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  1. GONE TURBO This is my second challenge in my return to NF. I decided to take a break from NF while I sorted through the pandemic, teleworking, and virtual relationships. It was a good plan, because each day presented new obstacles and challenges while navigating to best ways for finding time and space for fitness and karate training, adjusting to maintaining healthy meals at home, and staying productive at work and in my different self-development programs with the myriad of distractions. Planning a 4 week challenge would have been impossible, because I would be course correcting daily. I took my time and built new routines understanding that they may be temporary. Over time, I developed my new normal with virtual and hybrid Toastmasters meetings, virtual gaming with friends, moved to a new gym, and working a hybrid schedule for work with some telework built in. Some things have been able to return to normal such as karate training, DnD, visiting family and friends, and working on-site but with known risk. The biggest change came in July when I launched my own website: Journey2U.org . I started a blog and coaching business to help others. It is in it's infancy, but it is a project I have been dreaming of launching for a very long time. Having it out there, I am living that part of the dream and building a new future for myself and others. With all these changes, it feels like I am not just in a new world, but like I am playing a whole new game. I'm taking a page from the movie "Wreck-It Ralph". I've Gone Turbo jumping games. So now, here we go with another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. As a Ranger, I tried to Do All The Things in World 1, my first extended stay at NF through 22 challenges where I learned how to develop and pursue health and fitness goals utilizing daily, weekly, and monthly routines. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a better focus for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in an Epic Boss Fight slaying some mighty big life goals. In World 3, I hopped over to the Assassins and continued to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care healing my spine, reaching the high ranks at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and working to complete Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new everyday. I have moved over to the Monks to reach for more diversity in my workouts and culture as my physical and mental training focus has been more on my karate training. As I actively took on more responsibility of coaching, mentoring, and teaching in all aspects of my life, I formed a different me on World 5. Now, I have Gone Turbo into World 6. Every day, I just keep on L-I-V-I-N: fighting the good fight, lighting it up, and leveling up my life!  Challenge Lesson: "Keep On Trying" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds. The next one is for our Orange belt rank. The creed is below: Failure is the road to success. I've written about this many times and so have all sorts of professional writers, industry leaders, self-help advocates, etc. We learn in moments of failure, we gain momentum in moments of success. But how? Well, sometimes we fail because we lack experience or necessary skill. Through practice and preparation in a consequence-free environment, we can gain the experience and skill to succeed. When showtime comes, we are ready to perform. Other times, we may be successful in an overall capacity, but there is room to improve, or smaller areas where we failed to hit the mark. This requires evaluation to see the areas to improve. Self-evaluation may not be enough to catch all the errors. A second or third set of eyes can give you new perspective. Game-tape can be crucial for evaluating, because then we are not relying on memory or interpretation. Now, we understand how to achieve success learning from failure. Let us better understand what this creed is saying about success and failure. It starts off with "I am not judged..." The fastest way to quitting on a learning enterprise is to compare yourself to others, because there is always going to be someone better to put yourself down. It is demotivating. Instead, we should always compare ourselves to our self from the previous day or week. Focusing on our own progress is a great measure of success while building confidence and momentum. Progress is also about failure, where you have understand where the starting place compared to the current place is to know when you have achieved a level of success. My dojo takes the same approach, focusing on progress, consistency, and effort for considerations towards rank elevation. Perfection is never required. These considerations get tighter the higher one ranks, but the instructors and leaders of the dojo would never judge one person against another for rank. The last three words, "Keep on trying!" ties the creed together. This isn't the same try as Yoda refers to in "Do or do not... there is no try," or Mr. Miyagi's "Karate guess so" grape analogy. This try is about persistence, because success, failure, and progress are all part of the process of never giving up. Persistence to achieve your goal is a requirement to succeeding. Without persistence, you give up when you meet failure. Without persistence, you won't keep practicing to make progress. Failure is inevitable. It is what you do after that matters. To be successful, we get back up, we learn from to failure, and most importantly, we keep on trying. With persistence, progress is inevitable. With persistence, success is only a matter of time. I like the way Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest says it: "Never give up, never surrender." My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no end in Jedi training for every light cast a shadow somewhere. Instead, it is a journey of self-discovery and compassion for others. World 6 Level 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. The goal is to get faster and build stamina, but I have to set a starting block to decide where the finish is. Time to measure where I am for my 40 and 100 yard dash, 1 and 2 mile jogs. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min outside with good posture, daily. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - Two classes a week, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. Time to start tracking the weight loss and body measurements again. 166.6 lbs yesterday. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. WIS +1, CHA +1 Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2
  2. My Epic Quest revolves around three things: my family, my personal experiences and skills, and my Jedi training. What about your career, you say? What is the point of a career without a family? How do you excel in your career without a solid understanding of your personal philosophy, ethics, and morals? The first one are kind of personal, so I'm going to keep them out of here for now, but will probably drop some Woots and Blogs every now and then. My Jedi training started when I was a young boy and first saw Empire Strikes Back. Since then, I've always seen myself in Luke. I understood his failings easily because they were easy to relate to. As I grew up, I learned more and more about Jedi philosophy and how to incorporate it into my life. While at graduate school in 2006, I found my first online Jedi community and began trading stories, philosophy, and training. I have always valued my own views and experiences over others, because I am one of the few in the online Jedi community without a spiritual background. I am much more scientific in my views of the "Force" or anything supernatural for that matter. I joined my first online Jedi training school, the Institute for Jedi Realist Studies (IJRS), this past winter and put together a training schedule. The training has three main elements: mind, body, and soul. Each training exercise must incorporate all of these elements. I keep an Excel spreadsheet to track all my goals, but I will share a few here. GOALS (updated 2019-1205) Toastmasters International Pass 5 lessons by Dec 31st, 2012. COMPLETE CC manual by Jan 31st, 2013. COMPLETE 2013-01-22 10 Advanced Manual lessons by Dec 31st, 2013 to earn my Advanced Communicator Bronze. COMPLETE 2013-10-01 Hold a new Club Officer position in July 2013 - June 2014. COMPLETE Complete two Successful Club Series speeches by Jan 14th, 2014 to complete my Advanced Leadership Bronze. COMPLETE 2014-01-18 10 Advanced Manual lessons by June 1st, 2014 to earn my Advanced Communicator Silver. COMPLETE 2014-03-24 Serve as Area Governor July 2014 - June 2015. COMPLETE Complete term as a Club Coach by June 2015. COMPLETE Complete one one-hour Leadership Series speeches by June 2015 to complete my Advanced Leadership Silver. COMPLETE (Speechcraft) Complete 10 Advanced Manual lessons and two Educational Training sessions by June 2015 to complete my Advanced Communicator Gold. COMPLETE Complete both Advanced Communicator Gold and Advanced Leadership Silver to earn Distinguished Toastmaster. COMPLETE. Earn a Triple Crown (3 or more Toastmaster Awards in a year) every year with a minimum of 20 speeches in a year. ON GOING Pathways Program: Effective Coaching (COMPLETE), Dynamic Leadership (COMPLETE), Presentation Mastery (COMPLETE), Engaging Humor (Level 1-4 Complete, Level 5 In progress), Leadership Development (Level 1-4 Complete, Level 5 In progress), Persuasive Influence (Level 1-4 Complete, Level 5 In progress), Team Collaboration (Level 1-2 Complete, Level 3-5 In progress), Motivational Strategies (Level 1 Complete, Level 2-5 In progress) Jedi Training IJRS Courses: Pass Intro, Meditation 101, and Force 101 by March 1st, 2013. COMPLETE 2013-02-14 IJRS Courses: Pass 2 courses (Communication 101 and Creed 101) by December 31st, 2013. COMPLETE 2013-12-30 IJRS Courses: Pass 2 courses. (Spirituality 101 and Personal 101) COMPLETE 2016-12-19 IJRS Courses: Pass 2 courses. (Jedi Studies 101 COMPLETE, Warrior 101 COMPLETE) IJRS Courses: Pass last Novice course. (Situational Awareness 101 COMPLETE) IJRS Novice Exam (in progress) Maintain CPR/AED Certification Expiration January 2021 Self Defense Karate White Belt - COMPLETE November 27th, 2016 Yellow Belt - COMPLETE Orange Belt - COMPLETE Green Belt - COMPLETE, Senior COMPLETE Blue Belt - COMPLETE Red Belt - COMPLETE Purple Belt - COMPLETE Brown I Belt - COMPLETE Brown II Belt - COMPLETE Brown III Belt - COMPLETE Probationary Black Belt - COMPLETE Black Belt Shodan - COMPLETE Black Belt Nidan - In Progress Tool Training Nunchucka Katana Bo Staff Helping Others Extra Life 2016 Gameday COMPLETE 2017 Gameday COMPLETE 2018 Gameday COMPLETE 2019 Gameday, COMPLETE, Gold Medal Fundraiser, +$1k 2020 Gameday, COMPLETE, Gold Medal Fundraiser, +$1k 2021 Gameday, COMPLETE, Gold Medal Fundraiser, +$2k Website, Blogging, and Vlogging Jedi Training Website/Blog - Combining with Coaching Determine Objective Find proper format based on objective Establish Website/Blog Maintain Website/Blog Coaching Website/Blog - COMPLETE and in Sustainment Determine Objective Vision, Values, and Mission Long Term and Short Term Goals Brainstorm Branding (few ideas) Find proper format based on objective Establish Website/Blog Maintain Website/Blog Practice Vlogging (Facebook Live, YouTube) for Website/Blog content Jedi Toastmasters Coaching Fitness Extra Life Charity Home Renovation Electrical and Lighting Wiring for the Deck Electrical and Lighting Wiring for Basement Closet COMPLETE Clean up basement for construction projects COMPLETE Second Basement Bedroom COMPLETE Kids Playroom / Craft Room COMPLETE Clean up Laundry Room / Workshop / Storage Area COMPLETE Fix Electrical Wiring in Laundry Room and First Basement Bedroom COMPLETE Attic Storage Garage Backyard Wiring and Plumbing Backyard Garage and Shed BUCKET LIST: Local US Travel Yosemite Yellowstone Niagara Falls Appalachian Trail Experiences DONE (x2): Hike Mt. Whitney to 10,000 ft (Lone Pine Lake) DONE: Hike with Redwood Trees (Trail of 100 Giants) Hike Mt. Whitney to summit 14,000 ft DONE: Hike Mt. Mitchell to 6,684 ft in Appalachian Mountains (highest East of Mississippi River) Hike and Camp at the Grand Canyon Sky Dive Ride in a Plane / Jet World Travel Asia Okinawa, Japan China Australia New Zealand Rugby Matches Lord of the Rings Moeraki Boulders North America Costa Rica Spotted Lake, British Columbia Whale Watching in Grand Manan, New Foundland, Canada Alaska Hawaii South America Brazil Rain Forest and Amazon River Marble Caves, Chile Cao Cristales River, Columbia Africa Pyramids Safari Europe Greece (Parthenon), Spain, France, Poland, Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, England Physical Feats Free Handstand for 10 seconds without support Free Handstand walk for 5 steps Muscle-Up Toe Above Bar Run 5 miles Run 10 miles Run Half-Marathon
