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  1. Translated from Latin, the title is "Light in Darkness." Which not only matches the theme this challenge, but has also been my personal motto for years and part of my first tattoo. I'm still working through what I need from these challenges, but I'm starting to make progress again. So this time around, I'll be focusing on identifying the "lights" I want to work towards. More to come.
  2. Which is a lot better than being all late. As usual, I'm working a hundred different projects and forgetting to update on any of them. So this challenge will be more of the same. I keep hoping that having a thread with people tracking me will make me actually track what I'm doing and accomplishing, instead of just randomly working on things and forgetting what progress I've made. But that keeps not happening. So here are my most recent finished projects, both built from scrapwood as I try to turn my garage from a garbage pile back into a usable workshop. And because it's been a while, here's some turtle cuteness:
  3. Late as usual, but getting there. Goals are fluid right now as I work on my motivation to move more and eat better. And work on house projects and costumes. I did finally finish the Little Witch and Wizard costumes, though I don't know when we'll be wearing them now.
  4. I've been on hiatus for the past couple challenges while I de-stressed and now I'm ready to come back to this awesome community. The only problem is that I still have no plan. So I think I'm going to lurk for a bit while I continue working on getting my life back in order. Expect cosplay pictures, because I don't have much else to do while teleworking and eventually there will be conventions again. Goals are going to be super undefined for now: -quit eating when I'm not hungry -actually move around regularly -finish the f&@%ing bathroom And cosplays currently in progress, for the record: -Little Witch and Wizard -Diddy Kong for Mad Max: Rainbow Road group -Dragonman Warrior and Fox Huntress -Next iteration of Nightcrawler and Psylocke -Update/finish Aragon and Arwen
  5. Anim stood on his path once again, unsure of where he was beyond that fact. His surroundings had changed dramatically, while he was focused on other things. He had changed as well, in ways he was also unsure of. But he had stalled for too long already, and standing still wasn't helping him assess the changes, both within and without. It was past time to start moving again, and to remember who he was. Anim, god of death, keeper of souls, walker of the path... I've been meaning to make a challenge for a while, and life has lined up to make the new year a good time to get back on track. So that's what I'm going to do. The biggest thing I've learned over the past year is that my motivations have changed drastically. I used to be angry about everything (reality sucks, and humans are the worst part), and could channel that into improving myself. But then, this happened: And now I'm happier than I've ever been and it's lasted for longer. The anger is still there, but it doesn't drive me. So I'm relearning how to motivate myself to stay on track, and deciding what track I want to be on. In the interest of simplicity, my goals for this challenge are: -Workout - 3x per week, minimum. For the time being, I'm going to allow strenuous projects, but the ultimate goal is to make a dedicated workout plan I can follow reliably. -Projects - Currently working on a drawing desk for one niece and need to make a sewing desk for another, I need to get everything cut and ready for stain/poly so I can take advantage of any good weather days to get them done by March. -Cosplay - My next assignment is making the fiancee an Arwen dress for Pensacon (end of February). I'd like to have it done by the end of this challenge, so I have time to work on other costumes. -Extras - Attic work - I need to finish, or at least make progress on, insulating my attic while its still cool enough to be in it. - Etsy store - The fiancee and I want to start an Etsy store for our random decorations and cosplay accessories, so I need to finish researching the legal requirements to make sure we have everything covered before we do. More to come when it's not 2AM.
  6. I've spent most of this year trying to get back into my healthy habits with mixed success. And after some forced introspection last challenge, I think I've nailed down the reason: I've never been this happy for this long, and I don't know how to deal with that. Before I met my fiancee, I could always find something to be angry about, and let the rage fuel my quest for change. Now, the anger is still there, but it's less consuming, because how bad can anything really be while she's here? So instead of failing to return to old habits, it's time to go back to the beginning and build new ones with new motivations. She deserves the best version of me I can be. Goals to get there: -Do something physical 5x a week: workouts, sports, yard work, house projects, doesn't matter what, just needs to be something to get me up and moving. -Handstand practice 2x a week & wrist exercises (~5min) once a day: this is the max my wrists can stand at the moment, but if I stick with it I can strengthen them and increase my practice time. This is one of my favorites, so getting back into it should motivate me to stick with my workouts again. -Eat reasonably & check waist and weight weekly: if I stay active, I should be able to resume my cut without calorie counting. If that doesn't work, I'll start myfitnesspal again. -Declutter: a more long-term goal, but I have a lot of junk that needs to be sorted, and either organized for use or donated to free space. I also need to finish my costume shelf and start on the other planned shelves. -Costuming: Dragoncon is 2months away, but I'm actually in really good shape costume-wise. I've got 3 of my 4 costumes completely ready (1 reuse and 2 tracking down and buying the pieces). The last is Nightcrawler, which I'd like to upgrade/replace, but still have a usable costume if I run out of time. The fiancee needs me to finish her Buttercup dress (need to make time for a fitting) and help with Psylocke (not entirely sure where it's at, so need to figure out what I'm doing to help).
