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  1. It always seems that I make the most progress in my life when something negative impacts me. It is those times when I can channel my emotions into motivation and fight back. I am trying to find that fighting spirit right now. There are so many petty things that I could get angry about, but overall my life is pretty good. Not to mention I don't do well mentally if I focus on all the petty little things. The challenge is to find things to fight for that don't drive me totally crazy. Here are my ideas: First and foremost I will fight for my girls. Both of them have been diagnosed with challenges in this last year. (ADHD, anxiety, depression, dysautonomia and we are looking into potentially more stuff) I am struggling to help them but I keep trying. I'm starting to become irrelevant as a parent (less influential in their world) but I can still help. What do my girls need from me at this time? They need to see me fight through and make progress. They need to see my dedication and focus on improving myself. I highlight that because I need to remind myself of that too. I will fight for my husband. There are days when jui-jitsu isn't something I want to do anymore. However, BJJ is my husband's saving grace. It gives him a passion to pursue, something to study/learn, it keeps him moving (and so much more healthy) and it is a social place where he has found his tribe. These are all the reasons why I still do BJJ. I love BJJ for what it has done for my husband and I will continue to support him with it for as long as I can. I will fight for myself!! Sometime I put myself on the bottom of the list. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with everything that I rush to zone out in a book rather than take care of me. My body is healing and I need to work with my physical therapists to get both strength and mobility back. I also have physical therapy exercises that need to be done and I will work with the physical therapists to regain my strength and mobility. M I will fight to keep my wardrobe. This sounds shallow, but I like my clothes and I'd rather spend my money doing fun things rather than buying new clothes. How will I do all of this? I have 1.5 more paid months of Noom. I will use it for the this challenge. I will focus on food and weight tracking as well as a review of the lessons it provides. I will work on strength and mobility. Attending core and condition classes, trying to get back to BJJ classes, stationary bike rides, walking and hiking. 2-4 classes per week 3 walk/hikes per week Yoga/stretching/mobility - I need to work this back into my life!!! and whatever else my PT says to do... and... I'm thinking that maybe I need to do something else, but maybe not. I'll update if needed I am so ready to get back to it with a solid plan!
  2. I know where I am at. I know where I want to be. I know what I need to do to get there. So why don't I make the choices I need to make to get to where I want to be? I have been learning about decision fatigue. I make great choices earlier in the day but by the evening, I'm tired and mentally exhausted. I don't make the best choices in the evenings. I think that I need more encouragement to make better choices and build those habits that I want to have. Can you send me your favorite quotes, memes or other motivation media to help me through this challenge?!?! Thank you in advance. This challenge will be another simple one. Keep tracking using Noom I want to see my weight go down. I want to keep tracking food on a regular basis Keep up with the Noom lessons - they help! Eat better veggies and fruit filling foods with lower calorie density less added sugars Do physical therapy as much as possible. I have 4 months to get back into shape before I get released to do BJJ again. Build strength and flexibility back Increase stamina by walking or riding the stationary bike Here are some initial motivation thoughts from me:
  3. Hi, I'm RisenPhoenix. I'm going to try and be normal here (*snort*) , in an attempt to be somewhat accessible to people who might drop into my thread now that we have merged the guilds. I've been around the block here in some form or another since 2012, so I've gotten lax with how I do challenges. For me, this challenge is definitely about becoming more Normal. Or at least MY normal. Which besides 2020 being 2020 I also mostly had upended in the tail end of the last year after almost nearly keeping it together. Almost very nearly practically together. So, here's to getting back on the normal horse that's probably some giant antlered zebra bear but whatever, it's my horse deal with it. 1) Normal Diet: Paleo-leaning calorie counting My diet is normally pretty paleo-leaning, but the holidays and some quarantine baking turned it a bit carb heavy. Not that it's a BAD thing, but it's hard to quantify my baking sometimes, which makes my consumption hard to track. Ultimately I do best on a higher fat diet with counting my calories. I'm going a slightly lower energy counting method which ignores all my veggies - they aren't calorically dense enough to make the hassle of putting them all in worth it. Slightly will underestimate my carb counts and what not, but that's fine. I'm looking to get into a calorie deficit again more than anything. Since I went to the doctor today, we'll use their clothed, mid morning weigh in that I tried to avoid as the start point: 222 pounds (which is still lower than I was in January 2020 so I'm counting it as a win). Goal is to get back down to closer 200-ish. At the very least to fitting easier into my jeans again. Calories logged should be net 2200 calories or less, when accounting for physical activity. But really I have enough glycogen stores right now that I should be able to fuel quite a few workouts before I need to feed myself more. 2) Normal Body: PT Exercises as dictated, 1 yoga class a week, 1 aikido class a week Part of my derailment at the end of last year was screwing up my back after doing a crappy deadlift pull. And then not paying attention to it as much as I should. And then having a mental breakdown where I tried to do a workout to help with the mental health because I felt physically better-ish but learned shortly thereafter that I am impatient as everything seized up on me. A doctor's appointment today got me a referral for PT and a bottle of muscle relaxers. So I need to 1) set up that appointment, 2) do the damn exercises, 3) I should really work on doing weekly yoga that I pay for and the aikido I don't need to pay for but do anyway. Start small and make sure the last two things don't interfere with the PT things. 3) Normal Brain: Self care Journaling, reading/tech disconnect 1/day I am perpetually an anxious mess, but the last year did enjoy ramping it up to 11. After a breakdown I had late November, I decided to put myself back on some meds. A couple weeks in and things are settling in well it seems, but I've also been on vacation for two weeks, so the rest test of work and life really hasn't taken root yet. In addition to drugs I finally got my butt to therapy and it's.... a thing. Not really sure it's giving me much space to benefit from, but we're still relatively early (4 or 5 sessions in). One thing is that I have used NF for years as a journaling space, which this will probably keep being, but I do want to try and find a guided journal or series of prompts to write for my eyes only in an attempt to not have me self-censor (which I have done before - yes people who've followed me before, that was me censoring myself occasionally). So I need to find a journal or a list of prompts to use. Suggestions welcome. I also really need a tech disconnect once a day, even if it's just reading for 30 minutes. My brain works better having that space. Thankfully I have three books on my kindle in queue, plus two others in hand. So reading material is abound. I'm also trying to get my library/study space up and functional (after a year of the room being a junk room I just tossed things into), which will include a space to do crafts/projects/puzzles/legos. That'll help. That's the gist. Try to be normal, or at least as normal as I can be. (New people will quickly see that normal for me is very much a relative scale....)
  4. I'm bad at this, but I'm back again. I'm 9 months post baby, and still struggling with muscle issues. PT has helped tremendously, but I thought I'd be done with it by now. I'm struggling with being gentle with myself and not getting frustrated that I can't do more. I try to remember how much better I am, but my brain isn't being particularly cooperative. My anxiety hasn't been great for a while, and this ::gestures broadly:: doesn't help either. But I'm determined to end the year on a high point. So its time for Edited for kindness to self and clarity: 1: Check in here daily. Even if it's just yes/no about my tasks. I have a Google Keep copy+pasteable list for facilitating this. 2: Minimum activity: PT basics and treadmill walk. I have a Google Keep PT list made. Planned out incremental treadmill plan - hope to get from 5 minute slow walk to 20 minute normal speed walk by the end of the month. Will not be discouraged if this doesn’t happen. Most important thing is to stay within a pain free range. 3: Additional activity: PT strengthening and/or yoga. Have Google Keep PT list made. Yoga is live Tuesday/Thursday. I also have recordings and could do my own flows. 4: Respect bedtime. Have a written routine. Have alarm set for routine to start. Goal is to be in bed with lights out by 10. Other things: Try to eat only when I’m hungry, and slow down when I do eat. Keep my brain in check, and treat myself with compassion regarding my activity level. Participate in the mini challenge. I think that's it. Let the festivities begin!
