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  1. Little children waiting for the Hogfather have one job: sleep. Thus I have one job this challenge. My sleep had me suspended from most of the last challenge. (Stupid wizards. And librarians.) My sinuses hate the dry winter air, and my ADHD hates rest, and they both need to be outsmarted. My challenge will consist of: Taking Stats Hours of sleep per night A sleep quality score that is totally made up The current weekly sleep deficit Sinus Care Hydrate well. 3 liters acceptable, 4 liters target. Moisturize my sinuses with some form of saline. Breathing exercises to make my respiratory wotsits happier. Sleep Practice Yoga nidra, to practice relaxation. A nap, to practice noticing when I need sleep. (Technically optional, but the day I'm not running a sleep deficit is the day I'll care about that.) Do something each day to make sleep more aesthetically appealing. I'll consider adding some exercises for sleep purposes but otherwise I'll just muddle along with my good enough for government work walking and isometrics.
  2. Maintaining good cheer through the holiday season is a real challenge for me. My goal for this challenge is to stay cheerful for myself and pleasant to the people around me. In past years, I have stressed out about getting presents for people and doing All The Things. That pressure is lower now that almost all my nieces and nephews are grown up. My household does not celebrate Christmas. We usually have a very relaxed celebration for Yule, as close to winter solstice as feasible. This year has some new twists. Travel The challenge is starting and ending with travel. After my last trip this fall, I said I did not want to go anywhere for the rest of the year. That is flying out the window. I have taken steps to make these trips as enjoyable as possible, under the circumstances Trip Alpha This weekend Dumbledore and I are going back to LA to help our elderly friend move into senior housing. She has movers coming on Monday. Our job will be to help pack the remaining things before the movers arrive, then unpack after they leave. She is terribly disappointed that her nephews (who live nearby) are not willing to help her at all with this. Dumbledore and I are trying hard to stay out of the family drama that is happening. Dumbledore offered to go by himself, which was really sweet of him. I said that if he was going, we would both go. I am much happier about driving in LA traffic than he is. Having both of us there gives us better reasons to go and do things on our own rather than staying in the stressful environment of the house. We got a nicer hotel room and a smaller car for this trip. There is a YMCA in the neighborhood and Dumbledore has resolved to go and work out. I might go to the Y or I might make use of the exercise area at the hotel. I printed out a bunch of patterns for crochet snowflakes so I have a fun project to work on. Entirely frivolous and easily given away as gifts. 🎅I am going to take my stalled knitting project, just in case I get inspired. I hope we are not going to try to meet up with other people this trip because that took hours of driving last time. I would rather go for walks or relax in the hotel room. Trip Omega We will be going to visit my mom for Christmas. My brother's divorce has left her all alone this holiday season. My brother and his new fiancee are going out of town to visit her family. Apparently none of his kids are interested in visiting Grandmy. I find that sad, because they spent every Christmas Eve together while the kids were growing up. Mom was worried she would be all alone for the first time in her life. I am being a dutiful child and coming to visit. I am expecting a command performance of doing things her way and looking happy about it. My first step in making this a good trip was reserving a room at a hotel we like that has a hot tub. We will work on scheduling time to visit with friends and with Dumbledore's brother and his family. Having them in town is a great reason to spend only part of the weekend with my mom. I get along with her fine on my own, but she rubs Dumbledore the wrong way. We will invite Elf and Cleo to come along, but I doubt they will accept. Mid-December In the two weeks and two days between trips, I have several high priority items Sleep. Getting enough sleep makes being cheerful much easier. Rest and reflect. I have noticed that I cannot push myself to do things like I did so much over the last few years. My brain just rebels. It turns out that a lot of the things were rules I made up for myself that are not actually necessary. I want to give myself time to sit still, to read, and to ponder what is going on with my life. Make rosettes. I promised these to my spinning group. I will make a bunch and send them to my brothers and take some to mom. My grandma used to make them for us at all the holidays. Scrub my new hakama. I just purchased a traditional Japanese hakama that is indigo dyed. This is my first new hakama in 20 years. I went for the heavier (and more expensive) fabric, so I hope this will last me another 20 years. The problem is that indigo is a pigment dye and it sheds. I don't know how the tailors deal with it - my hands got blue just taking it out of the package. Maybe it was dyed after sewing, but I don't think so. I have washed it twice already (by hand) and it still left blue splotches on the mat last night. You could see exactly where I was taking falls. My dojo is getting a new mat in January and firmly said that any indigo hakama must be non-shedding by then. My weapons partner gave me tips on how to scrub it to get the loose dye out. That is it. I am not going to try to fit in anything else. I may not even get gifts for Dumbledore and Elf, although I will keep my eyes open. I will do zen if I feel like it. I have not done that for a week. So far, I am not noticing a difference. I feel like the zen is great when I have enough slack in my day, but not essential when I don't. Who knows, I may turn out to be wrong about that. Right now I would rather get to the dojo as often as I can.
  3. After 10 years on NF, I hate to say it, but, I need a break from the forums. It's been great but I'm a little fatigued and not putting in the effort I used to, to be here and stick to my goals. But I figured I'll be around for one more challenge to say some goodbyes, let you all know what I'll be up to, and not just disappear. I'm not likely to quit entirely, or forever, but just taking an indefinitely long break. So here's a list of my biggest priorities over the next few months. 1) Get spiritually swole: As I've mentioned in previous challenges, I am converting to Orthodox Christianity. Today marks the first day of the Nativity Fast, and with this comes a lot of prayer, fasting, reading/studying, and attending extra church services etc. Then Great Lent and the Catechumenate start in February/March. Then I'll be baptized on May 4 (love that it's on May 4). So that'll be another big bout of fasting, reading, prayer etc. So I'll be quite busy and focused on all that, and I'm planning to disengage from a lot of screen time. 2) I mentioned in the last challenge that I've hung up my heavy bag. I"m considering joining an MMA gym. The goal is to focus on karate for all around fitness, and be able to do some boxing/kickboxing for conditioning, and dip my toe into BJJ when I need to get humbled. 3) Running: for karate/mma and general fitness I want to be running/jogging regularly. For now I'll be working on that first mile, and hopefully working up to running 5k and 10k. 4) Strength training: I want to go back to a more bodyweight focused training and max that out before I set up the old power cage again. But also, do some clean and presses. 5) Trying to find a new line of work: I'm burning out in my current job/company. Doing the same job at another company may or may not appeal to me. IDK. I want to do something else. I recently was offered an adjunct teaching role, but I turned that down because of the catchumenate/Lent because I can't make the time commitments with that going on. But I can dabble, learn about, and explore other things. So basically, this isn't goodbye forever, but I feel like I need to pull away from the forum and screens in general to recharge and focus on other efforts.
