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  1. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good fight lightin' it up, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "I Need to Know How to Wield It" [No Spoilers this time for The Last Jedi] Everyday the human body changes. Old cells die and new cell are formed. I read recently that in 7 years, the skin cells of the human body have been completely replenished with new ones. One could argue that the person you are in 7 years is a completely new one. I'd say that the person you have become in 7 years a slightly modified replication, with natural aging appearance, augmented with new experiences and memories to enhance skills. Those new experiences are the ones which help us grow challenging ourselves in new ways. Occasionally, those new experiences will awaken a new passion or bring out a new skill. This can be an exciting or scary time as our comfort zone, status quo, personal priorities, etc are challenged and changed to make room for the awakening. Personally, I have a few new awakenings. I am interested in playing more Magic: The Gathering outside my close friends. The passion I have for the game and the newest release is pushing my interest into doing more than just playing the game with purchased or thrown-together decks. After playing in a Prerelease event, I feel confident I can recognize synergy among cards, use that synergy to build a strong deck, and play socially and competitively without making judgment errors or game play mistakes which would result in embarrassment or upsetting my opponent. These events are not free and require time; therefore, I'll have to pick and choose my battles and balance my other priorities. There is a Cosmic Encounter (my favorite board game) tournament in May which I am very interested in; however, I am also intimidated by the scale of it. One could prop up the other. My IJRS Jedi Novice Training and Karate Brown III training are in the final stages, which is exciting, but I am facing the question about what do I do with it. For both, the natural progression is to teach others. The IJRS may ask that I help tutor Novice students. I want to put together a website to put my knowledge and philosophy out there for others to learn from (I do that here a bit with these lessons). For Karate, I sempai classes, leading small groups. As I progress, the leading will progress as well. When I reach black belt, I may be asked to lead classes. I have to ask myself, what is my personal goals for teaching? How much commitment will it take? Where does it fall on my priorities? There is also Epic Nerd Camp, which I want to be more involved with, but I don't see myself being able to commit the time necessary to do it and meet expectations. I have a lot of desires and commitments which I keep trying to fit in. I keep on looking at my evening Toastmasters club thinking that I will need to step away from it to make time for these other things. But that is such a small commitment compared to the things I am looking to expand on. What else will take a backseat? The scariest part is that is all MY stuff. What about my wife's stuff? My kids stuff? My life is their life which means it is all OUR stuff. The priorities and commitments will be sorted out one way or another. The stuff which doesn't fall on all our lists is the stuff which falls to the bottom. I need to ensure that every voice and passion is heard to craft my stuff to fit the others. Because we share our lives, how I wield my awakened passions is integral to how my family will wield it. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 8 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. 2 Sprints (10 reps), 2 Jogs (30 min), 2 Bikes (10 min), and 2 Racquetball sessions. Track time and distance. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 800 min total, 200 weekly. STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. Track reps for push-ups and sit-ups AMRAP and daily total. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 1000 min total, 250 weekly. Track progress towards belt. Track improvement on all material. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. CON +2 Keep on cutting out the crap - No CheezIts, limit snacking at work, 6 Dr Peppers a week, and limit cheese to 6 meals a week. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 72 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 18 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge) Dishes (15) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (25) Yard Work (2) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($140.90 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 16 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $20 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PENALTIES: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in. Lose $5 for CheezIts, more than 6 Dr Peppers a week, and more than 6 meals with cheese a week. Lose $1 for each snack.
  2. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Light. Darkness. A Balance" [WARNING! The Last Jedi and Karate Kid SPOILERS below] When Luke begins training Rey, he has her sit on a rock eyes closed to reach out and sense the Force: Balance is everywhere. It is in the duality of nature, opposing forces and laws of conservation in physics, and in Star Wars, it is in the Force. The Original Trilogy deals heavily in the duality of the Force with Light versus Dark, Jedi versus Sith, Good versus Evil. The Prequel Trilogy muddies the water a little with the Prophecy claiming a chosen one will bring balance to the Force, which can be argued is fulfilled by Vader, first reducing the Jedi order to two Jedi, then killing the emperor, but is the Prophecy real? How many Force wielders exist in the galaxy which we do not even know about? And so on... The Sequel Trilogy is playing with the duality of dark and light, but it is appearing less about the confrontation between the two and more about how the two complement each other. One cannot exist without the other. Snoke says, "Darkness rises and light to meet it," then explains, "I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger, his equal in the light would rise." Here's a great article about the lines: https://medium.com/@AliyaSmyth/the-most-important-line-in-the-last-jedi-no-one-is-talking-about-2af5996d1b8 There is more to learn coming in Episode IX about this relationship, but back on Earth, we live with balance everyday. Most are physical elements working with and against each other, which are easy to see and understand, but the mental aspects take a bit of experience to begin to construe the cause and effect elements which influence the balance. In exercise, balance is extremely important, like "don't skip leg day" because strong legs are just as important