  5. Last challenge was accomplished though my tracking and reporting was lacking. Because of that I'm going to include "getting you that TPS report" in my goals this time around. I don't get back from our trip to Colombia until the 11th, and then I dive right into rehearsals for Pippin, directing the one-act showcase for the local theatre (that's easy, just three rehearsals and one performance), and work hitting the busiest time of year (start of the semester). I'm focused on getting pre-PA classes taken care of so I'll be taking one class (though that could be counseling instead), and I'm going to try and fit some kind of workouts (cardio, strength, and flexibility) in even if it's just PT for my rotator cuff. I blamed it on skiing at the doc's office but I wonder how much trapeze did too... Anyway specifics are forthcoming but in a general sense: 1. Hike, bike, or run, three times per week. 2. PT four days per week, bonus points for an actual lifting session that includes the PT exercises 3. One stretching session per week. 4. Sign up for either Human Anatomy, Chemistry 1 w/lab, or an appropriate upper-level biology class and do all the assignments, or sign up for one COUN class at the Denver campus and do all THOSE assignments. 5. Report into NF at least weekly. Oh, and I'll make time to go see that movie I earned last challenge with Mrs. MG.... not sure when or how, but it will happen. Hopefully before the in-laws leave so we don't have to find a sitter too!!!
  6. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and a crooked spine causing nerve root irritation and pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With Chiropractor, Back Pain Injection, Purple Senior, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, a new Toastmasters year with less club leadership responsibility (I need to stop carrying clubs on my back to reduce my stress levels), and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, this next challenge is going to feel like a new world. I'm not planning to relive my youth by playing rugby or football again, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility of achieving other amazing fitness goals... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is" - Yoda, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi {The Last Jedi spoilers below} Before viewing "The Last Jedi", many thought Luke would act as Rey's Yoda, dispensing incredible wisdom to the young padawan and train her to be a Jedi knight, making "The Last Jedi" a parallel to "Empire Strikes Back", which it is in many ways and even parallels "Return of the Jedi" in some instances. Instead of Jedi Knight training and memorable philosophical quotes, we get, as one might expect from someone who voluntarily exiled themselves over a traumatic experience which may have doomed the galaxy, a damaged and defeated Jedi Master Luke refuses to teach Rey because he failed in teaching Ben Solo and failed to protect his other students. His failure was not necessarily against Ben or the dark side of the Force. His failure is against fear. In the scene described above, Luke goes to "burn it all down". He is driven to do this through fear of what he and future Jedi would lose should they be trained to oppose the dark side, which is the true Jedi calling. He is ashamed again for acting impulsively, as he did when he ignited his lightsaber to strike down Ben Solo while he slept. Then Yoda invokes the lightning to "burn it all down". It ends up being symbolic as Rey took the ancient Jedi texts. The entire scene and exchange with Yoda boil down to Yoda extending one of the first lessons he bestowed on Luke. Yoda says, "Skywalker, still looking to the horizon. Never here, now, hmm? The need in front of your nose," which is the same lesson from Empire Strikes Back where Yoda says, "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing." Luke's greatest failure has always been that he is reckless in the moment. He looks at what might be and allows it to cloud his judgement in the moment. Yoda explains that Luke's failure needs to be taught to the student, as failure is the best teacher. Until this part of the film, through Luke's entire life, he never learns from this failure and it is left unclear if he does, but it is assumed by the viewer. His sacrifice at the end is intended to be the spark for a new generation of Jedi and Resistance. The film ends with it unclear if Luke learns from his failure and will part the knowledge on to Rey or other Jedi, except for a hint of a return in what he says to Kylo Ren, but I'm leaving that for another lesson. The lesson today is not Luke's lesson (been there, done that), but that of learning from failure. I'm sure I've been there and done that too, and I'm sure anyone reading this has too. Nerd Fitness creator Steve Kamb writes about it constantly. There are numberous quotes with the sentiment. He's a Google Image search for quotes on the subject: One of my favorites is from Batman: "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up." There is so much more to learn from a failure than a success. First, you learn perseverance and determination. Second, you learn how NOT to be successful. The list can go on and on. Maybe later I can write some more. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. (120 min for Karate test on May 27th) DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 220 Hours of various Tasks or Projects, with at least 55 hours each week. Tasks and Projects are the following areas (goal hours for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8) Leadership Practice (16) Speech and Training Development (4) Jedi Training Padawan Training and Mentoring Others (10) Reading and Writing (18) Meditation and Reflection (7) Completing IJRS Lessons (1) Church and Charity Work (13) Personal Projects (12) Chores and Maintenance Dishes (7) Laundry (8) Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (26) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (12) Happiness Self Preservation (23) [includes hot tub, doctor and dentist visits, video games, or anything else I do just for my own sanity or health] Family Activities (16) Adventuring (8) WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($138 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week in which I complete 60 or more hours of Tasks or Projects, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 55 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Personal Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion project CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD 6: $1 for each night I brush and floss before bed. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each night I forget to brush. Lose $2 for voluntarily skipping brushing. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $2 for each cardio session over 25 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. Lose $5 for not weighing in each morning
  7. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and a crooked spine causing nerve root irritation and pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Maz Kanata: Dear child. I see your eyes. You already know the truth. Whomever you're waiting for on Jakku... they're never coming back... But... there's someone who still could. Rey: Luke. Maz Kanata: The belonging you seek is not behind you... it is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes... Feel it... The light... it's always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it. Rey: I'm never touching that thing again. I don't want any part of this. Life will present you with situations which are difficult. Like Finn running from the First Order, you will want to run away from it all. Like Rey, after the horrifying Force Vision, you will want no part in it. Whether you are afraid for yourself or others or whether you just want to stay in your comfort zone, you will find regret in your inaction. Through avoidance and denial, humans tend to lock themselves to behavior and habits which become overwhelming and appear inescapable. Maybe it is a dead end job too difficult to leave, or a family situation too sensitive to handle, or maybe an addiction or habit that is easier to dismiss as inconsequential rather than really seeing the effects it has on yourself or others. Instead of seeing the difficulty, look at it as if life is presenting you an opportunity to challenge yourself and to grow. Growing does not stop when we reach adulthood. Growth can happen every day. You just have to seize the opportunity. The Past is a history lesson from which to learn. The Future is undetermined and can be whatever you choose to make it. The Present is your opportunity to apply the Past to make a brighter Future. It is a gift to be opened every moment. Do not wait for a special occasion. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 12 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 480 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 600 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 300 Tasks or Projects, with at least 75 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (12), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (10), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (24), Church Work (8), Job Work (20), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (60), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +3, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($207 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week, I complete 80 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 75 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD 6: $1 for each night I brush and floss before bed. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each night I forget to brush. Lose $2 for voluntarily skipping brushing. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $2 for each cardio session over 25 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. Lose $1 for each night I skip tooth brushing Upgraded to Reward 6 Lose $5 for not weighing in each morning