  4. ... 'Cause the holidays are here. Wraps? Get it? It's a PUN Y'ALL i know shaar give it a rest ANYWAY For the final challenge of 2023 (that's only 4 weeks instead of 5) I'm going to continue setting some ground rules and foundations for what I want to start achieving next year. I feel I'm finally at a point in my life where I can actually start striving for more again and start challenging myself, something I haven't felt in a LONG time, and I'm excited to get on that train and have some BIG ASS PLANS. But first I really need to make sure my groundwork is set for success. This challenge will consist of two things: THING THE FIRST Continue to get intentional movement days under my belt each week. Last challenge was 4 days, but this challenge I'm going to up it to 5. I know I have the resources and time to implement this habit now, the biggest one being getting out of my own way and just DOING it. No more of this it's too cold out bullshit, or I feel lazy bullshit - I have a whole ass gym two floors below me (it's in my basement) and, remember shaar, intentional movement can be as easy as (and as IMPORTANT as) yoga and mobility. I'm aiming for a nice mix between boxing and lifting with an active rest day or two of walking and mobility work. I will continue to grow my discipline with myself and not shortchange future shaar by doing this EVERY WEEK. THING THE SECOND Living a mostly sober lifestyle has been AMAZINGGGGG for me. Granted I feel I'm at a point in my life where the timing is very right to make this decision, but the impacts of better sleep, less brain fog, and less inflammation and overall achiness have been huge immediate benefits. But! I still enjoy drinking every once in a while when it is planned and moderated right, and I feel last challenge helped me learn that and help realize and implement it. Since the holidays are here, I am allowing myself three drink tickets over the course of this challenge! That's three nights of drinking, whether it be out for an event, socially, or at home snuggled up and playing whatever dumb game I've discovered lately that brings me joy. (currently: the talos principle, because it makes me feel like a genius - so far) .... wait nevermind this challenge will consist of THREE THINGS. Eheheheh THING THE THIRD this is the wrapping up part right here Each week I will post a master list of things I am going to work to get done before the end of the year. This can be anything from practical things like finish cleaning out my pants drawer, or reorganizing the pantry, or framing and putting up the art I've bought, to little fun things like trying the greek place downtown for lunch I've never been to, or taking a walk on a snowy day and getting some pictures of holiday lights. I really want to get a lot of these lingering tasks done and dusted before the new year so I can put that focus 100% on me and my goals, so I figured I'd combine the "must dos" with some fun "want to dos" to make it a little more fun. Zero week counts for me! So I'll post a mini list tomorrow. OK! That's my little old challenge to end out this year! Aaaaaaa HYPE TIME YEAH LET'S GET ITTTTTTT
  5. Took a week for me to figure out the one thing I want to change, and the way in which I want to change it. I've known for a while now that I need to get up earlier. I'm pretty good at starting to for a bit, but it doesn't take: eventually, something goes haywire somewhere and I wind up being up late and needing to sleep late to make up for it, and before long I've regressed to the old mean. Meaning (harrrr) that I need a new mean. Instead of getting up at 9:30 AM, I'm going to spend the next few weeks focusing on just getting up at 9:00 AM. Get myself used to what life looks like there get a feel for making happen what needs to happen when it needs to for me to hit that target consistently. I don't need to be perfect, but landing there 80% of the time should get me somewhere like where I need to be. Exciting news on the job front. I put in for a promotion last week, which I've said before I'd be a shoe-in for. Didn't have the means to put in previously as HR didn't open up any slots, but when they did this past month, I went for it. It's a decent bump in pay and apparently the extra work isn't that much harder. Other good news is that the job opened up overtime again! It's only a little bit, but it'll help the paycheck and the caseload, and that's all I really want. Also, figured out that the head cold is actually just seasonal allergies based on its responses to medication, so I'm cleared to get back to the mats. Though I still need to figure out how to honor both the job and my desires. Because the writing's going well and I'm not willing to negotiate on that. Ah well. It'll be sorted. In the meantime: Goal: 1/1.
  6. I thought I was leaving Rivers of London this challenge. I have been informed that I am not. It would "confuse my training". But mostly I'm confused that fictional wizards get to make this decision on my behalf. I have no idea what my challenge is this time around. Wizard's doing it. Whatevs. Not my problem. New to Rivers of London? (Surely not. I'm sure I've recruited 25% of the forum by now.) Click here:
  7. *sliiiides in with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee* WELP hello there~ ❤️ So TL;DR I was kinda 50/50 on doing a challenge this round because frankly I'm kinda lukewarm on the forums lately, but I'm like.... . next year I will have been here for TEN YEARS and jesus wept that's a long time. Plus everyone here is really the best person ever, all of you, you reading this, you are wonderful and a reason why this community is awesome. So why not give it another go yeah?? Anyways I am writing up this challenge because I have some habits I want to re-lay some foundations for and what better place than here? 1. The first goal is the big important one - I'm gonna STOP DRINKING. And by stop I mean stop except for special occasions and social events. I've always kinda on/off struggled with drinking - and it's not that I drink a lot in one sitting but it's more of the consistency. It affects a lot - my weight, my stomach, my skin, my sleep, my mental health.. on and on. I honestly enjoy drinking every so often so it's been hard! And it's been easier to sit down with a drink or two now that I don't have a job and I've been using it as a crutch for some of my stress and anxiety and I'm at the point where it's just, gotta STOP. I did a little experiment last week - I had no alcohol for 5 days and felt GREAT, then Friday night I had a few drinks that evening just to see how it would affect me. I slept like shit, woke up in the middle of the night hot and sweaty with a minor headache and just this wild!! anxiety over the STUPIDEST little things... and I was just like, ok, heard, no more of this. The after effects of drinking are at the point where it just hugely outweighs the enjoyment it brings me in the moment. Not gonna do this ANYMORE. I've attempted to curtail my drinking before but it never really panned out - frankly I'm not the best at enforcing my own rules - but for some weird-ass reason this time, I feel like it's the TIME. Like previously it's been kinda a heave-ho chore to work on drinking less but right now it doesn't seem like a chore at all, it's like something has clicked and it's like.... oh, ok, cool. It's hokey as hell but I feel like I'm being called to do this right now. I'm ready and I'm honestly EXCITED. I'm looking forward to only drinking as a once in a while treat. I'm looking forward to enjoying this better mental health and joy and clarity I've gained from NOT drinking consistently. I'm looking forward to better health benefits and being able to pursue the goals I want to. I'm looking forward to making this conscious choice DARNIT I do know this will be hard at points so I am giving myself four drink tickets for this 6 week challenge. (yes zero week is included heheh) I can have a few drinks at 4 points over this challenge and that is IT. Each time I do I turn in a ticket, and if/when I'm out of tickets, that's it! I'm also really interested in reporting back the effects of how drinking affects me at this point. I'm so invested in this goal that I'm doing something I NEVER do and giving myself a reward at the end of this challenge if I complete it successfully. There's a super cute FFXIV-themed crossbody bag that is SO my style and I want it realllll bad but it's a whole $75 and yeah I could just buy it but I think it'd be better if I made the purchase MEAN something, you know? 2. Intentional movement more days than not during a week. I had been doing really well with this, then we adopted Hiko and my life turned into Kitten and Cat Damage Control and everything else kinda flew out the window. Things have settled (kindaaaaaa) over the 2 weeks we've had them both co-existing and I feel very ready to get back into this routine! Ideally I'd like one day to get outside and do a good fall hike/walk, two days of lifting, and 1-2 days of getting back into my boxing training BUT I am not beholding myself to any strict schedule, just get myself moving more days than not and it's a win. Once I re-build the habit the rest will fall into place. AND THAT'S IT Those are my main two goals and I'm keeping it SIMPLE so I can start rebuilding my foundation. I've had so much crap happen to me over the past *checks watch* five years that I've just slowly gotten off track.. I've lost a lot of strength and fitness overall and let my habits I worked so hard to instill slip in the face of stress and despair and life tragedies that I'm kinda back at square one. But that's okay 'cause I can only build up from here! I promise to check in as often as I can and also pay the cat tax~ ❤️❤️ ( my beautiful and chaotic sons coexisting aaaaaa )
  8. This gives a good feel of the track I'm on. I am continuing with the musubi theme that has been working for me this year. Adapt to circumstances and deal with things in a way to make them end better than they started. Goals: Sleep continues to be my top priority. I make much better decisions and am a much nicer person when I get enough sleep. Down time. I have been pushing myself to the limit a lot of the time. Some of my sleep problems are due to Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. My life will be better if I allow myself time to do fun, creative and relaxing things. Some zen every day. Ten minutes a day is fine. More is also fine. My zen teacher says that continuity is important. Maybe I will see something shift if I am more consistent. It will certainly be a more comfortable conversation with my teacher the next time I go to a zen group session. Some exercise most days. I have not been able to stick to a regular schedule. That is okay. I can do walking, aikido, yoga, core exercise, rowing and strength training as they fit in my daily schedule. I can even take a day off here and there. All the other projects can happen when I have energy for them. I will not be bored.
