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  1. Okay, I lived through The Conference and am now trying to get back into the swing. Throwing another exciting happy wrench into the works is the fact that my brother-in-law got to come home from his deployment early! This is such great news but I am feeling a little off-kilter and need to just get back to basics. Habits I'm maintaining: Daily salad for lunch at work. 96 oz of water daily. 8 hours of sleep minimum. Q1. 3 workouts per week It's baaaaaaack. With my new roommate + a lot of recent travel + my workout partner hurt her sternoclavicular joint (who even DOES that), my workout schedule has slid hard. I've still been active but my regular bodyweight workouts have been really intermittent. And I can feel it. I've started having weird numbness in my left leg, back pain, arm pain, the whole meatsack is just falling apart. Q2: Daily $$ checkins on YNAB I used to be really good at doing weekly reconciliations of my personal account on YNAB, but that's fallen away as my money situation stabilized. This month I'd like to do a daily check-in on YNAB, to import & categorize any new stuff and then to tweak the budgets as needed. I'm working really aggressively on my credit card debt and when my YNAB stuff is in good shape, it's easy to find a little extra to put towards that bill. And then NEVER HAVE IT AGAIN. Q3: Daily writing I've been having some resistance around my current #the100dayproject and I want to get over that. Part of it is just feeling like I want to spend more time on my poems than a daily cadence allows, and part of it is not wanting to publish stuff so I can send it out to publishers, which is SUCH a different way of thinking than I'm used to. Anyway, I'm not allowed to quit a creative project when I'm out of practice with it, so I need to get up to speed before I can even decide what to do about that situation. Q4: Food journal! Salads are going pretty well, so this month I'm going to do a FOOD JOURNAL. I've done these before (mostly that picture taking app one) to some effect. I need to reconnect to my big why on this, it's feeling sort of arbitrary. I am not planning to track calories, at least not at first--just a journal of what I'm eating. Totally open to thoughts/suggestions about how to do this. BONUS: Submit poems to at least one publisher. Challenges: I am going to be traveling the first day of the challenge, but I'll be on my way home. I might be going camping mid-challenge. Everything is just hard right now. I don't know why.
  2. So I'm sick... again... If anyone remembers from last challenge I go stupidly ill and wasn't able to do much of anything gym wise since I couldn't stop coughing and I'm also just not a jackass and I stay home when I'm sick. Nobody needs whatever plague can ever get through my usually killer immune system. I got over that bug and then a week later landed a new one! I was rocking a brutal fever and full body pain for 5 straight days. And I actually had to go to work on all of those days because my boss was away and there isn't anyone at work who can step in for me at all ever. It sucks, but anyhow... I'm also sick and tired of how my life currently is and I'm going to change that. I'm going to write out a list of all the things I'm annoyed with in my life and I'm going to tackle them all one by one starting with these five things. Money Management: I've got about $10000 of debt that I've been very, very slowly and erratically chipping away at and I'm sick of the sight of the giant negative balance I see when I log into my online banking. I'm going to change this. I need to change this. I've been a terrible adult and have been late in paying my rent and my phone bill each month for longer than I can reasonably remember. I've been rock solid in paying my gym fees and making sure I had bus pass funds available when I needed them all of last year, but rent and the phone bill always got put off. I'm going to be challenging myself to have my share of the rent paid in full by the 4th of each month (can't pay rent on weekends, holidays or when I'm stuck at work from before they open until after they close) And my phone bill will be paid in full within 8 hours of it being sent to me. No excuses. In regards to spending. I want to enact a shopping ban, similar to what @pureleeawesome is doing and only spend money on daily necessities or things that are on an approved buying list As for debt and savings, I will be putting $100 towards each on the day I get paid. And if when I get paid again I have money left over from the previous pay cheque that is not needed for an immediate and important reason (vet bill, replacing things like my work shoes, glasses