  8. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease and crooked spine causing all types of pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my spine and back muscles to slow down the advanced aging. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Baze Malbus: Good luck! Chirrut Îmwe: I don't need luck! I have you! Any journey is difficult to navigate by yourself. Whether we want to admit it or not, no one can do everything by themselves. Sure, if you are lifting a weight, then you lift it with your arms. But you stay safe by having a spotter. You check your technique with a coach watching you. You push harder, because you have a coach pushing you. You recognize your achievements with your cheerleader routing you on. For your workouts, you surround yourself with people who will support you. Every aspect of life should reflect that. Why leave it to luck or chance when you can have a supporting cast to get you through? Sure, it is only you when it comes to deciding what goes into your body. But you have family and friends that you eat with who will also influence your decisions. The positive influences help us make healthy choices. The negative ones need to be weeded out or tuned out. Peer pressure when it comes to diet is crucial. Don't leave it to luck. Surround yourself with the right kind of support. Sure, it is your efforts which get you ahead in school or career, but just like a diet, you need to be aware of the individuals who would drag you down. Surround yourself with those who are going to build you up and help keep you on track. I'm looking at a job change right now. It is my decision to make. I want to stay with my current company. They trust me. They believe in me. They support me in my personal training. They are looking for the right contract opportunity for me to excel and develop while also being interesting and rewarding. They bring in the best and brightest, so they can do these things for everyone in the company. Switching companies would compromise that atmosphere. I trust them, but 4 weeks is a long time to wait. It could be 4 or 8 weeks longer. I may have an important decision to make next week to switch companies to get back to the work I was doing before, just on a different contract, or to stay with my current company and wait for the right opportunity. The biggest difficulty with staying is that I am risking that they could cut me loose at any time, like I was burned with my last company, who I thought I could trust. I was with them almost 5 years doing work which is a growth area for them, but they couldn't put me in a new spot. My current company is not fully invested in my line of work, which makes it difficult for them to find the right opportunity for me... it is a pickle. All the people I would want to talk to about this are all directly involved or influenced by my decision, so it is even harder to talk to them directly or at all about it. To help me make my decision, I am looking for my supporters. Recently, I reached out to several friends to see if there is opportunity outside of these two choices. I've reached out to my Toastmaster friends for support. And my immediate family is well aware of the situation. I have a few more stones to turn over for support. This site being one of them. So if you are reading this, don't wish me luck in my decision. Offer me some encouragement with your own experience as a reference. Don't leave it to luck or chance when you can have support. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 11 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 My leg is healing up, so walking is not going to count this challenge. I'm only counting super sweaty, heart rate elevated cardio. Need to keep it low impact. Gym membership is going to have to get put off until I can get there before work. I'm driving a friend to their work in the morning right now while their car gets fixed. Time to get the bike out to ride around before the sun comes up. Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 480 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 I have a belt test on 3/26 to move up to Purple Belt. They will let me test modified due to the back and leg injury. I'm debating just going all out for the test, because I really shouldn't be doing any of it. I have three stripes left to earn. Purple stripe is a review, which comes last and will include all the modified combinations, which are still painful because I can't modify the turn-back. Red stripe will be easy. It's just a step behind side kick board break which I've modified to an elbow. I should get that tonight. Yellow stripe is Taeguek 6, which I know a quarter of. I've only practiced once in class (last week). They really pushed combinations with us last month, but I don't know how I managed to go a whole month without doing form in class. I don't like having only a week to get it down. Modified for no kicks makes the footwork awkward too. I'll get it, because I'm going to put in the work through the pain. DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +3 I'm on the Spring Mix salad kick this week and next. Red cabbage probably following that. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 300 Tasks or Projects, with at least 75 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (16), Church Work (8), Job Work (20), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (60), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($44 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 80 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 75 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild (missed kick-off meeting and will miss Cecil Con) revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for biking more than 20 min PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs.
  9. 6.16 Heat and cold, the wind and rain, Sickness, prison, beatings— I’ll not fret about such things. To do so only aggravates my trouble. --Śantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva Hi! During the last challenge, having come back to aikido, I ran into some issues with my joints. I'm looking into it, but meanwhile, I'm going to follow the sage's advice, keep calm, and do physical therapy exercises every work day at 3 pm. We have a group that meets and does bodyweight circuits at the office, so it'll be nice to have consistency and company. Other stuff I'm doing: STR - focusing on this stat! I'm using resistance bands to stabilize my hyperflexible shoulders. CON - I've taken a hit to CON, thanks to a nasty cold I brought back from my trip to Sweden earlier this month. I'm not running right now, but I'm walking dogs for 30 mins/day most days as a side gig. DEX - my usual go-to, yoga, is out for now. Tai chi is dex-based, right? WIS - still meditating 10-30 mins/day. INT - daily French. Not sure if I'm going to continue learning Swedish. There is no one to practice with and all the Swedes speak English. CHA - downloaded an app called 3 Good Things that reminds me to fill out three good things about my day.
  10. Okay so I had it all worked out... then I went back and re read one of my favorite bloggers posts: You Manage What You Measure-Fitness Edition and stumbled accross this article from Inc: 12 Things People Regret Most Before They Die Largely I know what I need to do to get to where I want to be. I know I need to care more about what I eat, I need to gain strength (in injured areas and over all) and I need to start doing things because they matter to me, they're things I want to do and not care so much about what everyone else thinks! Also 2017 was a year of not feeling great, being tired a lot, and a lot of doctor appointments because of these things. Hoping this is the year we get things figured out (have a follow up with my doctor on the 26th, we'll see how that goes) So: You manage what you measure- Will probably be tracking more on google docs than on here day to day, but used Thriftygal's generic resolution chart and added my own. 2018 Goal Tracker Make a to do list: I have a note book, I am a some what a bullet journal person, Kind of do my own version of it, but it only works if I use it. Between work, life and school starting up again I know I need to get back in the habit. Got a smaller notebook so it would fit in more bags I have, not sure on the size, should know by the end of this month. Weekend to do lists- Can make on off Friday's for the weekends, Saturdays on working Fridays. Take Vitamins: Not hard, just need to Water: I've had this off and on in challenges since I started. Super easy check off when I track, I seem to hardly drink water when I don't track Food experiment: Less sugar- hopefully less headaches and feeling better? Normally I"m not a huge sugar person but this holiday season has been pretty bad, and so have the headaches Reading/Mediating: Do one of these every day, or both! Oddly in challenges past this has been one of the hardest things. First book of the year is going to be "Start" by Jon Acuff, then probably followed up by his book "Finish" and Michael Hyatts Your Best Year Ever (noticing a theme?) Cleaning: If I do one small thing every day it means less time on the weekends with hours and hours of cleaning = less work and cleaner house = less stress because of dirty house Movement: The goal is 25 sessions over 5 weeks. to count it needs to be at least 20 mins if it's yoga or otherwise 30 mins. see note below about movement Weigh in: Not super worried about the weight in some ways, but it is a way to track progress. I'll be tracking it on my fitness pal. but weighing in to make sure it's on a downward trend. This also might tie into tracking food at least a few times a week, but that is TBD. Side Hustle: Thinking about getting an Etsy store up and running, doing salt and sugar scrubs, might branch out to a few other things depending on the status of sewing. Did a bunch of scrubs for Christmas Sewing: This is somewhat dependent on me getting a machine up and running, but I would like to do some sewing once a week, it's relaxing and I have some projects I want to work on: see note below about sewing projects Movement notes: A lot of my working out isn't a set program at least for now, but would like to get in some of the following. I do start phsyical therapy for my back on 1/2 but have fallen out of pratice with my knee rehab stuff too. Physical Therapy- need to keep up with the home program Walking- Normally twice a week with my mom Gym time- Would like to go 1 x per week to work on TRX stuff and cardio home workout- P90x, P90x3, Nerd Fitness Yoga, bike trainer, basically there's options bike ride- would like to get 2 weekend rides in during the challenge Swim- Gym pool will be open, but looking like no club swim this month. I also want to get back into moving more at work instead of sitting for hours on end. I sit at a desk a lot, so I want to start getting up and moving more. Main things to do are push ups using the desk, balance work, dips on the chair. Ideally I'll be doing some sort of movement every hour, just working on reminders/tracking. 2018 movement goals: do an unassisted pull up swim 50 yards of butterfly without stopping Sewing stuff: Some of my "sewing time" at least until I figure out what is up with my machine, or learn how to use the other one, might be getting ready for some costuming projects. Ren Faire is coming up, and finally going to do my Rebel Legion and 501st stuff going. Most likely Jawa since I can use for both, and the female tusken raider looks complicated. But I have been going back through my pilot costume research and Jedi research as well. Some of it will come down to costs as well (I know there is quite a bit for the Pilots I would have to buy)