as strong arms. My back muscle and spine issues are a testament to balance. My body was grown for downhill running and forward momentum power playing football and rugby as adolescent. I neglected to strengthen my lower back or gain flexibility in my hips or abdomen. My body was a rolling boulder which could take hits and keep moving. With all the time punishing my body and neglecting proper exercise balance, my spine and back worsen. These days, I'm learning more and more about proper exercises to help build these problem areas and maintain a proper balance. Karate has been awesome for building balance as well, but even before I started taking karate, I always liked to refer to the original film series "The Karate Kid" to describe this concept of balance. I'll stick with only the 1984 first film in the series to keep this post short (well, shorter). If you haven't seen it (It is on cable constantly! How could you not?), then let me explain it quickly. The first film in the series is a straight forward story about two characters. The main character is a teenage boy named Daniel who moves clear across the country from New Jersey to California. In his new school, Daniel has trouble making friends being bullied by a group of kids from the same karate dojo, the Cobra Kais. The second character is a handyman martial arts master named Mr. Miyagi who agrees to teach Karate to Daniel to help him with his bullying issues. While teaching Karate, Miyagi demonstrates that there is more to the martial art than fighting. He taught Daniel many concepts for better living: the main one being balance. After Daniel learns to block, his next lesson is to learn to balance his body. Daniel is eager to learn to punch, but to quell Daniel’s eagerness Miyagi dispatches this wisdom, “Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home.” Daniel learns to keep his body balanced for his karate moves to efficient and effective without giving his opponents opportunity. Later, the night before the karate tournament Daniel admits his nervous and scared, Miyagi helps Daniel see the bigger picture by saying, “Remember lesson about balance? Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better.” Daniel gets it at the end of the movie after he is hurt in the tournament, he is given the option to forfeit the final match. Miyagi feels Daniel has proved himself to win respect from the bullies going further than anyone expected. Daniel sees the injury and forfeit as the Cobra Kais getting a cheap out. He explains to Miyagi that forfeiting won't give him the balance between himself and the Cobra Kais, nor with himself and his girlfriend, Ally, who is a friend of the Cobra Kais. He has to finish the fight. Win or lose, it would show he is not going to let anything keep him down. That warrior mentality along with his prowess as a karate student is something the Cobra Kais will respect. Balance is the key for everyday living. For diet, you have your "balanced breakfast". You should have three "square" meals a day. Of course, there are other moderate diet options with snacking through out the day, 5 small meals, etc. Your workday and home life needs to be balanced to keep both your employer and family happy. Your body needs to be balanced to stay upright. Your body weight and muscles needs to be balanced to avoid back problems. I see this balance lesson at Toastmasters as well. A Toastmasters participation in meetings should have a balance. There are several different roles, each with their own specific lessons. Prepared speeches teach you how to prepare and formulate a speech. Table Topics teaches you to think on your feet. Speech evaluator teaches you to give encouraging feedback. The leadership roles teach you organization, scheduling, problem solving, coaching, listening, improvisation, and encouragement. To get the full benefits from Toastmasters you need to experience each role. Your Toastmasters experience needs to have a balance. Your whole life needs to have a balance. Weigh things to compare, contrast, and compromise. Use moderation in all things to avoid extremes. Find the light and the dark, then understand where the grey is. [SPOILERS Over] My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 720 min total, 180 weekly. Updating to challenge current routine. STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. Adding a nightly exercise routine. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 880 min total, 220 weekly. Adding nightly karate practice with family. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. Keep on cutting out the crap. CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 15 hours each week (reducing for the school year as I need time to help the kids with homework). Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($107.25 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. MORE WRITING! STOP LOSING EASY MONEY! CONSEQUENCE: Lose $20 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $2 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $10 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  3. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you'll never make it through the night." Hope is something which comes and goes. Like motivation. Or passion. Or love. Each of these need attention to be maintained or it will fade with time. Motivation needs to be refreshed. Passion needs to be re-energized. Love needs to be nurtured. Hope needs to held close to the heart. Hope is attached to these other concepts (motivation, passion, love) as well as others, like dreams, beliefs, etc. Hope is a theme in The Last Jedi and will lead to the epic conclusion in Episode IX. In health and fitness, hope is part of our goals. We hope to our plans work out and we meet our goals moving closer to our dreams... When things go off the rails, our goals are obstructed or appear to be out of reach, those are the moments when hope is most important. It has to be held onto through those moments, return with you to the drawing board, and make it to a positive achievement. Hope in something better is what can get us back up after a failure. If we let even a little hope go, then it can all slip through like sand in your hands. Maintaining hope is best done with priorities. We prioritize our lives by what matters to us. Most of us would say that family is our number one priority. Tie your hope for your goal to your number one priority, then it will never fade. My hope is to be a Jedi who influences the world to make it a better place for my children and their children to inherit. That drives me to coach, mentor, and teach others. It drives me to make changes in my life to be a proper role model for everyone who may look up to me. Another hope I have is to maintain a healthy body so that I can take care of my family, and give them as much joy and happiness as I am able. My back injury made me grumpy and sedentary due to pain and discomfort. I committed myself to fixing it. Part of that was financially through doctor visits, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and a spinal injection. The other part is making changes in my daily life to correct poor posture and spinal issues through exercise, diet, and better sitting practices. Hope is your life line. Without hope, your life may be lost. Keep that life line strong with prioritization. With hope, you will always be rescued. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 4 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 800 min total, 200 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. Cut out the crap. Eat salads, not burritos. Eat fruit, not cookies. Eat carrots, not Cheez-Itz. Eat less, not more. TURN UP THE HEAT! TURN DOWN THE EAT! CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 15 hours each week (reducing for the school year as I need time to help the kids with homework). Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($294.35 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 17 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $20 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $2 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $10 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  4. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "This is NOT going to go the way you think!" - Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi {I avoided spoilers this time!} We can plan and schedule everything in life. We can make assumptions, predictions, and estimations. We can set expectations high or low. None of it may amount to a hill of beans. There are always outside factors, randomness, errors, and poor judgement to throw any perfect plan off track. For each of these, we just reset, re-plan, reschedule, and go again. But nothing every goes exactly how we think. Worrying about it, getting frustrated with it, or crying about it is a waste of time and energy. It is a waste of life. Killing time is not murder, it's suicide. In this spirit, I decided to focus on a few items in different ways for this challenge. Chores and Maintenance I have a lot of control over my time. Others Life Categories are effected by how my free time gets chewed up or manipulated by outside factors. Instead, I'll have those tie into my incentives to push me more in those areas. I upped the stakes on my IJRS Lessons. There have been a lot of things keeping me from doing that, most of it on my shoulders for not making it a priority over other things. After Epic Nerd Camp, it'll be time to get it done. The things I prioritized over it, namely Toastmasters, needs to take a backseat for a bit. My evening Toastmasters club may be folding in September. It just has not gone well. I could go on and on about the new Toastmasters education program and it's online platform, but I already vented about it in an email to another Toastmaster. I feel it has a direct correlation with all of my clubs recent struggles with member retention and recruitment. Even I am having difficulty using it, which just shows how poor the user interface and program design is. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 800 min total, 200 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. TURN UP THE HEAT! CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 80 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 20 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($257.20 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 20 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $10 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $1 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $2 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 150.0 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  5. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and 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
  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 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.
  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 and crooked spine causing all types of pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my spine and back muscles to slow down the advanced aging. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Chirrut Îmwe: "The strongest stars have hearts of kyber." From Starwars.com: "At the heart of every Jedi lightsaber is a kyber crystal found on several planets, most notably the icebound caves of Ilum. This crystal is attuned to the Force, and connected to a Jedi Knight on a deeply personal level. In this way, a lightsaber is an extension of a Jedi's Force awareness. Because Jedi let the Force guide their selection of the crystal, the vibration that the crystal creates in the lightsaber blade helps Jedi center themselves and find balance in the Force. In this way, a Jedi can center his or her attention beyond the distractions of combat. A lightsaber crystal is colorless until first attuned and connected to a Jedi -- at which times it glows either blue or green, or in some rare instances, another shade. From that point on, it retains that hue." Kyber crystals are rare, powerful, and connected to the Force. When Chirrut says the quote, he is not referring to stars made of hydrogen and other gases. The stars he is referring to are heroes, philanthropists, and other role models who shine bright in the eyes of others. The strongest of them have hearts which are rare, powerful, and connected to the Force. [more to come] My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 10 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 580 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 300 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 400 min total, 100 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 180 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +3 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 280 Tasks or Projects, with at least 70 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (16), Church Work (14), Job Work (16), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (50), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($178 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 75 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 70 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild (missed kick-off meeting and will miss Cecil Con) revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below an 8 minute mile. $10 for running below a 7 minute mile. $5 for running 2 miles in less than 18 minutes. $10 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. $10 for running more than 40 minutes. PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 152.5 lbs.