  7. A couple months ago I tried jumping back into my old habits and failed miserably. So I spent the rest of 2018 figuring out why and coming up with a new plan. And just FYI, the title doesn't really mean anything. I just like dinosaurs, so that's the calendar I got to track my progress: Goal for the year is to build new healthy habits, so I can do the things I want to do without worrying about ability or injury. Goals for January: -Start PLP365 - This is my own take on the PLP Program. On each day of 2019, I want to do reps of pullups/lunges/pushups equal to the month plus the day. So I start out easy with 2 (1+1) on Jan 1st, then 3 on the 2nd, and so on. After doing 32 reps on jan 31st, I get to deload back to 3 reps (2+1) on Feb 1st and start rebuilding. -Run/walk twice a week - I'm going to limit my other exercises until I'm confident I won't hurt myself adding to the PLP. But my endurance is terrible right now, so I want to start rebuilding that. -Mindful eating - I'm not ready to jump back into calorie counting (because I hate it), but I need to start eating better. The goal is to only eat when I'm actually hungry and limit junkfood when I do eat. I'm also going to track my weight and waist weekly and if I'm not making progress by the end of Feb, I'll start calorie counting again. -Projects - My current major projects are 3 new costumes for Pensacon (end of February) and finishing the insulation in my attic while its still cool enough to do so. So that's 4 projects in 2 months. I'll be working on other projects too, but those are the focus. -NF stuff - I feel like I've been slacking a lot around here, so one of my goals is to be better about managing the minis and posting in the Den. Lack of participation the past few months has been discouraging, but that's at least partly my fault since I kept reusing minis instead of creating something new and interesting. So I need to plan better and incorporate feedback to keep people engaged, instead of just assuming that a new fandom on the old formula will solve the problem. Also, for the 3 people who actually read my thread , how do you feel about the term "sidequest" instead of "mini-challenge?" I think it's confusing to have a main challenge/quest, with monthly challenges to support it, and a mini-challenge that lasts a random amount of time and may or may not be related to the main quest. Sidequest ties into the "gamifying" theme better and more accurately describes them as "optional activities to expand your perspective, that may or may not tie directly to you main quest/challenge." Thoughts? Counterpoints?
  8. Anim had made progress, but slowly, as his lack of focus tread the ground around him into a swamp. It felt like he was going in circles, and circles he had traveled before, at that. Shaking himself off, Anim picked a direction and starting slogging forward. I know I've made progress the past couple challenges, but it doesn't feel like it. Especially last challenge, every week felt mediocre, like I should have done more. Part of the problem is divided priorities. Workouts are getting shortened or skipped to make time for projects, so I never feel like I've done enough. And I keep adding short projects instead of finishing the big, uncomfortable ones. But my attic still isn't done and it's already getting too hot in Florida to not have my AC on. So that needs to get done, especially since my GF is planning to move in as soon as it's finished. We're also working on the master bedroom/bath for when that happens, currently halfway finished painting. Goals: Workout or Project Daily - Last challenge was demotivating because I kept missing my workout goal so I'd have the time and energy to work on projects. So I'm changing that up this month. In order to count a day, I need to either have a good workout or make progress on an attic or bedroom project. If I manage to do more than one in a day, the extras will count half for earning me a day off. Cook Twice a Week - This one is more difficult than it should be, so I'm going to keep trying to make it a habit. If I want to be in costume shape by Dragoncon, I need to cut fat off my waist more consistently. Finish the Attic - The whole point of redoing my attic was to save money on AC this summer, but the project is taking so long that I'm about to spend all my cash paying for AC this spring. So I'm setting a hard deadline of May 16th, because that's when my parents get here to visit and meet the GF.
  9. The terrain was settling into known patterns again and Anim was once again seeing progress. New obstacles continued to make it an uphill journey, however, and it was time to adjust his methods to counter them. Current conditions also required that he split is focus to complete other tasks. With enough time spent planning, it was time to act. I've been taking it easy the past couple weeks while I try to figure out how I want to move forward. But after answering a workout question today, I have a good plan to maintain my workouts while switching my focus at home to redoing my attic while it's still cool enough to be up there. I live in Florida and we've already been getting 80F days, so time is short to get those projects done and hopefully cut my power bill for the summer. I need that money for costuming. Goals: 5 Workouts per week - The plan is strength training Sun/Tue/Thu, running/sports Mon/Wed/Fri. I can afford to skip one per week, but anymore than that and I start to slip. Plan is described here, if you're interested. Handstands 3 times a week - I keep saying I want to get a solid handstand, but never seem to prioritize it. So here we go. Starting with 3 times a week, 5min each, since that's all my wrists can handle atm (early stages of carpal tunnel and arthritis in both, yay!). Hoping to increase the frequency as I rebuild the habit. I'm going to plan this as part of my warmup for strength training, but may have to do it other days depending on how things go. Cook twice a week - I keep making excuses to delay cooking and sticking myself with shitty meals because I "still have time later this week." So I'm going to increase the requirement and see how things go. Goal subject to change, if necessary. Fix the attic - If you've been following my project list, you might have seen the list of stuff I have to do in my attic. Now that Pensacon is past, I've got time to focus on it, but limited time before Florida makes it unbearable to be in. So priority projects are removing the current insulation, cleaning everything (dirt and debris, scrap wire, etc), making repairs as necessary (mainly the skylights), and installing new insulation (correctly this time).
  10. The path had been easier to find than expected, once Anim had set his mind to finding it. The familiar ruts had guided him back to the track he had tread many times before. Now he had ground to regain. And obstacles, both new and old, peaked through the grass ahead of him. The best way to prepare for them was simply to keep moving, though, and build up the momentum to smash through when he reached them. Getting back on track last month went better than expected. So instead of changing things up, I'm just going to keep chugging along. Goals: 5 workouts per week - One more than last month's goal, but I managed it easily last week. Still not specifying what they need to be, just trying to build the habit and make sure I can stick to it. Cook once a week - The main problem at this point is that the GF doesn't like leftovers. So since I only get to see her on the weekends, I need to minimize how much I go out to eat the rest of the week. Complete at least 5 project tasks - Current list, each line counts as one. Since I'm treating this as a five-week challenge, I'm increasing the number to trying sticking with a one project a week average. If things go well, I'll finish two this week (a little over halfway finished with each, I think). Then I need to make Joker Fett by Pensacon on 23Feb. Depending on how long that actually takes, I'll try to update other costumes as well.