  11. Let's try this again. So.... I tried on the last challenge, and I mostly achieved what little goals I had but now I actually want to document that success (and keep up with you guys because I miss you all). So here is round 2 or the remix. I'm doing PT for my back finally so I'll be back into tip top shape soon! My PT is awesome (and a sexy, silver fox Scottish man which always makes things more fun) and is really going into detail to finally FIX the issue instead of just masking it, so I'm super stoked. I also really miss running and since my back is feeling better I'm going to try to put that back into my routine. I think it will also help my anxiety a ton. I'm also trying to convince my mother to join a gym, so if I can I'll throw swimming in too. Finally - eating better needs to get in there and law school stuff should probs be included somewhere too. Goal 1: Physical Therapy - 2 times a week. - Don't Cancel - Do the homework Goal 2: Cardio (is hardio) (*On hold pending approval from my PT*) - Run or other cardio workout 2 times a week - If back is painful - don't do. Goal 3: Eat a vegetable twice a day - Start drinking smoothies for breakfast again - Keep up the good dinner work Goal 4: Law School - Write EVERYTHING down - Get Outlines completed - Purchase study aids - Start studying for finals
  12. The theme for my challenges this year is based on something I read in Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit." He found people who succeeded at recovering from hip replacement surgery by using a specific strategy: identifying critical moments which he called inflection points, circumstances where they were likely to face a significant moment of weakness such as the first painful moment of getting up off the couch, and crafting small habits using the cue-routine-reward formula to get themselves through those circumstances. I found some ways in which this was really helpful to the application of nerdy goals. * Quest: Take care of my arthritic knee. To that end: lose 30 lbs between May 28th and December 23rd, 2017, five pounds per challenge. My first challenge (Chapter One) went really really well. It seemed almost too easy. Which of course, heralds the arrival of a monkey wrench in the works. I didn’t just get one monkey wrench, though. I got an army of flying monkey wrenches, all of them cackling madly at my vain attempts to stay on target. I got a wholly unfamiliar (yet not unappealing) new work schedule, my fiancé went off his diet without warning and starting turning out home-cooked dinners at 2k calories a plate, and the fire alarms started going off in the middle of the night and evacuating the whole building, on the order of five or six times a week! But, nerds don’t quit, so it’s time to get things under control. I didn’t make any progress toward my goal in Chapter Two, but I feel I have adequately reconnoitered the problem, so it’s time to make some headway. Goal One: Quit overeating in the evenings. I’ve been eating really clean during the day and it’s been going great, but then I eat way too much after work, partially out of a sense of social obligation, but more due to simple weakness in the face of opportunity. In order to make this happen, I may have to take a more active hand in the cooking than I have been. Goal 2: Exercise (physical therapy and more) before breakfast. Getting a workout in at the start of my day is one of my favorite treats. I start off with some tai chi and then some kung fu stretches, and then I do some aerobics or dancing, and then some strength training, and finally my physical therapy for my knee (primarily balance related exercises). The rule here is going to be: if the fire alarms didn’t go off last night, or the night before, then this morning I exercise. I have no idea how often this will lead to, but we’ll see! Goal 3: Sleep. I think this is going to be the keystone habit of this challenge. I’m going to start trying to gradually go to bed a little earlier. This will give me a small buffer against interrupted sleep, and I’m hoping it may give me a graceful excuse to cut the feasting off early, at least for myself.
  13. Snuggles has successfully infiltrated the Blue Water Academy for Higher Learning and has fully adjusted to her new daytime schedule. She has arranged a meeting with Professor Lott to discuss her academic goals and plan of attack. The last leg of her journey was not sucessful though. She completely failed with her physical therapy and struggled to find enough fruit to meet her daily requirements. Although she didn’t reach her goal with regards to entertainment, it was not a failure. She halved her lazy time and has come up with a plan to improve on this in the coming weeks. Snuggles struggled greatly with her physical therapy, but there is hope. She has scheduled the use of the Wellness room at work and will be doing her physical therapy every workday before lunch. So her fitness goal is to continue to develop her Physical Therapy into a daily habit. For this challenge she will aim for 5 days/ 1 full set, 2 days some PT. Spinal rock 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 time Trunk Rotation 10 times Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Squat 10 times Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer An unexpected challenge of Snuggles undercover work is, now that she is working days, she has greater access and temptation to eat unhealthy. This challenge will focus on making sure she has health meals and snacks ready for during the workweek. This goal will be developed each weekend for the following week. Week 1: Plan 3 different, healthy, lunches for work Week 2: Actually eat lunch every day! Week 3: Plan snacks for work! No buying snacks during the week! Week 4: Week #1 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #2 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #3 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #4 of my challenge = .5(CON) Snuggles has also been struggling with her hydration. She is doing well at work, but after work and on the weekends she is slipping. So this goal is simple, 8 cups of water or tea a day! Week #1 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #2 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #3 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #4 of my challenge = .5(CON) For personal development Snuggles still wants to decrease her TV time. However, instead of a goal to decrease TV time, the goal will be to replace TV with other activities. This goal will also be developed over the course of the challenge. I average 5 shows a day during the week and 8 shows and 1 movie a day on the weekend. My goal will be to see what I can do instead of TV. Activities to replace TV: Reading Journaling Letter writing Learning to knit Learning to crochet Learning French Learning Latin Game Night Lockpicking Tango Parkour Ideas from peers… Rate will be calculated by the time not spent watching TV, but doing something else. There will be no penalties for watching TV, but I won't earn points unless I replace activities. Points will be calculated based on my activities. Week #1 of my challenge = Week #2 of my challenge = Week #3 of my challenge = Week #4 of my challenge = Builder Goals- Continue to track healthy habits Take time to write 2 times a week Take 5 minutes, 2 times a week to meditate Walk 7 out of 10 times to/from work Follow healthy eating from past goals Practice lock picking 30 minutes weekly Pass- Gain 1 (WIS) Fail- Lose 1 (WIS)
  14. As some of you know, Snuggles was accepted into the Blue Water Academy for Higher Learning.(Grad School)to better support this goal, Snuggles will be going undercover to better understand how the school works and what she needs to succeed at becoming a world class Assassin. Because of this transition, this challenge will be a bit light as she will be working in the light of day instead of the shadows of night. She will need to transition how she sleeps, eats and gets to work. Snuggles has made improvements to her physical therapy, but there is still a ways to go. Her fitness goal is to continue to develop her Physical Therapy into a daily habit. For this challenge she will aim for 4 days/ 1 full set, 3 days some PT. Trunk Rotation 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 time Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Fruit Ninja Returns: Pretty simple, eat 2 serving of Fruits daily. This will be tracked with a green star on her calender. A. = 24 days during the challenge = 2(CON) B. = 20 days during the challenge = 1.5(CON) C. = 16 days during the challenge = 1(CON) D. = 12 days during the challenge = .5 (CON) Snuggles final challenge may be the hardest. For this challenge she must work on improving her mind. She has gotten a bit lazy and is spending far too much time watching shows and not reading. For this challenge she is going to decrease her TV time and increase her reading/audio book time. This goal will be move developed after accessing where she stands at the end of the first week. Week 1 - Track how much TV I’m watching, what kind (show vs. movie)and when am I watching 1 (WIS) Week 2 - Cutback TV time to no more than 2 TV shows or 1 movie a day. (Exceptions are allowed for movie night when I can watch 2 movies) Week 3 - Week 4 - Builder Goals- Continue to track healthy habits Take time to write 2 times a week Take 5 minutes, 3 times a week to meditate Walk 7 out of 10 times to/from work Follow healthy eating from past goals Practice lock picking 30 minutes weekly Pass- Gain 1 (WIS) Fail- Lose 1 (WIS)
