/7 and going to 10/25). I'll be getting back just in time do do a recap (and maybe share some photos). Scoring is going to be a little more fluid by necessity. Also, I will be putting comments regarding therapy and life *stuff* behind spoiler cuts. I feel comfortable sharing what I choose to put out here, and I feel like being open about this sort of stuff can be helpful to others, so when I feel like sharing, I will. However, I know that's not for everyone (and frankly, I ramble) so putting it behind a spoiler cut will help keep things tidy and less annoying for anyone who's not interested. And that's cool Quest 1 : Brazil 3+ Body Weight Workouts/week. I established in my last challenge that committing to 4 was not really reasonable. On Monday and Wednesday I will have my Capoeira classes, and on Friday I plan to do core and upper body training, since that will be so integral to my training (I also haven't lost sight of achieving my handstand and pull up). On the weekends or after my runs, I'd like to focus on balance and flexibility, but that will be extra. During the weeks that I am in France, I will have to play this by ear, but I want to make sure I continue doing some strength work while I'm out there. Scoring : Min - 14, "extra credit" up to 20 A = 3 STR | 2 DEX Quest 2 : England (source) Continuing my goal of running 3 times per week. Eventually maybe I will be able to integrate this into my routine so well that I won't need to keep mentioning it as a goal, but this is not now. The weather is going to start turning soon, and it will be really tempting to stay curled up in bed. I need to maintain my runs, partly because it feels great, and it makes it just a bit easier to get other stuff done in the morning. During the challenge, I will be facing 2 bosses: a 5k this weekend supporting a charity that provides games and entertainment to our region's children's hospitals, and on September 26 a 5k Glow Run. While in France, I intend to keep running, though again, playing it by ear. Scoring : Min - 14, "extra credit" up to 20 A = 3 STA | 1 DEX Quest 3 : France Food. This needs to be addressed. I will be tracking calories using My Plate, and trying to stay within my allotted daily weekly calories. From previous experience, staying within my numbers shouldn't be too hard, but sticking with entering them in the first place could be. Amusingly enough, though I've chosen France to represent this part of the challenge, I will not be tracking food while I'm there. Screw that. I'm going to France, I'm going to ENJOY every last bite, whether it's loaded with butter or chocolate or cream puffs. Even if it means undoing any weight loss I might manage before the trip. The point here, aside from achieving weight loss, is to establish the habit and prove to myself that it actually works. **This has been edited slightly. This was originally a daily count goal, but since I have such high burn workouts, particularly later in the evening, I have a hard time eating "enough" on workout days, and I get super hungry on the days after. So I'll be aiming for a net weekly goal of 8400. Scoring : Max - 54 (1 pt for tracking each day (total 34), 5 pts per week staying within goal (total 20) - Stateside only) A = 2 CON | 2 WIS Life Quest: South Pole With how super excited I've been about all of this fitness stuff, I've not really given myself much of a chance to prepare my wares for the winter markets. At the end of the last few winter seasons I've declared that I would spend time throughout the summer working on hats and scarves so there wouldn't be quite as much of a scramble when end of summer rolled around... and I've failed this yet again. So I will be picking up my "second job" again and trying to work a stunning 10 hours per week on the "regular" weeks, and 5 hours per week on those involving travel. Travelling weeks will, however, depend on the quantity of yarn that I am capable of bringing with me. As a carry-over from last challenge, at the beginning and end of a work session, and every ~30 minutes in between, I will do hand/wrist/forearm stretches and strengtheners. Scoring : Max - 110 (1 pt per half hour) A = 2 CHA It's a lot of ground to cover. Let's get moving!
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