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  1. It's been quite a while since I've done an NF challenge; I'm coming back now not because of the new year but because I'm in the home stretch of making another human being (due late February) and am feeling a little panicky about doing everything that needs to be done before this kid pops out while also keeping up with day-to-day tasks. It doesn't help that my daily schedule is getting busier and busier, with birth/baby classes twice a week at awkward times of day and additional things like the hospital tour, ultrasounds, and OB appointments. So! I guess I have three main goals for this challenge: 1. Continue preparing the gestation vessel for the final weeks of pregnancy, labor/birth, etc. 2. Complete major baby-preparation tasks. 3. Keep up with day-to-day tasks and non-baby-related obligations. Here are the specifics of my plan for accomplishing these goals: 1. Every day, complete the following: 2+ rounds of the exercises from labor prep classes 2+ servings of fruit 2+ servings of vegetables Take meds Go outside (whether it's just for errands or for a walk for walking's sake—working from home makes it too easy to stay in) and/or do at least one video of pregnancy yoga or pilates (particularly if the weather is bad) 2. Every week, complete at least one major baby-preparation task. Some of these include putting the hospital bag together, learning more about and procuring cloth diapers, re-arranging the house a little and doing some small fixes, prepping freezer meals for the first couple of weeks of craziness, etc. 3. Every day, list at least three tasks (non-baby related as well as individual steps to achieve the major baby-preparation tasks) and complete them. In addition to those changing three things, kitchen counter zero! We have a cleaning lady coming once a week now (hallelujah!), so general cleaning isn't as much of a concern, but the kitchen counters can still get full surprisingly fast. Full kitchen counters are a bummer and make us less interested in cooking good meals, so every night before I go to bed, I'll make sure the counters are clear. (And if anyone is wondering about water intake, I'm totally killin' it with Plant Nanny, so that's not a particular concern for me right now. Currently getting in about 2.5 liters a day.) I'm big into using a paper calendar/planner/agenda thing, so I'll be keeping track of everything there throughout the day. Still, I plan to check in here daily (as much as possible) to confirm that things are going well! (One more thing! I know this isn't much of an "adventurer" challenge, but I've stuck to the adventurers for several challenges before because I really really dig traveling. And this time around, I feel like I'm definitely preparing for an adventure filled with a lot of unknowns...)
  2. 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.
  3. Another attempt! I usually fizzle out around the fourth week, so four-week challenges...could be a good thing! I also turn 30 right at the end of this challenge - perfect timing! 1. Eight glasses of water a day. Dehydration has been getting to me lately. 2. Fiiiiiinally finish Adriene's 30 days of yoga. I have seven more to go, I think. If I finish well before the end of this challenge, I'll think of a further yoga plan. 3. At least once a week, go to the market to buy vegetables and then make a big pot of vegetable soup. So much quicker and easier to get vegetables in when I can just heat up some soup that I've already made. 4. Kitchen counter zero every night before going to bed. I did this for (the first several weeks of) another challenge, and it was so good for my peace of mind. Cooking is also more enjoyable when I actually have room to do it. I'll be traveling the last week of this challenge (and the first two of the next one), so the last two goals will have to be replaced with one or two one-week doable-while-traveling goals. I think these are a good mix of every day / once a week / whenever I can fit in a session so I don't go crazy feeling like I have to do everything every day. There are also a few other things I'm working on, like getting back into a groove of walking and running more (when it's not raining for days on end...) and getting more/better sleep, but I'm not going to make them specific goals here because I don't want to get overwhelmed with too many things to focus on. It would be nice to finish a challenge. So here we go!
  4. Unfortunately without the help of Taye Diggs...then again, anything could happen in the next few weeks! Those of you who've been with me for a few challenges have seen me fizzle out a few times. Traveling, getting used to a new full-time job, and working on finishing my master's thesis got the better of me, unfortunately. Besides a trip I got back from yesterday (which is why I'm only now writing this), I don't have any travel planned during this challenge. I've gotten much more used to the new job and managing my time around it. This weekend will be my last big push to make those final little changes to my thesis, and then that'll be taken care of. That means that I really super duper don't have any excuses this time around. I'm focusing on goals that are somewhat basic - because that's what I need to get back to during this challenge to build up a foundation again - but that have the potential to motivate me to go beyond the basic. 1. 10,000 steps a day (on average) Working full time at home makes it easy to barely leave the house, much less get a good amount of exercise in. I need to get outside and move. I got a Misfit Shine (anyone else? I need friends!) and am keeping track of those steps - 10,000 is a somewhat arbitrary number, but it's good to have a goal. Really I'm shooting for 70,000 a week because I know that some days it'll rain or something else will come up - as long as I walk or run more on the other days of the week, I'll still be good. I said that these goals are basic but allow me to go beyond that, and this is a good example of that. 10,000 steps a day is a good basic level of movement, so that's the minimum I'm shooting for. But I can get way more than that in a day, or I can run a few times a week instead of walking to get those steps in... (I'd also like to join my boyfriend on more bike rides [once I get my bike fixed - booo, flat tire!]. If I go on a longer bike ride with him, that can certainly count as my 10,000 steps for the day, and I'll lower the weekly total goal accordingly.) 2. 30 days of yoga I stole this one from Briniel! She did 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene in the last challenge, and I thought it looked like a great series, so...now I'm doing it! Thanks, Briniel! Yoga's one of those things that I do off and on and always wish I did more of. I need more flexibility, more awareness of my body, more calm strength. The goal here is just to complete all 30 days before the end of the challenge, which gives me a few potential days off, but I'd love to not take too many of those days off so I can get them done even sooner and maybe restart the whole thing again (or move on to another series) before the challenge ends. I know some of them are shorter, so I might occasionally even do one in the morning and one in the evening. Who knows! 3. 3/6/10 3 vegetables per day: That's the minimum. More is good! 6 glasses of water per day: I've been really feeling the effects of not drinking enough water lately. Time to hydrate. No (computer/smartphone) screens after 10 p.m.: Sleep hygiene! This will also encourage me to use that time for productive things like reading, cleaning, playing with the cat so he's tired out and sleeps through the night... This is mostly about the computer - my boyfriend and I usually watch TV while we're eating dinner, and we often eat after 10 (I'm trying to change this, but it's often just how our schedules work out), but I feel like the computer is probably more harmful to sleep hygiene because I'm sitting so much closer to it. Am I just making that up? It's definitely more harmful to productivity! I don't usually spend too much time watching TV besides during dinner. (This particular one will kick in next week - this week I'm still catching up from the trip! And it's mostly just for weeknights, but bonus points for also doing it on weekend nights!) 4. Kitchen counter zero (life goal) This is like inbox zero, but for dishes. Each night before I go to bed, the kitchen counter has to be completely clear of dirty dishes - they're either washed or in the dishwasher. Sometimes I let dishes pile up, and they get more and more intimidating (even though I actually sort of like washing dishes), and then it's no fun to cook or bake because there's no room and no clean dishes, and whenever we want to work on cleaning the house, I always feel like I need to focus on the kitchen first and don't actually get to any other part of the house...augh! So keeping the kitchen counter clean at all times will give me some peace of mind and give me more time to actually clean other parts of the house when we get the cleaning bug. --- I've already written a lot, so I'll leave it at that for now! Guys, I'm excited!
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