  15. The forest is silent; the animals still, waiting. Suddenly a Sherkasta stumbles from the shrubs into the open meadow. Her black striped, white coat standing out in stark contrast to the rich green around her. Her simple shirt was streaked with dirt and there was a small tear in her brown wool pants. Her boots, caked with mud, were of an indistinguishable color. This past month was one of trial and of insight. Having journeyed far from her home in the north to seek out the wisdom of the Forest Sage, she is now ready to continue her journey. Though her people are traditionally barbarians, Snuggles has chosen the path of the Assassin. Lacking in the brute strength most of her people have, she makes up for it in stealth and endurance. Tonight she will rest in this beautiful meadow, under the stars. She will regroup and plan the next leg of her journey. Tomorrow she will return to the stable, collect Atlas, her faithful steed, and begin her Epic Quest. The Forest Sage showed her that, though she is making progress, she is going to have to get tough about her physical therapy. *My first goal is I need to work on making my Physical Therapy a daily habit. For this first challenge I will aim for 3 days/ 1 full set, 4 days some PT. Trunk Rotation 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 time Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie *With the weather getting better, it’s time to stop riding Atlas (the Bus) all the time. I need to walk at least 7 of the 10 trips each week. Next month this will graduate to a builder goal. Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STA) Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STA) Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STA) Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STA) *My diet has also been neglected over the last couple of months. Eating proper meals is just as important as eating good food. For this goal I will incorporate and/or modify all the things I have covered in past goals. Next month this will graduate to a builder goal. 2 Servings of Fruit every day 2 Servings of Veggies every day No more than 3 servings of meat every week No more than 2 meals or snacks where meat is present, but not a serving (example: Bacon bits) Eat 3 meals and 1 snack every day (I may miss one meal a week) 8 cups of water & tea every day Week #1 of my challenge = .25(CON) Week #2 of my challenge = .25(CON) Week #3 of my challenge = .25(CON) Week #4 of my challenge = .25(CON) *Finally I need to develop my Assassin Skills. For this challenge I will work on my lock picking. This will include 3 parts. (will be put on hold until Grad school work is complete Practice at least 2 hours a week Obtain 2-3 new locks to practice on Attend the Lockpickers Meet-up on 3-7 Part #1 of my challenge = 1(DEX) Part #2 of my challenge = 1(WIS) Part #3 of my challenge = 1(CHA) Builder Goals- Continue to track healthy habits Take time to write 2 times a week Take 5 minutes, 3 times a week to meditate Pass- Gain 1 (WIS) Fail- Lose 1 (WIS) The successful completion of this challenge will also award a bonus treat (fun experience) at it's conclusion. Fellow Rebels, please help me come up with some affordable, (under $50) activities that I could do, without driving. I live in Seattle and want to do something different but ties in with my overall goals. Or is just super cool!
  16. The dictionary defines the cat’s meow as a highly admired person or thing, so lets play with a Catwoman theme shall we??? What is it that I desire? I highly desire to be more physically fit than I am right now. I’ve been in a holding pattern for months and that needs to change now. So what am I going to do different? I am going to focus on the process of losing a few pounds. I say the process because I have no control over the outcomes but I can control my inputs. So what can I control?? I can control my food intake. I can control my exercise levels. I can control when I get to bed (but not how well I sleep.) I can do things to lower my stress levels. I can focus on the positive things in life. So what are CatWoman’s abilities and Terra’s goals??? Acrobatics and peak human strength –> First and foremost this is about doing my PT. Secondary to this is some form of strength conditioning/training. Plan is TBD after my Friday appointment with my orthopedic doctor! Martial Arts – Jui-Jitsu -> Well this is a no-brainer, more BJJ! Stealth -> I will quietly sneak up on my bed time! I would like to get to a solid 10:30pm bedtime if the next day is a workday. Thievery -> I will steal time every week to de-stress and do some kind of self-care! This can include activities like de-cluttering my home, hiking (when the mud goes away) and taking a relaxing bath. Feline Empathy -> I will revisit gratitude and share my kitty empathy with every post here! Bullwhip Proficiency -> To whip me into better shape I will bit hitting the catnip heavily this challenge! I will add one extra veggie to my daily food intake each week, so one more serving per day in week one, two more servings per day in week 2 and so on. I will also add in one seafood meal each week. BONUS: That costume is skintight and protecting with retractable claws and spring action boots! She is prepared for just about anything in that outfit. -> I have a few 5K races that I would like to do this year and so a little bit of running will help me fit into my Cat-suit someday!!! I am positive that this challenge is the one where I get out of comfort zone and start making progress forward.
  17. This morning I completed the big quest worksheet. It was useful to put my "big goals" down and really think about them. The thing is, I've already started on this quest, since it was new years weekend and all, and I had decided that I want to really punctuate the changes I need to make in my life by starting them on the new year. One of the biggest issues, that I often prefer to avoid thinking about, is that I've got chronic reflux disease (GERD). Most everything I eat gives me acid reflux. I was taking some very un-helpful medication for that condition for about 12 years, when a few studies came out linking that medication to a lot of really nasty complications. So, with a doctor's guidance, I quit using that medication and started managing the condition with diet. Interestingly, when I started eating paleo, I stopped having any issues with GERD. I mean, it literally became a non-issue. Except, unfortunately, I have a very hard time sticking to a strict paleo diet. A review of my previous challenges just shows me that diet is really the hardest thing for me to do. I honestly don't have a hard time exercising. But if I look at why I started exercising in the first place, it really had to do with me wanting to maintain a non-sustainable diet by exercising enough to keep eating the way I was eating. Flash forward to the present day. I know what I need to do to not give myself esophageal cancer (that's the end result of years of GERD), and I need to learn how to do it. So, I started back with the Paleo diet on 1/1/17. But I know that's not a long-term solution. I'm going to have to learn exactly what, and in what quantities, I can eat outside of that strict plan, without triggering my GERD. So, what, you might ask, does this have to do with the Holy Grail? Well, for me, the Holy Grail is a sustainable eating practice that works for me in my life. Paleo is a good place to start for me, because I know it's healthy for me, and will even help me drop a few pounds. I'm up to 174, which is a little high for me (I'm 5'10" and 45 years old, and I'm built like an aerial dancer, just with a little belly now...) and so I'd like that too. But here's the catch: Once I've got a good baseline of eating paleolithically, I'll need to start experimenting with adding new foods in. Not in a whole-hog kind of way, where I say, "OK, I'm going to eat corn now" and then pig out on corn chips and cornmeal mush and cornbread and tortillas and corn on the cob and popcorn and CARAMEL CORN and everything corn... but rather where I keep a handle on things as I add them very slowly, keeping my portions under control all the while. So, that's a long winded explanation of my current goals which are: 1. Seek the holy grail! The holy grail is a sustainable eating practice. This month, this means eating paleolithically. 6 days out of 7, I will stick to the paleo diet. On day 7 I will count calories instead, and write down anything I eat that triggers my GERD. 2. Ride the length and breadth of our land! While Arthur rode the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who would join his round table, I am working towards running a 10K again by springtime. Of course, if PT doesn't work out and I need to get surgery that might go on hold for a bit, but in the mean time, that's what I'm working towards. To this end I'll be continuing with my PT (6 out of 7 days) and putting in time either interval running (as directed by my PT) or on an elliptical trainer or stationary bike. 3 days per week. 3. Grip it by the husk! OK, I'm not a swallow, but I would like to keep getting stronger. This means at least two strength workouts per week. I would like to add meditation/yoga to the list but that's enough for now. Too many things to keep track of and I stop keeping track of anything. I'm already three days into eating paleo, and it's going alright. I haven't had any acid reflux, and I haven't had to take any Tums at all. I'm going to hide my scale though, since I tend to get a little obsessive about weight once I'm restricting my eating habits.