  11. Anim looked around again, trying to get his bearings. The past month had been enjoyable, but hectic, and his priorities had been on everything except his longterm goals. But now it was time to return to his quest, as soon as he could find the path again... I spent most of the holidays eating too much and exercising too little, especially the last two weeks at my parents' house. In addition to my normal end-of-year shenanigans, I also have an awesome GF now, who I want to spend as much time with as possible and a new (to me) convention at the end of February to prepare for. So I'll be spending January rebuilding my habits and trying to catch up on chores and projects. Hopefully before that wagon gets too far ahead of me. Goals: 4 workouts per week - At least two strength and one run/sports (4th can be anything), no other requirements, as I just want to rebuild the habit. I also have until the end of the month to decide if I can stick to a schedule on my own, or if I'm going back to crossfit for a while. Cook once a week - This is the easiest way to control my diet and get back down to a Nightcrawler waistline. Going to have to experiment some though, as my GF likes to cook too and I like to eat. Complete at least 4 project tasks - Current list, each line counts as one.
  12. The storm had come suddenly, arriving sooner than expected despite the warnings, forcing Anim to find shelter until it passed. It's strength had left new obstacles in his path, slowing his progress even after it passed. But the sun kept peaking through the clouds to illuminate his goals in the distance, so Anim shook himself free of the last vestiges of lethargy and redoubled his efforts forward. After close to a decade of refusing to follow his doctor's advice, my grandpa finally admitted there was something wrong when he started coughing up blood. He was diagnosed with cancer in both lungs and given 6months to live. A month and a half of increasingly powerful pain medication later, he woke up in the middle of the night and was gone before anyone could get to him. We buried him Nov 10th, next to my grandma, but the fight over his estate was already going. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with much of that, but my mom got to play mediator between her siblings who now need the inheritance to pay bills. I normally drive up to see him for Thanksgiving, so it was hard not having the chance this year. But my girlfriend has been wonderful, despite having to work retail over Black Friday while sick. And the grandfather clock that's been at his house for my entire life arrived this week. My grandma bought it for me before I was born, and my grandpa kept it safe while my family moved around the country. That and some pictures are all I wanted to remember them. But now it's time to start moving forward again. Goals: Cook more - Between traveling and holidays, I haven't been cooking much. And it's much easier to take the GF out to dinner, since we're normally doing something on the weekends when we actually get to spend time together. I've got a month before I go visit family for Xmas, so I need to cook at least once a week until then to get back in the habit. Move more - Again traveling and holidays have screwed up my schedule, so I need to reestablish the habit. My current target is 4 workouts a week, of whatever strikes my fancy, plus GtG sets "most" nights (because those villains aren't going to catch themselves ). Finish projects - Another recurring goal, I've got even more projects half finished, some with deadlines approaching. The GF and I need to finish her new dress before my office Xmas party and I need to scan my grandparents' photo albums for use in Xmas gifts. I also have wood that needs splitting and stacking before it rots and a new attic ladder to install. Other projects will appear on the list as I finish/lose interest in these ones.
  13. With the passing of deadlines and goals, Anim's path had opened up to a plain filled with possibilities. But it hadn't taken long for him to find a new hurdle, literally. All of his goals were now blocked by clutter. Even most of the clutter was blocked by clutter. If he wanted to make progress, he was going to have remove these obstacles of his own making. With all of my focus on costuming and conventions this summer, I haven't been keeping up with my cleaning and organizing. Then I got back from DragonCon and threw everything in my "junk room" to avoid dealing with it. Now I can't even get into the room to pick a new project. >_< I've also piled so much stuff in my garage that I can't build the shelves I want to organize everything onto. Plus I'm at least 3months behind on cleaning, and skipped a lot of the "this only needs irregular cleaning" chores. So my house is currently cluttered and filthy, and I can't even start a project that lets me ignore that fact. This challenge I'll be fixing at least one of those things. Organize One Room per Week: yes, it's going to take (at least) a week per room to get through all my clutter. Thankfully, I only have 4 that I'm calling cluttered: -Garage -Junk room -Front room -Kitchen Clean the House: the rest of the house needs a good cleaning, as well: -Dining room -Den -Guest room -Bedroom -Bathrooms Workout Plan: since this is a fitness community, I should probably have a fitness goal. Keeping with the theme of "things getting in my way," I really want to try bulking again, but I always have trouble keeping my workouts regular enough to keep the extra calories from just becoming more waistline. I'm giving myself one month to figure out a strength training plan that I can stick with through the end of the year (minimum).
  14. "Life sucks and then you die." It was an important lesson. One Anim had learned many times. Yet he still forgot; and the blows had come quickly once his guard was down. The pit had been dark, and climbing out had taken longer than it should have. He had slipped again upon realizing how he had driven away his temporary companion. His mask had slipped, revealing some of the damage beneath, and she was unready. Anim couldn't blame her for that - he didn't like the person behind the mask either. But that was why he had to continue forward, until the mask became unnecessary. The scars were healing, even the ones that had reopened, but that was a slow process. He would just have to live with them until it finished. And grow strong enough to bear the ones that remained necessary. "Life sucks and then you die." But a God of Death didn't get the luxury of that end. And there was too much still to do. The darkness inside him whispered temptations, but Anim started forward again. He hadn't started on this path to seek his own comfort; he was pursuing something that actually mattered. It's been a rough couple of months. The reasons aren't my stories to tell, but essentially a series of unrelated events reminded me just how terrible this reality can be. Then my depression tried to reclaim me and I lost my emotional balance while fighting it back. Turns out that's a really bad thing when trying to start a relationship, especially with someone who has no experience with it. That failure didn't help matters. I'm bouncing back faster than previous bouts, but I'm still recovering and making adjustments. So for the moment, I'm focused on getting back into my good habits and making visible progress on some easier tasks for confidence boosters. I'm also revisiting some projects that helped in the past. Don't expect this to be a pleasant journey. I can't make myself happy and relying on others never works well. My continued existence relies on embracing a series of harsh truthes. Everytime I forget them, reality finds away to remind me. I also don't want pity, or even sympathy. This is my choice and the consequences are mine. There are probably better ways to handle this, but I stand by my decision. I'll try to become more amusing as I get back to my regular shenanigans. In the interest of flexibility, my goals this time around are going to be more like guidelines, with no requirements: -Diet and Exercise: trying to get back to my pre-depression waistline for costumes. SDCC is in two weeks and Dragoncon is Labor Day weekend. -Costumes: I'm still working on Alphonse (pictures to come), and want to make updates to a few others, if I have time. See timeline above. -Stories: I'm trying to get back into writing on the stories my college roommate and I started. They're fairly involved, and he had the lead on world building, so it's even slower than my normal. At the moment, I'm writing a pseudo-epilogue and reworking our outlines to restart the main story. I'll post more details in a later post. -Contacts: In an attempt to better understand my stunted emotions, I'm trying to be more open with them. This thread is part of that attempt, as I normally don't talk about my depression (I have long time friends who were surprised by it). I'm also trying to reconnect with old friends (who knew me at my worst) to see where we stand and keep in touch better. To be clear, this isn't a "safety net." Relying on others has never worked for me. I'm trying to better understand what triggers my emotions, so I can better balance them when life starts throwing punches again.