  9. The Hibernation Project is in effect The next couple months are about rest and maintenance. I'm going to survive the holidays and the cold winter of the north by turning down the intensity, turning up the recovery and getting ready to get some stuff done in the new year. Anyone who's read me, the format will be pretty much the same: complain, complain, bikini shots, complain..oh wait, that's my instagram. I'll continue logging the same things but trying to keep the focus on physical efforts a bit dialed back and use these months to continue to work on my sleep and recovery. Calendar Week 0 (October 16 - 22) - Strength deload/reset (brining back dumbbells), In-Laws visiting over the weekend Week 1 (October 23 - 29) - normal Week 2 (October 30 - Nov 5) - normal Week 3 (November 6 - 12) - normal Week 4 (November 13 - 19) - Likely parent visit Week 5 (November 20 - 26) - normal As you can see, I have an uneventful calendar coming up, which is lovely be me Standard Week Monday - BJJ Tuesday - Strength + BJJ (hardest day of my week) Wednesday - BJJ Thursday - Strength (easiest day of my week) Friday - BJJ Saturday - Strength (most commonly missed workout of the week due to errands, family visits, etc) Sunday - BJJ (2 hour open mat) Standard Week Day 0530 - 0600 wake up and make coffee 0600 - 0730 begin work 0730 - 0800 breakfast 0800 - 1000 work 1000 - 1300 training & lunch 1300 - 1530 work 1530 - 1600 afternoon meal 1600 - 1700 work 1700 - 1800 guitar 1800 - 1900 dinner prep 1900 - 2000 dinner 2000 -2100 clean up 2100 - 2200 in bed relaxing 2200 - lights out Starting about 5 pm theres more wiggle room than the schedule above implies but I was just trying to set out a basic template. I never get a full hour of guitar practice there but sometimes work runs over, other times dinner prep will take a little longer so I start earlier. The biggest takeaways are that I train midday which is a great feature of my work-life balance and that, as a result, my workday is split in two big chunks. Also, I like to got to bed early but I also get up pretty early. Areas of focus during this challenge BJJ - I've focused pretty hard on this over the summer so I'm back off this focus. I'm still training 5 days a week but I'm being more playful and seeing what emerges. I'm taking chances in rolls to get out of my comfort zone. I'll keep working on escaping pins and I'll take some shots at leg locks Strength- I had an injury over the summer that I'm still shaking off so I'm sticking to dumbbells and machines only. I'm aiming for hypertrophy more than strength gain. I'm in my mid forties and don't have much opportunity to gain muscle left in my life. Diet - After losing 30 lbs over the summer my goal is to hang around 215ish through the new year before I make another big push in January & February. I and people around me are still adjusting to my bodyweight. Sleep - I have had very bad sleep habits in the past. I continue to work on them. I was able to make some improvements in the last challenge so I'm going to keep pushing on this Mobility - It's been a long running challenge for me to get some basic stretched and/or yoga. I fully realize those are not synonymous but for now, I'll take either. If you look at the schedule above, there's no room for it. This remains a challenge for me. Guitar - I've been practicing for years and been pretty meh about it. I'm trying to build a better habit. The biggest thing I am seeking in guitar right now is finding an intrinsic drive to play more. I have played out of discipline and block headedness so far but I want to learn to want to pick up the instrument. Games - This is new this challenge but I've been dabbling in it. I'd like to intentionally spend a little more time gaming, board or video. Enough setup
  10. Finally getting back into a routine with the arrival of baby #2! It was recommended by @Sloth the Enduring to consolidate threads so I’m going to be posting my challenge and daily logs all right here. Still a bit sleep deprived but will be posting more soon. Thanks for all the well wishes!
  11. Howdy, y'all! Hope you're doing well today. In a sign of how well I'm rebalancing my life, I'm here early, just like I used to be in easier times. Because it turns out I have a lot more say in how I get here than I thought. For those of you just tuning in, I'm Kishi. Been around a while, and still a work in progress. I'm coming off a big win challenge where I challenged a lot of my assumptions about training and lifestyle and the choices I have. It's been freeing, in a lot of ways, although these new freedoms come packing a bunch of new responsibilities with them that you might not necessarily expect. For example: I have learned that I can effectively strength train on 10 minutes of work a day. It's true. I'll tell you some more about it sometime. But the responsibility that comes with it now is to actually spend that 10 minutes well, and not put it off and put it off until the end of the day when I really need to be eating dinner and winding down. It's a virtuous thing in the sense of promoting wellbeing, but it's a virtuous thing that can feed into a vicious cycle if I let it, and I don't really want to do that. Figuring that out was a big part of last challenge. It's dialed in pretty well now, though. So now that I have a minimum effective dose for training, I want to turn that to my writing. Although maybe not in the way you might think, because the trick with minimum effective doses is that you don't necessarily know where that is and it's very easy to go below that minimum and maybe not even necessarily know it. I've had a minimum effective dose for my writing for a while of just showing up and staring at the draft, and sometimes that's felt like enough, but on the whole I'm dissatisfied with it. I feel like I want to do more, but more than that, I want to feel good about the amount of work I've done in a given day. And I know that feelings aren't a thing I control, so chasing a writer's high might not be the most responsible thing to do. But OTOH, "If I do what I've always done, I will get what I've always got." I want something different, so I gotta change it up somehow. The goal of this challenge - single goal, because that's how I roll - is to show up daily to write and to work on the story to the degree that I feel good about it. How much is that going to be? I dunno, man. I think it might vary depending on the task and where I am mental health-wise on a given day. I want to give myself grace and space for that. But I also want to have discipline too. I want to work. And I want to feel good about it. That's what this challenge is about. And also, you know, being part of an awesome community that I genuinely like too.
  12. I am going to continue with the theme of blending with the challenges that come at me. I was trying to think of a better idea for this challenge and any inspiration I had is gone. While blending is the essential first part of musubi, what follows next is shaping the situation to one's benefit. Deal with things in the moment and set it up to get better. My goals are around steps to set myself up for success 1. Sleep time. During the last challenge I mostly shifted my sleep time to 9:30pm to 5:30am. This time works better for a lot of things, provided I get to bed before 9:30pm. My goal is to do prep earlier in the evening so I can get to bed on time. No screen time after 8pm. Knitting is great for relaxing before bed. 2. Exercise. I have been going for 30 minute walks several days a week. I will keep doing walks some days. Possibly do strength or core training some days. I have options. I am doing aikido two or three days a week. That is great, but does not actually count as exercise. I am at that critical age where strength training becomes more important. You've seen the graph where strength declines with age - that's where I am. It's scary. 3. Be gentle with myself. I was pushing myself as hard as I could for too long. My mind and spirit are still recovering from that. I am giving myself permission to take breaks and do fun things. Sitting zen is good for my brain, but so is carding wool. More musubi.