etc) I'm going to divide that amount by 3 and 1/3 is for savings and 2/3 is going onto the debt. Cooking: This is slightly linked to the money stuff because I spend far too much on shitty fast food and convenience foods that it's getting totally out of hand. We order in pizza at least three times a month, and get cheap take out about once a week and there is no reason for it other than being totally lazy. The worst part is that I don't even really enjoy the food we buy most of the time. I might as well just throw the money off my balcony for all the good is does me. In an effort to stop throwing my money away I plan on cooking all my own food at home. I want to see less empty pop bottles in my recycling bin and more sauce jars. I want to see less crumpled up fast food wrappings in my trash bin and more meat/veggies scraps. If my lovely girlfriend wants to order pizza, she can get it with her own money and I will say thanks, but no thanks and go make myself some real food. I'm making 3 reasonably exceptions to this plan: I can get iced caps from Tim's with ONLY my tips money (I make so little in tips that I think that's fair) I can get garlic bread if my girlfriend or my sister orders pizza, but ONLY once per month I can eat the food at work, because I'm trying to get out of debt, and food at work is free. Gym: I need to go at least once a week for winter. I'm not going to demand more than that for gym trips each week because the walk there and back in winter conditions is shitty at best, and hazardous at worst. That and with the New Year's crowd in there it's honestly not very much fun to go in January and February. But I still need to go. I'm paying for it and it's a waste of money not to go. I will allow myself a tiny reward if I do go more than once a week. I get to buy a hot chocolate brownie from my local Mucho Burrito on the way home on my 2nd trip of the week. I will treat myself for a personal sized chocolate milk on the 3rd trip. Chores: My home is a disgusting place to live in right now. I'm not the only person responsible for the mess but I am likely to be the only person who does anything about it. I'm also sick and tired of nagging everyone around me to do their damn chores all the time so I'm just going to do them myself. I almost want to unleash my inner passive aggressive bitch and post up one of those time check off pages on the bathroom door and above the kitchen sink and beside the recycling bin listing when it was last taken care of and by who. My sister has the habit of leaving her bagged garbage in the kitchen in front of the recycling bin because she doesn't want to get dressed to walk it down the hall to the trash chute. Hell she doesn't even do her own laundry, she gets out room mate Jordan to do it. I almost want to start piling it up on top of her work shoes the next time she does this. It takes literally 1 minute to walk down the hall, open the door, step in, open the chute, throw the bag down, and walk back to our unit and yet she can't be bothered to do it. She could leave literally ONE MINUTE early for work and take her trash with her but she doesn't. She hasn't taken out the recycling ever. We've lived in this building since 2011 and she's never taken out the recycling. So I'm giving myself one small chore to do each day, something that only takes 5-10 minutes to do Chore Chart Knitting: It's simply something that I enjoy doing, and frankly I need to do it since my yarn collection is getting out of hand, and I also don't have a hat or scarf for myselg for this winter. My old hats were covered in an impossible amount of cat hair and our recently deceased cat Jazz spent a great deal of time snuggled into my favourite hand made hat that it smelled horrid so I threw it away. I want to finish the hat I started for myself and start a scarf and finish it before the challenge is finished. I'll post up a photo when it's done
  3. I've been challenging with the druids... ... focusing learning what's best for my mind and body I've learned a few things. 