  15. It had taken longer than he liked, but Anim had reestablished his pace across the plain that spread out before him. His current focus helped matters; landmarks in the distance were quickly approaching and he must be prepared. But this path was known -he had tread it more times than he cared to admit- and progress was steady. The new companion was welcome when she chose to join him. Anim was unsure how long their paths would run together, but worrying about the uncertain future would only poison the present. For the moment, her presence helped him focus, as well; his goals becoming even more desirable with the opportunity to share them. But there was still much time and knowledge to share before they decided what the future should be. Last challenge, I focused on rebuilding habits I had lost when work got crazy. I'm back on track, and starting to really enjoy my GtG workout routine. I'm seeing progress on cutting my waistline back to costume-ready, and it looks like I may have actually put on a pound or two of muscle during my last "failed" bulk. I'm currently signed up for 3 conventions: Megacon Orlando 25May, San Diego Comic-Con 20July, and Dragoncon Atlanta 1Sep. I'm only planning a new costume for Dragoncon (Alphonse from Fullmetal Alchemist), but all of my old costumes will need some tweaks/additions to be ready for reuse. So that's what I'll be building this month. The "destroy" refers to my current yardwork projects: removing trees before a storm does it for me, right onto my house. I've got one more I can remove myself (with a friend's help) and six that I'll be scheduling a company to handle once my tax return gets processed. I'm also trying not to get too excited about my new girlfriend. She agreed to a second date when she gets back into town this weekend and we've been heckling each other by text in the meantime. Given how dysfunctional I generally am, things seem to be going well, though there's still plenty of time for me to screw everything up. I'm much stronger than I was last time I tried dating though, so I'm just going to put my best foot forward (as soon as I figure out which one that is), be honest, and see how things go. Goals for this challenge: Run 3/week - Continuing from last challenge. Again, most of these will be 1.5mi trail runs, but I'll also be counting office sports and soccer games/practice as local intramurals start up. GtG training 5/week - Continuing from last challenge. I'm still deciding what I want to include in these, but remembering is getting easier. Currently, I like pullups and HSPUs, but I may add in shrimp squats (instead of relying on running for "leg day") and/or L-sits (for costume goodness). Watch what I eat - Continuing from last challenge. I'm going to try to focus on keeping dishes clean, so they quit hanging out on the counter to mock me. Handstand practice 4/week - I forgot to keep up with this last challenge, and actually lost time on my holds. I really want to be able to do a free handstand as Nightcrawler this year, so I'm adding it back in this challenge. Projects - My long list of projects continues, but as mentioned above, my current focus is on costumes and tree removal. I'll probably also end up doing some of the garage projects (building tool stations and workbenches) to make some of the costuming easier. Current Alphonse status: Arm pieces (shoulder probably needs some changes, but I'll figure that out when I decide how to attach everything) Greaves I finished the pattern for the rest of the legs tonight and hope to start cutting foam tomorrow.
  16. Anim's journey had been delayed, but none of the obstacles had proven enough to stop him. Part of him still wanted to go back and destroy the most irritating, but that would only serve to tie him down when he needed to continue forward. There was work to be done, and now he had time to return to it. I ended up dropping a lot of stuff here on the forums, including my own challenges, when problem customers at work decided to cause extra hassles. If arson wasn't so frowned upon, there'd be significantly fewer buildings in the area. But that's (mostly) taken care of, so it's time to get back on track. Run 3/week - I've been rethinking my workout plan and want to try something different, so I'll be switching to primarily GtG for my strength training this month. And since pays me to workout 3hrs a week, I'll be using that to pick back up my running. Most of these will be 1.5mi trail runs, but I'll also be counting the office sports and the odd beach run, if I can work up the motivation. GtG training 5/week - I'm still deciding how I want to do these, so this may change. I'm currently planning to pick an exercise or two per night and do sets every ~30min until bed. Watch what I eat - I quit calorie counting sometime in January, and love not having it hanging over my head. Unfortunately, my waistline isn't cooperating, so I need to focus on what I'm eating and how much or I'm going to have to start tracking again. My "cook X times" goals keep backfiring, so I'm going to keep this a little more free form. For now, I'll aim for cooking more than I go out for meals and avoiding fast food. I also need to start washing dishes consistently, so cooking is always an option. Projects - I've got a long list of projects, but for this month, my goal is to finish my landscaping work and get started on my Alphonse costume. Right now that means finishing the miniatures currently claiming my workspace and balancing projects with other chores to get everything cleaned and organized.