  18. Happy New Year Assassins! I have done some reflecting and work on my goals. I spent some time reflecting on how I see the Assassin in my life and where I want to see her. I have developed some long term goals I want to accomplish over the next couple of years and I will use these challenges to slowly work my way toward them. As the first challenge of the year I need to focus on starting healthy habits and determining where I currently stand. My first goal is I need to work on making my Physical Therapy a daily habit. For this first challenge I will aim for once a day. Trunk Rotation 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 time Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each A. = last ten days of my challenge = 3(STA) & 3(STR) & 3(DEX) B. = last nine days of my challenge = 2.25(STA) & 2.25(STR) & 2.25(DEX) C. = last eight days of my challenge = 1.5(STA) & 1.5(STR) & 1.5(DEX) & loose 1 (WIS) D. = last seven days of my challenge = .25(STA) & .25(STR) & .25(DEX) & loose 2 (WIS) My food/diet goal: This challenge will be so simple that failure is almost guaranteed. I will log all food and drink every day & my weight every Sunday night before breakfast. So simple a monkey could do it and yet so many chances for forgetting. A. = 26 times during the 4 week challenge = 2(WIS) B. = 23 times during the 4 week challenge = 1.5(WIS) C. = 20 times during the 4 week challenge = 1(WIS) D. = 17 times during the 4 week challenge = .5(WIS) To follow along the same vein, my lifestyle goal will also be logging. I will be tracking (without judgement or expectation) how often I brush/floss/rinse, style my hair, how much tv I’m watching (news at work not included), how often I socialize (not including my friends visit this week), what I spend my money on and where. A. = 26 days during the 4 week challenge = 2(CHA) B. = 23 days during the 4 week challenge = 1.5(CHA) C. = 20 days during the 4 week challenge = 1(CHA) D. = 17 days during the 4 week challenge = .5(CHA) (I will use this information to develop a baseline for my builder goals. My builder goals are goals I have passed in previous challenges that I want to become habits so they will continue with future goals.) Builder Goals- Continue with Workday Vegetarian (Allowed 1 slip up) Take time to write 3 times a week Take 5 minutes, 3 times a week to meditate Pass- Gain 2 (WIS) Fail- Lose 2 (WIS) Let the games begin!
  19. Well, somehow or another I managed to tear one of my lower abdominal muscles. I've been doing PT for it for about two weeks now, and have had to cut out a lot of my favorite activities in order to let my abs rest and recover. It might not actually be possible for them to recover, according to the sports medicine doctor, which might involve surgery. BUT, unless I give PT a solid 100% effort I won't know if it would work. It's actually been pretty hard this fall. I'm an avid exerciser, but I've gotten in a rut. Running became so painful to me that I was relieved when the sports med doc told me to stop doing it. But that left a big hole in my workout schedule. I'd stopped doing aerial dance as well, this past spring/summer, both because it made my lower abs hurt and because it's expensive. I tried to get into weight lifting again, but I just couldn't get the consistency that I needed to succeed. Meanwhile, as I have no "off" switch and I have a hard time sticking to diets, I just started to put on weight. Not much, but with the loss of muscle going on and the lack of cardio I am starting to see it. So I'm back at the beginning, like our much-loved, revenge minded Spaniard swordsman. 1. Study my Agrippa: every day, six days a week, I'll be doing my PT exercises. They're quite extensive! It's taking more than a half hour to do them. 2. Use Bonetti's defense: I will eat more healthy. This is hard because it's the holidays. Specifically I will only eat one "sweet" per day, I will cook vegetables every night, and I will drink a big glass of water before every meal. I'll be trying to drink more the rest of the day, but the water before the meals will be my barometer. It should also help me to eat less. 3. Attack with Capa Ferro: It's time to get stronger. Right now that means putting in workouts when I don't feel like it. Five workouts per week, not counting PT. Could be bodyweight workouts, could be actual weights or TRX, or it could just be the elliptical machine, or some combination thereof. 4. Prepare to die! Yup, it's foam roller time. Three times per week, at least the glutes, quads, and IT bands. Stay tuned.
  20. Greeting and Salutations Druids, I hope you don't mind a visiting assassin for this last challenge of the year. I have struggled a bit with my previous challenges, so I wish to spend a bit more time reflecting on how I want to approach the new year. Challenge #8 Assassin's Spiritual Journey I have chosen a path, but I have not taken the time to truly reflect on and get in the mindset of my journey. My mind is as cluttered as my space. With the holidays and new year approaching I believe it’s a good time for me to focus on defining the path I wish to take. Towards that end I will shape this challenge to help guide me in my journey. Meditation: This will be a 2 part goal. The first part is getting into the habit of practicing some kind of meditation every day. This can be walking meditation (No vocal music or books on tape allowed), sitting quietly, or something else I come up with. The goal is to do it daily with the amount of time increasing gradually. I want to clear my mind and center myself. Week 1 practiced a minimum of 3 times = .5(WIS) Week 2 practiced a minimum of 4 times = .5(WIS) Week 3 practiced a minimum of 5 times = .5(WIS) Week 4 practiced a minimum of 6 times = .5(WIS) The second part will be reflecting on a specific topic. There are a couple of big questions I haven’t really addressed in my life and I believe I need to. For these, I will dedicate 10 uninterrupted minutes to reflecting on one of the following questions… 1. = Why is doing my physical therapy so challenging? .5(WIS) 2. = How do I see the Assassin in my real life? .5(WIS) 3. = What will I do if I’m not accepted into grad school? .5(WIS) 4. = Do I truly want to spend my life alone? .5(WIS) (I am not looking for feedback on the topics I wish to reflect on, unless it is a way to expand on the them) Physical Therapy Yes I hate it with a passion. It is tiring and soul sucking and the absolute bane of my existence. However, I need to do this and I want this to become habit before the new year. My back injury is preventing me from doing the things in life I want to, like parkour, tango and rock climbing. Before I can truly begin my Assassin Training, I need to be injury free. 2 Sets (Everyday) Trunk Rotation 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 times Knee Planks, Work up to 2 min each set Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each A. = last ten days of my challenge = 2(STA) & 2(STR) & 2(DEX) B. = last nine days of my challenge = 1.5(STA) & 1.5(STR) & 1.5(DEX) C. = last eight days of my challenge = 1(STA) & 1(STR) & 1(DEX) D. = last seven days of my challenge = .5(STA) & .5(STR) & .5(DEX) Bonus: If I can complete 5 days in a row before the end of the challenge I will treat myself to "Make up 101" class I've been wanting to do Workday Vegetarian (Stolen from TedTalks weekday vegetarian) As I have been accessing my diet, I believe I am eating too much meat. There are many other ways to get the protein I need and I want to start exploring them. I have found that eating fruits and veggies are not much of a challenge from the last 2 challenges, but I want to see if limiting my meat intake, specifically my unhealthy meat intake. (Edit: My work days will be from midnight Sunday Morning to midnight Thursday evening) A. = 4 weeks sucessful = 3(CON) B. = 3 weeks sucessful = 2.25(CON) C. = 2 weeks sucessful = 1.5(CON) D. = 1 weeks sucessful= .75(CON) Life Goal – Writing I love writing, when I sit down and do it. Although my journal is important, I want this challenge to include my fiction writing and letter writing as well. With the holiday season approaching I want to focus on writing all of my loved ones a personal letter. I also need to make sure that I am taking the time to write down my reflections from my meditations and insights I gain from this challenge. I would also like to transcribe my hand written novel pages to a digital file and add to it. A. = 12 times during the 4 week challenge = 1(WIS) & 1(CHA) B. = 9 times during the 4 week challenge = .75(WIS) & .75(CHA) C. = 7 times during the 4 week challenge = .5(WIS) & .5(CHA) D. = 4 times during the 4 week challenge = .25(WIS) & .25(CHA) Epic Quest bonus points: For each digital entry journal I transcribe into my handwritten journal I get 10 points + 25 if I complete all!
