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  1. As we head into the remaining days of the year, I’m grateful for all that I have accomplished in 2023. I’m focusing on squaring things up at the tail end of the year: turning in last assignments; making some small organizational decisions; and focusing on rest. The success matrix remains the same: having my homework done and my house clean. The stats skill tree has grown this year, and I’m very glad I took this approach to my challenges. It’s easy for me to lose sight of what I accomplished six weeks ago, and I’ll be thinking about how I want to level-set the skills going into 2024. In a lot of ways, when I look at the stats where they are now, I think they are descriptively accurate. I am not sure how much more I can add, and it will be an interesting exercise to see what sort of skill enhancing I can add in, kind of like finding Seven League Boots (a car) or a Bag of Holding (better organization in my backpack) or a Thinking Cap (the academy’s writing center has been a godsend boost). I definitely need to rest and recover. Last challenge I expanded my activities beyond what I thought I would ever be able to manage, and I did it with grace and dignity even when I had no clue how it would work. I am proud of all that, and also I know that grace and dignity need rest, too, just like any other muscle that gets a workout. The biggest gain was to Stamina. While it was only a couple points overall, that there were any gains at all is a big deal. And to keep that, I’ll need to have a bit of a recovery period. This is a time of strategic retreat, a time to shelter inside during the gathering darkness and nurture the embers. Welcome. Pull up a seat by the fire, and tell me about your day. Opening Stats Con 10 Str 9 Int 13 Dex 13 Wis 13 Cha 12 Sta 5 Executive Summary (for those of you who, like me, are trying to parse the details) Zero Week, November 30 - December 3: Learning Reflection Paper: Draft to Writing Center; Submitted Playoff Game: We had a great time, even though the team didn't win. Honestly, I think the parents are all secretly relieved to have the season over. Poster Presentation: Submitted Oral Presentation: Submitted seven minutes late. I guarantee she'll take off for that. Visitation: Notebooks; Games; Conversation; Swimming is back on the books and is a great space for us; so much Good Food; Elbow re-injury Week One, December 4 - 10: Finals Week Taking on morning workouts? Ethics Discussion Posts and Replies: Submitted Literature Review Research Proposal Paper Research Proposal Discussion Posts (the requirements for this remain completely murky) Finalizing that pesky holiday visitation schedule (just the thought of this wears me out) Week Two, December 11-17 Visitation: Librarian Shannon Meeting: Philosopher James Meeting: Week Three, December 18-25 Visitation: yep, that's it. Might also do laundry or something. Reflection Week, December 26-31 Ending Stats, 2023 Constitution: Stregnth: Intelligence: Dexterity: Wisdom: Charisma: Stamina:
  2. Hello fellow Rebels. A lot has been going on in life, most of it good, all of it overwhelming. I'm going to be a grandpa (it's a boy) My family and I were in the local newspaper because we adopted out fourth and fifth children on November 1st (the first day of National Adoption Month) I'm hosting a poetry recitation competition at the school where I teach, as well as sponsoring the Drama Club I've signed up for (and completed) several 5k races and have remained a middle-of-the-pack runner without injury I grew out my mustache So yeah, life has been pretty great lately, just busy. I'm sticking to my past goal since they haven't yet been achieved (although I'm getting closer and closer to the sub-30 5k time). And of course I will be channeling movies and characters that inspire and motivate me along the way. I recently re-watched "Bullet Train," which is still amazing. Tangerine remains my favorite character. So... STRONGER: GOAL: By the end of this challenge, I will have increased my physical strength by at least 25% as measured by an increase in number of reps to failure of kettlebell single-arm overhead press. HOW: I will pick "heavy things" up and put them back down for at least 20 minutes, three days a week; this will include mostly kettlebell training with some "greasing the groove" using resistance bands, random heavy objects, and my kids. Training will look like this: Sunday: Benchmark (single arm overhead press to failure, count reps; 30 minute run, note distance) Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Strength training Tuesday/Thursday: 30 minute run + "grease the groove" Saturday: Long trail run FASTER: GOAL: By the end of this challenge, I will be able to run a sub-30 minute 5k as measured by a 5k run. HOW: I will run for 30 minutes at least two days a week, with a distance/endurance run at least one day a week and sprint/speed intervals at least one day a week. SMARTER: GOALS: By the end of the challenge, I will increase my daily use of Duolingo; I will increase my daily reading habit by at least 5 minutes a day; I will learn at least one new thing daily. HOW: I will set a reminder to complete at least the daily requirements to achieve a 30 day streak on Duolingo I will set aside at least 30 minutes of reading time daily I will use apps such as Humane and Kinnu to learn new information, as well as the NPR app and podcasts. CALMER: GOAL: By the end of the challenge, I will improve my mental health by reducing my angry reactions to stress. HOW: I will use a meditation app to increase my meditation/contemplative prayer practice from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. I will write down what I am grateful for and create daily affirmations using the 5 Minute Journal app. In moments of stress and frustration, I will apply a relaxing breathing technique (short inhale through nose, long exhale through mouth). I will listen to music that elevates my mood.
  3. I have failed every challenge I ever did since 2018 or 2019 when I first joined except the last one I did over the summer. And I didn't even pop on the last week of the challenge to mention that. Then, I gained all the weight I lost in that challenge and literally went back to the same habits (because the same work stressor came back). But, I realized something. I fail because of excessive action. Work takes over everything, and even if I am technically "in the zone," it is not effortless action because I am pressuring myself with deadlines because every other aspect of my life is put on hold and so I just try harder to get it this particular work project done because then I can move into a much more enjoyable work project. And so I stress eat. I eat because the project is stressful. I eat because I feel guilty that I am neglecting everything else. I eat to get the dopamine and concentration boost that food gives (esp. as an unmedicated ADHD'er). And then I gain weight. And I stop working out. And I fail at everything. And then I get discouraged because this has basically been the story of my life for the last 15 years. The opposite of excessive action is wu wei, which is effortless action. Effortless action is working in the zone and going with the flow but "involves letting go of ideals that we may otherwise try to force too violently onto things." such as deadlines. When there is no deadline, everything else doesn't have to get neglected. There is much less stress, and if the project becomes stressful, it's time to take a break rather than force myself to continue for several more hours until I get so burned out I have to drink myself silly. Just to get up the next day and do it all over again. So anyway, 2024 is my year to practice wu wei. This challenge I am getting all the other areas of my life on track (such as minimalizing and decluttering my house yet again, losing the 10+ pounds I gained so I can start the new year with all areas of my life in balance and ready to maintain rather than in havoc. I want to start 2024 with only 20 pounds to lose not 35, and getting back into habit of going to the gym, and starting the habits of yoga and tai chi sword. Practicing wu wei in regards to work basically means, work during work hours ONLY. Stop making deadlines. Yes, it could be finished sooner if I worked all day and several hours into the early morning, but the goal was to finish before 2024 and that is not going to happen. So I may as well just let all the deadlines (and the stress) go so that I can find balance. Prequel Wu Wei Challenge Practice wu wei. No deadlines. Work, clean & declutter, exercise, homeschool & engage with family effortlessly and without guilt. Get back in the habit of going to the gym (barbells and treadmill). Add yoga and tai chi if it is effortless to do so. No snacking and no drinking (for this 3 week challenge).
  4. Bouncer stood facing away from the Eclipse watching as the world turned dark underneath the shadows. Noticing how the world reacted. The moon had said hello to watch the changes in this Autumn season. As the sun returned and the cool wind swept through Bouncer’s robes. Bouncer felt the welcome magic of the Moon, something that she had been ignoring far too long. What would happen once she accepted the magic of the night moon instead of a passing by hello? A friend that could be a healthy relationship, an ally to enhance the tools she already learned over all these years. This challenge fell together. I will be focusing on the number 1 habit of having a routine bedtime (getting to sleep early enough for 7-9 hours of sleep). Turning off screens by 6 pm 7 pm, be in bed by 8 pm. (If out late try to be in bed within an hour of coming home). I have sleep debt and low skill habits on sticking to a healthy bedtime. The one habit I have because of 2 kittens is a wake-up time. Even on a day off I will be up at 5 am due to the squeaky alarms of a tortoise kitten. I will not be 100% on this challenge due to some days I will be out late or working late. I will focus on 80% good enough! Exercise, nutrition, and decluttering are side quests/bonus buffs for this challenge (since they will all enhance a better sleep cycle). But when shit hits the fan I will have a 100% day if I get to bed by 8 pm or within an hour of getting home for late nights. Daily reward, if I have time in the morning 15 mins of no guilt gaming play (or planned time after work). (I’m really into Sims 4 right now and I usually only have time to play 5 mins at a time…) Life Quest – Blood Moon Awareness
  5. I'm upleveling myself to Druid-Warrior and I've got a theme. Last round of 'make work hours not suck' went pretty well and I learned a ton - including that I could really use to keep improving the foundations of my life, including on some areas I hadn't really been paying attention to (good grief, what a grandiose-sounding phrase 'the foundations of my life' is. feels right though). I'm also rambling. I will stop now Giving myself grace to mainly chill during week zero, but I've got some ideas for after that....