  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. 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. On to World 3 to continue to level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Yoda and I will always be with you." Knowledge is passed from teacher to student. Steve Kamb has been a teacher through his articles for many of us. Our parents, school teachers, professors, coaches, and instructors are also teachers and mentors. Their lessons stay with us in our minds and our hearts. With those lessons is a part of the teacher. And that is what Obi-Wan means when he says, "Yoda and I will always be with you." Right after Yoda dies and fades away, Luke is the last living Jedi. On his shoulders rest the fate of the galaxy as physically alone he must defeat Darth Vader and the Emperor to destroy the dark side to bring peace and harmony back to the galaxy. Having been trained by Yoda and Obi-Wan, he will not challenge them spiritually or mentally alone. The lessons instilled in Luke carry Yoda and Obi-Wan's influence and memory. There is a double meaning there, too, in that Obi-Wan is a Force Ghost and becomes one at the end of the movie; however, as Force Ghosts they cannot influence the events around them physically and would be distracting to Luke when confronting Vader and the Emperor. They appear to only be able to connect with Luke (and in The Force Awakens through Anakin's lightsaber, they connect to Rey in a Force Vision). I think this ability may be addressed in The Last Jedi with Rey having another Force Vision. I think we will find out why Yoda and Obi-Wan's Force Ghosts (plus Anakin's Force Ghost) are no longer with Luke (or maybe they are in some not yet revealed in the teasers or trailers). But analyzing Star Wars movie plots is not what I do here. Thinking back to my education, there are several teachers who influenced me, encouraged me, and became a part of me. Thinking back to my childhood, there are several adults and friends who instilled in me life lessons, which I carry with me today. Thinking back to my athletics "career", there are several coaches and players who taught me about fair play, sportsmanship, playing as a team, and mental toughness, who I carry with me on the playing field. I'm going to turn this into a speech or two for Toastmasters, so I'm going to cap it here and just say more to come. With each lesson learned, there is a connection to another person built and carried with you in your heart and mind. 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 8 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 300 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 400 min total, 100 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. *Belt test on Sunday to start the challenge, so I loaded an extra 120 mins to account for it. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 1 lb by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 153.6 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 240 Tasks or Projects, with at least 60 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (16), Reading (16), Church Work (14), Job Work (10), Business Projects (10), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (20), Other Chores (20), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (30), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (6). WIS +3, CHA +3 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($264 carried over, but in Week 0, I spent $109 on new dress pants and XBox controllers) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 65 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 60 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour. CONSQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. (once a week only) $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below an 8 minute mile. (once a week only) $10 for running below a 7 minute mile. (once a week only) $5 for running 2 miles in less than 18 minutes. (once a week only) $10 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. (once a week only) $10 for running more than 40 minutes. (once a week only) PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 152.5 lbs. TIME FOR SERIOUS BUSINESS!
  9. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay. 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. On to World 3 to continue to level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "This is a dangerous time for you" Last challenge, I used the second half of this scene. This challenge, I wanted to go back and capture a lesson from a few lines earlier. From Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (bold emphasis mine): Quote [Yoda tries to convince Luke not to leave] Yoda: You must not go! Luke: But Han and Leia will die if I don't. [Obi-Wan's Force-spirit suddenly appears] Obi-Wan: You don't know that. Even Yoda cannot see their fate. Luke: But I can help them! I feel the Force! Obi-Wan: But you cannot control it. This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the Dark Side of the Force. Obi-wan introduces a concept which is a common thread throughout the Star Wars stories. The Dark Side of the Force is tempting and seductive. It corrupts Jedi who wish to find the easy path, who wish to meet their own goals, and who wish suffering on to others. This does not directly relate to real world Jedi, because no one is wielding the Force; however, we do find ourselves in positions of power. How we wield that power determines whether we work towards the Light Side or the Dark Side. Using the power to serve one's self instead of helping others is not very Jedi. When first entering that position of power, it is a dangerous time, because one is tempted to complete their own personal goals before helping those they are in the position to serve. If one looks at the position as a service position as opposed to a ruling one, then that leader will work towards other people's goals first, with their own personal goals being secondary. As I compete and win in Toastmasters contests, I need to watch my ego. I do not want to brag about success. I do not want to overplay my hand either. I'm just going to keep working hard to develop my skills and find new challenges. After this competition, I need to write a new speech with new ideas. I certainly won't bring back the same punch lines next time as that would not be growing. As I accept more leadership opportunities at work, I need to watch my ego. When I was a kid, I felt I was born to lead. I was always Robin Hood to my band of merry friends. I was always Leonardo when playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was always barking orders and deciding where to go and what to do. I felt strategy and vision were my strengths. I showed those strength in sports and captaining several teams. I had an ego thinking my physical and mental abilities were reason enough for others to follow, but I was seen as arrogant and egotistical. Eventually, I learned humility and teamwork. As I progressed through school, I decided being the center of attention was not my strong suit, instead focusing on being a successful engineer. After working as an engineer for 5 years, I found I can't just keep my head down and do good work. Successful engineers need to sell their thoughts and ideas to others. I needed to get over my fear of public speaking and get comfortable supporting my arguments. Coming full circle after hammering out many of my leadership and communication faults though Toastmasters, I am working towards being a successful leader professionally, but I need to watch myself and remember what I have learned to get where I am. Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is a service to your followers, your clients, and your end-users. To be successful, leaders must coach and develop their team members through listening to them for ideas and innovations, delegating tasks which will challenge their skills to make them better, and recognizing their achievements in special ways. This past week, I have been inserted into a delicate situation where two team leads instructed a software engineer to develop a program to specific requirements which have been miscommunicated or misinterpreted on a few occasions, but the project is also not going to meet the deadline due to time mismanagement. Myself and two other program leads are working with the team leads and the software engineer to correct the miscommunication and mismanagement with a plan to simplify daily tasks and weekly goals derived from the project requirements. Unfortunately, there is a lot of finger pointing and hand waving going on between the team leads and the engineer, which is only making the situation worse. It will be difficult to get everyone to move forward as a team without a showing of good faith from each side. Mostly, this is a dangerous time for me, because I am at a point of saturation with my priorities. Everything seems to want to boil over at the same time and like I did at the end of World 2, I need to maintain my course, keep my top priorities straight, and give it my best each step of the way. When I come through the fire, I will be forged better and stronger for it. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 7 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +2 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 300 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 400 min total, 100 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 600 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 1 lb by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 153.6 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 240 Tasks or Projects, with at least 60 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (16), Reading (16), Church Work (14), Job Work (10), Business Projects (10), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (20), Other Chores (20), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (30), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 I have a few major events this challenge: Toastmasters Speechcraft Interest Meeting at Work - Nov 2 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest at the District Conference - Nov 4 Extra Life Kick Off with RPG Night - Nov 3 Extra Life Game Day - Nov 4 Toastmasters Speechcraft Kickoff at Work - Nov 16 37th Birthday Celebration - Nov 18 Any events involving the selling of our old house - Closing by Dec 1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($209 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 65 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 60 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour. CONSQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: $5 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. (once a week only) $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below an 8 minute mile. (once a week only) $10 for running below a 7 minute mile. (once a week only) $5 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. (once a week only) PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 153.6 lbs. TIME FOR SERIOUS BUSINESS!
  10. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay. 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. On to World 3 to continue to level up my life! Challenge Lesson "You Can't Win, Darth": In A New Hope, Obi-wan Kenobi encounters and battles Darth Vader in lightsaber combat. Amid the battle, they trade some banter, the most important being the line from Obi-wan: "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine." Of course, if you have seen the movies you know what Obi-wan is referring to. Obi-wan becomes a Force-ghost to help and train Luke Skywalker in ways he could not in his physical form. Darth Vader has no idea how influential a dead Jedi Master could be, so he strikes Obi-wan down, which happens to be the beginning of the end for Darth Vader and his master, the Emperor. Turning the focus away from the fictional world to see how this statement could apply to real life, I could think of one area in particular that it relates to: learning through failure and defeat. In victory, you may feel successful and accomplish the extraordinary, but you will learn very little from success. There is much to learn from defeat. In failure, you have mistakes to learn from and experience to build on, but most importantly, you must find the strength and courage to get back up and do it again. Even in the lowest of lows, you can always rise back up. In The Dark Knight Rises, Alfred tells Bruce Wayne, "Why do we fall, so we can pick ourselves back up." Bruce recovers from a broken back in a pit, then climbs out to redeem himself as Batman. He learns from his failure and succeeds in the end. I like to think of myself telling failure that it can't win, because I can always get back up and try again. You are only defeated if you cease trying. In the end of the Original Trilogy of Star Wars, the overall lesson to learn from the series is similar. The dark side can never conquer the light. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." And from the animated Disney movie Robin Hood, "Love conquers all!" Darth Vader has gone completely to the dark side, but it is his love for Padme and eventually his son, which brings him back to redeem himself. Redemption and rising from failure always starts with love for yourself and a desire to grow. Vader hated himself for turning on everything to save Padme (from his nightmarish vision of her death), only to let the dark side consume him to the point that he threatened her life (and indirectly killed her). He finds the love for himself through his son's love for him. And his heart grew 10 times... ;-) I know I am interpreting a lot here, but read the novelization as it has more details on Vader's thoughts. Lastly, a creed from my Karate Budo school teaches the same lesson: I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. And the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I CAN fail and KEEP ON TRYING. 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 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. DEX +1, STA +2 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 300 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 400 min total, 100 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 600 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 1 lb by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 156.0 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 200 Tasks or Projects, with at least 50 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (4), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (2), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (8), Reading (16), Church Work (14), Job Work (10), Business Projects (8), Dishes (18), Laundry (18), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (18), Other Chores (18), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (16), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($296 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 55 or more tasks, I will put aside $5 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 50 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $1 for each Business Project hour. CONSQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE 4: Lose $1 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for each weekend day without any 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. CONSQUENCE: Lose $1 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: $5 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. (once a week only) $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below an 8 minute mile. (once a week only) $10 for running below a 7 minute mile. (once a week only) $5 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. (once a week only) PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 156.0 lbs. TIME FOR SERIOUS BUSINESS!
