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  1. GONE TURBO This is my second challenge in my return to NF. I decided to take a break from NF while I sorted through the pandemic, teleworking, and virtual relationships. It was a good plan, because each day presented new obstacles and challenges while navigating to best ways for finding time and space for fitness and karate training, adjusting to maintaining healthy meals at home, and staying productive at work and in my different self-development programs with the myriad of distractions. Planning a 4 week challenge would have been impossible, because I would be course correcting daily. I took my time and built new routines understanding that they may be temporary. Over time, I developed my new normal with virtual and hybrid Toastmasters meetings, virtual gaming with friends, moved to a new gym, and working a hybrid schedule for work with some telework built in. Some things have been able to return to normal such as karate training, DnD, visiting family and friends, and working on-site but with known risk. The biggest change came in July when I launched my own website: Journey2U.org . I started a blog and coaching business to help others. It is in it's infancy, but it is a project I have been dreaming of launching for a very long time. Having it out there, I am living that part of the dream and building a new future for myself and others. With all these changes, it feels like I am not just in a new world, but like I am playing a whole new game. I'm taking a page from the movie "Wreck-It Ralph". I've Gone Turbo jumping games. So now, here we go with another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. As a Ranger, I tried to Do All The Things in World 1, my first extended stay at NF through 22 challenges where I learned how to develop and pursue health and fitness goals utilizing daily, weekly, and monthly routines. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a better focus for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in an Epic Boss Fight slaying some mighty big life goals. In World 3, I hopped over to the Assassins and continued to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care healing my spine, reaching the high ranks at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and working to complete Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new everyday. I have moved over to the Monks to reach for more diversity in my workouts and culture as my physical and mental training focus has been more on my karate training. As I actively took on more responsibility of coaching, mentoring, and teaching in all aspects of my life, I formed a different me on World 5. Now, I have Gone Turbo into World 6. Every day, I just keep on L-I-V-I-N: fighting the good fight, lighting it up, and leveling up my life!  Challenge Lesson: "Relearning" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds. The next one is for our Green belt rank. The creed is below: At Green belt, my dojo requires students to attend spar once a month. This is to introduce them to spar at a point where they have gained basic skills and need to start applying the skills. Students are also allowed to sempai classes at Green belt, though it is not required until Purple (3 belts higher). Here is where they start to learn basic skills in teaching. Teaching is not an easy task, because all students are different. Teaching is also easy, because you are essentially regurgitating what you know. If you listen to your own teachings, then you won't learn anything new, but you will solidify your understanding and enhance your recall of the information. This is what the creed means by relearning. Relearning is just practicing, or getting more reps. It is nothing special, but it is rather important when you want to build muscle memory or you want to improve your recall of information. The second aspect of this creed is to point out that discovery happens when you are silent and listening, because your brain can digest information and take time to wonder about it. You learn new things in your silence. If you are talking, then your ears will miss things. If you are talking, then your brain is focusing on things you know about. If you want to learn something new, then your first action is to ensure you remain quiet, so your brain can focus on new thoughts. These concepts are pretty straight forward for an adult, but for kids, they need to hear it, say it, and understand it. We have many young students who like to jabber all class and they struggle to pick up new information. Part of learning martial arts is learning discipline, where discipline applies to controlling yourself in all sorts of ways. Quieting the mind and focusing on what is important in the moment is one of the hardest lessons for young students to learn. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no end in Jedi training for every light cast a shadow somewhere. Instead, it is a journey of self-discovery and compassion for others. World 6 Level 4 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. Get on the treadmill if I have to. I may have to throw the stationary bike in every once in a while to reduce impact. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min with good posture, daily. Do some stairs too. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT, Weight Lifting, and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - Three classes a week plus every spar class I can attend, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. Time to start tracking the weight loss and body measurements again. 163.2 lbs yesterday. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. Publish a blog article once a week. WIS +1, CHA +1 Record gaming videos. Practice editing and publish videos. Record speeches and talks to build a Vlog library. Find a time to live stream on a schedule, even if it is just once a month. WIS +1, CHA +1 Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +1, CHA +1
  2. GONE TURBO This is my second challenge in my return to NF. I decided to take a break from NF while I sorted through the pandemic, teleworking, and virtual relationships. It was a good plan, because each day presented new obstacles and challenges while navigating to best ways for finding time and space for fitness and karate training, adjusting to maintaining healthy meals at home, and staying productive at work and in my different self-development programs with the myriad of distractions. Planning a 4 week challenge would have been impossible, because I would be course correcting daily. I took my time and built new routines understanding that they may be temporary. Over time, I developed my new normal with virtual and hybrid Toastmasters meetings, virtual gaming with friends, moved to a new gym, and working a hybrid schedule for work with some telework built in. Some things have been able to return to normal such as karate training, DnD, visiting family and friends, and working on-site but with known risk. The biggest change came in July when I launched my own website: Journey2U.org . I started a blog and coaching business to help others. It is in it's infancy, but it is a project I have been dreaming of launching for a very long time. Having it out there, I am living that part of the dream and building a new future for myself and others. With all these changes, it feels like I am not just in a new world, but like I am playing a whole new game. I'm taking a page from the movie "Wreck-It Ralph". I've Gone Turbo jumping games. So now, here we go with another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. As a Ranger, I tried to Do All The Things in World 1, my first extended stay at NF through 22 challenges where I learned how to develop and pursue health and fitness goals utilizing daily, weekly, and monthly routines. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a better focus for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in an Epic Boss Fight slaying some mighty big life goals. In World 3, I hopped over to the Assassins and continued to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care healing my spine, reaching the high ranks at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and working to complete Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new everyday. I have moved over to the Monks to reach for more diversity in my workouts and culture as my physical and mental training focus has been more on my karate training. As I actively took on more responsibility of coaching, mentoring, and teaching in all aspects of my life, I formed a different me on World 5. Now, I have Gone Turbo into World 6. Every day, I just keep on L-I-V-I-N: fighting the good fight, lighting it up, and leveling up my life!  Challenge Lesson: "Keep On Trying" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds. The next one is for our Orange belt rank. The creed is below: Failure is the road to success. I've written about this many times and so have all sorts of professional writers, industry leaders, self-help advocates, etc. We learn in moments of failure, we gain momentum in moments of success. But how? Well, sometimes we fail because we lack experience or necessary skill. Through practice and preparation in a consequence-free environment, we can gain the experience and skill to succeed. When showtime comes, we are ready to perform. Other times, we may be successful in an overall capacity, but there is room to improve, or smaller areas where we failed to hit the mark. This requires evaluation to see the areas to improve. Self-evaluation may not be enough to catch all the errors. A second or third set of eyes can give you new perspective. Game-tape can be crucial for evaluating, because then we are not relying on memory or interpretation. Now, we understand how to achieve success learning from failure. Let us better understand what this creed is saying about success and failure. It starts off with "I am not judged..." The fastest way to quitting on a learning enterprise is to compare yourself to others, because there is always going to be someone better to put yourself down. It is demotivating. Instead, we should always compare ourselves to our self from the previous day or week. Focusing on our own progress is a great measure of success while building confidence and momentum. Progress is also about failure, where you have understand where the starting place compared to the current place is to know when you have achieved a level of success. My dojo takes the same approach, focusing on progress, consistency, and effort for considerations towards rank elevation. Perfection is never required. These considerations get tighter the higher one ranks, but the instructors and leaders of the dojo would never judge one person against another for rank. The last three words, "Keep on trying!" ties the creed together. This isn't the same try as Yoda refers to in "Do or do not... there is no try," or Mr. Miyagi's "Karate guess so" grape analogy. This try is about persistence, because success, failure, and progress are all part of the process of never giving up. Persistence to achieve your goal is a requirement to succeeding. Without persistence, you give up when you meet failure. Without persistence, you won't keep practicing to make progress. Failure is inevitable. It is what you do after that matters. To be successful, we get back up, we learn from to failure, and most importantly, we keep on trying. With persistence, progress is inevitable. With persistence, success is only a matter of time. I like the way Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest says it: "Never give up, never surrender." My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no end in Jedi training for every light cast a shadow somewhere. Instead, it is a journey of self-discovery and compassion for others. World 6 Level 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. The goal is to get faster and build stamina, but I have to set a starting block to decide where the finish is. Time to measure where I am for my 40 and 100 yard dash, 1 and 2 mile jogs. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min outside with good posture, daily. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - Two classes a week, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. Time to start tracking the weight loss and body measurements again. 166.6 lbs yesterday. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. WIS +1, CHA +1 Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2
  3. I know what you are thinking, isn't Mardi Gras supposed to be in February or something? Well let me tell you, if Japan can hold the 2020 Olympics in 2021, I can celebrate Mardi Gras in May! I didn't grow up in a place that celebrates Mardi Gras, so I have to rely on pop culture and my high school French to figure this out. So I'm pretty sure it is all about getting fat on Tuesdays and taking your shirt of whenever anyone says "show us your tits". In that spirit, my first three challenge items are about getting fat (Ice cream and gaming) and showing off my boobies (tattoo). The last two (eating good food and running through the streets) seem like they should also be a part of Mardi Gras so here we are. Ice Cream The brand of ice cream I like no longer sells their products in China so I am trying to figure out a replacement. The only commercially available options are Chinese brands, and I don't trust the quality and I don't like the flavor. Thus my only option is to try and make my own. So far I have tried a few times and have not had great success but I am getting closer. I have a couple more recipes available to try with no-churn before I move on to trying some churn recipes. I will note my progress and compare results here Gaming/Xbox/AC I spend a good part of my week gaming, either on the Xbox or playing D&D. On the xbox I am currently doing Assassin's Creed Origins and will probably stick with this franchise for the foreseeable future. For D&D I am DMing two campaign (A midweek Roll20 group and a PBP group on Discord) and also a member of a weekend Roll20 group and 2 mostly inactive PBP campaigns. I don't have any specific challenges related to these but since they take up a big part of my life I will probably talk a lot about them. Tattooing I am in the process of getting a giant tattoo on my shoulder/upper arm. It has taken a month already and I am only about half done, so I expect it will probably take most of this challenge before it gets completed. I can't really workout while I am getting it worked on which is kind of a downer, but I'll get back on that horse next challenge. Pics will happen. Running/conditioning Because I am not working out, I need to figure some way to keep from getting completely out of shape. I don't really enjoy running, but I find that it is the most effective method for me to keep my weight from getting completely out of control Food/Cooking/Snacking Food intake is of course the other half of the equation. I have recently fallen into the habit of just doing whatever is convenient, which means I am often not eating very high quality food and in many cases completely devoid of vegetables. I need to start cooking real food and I really need to come up with a meal plan or it always falls apart. A meal plan not only helps with the "what are we going to eat tonight" conundrum, it also makes buying the ingredients in advance a lot easier. I also find that when I eat good food I have less cravings for snacks, and snacking has definitely gotten out of control recently
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