  17. The shift back to normal was almost complete, but a few areas of twisted reality remained. Anim was tempted to ignore them in favor of more desirable objectives, but recognized that as another path to failure. Perhaps a middle road could be made to work. First he would need to assess his current standing and make a plan to move forward. So I had everything planned out for a "back to costuming" challenge to begin the new year, but that pile of rock still blocking half my driveway isn't going to move itself. Plus all the other projects I've started/have in planning that need to be knocked out to make space for other things. So this month is going to be spent getting back on track with my healthy habits and hopefully finishing out some projects to I can get to what I want to be doing with the rest of the year. Workouts -Do at least 3 strength sessions per week - shifting focus a little from previous challenges in an attempt to make bulking more efficient; I'll still be getting my other workouts (running/HIIT, sports, and yard work) but they won't be the priority -Practice handstands at least 5x per week - I'm getting closer and closer to a "good" free handstand and I really want this to be the year I get pictures doing one as Nightcrawler; I've got 8mo until Dragoncon, so it's just a matter of remembering to practice Diet -Calorie tracking - as much as I continue to dislike it, I still need this to stay on track; fortunately, it's a pretty solid habit now -Cook at least 2x per week - I've noticed that I eat much better when I cook myself, so going to work on making that more consistent; now I just need my dishes to start washing themselves... Projects -Make a list of current/planned projects and prioritize it - self-explanatory, I need to know where I'm at and where I'm going, in what order; due by 13Jan -Start crossing things off said list - success criteria TBD once the list is complete And for continuity, here's my last challenge.
  18. Over the past month the land had slowly changed, beginning to lose it's skewed and twisted perspective, while the terrain became more and more difficult. Now Anim was mired in a swamp with disconnected shards of the alternate reality peaking through seemingly at random. The mud, and treacherous footing it hid, had slowed him and the few dry-looking islands tempted him to stop and rest. But if he lost what little momentum remained, he may never start again. He hated that desire for an easier path than the one before him; loathed that weakness inside himself, the one that had kept him chained in a prison of his own making; despised himself for even considering it, for almost succumbing. But that rage was his fuel. So long as he had this hate, he could keep moving; keep fighting. The anger warmed him against the chill water and Anim began pushing forward again. His path was no easier and there were still dangers concealed in the mud around his feet, but sometimes the only way out was through. Between the weather and injuries and holidays over the past month, I've had far too many ready excuses to skip workouts and eat worse. And upcoming trips aren't going to make things any easier, but I've identified the issue and should be able to force my way through. I'm going to keep my goals a little more freeform this month, so I can roll with the punches better and keep my momentum while visiting family. 4+ workouts a week: Not going to be picky on what they are or how long, just need to get back into the habit. For purposes of this challenge, strenuous yard work counts, but house work doesn't. Calorie tracking: I started trying to bulk without keeping up with my workouts and it ended poorly. Only added an inch to my waist, so I'm the only one who's noticed, but it still annoys me. Since I know I can't maintain a cut while hanging out with my family (home cooking!), I'm going to shoot for maintenance this month and decide if I want to cut back down or restart my bulk come January. Projects: Focus this month is on finishing my yard work (as weather allows) and framing family pictures (since they were supposed to be Xmas presents last year). I'm sure there will be others, but those are the only ones I'll be grading myself on. If that goes well, I'll repost my full list from last challenge to keep track of the rest.
  19. The skewed world continued to stretch around him for as far as the eye could see and the only progress Anim seemed to make was sideways. Or possibly backwards; it was difficult to tell sometimes. But it was progress, and with some more effort, could be focused in a more desirable direction. I made a lot of progress around my house last month, but haven't finished yet. And the housework came at the expense of things like cooking, so my diet slipped a lot. I also relied on yard work as exercise more than I should have and fell off my regular schedule. So this month I'll be trying to coordinate my time better. Goals for this challenge are mostly unchanged, with a few tweaks: Calorie tracking - I fell off the wagon hard over the past week or so, with a Halloween party followed by a house full of sugar-filled leftovers. I've been 4-500cal in junk food over my target, and didn't even track how much I ate on the weekends. As a result, I'm up 1/2in on my waist in two weeks, with no muscle gain to show for it. So the goal for this month is to track everything and NO fast food; if I don't feel like cooking, then I have to go somewhere nice. Workouts - I think I came up with a workable exercise plan last challenge, so the goal this month is to stick with and make minor tweaks as necessary. I want at least 2 strength sessions and 2 run/sports sessions a week, plus yard work on rest days. Sleep - I still need to work on this. I feel rested most of the time, but mornings are still difficult and I'd like to be more awake to start work. Projects - I still have a long list of projects to finish, some of which will get done this month. The first set is outside stuff that requires daylight and suitable weather; the second is indoor stuff to work on the rest of the time. Both have been updated and put in a rough priority order, though some of the easier stuff may get done out of order depending on how much time I have at the time. Yardwork: 1a- remove growth from side of house 1b- landscape fabric and rock side of house 2a- remove growth from side of garage 2b- landscape fabric and rock side of garage 3- replace back porch light 4a- attempt tree removal 4b- if viable, remove 2 smaller trees 4c- have trees removed (6 large + 2 small) 5a- clean roof 5b- clean gutters 6- have chimney cleaned Housework: 1a- rewire master bedroom light 1b- hang ceiling fan in master bedroom 1c- rewire guest room lights 1d- hang ceiling fan in guest room 2a- repair plaster in rooms to be painted 2b- paint master bedroom 2c- paint guest room 2d.i- clean office 2d.ii- paint office 2e- paint hall 2f.i- paint hall bath 2f.ii- paint guest bath 3- build miter saw stand 4a- build speaker shelves for living room 4b- run cable for rear speakers 5- build display nook shelf for guest room 6a- frame art (dwagons) and place in den 6b- hang posters (framed) in master bedroom 6c- frame art (Maori designs) and place in guest room 6d- hang posters (framed) in office 6e- frame art (space-scapes) and place in bathrooms And some additional "fun" projects that don't count for the challenge, but I'm still working on: -finish painting Kroot pathfinders (Necromunda gang miniatures) -finish Grifter pistols -plan out Guts' sword -redesign Question mask -finish painting Polly the Demon Parrot (miniature) -finish painting new trollblood minis (Hordes) -finish painting knight miniatures