  13. You say 'fall' to an American, and you're going to hear all about leaves and pumpkin spice lattes and apples, and things like that. That's the thing about Americans; they all act like they've just walked out of the town sock hop to get an ice cream soda, and then you realise they're all carrying enough firepower to take out several floors of Harvey Nicks. It's the kind of thing an honest London copper has to be wary of, with Americans loose on their patch. My boss (who, it turns out, doesn't need to carry anything to take out several floors of Harvey Nicks, and don't think it's not tempting to ask) is immune to the argument that language changes over time, and looks physically pained every time I tell him Guhleed and me are going out to lunch. He says that there's nothing wrong with autumn, autumn is all very well. It's all tweed and whisky and long walks in the park on crisp, grey days, which I suppose have more appeal when you have all that Savile Row tailored tweed and good bottles of whisky waiting. Fall is just one colonial neologism too far. And don't get him started on Halloween*. I thought maybe, given his line of work, he'd see the appeal, but witches are a delicate subject at the Folly, vampires mean calling in Frank Caffrey and his paratroopers, and, he says, 'mummies don't exist, Peter'. (Not the lumbering, groaning ones, anyway. The regular archaeological sort are real enough**.) And I try to avoid the subject of werewolves when it's not necessary. Sometimes it's fine, but... let's just say, there was a military installation near Buchenwald where he didn't go on holiday or leave the easy way, and sometimes he gets that look in his eyes. You say 'fall' to Nightingale, and he says, "Sometimes it's inevitable, Peter. I'm not saying you don't fight it like hell, but, well. It comes to us all, I suspect." No one I've met who was at Ettersberg has been particularly sanguine on the subject of the decline of once-great institutions in general, but I like to think Nightingale at least has some new data points. "Well, you know what they say, sir," I said cheerfully. "It's not the fall that kills you." Actually, I'm not sure that was always right. Physics probably had something to say on the subject, and it might say it pretty forcefully if you fell from high enough. Before the sudden deceleration at the end that's the usual punchline, I mean. Nightingale's lip curled up in a half smile. "Isn't it, Peter? Sometimes, I very much think it is the fall that kills you." * The joke's on him, though, because I know Agent Reynolds has been sending Molly recipes for pumpkin pie. ** Although sometimes they were cursed, he said. New to Rivers of London? Click here:
  14. I've looped through about several different possible titles for this. I've spent like an hour and gone nowhere. I'm not very good at the cool narrative challenges. I just have bunch of stuff I want to do and go in that direction. So, let's keep this simple. This week will be the same as my weeks have been of late. Next week, however, is a tournament week so I'll deload and do very little. The week after that (September 18) training goes back to normal but there are two major shifts that will matter: I will have Whoop strap that I will be trying to use to guide more of my calories and activity I will be done trying to lose weight for the year so now I get to try and deliberately maintain my weight between 220 and 225 until next year I have two other changes that I am making to how I have done things: I'm going to start practicing guitar time because not tracking it allows me an excuse to not focus during it I've said for months that I need to focus on mobility, that starts now I have one additional change I'll likely pull in but haven't set up yet: I have this idea for a bedtime journal, just a quick checklist to start tracking things like: what time did I crawl into bed? did I use my phone once in bed? dead tree book or kindle? did I use CBD to help with sleep? Week 0 - Sept 4 Calories - keep the deficit Approx 1900 net calories 150-200 g protein 50-100 g fat 100+ g carbs Training - Normal BJJ x 4 (holiday on Monday prevents one training sessions) Cardio x 3 Strength x 0 Mobility / Stretch x 5 Guitar - new this challenge lesson this week practice 4 hours total Tracking Whoop strap arrives and I play with it Week 1 - Sept 11 Calories - keep the deficit Salt cut week Approx 1900 net calories 150-200 g protein 50-100 g fat 100+ g carbs Training - Normal BJJ x 2 BJJ competition on Saturday Cardio x 4 Strength x 0 Mobility / Stretch x 6 Guitar practice 4 hours total Tracking Confirm Whoop data is in the system Week 2 - Sept 18 Calories - eat to maintain Approx 2100 net calories 150-200 g protein 50-100 g fat 100+ g carbs Training - Normal BJJ x 5 Cardio x 3 Strength x 3 Mobility / Stretch x 6 Guitar lesson this week practice 4 hours total Tracking Begin trying to use Whoop to override MFP recommendations Week 3 - Sept 25 Calories - eat for maintenance Approx 2100 net calories 150-200 g protein 50-100 g fat 100+ g carbs Training - Normal BJJ x 5 Cardio x 3 Strength x 2-3 my lose one session due to a Saturday obligation Mobility / Stretch x 5 Guitar - new this challenge lesson this week practice 4 hours total Week 4 - Oct 2 Calories - eat to maintenance Approx 2100 net calories 150-200 g protein 50-100 g fat 100+ g carbs Tracking holiday for a couple days while I go to weekend of gaming Training - Normal BJJ x3 Two lost to gaming weekend Cardio x 1 Strength x 1-2 1-2 lost to gaming weekend Mobility / Stretch x 5 Guitar lesson this week practice 4 hours total Week 5 - Oct 9 Calories - eat to maintenance Approx 1900 net calories 150-200 g protein 50-100 g fat 100+ g carbs Planning to come back from the weekend heavy but treat this week as if I was on weight to let water sort itself out. I'll address any weight tweaks the following week Training - Normal BJJ x 5 Cardio x 3 Strength x 3 Mobility / Stretch x 5 Guitar - new this challenge practice 4 hours total
  15. Friends, nerds, party people, WELCOME to my shiny new challenge!! Pull up a chair or one of those bougie ass bean bags or a comfy mat and grab a nice relaxing drink of choice and settle the heck in with me! ❤️ My last challenge derailed itself wildly as, while I was on a path to up my fitness and working towards 100,000 punches, life decided to show up and go, HA! Nice try my dude, you’re gonna shelve that for a little bit because you have to take care of yourself in other ways first! And instead I took a monstrous leap of faith and quit my job. This was a TERRIFYING thing for me to do - I am a person who has always been go-go-go with a very strong work ethic and boundless energy. But in the last two years since my mom passed away suddenly, a lot has changed for me and I’m just.. Not able to do the things I used to. This summer has been a struggle and I found myself increasingly fatigued to the point where my life was pretty much work - rest - dissociate on the weekends with video games - insert random days of anxiety and depression - repeat - and I didn’t like it. This has been a VERYyyyy hard truth to stare in the face and reconcile with, but my mental and physical health were suffering and I knew I needed to make a hard choice for myself. I’m eternally grateful to be in a place where I can even make this choice, and I’m mindful of this every day. I’m going to take a few months to step back and breathe and re-center myself before I start looking for part-time work closer to home (or even better WFH) and of a lesser intensity. This challenge is going to be the baseline for that and is probably going to look a little different than my recent challenges! I will still follow my monk path but I have also been leaning heavily into my old pagan/druid roots, so my goals are as follows...: Cultivate my Connections Real talk - I AM A BAD FRIEND. There I SAID it! The caveat is not that I’m really a bad friend, it’s just that I’m the absolute worst at keeping in touch with literally anyone outside of myself, my husband, and our cat. I probably would be perfectly content being a hermit for the rest of my life, but that’s nnnnnot a really good outlook or way to live. It’s less effort for me to do my own thing as opposed to fostering my connections with others and that is about to change. I really want to take this time to cultivate my friendships and connections with people - make an active effort to reach out more, meet up and go out to dinner and actually DO things. People often want to do things with me but I’m very dhsalfkas about making plans and actually sticking to them. Man is not an island and I realize when I connect with people that I enjoy, I get SO much fulfillment out of it! So I’m gonna do it more. I don’t want to drain my social batteries so just making an effort to connect more via text and chat and Discord is high on this list too. And here, posting HERE more and being able to intentionally follow everyone’s updates and interact more, that means a lot to me and is a big goal too. I already have a lunch date with an old coworker of mine next week, and then the day before the equinox I’m meeting up with another friend who is also an old coworker that does loads of energy work, and she’s going to have a reiki session with me and I am STOKED. This will all be good for me! Recalibrate my Spirit Before My Life