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  1. Hey guys, I've made it to my fourteenth challenge, which has brought Bilbo to mind, as the lucky fourteenth member of the dwarfs' party. I would've made an extensive title using his line "from under the hill and over hills and under hills his path has led," but that felt a lot longer than last challenge's "Off the Beaten Path." I'm satisfied with my efforts so far this year to attempt to do Turkish Get-Ups three times a week, and very pleased with how well I've been doing going on a walk during my lunch breaks! I could bring my bike to make distance more feasible, but even taking it slow and easy allows me such delights as yesterday when I encountered a squirrel and mockingbird! I'm contemplating how best to orient my goals, and I think continuing to encourage myself to walk in addition to my three full body workouts is a great boost to my brain even if it's demanding to know when I'll give it video games and mindless scrolling. 🥲 I clearly need to establish this behavior to maintain some distance from my devices, and sustain the opportunity to enjoy real air. Goals: Three days of doing Turkish Get-Ups each week, bonus points for doing them with weights One to five days walking while on my lunch break, bonus points for observation of wildlife Continue to maintain my Sudoku puzzle streak, and bonus points for having at hand a book or Zemi, rather than a device, if I'm good to stay snuggled in the couch I think that's good for my agenda of starting small as I build up my momentum from the respawn. Having walks on my lunch break really isn't something I would've considered since my days of playing Pokemon Go, but I'm liking the direction it's taking me. And hopefully that and the TGUs will add up in a good blend of improving my attitude toward my physical well-being. I hope you've had a good day, and I look forward to seeing you around this challenge. ❤️ Maerad
  2. @athousandwords, @Rookie, @Elastigirl While I was mostly satisfied with my last challenge, there are some things I want to tweak a bit. I am adding the memorization of Psalm 57 to my regular Bible routine. I am also going to test out adding a Stoicism podcast to the Athenaeum. Everything else will stay the same. Official challenge to be posted in a few.😁
  3. In recent years, Everstorm Wildlife Preserve has experienced an unprecedented explosion in the populations of species Draconis saccharum and Draconis conspera “Alba”, which has wreaked havoc on the ecological system there. D. saccharum, commonly referred to as the sugar dragon, along with related species D. conspera “Alba”, or white flour dragon, out-compete more beneficial species, such as D. fibra, D. fructus, and D. vegetabilis, such that these dragons are now threatened species even within the Preserve. Furthermore, D. saccharum has destroyed many of the feed herds with its insatiable appetite, further upsetting the delicate balance of the food web. The Health and Fitness regions of the park have been particularly hard hit. In short, it is an ecological disaster. While many have advocated for the extermination of the sugar and white flour dragons as invasive species, research has shown this approach to be undesirable on several fronts. It is virtually impossible to eradicate every dragon, particularly considering that there are upwards of 60 subspecies of D. saccharum alone, many of which are difficult to distinguish from other species, such as D. fructus (fruit dragon). It has also been noted that the sugar dragon seems to reproduce in exponentially greater numbers when the population reaches critically low numbers. This is, perhaps, a survival instinct. Furthermore, the sugar dragon – and to a lesser extent, the white flour dragon – have become synonymous with holidays and other celebrations, such that park visitors around those times would be sorely disappointed not to sight the beautiful white dragons. In light of these discoveries, Everstorm Wildlife Preserve management has resolved upon population control, rather than elimination. To that effect, a multi-stage plan has been developed to simultaneously reduce the populations of D. saccharum and D. conspera “Alba” while reintroducing stronger variants of D. fibra, D. fructus, and D. vegetabilis. The first stage of the plan will proceed as follows: Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR). Population of D. saccharum should be tracked daily to evaluate effectiveness of interventions and cut off any population growth before it becomes too severe. Translation: track sugar consumption in my journal. Biological controls. D. fructus (fruit dragons) and D. vegetabilis (vegetable dragons) will be reintroduced to the Preserve in small quantities to provide competition to the existing sugar dragon population, reducing their access to the food required to reproduce. Translation: I will eat one serving each of fruits and vegetables at lunch, and maintain my complex carb habit at breakfast. Cultural controls. To further manipulate the mortality rate in D. saccharum and to reduce the amount of damaged caused, sugar dragons will be kept in enclosures away from the feeding sites until 5pm. Exceptions will be made for holidays or special events, not to exceed three times a month. Translation: no foods with more than 5 grams of added sugar before dinner, except holidays, birthdays, etc. Manual controls. The park must be surveyed daily and dragons physically removed to their appropriate domains to maintain population control. All environments must be checked, since, as previously noted, D. saccharum is a particularly gifted mimic. Translation: go outside every day, swim once a week, GMB elements once a week.
  4. After careful deliberation, I've decided to shift gears and create a challenge theme inspired by Halo, since the new season of the TV series is out now. My goals will remain the same as last challenge, with a few Spartan-specific references threaded throughout. As many of you know, Spartans must possess superhuman strength and speed. They must also be intelligent, calm and collected when necessary but fierce when needed, and intuitive under pressure. My goals for this challenge fit into 5 categories: STRENGTH, SPEED, MEDITATION, JOURNALING, and READING/LEARNING. STRENGTH GOAL: I will increase my strength by 10% in 7 different kettlebell exercises (swings, goblet squats, kb push-ups, racked squats, deadlifts, rows, snatches, and overhead press) by training four times a week for 12 weeks with a 35 lb (16 kg) kettlebell. I will measure my strength by the number of repetitions I can perform with good form for each exercise and record my progress in a journal or an app and follow up with weekly strength tests. I will follow a periodized workout routine that also includes both kettlebell and other weight training, along with warm-up, cool-down, and recovery sessions. I will also eat a balanced diet, drink enough water, and get enough sleep to support my training. Achieving this goal will improve my overall health, performance, and physique. SPEED GOAL: I will run 5k in less than 30 minutes by following an 8 week training plan that includes interval training, tempo runs, long runs, and recovery runs. I will measure my progress my timing my 5k runs and tracking my pace and distance with the Nike Run Club app. I will also do some cross-training and strength training (see above) to prevent injuries and improve my overall fitness. Achieving this goal will challenge me and boost my confidence, as well as help me prepare for longer races and improve my health and well-being. MEDITATION GOAL: I will meditate for 20 minutes every day using a guided meditation app. I will track my meditation sessions and duration on the app and on a calendar. I will start January 1st by adding 5 minutes to my current 10 minute meditation practice every week until I reach 20 minutes. I want to meditate more because it helps me reduce stress, improve focus, and feel happier. I will achieve my goal of meditating for 20 minutes daily by the end of next month. JOURNALING GOAL: I will write in my journal every day for at least 10 minutes, using prompts or free writing to express my thoughts and feelings. I will track my journaling habit on a calendar or an app and aim for a 100% completion rate each month. I will schedule a time for journaling that works for me and make it a priority in my daily routine. I will also prepare a comfortable and quiet space for journaling and have a notebook and pen ready. I will write in my journal to improve my mental health, creativity, and self-awareness. I will also use journaling as a way to reflect on my goals and progress and celebrate my achievements. I will write in my journal every day for the next six months starting January 1st and then evaluate the benefits and challenges of my journaling habit. READING/LEARNING GOAL: I want to read at least one book per month and learn one new skill or topic every week. I will track my reading time and progress using a reading app. I will also document what I learned each week in my journal. I will set aside 20 minutes every day to read a book of my choice (list to be shared later). I will also dedicate at least one our every week to learn something new, such as a language, a hobby, or a subject. Reading and learning will help me improve my vocabulary, knowledge, creativity, and curiosity. They will also enrich my personal and professional life. I will start this goal January 1st and review it every month to see if I need to adjust it. Accomplishing this goal will make me a more well-read and well-rounded person.