  21. I have decided to set up several sets of long-term goals. They center around recovering from a back injury, the desire to improve my health and overall fitness and to get my finances in order to buy my dream home. (This is currently a work in progress that will improve over the next couple of weeks) I have decided to start a Battle Log to keep track of my progress and to catch areas in need of improvement. The biggest change I plan to make is in the creation of my Builder Goals. In my reflections of my challenges this past year I have found that I can nail my goals in the short term, but after the challenge is over, I slide back into old habits. To prevent this I will create builder goals for physical fitness, healthy eating, water intake and generally good habits, that I want to maintain. I have decided that these will start out and primary goals during a challenge, but for the next challenge they will be moved into the builder goal. This goal won't earn more than 1 wisdom point, but I will also lose points if I don’t complete them. (I know this isn’t standard, but I’m not a standard rebel so bring it!) By the end of 2017 I want to… I want to improve my mind/body connection through the following goals... Explore several forms of traditional meditation Explore several forms of movement based practices (yoga, qi-gong, tai chi) and decide which one I can best incorporate into my daily life. Practice journal writing 3 times a week Write 2 letters a month Read 1 book every other week (This means starting a new book no later than every 3 weeks) Work on limiting my TV time to 2 TV shows or 1 movie a day I want to improve my hygiene and grooming practices. Brush twice a day, floss & rinse once a day (God! I hate rinsing) Set up a regular schedule for threading my eyebrows Set up 2 more treatments for laser hair removal I want to learn 3 nice hair styles for different activities (One professional, one active one sexy) I want to take “Makeup 101” class and get some good makeup I want to continue improving my eating habits and water intake Develop healthier eating habits for workday vegetarian diet (less processed and junk foods, more fresh prepared meals) Learn to prepare 3 Afghan dishes, 3 Turkish dishes and to try 4 different cultural dishes I want to make it habit to log my food and water intake daily and my weight weekly. (I will be using fitbit) To improve my finances I will work on these goals... I want to set up a “working” budget and practice following it. (I have a budget, but not super functional) I want to have $1000 set aside for emergencies by the end of the year I will either be in Grad School or a better apartment and job by the fall. I want to improve my physical fitness through the following methods… Weight no more than 270lbs by the end of the year Making my physical therapy a daily habit Start a simple strength training regiment Swim weekly (This is open to change if I get a new job where I don’t have access to a pool) Explore 3 different forms of self defense or martial arts (Plan on starting one full time in 2018) Start exploring Parkour Become proficient in Florentine flogging I also want to meet the following physical goals by the end of 2018 Run 3 miles in 18:00 or less 80 sit-ups in 2:00 80 push-ups in 2:00 12 pull-ups Finally I want to have a healthy social life so I will meet the following goals… Attend tango twice a month Cuddle/movies twice a month 1 group outing a month 1 class or club outing a month
  22. December is the last month of my superhero year. I am going to take this month to transition from being a hero into next years theme… SO my final superhero of the year has a dark side, she has vengeance in her heart. Thus she is a good fit for the end of this year that has seen many trials and obstacles to overcome. I am tired of always being good and trying to do what I should do rather that what I want to do. I needed to take care of many things in 2016 and I did. With any luck my life will stop being played in “epic mode” and I get back to something moe manageable. I will focus on taking care of me in 2017. (Not that I’m ditching my family or anything like that but I have slid backwards towards the end of 2016 and it stops here, now!) Katana >> She is a highly skilled martial artists and weapons specialists. She wields that sword with lethal precision! She has taken vengeance for the death of her husband and children, yet she is striving to find a way to release the soul of her husband who is caught in her katana. She cherished the family she once had and is loyal/protective to the friends she has found in the Outsiders, Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad/ Sergeant Flag… She has overcome hardship and loss to be a strong and amazing hero!!! Skills/goal 1 - Skilled martial artists >> I will start being more focused in BJJ class and spend time watching skill videos with my hubby. This is where I start working towards earning my blue belt and developing my skills. The blue belt is coming… I want to make sure that when I get it I feel like I deserve the promotion. Professor says time spend in the gym counts, but I want to make sure the my skills are up to the belt level. Classes are offered 6 days of week and I will attend class at least three days a week. I will also watch at least one video per week with my hubby! Weekly grading: BJJ class 3x/week + 1 BJJ video = 1 per week 2 - Weapons specialists >> I will be cutting out the junk! My eating went down hill very heavily in the last two months and that must change now. I will track all my food on MFP and I will aim for a weekly average of 1500 cal per day. This allows me to have a treat if I save on other days. I will also get myself back to no grains or dairy. My digestive system has been upset lately and I know this is part of the solution to get it back to optimal functionality. Weekly grading: average of daily calories = to or > 1500. 3 - Vengeance >> I am ready to take back what is mine!!! My knee is doing well, but I must continue to rehab it. My weight started creeping up when I let stress get the best of me. I’m done with excuses! I’m done waiting! Taking care of my body starts now!!! I will do my physical therapy and start the effort to make yoga a habit, every day. Both of these things will make me stronger and more resilient in the future and that is ultimately my goad, to be ready for anything at anytime! So both of these things should be done each and every day, without fail. My PT takes at a minimum 25 minutes (15 of those minutes are on a bike) and I will focus on the simple 5 minute NF yoga mobility sessions. IF I make it to the conditioning/core class at the gym it might count as one or both of these activities, I'll make that judgement for each class attended! Weekly grading: PT 7/7 and yoga 7/7 4 - Family should be cherished >> I have an amazing family and we have been through a damm tough year! What are the things that we can do this holiday season to honor the mess of the last year while celebrating what all we have???? I will try to do something special for each member of my family this month. I will cook each person from my family a special dish for christmas dinner. I will make sure that I spend quality one-on-one time with both my girls and my hubby this month. We had a planned dinner party that is most likely to be postponed till January and we will take that Saturday night to have a date night!! 5 - Bonus lifting >> I will find a few extra minutes while at the gym and I’ll sneak into the back with the free weights and weight bench and I will start to lift more weights. I’m gonna make it simple and use StrongLifts 5x5 to get back into the habit of lifting heavy things. I miss the weight room and this will be a great bridge into next years focus on lifting more!!! Weekly grading: anything here is a BONUS and will add $$ to my reward! How will I make sure that these things happen? My goals aren’t new but I am going to approach it as habit building and see if that approach doesn’t help. I will do two new things to help me build good the good habits of taking care of me. First, I will make reminders on my iPad. I almost always have my iPad out while I am at home and I will have several reminders set to give me nudges towards doing these things. Second, I will make the equivalent of a star chart and post it on my bathroom mirror, where I will see it every morning and night. It sounds dorky but superhero stickers are motivating! And now a reward, yes I like having a reward at the end. I will reward myself with a new outfit, or a new pair of boots or a new purse. Something that I really want and I’ll break it down to give myself something smaller each week that is successful and a large reward for a successful 5 weeks! But the reward will be depended on a 90% success rate. Each lifting bonus will make up for one other missed item. an older version of Katana Aside: I found an interview of the actress who plays Katana in the Suicide Squad and it struck a cord with me. Here it a part of it where she was asked if Katana is the deadliest member of the Suicide Squat: "I think she is the deadliest. Yeah. She is the deadliest. Yeah," Fukuhara told Comicbook.com and other press during a Suicide Squad set visit. "Fact. I could fight it with you. Her character, she's not into fighting for herself. That's the giri-ninjo part; it's for someone else. When someone doesn't care about her own well being, to kill someone else, and to protect someone, that makes her the scariest one, because she doesn't ... Try fighting someone that doesn't care about what the outcome is for them. You're going against someone that is going to give it their all, no matter how many times you shoot at them, and that's why she's so badass and awesome.” So Katana is fighting for others and often puts little value on her own wellbeing. I definitely feeling like that these days, but it has to stop. I am not risking my life fighting in epic battles but I am not taking care of myself.