Went Bananas I was a pretty spiritual person, especially so when I lived in North Carolina. I leaned heavily into a pagan following for quite some time - I have a Book of Shadows, I honored the Wheel of the Year, I followed the lunar cycles (and past shaar even had a whole challenge series devoted to FULL MOONS), I had rituals, I pulled from my tarot often, I went to sound cleansing seminars.. Lots of stuff. It was always very grounding for me and something that fulfilled me huuugely. I’ve kinda deviated from that over the past years but lately I’ve been very much lately feeling the pull to bring all of this back to the forefront of my life. I really started digging into this a week or so before I quit my job and it was an obvious sign from the universe because it instantly paid itself back in dividends. I’ve been pulling a tarot card daily and each one has been exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment. I’ve been following the lunar alignments and phases and how it can reflect my current situation and just like the cards, it’s been wildly striking at how much I just needed to hear what was being told to me. It’s been nothing but reassuring that I am on the right path, and that re-opening myself to THIS spiritual path has also come at the right time. I will work to make this a good habit over this challenge - taking time for myself and my mental health and foster my spirituality even more. Reflecting on my intentions and the signs that are being given to me, honoring the seasons and solar events, purifying my space and my energy in life, and letting all of this enrich my life and help me grow! Intentional Movement It’s time to focus on my physical fitness too in a sustainable way (REMEMBER THE SUSTAINABLE PART SHAAR) so I’m setting myself a baseline goal to exercise more days during the week than not. I’m not going to behold myself to any set schedule or regimen, I’m just going to see how I’m feeling that day and roll with it. This can be anything from FightCamp workouts to lifting to yoga and mobility, to going outside for a hike or a bike ride or, my personal favorite, a cemetery walk. (heheh) I’ve been struggling with consistency lately but I think I’m setting myself up in a good place to make that change and rebuild these foundational habits. Nourish my Life Y’all I LOVE COOKING. So so so much! It’s a huge joy in my life and unfortunately lately I haven’t been able to devote as much time to it as I would like. Time for this to change! Each week I’m still going to batch cook our lunches, but I’m also going to add a few premade breakfasts into the mix. It’s honestly SO easy and I’m finding since I started batch cooking breakfast a couple weeks ago I feel so much better and more full throughout the morning. Also, I’m going to have much more time to devote to creative dinners during the week, which I’m suuuuper looking forward to jumping into and sharing with everyone. Create more amazing wholesome nourishing meals. That’s it. That’s the goal. Tend to the Mountain of Whispering Blades And lastly, a task I’ve wanted to tackle for a hot minute. We totally revamped and cleaned out our basement to get our home gym set up and functioning, but the rest of the house is in definite need of decluttering, reorganizing, and deep cleaning every room! The last time I did a thorough clean was before we moved in in November 2021 and honestly even then I was probably running on stress, adrenaline, and bourbon so yeah it’s TIME. Gonna write up a huge-ass checklist for each room and post it here, and tackle one room at a time. Washing windows, cleaning vents, attacking stairwell cobwebs, scrubbing the wood floors, NOTHING IS SAFE. I am really, really, really glad to be ready to take a step back and enrich my life again. I've been incredibly happy over the past week, happier than I've been in a while and I'm looking to continue on with this good energy and tackle these goals alongside you guys!! Thank you to everyone that's stuck with me over my nearly-ten-years of chaos life here on NF, whether it's chatting or commenting or just dropping an emoji, this really is one of the best places on the internet and I'm always so grateful to be a part of it. Nowwww LET'S GET IT~!! ❤️❤️
  16. Mistr stops playing games - Summer 2023 I want to refine this a bit, before I lose all nerd credibility. For this challenge I will not play any games on my phone. I am not counting Duolingo, even though is certainly has game aspects. I want to keep working on learning French and Duolingo is my main place to practice right now. Ideally, I would not play any games on my computer either. Yesterday when I was planning my challenge, I wanted to say no computer games for the challenge. I spent a lot of time playing Immortal Life instead of doing other things I wanted to do. On top of the direct time, playing games in the evening messes with my sleep. My ability to turn off the game and do other things is lousy. I will tell myself that I will just play for an hour, then go do other things. Ha. I ignore the timer and just keep playing. So if playing games is causing me so many issues, why am I even questioning stopping? Because it gives my brain a huge hit of happiness. That should be a red flag. My focus this challenge is on mental health. Which things should I do so that I can cope and feel better about my life? I know what I was doing regularly in the before times. I feel like I am just getting back to making progress as a martial artist again. I want to come up with strategies so that I can feel like I am making progress without getting overwhelmed. Next week I will be at our family cabin on vacation. My plan is to take a bunch of fun projects along - and to leave my computer at home. That means I will have to do all the bookkeeping this week before we leave. Which is good, because it will not leave time for playing games. I want to see how I feel after two weeks with no computer games. I can use the extra time for reflection. Note: social gaming is a whole different beast. I am still in a tabletop RPG group that meets on Tuesdays and may do other gaming with friends. That is all good.
  17. Am I late, or are y'all early? Or did I start this precisely when I meant to? It's totally me, I'm late, you guys, I don't know how it happened I'll let you ponder that. I skipped out last challenge because I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't really know what I meant by saying I wanted to "Maintain." And truthfully, some of that is still at play now. My old workout routine has completely flown the coop. I don't really have a routine anymore so much as a series of touchstones that I try to touch every week. Instead of thinking about particular movements, I think these days in terms of patterns - press, pull, squat, hinge, lunge, invert - and do a little core work on the side as it relates to or enhances my martial arts. (At this point, that means hanging leg raise progressions, loaded carries, and side planks with the goal to develop a Copenhagen Plank for adductor strength). I walk more these days too. A lot more. I managed to get a pedometer app on my phone and it's been mindblowing to see how little I was moving beforehand. It's not perfectly accurate, but it's consistent, and I can work with that. I'll document that some in the logs this week to give you an idea of what this comes out looking like. I feel really good these days as a result. My busted shoulder is nice and quiet. I'm better-rested, and I feel like I'm moving better as a result. I've been going easier in the rolls out on the mats for BJJ these days and I've had to get technical since I'm not using strength so much. I think I'm better, and even when I'm tapped, I find that I don't care about the tap so much as getting tapped safely (ie don't be stubborn, tap early, tap often). I got a couple things coming up this challenge. One of these is a belt promotion this Sunday, 8/6, which I'll go to. I don't have any expectations; the job has consumed me and I'm not making the time that I want to for this, so, I'll go, but I'm not so certain that I'm going to be promoted. It's fine if not. I've been meaning to go to these things for a while anyway, and it'd be good to be a part of the community. The other thing is a GoRuck challenge out in Denver at the end of the month. This will be with my brother, who is apparently arranging the whole thing. I've bought the tickets and the weight, so now I just need to get a couple other pieces of safety gear and I should be good to go. Just need to get some training volume. This particular event is slated to just be a 12 mile hike in 5 hours with a 20 lb weight. I think that's too easy given how it went the last time I did one of these, but I think I'll be better-prepared this time. More prep time would have been better, but I couldn't accomplish that with the equipment I had, so, I'll just have to make the most of what I can do now. I have three goals for this challenge. Surprisingly, only one physical, but that one physical goal will cover, like, everything, so for the most part I'll just be logging that stuff here. The other two goals are to keep working at my writing and to meditate. I'm up to 5 minutes at this point, so I'd like to hit 6 minutes for the remainder of the challenge. And, uh, yeah. That's that. I'll be about. Good to see you all again.