  5. I'm going to continue working on the habits I've been trying to establish: Habit #1 Reading Bible before looking at screens Habit #2 Setting Workout clothes on my bed before breakfast, so that I am ready to workout as soon as I finish breakfast Both of these I have in my habit reminder on the phone, so I also need to check off there whether I have done them or not Habit #3 Writing out weekly goals and daily goals for the week/day. New goal: The workout program I'm doing: Anabolic , has what they call trigger sessions on days where I'm not working out. The idea is you use resistance bands, some intensity but not too hard, just enough to get a pump. Goal is to do these at least once ( they recommend 1-3 times during the day) a day 3 times a week What else I'm doing: Right now I' m doing a slight bulk. I want this to be at least mostly muscle gain. Which means I need to track calories, and weigh and measure myself. So, I will be doing that. I'm not listing it is a goal, because that actually backfires and makes me less likely to do it, because I slide too quickly into the all or nothing category. I feel like I'm lying if I report on here that I tracked, and I really can't remember what I ate for lunch, and it was only a guestimate. Where if I'm just noting it for myself I don't do as much self questioning and am more flexible. My workout program is Anabolic by Mindpump it's set up to be a 2 to 3 day a week workout. I will usually do 3 days, cause I love working out. I will also do walking. Maybe not as much rowing. I felt like January I was sick and pushed myself too hard, so I'm trying to back off. Let my rest days be rest days . I have the trigger sessions to do, which gives me movement, so I think I will just do walking. If I really want to get a row in, that's fine. J
  6. 2024 Road map Last challenge results A perfect 34/34 days with calories tracked. I hit my calorie goals for 2 weeks, but not the last 3, so no extra credit. I've still lost 5.6lbs in the past 5 weeks (admittedly I lost 5.2lbs of that in the first 3 weeks, so I do need to dial it back in). I did not fundamentally change any of my meals, and that has made this harder - I might just need to drop an egg from breakfast or something to make this a bit easier. Result: +1 CON The muscle I managed 24/34 days of foam rolling, which isn't bad even if it isn't perfect. My wrists are not properly better, so I'm going to book a physio appointment. I'm not booking anything until I've gone for a test run tomorrow and decided if I need to book an appointment for my knee. If I have to choose, the knee is the priority - the wrists sometimes stop me doing chinups, but I can still do pullups, whereas the knee stops me running altogether. Result: +1 STR The face This one was good! 33/34 days of brushing, and extra credit on all of those days. It's probably telling that the one day I missed was because I was in a shitty mood, but nonetheless I'll take the win. Result: +2 SAN The cartographer Well, this dropped away pretty quickly. Per week I managed 4, 1, 4, 2, 1 respectively, for a total of 12/20 for the challenge. I think drawing daily would actually be a better goal, because part of the problem is forgetting as I don't do it every day. Result: +1 CHA The hoardsperson I hit 20/34 here, which isn't too bad when I consider this was a bit of a stretch goal. On the plus side, I think I took food to work every day, and that really supported my calorie goal. We also wasted less fruit and veg as I was taking that when I didn't have a prepared meal to take with me. And fizzy drinks were cut down, though I slipped off track with this as the challenge went on. On the negative, I'm even more skint now. I found out I'm being underpaid for a few months, as apparently I haven't paid enough tax this year, which is bloody annoying. It's not a major problem, but I'm really trying not to dip into my savings and that's tough. I think this challenge will stay on the radar for the foreseeable. Score: +1 SAN Other stuff I also had some other things I was looking at, that weren't really goals I'll be subbing squats for front squats this challenge, as I try to train myself out of my current squatmorning habit. - Because of the way the programming at my gym works, I did a lot of box squats, and almost no front squats I'll also be working on ab work, which should help with stability in the squats and improve my pistol squats (and probably, to be fair, be good for everything else too) - I did this for a couple of weeks, but going to hold off now until I'm happy with my knee just in case it's related By the end of this challenge (maybe the end of week 1) I want to have written out all of the races I'm considering for this year and narrowed down ones that are actually likely - I did do this! I've only booked one race, but I do at least have a sensible list of things I may do to choose from. Wrap-up wrap-up Overall I think this was a fairly successful challenge. I also had a bit of an epiphany the other day. A lot of us talk about the fact that we start a challenge with all of the hype, and then drop off as the weeks go on, before getting all hyped again for the next 5-week challenge. My epiphany was: actually, that's probably fine. If I give 110% in weeks 1 and 2, 80% in weeks 3 and 4, and 50% in week 5, I've still put an average of 86% effort towards my goals. And all goals are going to be a bit like that - some weeks you have the time and energy to do them to the fullest, and some times you just have to clock in the bare minimum. I think that motivation might be the same as time and energy; rather than worrying about being perfect for the whole challenge I'm just going to try to ride the wave as best I can when I can. Next challenge expect a lot of the same goals, and a couple of new/tweaked bits for good measure. ETA: Those stat increases dinged me to level 21! Time to start investigating prestige classes... Jarric embraces brevity One of my, well, challenges, with forum challenges is that I get hung up on big, long updates, and then don't find time to write them up. To combat that, this time I'm going to try to keep every daily update to no more than 100 words. If I need to fill that out, I'll just have to up my gif game. Afterall, they do say that a gif is worth a thousand words. Yeah, I know no-one actually says that... This post won't be in the least bit brief, but let's get into the goals quickly at least! Here's the party that will be adventuring with me this time round: The muscle In week 5 of the last challenge I was out for a run, and something went in my knee. Since then I haven't been able to run - it's not a 'I probably should be resting this' kind of pain, it's a 'this hurts too much I have to stop now' kind of pain. Had a physio appointment this week and he reckons it's torn cartilage, with an expected recovery within 6 weeks. That lines up just too perfectly with this challenge cycle, so I'm optimistic that I'll be able to get back to running training after that. In the meantime I have some rehab exercises for my knee, and I'm also supposed to apply heat to aid blood flow as and when I can, and cycle for blood flow as well. Goal: do my kneehab™ exercises every day [+2 STR] Extra credit: apply heat daily, cycle 4 times per week [+1 STR] The decisionist I'm still looking to cut weight, with a goal of hitting 11 stone 8lbs (162lbs, or 73.5kg) by the end of this challenge for the Weight Loss PVP, and then probably continuing on for another 8-12 weeks to hit 11 stone (154lbs, or 69.9kg) before I switch to maintenance. Really I want to see what I look like at <12% body fat (if my home scales will permit such a number!). I give myself a weekly calorie target, then divide it by 8 to give myself 7 daily targets plus a weekly 'buffer' to float across the days as needed. If you hear me talking about using calories from my buffer for a special event or something like that, this is what I'm talking about. Goal: Track food daily [+1 CON] Extra credit: Less than 18,000 kcal per week [+1 CON] The cartographer I enjoy drawing, and the more I do it the more I enjoy it. Last challenge my goal was to draw 4 times per week, and I found that doing that I fell out of the habit and then kept forgetting to do it. So now the goal is to draw daily, even if it's a tiny little sketch in a notebook somewhere. Things I could draw include some High Rollers fan art (I'm really getting into the new season and am already working on a complicated piece - check out High Rollers D&D if you're into D&D streams and want to get in whilst there's only 10 episodes to catch up on!). I have also been meaning to do my own drawings of the adventuring party I use for these challenges. And finally my in-person TTRPG group are starting a Pathfinder adventure path called Abomination Vaults in a few weeks, although I'm not sure if I'll get introduced to all of the characters early enough to draw them all this challenge cycle, I can at least draw mine. It also doesn't have to be character drawing, I've got a great book on animal drawing that I should really pick up again, and I can jump on whatever else takes my fancy. Goal: Draw every day [+2 CHA] Extra credit: Share 1+ pictures here every week [+1 CHA] The translator I'm still working on studying both Dutch and French, the former because it's interesting and feels like it's going well, and the latter because I'm going to Paris this year and I'd love to be able to use it well while I'm there. I've changed the scoring slightly on this challenge, to try and get me doing both languages every day but in a slightly different way. It might also get me higher on those pesky leader boards - I really want to win a Duolingo Diamond League one of these days! Goal: Earn my early bird chest and night owl chest every day (i.e. complete at least one lesson before midday, and at least one lesson between 6pm and midnight) [+2 INT] The hoardsperson and the camp maker This is a bit of a mashup, so bear with me. The main goal here is to spend no money. I'm fairly skint at the moment after Christmas and a few big purchases last year, and I'm also being underpaid a little bit right now because apparently my company didn't take enough tax for the past few months. Spending no money doesn't include groceries, fuel, or other necessities, it's really about discretionary spending. It's going to be almost impossible to spend nothing for 5 weeks, so to make up some points I'm also going to add a focus: cleaning and tidying my house. Maybe I'll find some stuff I can avoid buying, or get round to selling stuff, but mostly I just wanted to do this this challenge and this seemed like a way to fit it in. In particular I want to get in a cleaning session on Wednesdays, as I'm a filthy part-timer and don't work Wednesdays. I have a rolling table for what to clean, so I'll get a point for rolling the dice (a D14 annoyingly, unless I reconfigure it to a D12+D3 table) and doing whatever the dice say to do). Goal: Spend no money every day, clean regularly, for a total of 35 points this challenge (1/day) [+2 SAN] Extra Credit: As above, but a total of 42 points (no spending any day, plus weekly cleaning) - change [+2 SAN] above to [+3 SAN] The face Last challenge I did really well at cleaning my teeth every day, I think because I made a rule that I had to stand on one leg whilst I did it. Brains are weird, but if it works then why not? Goal: brush teeth twice daily, whilst standing on one leg [+1 SAN] Celebrations There's also a couple of extra things happening around this time of year, which I thought I would mention. My 8-year Nerdiversary has just been (I posted my first ever NF challenge on 5th February 2016, which seems fucking wild). And my birthday is Sunday at the end of week 3 - still haven't figured out what, if anything, I want to do to celebrate that. Celebrations suggestions for either of these events are very much welcome. Let's do this!