  6. This round is a foray into the Way of Wisdom, making soulful, good choices and making space for those choices. The key to this challenge is to take my time, slow down, and remember that there is no pressure. It's time to make time as well as take time. In this Way, all the dots are connected and all the details are in order. Classwork is the success matrix, but there’s a lot of life that is going to happen along the Way. Intelligence: This is the key, and there are a lot of details, but not nearly as many moving parts as there were last round. I came back from NY and was very disengaged, and I’m glad to note that spell passed, but here we are with me taking a very sharp-eyed look at how much I put on my plate this term; it was a lot. It was, in fact, too much, and I’ll not be repeating this (see Wisdom) Strength: Go to work; edited to add a bonus of paying off debt, since this has shifted into the stregnth category. Wisdom: Tuition payment; not signing up for everything under the sun next term. This is a season of focus. Constitution: Eating well; resting often. Bonus: sauna & Steps. I have a fancy MRI during Zero Week to figure out what is going on with my insides. Also, I started gym time twice a week in the pool with Kat and Mikayla and I’d like to continue that. Dexterity: A double helping of dexterity was needed last round. I’ll likely need some dexterity for this challenge too, and I need to make the space to let that happen. Stamina: Anton Chekov wrote, “Any idiot can handle a crisis; it’s the day to day living that wears you out.” Wisdom can help. Opening Stats Con 9 Str 8 Int 12 Dex 12 Wis 11 Cha 11 Sta 4
  7. Although her maps are no longer valid (thank you, earthquakes) the world Scalyfreak travels through is none the less a familiar one. She has been to this forest before, many times, but the path to it was different back then. It led in a different direction as well. Still, seeing the same trees as last time is reassuring, and Scalyfreak slows down a little bit, giving in to the temptation to linger under the dancing shadows and enjoy the rich fragrance of pine trees and wet soil. The sun grows warmer, and Scalyfreak stops to remove her cloak. As she bends to stow it in her backpack, her eyes land on what looks like a strange foot print in the soft soil next to the path. Curious, Scalyfreak swiftly ties the backpack off and swings it onto her shoulders, and begins examining the print. It has sharp edges, and judging from its shape the imprint was not made by a foot but rather by a cloven hoof. Curious, Scalyfreak searches for more prints and finds them soon enough.... further ahead. The owner of the cloven hoofs has been walking along the path, and as far as Scalyfreak can tell it was an unhurried walk, almost casual, and if the size of the hoof prints is anything to go by it's a rather large creature. Now curious, and with nothing better to do, Scalyfreak begins following the hoof prints down the path. They are easy to spot, and thus easy to follow at a comfortable pace, even more so because the hoof prints never leave the path. Eventually, after a length of time Scalyfreak has failed to pay attention to, the hoof prints turn off the main path and onto one that is so narrow that Scalyfreak would have missed it if she hadn't been actively searching for the next hoof print. By the time Scalyfreak realize that it's been a long time since she saw a hoof print, the narrow path has started to widen and she can see some kind of open clearing up ahead. Across the clearing, standing between two tall trees, is a solid altar and on top of the altar is the very familiar sculpture of two narrow pillars with a long metal bar resting on top of them, and with two round metal plates hanging from the bar, one on each side. Scalyfreak stops. Then, after several false starts, approaches the altar slowly and hesitantly reaches up to touch one of the metal plates. It move easily, turning slowly around the bar in the smooth manner of steel that has never been damaged or corroded. It's a shrine to The Iron. Here, in the middle of nowhere, with no temple and no caretaker, yet pristine and untouched by the elements. It radiates power, of the understated and lasting kind that Scalyfreak remembers being familiar with, once, a long time ago. It's unnerving, but also reassuring. That evening finds Scalyfreak setting up camp in front of the altar, finding comfort in its familiar aura. A brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: My new job continues to be fun and exciting, with the exception of some personality clashes and some unexpected meeting drama, all of which both fortunately and unfortunately involve the same person. I'm sure the fact it came to a head in front of an audience on a week when the person's boss missed this particular meeting due to a business trip, was a complete coincidence... My first project, that went very well, was a small one and easy to complete fairly quickly. I've been assigned three other projects to work on, two that are pretty similar to each other and one that is completely different from the other two. All three are fun to work on and require me to learn things, which also is fun for me, so I'm going to ignore the drama and focus on my projects. Before anyone says anything, my boss has been made aware of the drama and is on my side, and I am looking forward to see what happens when she's back in her home office in a little over a week and we have our regular meetings again. In the mean time, I'm going to work on the projects that The Person's team have been forced to leave untouched for months because no one had time for them, and whip at least one of them them into such spectacularly excellent shape that it will be able to over-head press a car, while running a marathon, by the time I'm done with it. Since all the stress and frustration caused by The Meeting Drama (I've been studying capitalization in Heidi's challenges ) happened last week, I have decided the week that starts tomorrow will be the week of a new start. Or restart, since I'm making an effort to resume a habit that has long been lost to me: Going to the gym regularly. This is not going to be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is. When it comes to working out regularly at the gym, discipline is required. For discipline to happen, a habit must be formed, and for a habit to be formed, the task must be made as easy as possible. Therefor, I will not be tracking my initial gym workouts and I will not be following an ambitious program. I will go to the gym and do something that strengthens at least one large muscle group. This is the goal. Nothing more or less than that. I've obtained new workout pants, earbuds and a podcast backlog, and I started the gym visits during Zero Week. My workout days are Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday, with a break for Wednesday and Thursday. Following the approach from previous challenges, the gym workouts will of course be used to replenish the Health bar. In addition, on days when I go to the gym I am, for the purposes of this challenge, not allowed to use the workout as the thing I do to regenerate emotional stamina. In other words, I still have to do something specifically because it makes me happy. This is important because thinking about, planning out, looking forward to, enjoying, and remembering, something that I did just because it makes me happy, is an important Flame repellent that protects me from being burnt when the anxiety flares up. (Yes, doing something nice for yourself is a legitimate anxiety management tool.) Today is Sunday, which means I will go to the gym this evening, after dinner. Let the challenge begin!
  8. Maybe I should finally jump ship and join the battle log squad? Coming up with an actual challenge with goals seems like … a lot … but I want to keep up with my friends who I missed dearly in my absence. So. General Path Shit: Get butts on the mat to attend my virtual yoga classes Get butts on the mat to attend in-person community classes Get on the schedule as a sub for slow flow classes at my studio Build out the anxious newbies workshop, releasing bits as freebies on Insta + a paid full version + offering an in-person version at the studio. Aim is for December/January to loop in the ‘new year/new me’ people. Continue on with the CE in this newest marketing land to actually help me hit my goals. Continue to come up with freebies to drive engagement and build out my portable tribe (via email - my community). Get the proofs for my 3(!) planners - decide what to do with those moving forward, but I’m already thinking Amazon KDP is not the (only) way … I know I’m not going to be happy with the quality. Maybe actually be ahead of the curve this year for holiday cards? 😂😂😂😂😂 who am I kidding?! Continue to pump out content for my yoga shit … increase reels + mini tutorials; stockpile graphics. This is all necessitating making peace with my rolls real damn quick. I do NOT have the energy for heavy editing. There’s a vacation in there to see my European bestie. And I need to get back on my kitchen game - haven’t posted a recipe on the blog in almost a month 🤦‍♀️ Not that more than 609 people care, but I do need to also do shit with promoting that piece of social media, as well. I could, like, recoup the costs at least. I do have 2 cookbooks I could pump back out quickly. More things? I’m sure there are … geopolitical shit is kiiiiiiinda tumultuous in my neck of the world; keeping a slight eye on that and letting DH do the worrying for both of us. Other things? I need to get my ass back on the mat. I’m currently away from home and have done Jack shit in that vein for like 10 days. Oops. And the end of surface of the sun temps! Need to switch my wardrobe over and find the gaps - especially since we will be in frigid-to-me temps for 10 days next month and I’m too fluffy for my winter jacket. I think that’s it … ish … need to get back on the meditation track and actual personal practice. Baby steps there . im sure there is more I need to be aware of for this next Cycle, but this is what I’ve got so far.