  20. With the passing of anticipated events, the world had shifted, leaving Anim on skewed plain. The land around him was warped and twisted and though the landmarks were familiar, their appeal had changed, as had the paths leading to them. Reassessing his priorities, Anim set out on a new path, hoping to leave this area quickly. Now that Dragoncon's over, I'm a little burnt out on costuming and have a mountain of chores that I've been putting off for far too long. So for this challenge I'll be pretending I'm an adult for a little while and focusing on getting my house cleaned and some renovations done. I dislike adulting, so I'm hoping it won't take too long. Goals for this challenge: Calorie tracking - as much as I dislike it, this seems to be the only way to stay on track for the moment. My current goal is to continue cutting until I get to a sub-30inch waist (~13%BF), which should leave me somewhere around 140lb. Once I accomplish that, I'll start a slow bulk aiming for ~1/2 lb per week until I hit 155lb or so before cutting again. Long term, I'd like to be <10%BF, which puts me around 150lb with a 29inch waist. The final numbers may change a little, depending on how I feel, but I'm hoping some more muscle will make these cuts a little easier in terms of calorie limits. Workouts - I'm going to try sticking to a workout plan again, focusing on strength in preparation for my upcoming bulk. For the moment, the goal is to try a couple different workouts and pick a setup I can (hopefully) stick with for at least 6mo. Startbodyweight's sample strength program will be my starting point, but I don't like splits and can't realistically commit to 4 days a week with sports and house work. So I'll be trying to adjust it to 3 days a week of alternating full body workouts. Sleep - going to try throwing this one back into the mix and see how things fall out. I'm naturally a night owl and tend to do my best work after 7 at night, and when I get on a roll, I'll keep going well past mid-night without realizing it. But since I work with the military, I'm supposed to be at work by 7 each morning. My current goal is to allow at least 8hrs of "sleep time" a night, but that may change depending on how things go. I'd also like to be able to increase that when I get ready to start bulking to keep the weight gain as clean as possible. Projects - I have a long list of half finished projects around the house, some of which I've already started back on (and I few I've already finished this week). But the biggest priority right now is getting the pile of rock out of my driveway before Halloween season gets here so I can host another party or two. To make it a little more feasible, I'm going to break it into smaller tasks: 1a- dig palm tree out of backyard 1b- plant palm tree in front yard 1c- landscape fabric and rock front garden area 2a- remove growth from front of house 2b- landscape fabric and rock front of house 3a- remove growth from side of house 3b- replace lawn pump cover 3c- landscape fabric and rock side of house 4a- re-clean and level back of house 4b- finish fence repairs 4c- landscape fabric and rock back of house 5a- remove growth from side of garage 5b- landscape fabric and rock side of garage And a tentative list of things to work on when the weather doesn't cooperate (EG the stuff I remember right now): 1a- replace A/C vents in living room 1b- frame art (Disney villain portraits) and place in living room 1c.i- build speaker shelves for living room 1c.ii- run cable for rear speakers 2a- finish rewiring Den lights 2b- install accent lighting in Den 2c- frame art (dwagons) and place in den 3a- rewire master bedroom light 3b- hang ceiling fan in master bedroom 4a- rewire guest room lights 4b- hang ceiling fan in guest room 4c- replace guest room nook light 4d- build display nook shelf for guest room 5a- repair plaster in rooms to be painted 5b.i- paint master bedroom 5b.ii- hang posters (framed) in master bedroom 5c.i- paint guest room 5c.ii- frame art (Maori designs) and place in guest room 5d.i- clean office 5d.ii- paint office 5d.iii- hang posters (framed) in office 5e- paint hall 5f.i- paint hall bath 5f.ii- paint guest bath 5f.iii- frame art (space-scapes) and place in bathrooms Wow, that's a lot longer list than I hoped it would be...
  21. Deadlines had snuck up, as they tend to do, with only marginal progress to show for the time. The path's unexpected twists and turns had changed an easy stroll to a difficult trudge. Anim knew he could still reach all of his landmarks, but not in the time he had set himself. Choosing a single one, he prepared for a final sprint before time ran out. I fell off any kind of workout plan last challenge, mostly because I just don't like them. But I'm back to calorie counting, since the "I'll just be mindful of what I'm eating" thing doesn't work consistently. The things I've been focusing on (and hoped to have done for Dragoncon) are: -handstands - they're coming along and I'm getting more consistent with my holds, but I won't be there in time. This is just a skill that develops in its own time, so I'm not worried about it. -sub-30in waist - this one keeps getting sabotaged by the fact that food tastes good. And all the best tasting food is bad for my waistline. Calorie tracking is helping, but it's too tedious to be a long term solution. Neither of these will be priority this challenge beyond a "keep working on it" thing. Most of my time is going to be focused on finishing costumes. The current plan is: -Thursday night ("bunny hutch" party) - "Out-on-the-Town" Nightcrawler - I'll be reusing a bunch of stuff for this one, so there's not much work to do. The idea is to do shirt and tie in Nightcrawler colors with the makeup and tail. I'm planning to keep the white gloves and boots so the toes are obvious, so the only thing I still have to do is put a tail hole in the slacks. -Friday/Saturday (not sure which is going to be which) - 1:Wash (Firefly) - Complete, just need a haircut. 2: Kid Flash (Young Justice) - This one's been running into issues and will have to be trimmed down from my original vision. I've got a lot of details I wanted to do that will have to wait for a later iteration. -Sunday - Either classic Nightcrawler or Toga Nintendo Diddy Kong (waiting for friends to decide their costumes) - Nightcrawler will just be a reuse. Or I've already got Diddy Kong from a previous year (Nintendo Jedi) so I'll just need to get/make a toga. Actual fitness goals for this challenge are: 5+ workouts per week - each should be at least 1hr, but could be strength work, sprinting, sports, mini-challenge inspired, or my ever present yardwork. Just something to work up a sweat and keep me moving. Calorie tracking - daily, aiming for a 400cal deficit, but never above maintenance two days in a row. I plan to continue packing lunch 4days a week and cooking once or twice a week.