  11. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay. 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. On to World 3 to continue to level up my life! Challenge Lesson: In Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is training Luke Skywalker in the fundamentals of the Force and Jedi. Aboard the Millennium Falcon, during a lightsaber training exercise, Luke is able to use the Force to deflect laser bolts while blinded. Han Solo is unimpressed calling it luck. Kenobi responds, "In my experience, there's no such thing as luck." His experience is that of a Jedi Master, listening to the "Will of the Force" and being able to predict or anticipate future events. Using instinct, intuition, observation, and knowledge, one can predict and anticipate future events like a Jedi. Maybe not deflecting blaster bolts, but predicting the motives or actions of another person can be fairly helpful in many situations. I don't rely on luck unless I'm playing a friendly game. It is better to create your own luck by understanding the circumstances and generating favorable odds through use of instinct, intuition, observation, and knowledge. 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 4 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. Again, I will aim to push these harder than normal with some incentives. DEX +2, STA +2 Exercise: Stretch and Strengthen - 500 min total, 120 weekly. STR +2 Karate: Training and Practice - 500 min total, 120 weekly. Spar is a lot of fun and may result in me altering my Fitness numbers around mid-July. Pray I don't alter it any further. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 1 lb by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 156.4 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 180 Tasks or Projects, with at least 45 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (2), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (4), Charity Work (2), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (4), Reading (16), Church Work (8), Job Work (10), Business Projects (4), Dishes (18), Laundry (18), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (18), Other Chores (18), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (12), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (2). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($107 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 50 or more tasks, I will put aside $5 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 45 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour. CONSQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE 4: Lose $5 for each weekend day without any 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. CONSQUENCE: Lose $1 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: $5 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. (once a week only) $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below a 7 minute mile. (once a week only) $5 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. (once a week only)
  12. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay. 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. On to World 3 to continue to level up my life! Challenge Lesson: In Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is training Luke Skywalker in the fundamentals of the Force and Jedi. Aboard the Millennium Falcon, Obi-Wan dispenses this very important description of the Force during a lightsaber training exercise: Quote [Luke is training with his lightsaber and a laser remote aboard the Millennium Falcon.] Ben Kenobi: Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. Luke Skywalker: You mean it controls your actions? Kenobi: Partially, but it also obeys your commands. [Luke gets shot by the remote.] Han Solo: [laughs] Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. Skywalker: You don't believe in the Force, do you? Solo: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. [Kenobi smiles] Anyway, it's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Kenobi: [gets up and takes a blast helmet] I suggest you try it again, Luke. Only this time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. [puts the helmet on Luke, which covers his eyes] Skywalker: But with the blast shield down, I can't even see! How am I supposed to fight? Kenobi: Your eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them. [remote shoots Luke] Stretch out with your feelings! [Watches Luke succeed in blocking the lasers] You see? You can do it. Here, Kenobi is teaching Luke to trust his feelings to train him to tap into the Force. Acting on instinct is to react without thinking about how to react. The word instinct might not be the best choice, but Kenobi is just relating the concept to something Luke is familiar with. In my Jedi Training, we work on tapping into our intuition and to trust it in a similar manner as Jedi use the Force. Instinct, impulse, and intuition are all very similar concepts with subtle differences. Sometimes first impulse is correct, sometimes it is off. This is because it is untrained. Impulses are formed by instinct and intuition. Instinct are reactions breed into a being from years of survival. Intuition are learned reactions based on knowledge and experience. Meditation can help quiet the mind to understand the subtle differences in your instincts and your intuition. Quieting your mind and carefully listening to your intuition can assist you find an answer to a problem quickly, even without all the logic and reasoning worked out, because your intuition is tapped into your stored knowledge. The information is there in your brain, but accessing it takes time. Your intuition can access this information and bring the answer quicker than you can actually think through the process yourself. Also, it is important to trust your mind, sometimes over what your other senses may be telling you. Your eyes and ears could be missing something or picking up something false. Trust your intuition to discover the missing pieces or illusions. 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 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 500 min total, 120 weekly. I will push these harder than normal with some incentives. DEX +2, STA +2 Exercise: Stretch and Strengthen - 500 min total, 120 weekly. I will look to set PRs in my bodyweight exercises. STR +2 Karate: Training and Practice - 500 min total, 120 weekly STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Lose 1 lb by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 156.8 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. NEW: Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 140 Tasks or Projects, with at least 35 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (2), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (6), Webmaster Work (4), Mentoring (4), Charity Work (2), Jedi Training (4), Self Preservation (2), Reading (16), Church Work (4), Job Work (10), Business Projects (4), Household Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (12), Home Renovation (4), Auto Maintenance (4), Family Activities (8), Adventuring (2). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($129 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 40 or more tasks, I will put aside $5 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 35 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour. An extra $5 for each Wizard Laser Tag hour. CONSQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $5 for each week working on a Jedi Training lesson. CONSQUENCE 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. CONSQUENCE 4: Lose $10 for each weekend without any 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. CONSQUENCE: Lose $1 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: $5 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. $5 for 10 or more sprints in one workout. (once a week only) $5 for running more than 3.5 miles in a workout. $5 for running below a 7 minute mile. (once a week only) $5 for running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. (once a week only)
  13. Have you seen the new Star Wars movie? If not, then stop reading this and go see it, now! It is a fantastic revisit to the Original Trilogy style and storyline with old characters returning with new lessons to bestow on the new characters. I'll do my best to avoid spoilers or at least mark it in the stuff I write, but you've been warned! I've seen the movie, I'm excited about it and the new story, and I will write about it! So what is my story? Well, I’ve been here before. I kicked a lot of butt progressing through 22 challenges since 2012, until middle of last year. After struggling to maintain a presence here through the first half of 2015, I struck out on my own as I had conquered many obstacles here, learned many lessons, and felt I was ready to implement a new accountability strategy for I had developed a strong supporting cast in real life to keep me accountable. Alas, a back injury and a "layoff" crumbled all my plans. I am on the road to recovery for both. In October, I started a new job only three weeks after my old one ended. The growing pains are over and now I feel entrenched in my new world. In October and November, I took a lot of time off from fitness to allow my back to heal. In December, I started physical therapy to strengthen my back. I have occasional flare ups, but for the most part, I have my body functioning like its old self. It is like I am back at square one, or Level 1 for my character here. Instead of hitting the reset button, I'll jump to World 2 Level 1 complete with new challenges and obstacles. Old foes may come back, but they will require new techniques to defeat them. I am still a Jedi in training, learning from the old masters, studying the new practices, and constantly improving. Challenge Lesson: “There has been an awakening…†The quote of course comes from the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. It is actually the first quote I have used from a dark side character as it is delivered by Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren’s dark side master and leader of the First Order. I believe he is referencing a disturbance in the Force which I am guessing feel more like an awakening which could be Rey realizing her Force potential, or something grander. An awakening can be a realization or inspiration which causes sudden growth. I feel that is the perfect summary for what the new movie has done for me. I am highly motivated at the moment to pursue training, defeat obstacles, and hit my highest achievements. Through the summer of 2015, my focused turned to jobs to complete with my 2 year project and contract coming to an end in August and September. I also finished my term as Toastmasters Area Governor and began my term as Division Director in June and July which prompted a very similar focus on completing tasks taking my eyes off training. In October, I started a new job in a similar field on a familiar program, but very new tasks. The new job required training and learning. By December, I was out of the training stage and entered the execution stage of my new job. Training and execution is cyclic. You need skills to execute effectively; therefore, you must train first to learn and master the skills. New tasks come along to execute, which requires new training. You must balance these. If you train too long, then the execution is delayed. If you execute a task too long, then the training will fade in other areas. Toastmasters is training only. I spent a lot of time training skills, but I was not applying them in my previous job often. In my new job which requires more application of communication and leadership skills, I found that training in some areas was rusty. Luckily, my interview skills we not one of those areas. Now, I have an outlet for execution of the skills learned through Toastmasters training. I am growing through practice and practical experience. My awakening has me motivated in several ways. I started a monthly Toastmasters Training and Mentoring session to give me an opportunity to teach, coach, and mentor people. I offered to conduct similar classes for my co-workers in my office (meeting on Wednesday to discuss opportunity further). I am considering where in my community and other community Toastmasters may be able to spread and form new clubs. I took on an opportunity to coach a struggling club. I am looking to take classes to improve my Program Management skills at work. I am increasing my visibility within the office with social and work related interactions. Typically, I am an introvert, but I am acting more extroverted than ever before. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Work up a sweat! – 100 minutes of high intensity training per week DEX +2, STA +2 Stretch and strengthen – 100 minutes of my physical therapy exercises and stretches per week STR +2, DEX +1, STA +1DIET: Portion control – Eat less per meal, snack less throughout the day. It is time consuming to measure accurately, but I am pretty confident whether I can count a day as a successful one or a subpar one (or a complete failure). CON +2LIFE: Read – I have lots of reference material to read, but I find myself reading unimportant news. Return my reading focus to learning. Use reading in my social interactions. WIS +3, CHA +2