  9. *sliiiides in with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee* WELP hello there~ ❤️ So TL;DR I was kinda 50/50 on doing a challenge this round because frankly I'm kinda lukewarm on the forums lately, but I'm like.... . next year I will have been here for TEN YEARS and jesus wept that's a long time. Plus everyone here is really the best person ever, all of you, you reading this, you are wonderful and a reason why this community is awesome. So why not give it another go yeah?? Anyways I am writing up this challenge because I have some habits I want to re-lay some foundations for and what better place than here? 1. The first goal is the big important one - I'm gonna STOP DRINKING. And by stop I mean stop except for special occasions and social events. I've always kinda on/off struggled with drinking - and it's not that I drink a lot in one sitting but it's more of the consistency. It affects a lot - my weight, my stomach, my skin, my sleep, my mental health.. on and on. I honestly enjoy drinking every so often so it's been hard! And it's been easier to sit down with a drink or two now that I don't have a job and I've been using it as a crutch for some of my stress and anxiety and I'm at the point where it's just, gotta STOP. I did a little experiment last week - I had no alcohol for 5 days and felt GREAT, then Friday night I had a few drinks that evening just to see how it would affect me. I slept like shit, woke up in the middle of the night hot and sweaty with a minor headache and just this wild!! anxiety over the STUPIDEST little things... and I was just like, ok, heard, no more of this. The after effects of drinking are at the point where it just hugely outweighs the enjoyment it brings me in the moment. Not gonna do this ANYMORE. I've attempted to curtail my drinking before but it never really panned out - frankly I'm not the best at enforcing my own rules - but for some weird-ass reason this time, I feel like it's the TIME. Like previously it's been kinda a heave-ho chore to work on drinking less but right now it doesn't seem like a chore at all, it's like something has clicked and it's like.... oh, ok, cool. It's hokey as hell but I feel like I'm being called to do this right now. I'm ready and I'm honestly EXCITED. I'm looking forward to only drinking as a once in a while treat. I'm looking forward to enjoying this better mental health and joy and clarity I've gained from NOT drinking consistently. I'm looking forward to better health benefits and being able to pursue the goals I want to. I'm looking forward to making this conscious choice DARNIT I do know this will be hard at points so I am giving myself four drink tickets for this 6 week challenge. (yes zero week is included heheh) I can have a few drinks at 4 points over this challenge and that is IT. Each time I do I turn in a ticket, and if/when I'm out of tickets, that's it! I'm also really interested in reporting back the effects of how drinking affects me at this point. I'm so invested in this goal that I'm doing something I NEVER do and giving myself a reward at the end of this challenge if I complete it successfully. There's a super cute FFXIV-themed crossbody bag that is SO my style and I want it realllll bad but it's a whole $75 and yeah I could just buy it but I think it'd be better if I made the purchase MEAN something, you know? 2. Intentional movement more days than not during a week. I had been doing really well with this, then we adopted Hiko and my life turned into Kitten and Cat Damage Control and everything else kinda flew out the window. Things have settled (kindaaaaaa) over the 2 weeks we've had them both co-existing and I feel very ready to get back into this routine! Ideally I'd like one day to get outside and do a good fall hike/walk, two days of lifting, and 1-2 days of getting back into my boxing training BUT I am not beholding myself to any strict schedule, just get myself moving more days than not and it's a win. Once I re-build the habit the rest will fall into place. AND THAT'S IT Those are my main two goals and I'm keeping it SIMPLE so I can start rebuilding my foundation. I've had so much crap happen to me over the past *checks watch* five years that I've just slowly gotten off track.. I've lost a lot of strength and fitness overall and let my habits I worked so hard to instill slip in the face of stress and despair and life tragedies that I'm kinda back at square one. But that's okay 'cause I can only build up from here! I promise to check in as often as I can and also pay the cat tax~ ❤️❤️ ( my beautiful and chaotic sons coexisting aaaaaa )
  10. Hey there dear folks, there has been a lot of nerding out about psychology and not so much fitness in my posts in the last challenges, and I haven't been around a lot, which I regret. But I'm doing a lot of things at the same time and one of my therapy goals is learning how to make meaningful connections so it's well. Sort of part of my whole deal that I'm working on right now. Laying down roots and becoming functioning. But it's finally time to cocoon and get my general nerd, fitness nerd, and fitness lover on. I've been whipping out a notebook and pen and learning about things that make my brain feel good. I've been eating a lot better than I did in the few years before. I want to start eking out moments to walk/run outside. Laughably small goals. The main thing holding me back is feeling self-conscious about the people in the neighborhood seeing me be confused about walking routes. Which only means that I need to prepare better (and meditate more, because fudge what people think, but I still want to prepare better because I like being prepared. It makes me feel good about myself.) Let's gooo!
  11. The pain eventually ends. Walking becomes easier, smoother, as stiff muscles begin to loosen up and find their strength again. Scalyfreak eats as she walks, unwilling to stop and grateful for her travel rations, that for some reason still seem to be just as fresh as they were when she packed them. This is strange, and initially a little unnerving, but Scalyfreak learned not to question positive surprises a long time ago. It's an unnerving walk. The terrain remains unfamiliar from the earthquake. The weather is bright and sunny warm, the sky is clear and blue, and the forest around her is quiet. Completely quiet. Too quiet. It is very unnerving. So Scalyfreak continues to walk, continues to eat, continues to stretch in between bites as she walks, and continues to remain on alert for another ambush or sudden attack from Self-Sabotage. The forest is peaceful and silent. Completely silent. Too silent. A brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: I am still working on re-establishing my healthy habits from before I was laid off. Meditation is back on track, but my health bar and stamina bar continue to regenerate slowed than I spend. For this reason, I will “only” have two goals this challenge: Refill the stamina bar, and level up the health bar. The health bar is the red HP meter and it is maintained and refilled by taking care of my body. This means giving it regular opportunities for movement move and building muscles, and yes, the myocardium remains one of them. The green stamina bar is emotional bandwidth and mental strength. The bar is replenished and grown by doing things that genuinely improve my quality of life, make me happy now or in the future, or just make me feel really good And that is it. Physical HP (physical health) Walked in the evening. Feisty Sidekick walked with us again, and it was as adorable and fun as it was before. Recover Stamina (fortify emotional bandwidth) After talking about it for a couple of months now, we finally did it... we have paid off our mortgage. Husband and I now officially own our house, and as a pleasant side-effect we are now also completely debt free. This is a big deal for us, and we're excited, and I feel good about this.