  7. Ok, well, I'm being slightly dramatic. But, I have a meeting with my manager on Friday, and I'm pretty sure this is going to be when I finally get told I need to relocate to somewhere I'm not willing to live. Which is, in some fashion, going to seriously upend my life, and there is a very real possibility I will find myself unemployed. So, I'm clearly not freaking out about that at aaallllllllll... Ahem. Anyway... To quote Nick Fury, because I can't find a gif of it, until such time as the world ends, I intend to proceed as if it means to spin on. So I am going to continue with my plans, while probably also low-key trying to get things organized for moving (again...), because it's either I go where my current job is telling me to or I go where the new job is. -Exercise! At least 30 minutes, every day. It was 20 last challenge, but it went well, and I need 30 minutes minimum to count for off-skates exercise points for derby travel team eligibility. 3-4 days a week are derby practice of some variety, aiming to do a mix of lifting, running, and pilates/yoga for the remainder. -Eat! Enough, but not too much. I dug out one of my "diet" meal plans a couple weeks ago and have been following it, and it seems to be working. It's basically a calorie-controlled whole foods diet. So, only a "diet" in the sense of counting calories, otherwise it's just generally eating healthy. I have been eating somewhere between 1200 and 1500 calories a day, which sounds like not a lot, especially with all the exercise, but that seems to be what it takes for me to lose weight. If I start having issues with not being fueled for all that exercise, I will increase the calories as needed. -Find a New Job! I have a screening call for a potential new job tomorrow, but in addition to that, I need to be searching for and applying for more jobs. Going to aim for a minimum of 2 jobs applied for per week, unless/until I find something new. I should probably aim for a higher number, but it is hard to find things I'm qualified for and I don't have tons of time to search, so 2 is a good number for now. If I find myself unemployed, I'll have lots of time and that number will go up. But here's hoping it doesn't come to that!
  8. I may or may not be as prepared for this challenge as previous ones, goals are staying the same, as most of my challenges tend to do until I find a good reason to change them. The simplified method seems to be working well with my life even if I'm not seeing results on the scale (yet) I'm focusing on how I feel and that is good enough right now. All SET ( S )leep - ( E )xercise ( T )rack - And because it wouldn’t be an RES challenge without some 5k’s Upcoming Items 12/16 - Reindeer Run 5k - Done, 54 Minutes 12/17 - Candy Cane Course 5k - skipped 01/27 - Java Jog 5k - skipped 02/11 - Couple Shuffle 5k - skipped 03/09 - Time to Paddy 5k 06/22 - Hometown Half 10k 07/07 - Firecracker 4mi 08/10 - Summer Sizzler 15k 09/28 - Donot Stop 10k 10/20 - Spooky Sprint 10k 11/10 - Turkey Trails 10k
  9. Sooo...here I am...again. Been busy with death-dealing, estate settling, job finding craziness in the last few years-all taken care of at this point. Now it's time to refocus on Rangerly things. 🙂 Working on goals for the next challenge & a title for my battle log.
  10. I’m Ranger Hal. Normally I would say that I hike, snowshoe, scramble, climb, and do search and rescue, but the last few months have been kind of light on all those things. Motivation to exercise is very low and my mental health is a bit of a mess (mostly lonely for IRL friends I think, although corporate at work being idiots isn't helping. I love my team, but somehow corporate keeps making me hate the company). If I want to be able to do the outdoor things in the summer without being super slow, I need to start getting in some regular exercise (something that actually gets my heart rate up), but I'm not sure if that's going to happen this time. So I'm going to stick to doing something rather than nothing. Last challenge, I didn't update often, but I mostly did the things (1 and 2). This time, I'm going to keep doing the things and add broccoli. For meals that don't already have a bunch of veggies (like the cabbage/carrot/ground turkey soup that's in my fridge right now), I bought a bunch of frozen broccoli and divided it into smaller bags work for one meal, so it's easy to just pull one out and cook it. Here's the challenge: 1. Light a candle for morning prayers 2. Walk - regular walk (1.3 mi) if I'm not feeling rushed to leave for work, short walk (0.4 or 0.6 mi) if I am feeling rushed 3. Eat broccoli (or other veggies) I had this grand idea that once my office moved (several months ago), I'd join the climbing gym because it's kind of close, but that hasn't happened yet. Partly because low motivation, partly because I don't know anyone that goes to that gym so I don't know if I'd have anyone to belay me (although there are a couple of groups I suppose I could ask, but I don't know anyone in those groups particularly well, if at all, so cue social anxiety), and partly imposter syndrome because I don't believe I'm a real climber. Maybe it would be worth it just to do a little bouldering (which I haven't really ever done) and have access to whatever's in the exercise/weight room. So much uncertainty, so I don't know if anything is going to happen there. It would be good if something did happen, but it's not going in the challenge because if I don't do anything, that would make me feel more guilty than I already do about not doing anything. Oh, and my current nerdy thing is binge watching Critical Role. I'm a little ways into Campaign 2, so please no spoilers for anything in about the last 5.5 years. (Sooo much to catch up on!)