  22. The plain had narrowed with his focus, and Anim now walked a high plateau. The cliffs on either side offered a painful fall if he strayed too far, but there was still plenty of safe room on this path. His chosen landmarks had moved slightly closer, as had several beyond them, but still required more effort to reach. A few potholes had indicated areas for improvement on his current route, but the basic plan was solid and would support him for a while longer. Sticking to a plan worked pretty well last challenge, so I'm just going to refine the things that didn't work as well as I'd like and keep going. My current shiney objects are: -a good free handstand - "Good" is currently defined as long enough for pictures as Nightcrawler. -sub-30in waist The deadline for both of these is Dragoncon (2Sep), as continually improving my Nightcrawler costume is my biggest motivation right now. To get there, I'll be working on the following for this challenge: Weekly Workout Plan: To allow myself some flexibility, these can be completed on any day, so long as I don't do two of the same thing in a row. -2-3 strength workouts (up from 2) - warmup (typically 1.5mi run); 5+min handstand practice; WORKOUT A/B; ~10min cooldown (stretching/yoga) --A- AMRAP pullups, AMRAP pushups, AMRAP shrimp squats, 1min rest x5 --B- AMRAP dips, AMRAP inverted rows (legs raised), AMRAP pistols, 1min rest x5 -1-2 sprint/sports workouts (down from 2) - I've got 3 intramural soccer games this month, plus my office meets for pickup games Friday mornings, if we don't have meetings; my other option will be 100m sprint, 100m walk x10 with a 800m+ jog to warmup and 400m walk to cooldown followed by stretching/yoga -1+ strenuous yardwork for at least an hour (active rest days, plus I have to get projects done) Sleep management: Trying to set bed and wake up times hasn't been working, so I'm going to try something different: -30+ min of reading before bed Diet Control: I hate calorie tracking, but I've come up with some guidelines that keep me on track when I stick to them: -Weight and waist measurements once a week -Packed lunch 4 times a week -Cook dinner at least twice a week (this is the only new thing, I'm hoping it will help reduce the temptation to go out to eat on the weekends) Complete projects, at least 2. I didn't manage to actually finish anything last challenge, since I picked a bunch of large projects, so I'll reduce the number for this month. I reserve the right to add to the list, but only upon completion of at least one project. -Collect and frame family pictures -Front flowerbed remodel (my driveway is now blocked by ~7 cubic yards of rock, so this is even more of a priority ) -Grifter gun props -Kid Flash costume (I'm too detail oriented to stick with a basic costume when I can make the full thing ) And in the interest of creating some continuity: here's my last challenge.
  23. The path had become a wide plain without Anim noticing. Objects in the distance promised great accomplishments, but with so many to pick from, he kept switching focus and making only minimal progress towards any. Buckling down, Anim chose two of the closest that continued to tempt him and formed a plan to get there. The others would have to wait. I tend to take a chaotic view of training, just doing whatever sounds fun at the time. It normally isn't a problem, since I accept that any progress is going to be slow and often unmeasurable. But after kicking myself out of a rut last challenge, I really want to hit a milestone or two. So it's time to retry this whole "workout plan" thing. My chosen shiney objects are: -a good free handstand - I've been working on this off and on for 2 or 3 years, and have been "so close" for a year now. "Good" is currently defined as long enough for pictures as Nightcrawler. -sub-30in waist - This is where I was all of high school and college, though I also had no muscle at the time. I put on ~4in when I moved away from home, before I decided to I was too out of shape to enjoy myself. I've been hovering between 31-32in for the past couple years, which is healthy, but I'd really like to lose the excess. I'm currently at 31in after a month of calorie tracking. The deadline for both of these will be Dragoncon (2Sep), as continually improving my Nightcrawler costume is my biggest motivation right now. Additional motivation is this pic I found while looking for pieces for my next round of improvements: To get there, I'll be working on the following for this challenge: Weekly Workout Plan: To allow myself some flexibility, these can be completed on any day, so long as I don't do two of the same thing in a row. 2 strength workouts - warmup (typically 1.5mi run); 5+min handstand practice; alternate: A- AMRAP pullups, AMRAP pushups, 1min rest x5; B- AMRAP dips, AMRAP chinups, 1min rest x5; ~10min cooldown (stretching/yoga) 2 sprint/sports workouts (this will be my "leg day") - I've got 3 intramural soccer games this month, plus my office meets for pickup games Friday mornings, if we don't have meetings; my other option will be 100m sprint, 100m walk x10 with a 800m+ jog to warmup and 400m walk to cooldown followed by stretching/yoga 1+ strenuous yardwork for at least an hour (active rest days, plus I have to get projects done) Sleep management: I'm now 0 for 2 on this goal. I'll be good for a week, then hit a snag, so just have to keep focusing on it until it sticks. -In bed by 10pm on work nights -Out of bed by 6:30am on work days Calorie/macro tracking: I managed to track every day last challenge, but I'm officially burnt out on it. I've got a pretty good feel for what I should be eating now though, so I'll continue tracking my weight and waist weekly. And if they start to go the wrong direction, I'll go back to tracking everything. Complete projects, at least 3. I'm parring down this list to really focus on things that are currently in progress or coming up on deadlines. I reserve the right to add to the list, but only upon completion of at least one project. -Collect and frame family pictures -Front flowerbed remodel -Necromunda gang assembly and painting (miniatures) -Grifter gun props -basic Kid Flash costume (will be improved as time allows in future challenges) And since I'm late starting this thread: Weekly measurements (taken each Monday): Weight: 147lb Waist: 31in %BF: ~15.2% Today's workout was a 1.5mi run followed by soccer.