  12. Some big things are afoot! I’m having to be brave and do some things that are Actually Scary in the coming weeks. Along the way there’s some exciting stuff that will really tax my stamina — a week in New York presenting at a conference is an amazing opportunity, but it’s also depleting for this introvert, and is going to wreak havoc with my disability support structures and routines. And finances. Fight forward. Courage + Defiance = Fortitude A Fortitude Saving Throw measures your ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health. Apply your Constitution modifier to your Fortitude saving throws. Intelligence Open Canvas daily Read 60 minutes a day Write daily for class Finalize Conference Presentation Strength Go to work Wisdom: Loosening the hold of debt: Credit card balances <25%; Increase savings (This is going to be difficult with the NY trip, but I’m keeping financial health on my radar.) Constitution Eating good food every day Healing: Acupuncture; therapy; daily medications Charisma Sleep Bonus: sauna, steps, sociability Dexterity Stay nimble and hold emotions loosely (especially at work:without getting caught up in the chaos) stay brave. Stamina Sleep, food, rest Opening Stats Con 8 Str 7 Int 10 Dex 10 Wis 10 Cha 9 Sta 3 Challenge Wrap up A Fortitude Saving Throw measures your ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health. Apply your Constitution modifier to your Fortitude saving throws.So, Let’s talk about the Constitution score, which is pretty low, as heroes go, and isn’t going to be getting higher any time soon. Intelligence: I did okay with this until the travels, and then this became difficult and fiddly. Even so, everything (mostly) got done. +2 Open Canvas daily Read 60 minutes a day Write daily for class Finalize & Present at the Conference: Knocked it out of the park, and the travels didn’t kill me! Strength: +1, because all the basics were met. Nothing special or bonus, just doing the things. Go to work Wisdom: +1 for making the debt payments; +1 for lowering overall credit card debt to <25% before the NY trip. Next challenge will be about taking stock of the wreckage and making a plan for that. Loosening the hold of debt: Credit card balances <25%; savings increased. (This is going to be difficult with the NY trip, but I’m keeping financial health on my radar.) Constitution: The interim acupuncturist is not so great, and this is good to know. Good eating happened even while traveling. +1 Eating good food every day Healing: Acupuncture; therapy; daily medications Charisma+2, because the NY trip really knocked this out of the park and will have long-lasting effects. Sleep Bonus: sauna, steps, sociability — this was all excellent, and the Broadway and NYPL glow is still with me. Dexterity+2, where I was only expecting a +1, largely because the Trial that I thought was coming hasn’t and a surprise Trial has blown up in its place, and all of this took a heroic amount of dexterity to navigate without dropping all the other many things that are always going on. Stay nimble and hold emotions loosely (especially at work:without getting caught up in the chaos) stay brave. Stamina I’m making it work. I’m not sure if I will ever actually increase stamina; i’m here to see if I can maintain what I have. I am very impressed indeed with how I managed the constant pace of the NY trip. This is not something I would have thought possible, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t understand how much physicality would be involved, or I wouldn’t have said yes. +1 Sleep, food, rest Closing Stats Con 8 +1=9 Str 7 +1=8 Int 10 +2=12 Dex 10 +2=12 Wis 10 +1=11 Cha 9 +2=11 Sta 3 +1=4
  13. Darci here. Been around these parts since December 2021, though I really never kept up with much. I've been a part of Nerd Fitness Academy since August of 2017 and NF Prime since November 2021. And I've fallen of the wagon many times. I've been off the wagon far far far more often than I've been on it. So I decided wagons aren't my thing. Since I'm not on a wagon, I'm left with whatever is on hand. Which, honestly, is my own two feet. Fortunately my feet aren't located on my hands or I'd be in some real trouble here. I digress. Going on foot is slow, but it's movement and I've found slow is best. The reason I fell of the damn wagon is because it was simply going too fast. Why not slow it down a bit and get my bearings? Things I want to focus on in 2023: 1. Journaling I have 3 journals, each providing something different: A Mystic's Guide To 2023: This journal allows me to write one thing I'm grateful for, check in with my mood, check off (yes or no) on food, workout, sleep, water, and nutrition (food = calories, nutrition = was it healthy), a daily mantra, sleep journal, ritual/meditation time, scripting my day, 3-6-9 manifestation, and a check in for the day using "one thing did I do to move forward today" The Witches Planner 2023: A daily check in with a spot to write things out (I usually write down what's heavy on my mind to get it on paper and out of my head), notes, to-do, and something I'm happy about that day. It also has a spot to write out weekly goals, positive thoughts, notes, budget, and main focus of the week with a spot at the end of the week to reflect. This planner provides a spot to reflect on each of the seasonal "holidays" or sabbats (Imbolc/midwinter, Ostara/spring equinox, Beltane/May day, Litha/Summer Solstice, Lughnasadh/First harvest, Mabon/Autumn Equinox, Samhain/Halloween/New year, Yule/Winter Solstice). I like this to help me reconnect with the seasons The Sisters Enchanted Lunar Planner 2023: This is where I write my current mantra/lunar intention daily. It provides a spot for tarot/oracle pulls or just writing out lunar intentions and sun goals for each full and new moon. I've spent the money already. I need to get my money's worth by actually using these planners. I'm a little over one month in of using them and so it's time to put it out into the universe that I shall continue for the next 10+ months left of the year. 2. Nutrition I have MyFitnessPal and use it often. I need to keep checking in on calories to be sure I stay in deficit. I don't typically control my dinner options so I need to track those ASAP so I may adjust my lunches and occasional breakfasts accordingly. I also loved fasting. Having an intense (to me) workout before work in the morning but trying to fast until lunch, 4-5 hours later doesn't always work out. Again, dinner is not in my control and happens after I'm off work anyway. So the goal is to fast whenever possible and be kind to myself when I'm simply too hungry to keep fasting on. When I need to eat after a workout, I will focus on protein (my current go-to is hard boiled eggs) I also want to become re-aquainted with my body. Years of not listening to it has caused me to no longer understand what it is telling me. I need to learn my hunger cues vs cravings/boredom/emotions/stress. I need to eat slower so I can give my body a chance to tell me I'm satisfied, not full or overstuffed. I also need to be able to recognize that signal and not be confused or miss it entirely. 3. Workouts I need movement. I need to be consistent with getting my butt out of bed so I can get some type of workout in. Currently working on The FeelGood Plan by Dalton Wong & Kate Faithfull-Williams. I'm in the market for a kettlebell and have printed out the NF Kettlebell Workout. I have the NF Bodyweight Workout. I have a rowing machine and a stationary bike. I have 2 pups that love walks. I have a yoga mat and youtube at my disposal. I have more than enough resources to get in a decent workout one way or another. 3 days a week is my minimum goal though my current workout schedule from The FeelGood Plan has me doing 4 days a week of workouts with Saturday being a "fun activity". 4. PE Licensure I am due to take my PE Exam this year, pass it, and get licensed as a Professional Engineer. I cannot get promoted nor can I get a significant raise until I do so or I'll max out my current level's pay range. I also am not eligible for annual bonuses for the company until I get promoted at least 1 more level up so that's a pretty good motivator. In addition, my company is offering a nice little bonus for taking, passing, and getting licensed as a PE while employed with them. I'll take that! Many financial motivators. I have a copy of one of the practice tests. I have most of my college engineering books and notes to refer back to. I simply need to DO the thing. My goal is to spend about an hour each week studying. First, take the practice exam and grade myself. Then note down what concepts I need to re-learn and study. Then, create a study plan and actually follow it. Once I get to the study plan portion, I need to schedule the test (it is currently $375 to schedule so I don't want to set myself up for failure. Especially since I can only take it 4 times a year until I pass). One hour every week. That's it. Just do the thing. Take the thing. Pass the thing. License the self. 5. Finances I need to get my budget up to date and keep it up to date. I need to actually stick to my budget every month and not buy unnecessary items or think I have extra money to spend when that extra should be going towards a debt payment. I need to focus on paying off debt and maintain my debt payoff tracker to keep myself motivated on it. Simple as that. Budget. Don't spend what's not in budget (or update budget for unexpected, but necessary, expenses). Pay excess towards debt. To get started: 1. I've managed to journal for the month of January. One month down, 11 more to go. The habit has started, now I need to keep it. I also need to determine how I'm going to continue it when I'm traveling and don't want to pack 3 giant journals everywhere I go. I might just have to digitize them for those times. Look at that, already found a solution. 2. I've been fairly good about keeping to my one NF Prime "Resolution Rescue" resolution I made: check in with myself before eating to ensure I'm truly hungry and not just bored/stressed/emotional or it's a habit to eat at that time. I've also been mindful about what I'm eating for the most part. Moreso than normal and that's a small step, but a step in the right direction nonetheless. 3. I've only missed 1 workout prior to today due to just plain being a lazy bum. I've missed 2 overall, the second one being today (2/6/2023) as I did my scheduled workout Thursday and Friday followed by unscheduled "functional fitness" on Saturday and Sunday in the form of moving my friends from one house to another and all the heavy lifting that goes with moving. My schedule was to work out today and tomorrow but there's no way I could successfully do 5 days in a row at that intensity and not a) burn out and b) potentially injure myself. Tomorrow is cardio, which usually means the rower, and I'll likely knock that out before my scheduled rest day Wednesday. Overall, the longest I've been consistent with workouts. Ever. That's a win. 4. I bought the practice test and it's sitting on my work desk. I've made a step-by-step guide and set out a goal to do it. 5. I have a budget. I need to update it, but it's there. All my bills and debt are listed. Simply need to fill it in. Other random notes: I'm on a Lara Croft kick, as in I'm idolizing her and wanting to play Tomb Raider (though I don't have my PS4 hooked up and I need to be spending my time more wisely than becoming addicted to video games again). Yet, today I'm feeling a little less Adventurer/Lara and a little more Ranger. I bounce between them daily. Maybe I'm both? Maybe I'll finally discover which I lean more towards this year? For now, I claim both. I also have a bit of Druid in me. I'm slowly introducing homesteading into my life. I need to plan my garden and start getting things prepared for this year. I love the idea of learning Herbalism. Nature is my best therapy. Yoga is something I don't particularly like, but I always come back to like a calling. And I have done a tiny bit of Tai Chi in the past and loved it. Once my current 2023 goals become a lifestyle that takes absolutely no thought, I might re-introduce Tai Chi to my life. We shall see. Baby steps here. Yoga will suffice. I have a goal of 12 books in 12 months. I'm behind right now in February's reading but I plan to spend this evening catching up while the man watches his show. I'm trying to make reading a before bed routine. It, unfortunately, hasn't helped with my budget as I've been purchasing books to keep up this goal. It all started as a way to get back to reading when I wanted to read, but felt I didn't have time combined with the goal of getting off electronics before bed to help me sleep better. Win win, except for my wallet. I prefer tangible books to ebooks, but man, ebooks are GREAT for the wallet. I'm a stepmom to 3 kids. One lives with us permanently and he turns 18 in March, graduates (hopefully) in May then he's living with us while he works and saves up to move out on his own. The other two, who are younger, come during the summer. Memorial day weekend until the first weekend in August. Those are the tough months. I have 2 additional kids I want to get as much possible quality time with and we definitely travel or get out of the house every possible second we can. Doesn't bode well for many of my goals. So here's to that challenge. Hopefully between the month already completed and the next 4-ish months before they arrive I've made these goals more of a lifestyle thing and they come naturally and easily rather than the current to-do list that makes it challenging at times to complete. If you've read this far, congratulations. Your reward is to stop "listening" to me babble on endlessly. Sorry 'bout that. Let's hope this is finally the year I keep up with things. If not, it's the year I've managed to keep up with something, anything, for a month at least.