  18. Welcome to a challenge that will undergo a pivot halfway through and yet, will try and remain cohesive. Winning August 5th I have my second Submission Only tournament. I'm traveling down to Des Moines, IA to fight weirdos like myself. I have one goal for this, win. I don't know the people i will be competing against, I don't even know how many matches there are but there are no excuses. I win or I lose on my merits. Losing I'm in a phase of being hyped about dieting for weight loss so I'm going to do that. To that end i have joined the weightloss PvP well. Based on my weight loss I had charted previously, my goal for the end of this challenge is 237. However, this morning I was 237.2. So let's aim for 230 even. It's a bit of a stretch goal. I will be focused on winning and losing, both for the first two weeks than I'll take a week off from caring about winning, but not losing. Then we'll start a long ramp up towards winning that will stretch off into the future. Processes Diet The basic plan is ~100 g fat, a little under, a little over, no big deal. 100-200 g protein. I find this hard to hit but I aim for 150 as best I can. As many carbs as fit into my calories for the day, this is also between 100 and 200, 300 on a crazy day. I'm continuing to try to push more fruits and veg into my diet to get these carbs. I try to not let these be chips, fries, sugary drinks. Training I do jiujitsu 5 times a week and lift followed by cardio 3 times a week. The astute among you will realize that this means I have at least one day a week with more than one workout. Those are Tuesdays usually. I'm still building out my strength program and I expect it to develop over the course of this challenge Recovery I suck at recovery but it's an ongoing process. I sleep a lot more than I used to but I still have room for growth in this area. I need to do more stretching, mobility, and foam rolling but I just never make the time. I expect that to be the focus of my next challenge as this one is already full up. Documentation Documentation is key for me. I use MyFitnessPal to track food and let it estimate my caloric needs based on my training for the day. I track my weight using a scale that store the info in my phone but then I tend to copy it to a google sheet to play with. I record what we learn in class and what I recall of rolls in this log. Calendar Week 0 - 07/24 - 07/30 Monday - BJJ Tuesday - Lift (Leg Testing) , Cardio, Marathon Roll Wednesday - BJJ, Stretch, Guitar Thursday - Lift (Upper Body Pull), Cardio, Wine Party Friday - BJJ Saturday - Lift (Upper Body Push) , Cardio Sunday - BJJ Week 1 - 07/31 - 08/06 Monday - BJJ Tuesday - Lift (Legs), Cardio Wednesday - BJJ Thursday - Cardio, Cut Salt Friday - Cardio?, Cut Water, Drive to Iowa Saturday - Competition, Dinner out with parents Sunday - Drive back home Week 2 - 08/07 - 08/13 Monday - BJJ (Marathon Monday) Tuesday - Lifting Program Actually Starts (Push), Cardio, BJJ Wednesday - BJJ, Guitar Thursday - Lift (Pull), Cardio Friday - BJJ Saturday - Lift (Push), Cardio Sunday - BJJ Week 3 - 08/14 - 08/20 Monday - BJJ Tuesday - Lift (Pull), Cardio, Marathon Roll Wednesday - BJJ Thursday - Lift (Push) Friday - BJJ, Date Night Saturday - Lift (Pull), Cardio Sunday - BJJ Week 4 - 08/21 - 08/27 Monday - BJJ Tuesday - Lift (Push), Cardio, Marathon Roll Wednesday - BJJ, Guitar Thursday - Lift (Pull), Cardio Friday - BJJ Saturday - Lift (Push), Cardio Sunday - BJJ Week 5 - 08/28 - 09/03 Monday - BJJ Tuesday - Lift (Pull), Cardio Wednesday - BJJ Thursday - Lift(Push), Cardio Friday - BJJ Saturday - Lift (Pull), Cardio Sunday - BJJ No plan survives first contact with the enemy.
  19. You had been wandering the mountain trail for some time - or maybe it had only been a few hours? For some reason you were suddenly unsure as to just how long you had been out here in the woods.. This thought lingers in your subconscious, and you find yourself wondering if you are indeed lost, when out of the corner of one eye you spy the nearly hidden entrance to a cave set back amidst the grove of heavy trees. You approach the opening, a gaping maw of rock leading into a corridor of dusky darkness, and the fingers of one hand trail along the jagged quarry face as, for some unknown reason, you find yourself moving inside. Your eyes adjust to the darkness and as a few moments pass, you realize that there is a faint flickering light coming from somewhere farther down the path. As you move further into the cave, slowly, you begin to notice some strange bits of decor along the trail.. Rounding a small corner, a torch sits above what seems to be a side table of some sort, a small set of well-worn bardic knives the only occupant. The light glimmers off them invitingly and catches your eye; they seem rather loved and cared for. A basic wooden chair sits a few paces away, and a very well-worn and tattered ranger cloak has been folded rather precisely and draped over the back of it. A strange timepiece rests on the seat of the chair; interestingly enough, you can’t quite make out exactly what it is, if it’s a watch or an hourglass or perhaps something else as it seems to keep changing shape every time you look at it, but the image of sparkling constellations lingers in your mind as you head further into the cave. You eventually arrive at your destination, where the cave opens up into a small room - an unexplainable sense of calm comfort washes over you, and your eyes are drawn from the gentle torchlight flickering across the walls, to the meticulously placed equipment around the space, and finally to the small figure seated cross-legged on the floor. Facing away from you, small hands rest on bent knees, clad in carefully applied wrist wraps that seem older than the ranger cloak in the hallway. A dark ponytail spills down a slim back, partially obscuring swirling tattoos of what seem to be cats and flowers, and at the sound of your presence the head tilts slowly to one side to afford a glance back over one shoulder in your direction. Bright green eyes glimmer with some sort of determined mischief as they meet your gaze, and a small smile tugs at the strangers lips as they watch you, wordlessly inviting you in just a bit further. WELCOME FRIENDS! Thanks for popping by my new challenge that I am VERY EXCITED about!! I had fun writing up my little intro and paying homage to the things and classes I’ve aligned myself with on my fitness journey, but I am at a point where as of late I have been returning to my monk roots, and so as of this challenge I am donning my wrist wraps and posting up with the monks guild for the foreseeable future. As a history - I have about 15 years of experience in Taekwondo and hold a second degree black belt, about 6 months of boxing training (before covid shut all of our lives down), as well as some side training with various weaponry. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done any real structured training, but thanks to our new basement gym, I’ve been able to haul full force back into something I love and set my little monk-heart on fire again. And as I write this, I remember WAY back ages ago when I created my NF character, I referenced tucking away my little monk-heart. NO LONGER. It is time to FIRE UP! My monk roots also hold a strong undercurrent of Druid roots - growing up training and meditating went hand in hand for me - so I suspect this will start to dovetail more here as I progress. ANYWAY! CHALLENGE!! My previous challenge was centered around building out our home gym and getting back into the kickboxing groove. It was a HUGE success and I’m loving not having to rely on a gym membership to get my workouts in. My overarching goal for the next few challenges is to reach 100,000 punches. Currently my tracker sits at 8,027 - I know this will take time and dedication and is DEFINITELY a stretch goal here but it’s just extra motivation for me to keep working hard. Seeing the numbers add up is a big boost for me! My main goal is to complete my newest 4 week kickboxing program! Thus far I’ve completed the beginner boxing and beginner kickboxing training and as of this Friday of zero week I will be starting a 4 week kickboxing for weight loss program. The program is amazing and has already structured the workouts for you and includes warm ups, kickboxing, body weight conditioning, core, and recovery.. so my schedule for this challenge will be as follows: Friday - 55 minutes (5m warmup, 20m switch stance workout, 25m conditioning workout, 5m core workout) Saturday - 24 minutes (24m recovery session) - will add on foam rolling and additional mobility as needed Sunday - 55 minutes (5m warmup, 20m pure striking workout, 25m conditioning workout, 5m core workout) Monday - Rest Tuesday - 55 minutes (5m warmup, 20m burnout workout, 25m conditioning workout, 5m core workout) Wednesday - Rest (I MAY add in a light lifting day here depending on