  3. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good fight lightin' it up, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "I Need to Know How to Wield It" [No Spoilers this time for The Last Jedi] Everyday the human body changes. Old cells die and new cell are formed. I read recently that in 7 years, the skin cells of the human body have been completely replenished with new ones. One could argue that the person you are in 7 years is a completely new one. I'd say that the person you have become in 7 years a slightly modified replication, with natural aging appearance, augmented with new experiences and memories to enhance skills. Those new experiences are the ones which help us grow challenging ourselves in new ways. Occasionally, those new experiences will awaken a new passion or bring out a new skill. This can be an exciting or scary time as our comfort zone, status quo, personal priorities, etc are challenged and changed to make room for the awakening. Personally, I have a few new awakenings. I am interested in playing more Magic: The Gathering outside my close friends. The passion I have for the game and the newest release is pushing my interest into doing more than just playing the game with purchased or thrown-together decks. After playing in a Prerelease event, I feel confident I can recognize synergy among cards, use that synergy to build a strong deck, and play socially and competitively without making judgment errors or game play mistakes which would result in embarrassment or upsetting my opponent. These events are not free and require time; therefore, I'll have to pick and choose my battles and balance my other priorities. There is a Cosmic Encounter (my favorite board game) tournament in May which I am very interested in; however, I am also intimidated by the scale of it. One could prop up the other. My IJRS Jedi Novice Training and Karate Brown III training are in the final stages, which is exciting, but I am facing the question about what do I do with it. For both, the natural progression is to teach others. The IJRS may ask that I help tutor Novice students. I want to put together a website to put my knowledge and philosophy out there for others to learn from (I do that here a bit with these lessons). For Karate, I sempai classes, leading small groups. As I progress, the leading will progress as well. When I reach black belt, I may be asked to lead classes. I have to ask myself, what is my personal goals for teaching? How much commitment will it take? Where does it fall on my priorities? There is also Epic Nerd Camp, which I want to be more involved with, but I don't see myself being able to commit the time necessary to do it and meet expectations. I have a lot of desires and commitments which I keep trying to fit in. I keep on looking at my evening Toastmasters club thinking that I will need to step away from it to make time for these other things. But that is such a small commitment compared to the things I am looking to expand on. What else will take a backseat? The scariest part is that is all MY stuff. What about my wife's stuff? My kids stuff? My life is their life which means it is all OUR stuff. The priorities and commitments will be sorted out one way or another. The stuff which doesn't fall on all our lists is the stuff which falls to the bottom. I need to ensure that every voice and passion is heard to craft my stuff to fit the others. Because we share our lives, how I wield my awakened passions is integral to how my family will wield it. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 8 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. 2 Sprints (10 reps), 2 Jogs (30 min), 2 Bikes (10 min), and 2 Racquetball sessions. Track time and distance. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 800 min total, 200 weekly. STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. Track reps for push-ups and sit-ups AMRAP and daily total. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 1000 min total, 250 weekly. Track progress towards belt. Track improvement on all material. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. CON +2 Keep on cutting out the crap - No CheezIts, limit snacking at work, 6 Dr Peppers a week, and limit cheese to 6 meals a week. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 72 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 18 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge) Dishes (15) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (25) Yard Work (2) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($140.90 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 16 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $20 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PENALTIES: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in. Lose $5 for CheezIts, more than 6 Dr Peppers a week, and more than 6 meals with cheese a week. Lose $1 for each snack.
  4. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Light. Darkness. A Balance" [WARNING! The Last Jedi and Karate Kid SPOILERS below] When Luke begins training Rey, he has her sit on a rock eyes closed to reach out and sense the Force: Balance is everywhere. It is in the duality of nature, opposing forces and laws of conservation in physics, and in Star Wars, it is in the Force. The Original Trilogy deals heavily in the duality of the Force with Light versus Dark, Jedi versus Sith, Good versus Evil. The Prequel Trilogy muddies the water a little with the Prophecy claiming a chosen one will bring balance to the Force, which can be argued is fulfilled by Vader, first reducing the Jedi order to two Jedi, then killing the emperor, but is the Prophecy real? How many Force wielders exist in the galaxy which we do not even know about? And so on... The Sequel Trilogy is playing with the duality of dark and light, but it is appearing less about the confrontation between the two and more about how the two complement each other. One cannot exist without the other. Snoke says, "Darkness rises and light to meet it," then explains, "I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger, his equal in the light would rise." Here's a great article about the lines: https://medium.com/@AliyaSmyth/the-most-important-line-in-the-last-jedi-no-one-is-talking-about-2af5996d1b8 There is more to learn coming in Episode IX about this relationship, but back on Earth, we live with balance everyday. Most are physical elements working with and against each other, which are easy to see and understand, but the mental aspects take a bit of experience to begin to construe the cause and effect elements which influence the balance. In exercise, balance is extremely important, like "don't skip leg day" because strong legs are just as important as strong arms. My back muscle and spine issues are a testament to balance. My body was grown for downhill running and forward momentum power playing football and rugby as adolescent. I neglected to strengthen my lower back or gain flexibility in my hips or abdomen. My body was a rolling boulder which could take hits and keep moving. With all the time punishing my body and neglecting proper exercise balance, my spine and back worsen. These days, I'm learning more and more about proper exercises to help build these problem areas and maintain a proper balance. Karate has been awesome for building balance as well, but even before I started taking karate, I always liked to refer to the original film series "The Karate Kid" to describe this concept of balance. I'll stick with only the 1984 first film in the series to keep this post short (well, shorter). If you haven't seen it (It is on cable constantly! How could you not?), then let me explain it quickly. The first film in the series is a straight forward story about two characters. The main character is a teenage boy named Daniel who moves clear across the country from New Jersey to California. In his new school, Daniel has trouble making friends being bullied by a group of kids from the same karate dojo, the Cobra Kais. The second character is a handyman martial arts master named Mr. Miyagi who agrees to teach Karate to Daniel to help him with his bullying issues. While teaching Karate, Miyagi demonstrates that there is more to the martial art than fighting. He taught Daniel many concepts for better living: the main one being balance. After Daniel learns to block, his next lesson is to learn to balance his body. Daniel is eager to learn to punch, but to quell Daniel’s eagerness Miyagi dispatches this wisdom, “Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home.” Daniel learns to keep his body balanced for his karate moves to efficient and effective without giving his opponents opportunity. Later, the night before the karate tournament Daniel admits his nervous and scared, Miyagi helps Daniel see the bigger picture by saying, “Remember lesson about balance? Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better.” Daniel gets it at the end of the movie after he is hurt in the tournament, he is given the option to forfeit the final match. Miyagi feels Daniel has proved himself to win respect from the bullies going further than anyone expected. Daniel sees the injury and forfeit as the Cobra Kais getting a cheap out. He explains to Miyagi that forfeiting won't give him the balance between himself and the Cobra Kais, nor with himself and his girlfriend, Ally, who is a friend of the Cobra Kais. He has to finish the fight. Win or lose, it would show he is not going to let anything keep him down. That warrior mentality along with his prowess as a karate student is something the Cobra Kais will respect. Balance is the key for everyday living. For diet, you have your "balanced breakfast". You should have three "square" meals a day. Of course, there are other moderate diet options with snacking through out the day, 5 small meals, etc. Your workday and home life needs to be balanced to keep both your employer and family happy. Your body needs to be balanced to stay upright. Your body weight and muscles needs to be balanced to avoid back problems. I see this balance lesson at Toastmasters as well. A Toastmasters participation in meetings should have a balance. There are several different roles, each with their own specific lessons. Prepared speeches teach you how to prepare and formulate a speech. Table Topics teaches you to think on your feet. Speech evaluator teaches you to give encouraging feedback. The leadership roles teach you organization, scheduling, problem solving, coaching, listening, improvisation, and encouragement. To get the full benefits from Toastmasters you need to experience each role. Your Toastmasters experience needs to have a balance. Your whole life needs to have a balance. Weigh things to compare, contrast, and compromise. Use moderation in all things to avoid extremes. Find the light and the dark, then understand where the grey is. [SPOILERS Over] My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 720 min total, 180 weekly. Updating to challenge current routine. STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. Adding a nightly exercise routine. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 880 min total, 220 weekly. Adding nightly karate practice with family. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. Keep on cutting out the crap. CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 15 hours each week (reducing for the school year as I need time to help the kids with homework). Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($107.25 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. MORE WRITING! STOP LOSING EASY MONEY! CONSEQUENCE: Lose $20 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $2 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $10 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  5. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you'll never make it through the night." Hope is something which comes and goes. Like motivation. Or passion. Or love. Each of these need attention to be maintained or it will fade with time. Motivation needs to be refreshed. Passion needs to be re-energized. Love needs to be nurtured. Hope needs to held close to the heart. Hope is attached to these other concepts (motivation, passion, love) as well as others, like dreams, beliefs, etc. Hope is a theme in The Last Jedi and will lead to the epic conclusion in Episode IX. In health and fitness, hope is part of our goals. We hope to our plans work out and we meet our goals moving closer to our dreams... When things go off the rails, our goals are obstructed or appear to be out of reach, those are the moments when hope is most important. It has to be held onto through those moments, return with you to the drawing board, and make it to a positive achievement. Hope in something better is what can get us back up after a failure. If we let even a little hope go, then it can all slip through like sand in your hands. Maintaining hope is best done with priorities. We prioritize our lives by what matters to us. Most of us would say that family is our number one priority. Tie your hope for your goal to your number one priority, then it will never fade. My hope is to be a Jedi who influences the world to make it a better place for my children and their children to inherit. That drives me to coach, mentor, and teach others. It drives me to make changes in my life to be a proper role model for everyone who may look up to me. Another hope I have is to maintain a healthy body so that I can take care of my family, and give them as much joy and happiness as I am able. My back injury made me grumpy and sedentary due to pain and discomfort. I committed myself to fixing it. Part of that was financially through doctor visits, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and a spinal injection. The other part is making changes in my daily life to correct poor posture and spinal issues through exercise, diet, and better sitting practices. Hope is your life line. Without hope, your life may be lost. Keep that life line strong with prioritization. With hope, you will always be rescued. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 4 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 800 min total, 200 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. Cut out the crap. Eat salads, not burritos. Eat fruit, not cookies. Eat carrots, not Cheez-Itz. Eat less, not more. TURN UP THE HEAT! TURN DOWN THE EAT! CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 15 hours each week (reducing for the school year as I need time to help the kids with homework). Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($294.35 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 17 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $20 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $2 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $10 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  6. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "This is NOT going to go the way you think!" - Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi {I avoided spoilers this time!} We can plan and schedule everything in life. We can make assumptions, predictions, and estimations. We can set expectations high or low. None of it may amount to a hill of beans. There are always outside factors, randomness, errors, and poor judgement to throw any perfect plan off track. For each of these, we just reset, re-plan, reschedule, and go again. But nothing every goes exactly how we think. Worrying about it, getting frustrated with it, or crying about it is a waste of time and energy. It is a waste of life. Killing time is not murder, it's suicide. In this spirit, I decided to focus on a few items in different ways for this challenge. Chores and Maintenance I have a lot of control over my time. Others Life Categories are effected by how my free time gets chewed up or manipulated by outside factors. Instead, I'll have those tie into my incentives to push me more in those areas. I upped the stakes on my IJRS Lessons. There have been a lot of things keeping me from doing that, most of it on my shoulders for not making it a priority over other things. After Epic Nerd Camp, it'll be time to get it done. The things I prioritized over it, namely Toastmasters, needs to take a backseat for a bit. My evening Toastmasters club may be folding in September. It just has not gone well. I could go on and on about the new Toastmasters education program and it's online platform, but I already vented about it in an email to another Toastmaster. I feel it has a direct correlation with all of my clubs recent struggles with member retention and recruitment. Even I am having difficulty using it, which just shows how poor the user interface and program design is. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 800 min total, 200 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. TURN UP THE HEAT! CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 80 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 20 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($257.20 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 20 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $10 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $1 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $2 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 150.0 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  7. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and a crooked spine causing nerve root irritation and pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With Chiropractor, Back Pain Injection, Purple Senior, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, a new Toastmasters year with less club leadership responsibility (I need to stop carrying clubs on my back to reduce my stress levels), and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, this next challenge is going to feel like a new world. I'm not planning to relive my youth by playing rugby or football again, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility of achieving other amazing fitness goals... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is" - Yoda, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi {The Last Jedi spoilers below} Before viewing "The Last Jedi", many thought Luke would act as Rey's Yoda, dispensing incredible wisdom to the young padawan and train her to be a Jedi knight, making "The Last Jedi" a parallel to "Empire Strikes Back", which it is in many ways and even parallels "Return of the Jedi" in some instances. Instead of Jedi Knight training and memorable philosophical quotes, we get, as one might expect from someone who voluntarily exiled themselves over a traumatic experience which may have doomed the galaxy, a damaged and defeated Jedi Master Luke refuses to teach Rey because he failed in teaching Ben Solo and failed to protect his other students. His failure was not necessarily against Ben or the dark side of the Force. His failure is against fear. In the scene described above, Luke goes to "burn it all down". He is driven to do this through fear of what he and future Jedi would lose should they be trained to oppose the dark side, which is the true Jedi calling. He is ashamed again for acting impulsively, as he did when he ignited his lightsaber to strike down Ben Solo while he slept. Then Yoda invokes the lightning to "burn it all down". It ends up being symbolic as Rey took the ancient Jedi texts. The entire scene and exchange with Yoda boil down to Yoda extending one of the first lessons he bestowed on Luke. Yoda says, "Skywalker, still looking to the horizon. Never here, now, hmm? The need in front of your nose," which is the same lesson from Empire Strikes Back where Yoda says, "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing." Luke's greatest failure has always been that he is reckless in the moment. He looks at what might be and allows it to cloud his judgement in the moment. Yoda explains that Luke's failure needs to be taught to the student, as failure is the best teacher. Until this part of the film, through Luke's entire life, he never learns from this failure and it is left unclear if he does, but it is assumed by the viewer. His sacrifice at the end is intended to be the spark for a new generation of Jedi and Resistance. The film ends with it unclear if Luke learns from his failure and will part the knowledge on to Rey or other Jedi, except for a hint of a return in what he says to Kylo Ren, but I'm leaving that for another lesson. The lesson today is not Luke's lesson (been there, done that), but that of learning from failure. I'm sure I've been there and done that too, and I'm sure anyone reading this has too. Nerd Fitness creator Steve Kamb writes about it constantly. There are numberous quotes with the sentiment. He's a Google Image search for quotes on the subject: One of my favorites is from Batman: "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up." There is so much more to learn from a failure than a success. First, you learn perseverance and determination. Second, you learn how NOT to be successful. The list can go on and on. Maybe later I can write some more. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. (120 min for Karate test on May 27th) DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 220 Hours of various Tasks or Projects, with at least 55 hours each week. Tasks and Projects are the following areas (goal hours for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8) Leadership Practice (16) Speech and Training Development (4) Jedi Training Padawan Training and Mentoring Others (10) Reading and Writing (18) Meditation and Reflection (7) Completing IJRS Lessons (1) Church and Charity Work (13) Personal Projects (12) Chores and Maintenance Dishes (7) Laundry (8) Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (26) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (12) Happiness Self Preservation (23) [includes hot tub, doctor and dentist visits, video games, or anything else I do just for my own sanity or health] Family Activities (16) Adventuring (8) WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($138 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week in which I complete 60 or more hours of Tasks or Projects, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 55 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Personal Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion project CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD 6: $1 for each night I brush and floss before bed. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each night I forget to brush. Lose $2 for voluntarily skipping brushing. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $2 for each cardio session over 25 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. Lose $5 for not weighing in each morning
  8. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and a crooked spine causing nerve root irritation and pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Maz Kanata: Dear child. I see your eyes. You already know the truth. Whomever you're waiting for on Jakku... they're never coming back... But... there's someone who still could. Rey: Luke. Maz Kanata: The belonging you seek is not behind you... it is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes... Feel it... The light... it's always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it. Rey: I'm never touching that thing again. I don't want any part of this. Life will present you with situations which are difficult. Like Finn running from the First Order, you will want to run away from it all. Like Rey, after the horrifying Force Vision, you will want no part in it. Whether you are afraid for yourself or others or whether you just want to stay in your comfort zone, you will find regret in your inaction. Through avoidance and denial, humans tend to lock themselves to behavior and habits which become overwhelming and appear inescapable. Maybe it is a dead end job too difficult to leave, or a family situation too sensitive to handle, or maybe an addiction or habit that is easier to dismiss as inconsequential rather than really seeing the effects it has on yourself or others. Instead of seeing the difficulty, look at it as if life is presenting you an opportunity to challenge yourself and to grow. Growing does not stop when we reach adulthood. Growth can happen every day. You just have to seize the opportunity. The Past is a history lesson from which to learn. The Future is undetermined and can be whatever you choose to make it. The Present is your opportunity to apply the Past to make a brighter Future. It is a gift to be opened every moment. Do not wait for a special occasion. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 12 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 480 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 600 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 300 Tasks or Projects, with at least 75 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (12), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (10), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (24), Church Work (8), Job Work (20), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (60), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +3, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($207 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week, I complete 80 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 75 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD 6: $1 for each night I brush and floss before bed. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each night I forget to brush. Lose $2 for voluntarily skipping brushing. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $2 for each cardio session over 25 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. Lose $1 for each night I skip tooth brushing Upgraded to Reward 6 Lose $5 for not weighing in each morning
  9. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease and crooked spine causing all types of pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my spine and back muscles to slow down the advanced aging. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Baze Malbus: Good luck! Chirrut Îmwe: I don't need luck! I have you! Any journey is difficult to navigate by yourself. Whether we want to admit it or not, no one can do everything by themselves. Sure, if you are lifting a weight, then you lift it with your arms. But you stay safe by having a spotter. You check your technique with a coach watching you. You push harder, because you have a coach pushing you. You recognize your achievements with your cheerleader routing you on. For your workouts, you surround yourself with people who will support you. Every aspect of life should reflect that. Why leave it to luck or chance when you can have a supporting cast to get you through? Sure, it is only you when it comes to deciding what goes into your body. But you have family and friends that you eat with who will also influence your decisions. The positive influences help us make healthy choices. The negative ones need to be weeded out or tuned out. Peer pressure when it comes to diet is crucial. Don't leave it to luck. Surround yourself with the right kind of support. Sure, it is your efforts which get you ahead in school or career, but just like a diet, you need to be aware of the individuals who would drag you down. Surround yourself with those who are going to build you up and help keep you on track. I'm looking at a job change right now. It is my decision to make. I want to stay with my current company. They trust me. They believe in me. They support me in my personal training. They are looking for the right contract opportunity for me to excel and develop while also being interesting and rewarding. They bring in the best and brightest, so they can do these things for everyone in the company. Switching companies would compromise that atmosphere. I trust them, but 4 weeks is a long time to wait. It could be 4 or 8 weeks longer. I may have an important decision to make next week to switch companies to get back to the work I was doing before, just on a different contract, or to stay with my current company and wait for the right opportunity. The biggest difficulty with staying is that I am risking that they could cut me loose at any time, like I was burned with my last company, who I thought I could trust. I was with them almost 5 years doing work which is a growth area for them, but they couldn't put me in a new spot. My current company is not fully invested in my line of work, which makes it difficult for them to find the right opportunity for me... it is a pickle. All the people I would want to talk to about this are all directly involved or influenced by my decision, so it is even harder to talk to them directly or at all about it. To help me make my decision, I am looking for my supporters. Recently, I reached out to several friends to see if there is opportunity outside of these two choices. I've reached out to my Toastmaster friends for support. And my immediate family is well aware of the situation. I have a few more stones to turn over for support. This site being one of them. So if you are reading this, don't wish me luck in my decision. Offer me some encouragement with your own experience as a reference. Don't leave it to luck or chance when you can have support. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 11 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 My leg is healing up, so walking is not going to count this challenge. I'm only counting super sweaty, heart rate elevated cardio. Need to keep it low impact. Gym membership is going to have to get put off until I can get there before work. I'm driving a friend to their work in the morning right now while their car gets fixed. Time to get the bike out to ride around before the sun comes up. Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 480 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 I have a belt test on 3/26 to move up to Purple Belt. They will let me test modified due to the back and leg injury. I'm debating just going all out for the test, because I really shouldn't be doing any of it. I have three stripes left to earn. Purple stripe is a review, which comes last and will include all the modified combinations, which are still painful because I can't modify the turn-back. Red stripe will be easy. It's just a step behind side kick board break which I've modified to an elbow. I should get that tonight. Yellow stripe is Taeguek 6, which I know a quarter of. I've only practiced once in class (last week). They really pushed combinations with us last month, but I don't know how I managed to go a whole month without doing form in class. I don't like having only a week to get it down. Modified for no kicks makes the footwork awkward too. I'll get it, because I'm going to put in the work through the pain. DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +3 I'm on the Spring Mix salad kick this week and next. Red cabbage probably following that. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 300 Tasks or Projects, with at least 75 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (16), Church Work (8), Job Work (20), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (60), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($44 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 80 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 75 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild (missed kick-off meeting and will miss Cecil Con) revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for biking more than 20 min PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs.