  14. Imagine, if you will, a scene from long ago - a 1930s comic book, say. Imagine an ill-fitting manhole cover, halfway down a dark alley. It’s slightly askew, set into a poorly-paved street. Every so often a sickly-looking yellowish-gray vapor drifts up around its edges. Every night, you must pass down this alley, past the manhole cover and its trailing vapor, to get home. Some nights the walk goes easy: there is no vapor, or you dodge it gracefully. You swing on past, into your evening. But other nights are harder. Sometimes the vapor drifts lovingly around your ankle, nudging you back just a little: not yet. You’re not done yet. Sometimes it wraps around your leg like a vise, holding you still, while images of might-have-been beat helplessly in your mind. Sometimes, on bad days, the vapor is followed by a scaled, slimy tentacle. It slides up around your torso and pulls you under, down into the tunnels below. On those days, the work-creep dragon hasn’t just slowed you down: it’s made its way into your dreams, keeping you from sleep or waking you at three in the morning, eager to make you its own. The challenge: get my work hours under control. Over the past few months, the time and energy I spend at work has crept up and up, to a point where it feels unsustainable. Too many days are way too long, and way too often I’m waking up in the middle of the night thinking about some work topic with my heart racing for no good reason. Last week I started a four-week sprint of trying to improve things. It was rocky. I wasn’t originally going to join this challenge (just found the forum, starting late, new, etc), but reading other people’s challenges was inspiring, and the timing fit with what I’d originally planned(!). So here I am. The goal: work a predictable, in-control schedule, in my current job. I have a specific, reasonable schedule in mind. The schedule can shift around (eg earlier or later relative to transit), but I want to prevent the days from running long. To make this sustainable, I need to pull it off without feeling perpetually rushed or cramming things in. It can’t be a short-term, pre-vacation sprint type thing. This implies ... saying no to things? better planning? at a minimum. Probably some other stuff too. Why now: I’ve always believed in keeping work (and when I was a kid, school) in bounds, but over the years it’s gotten harder and harder to do that. As far as I can tell, this is at least as much about my own momentum as it is about the job - so I am optimistic it’s possible to solve (and also mildly terrified about making it happen). I feel like I’ve hit some kind of tipping point on needing to do this. Emotionally and practically, this feels huge. If I can make it happen, I think it will be foundational - I’m not even sure in what direction yet, but more in line with what I want the shape of my life to be. I started out with a plan, but. Last week recap (Sept 18-24) Monday and Tuesday went long. Both days, something I hadn’t planned for came up, and I stayed around to deal with it. I also just felt awkward about leaving, as if the momentum to keep working were a real physical thing. Wednesday went even longer: over the previous week, I’d come down with a persistent cough, and a friend pointed out that I should take Thursday & Friday off to recover (um, ideally I would have noticed this myself. OTOH that’s what friends are for, right?!) I stayed late Wednesday to make it easier to take Thursday & Friday off. Thursday & Friday: out sick. A good decision, went to the doctor, yep, bronchitis, got meds and now recovering. Easier because I wasn’t at work. Sat quietly a lot, trying not to breathe too hard. Weekend: as I started to recover, I thought more about what Monday-Wednesday had in common, and what I could do to improve week 2’s odds. Found this forum and started reading. Changes after last week Wrote a specific checklist for how to start, manage, & end my work days (when I need to head to work, check my schedule, see what’s coming, etc). Aiming to be pretty structured & habitual about this. Checklist includes daily reviewing my schedule to make sure it works: starts and ends per schedule, no overlapping meetings, some breaks, a functional % of non-meeting time. I don’t know what % that is, so I’m trying to observe & figure that out. Updated my recurring weekly schedule to include start/wrapup time each day. I’ll use this to plan & close up the days. I don’t know how much I need, so figuring that out too. Started tracking hours of meetings per week & per day. I’ll see how this correlates to how things go. The big insight from last week: I need to look at and plan for how much slack there is in the day. Every day that’s run late, it’s because something unexpected came up. This is normal in my job (most jobs?), so the only way to solve for it is to expect it & build in extra time for it. ^ Either I need to get comfortable with pushing things back when there isn’t slack, or I need to make sure there is slack. Anything else results in longer work days. ^ Also means I need better awareness of how much slack there is on any given day. ^ This feels to me massively counterintuitive: I’m trying to control work hours, so it feels more natural to pack things in. But packing things in hasn’t worked, so better try something different. This week so far Monday worked! Stopped on time. Only had two hours of meetings, it was my first day back after being sick, and Mondays are often slow, so it wasn’t the toughest day - but it worked. I also spent a whopping hour and a half of my work day wrangling my schedule into shape for the next week-plus. I hope this pays dividends. Tuesday: a bigger challenge, because over half the day was meetings, and I started with a long to-do list. But because I schedule-wrangled on Monday, I had built in some breaks (unusual for me) and knew what to expect. I kept reminding myself not to expect much focused work. If the day needed to be meetings, let it be meetings. I fit in a few small tasks between things. And... I stopped on time!!! Worth noticing: As a bonus to my approach of breaks & realistic expectations, I had noticeably higher quality conversations with people, which will in turn I think lead to better or more efficient work. Also a more pleasant day. Both Monday & Tuesday did just “feel weird” in terms of stopping. It’s a nagging feeling like ‘there’s more I could do, I should do it… ?’ or ‘am I really done for the day?’ and it takes a fair bit of stubborn to stop anyway. I hope this wears off over time. It seems more like habit than rationality. The schedule I’m targeting is reasonable, and there will always be more to do. Looking to today Today is Wednesday, another meeting-heavy day. Planning to follow my checklist, remind myself of expectations, and see if I can pull it off. I had not expected to write 1400 words about all this. Well. Why the manhole cover? Well ... as I read other people’s challenges, I realized I liked the idea of giving a sense of physicality to what I’m trying to change. My job is all on a screen, and it’s easy for everything to feel unreal. In contrast, the pull to just keep working does have a sense of almost physical momentum. For the work-creep dragon, I’m talking about ‘taming’ not ‘conquering’ or ‘defeating’ it because in a lot of ways, it’s just inherent to my job. There always is, always will be, more to do. I don’t expect (or hopefully, need) this to go away. I want to get better at dealing with it, keep it from grabbing me around the ankle or getting into my head & my sleep, and get on with my life instead. It’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t a ‘my job is terrible, get a new one’ kind of situation. This is about changing how I relate to it (and by extension, how I relate to any job in future). It’s a good job, fits me well - I just want it to work for me better than it is.