1) being mindful is central to my health and fitness journey 2) eating paleo calms my cravings and is delicious and makes me lose weight 3) I need to lift, stretch, and generally move more 4) I need more money to live like I wanna live 5) playing guitar fires me up and motivates me... hence heavy metal themed challenge This challenge is all about returning to the heavy metal shit, the barbells and the music, that drives me... but also bringing with me the senses of taking care of myself and managing stress etc, that I learned over in druid town. Goal 1: Manage Stress on the Road I said it in my last two challenges, mindfulness and my zazen practice will be at the center of all my challenges. I actually managed to sit in zazen (formal Zen mediation) for 44 days straight in the last couple months. But I've fallen off that wagon and need to get back on again. I'm also planning to go on a Zen meditation retreat sometime this year. Paired with zazen is a little yoga routine that I'm doing to improve my lotus position and posture that is really useful for keeping my legs and hips limber. I also cut out (nearly) all caffeine for 30 days straight last challenge. That has been massively helpful with my sleep patterns, stress levels, and mindfulness. Do zazen and stretching/yoga daily. Avoid caffeine. Goal 2: Don't Put the Cucumber in Your Pants. Eat It! I started eating paleo in the middle of last challenge after about of month of trying vegetarianism... paleo is better. The main problem with being vegetarian is there are too many carbs and I tend to binge on those. In just two weeks I've watched my carb cravings subside to nothing. I've lost 7-8 pounds and my stomach is less bloated. I poop twice a day with no effort. And I'm more satisfied with my meals. I even fasted yesterday without even blinking at it. Eat paleo. Goal 3: Looks are more important than sounds This is the big one. I need to get back into going to the gym regularly. My diet is shaping up, but I need to exercise. I get a lot of activity at work, but I want to work on shaping up and gaining strength and endurance. Go to the gym twice a week. LUYL1: Be My Own Manager. I've got 4 job applications for promotions at Amazon (where I currently work as a Tier I warehouse grunt). The highest one is a level 4 programmer job and I've got a phone interview on Friday. If I were to get it, it would be a huge influx of income, and I'd have to hit the books to catch up, and I'd have to manage the new money coming in. Pursue job opportunities, gain skills, manage income. LUYL2: Don't Miss Rehearsals I also started seriously playing my guitar last challenge. It used to be all I did in high school, at great expense to grades and social interactions... I got really good. But then during college I put a lot more energy into school, and in grad school I almost never played. I thought a lot of music that I used to know was lost to me. But since I started playing seriously again... well at one point it literally all came flooding back to me. Once I woke up all that dormant musical and muscle memory, I just started playing guitar solos I thought I'd forgotten, and could remember songs again. This really picked up my spirits and I've noticed far fewer of the negative thoughts that used to bother me and put my mood in the toilet. I just feel happier because I play the guitar again. But I need to maintain my skills, and improve my technique and expand my repertoire. Practice guitar drills daily. Learn a new song each week.
  4. HI GUYS!! Welcome to my... what, 16th challenge here?? HOLY SNACKS. I honestly think I've lost count. Eep~ At any rate I’m clearly still on an FFXIV kick so for this challenge, welcome to the snowy city-state of Ishgard. This challenge is a little different from previous of mine in that the activity level has a bit of a different focus... I’m going to be doing a lot of tracking, logging, data-mining, and habit observing this go-around. Of course my regular fitness will still take place in the background! (And on my first quest!) Ishgard is as tactical as it is strong, so it seemed like a perfectly themed place to set up shop. So honestly the best job class to complete my quests would be Scholar, but I have leveled ZERO of Scholar so I’m going to take a smidge of liberty here and let ASTROLOGIAN head off this challenge!!! AST is based in Ishgard and there are lots of opportunities for research and higher learning in the city. I’ve named each quest after one of the Astrologian’s buff cards (similar to tarot cards), and am ready to dig into some studies... (witness; me making use of my $9.99/mo Adobe Creative Cloud suite~) The Bole - Deadlift Progression A long time ago in a land far away (like last year?) I managed to seriously twang my lower back while deadlifting. It was a combination of lack of skill, too much weight too fast, and a traditionally weak lower back that all contributed to the sadness. Since then I’ve shied away from any sort of deadlift because it really skeeved me out. (Aside: I also am of the long legged/short armed variety, which set me up for a little of a disadvantage anyway, positioning was always a little tenuous.) Slowly but surely I’ve been kind of excelling at one legged Romanian Deadlifts - I’m up to 50lbs right now with zero signs of low back strain or fatigue. I realized a week or so ago that I’m progressing really well with these because even when