  24. Something was wrong, he could feel it was so without knowing exactly what was causing it. Finding a quiet spot beside the path, Anim stopped to contemplate the problem. His journey continued, but progress was becoming frustratingly slow and he seemed to keep treading the same ground over and over. Centered once again, he rose and returned to the path. His problem wasn't solved, or even truly identified, but the first step was collecting the necessary information. I'm not sure what's been off the past couple months, but it's getting worse instead of better. The preliminary symptoms point to some unknown stressor, which I'll need to identify and address. Fortunately for me, high empathy combined with years of depression (and some terrible decisions) to make it so I generally can't identify my own emotions and have to act as if they aren't present. Thus it takes months to even realize there's a problem. So now I need to baseline my current state and figure out where to go from here. At least 5 "workouts" a week, including stretching as appropriate, options include: -dedicated strength work with skill practice (currently free handstands) -HIIT/sprints -Crossfit class -Strenuous yard work or remodeling -Office sports PT This is has become part of my normal routine, that I need to make sure I stick with. Sleep management: time to reestablish proper bed and wake up times: -In bed by 10pm on work nights -Out of bed by 6:30am on work days This goal went terrible last challenge and has been getting progressively worse. I need to get a better handle on it before it starts having visible effects. Calorie/macro tracking: daily This is something I've done before and absolutely despise, but I need the data to decide how to get my diet back on track to I can start a proper cut/bulk cycle. Complete projects, at least 3, currently in progress/planning: -Collect and frame family pictures -Surround-sound rear speaker install -Paint Bedroom (x3) -Paint Hallway -Side "flowerbed" removal (a row of azaleas and hydrangeas that were planted too close to the house ~50yrs ago; they just have to go to keep my foundation intact) -Front flowerbed remodel -Miter saw stand -Garage attic access -Bolt Action army assembly (miniatures) -DnD miniature painting -Grifter gun props -Mandolorian helmet (custom) -Prince Hans coat -Nightcrawler tail Mk4 -Kid Flash costume
  25. So this is less of a bucket list/epic quest and more a list of achievements available in my game of life. As with most games, some of these achievements are reached just by playing the game correctly and some require varying degrees of extra work to unlock. I'm sure there will be a lot of creep in the requirements, so if anyone has recommendations feel free to let me know. Master Explorer: Complete the All-American, World Traveler, Full Passport, and all Photo Album achievements All-American: Visit every state (lived 7; visited 25/50 complete) World Traveler: Spend a week on every continent (3/7 complete) Full Passport: Visit 50 countries (4/50 complete) Photo Album: Visit the following landmarks: Africa -Cape of Good Hope -Congo -Go on a Safari -Madagascar -Pyramids -Sphinx Asia -Akihabara -Angkor Wat -Great Wall -Gyeongbokgung -Hagia Sophia -Japanese Imperial Palace -Korean All-Wars Memorial -Kremlin -Okinawa -Taj Mahal -Tokyo Tower Australia/South Pacific -Borneo Orangutan Preserve (check name) -Borobudur Temple -Great Barrier Reef -Hobbiton -Uluru (Ayer's Rock) Europe -Athens -Big Ben -Blarney Stone -Buckingham Palace -Coliseum -Crete -Eiffel Tower -Giants Causeway -Hohenschwangau Castle -Hohenzollern Castle -Leaning Tower of Pisa -Loch Ness -Louvre -Neuschwanstein Castle -Notre Dame -Parthenon -Roman catacombs -Stonehenge -Venice North America -Dinosaur Graveyard -Disney World -Disneyland -Gettysburg -Grand Canyon -Meteor Crater -Mt Rushmore -Mt. St. Helens -Niagara Falls -Redwood Forest -Smithsonian -Statue of Liberty -Volcano National Park -Yellowstone South & Central America -Amazon -Chichen Itza -Easter Island -Galapagos -Machu Picchu -Panama Canal -Teotihuacan Sanity's Overrated Anyway: Backpack across Transylvania Go bungee jumping Go skydiving Go hang gliding Go spearfishing for shark Go to space Visit the Moon Get a building named after me Responsible Adult: Pay off a car Pay off all student loans Buy a house Pay off said house The Doctor is In: Get a Master's in engineering Pass the Professional Engineer's Exam Get a Ph.D. in engineering Continuing Education: Become conversationally competent in a second language Become conversationally competent in a third language Learn to play the piano Get a degree in philosophy Top of the Food Chain: Kill and eat all of the following -Alligator -Bear -Boar -Elk -Moose -Lion -Shark Classic Car: Build a Shelby Cobra God Among Nerds: Complete the Advanced Technology, Master of Disguise, and Wait, What? achievements Advanced Technology: Design and build a man-portable rail/gauss rifle Design and build a powered armor/exosuit Design and build a laser gatling gun Design and build a lightsaber Master of Disguise: Create and wear the following costumes -Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist) -Battousai (Samurai X) -Carnage (Spiderman) -Eva-01 (Evangelion) -Heavyarms (Gundam Wing) -Improved Heavyarms -Knight in scale mail -Nightcrawler (X-men) -Improved Nightcrawler -Sith Warrior (SW:tOR) -Tasuki (Fushigi Yuugi) -The Riddler (Batman) -Tau Fire Warrior (WH40K) Wait, What?: Design and build a prehensile tail Design and build wings capable of carrying a person Design and build a neuro-interface to control both Top of the World: Climb all of the following: -Aconcagua -Mont Blanc -Mt McKinley (Denali) -Mt. Elbrus -Mt. Everest -Mt. Fuji -Mt. Kilimanjaro -Mt. Kosciusko -Mt. St. Helen's Were-Orangutan: Learn Monkey Style Kung Fu Learn Monkey Staff Professional Badass: Complete the 300 workout Learn a combat martial art Learn parkour Shinobi: Build a Ninja Warrior practice course Compete on Ninja Warrior Complete the 1st stage of Ninja Warrior God-Emperor: Take over the world Found the Solarian Empire Become immortal Last Update: Aug2018
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