  15. Friends, nerds, party people, WELCOME to my shiny new challenge!! Pull up a chair or one of those bougie ass bean bags or a comfy mat and grab a nice relaxing drink of choice and settle the heck in with me! ❤️ My last challenge derailed itself wildly as, while I was on a path to up my fitness and working towards 100,000 punches, life decided to show up and go, HA! Nice try my dude, you’re gonna shelve that for a little bit because you have to take care of yourself in other ways first! And instead I took a monstrous leap of faith and quit my job. This was a TERRIFYING thing for me to do - I am a person who has always been go-go-go with a very strong work ethic and boundless energy. But in the last two years since my mom passed away suddenly, a lot has changed for me and I’m just.. Not able to do the things I used to. This summer has been a struggle and I found myself increasingly fatigued to the point where my life was pretty much work - rest - dissociate on the weekends with video games - insert random days of anxiety and depression - repeat - and I didn’t like it. This has been a VERYyyyy hard truth to stare in the face and reconcile with, but my mental and physical health were suffering and I knew I needed to make a hard choice for myself. I’m eternally grateful to be in a place where I can even make this choice, and I’m mindful of this every day. I’m going to take a few months to step back and breathe and re-center myself before I start looking for part-time work closer to home (or even better WFH) and of a lesser intensity. This challenge is going to be the baseline for that and is probably going to look a little different than my recent challenges! I will still follow my monk path but I have also been leaning heavily into my old pagan/druid roots, so my goals are as follows...: Cultivate my Connections Real talk - I AM A BAD FRIEND. There I SAID it! The caveat is not that I’m really a bad friend, it’s just that I’m the absolute worst at keeping in touch with literally anyone outside of myself, my husband, and our cat. I probably would be perfectly content being a hermit for the rest of my life, but that’s nnnnnot a really good outlook or way to live. It’s less effort for me to do my own thing as opposed to fostering my connections with others and that is about to change. I really want to take this time to cultivate my friendships and connections with people - make an active effort to reach out more, meet up and go out to dinner and actually DO things. People often want to do things with me but I’m very dhsalfkas about making plans and actually sticking to them. Man is not an island and I realize when I connect with people that I enjoy, I get SO much fulfillment out of it! So I’m gonna do it more. I don’t want to drain my social batteries so just making an effort to connect more via text and chat and Discord is high on this list too. And here, posting HERE more and being able to intentionally follow everyone’s updates and interact more, that means a lot to me and is a big goal too. I already have a lunch date with an old coworker of mine next week, and then the day before the equinox I’m meeting up with another friend who is also an old coworker that does loads of energy work, and she’s going to have a reiki session with me and I am STOKED. This will all be good for me! Recalibrate my Spirit Before My Life Went Bananas I was a pretty spiritual person, especially so when I lived in North Carolina. I leaned heavily into a pagan following for quite some time - I have a Book of Shadows, I honored the Wheel of the Year, I followed the lunar cycles (and past shaar even had a whole challenge series devoted to FULL MOONS), I had rituals, I pulled from my tarot often, I went to sound cleansing seminars.. Lots of stuff. It was always very grounding for me and something that fulfilled me huuugely. I’ve kinda deviated from that over the past years but lately I’ve been very much lately feeling the pull to bring all of this back to the forefront of my life. I really started digging into this a week or so before I quit my job and it was an obvious sign from the universe because it instantly paid itself back in dividends. I’ve been pulling a tarot card daily and each one has been exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment. I’ve been following the lunar alignments and phases and how it can reflect my current situation and just like the cards, it’s been wildly striking at how much I just needed to hear what was being told to me. It’s been nothing but reassuring that I am on the right path, and that re-opening myself to THIS spiritual path has also come at the right time. I will work to make this a good habit over this challenge - taking time for myself and my mental health and foster my spirituality even more. Reflecting on my intentions and the signs that are being given to me, honoring the seasons and solar events, purifying my space and my energy in life, and letting all of this enrich my life and help me grow! Intentional Movement It’s time to focus on my physical fitness too in a sustainable way (REMEMBER THE SUSTAINABLE PART SHAAR) so I’m setting myself a baseline goal to exercise more days during the week than not. I’m not going to behold myself to any set schedule or regimen, I’m just going to see how I’m feeling that day and roll with it. This can be anything from FightCamp workouts to lifting to yoga and mobility, to going outside for a hike or a bike ride or, my personal favorite, a cemetery walk. (heheh) I’ve been struggling with consistency lately but I think I’m setting myself up in a good place to make that change and rebuild these foundational habits. Nourish my Life Y’all I LOVE COOKING. So so so much! It’s a huge joy in my life and unfortunately lately I haven’t been able to devote as much time to it as I would like. Time for this to change! Each week I’m still going to batch cook our lunches, but I’m also going to add a few premade breakfasts into the mix. It’s honestly SO easy and I’m finding since I started batch cooking breakfast a couple weeks ago I feel so much better and more full throughout the morning. Also, I’m going to have much more time to devote to creative dinners during the week, which I’m suuuuper looking forward to jumping into and sharing with everyone. Create more amazing wholesome nourishing meals. That’s it. That’s the goal. Tend to the Mountain of Whispering Blades And lastly, a task I’ve wanted to tackle for a hot minute. We totally revamped and cleaned out our basement to get our home gym set up and functioning, but the rest of the house is in definite need of decluttering, reorganizing, and deep cleaning every room! The last time I did a thorough clean was before we moved in in November 2021 and honestly even then I was probably running on stress, adrenaline, and bourbon so yeah it’s TIME. Gonna write up a huge-ass checklist for each room and post it here, and tackle one room at a time. Washing windows, cleaning vents, attacking stairwell cobwebs, scrubbing the wood floors, NOTHING IS SAFE. I am really, really, really glad to be ready to take a step back and enrich my life again. I've been incredibly happy over the past week, happier than I've been in a while and I'm looking to continue on with this good energy and tackle these goals alongside you guys!! Thank you to everyone that's stuck with me over my nearly-ten-years of chaos life here on NF, whether it's chatting or commenting or just dropping an emoji, this really is one of the best places on the internet and I'm always so grateful to be a part of it. Nowwww LET'S GET IT~!! ❤️❤️
  16. Hello all, How have you all been? I've been on a rapid healing journey, finally getting out of my head & survival mode and starting to invest back into the people around me. Friends that stayed after others left and friends I am making new with the energy I am slowly gaining now that I accept people who cannot get enough of it to remain anywhere near me unless absolutely necessary. I'm gaining skills and knowledge I didn't have before and regaining such that I had lost during, well... I call it brain damage after repeated re-traumatisation. The politically correct terms I use out in the wild are "burn-out because of my master's thesis and covid". My professional education started this week. I am re-building the relationship with my family on my own terms. I'm slowly getting routines in my new city of residence and at my office. I'm making the most out of what feels like a generally speaking new energetic era. I have a few weight loss, exercise and life goals. I want to lose 5 kilograms but I'm going to track that with photos. I want to pick up something for strength or endurance and a mental balancing/flexibility activity and stick to them weekly for at least 6 months. I find it likely that will be weightlifting and yoga in practice. I want to become a good conversationalist again and let go of the social anxieties I regained during covid. That includes picking up my hobbies so I find myself interesting again (lol), (re)learning about conversational techniques, (re)learning ethics of the social circles I'm in and applying them, among other things. I'm going to play it all by ear for now, as my grandmother passed away last night and I'm going to make a trip to the other side of the continent to go to her funeral and support my family... But as always, having a thread to write my thoughts that can theoretically be read by others (even if it doesn't) always helps me with accountability. (I know I haven't been around a lot and I don't know if I can reciprocate yet, and life is hectic and busy for most of us.) So... The games begin! Allons-y! Yours, Renate P.S. - I'll elaborate on the thread title sometime, I promise!
  17. Briefly, a Who I Am: I'm a 44 year old American woman living on a 10 acre woodland property in rural England I call Owlshire with my partner and 5 y/o son. I work in gamedev, our son is home educated (by ourselves and outsourced help), we have a bouncy adolescent golden retriever pup, a flock of plucky rescue hens, and as a family we enjoy nature and gaming. We moved to Owlshire not quite three years ago in the midst of the Global Pandemic/UK Lockdowns and we're still trying to find/form our tribe of fellow misfits and geeks. This challenge looks a lot like the last one, but with more travel. I turned 44 at the end of the last challenge, and my intention is to embrace the unknowns of our unique and quirky life and not worry so much that just because something changed that everything is "bad" or "wrong." Because it isn't at all! It just doesn't look quite what a past me thought it would look like! We are living an off-the-road-most-traveled adventure, and here be dragons. Dragon Form Building my strength and stamina and getting a sleeker dragon shape. Continue to aim for 80,000 steps a week. My weight at same or lower by the end of the challenge. Also, reduce snacking. This has become a real problem, I'm nibbling on something between nearly every meal and I'm not even hungry. I suspect it started as stress eating and has now become a habit I need to break. Dragon Wings Exploration and adventure at home and beyond. I have two overnight trips known for this challenge: A two day business trip to London. A three night trip to Devon for pleasure (my annual "Mum's holiday") There are some more in discussion but not yet defined. I decided not to do the cruise I was pondering last challenge, as it was causing me a lot of stress to decide on and figure out, and the whole point was a holiday plan that didn't stress me out. I haven't yet decided when or what I'll do instead. I also need to set up arrangements for trips which will happen later this year: Dragon Heart Vision, community, and mental health. Update Vision Statement One things I realized during the last challenge is that I was feeling out of sorts because life had deviated from The Vision. But actually, life was going in good--even great--directions. I'm still walking toward the same Mountain, it turns out; I'm just approaching from a different route. So I'm updating The Vision. I'm still working to align it and make the verbiage pretty rather than just a bunch of haphazard bulletpoints, but I'm already feeling better. Complete the Vision 2023 Update. Be more social Reach out and arrange things with local people. This includes with my family! Arrange regular games and outdoor activites with Enting Arrange regular date nights with Mr. Spirituality/Pagan Studies Spend more time on spiritual activities. It always ends up the first things sacrificed when things go sideways, and that's probably when I need it the most! For this challenge I'm focusing on lessons and learning as part of the pagan groups I'm in because it's easily measurable and pleases my inner Hermione Granger. Complete 3 lessons (including the one in progress) for my coven. Reinvestigate the Hearthkeeper's Way (ADF) to integrate in my practice. Dragon Horde Taking care of Owlshire, creating a comfy place to live. Continue the decluttering project. Look after my autumn garden. There are pumpkins!