  11. TRANSMUTATION: the act or process of changing something completely, especially into something different The term also applies to an almost divine transmutation, a process both scientific and mystical that lifts an object into a higher form. There's a version of Darciana in me that I have not fully met. I know she's there. She whispers to me if I should ever choose to be quiet and concentrate on listening. She's waiting for me to shed all those things which no longer serve me, to rid myself of that which holds me back. She's patient, but we both know that we don't have forever. The time is now. Transformation is inevitable. I choose to intentionally transmute than let the world (read: society) transform me into what I am not, who I am not, at my core. IN-EDIBLE ALCHEMY Creating natural products for hygiene, wellness, self-care, and household use. I've run out of one serum already and nearly out of my essence. Once those are gone, I will create my own serum using the products I have around my house including oils like coconut or jojoba and essential oils. My night serum is likely due to run out during this challenge so I will also create a separate night serum using the properties of each ingredient to best suit what my skin needs during this time. I will infuse each with intention and self-love. I've already created a magnesium body butter to help with relaxation and muscle soreness. I would like to expand on this and start creating lotions and body butters to solve multitudes of issues. The next on my list is a lotion or body butter for sleep. Finally, hair products. I will continue to purchase shampoo and conditioner but I have already begun the infusion process of rosemary oil for my weekly hair oiling treatments. I intend to begin infusing some oil with fresh peppermint from my plant to mix with the rosemary. I'd also like to learn about and possibly create a leave in conditioner in much the same manner. All of these will also play into my Spiritual Ritual goal as I can use these opportunities to bond with the natural ingredients, learn their properties and what they best help with, and infuse my creations with intentions. EDIBLE ALCHEMY We are still carb cycling as our regular diet (read: way of eating, not a fad diet). I've learned much from eating this way for 8 weeks now but there is so much more to learn. My goal is to continue with these lessons, both in reading about them and in experimenting. Some meals are surprisingly delicious while others are less so and we are left wanting. This is a process which will be ongoing while we explore how our bodies react to certain foods/meals as well as how our tastes change as our diet changes. I'd like to move away from packaged foods such as the keto bars for snacks. I want to include more "basic" meals such as meat and vegetables while removing much of the excess. Being lactose sensitive, I've been neglecting to account for the amount of lactose I consume each meal, especially on low carb days. Heavy whipping cream and cream cheese are prime suspects in my life. Despite having lactose pills (probiotics) I'm still having some instances of bloating and discomfort that I need to address. I've done some research on cheeses which are lower in lactose and safe for me to consume regularly without issue. I need to continue accounting for this and being more mindful about my intake. In addition, meal planning weekly has been a success so far. I began to elevate this area of my life at the end of the last challenge. I hope to plan our weekly meals in such a way we reduce food waste. For example, we would previously use a 1lb package of ground beef for a dinner and end up throwing away half of it due to it only being the Man and I. I'm working towards, instead, planning my meals based on the ingredients. If I plan a meal with ground beef, I'll plan 2 meals and split the one pound package between the two. Rather than waste nearly a pound of food between the two meals by throwing away half of it each meal, we'll now only use a pound and waste nearly nothing. This will also help save us money on the grocery bill. BLUF: To plan meals to reduce waste, reduce the grocery bill, get as close to nature as possible (limit processed foods), and continue to follow our diet based on what makes us feel our best. MAGIC IN THE MUNDANE Continue to find ways to incorporate intentions, magic, and connection to everyday tasks. Infuse intention to my serums during my skin care routine. Use the magical properties of herbs in my cooking. Envision my showers to be a not only a physical cleansing, but an emotional and spiritual one. Use the Edible and In-Edible Alchemy goals as other methods to connect with my spiritual self and connect with nature. Continue to Greet the Day outside every morning. Focus on meditating 5 minutes each day - it's hit and miss currently but it's doable! Stir intentions into coffee every morning. Steep tea with an added pinch of self-love. Give myself a little hug or words of encouragement. Write down one thing I've done to love myself daily in my notebook. I believe I open up more pathways for magic to seep into my life if I only allow myself to truly love me for who I am at my core, both the good and bad things. Once I recognize my worth and that I deserve good things, good things will come. Focus on New and Full Moon rituals. Research and begin celebrating the holidays on the Wheel of the Year, learning them in depth and determining a connection (or lack thereof - that's okay, too!) Blow cinnamon into the front door every 1st of the month (or as close to it as possible if not home for whatever reason). ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE About halfway into this challenge, the Man will begin his MBA program which means we'll be dedicating time to studying in the house. In solidarity, I'll begin re-learning engineering concepts that I haven't/don't use regularly in preparation for the Professional Engineering (PE) Exam which I really should take this year. I was eligible as of last year so now I'm just putting it off because its hard. I can do hard things. I will need to take a practice exam. I will divide the exam into 3-4 sections depending on the number of questions and take them one section at a time. Once I've taken a section, I will check the answer key and note down what I missed. From there, I should have a good idea of where I need to focus my attention. Once all sections are complete and all areas of study in need of a deeper refresher are noted, I can begin making a study plan. My hope is to spend at least a couple hours each week on the PE Exam preparation. This will be dependent a bit on my actual work's situation/workload/mental drain. If I've had a particularly challenging week that has turned my brain to a pile of mush, I will allow myself a small break. Otherwise, I will need to sacrifice some personal time, sacrifice some brain power, and do the hard thing. BATTLE READY Strength, endurance, speed, agility. All things which are helpful when battling a foe. My current battle is against the 10k Race Beast (I like dragons and will fight to protect them so a faceless beast must do). This beast requires many talents both mental and physical. I need to begin training to run further/longer without stopping. I will need to cross train to ensure my muscles are prepared for these longer runs and hills. The cross training will include the Peloton and strength workouts. I need to focus on stretching more frequently and dedicating more time to stretching during those sessions. In addition, with losing weight (read: fat) I need to ensure I'm at least maintaining muscle and forcing my body into fat-burning rather than muscle-burning. Long term battle is against aging. I want to age gracefully with a strong foundation for a life full of potential. My family has many health issues that I am likely to inherit. I want to do my best to offset those with not only a good nutritional base, but a strong mind and body from incorporating movement into my daily life. Despite my current disability and the very strong likelihood I will require further back surgeries and rehabilitation, I want to be able to physically enjoy my retirement years and not be restricted by my body/physical state. To accomplish this, I need to start now. REFLECTIONS This is more of a goal to set aside time for myself. I'd like to improve myself by putting away screens before bed and, instead, do some reading, journaling, knitting/crocheting, working with plants, stretching my body or doing yoga, etc. I'd like to deal with any mental blocks by journaling them out and working to find the root cause. I'd love to build my Grimoire by working with plants and the above In-Edible Alchemy goal - noting what works, what doesn't, and what I may try next. I also keep having a desire to pull my knitting back out but I cannot seem to get past the physical block keeping me from standing up and fetching it from my table. I'd like to break that barrier and begin knitting again rather than playing on my phone while spending time in the living room with the Man. I'd love to read more. I have officially finished my book club (I own the last book so it's now nestled in my TBR pile) so I'm free to reach as much or little of whatever I choose. I'm finishing up the last book in a series now. I have a sequel to another book which was just released. Finally, a book that was originally to be published in early November (and has been delayed several times) is set to be released next week. I ordered an exclusive edition and, unless I also order the e-book version, I'll have to wait for the physical book to arrive. I hope to finish these next two books before the newest release arrives. Fortunately, the book I'm currently reading is only 129 pages so it'll go quick if only I set aside the time to actually read it. The next book is only 178 pages. Completely doable to read both within a week or two. BARTERING With myself, mostly. The goal is to reduce my bills where possible, pay all the necessary ones, and be financially secure. A large part of reducing bills and becoming more financially secure is to focus on removing debt. I've started this process by paying ahead on some payments that would normally come due during my next paycheck (Friday) but I had surplus to cover on this current paycheck. At the end of the month, any excess I have may go towards debt and I can repeat for the next month. The Man and I have a plan going forward which will result in the travel trailer loan being paid off (the boys bought it from us but we used that money to immediately cover another situation (which was to be paid with a bonus). Once the Man's work bonus arrives (mid-March or mid-April) he'll use that to pay off the loan instead. This is my time to transmute my life into one which follows a path towards who I want to be rather than settling for who I currently am. There's more to me if only I put in the effort to dig deep, do the hard things, and discover who I have the potential to become.