  10. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease and crooked spine causing all types of pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my spine and back muscles to slow down the advanced aging. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Chirrut Îmwe: "The strongest stars have hearts of kyber." From Starwars.com: "At the heart of every Jedi lightsaber is a kyber crystal found on several planets, most notably the icebound caves of Ilum. This crystal is attuned to the Force, and connected to a Jedi Knight on a deeply personal level. In this way, a lightsaber is an extension of a Jedi's Force awareness. Because Jedi let the Force guide their selection of the crystal, the vibration that the crystal creates in the lightsaber blade helps Jedi center themselves and find balance in the Force. In this way, a Jedi can center his or her attention beyond the distractions of combat. A lightsaber crystal is colorless until first attuned and connected to a Jedi -- at which times it glows either blue or green, or in some rare instances, another shade. From that point on, it retains that hue." Kyber crystals are rare, powerful, and connected to the Force. When Chirrut says the quote, he is not referring to stars made of hydrogen and other gases. The stars he is referring to are heroes, philanthropists, and other role models who shine bright in the eyes of others. The strongest of them have hearts which are rare, powerful, and connected to the Force. [more to come] My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 10 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 580 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 300 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 400 min total, 100 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 180 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +3 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 280 Tasks or Projects, with at least 70 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (16), Church Work (14), Job Work (16), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (50), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($178 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 75 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 70 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild (missed kick-off meeting and will miss Cecil Con) revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below an 8 minute mile. $10 for running below a 7 minute mile. $5 for running 2 miles in less than 18 minutes. $10 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. $10 for running more than 40 minutes. PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 152.5 lbs.
  11. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease and crooked spine causing all types of pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my spine and back muscles to slow down the advanced aging. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "I am One with the Force and the Force is with me." There aren't many quotes that can so clearly define a Jedi, but this is definitely one of them, spoken, repeated, and chanted by Chirrut Iwme throughout Rogue One. Chirrut is a Guardian of the Whills which is a religious order of monks and protectors of the Temple of the Kyber who preach about the Force to pilgrims visiting the holy city of Jedha. Chirrut is not a Jedi, though in the novelization of Rogue One he achieves a level of Force sensitivity to pull off a couple amazing feats. That level of Force sensitivity comes from his deep commitment to serving the Will of the Force evident in his chanting of the quote. He is not gifted in Force talents like the many Jedi, Sith, and Force-users seen throughout Star Wars, but he has a deep understanding of the Force being an energy field which connects and binds all things. He has deep beliefs that even if he is not gifted, that he can still feel and interact with the Force through being calm, focused, and committed. Commitment, Understanding, and Belief are the foundations for any religious or spiritual person seeking to connect with supernatural beings or forces, whether for prayers, enlightenment, or forgiveness. Chirrut follows the Will of the Force to be enlightened and asks the Force for protection in a few instances. I could go into the details of how Chirrut appears to actually be protected by the Force to serve a greater purpose in bringing balance to the Force (in delivering the Death Star plans to a farm boy on Tattooine), but deconstructing the Star Wars movies is not what I like to do with these lessons. Instead, my goal is to apply the quote in context to the real world for Jedi like me. For anyone seeking to accomplish a goal, Commitment, Understanding, and Belief are the foundations to build on. Commit to it by making it a priority over other matters, understand the resources, obstacles, stakes, consequences, and rewards for the goal to develop a plan, and believe that you can do it which may require you to take a leap of faith. I am One with the Force and the Force is with me. I am One with Life and Life is with me. I am One with my Goals and my Goals are with me. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 9 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 300 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 400 min total, 100 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. *Belt test on January 28th, so I loaded an extra 120 mins to account for it. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 260 Tasks or Projects, with at least 65 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (16), Reading (16), Church Work (14), Job Work (10), Business Projects (10), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (20), Other Chores (20), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (30), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (6). WIS +3, CHA +3 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($160 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 70 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 65 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: setup 2018 Extra Life donation page write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild and Cecil-Con recruitment booth revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website investigate VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $5 for healthy grocery shopping (once a week only) $5 for healthy meal prep (once a week only) $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. (once a week only) $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below an 8 minute mile. (once a week only) $10 for running below a 7 minute mile. (once a week only) $5 for running 2 miles in less than 18 minutes. (once a week only) $10 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. (once a week only) $10 for running more than 40 minutes. (once a week only) PUNISHMENT: After January 7th, lose $10 each day with weight above 152.5 lbs. Giving myself some time to get my weight back down, but I feel so much better when I have been below 152 lbs.
  12. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 188 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). Challenge Lesson: In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke and Obi-Wan have this exchange: Quote Luke: Ben! Why didn't you tell me? You told me that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered my father. Obi-Wan: Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and "became" Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view. Luke: A certain point of view? Obi-Wan: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. In explaining to Luke why he hide his father's identity from him, Obi-Wan instills a simple lesson which every Jedi must learn. Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view. These "truths", whether based on fact or opinion, could be seen as false from another point of view where there are more (or less) facts or just a difference of opinion. It is common for a Jedi to practice looking at a situation from different angles to find the appropriate solution. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Stretch and Strengthen - 500 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 500 min total, 120 weekly STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 2 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 158.0 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. CON +3 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 100 Tasks or Projects, with at least 25 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (2), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (6), Webmaster Work (4), Mentoring (4), Charity Work (2), Jedi Training (4), Self Preservation (2), Reading (16), Church Work (4), Job Work (8), Business Projects (4), Household Chores (24), Yard Work (4), Animal Care (8), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (4), Adventuring (2). WIS +3, CHA +3 Added two new categories. Reading for entertainment is something I have been neglecting. Business Projects includes a few ventures I am working on with the Wizard Laser Tag, a Jedi Training Website, and a Life Coaching Website. Each could result in extra cash if they reach they maximum potential, but personally, that is not the overall goal for any of them. INCENTIVES! REWARD 1: For each week I complete 30 or more tasks, I will put aside $5 to spend how I see fit ($260 carried over). CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 25 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour. CONSQUENCE 2: Lose $5 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $5 for each Jedi Training lesson. CONSQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $5 for fasting on each weekend night after 6pm. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities. An extra $10 for all three nights. CONSQUENCE 4: Lose $10 for each weekend without any fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza. BONUSES: $5 for each advancement in the Speech Contests. Another $5 for first place finishes. $5 for Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance tasks.
  13. Overview / Motivation: I'm very excited for this challenge since I may need to do some temporary overhauls to my challenges for a while after this one. My wife and I are expecting baby #2 around April 20th, so I'm anticipating needing to go into maintenance mode for a while during our adjustment period to no sleep and increased craziness. To add to that fun, I am working to launch my blog before the baby comes as well, so likely during this challenge. So in the meantime, let's push some weights around and get after it! Main Quest: Hit the following benchmarks in strength and stamina: Bench Press 250 lbs. Squat 250 lbs. Complete 20 Pull Ups Side Quests: Average 3 Weight Training Sessions & 1 Heavy Bag-Resistance Band Circuit / Week Points Potential: STR+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Complete 2 NerdFitness Yoga Sessions / Week Points Potential: DEX+3 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average Running 2 Miles / Week Points Potential: STA+2 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin Points Potential: WIS+5 A= Read > 90% B= Read > 80% C= Read > 70% F= Read < 70%
  14. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 185 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). Challenge Lesson: From Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back: Luke: There's something not right here... I feel cold. Death. Yoda: [points to a cave opening beneath a large tree] That place... is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go. Luke: What's in there? Yoda: Only what you take with you. Luke enters the cave with his lightsaber as he is afraid that he may need to defend himself. He encounters Darth Vader. Igniting their lightsabers, they duel. Luke ends the confrontation quickly by beheading Darth Vader. The mask on the head explodes revealing Luke's face under the helmet. There are several lessons inside the cave for Luke to learn. The most obvious is that his fear and anger will lead him directly to the same fate as his father, Anakin Skywalker, who fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader. Of course, Luke can only figure out the "fear and anger can lead to the dark side" part at the time. He'd later learn the other parts from Vader himself. Another lesson within the cave is that Luke showed courage to enter the cave, but hid behind a crutch (the lightsaber). Would Vader have appeared with lightsaber drawn if Luke entered without his lightsaber? We'll never know, but Luke was certainly fearful of the dark side when he entered with his lightsaber. He learned this lesson well following the concluding events of Empire Strike Back. In Return of the Jedi, Luke is clearly embracing his fears of losing the Rebellion and his life by confronting Darth Vader and the Emperor as their prisoner. On two occasions, he removes his crutch from the equation showing real courage, when he surrenders to Vader on Endor and when he defeats Vader in their duel, then turns to confront the Emperor, he throws his lightsaber aside and says he'll never join the dark side and that the Emperor has lost. There is a line in the novelization, "Fear is a great cloud. It makes the cold colder and the dark darker, but let it rise and it will dissolve." For my fear of public speaking, I had to embrace it. Preparing, practicing, and executing public speaking on repeat for 4 years was the only way to beat that fear into submission. I found when I acted confident and comfortable, I eventually felt confident and comfortable. It's the "fake it, until you make it" mentality. I used to be a little afraid of roller coasters. The thrilling rides just weren't my thing when I was 8-11... until I went on a real thrilling water slide called Geronimo, where you basically free fall for a second down this completely vertical slide. After that ride, I decided to give roller coasters a try and haven't looked back. Heights were a problem, too. Everyone has these life preserving fears. Everyone has fears of embarrassment. Confront it with confidence, survive, get more comfortable with it, repeat. Eventually, you confront it without any crutches and conquer it never looking back. A third lesson is in what Yoda says, "Only what you take with you." We humans carry fear, anger, and hate around just as a Jedi would a lightsaber, but it is a lot more difficult to leave these emotions behind. Courage, forgiveness, and knowledge are the ways to leave fear, anger, and hate in the past where they cannot effect the future. Identify fears and find the courage to conquer them. Quell anger with forgiveness. Alleviate hate and ignorance by acquiring knowledge of the situation and circumstances. Check your suitcase. What are you carrying with you? Do you have heavy burdens? Are you collecting and bottling emotions? Do you have fears? Do you know how to unpack the suitcase and lighten your load? Think about what you are taking with you into the unknown. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 10 Challenge: This challenge I am confronting as a Boss Fight. I have some huge milestones and life changes coming to a head this month. When it is over, I will have slain a large beast, gained valuable experience, and uncovered new tools and artillery for future challenges. First, my job is in transition to a new work with my current contract expiring on the 12th. My company plans to move me internally, but I've been there before. I'm on the hunt for new work. I've already interviewed with one company and awaiting client and prime contracting company approval for an offer. I have another lead which could materialize quickly. And I have a few other opportunities which I have yet to pursue. I really wanted to stay where I was though. It is really hard to find a supervisor who truly appreciates and trusts you. It is really hard find work where you are part of a team that is working together with no internal fighting or bickering. It is really hard to find a job which is rewarding in that you can see the difference you are making in the lives of others. I have all that here. I hope to find it again, but I'll really miss what I have here. Second, it is Toastmasters contest season and I am planning to compete hard with my new speech. I have a message which I want to give to the world and make it better. I want a first place trophy outside the club this time. Third, August is coming soon and the Wizard Laser Tag project needs to make some significant progress this month to stay on track for a successful prototype test in March. We have a major design flaw to figure out. I've got ideas, but it is time to work through them. Fourth, I am working towards earning my Yellow belt in Karate class. I have two stripes left, but before the test at the end of February, I want to get my form and balance fine tuned. There is a level of execution expected at Yellow and I want to be the model student. Fifth, with my job transition, my gym time will be effected since I will lose access. I'll need new solutions starting next week. I've been thinking about heading to the YMCA in the mornings, but it'll add a lot of time to my commute, but my hours will be different, so it may not make a difference. Working out at home is an option, but I need to be careful about noise not to wake the wife and kids. I could move workouts to the evening and try to sleep in (good joke there). I am going to keep tracking the same for consistency. The focus is on the life goals so I moved some points around and added some bonus incentives. FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Stretch and Strengthen - 500 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 500 min total, 120 weekly STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 2 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 158.0 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. CON +3 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 90 Tasks or Projects, with at least 20 week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (2), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (6), Webmaster Work (4), Mentoring (4), Charity Work (2), Jedi Training (4), Self Preservation (2), Reading (16), Church Work (4), Job Work (8), Business Projects (4), Household Chores (20), Yard Work (4), Animal Care (8), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (4), Adventuring (2). WIS +3, CHA +3 Added two new categories. Reading for entertainment is something I have been neglecting. Business Projects includes a few ventures I am working on with the Wizard Laser Tag, a Jedi Training Website, and a Life Coaching Website. Each could result in extra cash if they reach they maximum potential, but personally, that is not the overall goal for any of them. INCENTIVES! REWARD: For each week I complete 20 or more tasks, I will put aside $5 to spend how I see fit ($200 carried over). CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 20 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. BONUSES: $5 for each Business Project hour. $5 for each advancement in the Speech Contests. Another $5 for first place finishes. $10 for fasting on Saturday nights. It is the unhealthiest night of the week. Time to change that. Fruits and veggies only after 4pm.