I started with around 25-30lbs, it would put a serious strain on my lower back. These days it’s still very taxing, but not in a painful way at all. SCORE! In the spirit of being a Very Careful Person (tm), I’ve decided to (gently) run with this knowledge and add some other drills to my workouts that will help me prepare for deadlifts in a future challenge. So, I will work on: Hip Hinges & Thrusts Romanian Deadlifts (Barbell) Dumbbell Deadlifts Rack Pulls - MAYBE - I have read serious conflicting information on the validity of these so I’m not sure if I’ll be adding them quite yet. More research! This list may change or vary as I research more over Zero Week but I aim to complete 8 sessions of this over the next 4 weeks - one heavier session at the gym and one lighter at home, since I have dumbbells - and see where it takes me. (And how much Tiger Balm I need to use.) A - 8 sessions of DL Progression completed B - 6-7 sessions of DL Progression completed C - <6 sessions of DL Progression completed The Balance - Food Tracking It’s time to start tracking my food intake again. (Insert non-enthused ‘yaaaaay’ here~) According to MFP the last time I tracked anything ended around February-ish? I’m not a person that can track my intake for 6+ months at a time, it makes me twitchy, and I get a little overwhelmed and unhappy with it and it’s just not good for my overall well being. So I track on and off in the hopes that the ‘on’ phase will help me get a good handle on the values of the things I’m eating, and help me make smart choices when I’m ‘off’. So I’ve been ‘off’ for a while and it’s definitely time to start again. No numbers to hit, no goals or macros to meet, just log everything for 4 weeks to see where I’m at, and use the data to decide where I need to improve. The caveat is that I won’t have MFP on my phone (this actually makes it less stressful for me!) and I’ll need to log my daily food from the desktop. Deal? Deal. A - 4 weeks logged B - 3-4 weeks logged C - Less than 3 weeks logged The Ewer - Limit Alcohol So I don’t drink a ton but it’s enough lately to really give me some gently unpleasant side effects such as - shittier sleep! - gently expanding waistline! - crappy skin! - feeling like a bloaty slug! - etc. I’ll maybe have 3-4 beers weekly now but I SERIOUSLY need to cut that back. I know I can, I don’t crave beer like I used to, and I’ve done this before and I can do it again. Limiting myself to 6 drinks over the course of 4 weeks. This one is sink or swim with zero middle ground. Easy, right?... A - 6 or less drinks F - More than 6 drinks The Spire - Managing Gil It’s time for me to sit down and take a long hard look at my financials and get my shit in order! I’m at a point now with my 32h/week job that I take in more than I expend, which is good. However, I really need to tighten the bootstraps and make my money work for me, instead of just -thinking- I know what’s going on. While I’m actively looking for something full-time I’ve decided that, when/if that does happen it’ll be great, but right now I need to start doing more to improve my current financial situation instead of... you know, just waiting. I’ll be utilizing You Need A Budget and MAKING EVERY DOLLAR COUNT. My biggest goal right now is to just be able to visualize how my money is working for me and get a little more aggressive with saving and paying some stuff down. (Luckily my credit card right now is 0% APR until April, which helps LOADS.) Oddly enough I’m STUPID EXCITED about this one and giving this system a go, as I’ve heard awesome things about it, and even reading it all over gets me hype. Again, I’m just tracking and gathering data for 4 weeks and using the results to see what kind of position I'm really in. A - Tracked financials for 4 weeks F - Tracked financials for <4 weeks BONUS QUEST! The Spear - Space Management GUYS I AM IN MY NEW VERY OWN COMPUTER ROOM!!! I’m so flippin’ excited, it’s so spacious and the lighting is lovely and I feel so chill and calm and happyyyyy~ Kell and I effectively each have our own “hobby rooms” now and we both are LOVING our new spaces! What this means for me is that I need to CLEAN. My room previously was storage, and still is to some extent, but now it’s up to me to go through the clutter in here and downsize/clean it up. Also get some shelves and my corkboard up on the walls, and some pictures I’ve been meaning to hang. This won’t be graded, but I’ll be posting photos and talking about it as I go, so yay! I THINK THAT'S ALL!??! I'm excited because these are all things I need to work on and will help to set a foundation (Ishgardian pun intended) for future endeavors. Let's gooooo~!!
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