  12. Welcome to my challenge. This challenge won't be too much different than the last. As always, I've set up a Roadmap for what I want to accomplish in 2024. Mine is posted here in my battle log. Every challenge is aimed at accomplishing some part of the roadmap or furthering my adventure towards this year's goals. This challenge I struggled with wanting to do MORE but also recognizing I can't do it ALL. Life is still being a little crazy busy so I don't want to commit to more than I can accomplish and then abandon everything. But which things to focus on? The ranger in me just always answers 'ALL'! Enter the wild card. On top of the baseline goals for this challenge, there are also Wild Card goals to add a little extra something even though the something might be different every time. Fitness Goals Cardio 1x per week Strength 1x per week Kegels daily Wild card - Add one additional workout per week. Maybe a Strength workout, maybe a cardio workout, maybe a combination. Doesn't matter. Just do one more. Wild Card Goals Do a wild card activity 3 times per week (or more). Wild card activities include but are not limited to: Shoulder stretches hold primal squats as long as possible 30 sec cardio snack a few minutes (or more) of yoga The Other Stuff Progress needs to continue to get the house ready to be on the market. These are the next tasks on the list to accomplish this challenge Paint the downstairs bathroom Declutter 2 areas Fix holes in doors and paint them Wild Card - do literally anything else that helps I am still maintaining the daily goals from the Roadmap. Start the day with water Fast 15 hours Eat at least 1 freggy a day but 2 would be better Log food on Lose It and maintain a deficit Move daily
  13. Hello friends and thank you for being here. It’s the start of a brand new Calendar Turn, and whilst I do set Year Goals, I am determined to be part of the minority, those brave and incredible souls, who actually achieve them. Past years have been… well, not good. Still not written a novel, as 20 year old me was certain we would have by now. BUT I am super close to getting my Masters, so I am many steps closer to the academic dream than I was before I had that goal. Hold on to your hats, it's a long one! SO, I sat and thought about that for a bit. New Year’s Resolutions or goals are ‘failed’ so often it’s the object of humour. It’s a meme – crowded gym in January, empty gym in February. And I think I know why I am close to completing this goal and have failed on many others. I made it this far – to get a Masters in History – and not the novel (or losing weight, learning to cook better etc.) for one simple reason – I had to! Well, okay, I could have dropped out of the programme and lost the money I’d paid I suppose. But once enrolled, I had deadlines to meet and supervisors who expected me to meet them. It was something that could be gently laid aside when events demanded it – For which I am forever grateful to my supervisors for being so supportive in the event of my mental health crisis – but ultimately it had to be picked up. It was – and still is for another month or so – part of my life. It wasn’t quite easier to do it than NOT do it, but there would have been real world consequences for not doing it. I’d have failed the course or had to pay a lot of money to get an extension for another year. I would have let down two people I have come to greatly respect. So I had deadlines in my calendar, I set time aside to work on it regularly, I had regularly scheduled meetings with my supervisors to talk, get advice, to correct my course. In contrast, writing a novel was a dream – one that no one would be on my case about when I didn’t write for a day, a week, a year. There were no stakes. And it didn't get written. So, I want to apply that wisdom going forward. I know what works for me: Accountability. Deadlines. Real world consequences for not doing it. Making it part of my routine and daily life. Having a Strong Why. I love History, and I love research. I know I want to follow this path, career-wise. Even when it was frustrating and hard and I didn’t have a damn clue what to write, I loved it. I never wanted to quit, even if I doubted my ability. I have Strong Whys for the Goals I want to hit in 2024 too. How I am going to make sure it happens is with my BUJO. A book I will post pages of here and please do call me out when I don’t. I am going to carry this book around with me everywhere – home, work, outings. Holidays. This book is going to my accountability. Well, hopefully these forums will to. That is step one. Step two is phone alarms and calendar notifications. The plan is to integrate my new habits so well into my life that when I look back in December 2024, I need the early pages to remind myself what my life was like before this year. Still reading? I appreciate you! Here – as promised – are my Bujo pages I am working with. Things like the bookshelf will get filled whenever I finish a book, new or old. The year of workouts gets filled daily. Ideally, at the end of each month I will set up the monthly and weekly pages for the coming month. Weekly/daily pages get filled in on a weekly and daily basis. My 2024 Goals: I started with my biggest flaws, the things I most want to work on and went from there to build goals that feel both important to me and specific. I know what I looked like at 75kg, and how much healthier that is for me. It's also realistic - under 10kg for the whole year. Similarly, a PhD is a dream goal of mine, but it won't be easy. Having this goal keeps me on track - what are the steps I need to take? Proposals, planning and applications come first. Hence, that's what I make my goal. The Spartan and 10km? To force myself not to neglect my training with something I enjoy - but enjoy a heck of a lot more when I am fitter. Reading - obvious! I am a reader, but tend to be drawn to familiar favorites instead of branching out. Then my Fitness Goals have their pages: By requiring monthly and daily check-ins, I keep the goals fresh in my mind. They become part of my daily existence: My Future Log for remembering stuff long term: (sized smaller because less interesting) My January Set up: The monthly log and it's month-specific goals: And my weekly spreads that I will update and refer to daily: Oh, and Challenge Specific Goals? Just One – Be here. Weekly a minimum, more than that if I can. Updates can be long or short, but they must be done. It will prompt me to be accountable, if only to myself.
  14. Ranger related discussions! *Note: You can participate in guild discussions regardless of your chosen guild. A jack-of-all-trades, Rangers are well-equipped for any situation. You're good at strength training and pretty good at covering distances when required, but neither is a specialty. * Fictional example: Jon Snow (Game of Thrones), Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Aragorn (Lord of the Rings) * Real-world example: Mat Fraser, multi-times CrossFIt Games champion; Sara Sigmundsdottir, CrossFit competitor. * Typical Activities: CrossFit, High Intensity Interval Training, general mixed training (running and lifting, for example)
  15. This challenge, I really have one, overarching goal: to build consistency, especially with going to CrossFit group workouts. I've been catching myself making excuses for not going to CrossFit, which is really counter-productive. CrossFit (like karate 2 decades ago) supports not only my physical but mental and emotional health as well. When I get there, I have a great time, especially with the morning class at 9:00 ... and really even better when my favorite coaches are leading the workout. But, while waking up and drinking coffee, I often talk myself out of going because of sniffles or stiffness .... which will clear up with a hot shower, usually. So, I put classes on my calendar and I will show up 3 times per week for the first week ... and then 4 times per week. I can cancel if I have a fever or am sneezing and/or coughing too much to be acceptable. Also, if there is some sort of family emergency ... but usually I would be able to attend class later in the day. Other things I will work on and measure this challenge are: Cardio. At a minimum, I will get a walk in the woods. On days when I'm feeling up for more (and didn't HIIT it in CrossFit), I'll rely upon the intensity dashboard (see below) Social. Using the color dashboard, I will challenge myself to see people and participate in activities. Nutrition. I do want to lose fat and increase muscle as well as fight off the invading hordes of viruses. I think the MIND diet is one of my best tools for nutritious eating that doesn't become overwhelming and frustrating. And it should help me keep my blood pressure within limits. So, I'll be logging with the spreadsheet again and aim to get to the coveted 12.5 points each week. But I'll be happy with 10.5. For the holiday challenge, I experimented with using color-coding to give myself feedback on how well the day/week is going. I found it useful as a gentle way of tracking, and it allows for doing something toward goals, even if it is not the top, desired level of performance. The schema is: Stellar At Standard Good Developing Minimum Frequency Notes Strength CrossFit partners CrossFit indiv effort Gym routine Basement routine Exercise snacks Daily Rest days are white Cardio OCR/5K training Run 2+ miles Cardio 30 min Cardio 20 min Walk in the woods Daily Social Friends Group Activity Drop in Casual encounters Immediate family Daily MINDful Eating >= 12.5 >= 10.5 >= 8.5 >= 7 >= 5 Weekly And the tracking spreadsheet looks like this: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 S M T W Th F S S M T W Th F S S M T W Th F S Strength Cardio Social MINDful Eating I'll admit that I want to lose a pound per month, but that should be feasible if I watch portions (and avoid empty calories) while working out consistently.