how i feel.) Thursday - Rest (foam rolling as needed) The way this is structured is great for me because I can drop the majority of my workouts on my days off (F-Su) and only have to worry about one longer after work day. I’m interested to see just how the weight loss bit pans out - I’m currently at 148 (5lbs down since the start of the year) but would really like to work towards dropping another 10 (i am 5’3”). My calorie output over the past month or so has been anywhere from 2000 - 2300 per day - which is GREAT for me as I work a mostly desk job - so keeping that going along with getting more heart rate zone minutes will only benefit me. ❤️ There are other side goals that while I’m not explicitly tracking myself or grading these, I want to keep in my periphery for habit building purposes. THEY ARE: Making sure I get enough protein daily. I’m not shooting for a number or anything at all, just being mindful of getting in protein in each meal. Hard boiled eggs or overnight oats for breakfast, batch cooking my work lunches, and being mindful about dinner. My nutrition is honestly pretty damn good but I’d like to stay aware of this. Keeping my recovery going to match my training output. IMPORTANTTTTT. My training has some recovery scheduled in but I am also an old-ass bitch with some extenuating injuries that I need to care for! If I need to do a little extra foam rolling or mobility as this progresses, I’ll listen to my body and make sure I do. Eyeballing my mental health as of late. I’ve had a few waves of anxiety and, moreso depression, that I want to acknowledge and keep ahead of. The third quarter of the year - July through September - is always a struggle for me. I’ve had a fair amount of loss in my life, whether it be of people or pets, or of things or ways of life, and it’s always ALWAYS fallen within these three months. I’m sure there’s something cosmic to be said of this but I’m not quite sure what that is; at any rate navigating this time with care and open-ness to my feelings and emotions is important and critical to me. Try to get outside a little more!! IF POSSIBLE!! This summer has been hell on wheels and between the heat, humidity, and deluges of daily rain (our town has flooded multiple times and road have actually cracked and caved in, phew, i am grateful we live at an elevation) it’s been pretty tough. I miss being outside in the sun for walks and am going to do my best with my off-days to do this. Phew so there we are! I’m super stoked for ALL of this and ready to KICK SOME BUTT with you nerds!! 💕💕
  20. Meet Peter Grant, mixed race council estate kid, London constable, and apprentice to Thomas Nightingale, the last wizard in Britain. Who, for his sins, is also a policeman. It's a long story. (Really long. Don't ask him what year he was born.) They have acquired a small yappy dog by accident. There were reasons at the time. They also have an inhuman housekeeper straight out of a Japanese horror film. (Or at least Nightingale does. He isn't gonna be breakfast. No guarantees on Peter or the dog.) Some people have their faces fall off. Things explode. Some dudes get their dicks bitten off in night clubs. People die horribly. Weird shit happens. There's jazz and architecture and geekery and a global melting pot of immigrant cultures swirling around. And Peter wants to shag a really hot river. So just regular London stuff. This challenge, we are practicing magic. Proper Newtonian magic. (Which according to certain people is the only proper sort of magic there is. At least the only sort that counts. Officially speaking. If you don't count the exceptions.) Spells and good magical habits and all that.
  21. GONE TURBO I've always had big plans to make a website, blog, podcast, etc to put myself and my philosophy out in the world to influence more people. I've implemented so many of these things and gotten myself outside my comfort zone to do it. With all these changes I've made in the last few years, 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 strafed 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 black belt at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and completing Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new every day. 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: "Budo, Empty Hands" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds where I left off. The next one is for our Blue belt rank. The creed is below: As a martial artist, my body is my weapon. Any tool in my hand is just an extension of my body. My body can cripple my opponent or deliver mercy as I see fit. I must not be reckless as I could hurt myself. I must exhibit control and be precise while understanding my anatomy and skeleton to best protect or maim when necessary. 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 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints, agility drills, and distance running. Get on the treadmill if I have to. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min with good posture, daily. Do some stairs too. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT, Weight 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 - Three classes a week plus every spar class I can attend. 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. CON +1 LIFE: Write some new stuff for Journey2U.org website. Work on revamping the site. Edit podcast interviews for "Evolving in Toastmasters". Schedule more interviews. Start researching speeches for second podcast "I Evaluate U". WIS +1, CHA +1 Edit and publish videos from last year's gameplay. Record gameplay clips and edit videos for Madden custom league. 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 +1, CHA +1
  22. Hi. So, you ever find yourself in a situation where you've got a challenge to plan, but you don't really know what your challenge is, because you think to yourself, "I mean, it could be better, but it's honestly pretty good, but I don't want to just maintain, but I don't know where to go from here. Ah, well. I'm sure I'll figure it out in time." #relatable, amirite? Anyway, I didn't figure it out in time for a challenge, and then things got busy. Out of nowhere, I was ranked up in BJJ from a 2-stripe white to a 4-stripe white. This is one step below the next belt - blue - which my academy only promotes at certain points of the year, and it was heavily intimated to me that I should show up for the next time. So getting out to the mats has been a huge priority for me. My brother contacted me and invited me out to do a GoRuck challenge with him in Denver. Not the hardest thing in the world, this time; just a hike around the city with 20 lbs on my back. I am deeply suspicious of this setup. It's too easy. So I've been trying to do some kind of distance work in my spare non-mat time. My job, ofc, doesn't care about what I'm doing to take care of myself because it's not translating directly back to labor for them, so I have to take care of these people too. Which means lots and lots of overtime. The "S Belt" in my car - the central timing belt w/o which nothing works - started making "I'm Dying" noises at me, so I had to get that squared away. And it turned out there were a bunch of problems beyond just that which still need to be addressed. I couldn't even afford to get them all fixed. My cellphone provider offended me for the last time and I decided to switch providers. All well and good, but for the fact that the new provider, um, doesn't seem to work. The problem appears to be on their end, but they haven't been terribly communicative with me about what's being done to fix it, meaning I've been having to take the initiative in following up with them. Normal enough, I suppose, but not exactly ingratiating. All of that while trying to carve out the time to work out in bits and bites throughout the day, which, thank God it's easy to do, because nobody and I mean nobody is helping me in terms of making my life easier. So, it's been... a lot. Really, it's a situation where I just wake up and I hit the ground running, and I just don't stop. Which, of course, sounds terrible; really, I do stop, but even when I'm stopped, my time is taken up by other folks around me. And you know? It's really not bad. I don't feel bad at all. But it's not a situation where I could stop and breathe and really think about what I want to do to level up my life. The one part I regret about this - the thing that's actually been itching in my brain the most - is that I haven't been making time for y'all, and that's something I regret. So I don't really have a challenge here, and I don't really have a plan beyond getting around to as many of you as I can with what time is given to me. But it didn't feel right to just drop in without saying at least something about what's been going on. I'll see you when I do. I hope you've all been well. Although, I suppose I'll find out soon enough.