  23. Challenge #7 Physical – PT “A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” 2 Sets (Everyday) · Trunk Rotation 10 times · Bridge 10 times · Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides · Dog to Camel pose 10 times · Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides · Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each A. = 6 days a week = 2(STR) & 3(DEX) B. = 5 days a week = & 1.5(STR) & 2.25(DEX) C. = 4 days a week = & 1(STR) & 1.5(DEX) D. = 3 Days a week = & .5(STR) & .75(DEX) Physical – Tango Time “You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” = 4 Weeks = 2(STR) & 3(DEX) & 3(CHA) B. = 3 Weeks = & 1.5(STR) & 2.25(DEX)& 2.25(CHA) C. = 2 Weeks = & 1(STR) & 1.5(DEX) & 1.5(CHA) D. = 1 Week = & .5(STR) & .75(DEX) & .75(CHA) Fruit and Veggie Ninja – Level 2 Eat 1 serving of Fruits & Vegetables daily (must eat both) “It's so much more friendly with two.” A. = 6 days a week for both = 2(CON) B. = 5 days a week for both = 1.5(CON) C. = 4 days a week for both = 1(CON) D. = 3 days a week for both = .5(CON) Life Goal – Write in my Journal “My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.” “So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing Introductions and get on with the book.” A. = 12 times during the 4 week challenge = 2(WIS) & 2(CHA) B. = 9 times during the 4 week challenge = 1.5(WIS) & 1.5(CHA) C. = 7 times during the 4 week challenge = 1.5(WIS) & 1(CHA) D. = 4 times during the 4 week challenge = .5(WIS) & .5(CHA) Epic Quest bonus points for each digital entry I transcribe into my handwritten journal. (10 points each + 25 if I complete all)
  24. Patience. I'm patient with everyone else, but often short change myself. I'm currently on the recovery side of an ACL repair and I'm in the window where I feel no pain and yet my knee ligament is at it's weakest point. I have to be careful not to push things. So patience is needed this month. As far as goals go for this challenge most of them are going to stay the same as before with a slight twist... Get Organized Slowly... Last round, I implemented a to-do list that is working really well for me because it requires me to identify the top three most important things I need to do for the day. I write some reminder at the top that it's meant to help me not harm me. While I don't use it every day, it's really helping me to keep things I care about most in the forefront of my mind. So I'm going to keep using the technique. In addition, I read about a technique that may help me reach some of the big picture goals that I have called the 6-week press. Basically, I'm adapting it for five weeks to match the Nerd Fitness challenge forums. The first four weeks I work super duper hard on my goals and then the fifth week I go do fun things I normally wouldn't do. I plan to have lighter loads the fifth week because I think if I completely stop my routine it'll be harder to get going again - however having a week of fun stuff sounds worth the effort to earn it. Maintain my yoga steak. As of today, I'm at Day 126. I honestly didn't expect myself to get this far but I'm glad I'm still working at it. I have to figure out some new stuff because I'm getting bored and when I get bored I tend to procrastinate. Obviously, procrastination puts my yoga streak in jeopardy and I don't like fretting about missing it. Do what my physical therapist tells me to. Pretty easy because I care about getting full use of my leg. I have some pretty big physical goals I'm working toward and my knee needs the best chance it can get. At the moment, the two home sessions of exercises take about 40 minutes total, so I'm thinking between yoga, these exercises, and walking that's enough fitness focus. Work on my novel. I've been puttering with my novel draft and decided before my surgery to have a deadline of July 15th. I was a bit optimistic about what I could actually get done in the month of April, but I figure I need to honor my deadline unless something super terrible pops up (and, yes, sadly there are some things on the horizon that could explode). My guesstimate for my novel's length is 75,000 words. This challenge I need to get 33,500 words written. That's about 8,375 words per week. It's a lot but for some reason, I'm motivated by things that push my abilities. Also, within my writing section, I need to send off my completed novel draft (a different one that is in editing mode) to my writer's group for review. They want the whole thing which scares me. I told them I'd think about it. Then on the way home realized, I have to say yes because of my Epic Quest item that says "Say yes to something that scares the crap out of me." I need to send it by Saturday (5/15) Gulp. Start an Epic Quest item. I had wanted to get my passport this month, but costs may prevent me now that I'm seeing medical bills rolling in. So I'm thinking about picking an art one that I can get started on. I'm not sure which one I want to do yet. I need to sleep on it. Follow other Nerd Fitness Folks I like keeping up with what everyone else is doing. My biggest struggle is I burn up hours reading and commenting in one evening. This isn't terrible, but I find that usually I'm using it as a tool to procrastinate something else. Then I don't check in for a few days and find there's tons of reading to do. So, this month I'll have to experiment with the best way to keep up without overwhelm.
  25. How do you explain to everyone else the epic levels of chaos (hehe I read over the mini, yes) involved with getting out of the military? You don't. You just figure it out. So what's the plan then? Keep up with the physical therapy because it's all up to me now. Physical therapy with bands at least six days a week Over the last few challenges, I've always needed a rest day here and there, and that's probably good. Some sort of exercise at least three days a week I'm on vacation, but I have to keep up my good habits. Eat clean 80% of the time and gluten free 100% of the time Something like three items that are iffy, sugary, or not really up to a good meal, tracked by chronometer for adequate protein and calories.
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