  16. I posted a challenge last challenge, thinking I was on the other end of some health stuff, and it turns out the worst was just beginning. It was a tough month, but after a ton of appointments and a quick surgery, I should be back up and running and back to "normal" by next week, just in time for this next challenge to start. So I'm taking my last challenge and almost duplicating it, only simplifying it a bit Spezzy is a Korok If we look back at the periods of time when I've been the happiest and healthiest, they're times when I'm spending significant time outside. Even in my years that I spent hours every day in the gym - I was either doing additional training outside or in open air gyms in Texas. The periods of my life where I haven't had the gym and I was the happiest, I've spent the majority of my time outside Now that I'm back in the darkness of new england, I've been finding myself skipping workouts and other things just to optimize the amount of time I am able to just be outside during the day - and why would I want to be in the gym if I can be doing projects outside? This will be me attempting to build out this new life embracing the fact that I am not a magical humanoid race (Hylian) like I have wanted all along, but am, in fact, a child of the forest (Korok). (Now of course, this doesn't mean I can't do things Hylians can do - Koroks are very versatile little creatures. But it means that I need to prioritize the things that make me the happiest, and for me, that's being outside and interacting with nature/animals/plants/etc. ) It's going to also focus on re-solidifying some older habits that have stopped (like a daily walk or regularly strength training). With recovery, I'll have to focus on doing better each week so may not hit everything the first week, but I'll get there. I'm not concerned about nutrition all around, so no goals around that. Just focusing on reintegrating movement and a solid schedule that includes lots of time outdoors. GOALS: Exercise: Daily Walk - non negotiable. Bonus: a second walk, even if it is on the property. Strength 3x/week Unfortunately, this will have to be inside most days, but bonus points if I can figure out wintertime outside strength work! Rowing or yoga at night - the rower is in the house now. I do best at sleeping if I exercise lightly before bed, so 10 minutes of either yoga or rowing every night. Spellbooks/Schedule: I now have complete freedom of schedule in my new role at work, and since I don't have kids or anything else with a specific schedule, I can really do whatever I want. The problem is, I'm not sure what the BEST schedule is, so part of this is figuring out what that is. I'm also focusing on getting up earlier and earlier, to optimize sunlight since it gets dark very early here. Get up when I wake up or by the last call alarm time (if I wake up before alarm, just get up) Nightly spellbooks review + prep everything for next day (as a part of this challenge, make checklist of things that need to be prepped for next day) Follow schedule plan with work blocks (shifting schedule to do a large portion of work when it is dark out). notes: work when I'm supposed to be working, even though I have my own schedule. Use ADHD coping mechanisms - headphones, timers, do it up. Outdoor Farm Life / Mindset - these specific things will be built into my schedule A few minutes each day either focusing on breathing/meditation. If I do yoga, this can be included at the end there, but I'd prefer to do it outside. Sitting out by the river in the morning sounds like it could be a good thing. Take a break from work and spend at least 20 minutes with the animals during the day - this could be training huckleberry, sitting with the chickens, or hanging with the goats. Doesn't matter, but spend time with the animals. This makes a huge difference in overall mood. Get outside for at least 30 minutes before sundown in the afternoon. And that's it!
  17. So, it's been a rough few years & it's time to get back to Rangerly things. This will be ongoing: spreading over several challenges as I'm trying to ease back into a regular routine. Goals: Run a 5k, eat healthier & learn to crochet
  18. What happened to 2023? It went by so quickly and I can't believe 2024 is here already. 2023 brought some significant change in my life. I got remarried to the actual love of my life and moved my youngest out of the house to college. That's right; we're empty nesting newlyweds and loving it. It did make for a hectic year. All the while I had my goals - to build a healthier lifestyle for the purpose of losing weight. I made great progress on the lifestyle, but didn't really achieve the weight loss I was looking for. So this year is all about shifting focus to all the other non scale victories from choosing and building a better lifestyle. Here is my 2024 roadmap. This challenge is about just getting back to the goals hoping to see some difference in the non scale victories. Bring on 2024! The Daily Do all of these every single day, almost every single day. The goal is every single day but life happens. 95% is acceptable. The calorie goal on Lose It allows for some high calorie days. I'll adjust each week based on what's going on. If nothing is going on my usual high calorie days are over the weekend. Fast 15 hours Start the day with Water Eat at least 1 freggy Log food on Lose it and stay under target The Fitnessing Do these every week. We are expecting to be busy doing projects on the weekends (see below) so this is the mini version of the weekly fitness goals. Some of those projects might count as fitnessing anyway 1 cardio session a week 1 Strength gym session a week 2 stretching sessions a week - either combined with other workouts or separate. Do some kegels every day. The Other Stuff We are planning to move to a new house this year so we need to get busy doing some of the things to get this house ready for the market. This challenge that goal is to finish the basement. Finish painting walls Install some flooring Install trim
  19. Welcome to the 2024 challenge...on Jan 2nd it will be 10 years since I joined the forums... My main goal was then and still is weight loss, for health reasons as well as I want to look good (to me) naked. I’ve learned this doesn't get easier when you get older. I don’t want this to be a focus for the rest of my life, I want to build some habits/routines so it becomes second nature and I don’t have to think about it. I also want to be around to watch my grandkids grow up and be able to do things with them, as well as continue to do things I enjoy well into the future! In 2023 it was all about the struggle. This year, I’m going to be set, I’m simplifying things for consistency and I need less clutter in my life, also working on my mindset. I don’t have to track “all the things”. The three most important things for me regarding weight loss are sleep, exercise (though that’s debatable) and what you fuel your body with (tracking). Exercise is debatable because you can lose weight without it, but I feel better when I do it. I know not everyone needs to track what they eat, and I no longer use an app to do this because it got to the point it was too much, but I do put it on my spreadsheet to keep myself accountable, and it also helps with meal planning and creating my grocery list. All SET ( S )leep - ( E )xercise ( T )rack - And because it wouldn’t be an RES challenge without some 5k’s Upcoming Items 12/16 - Reindeer Run 5k - Done, 54 Minutes 12/17 - Candy Cane Course 5k - skipped 01/27 - Java Jog 5k 02/11 - Couple Shuffle 5k 03/09 - Time to Paddy 5k 06/22 - Hometown Half 10k 07/07 - Firecracker 4mi 08/10 - Summer Sizzler 15k 09/28 - Donot Stop 10k 10/20 - Spooky Sprint 10k 11/10 - Turkey Trails 10k
  20. I apparently cannot make up my mind this time around on what goals. I think I've settled on the below. The focus of this challenge is the coming of spring, or the arrival of the greenery. Not only with the garden (which I already have 12 plants: 4 red lettuce, 4 green lettuce, and 4 cilantro with spinach pending once I get my new planter this weekend), but with my life. The coming of spring is an awakening of the world again after the dormant period. It will continue to be dormant through this challenge, but small changes now will allow life to bloom in the coming months, just as Mother Nature does during this same time. I want my finances to bloom and to prune away debt and worry. I want my health to bloom with positive choices in both nutrition and exercise. I want my spiritual practice to bloom and create a place for me to work on my mental health in a productive manner. Finally, I want to grow a regular practice of relaxation and self-care by doing something I truly love: reading. My garden was set up last year too late to begin planting. I want to start early this year with my planning so I may utilize it before the Man gets frustrated. His frustration is valid, we did a lot of work to set up the area for me to garden and I haven't done anything with it. Granted, I would've only been able to use it for fall crops at most since we finished setting it up too late in spring to plant before it got too hot for plant survival (plants not established before being subjected to torture). I will be doing more this year, I swear it! Pay off Debt Pay off my Samsung Credit (<$210) before March to avoid deferred interest back charges Pay off my HEB/Imprint credit card (<$100) because it’s a small amount that needs to go bye-bye Pay off my Capital One credit card (<$230) to pay off New Mexico Thanksgiving trip. Once paid off, use this payment amount to go towards building an emergency savings (goal is at least $1,000) Once all above paid off, focus on one of the remaining 3 debts (in no particular order - assess based on circumstances of the time) Health Continue to carb cycle with the Man Focus on adding vegetables to every meal, even if it is just a side salad Portion meals - chew thoroughly, pause between bites, wait before getting seconds Finish current app’s promo and switch to Just Run app for 10k training for April’s race Give the rented Peloton a good college try to determine if it is worth keeping (once it arrives on or around 11 January) Spiritual/Nature Rituals Continue stirring in daily intentions Establish skin care ritual so it becomes a daily part of routine Greet the morning outside every day Do a ritual for Imbolc on or around the 1st day of February Blow cinnamon into the front door every 1st of the month for wealth, abundance, and good luck Read Finish book club (January and February books) and do not join again - switch focus to personal books already owned that need to be read. Read every night before bed (within reason - if out late or excessively tired, can skip. Goal is to read rather than play on phone or watch TV before bed). Use Kindle to avoid artificial backlight) Gardening Start planning this year’s garden: what to plant, where to plant (greenhouse, indoors, in the ground, etc), and how much to plant Save up/budget and make small purchases over time to build the necessary items to have a successful garden. See about building a small greenhouse or buying a cheap one to reinforce once built.