  18. Does it count as a respawn if you're not actually dead before it happens? Scalyfreak contemplates this largely hypothetical question as she focuses on breathing slowly in, and then slowly back out again. Slowly in. Slowly out. The itching and burning sensation that is unavoidable when organs and muscles knot themselves back together is missing, so Scalyfreak is forced to conclude that although that last swipe from Self-Sabotage clearly hit at least one artery and two vital organs, that must not have been enough to kill.... oh shit. Is she still...?! A quick but discrete glance around the surrounding landscape reveals that after administering an insultingly one-sided beat-down, the large demon beast must have left Scalyfreak for dead, and left the area as well, because she is no longer nearby. The foul odor of doubt and futility that accompanies Self-Sabotage wherever she goes lingers for hours, but the breeze dancing across the Scalyfreak finds herself in field is clear and fresh. Thankful for the solitude she stops panicking and goes back to focusing on her breathing until both the lungs and sinuses feel normal again, and then begins the grueling task of sitting up and searching for her weapons and belongings. “If it is true that whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, I'll be able to lift buildings by the time I'm back on my feet.” Her voice sounds raspy and weak to Scalyfreak's own ears, but it doesn't hurt to speak, thankfully. It is the only thing that doesn't seem to hurt right now, but Scalyfreak learned a long time ago to be grateful for the small blessings in life. ...such as the fact that despite being punched, bitten, trampled, and literally thrown across a meadow, she has bruises and aches and pains to show for it, but not a single fracture or sprain. This would strike her as odd if all those bruises and muscle strains and the act of breathing didn't all add up to a powerfully painful distraction of the kind that begs for relief. Scalyfreak is in fact so focused on breathing through the pain and retrieving her things, that she completely fails to notice the large hoof marks in the soft ground nearby. Before diving straight this challenge period, here's a brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: So. I failed to realize, and because of that also failed to plan for, the levels of stress and mental exhaustion I would encounter in the first few months of my new job. Oops. In addition to this, I also let all my self-care habits lapse, largely due to a severely misguided assumption that now that I had a new job, the hard part would be over. And while this technically was true, I'm discovering that's a little bit like being relieved that the swimming part of a triathlon is over. True, the swimming is done, but there are two events left to go. And I was a bad triathlete and failed to prepare for the bike and run parts. I spent the previous challenge period in a haze of depleted stamina bars and non-existent mana levels, and since sitting out this one as well breaks the rule of never-two-in-a-row, here I am again. Still tired, mentally more than physically, and fashionably late as usual, but here none the less. And I'm going back to a previous way of tracking and challenging for this one: Build HP (physical health) Intentional Warrior-inspired movement needs to happen at least once every day. The idea of moving is to strengthen muscles, and anything that accomplishes this is acceptable – lifting weights, lifting myself, doing yoga, or using the elliptical in the living room. (Yes, I am re-framing cardio as strength training for the myocardium. This is not weird.) Restore Mana (mental health) Meditate. Meditate more. At least once per day. I will primarily be using Insight Timer, but other self-care apps can sub in as needed. Recover Stamina (fortify emotional bandwidth) Emotional bandwidth is restored by doing pleasant things that make the body and mind happy. This can be a nice bath, a good book, good music, new makeup, or playing with one of the Sidekicks. The important thing is that it's intentional and mindful... background music while folding laundry does not count, for example. Enjoyable activities with Other People would also fall here. And now I need to go catch up with everyone else's threads. This may take me a while......
  19. Hey there, Came back to the forums mid last challenge after quite a bit of a break. Similar goals to last challenge, with some minor modifications. 1) Drink Water, not Beer. Track Water Consumption. 🟩= >2.4 Liters 🟨 = 1.8-2.4 Liters 🟥= <1.8 Liters Track Alcohol Consumption. ⭐= 0 alcoholic drinks 🟩= 1-2 alcoholic drinks 🟨 = 3-4 alcoholic drinks 🟥= 5+ alcoholic drinks 2) Walk Track daily steps. 🟩= 10K+ steps 🟨 = 7.5K - 10K steps 🟥= <10K steps Not an official goal, but acknowledgement that we are in the process of buying a house and much effort will be spent decluttering/packing to prepare for closing end of August and actual moving of things through month of September. Work stress is something also to be managed since we are doing budget for next year which is an eternally painful process
  20. This challenge is about inhabiting my authentic self. I’ve earned every grey hair, every laugh line, and every scar. The only thing that can stop me is me. Intelligence: Open Canvas daily; Read 30 minutes an evening. Strength: Go to work without getting caught up in the chaos Wisdom: Loosening the hold of debt Constitution: Eating good food every day; Acupuncture; therapy; daily medications Charisma: Sleep, sauna, steps, sociability Dexterity: Stay nimble and hold emotions loosely; stay with the Spirit of my tribe. Opening Stats Con 7 Str 6 Int 8 Dex 9 Wis 9 Cha 8 Closing Stats Con 8 Str 7 Int 10 Dex 10 Wis 10 Cha 9
  21. I am VERY pregnant - 37 weeks and two days as of today. So baby could come tonight or not until my scheduled elective induction on August 16th. I would really prefer she show up on her own by August 15th. As such, this challenge will be in 2 phases. Phase 2 is just... After baby comes out, survival mode. Let people know baby has arrived. Get everyone, humans and animals, fed, get everyone at least some sleep, and make sure everyone has some level of cleanliness. Phase 1 is a little more detailed and what the rest of this post is about! Goal 1: Nest We still have a ton we COULD do and a couple things that are at least near-critical to do before baby arrives. This is the list that brings me from "I wish I had scheduled a 39 week induction" to "nevermind I need more TIME." Goals are generally in order from most to least critical. Looks like there are 11 critical items and 10 non-critical items. ✅ Done ☑️ Started More critical and baby-specific • Install car seat • Pack hospital bag ☑️ • Finish getting nursery ready ☑️ • Put waterproof protector on bed ✅ • Get new washer/dryer delivered (delivery Saturday the 29th) • Print home help list and put up in entryway ✅ • Finish filling out leave requests ✅ • Call insurances • Put $ in IRA (so we qualify for less expensive insurance for baby) • Address and stamp envelopes for announcements ☑️ • Write and send our shower thank-you cards☑️ Less critical and more getting-house-ready • Change fridge filter • Set up autopay for garbage service ✅ • Set up autopay for minimum payment on credit card (so sleepy parent brains don't cause us to get hit with huge penalties) ✅ • Tidy up hallway bathroom • Vacuum and tidy bedroom • Stock up on cat food and litter ✅ • Clean and put fresh litter in all litter boxes • Do all laundry • Clean fish tank • Clean snake tanks Goal 2: Rest and get happy chemicals flowing I keep hearing that to help encourage labor you should be relaxed and have oxytocin going. Plus I'm off work and about to undergo a biiiig change. So I'm going to put some self care on the books. • Try and get a nap in every day. • Schedule a pedicure. I normally wouldn't do this for myself but I have a gift card! • Schedule a haircut. Optional but I realized my split ends were getting wild again and I dont think I've gotten a trim for hmmm 4-6 months? • Request massages from Mr. Griz on a regular basis. Goal 3: Low-key not strictly relaxing maybe labor inducing activities, maybe making labor easier activities? Every day I should: • Go for a walk • Eat 6 dates • Spend 30 minutes to 1 hour bouncing/rocking on the yoga ball. • Spinning babies daily activities
  22. I leave for my yoga teacher training in about a week. This course is 200 hours spread over 30 days in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia. I’m excited and anxious. I’ve done just about as much of the pre-reading I can handle - non-fiction self-helpy type books + my brain absolutely do not mesh. I’ve mostly figured out what I’m packing and have most of what I need for that. Visas are done, I’ve booked a hotel for the first 2 days I’m there before class, I’m working on getting airport transport from the hotel, and I think I know what I want to do about a SIM. DH has been briefed about all things I can brief him on - and he more or less has a plan for what he is going to do with the dogs. In the run-up, I still need to: Go to 6 yoga classes Hit the mall for a new notebook and pretty pens - + maybe stickers for my water bottle so it doesn’t get mixed up. Plus my medications, Prep some frozen foods for the pups. Finish setting my last couple recipe blog posts. Continue to work on what I want to work on - right now, that’s informational Instagrammy posts for my new teaching venture, picking a name to go under, etc. Ooh. And I want nice colored pencils so I can color my yoga anatomy book. Not sure exactly what I’m doing challenge-wise, but I’m sure it’ll be packing, prepping, going and doing related.