  15. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 142 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). Challenge Lesson: "Ohhhh... Great warrior... Wars not make one great" -- Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Luke comes to the swamp world of Dagobah looking for the Jedi Master, Yoda. He meets an odd alien hermit after crash landing in the swamp. Their exchanges are quite comical as Luke's frustrations with the swamp and his search set in and are exasperated by the odd alien hermit. Finally, Luke tells the odd alien hermit he is looking for someone, a great warrior. The hermit replies with the above quote, "Wars not make one great." I agree with the odd alien hermit for three reasons. First, because he is Yoda! You can't disagree with the Grand Master of the Jedi! Second, it is not victory in war which brings about greatness, but all the work to get there. War is something that has been glorified through stories of drama and action to recount history or to entertain through all eras of humanity. Today, it is through film, television, and books that war and the heroes of war are glorified. The heroes are the main characters who could always be described as "great warriors" at the end. A great warrior is the successful victor in battle. The focus is on their accomplishments and achievements, not on the path which led them there. Not every great warrior starts out great. They have training, struggles, defeats, learning, practicing to go through before they can find success and claim victory over their opponents. War is conquest and conflict where there are winners (the great warriors) and losers (not yet great warriors). The loser of war or conflict has an opportunity to learn from failure. After they learn from failure, they can then achieve greatness and be a great warrior, but the war is not what makes them great. It is the training, struggles, defeats, learning, practicing which makes them great. But for my third reason, you have to take the quote in context. Yoda is indicating a slightly different lesson. A Jedi's purpose is to serve others, respect all life, and protect all life from those who wish it harm for personal gain. A Jedi accomplishes these things by being one with the Force to see the "right" path forward to find solutions and results that benefit everyone involved and do not have harmful effects in the future. Luke refers to the Jedi Master as a Great Warrior, but Yoda undercuts the compliment by implying the Jedi do not seek greatness through being a warrior. Jedi fight as a last resort. Jedi use the Force for defense, never for attack. Instead, a Jedi achieves greatness through their servitude of the light side of the Force. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 9 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +2 Exercise: Stretch and Strengthen - 500 min total, 120 weekly. STR +2, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 500 min total, 120 weekly STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 2 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 159.0 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 75 Tasks or Projects, with at least 15 a week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (2), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (6), Webmaster Work (4), Mentoring (4), Charity Work (2), Jedi Training (4), Self Preservation (2), Reading (8)Church Work (4), Job Work (4), Business Projects (4), Household Chores (16), Yard Work (4), Animal Care (8), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (3), Family Activities (4), Adventuring (2). WIS +2, CHA +2 Added two new categories. Reading for entertainment is something I have been neglecting. Business Projects includes a few ventures I am working on with the Wizard Laser Tag, a Jedi Training Website, and a Life Coaching Website. Each could result in extra cash if they reach they maximum potential, but personally, that is not the overall goal for any of them. INCENTIVES! REWARD: For each week I complete 15 or more tasks, I will put aside $5 to spend how I see fit ($215 total saved so far). CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. BONUS: $5 for each Business Project hour.
  16. Overview / Motivation: While I normally hang out with the Rangers, I wanted to / needed to take a break from the physical workouts to recover (nagging sickness hit me on New Year's Day that I can't kick), and more importantly dedicate more time to work on my mental and spiritual state. I took the week off between Christmas and New Years thinking it would be a great time to relax and reflect on the past year. While it was relaxing, I actually found myself struggling to see the progress in some areas of my life. This time has left me questioning the path I am on, and I thought starting my year off with the Druids would be a great way to get my mind right and crush 2017! I'm looking forward to digging into Meditation, Journaling, and some physical activity to align myself for the year. Main Quest: Dig into my mental and spiritual self during a break from the Rangers - begin to find a bigger sense of meaning for my life and how I can make a lasting IMPACT. Side Quests: Complete a Guided Meditation Daily Points Potential: CON+3 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% F= Average < 70% Complete 10 Journal Entries (Focused on thinking through a potential future blog/business and entires for various chapters in the WOW Book) Points Potential: WIS+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% F= Average < 70% Average 4 Workout Activities / Week (Minimum of 2 NerdFitness Yoga Fire Routines, other activities may include cardio or weight training) Points Potential: STA+4 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 70% Life Quest: Read Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life Points Potential: CHA+3 A= Read > 90% B= Read > 80% C= Read > 70% F= Read < 70%
  17. Welcome back for another episode of the exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 142 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). Challenge Lesson: "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future." -- Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Yoda is very powerful and knowledgeable in the Force. Typically, he has the ability to see events well into the future, but it can be clouded by the dark side or the tipping of scales of large decisions. In this quote, Yoda was specifically referring to the fates of Han, Chewie, and Leia in the hands of Darth Vader on Bespin since Luke's choice to stay or go and his potential to fall to the dark side factored heavily into the events outcome, but Yoda's words carry more weight to it. Predicting the future is always reliant on current conditions and knowledge. As things happen and new things come to light, those predictions become more or less likely. The predictions could drastically change due to new information or occurrences. There are too many unforeseen variables at times. Being aware of how our decisions can influence the future is important to achieving the future we desire. Being aware of outside influences and the potential for unpredictable occurrences can help prepare for detours and breakdowns. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 7 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +2 The weekly plan is a minimum of two tabata runs with Pokémon Go. These runs are to include at least 5 sprints of ~50 meters for increased intensity. It's getting cold outside, so I may move to a treadmill for a few of the runs. We'll see how it goes. I'll also have 60 minutes of racquetball on Fridays. I'd like to do some field or gym training for rugby, soccer, and football footwork and ball work, as well. Exercise: Stretch and Strengthen - 500 min total, 120 weekly. STR +2, DEX +1 The weekly plan includes 10 minutes of regular stretching each day, two 20 minute sessions of physical therapy exercises and 20 minutes of other strength training each week. The minimum leaves 40 minutes to make up by the end of the challenge. Karate: Training and Practice - 500 min total, 120 weekly STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 Better to count Karate by itself. It is too difficult to predict or categorize the classes as Cardio or Strengthening. Plan is 2 classes a week for 45 min each. Add a third class or a individual practice for the last 30 min. DIET: Weight Control - Lose 2 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 159.5 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. CON +2 Going to eat salad and veggies as much as possible with apples and dark chocolate as my sugary snacks. Avoid soda, ice cream, and potato chips. Minimize cheese and nuts. Most importantly, I have to continue to watch my portions. I cannot ever have two "large" meals in one day. Aiming for one small meal and one medium meal a day, keeping breakfast as small as possible. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Tasks or Projects, with at least 12 a week, from any of the following areas (max for challenge, no more than 3 each per week): Toastmasters Communication Practice (2), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (4), Webmaster Work (6), Mentoring (8), Charity Work (8), Jedi Training (4), Self Preservation (2), Church Work (4), Job Work (8), Household Chores (8), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (8), Home Renovation (8), Auto Maintenance (8), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 No longer worried about diversity. I want to continue to get the important weekly things done while looking for the neglected areas. I NEED to revisit my IJRS Jedi Training this challenge. It has been too long. Auto Maintenance will be important to get to before the weather gets too cold and icy. Same with any Home Renovation and Yard Work. Incorporating a reward and consequence has been really helpful, so I'll keep doing that. REWARD: For each week I complete 12 or more tasks, I will put $10 aside for buying something just for me. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 12 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. BONUS: $5 for each IJRS Lesson completed. Major Dates: Disney World Dec 1st-5th, Christmas Weekend Dec 23rd-26th. Each of these periods will need to be planned carefully to meet my goals.