  21. 2024 Road map For the past couple of years, I've been writing my road map at the top of all of my challenges, so that I remember it and refer back to it when I'm setting my goals for the month. At the end of the year I then do a big wrap-up to see how I've progressed, and you can see 2023's wrap up here. I don't really have a big why or a master plan, and I don't have any big overarching goals that I want to complete in 2024. I do have a few areas of my life that I would always like to improve though, and I can handily map those on the D&D stats. After last year's challenges, those stats look like this: Level 20 Wood Elf Ranger STR: 15 - CON: 21 - CHA: 8 - SAN: 16 - INT: 17 Alongside each stat I'll have some specific benchmarks, and I might add more as the year goes on. These aren't goals as such, but they are things that I would like to hit and that I can measure progress against. Strength - Exercise I don't separate STR and DEX as different stats, because it doesn't feel like a useful definition for the kind of stuff I do. STR includes going to my local crossfit-style gym, running, bouldering, taking part in OCRs and any other competitions that I get myself into, and also anything else that might take my fancy during the year like swimming, hiking, who knows? Why am I focusing on this? Because I like being able to do cool stuff, and to me that means lifting heavy, doing gymnastics tricks, or completing the kinds of races that make other people think I'm mad. I also think you can never be too strong, and I want to be mobile and pain-free for a long time to come. Specific benchmarks: Man vs Coast - a 25-mile coastal adventure race in the UK I'd like to do some kind of strongman competition, if I can find a good one I'm looking at Tribal Clash, which seems to be a cool fitness event if I can get a team together Climb a font 7A Climb a font 6A outside Get reliable pistol squats with both legs Be able to string together multiple muscle ups (ring and bar) Handwalk 12ft (2 mats in my gym) Squatmas: 50 reps at 75% bodyweight, unbroken Deadliftmas: 50 reps at 100% bodyweight, unbroken Squat 1.5 x bodyweight for 5 reps Deadlift 2 x bodyweight for 5 reps Row 100m in under 16.9 seconds (#oddlyspecific I know - I hit 16.9 in October 2019, and I've equalled it a dozen times but never beaten it) Constitution - Nutrition This is about the things I put in my body - food, alcohol, and cigarettes being the main ones. I've decided recently that I'm not that fussed about caffeine right now, and whilst I don't want to smoke I'm at a level where I do so rarely and can go months between cigarettes. Why am I focusing on this? Because it's the foundation that everything else is based on. When I eat better and drink less I feel better, I lift stronger, I'm less out of breath, and I'm more alert. Also, I look better - it's vain but I won't apologise for that. I have a more complicated relationship with alcohol, but like food it's all about sensible moderation without needs for excessive restriction. Specific benchmarks: Get to <12% body fat (per my home scales), just to see what it's like. Charisma - Creativity This will probably be primarily focused on drawing, but also on writing D&D content, maybe even picking up my guitar again as I haven't in a while. Why am I focusing on this? Because I think being creative is really good for me mentally, and because I think creativity is really worthwhile. In my mind there is something intrinsically valuable in the act of creation, even if it's not something you share or make money from. And because I enjoy it, I feel good seeing some of the stuff I've drawn over the years, or when I pick up the guitar just for fun. Specific benchmarks: Draw a whole D&D party for any group I run/am in Publish some of my own D&D content online Complete Inktober this year I have Wednesdays off work, so do something creative every Wednesday at least Learn a handful of songs that I could play at an open mic night Sanity - self-care This is about keeping my head screwed on straight, and doing the things that keep me level. That includes small things like brushing my teeth and keeping the house tidy, but might be specific self-care habits like journaling, social things like seeing friends, or big projects on the house. It's recently occurred to me that reading more for pleasure could also be on this list, or on my INT list, and I'll consider that among my potential future goals. Why am I focusing on this? Because it's been a tough couple of years - including losing a couple of friends and my dad being diagnosed with dementia - and I don't like feeling bad. These are things that I can do to feel better in myself, and feeling good is it's own reward. It also allows me to better support my family, and to face challenges as they come. Specific benchmarks: Go away with friends Sort out my office - paint, re-wire, and new carpet Sort out the outhouse with a new roof and door, and run power down there Get a price to replace the porch Intelligence - learning This includes studying for work, any side-project academic study that I feel like, learning languages, maybe even skill learning if it doesn't fit under STR. Why am I focusing on this? I like to learn new things, I find it interesting and rewarding, and it makes me a better person. It also might help my future employment prospects/earning potential, which isn't a big driver for me but it can't hurt. Specific benchmarks: Make good progress on my last big professional accreditation Continue learning Dutch and French on Duolingo - I should be on an 800+ day streak by the end of 2024 Converse in French when I go to France for the Olympics this year Learn a little bit of coding Edit - I keep forgetting how to score this, so the percentage required to gain a stat point, based on the number of stat points a goal is worth, is: 1 stat point: 75% 2 stat points: 50%, 83.3% 3 stat points: 37.5%, 62.5%, 87.5% 4 stat points: 30%, 50%, 70%, 90% 5 stat points: 25%, 41.7%, 58.3%, 75%, 91.7% * * * The party returns My goals this month really build on what I've been doing for the last year, and of course on the road map above. Some goals have a different condition for week 1, as I'm writing this on day 2 (Tuesday) of week 1. Let's meet our party. The decisionist Track food daily [+1 CON] Extra credit: Less than 18,000 kcal per week [+1CON] Week 1: extra credit is 15,750 kcal or less in 6 days I'm still on the weight loss train, having lost 4lbs from the end of October to mid-December, and then put them back on in the two weeks over Christmas . To be fair, I'm still 5.5lbs lighter than I was in June. I'm also not too worried about the number on the scale, I'm just looking to lean out a bit before I think about bulking again. 18,000 kcal per week is a pretty tough target, but will definitely see some fairly solid weight loss over this challenge if I can achieve it. Even if I miss, I should lose some weight by getting close. I may need to fundamentally change some of my regular meals in order to do this. The muscle Foam roll my neck and shoulders every day [+2 STR] I've had really tight shoulders for a couple of months. I've also been having quite a bit of wrist pain, which I think might be related. I want to make a good attempt at dealing with my shoulders first, but if that doesn't work I will book in to see a physio about my wrists at the end of this challenge. Please hold me accountable to this. The face Brush my teeth, twice daily [+1 SAN] Extra credit: Stand on one leg whilst brushing [+1 STR] When I'm stressed, or depressed, I stop brushing my teeth. I don't forget, I simply stop doing it. I think it's probably a control thing - when life feels out of control I make choices which are self-destructive because they give me some agency that I don't have over other areas of my life. It's a bit like staying up late at night in revenge for work taking over your day (something that I also do). That's the working theory anyway, it might be a load of nonsense. Anyway, I don't know if I can make myself feel better by deliberately brushing my teeth, but I can at least help my teeth remain affixed to my skull for a little longer, and that's a good thing in its own right. The cartographer Draw 4 times per week [+2 CHA] Extra credit: draw 5+ times per week [+1 CHA] There's no good reason why I can't spend a bit of time doodling most evenings when I'm in. I'm out playing Pathfinder/other RPGs Tuesday nights, I play Baulder's Gate online with friends Thursday night, and sometimes I'll be out on Friday nights. That leaves 4 sensible days to draw, with a possibility of more for the extra credit. The hoardsperson [+ SAN] Spend no money [+2 SAN] I'm broke after a December of eating out during the working week and going out for drinks in the weekends, followed by buying a bunch of Christmas presents, not to mention a new fridge freezer, a new washer dryer, and some components for my computer, and booking travel and accommodation for Paris next year. So my goal here is to not spend any money during this 5 week challenge. This doesn't include groceries (but groceries don't include pre-made lunches, fizzy drinks, or alcohol), and doesn't include petrol or regular bills. There should be some good side effects to this goal: I'll have to take lunch to work as I can't buy it out, resulting in potentially healthier lunches I won't be drinking fizzy drinks every day I'll slowly whittle down the amount of junk food in the house, without buying more I don't actually expect I'll hit every single day with this goal, but I intend to get as close as possible. Other stuff These won't be recorded goals, but so that I remember: I'll be subbing squats for front squats this challenge, as I try to train myself out of my current squatmorning habit. I'll also be working on ab work, which should help with stability in the squats and improve my pistol squats (and probably, to be fair, be good for everything else too) By the end of this challenge (maybe the end of week 1) I want to have written out all of the races I'm considering for this year and narrowed down ones that are actually likely Well, I think that's everything, time for the adventure to begin. * * * The group sat around the campfire in silence. Not an anxious silence, nor a pregnant one. Perhaps, contemplative? Each was engrossed in their own preparations, readying themselves for the journey that lay ahead. The only sound that could be heard in the clearing, aside from the occasional hoot of an owl or the rustle of a small animal in the bushes, was the rhythmic scrape of the goliath's whetstone against his axe. Shiiing. Shiiing. Shiiing. The others paid no mind to the noise, not the sparks spraying from the huge blade. The dragonborn was engrossed in polishing a set of plate armour, the surface perfectly reflecting the copper sheen of his own scales. Meanwhile the blue-skinned elf and the halfling leant back-to-back, each with pen and paper in hand. The elf's marks were precise, as they entered detailed notes into a ledger, a pile of coins and assorted valuables stacked neatly in front of them. By contrast the halfling's strokes were large and expressive , as the topography of a wondrous landscape took shape below her ink-stained fingertips. And finally there was the gnome. Lying on his back he stared into the stars, a look of pure, sure, comfortable relaxation upon his face. Despite the task ahead, he looked all for all the world like there was no place he would rather be, and that he might lay here for weeks if the mood so took him.
