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  1. Edit: I decided to switch over to the Druids for this challenge, since it's all about personal development this time. I'm excited about this and genuinely believe it can change how I live my life. So here goes... Okay, bear with me. This challenge is going to be a crazy mash-up of several things that I came across during the last few weeks, all of which have convinced me to give them a try. And what better way than to try them all at once!? So. My goal is to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. This includes getting my life in order on several different levels. What has gotten in my way a LOT lately (who am I kidding, always) is procrastinating, being mindless instead of being mindful, not prioritizing (properly), getting too little done in too much time and therefor not being able to actually enjoy my free time and relax properly (because there are always things that I should be doing instead). I came across this wonderful piece of imaginery on waitbutwhy.com and instantly fell for the idea behind it. I could go on explaining it here, but I advise you to read the article instead (be sure to read the second part, as well), it will be well worth your time. Since reading it, the evil monkey has been appearing in my thoughts all the time, but luckily, I now see it for what it is and can take action when it tries to take hold of the steering wheel. I feel that while the basic idea behind the article isn't new (we feel better when doing our chores first and enjoy our leisure time without a bad conscience about what we still have to do), the images used are really helpful to drive the message home and help taking the action I want to take (no, evil monkey, you're not tempting me into browsing on fb, that's dark playground territory and you know that's not the place to be!!). So, my main quest this challenge will be: DEFEAT THE EVIL MONKEY!!! Do not procrastinate. Do the stuff I plan to do when I plan to do it. Do not let myself be distracted. If I get distracted, go back to the task at hand as soon as I notice. Enjoy my time off when the chores are done without feeling guilty about it. Now, how do I do that? According to a book I just finished reading today, the best way into a successfull day is by having a successfull morning. I'm talking about The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. The basic idea is to start your day with 6 life SAVERS: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing (writing). These can be done in any order for any length of time (there's even a version with 1 minute each), but it's supposed to be done first thing after waking up. I plan on making a full-blown routine out of this, so some of my goals for the day (yoga, reading, journaling, tracking) are already done in the first hour (or so) after waking up. But how to make sure that my perfect morning is followed by a perfect day? That's what the pomodoro technique is for. I will work on a certain area for a certain amount of time, non-stop, no distraction, no excuses. I will then take a short break and tackle the next stretch of time (apparently, earning a tomato in the process ). I'll start with 25/5 minutes and see how this works. I can totally see myself changing it to 45/15 or something, depending on what works best for me. Alright, I hear you say, so you'll defeat the instant gratification monkey by having perfect, miracle mornings, followed by uber productive pomodoro timeslots until you're done for the day and can relax and enjoy your free time. But what are your goals anyways? Glad you asked! My goals for this challenge come from another idea out of Hal Elrod's book which is the "Level 10 Life". You assess 10 areas of your life and judge how happy you are with your progress in these areas on a scale from 1 to 10. Then you try to imagine what a Level 10 Life in each of these areas would be like and come up with steps that you can do right now to get you closer to that goal. I read about it before (mostly in bullet journal posts *spoiler*) but didn't realize it was out of the Miracle Morning book until today. So, as part of finding my Miracle Morning Routine, I did all that assessing today and figured out the areas I want to work on over the next few weeks (not all 10 areas are covered. For once, I have absolutely no idea what spirituality is about for me). It's a LOT, but some of these are habits I already made and some of these require very little time and effort. More importantly, I believe I can do anything I set my mind to if I commit to it fully (and don't go for absurd stuff like "I want to be invisible" or "I'll do 100 one-armed pull-ups every morning". That's not on the table. Yet.). So, here's what I'm up to: Family & Friends call my mom & dad once a week and hear what they're up tohave one dinner and one boardgame night over the course of the challenge with my friends Personal Growth & Development do my Miracle Morning routine every single day (details will magically appear in the next post tomorrow)log my chores, tasks & spendings every day Health & Fitness (these are all habits (more or less ingrained) from the last challenges) drink 2,5l or more of water or tea every dayavoid white flour and added sugarhave one warm meal a day and veggies with 2 or more of my mealsdo some sort of physical activity 3 times a weekfloss 3 times a week (New! Time to follow my dentitst's advice) Finances do not let any food rot, it's like throwing money in the trashtrack my spending and income via an excel spreadsheet (have been doing this for two months) Career find a job so I work 4 or 5 days a week (instead of 2 right now) (don't wait for open positions, take the initiative)do office work for my dad as soon as possible. make it a priority Physical Environment set up my chores calendar and stick to itkitchen counter zero (habit from last challenge) Fun & Recreation practice singing two times a week in addition to any lessons and rehearsals (adapted from last challenge)learn to bake my own (delicious) wholegrain bread from F.play with my cats every day (I'm so ashamed I even have to put this here) I think I forgot some stuff, but I'll re-assess every week and see whether I need to update or scrap stuff. I'll choose what to work on every morning as part of my Miracle Morning Routine. The first week I plan on just seeing how things go. I won't set myself a goal on how many tomatoes to earn or what to spend my time on. I'll see what happens just with the systems I've set in place, as a sort of base-line. Depending on how that week goes, I will adjust for the next week. Maybe I'll set myself a goal of earning more tomatoes than the week before or choosing one or more areas that need to be worked on every day (the job-hunt comes to mind). I totally plan for this whole thing to be adjustable to what I want and what I need. I won't go easy on myself but I won't be afraid to admit if something doesn't work, either. Failure is just a chance to grow. Now Briniel, that's all fun and games, but where's your sexy spreadsheet? There. Isn't. One. Sorry! This is way to varied and complex to stuff it all into one spreadsheet (I'm just making this up, I haven't even tried). Plus, there's still one thing missing from my epic lists of anti-monkey weapons. It's the bullet journal! This is another recent find and I've spent countless hours on youtube and blogs and pinterest to really figure out the best way for me to use it. It's a combination of calendar, habit tracker, diary, to-do-list and anything else you want it to do. I will use it to track everything I've mentioned above. I'll show you the set-up once I'm done, it should arrive tomorrow. I'll show you my Miracle Morning Routine and Bullet Journal Setup in the next two posts. But I probably won't get to that until tomorrow. My challenge goes from February 29th to March 27th, but I'll start on my Miracle Morning tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading along so far. Have a great challenge, all of you. May you reach everything you've set out to do and become the best you that you possibly can be. TL;DR: I'm doing awesome stuff.
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