  18. Welcome back for another episode of the exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 136 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). Challenge Lesson: "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship." -- Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back What my experience at Nerd Fitness has taught me is that there is always time, it is just a matter of priority. There is no to-do list too daunting, there is no bar too high, and there is no skill that cannot be learned. It takes prioritization, motivation, and determination. There will be failures along the rode, but those are learning opportunities. There will be obstacles in your way, but those are problem solving opportunities. There will be risks and consequences to the journey, but those are just costs for the reward. Size is just a measurement from a perspective. Find what aspect of you perspective the size is relevant to and change it. The size will change with it. Think of yourself as an ant. Everything human is huge or irrelevant to your life. Think of yourself as the moon. Everything on Earth is tiny and irrelevant to your life. Now, relate that to your goal. What are the things that make the goal appear impossible? How can you turn those things into something possible? Let's say you overweight and would like to be able to run a mile. You are 30, the last time you ran a mile was high school, and even then it was a chore. That goal looks enormous. Well, you can't do anything about your age, but you can do something about the weight. You can do something about your puny muscles and weak lungs. Pretend those obstacles are solved. Does the mile still look difficult? Now, take aim at the sub-goals you have: lose weight, gain muscles, build stamina. Find the aspects that make the task difficult. Of course, Yoda is speaking specifically of the Force and how it knows no bounds. Just as the Force has no bounds, neither should one's belief in it. Belief, creativity, passion, empathy, faith, ambition are just a few concepts which know no bounds. Artificial bounds in these concepts stunts growth and understanding. If you want to be enlightened, then find a path across any artificial bounds in these areas. Sometimes it is another matter of changing perspective. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 7 Challenge: FITNESS: Work Up a Sweat - 600 minutes of conditioning training for the entire challenge. DEX +2, STA +3 The weekly plan is a minimum of two 60 minute tabata runs with Pokémon Go. These runs are to include at least 5 sprints of ~50 meters for increased intensity. It's getting cold outside, so I may move to a treadmill for a few of the runs. We'll see how it goes. I'll also have 60 minutes of racquetball on Fridays. I'd like to do some field or gym training for rugby, soccer, and football footwork and ball work, as well. Stretch and Strengthen - 600 minutes of exercises and stretches for the entire challenge. STR +2, DEX +1 The weekly plan includes 10 minutes of regular stretching each day, two 20 minute sessions of physical therapy exercises and 30 minutes of other strength training each week. The minimum leaves 40 minutes to make up by the end of the challenge. DIET: Weight Control - Lose 2 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 161 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. I tend to over eat at gatherings on the weekend. I plan to eat as little as possible at the next gatherings, Thanksgiving included. CON +3 Going to eat salad and veggies as much as possible with apples and dark chocolate as my sugary snacks. Avoid soda, ice cream, and potato chips. Minimize cheese and nuts. Most importantly, I have to continue to watch my portions. I cannot ever have two "large" meals in one day. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 28 Tasks or Projects from any of the following areas: Toastmasters Communication Practice, Toastmasters Leadership Practice, Webmaster Work, Jedi Training, Job Work, Charity Work, House Work, Yard Work, Animal Care, Home Renovation, Auto Maintenance, Family Activities, Adventuring (to keep it diverse, no more than 4 from any one category) WIS +2, CHA +2 I need to revisit my IJRS Jedi Training this challenge. It has been too long. Auto Maintenance will be important to get to before week 4 as we have a long drive for Thanksgiving. Same with any Home Renovation and Yard Work. Incorporating a reward and consequence has been really helpful, so I'll keep doing that. REWARD: For each week I complete 7 or more tasks, I will put $10 aside for buying something just for me. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 7 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. Major Dates: Nov 5th Extra Life Game Day, Nov 19th My Birthday, November 22nd-26th Thanksgiving Travel. Each of these weeks will need to be planned carefully to meet my goals.
  19. Welcome back for another episode of the exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 136 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). So what is my story? As I said, I've been here before. I kicked a lot of butt progressing through 22 challenges since 2012, until middle of 2015. After struggling to maintain a presence here through the first half of 2015, I struck out on my own as I had conquered many obstacles here, learned many lessons, and felt I was ready to implement a new accountability strategy for I had developed a strong supporting cast in real life to keep me accountable. Alas, a back injury and a "layoff" crumbled all my plans. I am recovered from both now, more or less. In October, I started a new job only three weeks after my old one ended. The growing pains are over and now I feel entrenched in my new world. In October and November, I took a lot of time off from fitness to allow my back to heal. In December, I started physical therapy to strengthen my back. I have occasional flare ups, but for the most part, I have my body functioning like its old self. Well, an out-of-shape and over-weight old self. Today, I am wrapping up my last physical therapy session. It is like I am back at square one, or Level 1 for my character here. But it is not like my character died and I have a new one. My knowledge and experience is retained. Instead of hitting the reset button, I'll jump to World 2 complete with new challenges and obstacles. Old foes may come back, but they will require new techniques to defeat them. I am still a Jedi in training, learning from the old masters, unlearning what I have learned, practicing the new techniques, and improving daily. Challenge Lesson: "Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless." - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back [emphasis mine] Last challenge, I discussed commitment a bit analyzing the "Do or do not" quote from Yoda eliminating "Try" from my vocabulary. This challenge, I take another look at commitment in regards to seriousness for Jedi training and applying it to real life. Yoda says specifically, "A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind." (bold above) There is no joking or tomfoolery when it comes to Jedi. Being a Jedi is serious business with serious consequences for not taking it seriously. In Star Wars, it is a matter of life or death for the whole rebellion if Luke Skywalker was not paying enough attention during his failure in the cave. For a Jedi in Star Wars, commitment to training and Jedi ideals comes before all else, even a Jedi's friends. Yoda demands that Luke stay at Dagobah and complete his training instead of rushing off to save his friends from Darth Vader. "If you honor what they fight for" Yoda says. By going off to save his friends, Luke endangered everything the Rebellion had accomplished and would accomplish in the future, because he was their last hope of defeating the Emperor. Only with Luke fully trained as a Jedi could the Rebellion destroy the Emperor and put an end to his tyranny. Luke is not well prepared for facing off with Darth Vader, but his fortitude in the light side of the Force (through the love for his friends) is better than Yoda and Obi-Wan realized. Luke survives and returns to complete his training keeping his promise to Yoda and Obi-Wan, keeping his commitment to the Rebellion, the Jedi, and the Light side of the Force. It is tricky to analyze and understand peoples motives for keeping committed to something. For me, my commitment to Toastmasters is three-fold. I have a deep desire to continue to improve and discover myself. Toastmasters gives me that opportunity in a variety of ways. I have a deep desire to impact the lives of others in a positive way, influencing them to improve themselves and reach their highest potential. Toastmasters gives me the opportunity to coach and mentor people in a variety of ways while watching them grow as individuals. Lastly, I developed the worst fear of public speaking through many traumatic embarrassing experiences, where Toastmasters helped me get over it and will continue to ensure I am never that scared person again. For other Toastmasters, I am still searching for their why to help hook them in and keep their commitment. I have decided that each Toastmaster can use the stage to find their why for other things. By writing and giving speeches, a Toastmasters will have to look at themselves and their genuine feelings on subjects. Sure, presenting facts is easy, but defending your personal opinion or belief in front of a crowd calls for a deep commitment to those opinions or beliefs. If you don't feel strongly for something, then it will be difficult to be confident in your stance and persuasive in your speech. However, if you have passion for something, a deep commitment, a most serious mind, then you will speak with enthusiasm and excitement. That enthusiasm and excitement is contagious. It will infect the audience, grab their attention, and influence them towards your opinions or beliefs, facts be damned. By finding these passions, beliefs, and opinions which one is most committed and excited for, the individual will discover who they are underneath the frightened and embarrassed outer shell sheltering us from the potential thoughts and actions of others. Find your voice, find your confidence. The deepest commitment is something where tomfoolery is unacceptable. It is where passion and enthusiasm reside. With a deep commitment, mountains can be moved. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Work Up a Sweat - 500 minutes of conditioning training for the entire challenge. DEX +2, STA +3 The weekly plan is a minimum of three 30 minute tabata runs with Pokémon Go, plus plenty of walking, hiking, or other activities. I crushed my goal last challenge, but my family has returned home. They throw a wrench in all plans I make for evenings and weekends. Stretch and Strengthen - 520 minutes of exercises and stretches for the entire challenge. STR +2, DEX +1 The weekly plan includes 10 minutes of regular stretching each day, two 20 minute sessions of physical therapy exercises and 20 minutes of other strength training each week. DIET: Weight Control - Lose 4 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 167 lbs. CON +3 I'm starting at 163.2 lbs as of August 22nd. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 16 Tasks or Projects from any of the following areas: Toastmasters, Webmaster, Jedi Training, Work, House Work, Home Renovation, Auto Maintenance, Family Activities (to keep it diverse, no more than 3 from any one category) WIS +2, CHA +2 I'm still procrastinating, deciding to do the fun stuff first and delay the less fun stuff. I need a rewards system for getting the hard stuff done. For each week I don't procrastinate undesirable tasks (where I think "I'll do it later") where I overcome procrastination and do it or at least work on it, I'll reward myself with one game of Madden Saturday morning. If I procrastinated at all, then I have to give up my morning to working on something I procrastinated. This plan won't influence my goal grade, but it will give me incentive to do all the things, instead of just the fun ones.
  20. When a Ranger is also a sheepdog, she may tend toward surrounding herself with mentees, protectees, students, and sheep who need her protection and guidance. This is as it should be--what good is it to accomplish anything if the lessons learned aren't shared, and the strength not put to good use?--but it may lead to an isolation of sorts, even in the midst of a crowd. That's the isolation that happens when everyone around one is looking to one for answers, and one has nowhere to turn with questions. I see that I'm going there again, running headlong into yet more interesting leadership activities, and making an effort not to isolate myself for a change. I have a good team at work (amazing boss included), and some folks in my hacker world who know I'm just human, but I'd like to have another high-achiever and leader in the realm of physical things to chat with as well. I'm not looking for someone who's learning to give up soda or walk 30 minutes a day for the first time. You aren't a bad person, you're just not where I am right now. I'm not especially looking for someone who's just chugging along being a natural athlete, either. I'm looking for someone with a few miles on their odometer, who's used to clawing through challenges, and who is currently in at least one leadership position...someone with enough accomplishments under their belt that I can talk openly about the things I'm working on without having to choose my wording carefully to avoid sounding arrogant or otherwise hurting feelings. Bonus points for overachievers, workaholics, operators of various kinds, sheepdogs, rangers, and anybody who holds themselves to standards others find ridiculous. Bonus points to anyone who doesn't fit any of the usual molds. The best ways to communicate with me are usually email, IRC, and SMS, though I do make an effort to catch up on phone calls at least once a week if that's better for you. I assume that if we find some mutually satisfactory mode, a rhythm will sort itself out before long. I expect this to be a fair give-and-take. Below is a bit about me, though you may also find my introduction, why I'm a Ranger, and my first and second challenge threads interesting. Some History, in no particular order: Volunteered for over a decade working with at-risk, abused, and traumatized youth and adolescents as well as survivors of domestic abuse in shelter and counseling center and outreach settings.Volunteered for a few years as a search-and-rescue worker: medic, field engineer, scene commander, and other jobs as needed.Grew up on a farm surrounded by some rough neighborhoods.Studied a number of martial arts, including an experimental modern knife fighting style, Apache tomahawk fighting, and Shorei Goju-Ryu karate.Spent most of my adult life (and most of my young life, for that matter) obese due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), only recently diagnosed. Did SAR and martial arts at high levels anyway.Proud hacker who learned her trade informally with the mentorship of many bright and wonderful people. Details at http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/girls-and-software if you're interested.Co-author of two tech books.Bopped around the tech startup world as a freelance developer, security geek, and consultant for a number of years.I've been up and down the socio-economic ladder.Some Current Events, also in no particular order: Mom to a wonderful 13yo son.Working out of a computer security research center attached to Indiana University.Backpacker, hiker, weightlifter, whatever-looks-interesting-this-week-er.In the process of buying a house.Staff director at a nonprofit, the Internet Civil Engineering Institute.Leader of New Guard, a mentoring group for early- and mid-career technologists interested in helping to fix and maintain aging internet infrastructure.LinuxJournal columnistTrying to find time for other writing projects.Trying to find time for my love life.Constantly straddling social divides... engineer/academic, hacker/egineer, academic/hacker, different socio-economic classes, different political groups, etc. to try to get things done.Constantly trying to balance social/leadership and technical challenges at work and in other endeavors.Semi-frequently dragged into nonsensical "women in tech" and other identity politics messes.Figuring out how to shape my training now that I'm no longer active in SAR. I've gone from trying to shape my body to a performance purpose to...I don't know exactly what.Mentoring some students at work, looking at taking on two more leadership projects in the next year.Dealing with my lack of pedigree and what that may mean for long-term career direction. So...are you out there?