  23. Clever Fox Wellness Journal: 5 goals over 6 months. Weight: <134 (this requires a 40 pound weight loss). Flexibility: Touch Toes (with legs only slightly bend, chest against thighs). Strength: Intermediate 1RM (per strengthlevel.com) for my age and gender. Fitness: 3.5 mile hike with 2,000 elevation gain (drop my time by 1-2 fitness levels) Ying Yang: Achieve balance in other areas of my life (instead of focusing exclusively on things I want to do and neglecting things I need to do) Last Challenge (Part 1) Results Weight: Lose 10 pounds: FAIL Make Yoga a habit: FAIL Make Strength Training 4x a week a habit: Success Increase Steps to 10,000 (from 4000): Success Minimalize the Entire House: Success Failed at the most important part (weight loss), but also have several wins that I shouldn't overlook. I'll come back to my failures in a moment. #5 (Yin Yang / Balance): Nearly the entire main floor of the house has been decluttered, organized, and minimalized. In addition to every surface area, every single drawer, cupboard, and closet shelf has been minimalized (purged & organized). All I have left on this floor is the laundry room. In the downstairs (I live in a ranch with a finished basement), I have my studio/office/library (tons of books to purge), the "cupboard under the stairs" (arts and crafts to organize), and the kids educational closet left to organize (but the latter two have been purged and minimalized). Every single box and bin even the ones in storage (except for 2 more) have been gone through and all accumulated trash, junk, and unused and never will be used stuff has been purged. #4 Increase Steps: Almost every day I made it to 10,000 steps. I didn't actually write it in my journal like I should have because I didn't record in my journal for most of the month because I wasn't eating right or working out (back to his failure in a moment), so I can't say for sure how many days I actually hit 10K, but it really was almost every day. I know, because I wouldn't let myself relax for the night until I hit so most evenings were spent pacing my house until I hit 10,000 steps. I can recall two days where I didn't make myself do it at all, and a few other days where I only hit 5,000 because I didn't even put the pedometer on until later in the day because I spent the morning or afternoon at the pool. Which brings me #3. #3 Fitness: I joined a gym. This is rather shocking as it was not the plan at all. At the start of this challenge I had actually just added a few things to my home gym. But then I found out that there is actually a gym right down the street from me (didn't even know it was there, it's down a little side street that is a dead end) that actually offers free childcare to members while they workout. Since I homeschool and my children are autistic, they are in desperate need of socialization, which means I can't just think, oh I don't feel like going today. I have to go because I've been looking for something like this for them, it gives them up to 2.5 hours a day with other kids, and of course I'm paying for it. So far, I seem to work out for about 1.5 hours. I go in the late morning and do a combination of barbell, dumbbells, and machines and then hop on the treadmill until I hit 5000 steps. This pretty much ensures that I hit over 10K by the end of the day (usually around 13K). Also, I definitely work out longer than at home. At home I usually run through 1-2 sets and hit each muscle group 1x. My workout lasts about 10-15 mins. And, I would only actually do a workout (at night) if it was a "good" eating day (which means I didn't workout very often at all). But now that I go in the morning (when the childcare is), I probably do 2-3 sets and hit each muscle group 2x (because of the variety of machines and barbell stations). Because of life and the gym being such an unplanned thing, I have not yet had a full consistent week. I worked out the last 2 days in a row, but my son is sick so not sure he'll be up for it in the morning. But perhaps I will go in the evening when my husband gets home. Okay, so now on to the failures. #2 Flexibility: I think I did yoga, aka stretching 2x the entire challenge. And Tai Chi Sword 0x. #1 Weight Loss: After the first week of July in which I lost 5 pounds, I gained 2 back immediately and basically spent the bulk of the challenge at the same weight I started at until this morning, when I was once again down that 5. So technically, yes, I am starting this challenge down 5 pounds from last challenge but seeing as how I re-lost the same bloody 5 pounds at the end of the last challenge/beginning of this challenge it just seems like an overall failure. Especially, since it was suppossed to be 10 pounds. And was basically 3. And if that was my body just being stubborn and holding on to fat, then so be it. But it wasn't. It was do to my horrid eating (mindless snacking) habits. And not working out for the bulk of the challenge because I got completely demotivated over my thyroid test results (which I thought indicated that I needed a higher dose and so didn't eat right or exercise while waiting for the doctor to call it in only to find out that my prescription does not need to be changed and weight loss at 45 is just hard. Grrr.).
  24. Something has changed. The ground is no longer shaking, walls of the temple is no longer rattling, and the storm appears to have slowed down. Even the rain is letting up. Cautiously, careful not to expose herself to any surprise attacks, Scalyfreak slowly pulls the temple door open an peers out at a world that looks very different. The earthquakes have changed the outline of the horizon. Where the forest stood previously, now sits a valley, and the small lake has drained and looks like it's well on its way to becoming a bog. The stream that supplies the temple with fresh water has by some miracle escaped unscathed... in fact, everything close to the temple is entirely undamaged. The rest of the world however, is irrevocably changed. Old maps no longer apply. Or do they? The world has changed, it hasn't been recreated. The forest sunk into a valley, but the forest is still there. The lake slowly turning into a bog is still technically a body of water, of a kind, in the same location. Scalyfreak sits down on the steps by the temple's front door, spreads there old map across her lap, and begins scribbling notes around all the map details visible around her. Before diving straight this challenge period, here's a brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: I am late to this challenge period because I chose to face Procrastination on other battle fields than this one during Week 1 and Zero Week. I'm fine with ceding this particular ground to her, in exchange for victory against her in every area related to the new job that I start tomorrow (=Monday of Week 2). Starting a new job means boss fight against Stress-Hydra, and that in turn means preparing diligently and pay attention to buffs and healing during the battle. It also means going back to the basics, which works out very nicely for me since that's what I was doing last challenge. Activate daily resilience buff in the morning ...by meditating every morning. The Insight Timer app will provide guided meditation tracks and (of course) a timer for this. Cast healing spells during the day ...by going outside at least once every day. Going with the Happy Sidekick is preferable, though at her age and with the state of her arthritis, walks with her are too slow and short to count as actual exercise. However, the purpose of this walk isn't exercise. This walk is done for mental health reasons. Apply Regeneration talisman in the evening I have three different talismans to choose from, and only one is required to meet this goal. 1. FTS - Fantastical Talisman of Sarcasm – a very snarky gratitude journal with pre-printed prompts 2. WTF - Wondrous Talisman of Fire-fighting – a regular lined notebook, that I use with worksheets helpfully provided to me by the therapist I worked with for the past couple of months. 3. ETC - Exhausting Talisman of Cardio – an elliptical, strategically placed at a near-perfect viewing angle to the TV in the living room.
  25. When does this one end? Late July? From now to then: Continued yoga 5 - 6 days a week Finish my holiday me-made wardrobe bits (sewing a tea length dress, drafting and sewing a circle dress, sewing a crop top, drafting, sewing and ruching another top, fixing a hem). Holiday in Greece & meeting up with our very own @DarK_RaideR Studying? Maybe? Prep for the next big curveball I’ve decided to throw myself …. A 200Hr Yoga Teacher Training course. I’ve got a list of required reading to do before early August, and a few things to grab for the trip. I’m sure I should have more goals or things to keep in mind, but I’ve had squirrel brain all day and am doing well to not spin out.
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