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I wish I'd gotten a letter like this the year I turned eleven. I did get something special that year - my glasses - but I can only fantasize about studying at Hogwarts. I can, however, also use the wizarding world as a great source of inspiration! Whether you've followed my previous challenges or not, jump aboard the Hogwarts express and know you're very welcome! This time I won't follow the "standard" challenge format. I believe it can work very well for many out there, but during the last challenges I've noticed that the feeling of failing comes across much stronger than any wins I might achieve during a challenge. I've never completed a challenge 100%, and since I have som level of inherent perfectionism it bothers me much more than it should. I still enjoy creating a challenge, but working for stat points doesn't seem to be enough for me. Too often my life gets in the way of my goals, and instead of just letting it go I feel bad for not achieving them. That's why I'll try to have looser goals this time around and won't decide on any stat point rewards or weekly quotas. I will probably still assign myself some stat points at the end of the challenge, but I will decide how they will be distributed when I know what I've done during the challenge. My goals and quests might fluctuate during the challenge, all depending on what life brings in my way during the following six weeks! For this challenge I split my quests into the Hogwarts subjects I deemed I'd most likely study at N.E.W.T. level. Herbology The study of magical and mundane plants and fungi. My eating habits are proving to be one of the hardest things to change. I didn't even know I had a subconscious picture of what a meal should look like before I a couple of weeks ago started wondering why I at the student restaurant put rice on my plate just to throw most of it away after I'd eaten. For my herbology lessons I want to find out if I have more of these subconscious eating habits that could be changed into healthier ones. I also want to incorporate more greens in my cooking at home and encourage myself to always get some salad with the lunch I eat on campus. Eating less carbs is also a plus. TL;DR: Eat more greens. Transfiguration The art of changing the form and appearance of an object. At N.E.W.T. level transfiguration, students are finally ready to start learning how to change one's own appearance. I'm very excited to see changes happening to my body, but I need more tools for it. I've already figured out that I like TRX and free weight exercises, but it's a sad fact that I haven't found a working setup for me yet. I've done a little of this, a little of that, but never really had a plan to stick to. Going to the gym without a plan isn't desirable as it ends up taking much longer than a prepared workout would. Ideally I'd hire a personal trainer, but in reality I don't have the money for that and don't have the time and energy right now to research a program that would work best for me. Until my time is freed up again, I can utilize the group gymnastics that my gym offers. There's a really wide variety of classes, and my goal is to test several different to further find out what kind of workouts I like. I've already tried out a kettlebell class and enjoyed it far more than I'd expected. TL;DR: Try out different group gymnastics at the gym Charms Enchanting an object to behave in a way that isn't normal for that object. It only takes a quick search on Google or Youtube to find mind-boggling videos of people performing moves you'd never imagine to be possible. I believe I'm nowhere near discovering what my body really is able of, and I think it's good practise to stretch one's limits both physically and mentally. I've seen several split stretching routines, and for this challenge I want to incorporate parts of them into my post-workout stretching. I've left stretching out way too many times, and really should make it a core part of my training again. If I feel like I won't have time to stretch, I will cut the workout short instead so that the stretching will get done. TL;DR: Stretch and work on the splits. Potions The art of correctly brewing potions. Among the modern potions we can find moisturizers and cleansing waters. I want to keep up my habit of washing my face every night before going to sleep and moisturizing it every morning before applying makeup. Elaborating on my goals in the Very Girly PVP last challenge I'll also try to keep up my nail care, i.e. making sure I'm not biting my nails or ripping up the skin around them, and taking care to reapply nail polish if it starts flaking. Taking care of other parts of the skin than the face is also appreciated, especially now that the dry winter air is coming. TL;DR: Skin & nail care Arithmancy Studying the magical properties of numbers. Ah, numbers and math! What and where would my studies be without you? Arithmancy is not an easy subject, and neither are the classes I'm taking right now. The weekly exercises swallow a lot of my free time, and I'm sure I could do better. Therefore, for my arithmancy class, I want to try to get all my weekly exercises done before the weekend so I can enjoy some free time at least a couple of days a week. I have several friends taking the same classes I take, so I'll make an effort to get a kind of study circle started. I also need to prioritize my studies right now, as I'm nearing the end of my career as a student of acoustics. TL;DR: More studying, less other stuff. Ancient Runes Studying and learning to write in ancient runes. Anyone who knows me knows I love the Lord of the Rings. It's my defining fantasy world and has continued to have a special place in my heart ever since I first read the books. As anyone who has read the books or seen the movies know, there exist elvish languages and scripts, of which the most commonly known are the languages quenya and sindarin, and the scripts tengwar and cirth. I've wanted to learn the tengwar script for a very long time, and I'm finally going to do something about it. Learning an alphabet is, after all, easier than learning a language, and I believe that even with my limited free time I could manage to learn some of the letters by heart by the time it's Christmas. TL;DR: Learn to write using tengwar. Defence against the Dark Arts Learning how to defend yourself against dark creatures, dark arts and other dark charms. The darkest enemy in my quest of leveling up myself is definitely sugar. Baked goods, candy, chocolate, everything good conspires against me! But no more will I take it and do nothing! I'm reinstating the ban on buying unhealthy stuff, and adding a ban on making unhealthy stuff myself. If I want to make a dessert, I shall have to figure out how to make one that is sugar free and preferrably doesn't use much white flour. My only exception to this ban are gingerbread cookies, because 1) I will refuse to eat any I haven't made myself anyway (or ones that my mum has made!) and 2) what is the meaning of Advent without gingerbread?! (I'm really channeling my dad here, well there you go!). And I mean proper, scandinavian gingerbread, none of that other stuff I've heard being called gingerbread too. TL;DR: No sweets, no baked goods, unless homemade and sugar free or gingerbread. A short and compact version: Herbology: Eat more greens and use them more in my own cooking. Transfiguration: Try out more group gymnastics at my gym, at least three new classes before the end of the challenge. Charms: Stretch and practise splits after every workout. Cut workout short if stretching wouldn't be done otherwise. Potions: Skin care morning & night, nail care at least once a week. Arithmancy: Do all schoolwork before the weekend. Prioritize! Ancient Runes: Learn at least ten tengwar letters by heart before Christmas. Defence against the Dark Arts: Sweets & baked goods ban. Gingerbread are ok. This might look like a lot, but I think it's totally doable. Everything is things I want to do, and that makes it much easier to get going! I'm looking forward to Advent and Christmas already!