  23. Mistr's May Summer Musubi Challenge Musubi is a Japanese term for connection. It has a sense of flow and perception. This was working for me last challenge, so I am continuing with only minor adjustments. In aikido, an important goal is to immediately establish musubi with an attack so you can feel where it is going. Is the attacker drawing back to prepare for another punch? Is their weight forward or in their heels? Valuable information. My goal for this challenge is to apply this principle to making choices about what to do with my time. I am now in month 4 6 of respawning after having Covid. Physically, I'm starting to see signs of improvement. I still have 15+ pounds to lose and a lot of capacity to rebuild. I have a plan for that. (more below) The mental health side is harder. I was in bad shape at the end of last year. Bad enough that getting sick was a welcome break. I want to keep a close eye on my choices and the stories I am telling myself about what I should do or need to do. This remains my primary focus. You may be familiar with The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He talks about decisions we make about food. Humans can eat an awful lot of things, so how do we choose? I am looking hard at the same question about time. I clearly cannot work on all my projects all at once. Some things have to wait. Other urgent things happen and I am the person who can handle them on the moment. Which tasks will make me happy if I get them done, and which can wait? How can I tell which ones will cause me grief later if I put them off? You would think (at least I certainly would think) that by my age I would have figured this out, but this is my main challenge. I am going to see where the pressure is coming from in different tasks and see if I can side-step them, draw them along or if I should just get in and deal with it right away. Challenge Details: Sleep is a top priority. Tomorrow me will be much happier and more productive if I go to bed on time today. There are usually things I want to get done in the evening. Most of those can actually wait. Doing zen helps me sleep, so that can push back my bed time (but not on purpose). Ibuprofen and melatonin are my friends. Caffeine is not my friend. Avoid the temptation to drink even decaf coffee. Zen, specifically seated meditation (zazen) is something I have been working on for several years. I'm not sure the meditation is getting better, but the side effects are helpful. My goal for this challenge is at least 10 minutes a day. Normally 30 minutes. Exercise: - Aikido twice a week (maybe more) - Cardio twice a week. This is usually 25 minutes on the rowing machine on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hiking or brisk walks are a fine substitute. If I get motivated, I could bike to work instead. - Strength or core exercise twice a week. There are a lot of mornings where I just cannot get myself to do the strength training circuit. Keep working on it when I can face it, and do core work when I can't. Food is on my radar, but not exactly a goal. I have been keeping to an eating window of 8am to 6pm during the week. That seems to be working pretty well. I am telling myself I can have whatever I want to eat, but only at meals. No snacking. That is pretty good in the morning and not so successful in the afternoons. Dumbledore (my partner) is also trying to improve his eating habits, which helps. Last week I saw some movement in the right direction of the number on the scale. I just need to keep this up. Projects This is the biggie. I have lots of things I want to do. Some are fun, some are chores. Taking time for myself to relax falls in this category as well, because all my non-work time is competing for open slots. My initial approach is to pick one larger project and a couple chores for weeknights or two projects for weekends. I want to feel like I am making progress AND having time to do fun things. Much musubi to see where the pressures are for the day and the week.
  24. Here is what is true: 1. My cyberpunk Vertigo comics swamp jazz challenge was a decent vibe. 2. Nothing is fun these days, everything is blah and pointless, and there is no sparkle. 3. OMG habits are stupid and arbitrary and whyyyyyy do we do things and results never happen and we just do things anyway and then have to keep doing them forever it's like it's stupid magical thinking and I don't understaaaaaand and like why even bother. Conclusion: Let's just cut out the middleman and do magic. Vertigo swamp jazz magic with a hefty dose of summery Euro-Ghiblicore. I will make shit magical and sparkly and do all the arbitrary crap that's supposed to be good for you. This is a green witchcraft challenge. Also I want loot drops, so I will be continuing my loot drop scorecard from late last challenge. I might need to double my prizes, though, cuz a weekly loot drop makes sense, only there's price inflation on loot. Given the time per day my scorecard involves, that's probably fair. I still have too many things I need to do. I'm having trouble picking all the load-bearing ones, but one is sleep. Poor sleep completely wrecks me, and is a chronic problem with multiple causes. Exercise consistency is another; it has an impact on pretty much everything else I'm trying to work on (theoretically in the case of ADHD). Probably I'll keep the same scorecard for now, it reflects my basic top three goals. It also has a few things that make those goals a bit easier, like helper goals, so maybe that's not really challenge creep. In fact, maybe my third goal needs a helper goal of its own. But they are not the point. Screw to-do lists and goals and plans. I'm literally just doing magic this challenge.
  25. *slides into this challenge at the last possible second* *after p much ghosting during the last challenge Because Life* Heheh. HELLO friends! It is I, your wayward ranger bard. Full stop in that I wasn't going to even make a challenge this go around because I let the last one slip *hard* and I am a Very Busy Person, but I have a lot of (good) things going on and want to do my best to be here. ALSO full stop in that my posting here will be SUPER sporadic - right now I'm shooting for once per week - MAYBE twice if the timing is right. But I'm going to do my best! The big thing I'm centering my challenge is that my himbo samurai of a husband and I have begun in full force to build out our basement into a full training gym - we live in a mountainous area and I'm a sucker for Wuxia-related anything so dubbing it the Mountain of Whispering Blades sounded right up our collective alley~ It's been a huge dream of both of ours to have a stocked home gym and we are finally making it come to fruition with some solid financial decisions, a lot of hard work, a LOT of research, and even more hard work. My husband is also a workhorse and very strong and both of us being on the same page with a lot of open communication and dedication to make this a priority and take time from our weekends and spare time to make this happen has made the process honestly, pretty enjoyable. We have been VERY busy sorting and cleaning out our basement - nearly 15 years of my mom's things left over after she passed (from not just the basement but the WHOLE house that we just stashed down there), and our stuff after we moved, the front end of creating our space was a LOT of work. (I will totally post before and after pictures soon!) But now we are in the building phase, a.k.a the phase of dropping some money to get our gear. For this challenge we are going to BUILD A GYM. We've already acquired a squat rack, bar, bench, and multiple weights from a fitness friend that was looking to offload some gear he didn't need. We purchased some mats and bumper plates that are on the way, but we also made a bigger purchase ... of ... A punching bag. I am 10000000000000% STOKED about this. My husband is a martial arts psycho and I am so so excited to put on my wraps and gloves and pick up my old monk lifestyle. ( i did martial arts for 15 years and have a second degree black belt in taekwondo ❤️ ) I will go into detail about all of this MUCH later because there's a lot going on and I have LOTS to babble about but Ao is hassling me to watch all these videos about different dumbbell racks and we have to go to Home Depot to buy 350 pounds of sand this afternoon and some other shit I already forgot about ALSO HELLO I am doing EXCELLENT; my gym workouts have been real consistent since the start of the year and I'm really starting to see some muscle gain and weight loss and I'm THRILLED. I'm doing a handful of different workouts now (along with my usual lifting) that I'll talk about later tooooo, I've been reading a lot (currently obsessed with ACOTAR) and getting outside a lot and right now life is good for me. I super look forward to sharing my Mountain of Whispering Blades progress with my nerds!! ❤️ OKAY TIME TO GO BUY SOME SAND
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