  22. Christmas and New Year's have come and gone. I've been more lax about working out and eating this past month. But now the festivities have passed, and the damage that was done needs to be reversed. I was originally going to start this as of next week, but I'm having a bout of motivation right now, so let's start already. The plan is to start slow and build up to my previous routine. Week 1 (Tuesday 02/01 - Sunday 07/01): - Sugar detox - DailyDare Week 2 (Monday 08/01 - Sunday 14/01): - Start logging again (just logging, results less important) - Walk more Week 3 and after (Monday 15/01 - Sunday 04/02): - Aim for all yellow and green in the log again The logging will be the same colour-coded stuff that I used to do. I'm not even changing anything from the last time. No need to fix what's not broken. Bad Poor Ok Good Excellent Frequency Notes Intermittent fasting < 14 hours ≥ 14 hours ≥ 16 hours ≥ 17 hours ≥ 20 hours Daily Calorie intake > 4000 cal > 3000 cal ≤ 3000 cal ≤ 2400 cal ≤ 2000 cal Daily Ballpark figures are good enough Calories spent < 2750 cal ≥ 2750 cal ≥ 3000 cal ≥ 3500 cal ≥ 4000 cal Daily Fitbit numbers Calories in/out deficit < 500 cal < 0 cal ≥ 0 cal ≥ 500 cal ≥ 1000 cal Daily Curfew ≥ 1.30 am ≥ 1.00 am < 1.00 am < 0.30 am < 0.00 am Daily Add 2 hours before non-working days Sleep < 5h 30m < 6 hours ≥ 6 hours ≥ 6h 30m ≥ 7 hours Daily Fitbit numbers - naps count for half Avg. sleep < 6 hours ≥ 6 hours ≥ 6h 15m ≥ 6h 30m ≥ 6h 45m Weekly Fitbit numbers - naps count for half Steps < 6.000 ≥ 6.000 ≥ 8.000 ≥ 10.000 ≥ 12.000 Daily Fitbit numbers Avg. steps < 9.000 ≥ 9.000 ≥ 10.000 ≥ 11.000 ≥ 12.000 Weekly Fitbit numbers Distance < 15 km ≥ 15 km ≥ 20 km ≥ 25 km ≥ 30 km Weekly Walk to Mordor distance Workouts ≤ 1 > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 Weekly Mini-workouts: 1/10 per exercise Days with (mini)-workouts ≤ 3 4 5 6 7 Weekly
  23. Had a good Christmas holiday, but both hubby and I were fighting colds. And then we went to see his college football team play in the Semi finals. Which was super fun, but amazingly, time change, cold weather, and little sleep did not help our colds. So, I'm coming in to this challenge a bit under the weather. I'd planned to really get back into routine, and hit the ground running. But maybe I'll just hit the ground.😀 I may add to my challenge later, but for now, let's keep it simple 1) Get dressed in my workout clothes right away Put workout clothes out on bed ( if I'm not feeling good enough for a full workout, I can still do stretches and a light workout, or walk) 2) Read Bible before screens
  24. My goal for 2024 is a smaller waistline. The scale is relevant only as it relates to either that metric or to how it affects the load on my knees. To start small is to start smart. My goals Stength: Strength workout of some kind twice a week. All I have to do is start. Stretch: Stretch my beck and do a forward fold and a squat hold every day. Stroll: Get more steps in by going for walks. At minimum check the mail six days a week (community mailbox around the corner). Other good stuff, cook and avoid sugar. Incidentally, when I do cook, if I describe it, don't be hungry when you read about it.
  25. A recent re-boot of my interest in Stoicism inspired me to create a Roman Empire challenge. With the help of AI and some personal interests, I think this is going to be a lot of fun! First, my goals. These are long-term goals and may extend beyond the allotted challenge time period. I used the SMART Goals format: STRENGTH GOAL: I will increase my strength by 10% in 7 different kettlebell exercises (swings, goblet squats, kb push-ups, racked squats, deadlifts, rows, snatches, and overhead press) by training four times a week for 12 weeks with a 35 lb (16 kg) kettlebell. I will measure my strength by the number of repetitions I can perform with good form for each exercise and record my progress in a journal or an app starting January1st and follow up with weekly strength tests. I will follow a periodized kettlebell workout routine that also includes warm-up, cool-down, and recovery sessions. I will also eat a balanced diet, drink enough water, and get enough sleep to support my training. Achieving this goal will improve my overall health, performance, and physique. SPEED GOAL: I will run 5k in less than 30 minutes by following an 8 week training plan beginning January 1st that includes interval training, tempo runs, long runs, and recovery runs. I will measure my progress my timing my 5k runs and tracking my pace and distance with the Nike Run Club app. I will also do some cross-training and strength training (see above) to prevent injuries and improve my overall fitness. Achieving this goal will challenge me and boost my confidence, as well as help me prepare for longer races and improve my health and well-being. MEDITATION GOAL: I will meditate for 20 minutes every day using a guided meditation app. I will track my meditation sessions and duration on the app and on a calendar. I will start January 1st by adding 5 minutes to my current 10 minute meditation practice every week until I reach 20 minutes. I want to meditate more because it helps me reduce stress, improve focus, and feel happier. I will achieve my goal of meditating for 20 minutes daily by the end of next month. JOURNALING GOAL: I will write in my journal every day for at least 10 minutes, using prompts or free writing to express my thoughts and feelings. I will track my journaling habit on a calendar or an app and aim for a 100% completion rate each month. I will schedule a time for journaling that works for me and make it a priority in my daily routine. I will also prepare a comfortable and quiet space for journaling and have a notebook and pen ready. I will write in my journal to improve my mental health, creativity, and self-awareness. I will also use journaling as a way to reflect on my goals and progress and celebrate my achievements. I will write in my journal every day for the next six months starting January 1st and then evaluate the benefits and challenges of my journaling habit. READING/LEARNING GOAL: I want to read at least one book per month and learn one new skill or topic every week. I will track my reading time and progress using a reading app. I will also document what I learned each week in my journal. I will set aside 20 minutes every day to read a book of my choice (list to be shared later). I will also dedicate at least one our every week to learn something new, such as a language, a hobby, or a subject. Reading and learning will help me improve my vocabulary, knowledge, creativity, and curiosity. They will also enrich my personal and professional life. I will start this goal January 1st and review it every month to see if I need to adjust it. Accomplishing this goal will make me a more well-read and well-rounded person.
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