  21. Avengers Assemble!!! Last challenge there was some misguided intentions.... but then a glimmer of hope and a new direction. So, what I need to do is take hold of this glimmer and run with it. And so I shall!!! With a little help and some charting and graphing, things shall be better. And it so greatly helps that I now have more freedom than I have had in almost a half decade!!! So now, time to call on my support system (goals)!!! War Machine War Machine is donned by Lt. Colonel James Rhoads, friend of Tony Stark. War Machine was originally one of the early Iron Man designs but was beefed up with enough armaments to level a small country. Last time I started with one very vague plan but then someone gave me the inspiration to try one of the Darebee workouts and it was going very well. So, what I NEED to do is beef up this workout program. What I will do is reset that workout and add onto it. Yes, it might sound like I'm going to possibly overdue it but I am confident that I will be able to grab onto it and run with it So, I'm going to reset the Foundation workout (hopefully to push myself into Level 2 on some of those workouts) and I'm going to add the Total Abs 30 Days of HIIT Darebee workout (after trying one day of it last week I feel that the Total Abs workout isn't going to go well because I didn't feel like I had good form... and that's just day one!!). So, here's the preview of the new workout: The plan: Do both workouts Daily, DOMS be damned!! (1 pt/each per day) Falcon Falcon, friend to Captain America (and no, I didn't purposely put both War Machine and Falcon back to back for the sake of Civil War..... or did I?!? ), was a paratrooper, using the Falcon Exo-skeleton for combat missions, until his partner had been killed in action. Sometimes, when tragedy strikes, you refocus your energy onto other activities (he decided to support others with PTSD). What I need to do is also refocus my energies again when it comes to my food choices. My new direction on food needs to be this: Firstly, I'll get back to tracking my food to visually see what I'm eating. Secondly, I'm going to give myself extra credit for not eating garbage (garbage being defined as fast food, including take out, and excessive amounts of snacks). The plan: Track food consuption (1 pt/day) and good food choices (1 pt/day) Ant Man Scott Lang was a 'thief' that was given an opportunity to help himself, his family, and Hank & Hope Pym. Donning the Ant Man suit, he is able to shrink down in size, still retain his strength, and be able in interact with ants, having them help him. I like this picture of Ant Man for two reasons: it's the first time he uses the suit and it looks like he's giving the thumbs up The other portion of this scene is him dealing with the power for the first time, which involves him running like hell from water. A great place to restart my need to drink more water in my life. While it's not the amount suggested for daily consumption, my goal is to get in 48 ounces of water daily. I clearly do not drink enough water daily and it needs to change. The plan: 48 ounces of water daily (1 pt/daily) The Vision The Vision is J.A.R.V.I.S (the computer system of Tony Stark's) uploaded into a body originally intended to be the final form for the automaton Ultron. With the Mind Stone embedded into him, he has a sense of humanity's chaos but also a compassion for humans. The Vision, to me, seems to be the wise despite everything the world has in it. So what I need to do is get back to really committing to the community and staying there with my comrades in arms. I remember back in the day that I will support the newest Rebels and keep up fully with my Assassins and other Rebels. I need to wade back into the water of that commitment to my fellow men and women! So what I will do for this is interact with no less than 4 of my fellow Rebels DAILY!!! And Likes don't count, I have to put something down in words. The plan: 4 interactions daily with my fellow people (one-quarter pt/daily) Time to get classy and in shape!!!
  22. Welcome back for another episode of the exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It seems like forever ago that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I have been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 126 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). So what is my story? Well, I’ve been here before. I kicked a lot of butt progressing through 22 challenges since 2012, until middle of 2015. After struggling to maintain a presence here through the first half of 2015, I struck out on my own as I had conquered many obstacles here, learned many lessons, and felt I was ready to implement a new accountability strategy for I had developed a strong supporting cast in real life to keep me accountable. Alas, a back injury and a "layoff" crumbled all my plans. I am on the road to recovery for both. In October, I started a new job only three weeks after my old one ended. The growing pains are over and now I feel entrenched in my new world. In October and November, I took a lot of time off from fitness to allow my back to heal. In December, I started physical therapy to strengthen my back. I have occasional flare ups, but for the most part, I have my body functioning like its old self. Well, an out-of-shape and over-weight old self. It is like I am back at square one, or Level 1 for my character here. But it is not like my character died and I have a new one. My knowledge and experience is retained. Instead of hitting the reset button, I'll jump to World 2 complete with new challenges and obstacles. Old foes may come back, but they will require new techniques to defeat them. I am still a Jedi in training, learning from the old masters, studying the new practices, and constantly improving. Challenge Lesson: "Your focus determines your reality." Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Master, drops this very lesson on Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace when he said, "Always remember, your focus determines your reality." A few years ago, I went on travel for work to Lakehurst, New Jersey. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the hotels were either booked with displaced people or FEMA workers. Lucky for me, I have a friend in the area unaffected by the storm and with his beer fridge fully stocked! It’s not the Government per diem hotel I’m used to with a king-sized bed, HD TV, and access to a gym and pool. Instead, I sleep on a pull-out couch sharing the room with a crated dog. Later in the night, I find I also share the bed with a cat, who decided to make me head a nice pillow. Since the cat woke me up, I decide to roll over to check the time: 2:13. Facing the kitchen doorway now, I see a light coming from an open refrigerator. There is nobody there, but its contents are distributed all over the floor. Then, a pair of bare feet inch out of the fridge followed by the rest of a young boy, my friend’s youngest son Harry. The boy freezes upon seeing me. We stare at each other with me trying to figure out why the boy has emptied the fridge on the floor, while the boy appears to be trying to figure out an explanation. “What are you doing?†“You should see this.†“See what?†“The back of the fridge… come over here.†Being careful not to step on any of the precariously stacked food, I move toward the fridge. There appears to be an open door inside. Not a butter door or freezer door… more like a closet door. I get closer and lean to see inside. “There is a zoo inside your fridge!†“Shhh! You’ll wake everyone.†“Why is there a zoo inside your fridge?†Harry shrugs his shoulders at the question and crawls inside. I shrug my shoulders and follow. The first zoo animal we see is a purple gorilla. “Whatever you do… do not touch the purple gorilla.†“Huh?†“DON’T TOUCH THE PURPLE GORILLA!†“Alright, alright. I got it.†“Ok. I’m going to bed. Can you clean up for me?†“Whatever, kid, I’m going in.†And with that, I go into the zoo and Harry goes into the kitchen on his way to bed. I look over the animals, which seem pretty normal except for exceptional colors. The purple gorilla appears docile and friendly. I briefly ponder Harry’s warning as I continue down a path leading to the rest of the zoo. Losing track of time as I view all the animals, I eventually find my way back to the gorilla, which is now asleep. While looking at the pleasant, sleeping gorilla, I remember how docile and friendly it was. I wonder, “What could Harry possibly be worried about?†I reach through the bars, hesitate for a moment, and pet the gorilla’s fluffy purple fur. Not a twitch or a tremble from the animal. I pull my hand away and head for the door. Not two steps into my stride, that I hear an earsplitting roar from behind me. I turn to see an angry, fierce gorilla roaring while showing his long, sharp teeth. I stumble backwards a little bit before I realize that the beast is in a cage, but not for long. The animal displays incredible strength bending the iron bars apart like they were clay. I scream an expletive and run for the door, diving through and landing face first in a leftover apple pie. Standing up quickly, I turn to run to the living room tripping over a jar of pickles, then regaining my balance by stepping into a half-eaten cake, but my next step is on top of a carton of milk which just explodes spilling milk and me all over floor. Not waiting to see if the gorilla will follow me through the door, I clamor to my feet, stumble into the living room, and climb under the pull-out bed. I hear the purple gorilla stomp into the living room in a huff followed by the sound of furniture being tossed around. Then silence. I listen intently. The convertible couch lifts off the floor and flies across the room revealing the huge, monstrous gorilla. I lock eyes with the purple beast as I lie on floor, quivering and crying as I await my death. The gorilla roars like thunder pounding its chest. Then it reaches for me with one large open hand… and pats me on the head. “Tag, you’re it.†Remember, your focus determines your reality. Our minds establish routines and habits based on what we experience. Human instinct is to believe what we see, but we will also interpret what we think we see and what we expect to see. Reality isn’t always what we think it is or expect it to be. People used to think that the world was flat, the Earth was at the center of the universe, and the moon was made out of cheese. Scientific breakthroughs are found by changing a perception through a very controlled experiment to test a hypothesis. There is a story about six blind men who were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body. One feels a leg says it’s is like a pillar; one feels the tail says it’s like a rope; one feels the trunk it’s like a tree branch; one feels the ear says it’s like a hand fan; one feels the belly it’s like a wall; and one feels the tusk says it’s like a solid pipe. Each is only experiencing a piece of the puzzle. Together, they can complete the puzzle. We get a follow-up lesson from Obi-Wan Kenobi in Return of the Jedi: In this part of the conversation, Obi-Wan is explaining how perception frames how you think and what you think. The things we believe are true have a foundation built from our perception or view. It is difficult for us to believe in anything without an experience to back it up whether it is first, second, or third hand. These beliefs give us a background for comparison, a springboard for decision making, and a basis for logic. If something appears true from one perceptive, but false from another, then one can encounter difficulty whether someone is hiding your family's past from you or whether you are counting squares in an IQ test puzzle. The difficulty is from seeing only a portion instead of the entire thing. There is a story about six blind men who were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body. One feels a leg and says that it is like a pillar; one feels the tail and says that it’s like a rope; one feels the trunk and says that it’s like a tree branch; one feels the ear and says that it’s like a hand fan; one feels the belly and says that it’s like a wall; and one feels the tusk and says that it’s like a solid pipe. Each is only experiencing a piece of the puzzle. Together, they can complete the puzzle. I’ll let 1932 Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg summarize my thoughts. “We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.†To understand any new concept or situation, search for the other perceptions or points of view. If you ask the same questions and use the same methods, then you should expect the same answers. Try something different, or even unusual, to get a better view on reality. There is a saying about not understanding until you've been in someone else's shoes. When you are confronted with an idea you do not understand or a problem which you cannot solve, try changing your shoes, because your perception determines your reality and reality is more than meets the eye. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 2 Challenge: FITNESS: Work Up a Sweat! – 340 minutes of conditioning training for the entire challenge. DEX +2, STA +2 The weekly plan is 60 minutes of racquetball on Friday and two 10 minute fast walks. I added an extra 20 minutes to work in. Fast walks can be replaced by jogging, swimming, biking, or rowing (haven't done since my injury, but may be ready to test) depending on what I feel like doing. Stretch and Strengthen – 700 minutes of exercises and stretches for the entire challenge. STR +2, DEX +1 The weekly plan includes 10 minutes of regular stretching each day, two 40 minute sessions of physical therapy exercises (therapist or gym) and 20 minutes of other strength training. This plan leaves me 20 minutes extra to account for. DIET:Weight Control - Lose 4 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 170 lbs. CON +3 I got below 170 lbs last challenge. I need to maintain that and continue to lose more. I'm giving myself a reward for getting this one. If I get both, then I'll buy myself a new Star Wars or NY Jets hoodie. If I don't get either, then I have to donate one old hoodie. I know it's not drastic, but it is a start. I have made progress. I haven't had a Dr. Pepper since 2/21. I'm not planning to stay away completely, but I am going to keep from drinking it regularly. I will see how many more days I can go without though. LIFE:Get Stuff Done - Complete 12 Tasks or Projects from any of the following areas: Toastmasters, Jedi Training, Work, House Work, Home Renovation, Auto Maintenance, Family Activities (to keep it diverse, no more than 3 from any one category) WIS +3, CHA +2 I have a lot on my plate with a bunch of started-but-not-finished projects and tasks, then other stuff lingering for me to crack, but I keep putting off because of what I already have. I need to get some check-completes and build momentum for other projects. Less procrastinating and more doing.
  23. Have you seen the new Star Wars movie? If not, then stop reading this and go see it, now! It is a fantastic revisit to the Original Trilogy style and storyline with old characters returning with new lessons to bestow on the new characters. I'll do my best to avoid spoilers or at least mark it in the stuff I write, but you've been warned! I've seen the movie, I'm excited about it and the new story, and I will write about it! So what is my story? Well, I’ve been here before. I kicked a lot of butt progressing through 22 challenges since 2012, until middle of last year. After struggling to maintain a presence here through the first half of 2015, I struck out on my own as I had conquered many obstacles here, learned many lessons, and felt I was ready to implement a new accountability strategy for I had developed a strong supporting cast in real life to keep me accountable. Alas, a back injury and a "layoff" crumbled all my plans. I am on the road to recovery for both. In October, I started a new job only three weeks after my old one ended. The growing pains are over and now I feel entrenched in my new world. In October and November, I took a lot of time off from fitness to allow my back to heal. In December, I started physical therapy to strengthen my back. I have occasional flare ups, but for the most part, I have my body functioning like its old self. It is like I am back at square one, or Level 1 for my character here. Instead of hitting the reset button, I'll jump to World 2 Level 1 complete with new challenges and obstacles. Old foes may come back, but they will require new techniques to defeat them. I am still a Jedi in training, learning from the old masters, studying the new practices, and constantly improving. Challenge Lesson: “There has been an awakening…†The quote of course comes from the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. It is actually the first quote I have used from a dark side character as it is delivered by Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren’s dark side master and leader of the First Order. I believe he is referencing a disturbance in the Force which I am guessing feel more like an awakening which could be Rey realizing her Force potential, or something grander. An awakening can be a realization or inspiration which causes sudden growth. I feel that is the perfect summary for what the new movie has done for me. I am highly motivated at the moment to pursue training, defeat obstacles, and hit my highest achievements. Through the summer of 2015, my focused turned to jobs to complete with my 2 year project and contract coming to an end in August and September. I also finished my term as Toastmasters Area Governor and began my term as Division Director in June and July which prompted a very similar focus on completing tasks taking my eyes off training. In October, I started a new job in a similar field on a familiar program, but very new tasks. The new job required training and learning. By December, I was out of the training stage and entered the execution stage of my new job. Training and execution is cyclic. You need skills to execute effectively; therefore, you must train first to learn and master the skills. New tasks come along to execute, which requires new training. You must balance these. If you train too long, then the execution is delayed. If you execute a task too long, then the training will fade in other areas. Toastmasters is training only. I spent a lot of time training skills, but I was not applying them in my previous job often. In my new job which requires more application of communication and leadership skills, I found that training in some areas was rusty. Luckily, my interview skills we not one of those areas. Now, I have an outlet for execution of the skills learned through Toastmasters training. I am growing through practice and practical experience. My awakening has me motivated in several ways. I started a monthly Toastmasters Training and Mentoring session to give me an opportunity to teach, coach, and mentor people. I offered to conduct similar classes for my co-workers in my office (meeting on Wednesday to discuss opportunity further). I am considering where in my community and other community Toastmasters may be able to spread and form new clubs. I took on an opportunity to coach a struggling club. I am looking to take classes to improve my Program Management skills at work. I am increasing my visibility within the office with social and work related interactions. Typically, I am an introvert, but I am acting more extroverted than ever before. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Work up a sweat! – 100 minutes of high intensity training per week DEX +2, STA +2 Stretch and strengthen – 100 minutes of my physical therapy exercises and stretches per week STR +2, DEX +1, STA +1DIET: Portion control – Eat less per meal, snack less throughout the day. It is time consuming to measure accurately, but I am pretty confident whether I can count a day as a successful one or a subpar one (or a complete failure). CON +2LIFE: Read – I have lots of reference material to read, but I find myself reading unimportant news. Return my reading focus to learning. Use reading in my social interactions. WIS +3, CHA +2
  24. (N.B. This is largely a half-finished draft. I'm posting it while unfinished because I start travel right around the challenge start time, and don't want to get too time-crunched to get my thoughts down. I'll edit the post later to write down rewards, then remove this notice.) Last challenge felt pretty successful. Planning the next was daunting, as the travel I have scheduled and pending-scheduling for the next few weeks make planning anything hard. Then something hit me...during the coming month and a half, I'll be in urban settings, on a farm, in at least one forest, at 14,000 feet on the summit of a mountain (volcano, actually), on a beach (maybe), in a swamp (still tentative but likely) and a bunch of other places. This is my terrain challenge. My main quest is to survive and thrive in a variety of environments of varying levels of hospitality while continuing to increase my work capacity and performance for future martial arts, SAR, and otherwise Rangerly activities. Quest #1: Survive I've signed myself up for a couple of things in the challenging-bordering-on-unwise range. One is working at 14,000 feet after not having done anything at altitude in years, without acclimation breaks. Another is a still-tentative challenging winter hike a friend cooked up (assuming we have suitable snow in early December). Grading here is simple pass/fail based on whether I successfully get through the challenge without any injuries or illness that are both caused by unaccepted risks** and sufficient to hamper work, family commitments, or training. **"caused by unaccepted risks" means that I screwed up (i.e. didn't properly consider a risk, or flubbed doing a planned risk mitigation), as opposed to something caused by a risk I accepted (e.g. I know that a hypoxic episode is a possible result of ascending to 14k feet without adequate acclimation, and I've accepted that risk knowing that I have the skills to deal with it and supplemental oxygen available...having such an episode won't count against me). The goal here is measured, thoughtful risk-taking, and good management of physical resources, not going home and hiding under the covers. Reward: Quest #2: Thrive The mountain is going to nuke me for a bit. I'm also going to have busy time in multiple locales that offer social distractions that would make it easy for me to go off the rails in terms of diet and training. Simply to not die is not to live, one must also grow. So I'm going to do something to work out at least 24 times during the challenge. For this purpose "do something" is either an unusual feat (e.g. trying a new physical skill or activity, or beating a personal record), or completing at least a reasonable short (20 min intense or 30 min moderate) workout of either a strength or conditioning variety. I'm leaving this extremely flexible, because I don't know where I'll be or what will be available from day to day. It's all about adaptation. Grading: A: 24/24 ...B: 22/24 ...C: 18/24 ...D: Ranger don't get no stinkin' D's or F's. Reward: Quest #3: Conquer In a recent martial-arts related thread here on NF, I discussed an old habit of running kata on varied terrain to increase my dexterity and force me to adapt my movement. I'd like to take advantage of my travel to run martial arts drill on interesting ground. During the challenge, I will run some sort of MA drill on 12 different surfaces. Grading: A: 12 ...B: 10 ...C: 8 ....yeah, that's it. Reward: Quest #4 (side quest): Lead Leadership, people skills, managing organizations, helping people along their paths in life...all have been running themes for me of late. Some of my fellow Rangers watched me struggle last challenge with the thought of whether to try to repair my local SAR team, spin one up from scratch, or put that aside for another day. There are work things and family things going on. I recently took a leadership role in a nonprofit organization, and I'm a project lead on at least two side projects. It's a theme at work, too. This quest will be graded on a scale of 0-12 points: one point for each week in which I do *something*, whether it be read something, listen to a podcast, or have a meaningful conversation, to increase my abilities in areas of leadership, management, or executive skill, and one point for each week in which I identify (asking is allowed!) an area of desired development in the leadership/management/executive skill of someone else and find a way to help foster it. Reward:
  25. May 25, 2013 I have been doing a lot of restructuring of my Epic Quest, and have updated it as follows: Retitled to "ShadowLion Weaves the Strands Together," to reflect the more complete version of my epic quest that has evolved since I started this post. It now includes more of a life list and various modules for different aspects of my life that will be showing up in challenges as Life Quests. The "ShadowLion Returns to the Fireline" title has a narrower focus than what I currently see as my epic quest. I am now thinking of that as my Main Quest for the 40 week period that begins June 2, 2014 and ends in mid-March 2015, just in time for the Arizona Wildfire Academy. My plan for that portion of my epic quest is outlined in the next post of this thread and will be called "Forty Weeks to Fire Fit," so that I can abbreviate it to 40W2FF. Writing up this epic quest has been a time of intense and valuable reflection on my values and a realization of my own unique perspective that has grown out of my life experiences and choices to date. Oddly enough, I seem to have come back around full-circle (spiral, maybe?) to a new appreciation of the poem "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. More than 38 years ago, I hung a poster with the following excerpt on the wall of my dorm room above the head of my bed. I dreamed of what I would do when I was out of school, the places I would travel, the adventures I would have someday, somewhere. Some of those dreams have happened, some have changed, some have been left behind in favor of other dreams...but the same words still inspire and guide me. And, as I write this, a line from a popular rock song of the time is running through my head..."You're still the same old girl you used to be." Yeah, I guess so! Ulysses (excerpt) I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades Vext the dim sea: I am become a name; For always roaming with a hungry heart Much have I seen and known; cities of men And manners, climates, councils, governments, Myself not least, but honour'd of them all; And drunk delight of battle with my peers, Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades For ever and forever when I move. How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use! As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life Were all too little, and of one to me Little remains: but every hour is saved From that eternal silence, something more, A bringer of new things; and vile it were For some three suns to store and hoard myself, And this gray spirit yearning in desire To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. As I get older, other parts of the poem take on new meaning, yet this fragment is still a polestar, a wish, a dream, and a reflection…
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