  14. Welcome to the exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It seems like forever ago that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Judging by my level, you might say I'm right! But level and experience mean nothing unless lessons learned are applied in your life. This website has given me practical knowledge in goal setting and planning. Throughout my life, I have been applying that knowledge. In my career, in my job, in my home life, in my Toastmasters training, in the gym, in my Jedi training, and even in my video games! Throughout the next few challenges, I plan to focus my Jedi lessons around this passage from Return of the Jedi where Obi-Wan says that quote: This challenge, I'll focus on the quote in bold by Obi-Wan Kenobi. In this part of the conversation, Obi-Wan plainly states that Luke cannot escape his "destiny". That word destiny implies a predetermined path laid out for Luke. That predetermined path is the ultimate struggle of good versus evil (light versus dark sides of the Force) in the Star Wars galaxy by being the son of Anakin Skywalker and being powerful in the Force. Being a Jedi and weilder of the light side of the Force, Luke cannot avoid his confrontation with the dark side, because it will hunt him down to either recruit him or destroy him. Since Luke cannot kill his own father, he decides there must be another way. He confronts Vader and the Emperor on his own terms by surrendering, then we all remember what happens. The lesson to take away from this quote is to confront your problems on your own terms. Do not let your problems chase you down or haunt your dreams. The dark side will find you. For Jedi, confronting the dark side is their destiny. It can be defeated with intitative, accountability, and honesty by taking ownership and being confident that a solution will be found. Doing so will give you an advantage over the obstacle and sometimes force the solution to appear one its own. That is what confronting something on your own terms means. Now, on to the CHALLENGE! 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. I'm changing things up for this challenge by eliminating all the Side Quest Goals. I'll still use the Excel spreadsheet and Battle Log, but I will not set any specific weight or rep goals. I am adding a new training technique and incorporating what I learn from the MAX Workouts eBooks I bought recently. The new training technique is a Complex workout where you move through a series of excerises without putting the weight down. MAX Workouts stresses power and intensity while working the whole body in one workout to achieve maximum fat burn and build lean muscle. I'm taking both concepts and combining them to something I call Combo Complexes. An example is Deadlift into a Bent-Over Row then a Squat into a Overhead Press, 10 reps each with the same weight. My plan is to eliminate the time consuming and boring cardio from my workout routine. I loathe running more than a mile. I'll do it on occassion, but I don't want to rely on it to keep my weight in check. My main quest with attribute points is below: FITNESS: Build STA +2, STR +2 and DEX +1 by conducting powerful and intense Weight Training for 20 minutes or more, three times a week. Schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (optional). FITNESS: Build STA +1, STR +1 and DEX +2 by conducting muscle recovery Training for 20 minutes or more, two times a week. Schedule is Wednesday, Friday, Saturday (optional), Sunday (optional). DIET: Build CON +2 by eating healthy 35 times or more, eating unhealthy 16 times or less and count their calories, drinking 200 fl oz of Dr Pepper or less, taking care of my skin and lips by applying moisturizer 80 times or more (twice daily), brushing (twice daily) and flossing (once daily) 120 times or more. LIFE: Build WIS +2 and CHA +2 by completing two Toastmaster Speeches, completing Lesson 4 of my High Performance Leadership project, and completing 2 IJRS Personal 101 lessons.I'm three lessons in to my High Performance Leadership manual, but I'm in the bulk of the work now inlesson 4, which I won't complete until May. I finished my second Competent Leadership manual and have only one speech left in my third Competent Communicator manual. I have 1 speech left for my Advanced Communicator manuals. I plan to do a Speechcraft training session for the 1 hour training session I need to do for my Advanced Communicator Gold, so I can earn my DTM. My Club Coach and Area Governor roles are going very well. Jedi Training is progressing. I'm hoping to finish the course this spring.
  15. Welcome back for another episode in the Adventures of JediNickD! It seems like forever ago that I joined this site and my first challenge. Judging by my level, you might say I'm right! But level and experience mean nothing unless lessons learned are applied in your life. This website has given me practical knowledge in goal setting and planning. Throughout my life, I have been applying that knowledge. In my career, in my job, in my home life, in my Toastmasters training, in the gym, in my Jedi training, and even in my fantasy football league! Throughout the next few challenges, I plan to focus my Jedi lessons around this passage from Return of the Jedi where Obi-Wan says that quote: Quote This challenge, I'll focus on the quote in bold by Obi-Wan Kenobi. In this part of the conversation, Obi-Wan mentions a theme that is prevalent throughout The Origial Trilogy. Nature is good, technology is evil. No where is it more prevalent than in Return of the Jedi when the Ewoks aid the Rebels in defeating an advanced Storm Trooper army at the Battle of Endor. There is a book called "Star Wars and Philosophy" edited by Kevin Decker and Jason Eberl which includes a chapter on this very subject titled "A Technological Galaxy: Heidegger and the Philosophy of Technology in Star Wars" penned by Jerold J. Abrams. Using Martin Heidegger’s philosophy of technology, Abrams separates technological experience into two categories, ready-to-hand and present-at-hand while explaining the process of enframing. He uses real life and Star Wars examples to help explain the concepts. Lastly, Abrams points out how present-at-hand and enframing is the path to the dark side. Ready-to-hand is our primitive tool-use relation, where we experience tools and the external environment as natural extensions of our bodies. This application of technology is considered in tune with nature. The tools are used to care for our homes, each other, and the earth. Abrams explains that ready-to-hand is the light side or Jedi application referencing Yoda’s existence on Dagobah as perfect example as a Jedi applying only ready-to-hand technology which I’ll get into later. Present-at-hand is the opposite of ready-to-hand. We are detached from the environment by way of high-tech tools due to our basic attitude towards the universe. This comes from advances in science which allow us to see deeper into nature and gain control of natural processes. In essence, we are challenging nature to reveal itself to us as something for us. Everything natural is put under a microscope. Heidegger calls this process “enframingâ€. Nature’s elements are classified as resources to be consumed. Forests become “lumber†and rivers become “hydro-electric powerâ€. Abrams considers this the dark side or Sith application referencing the Death Star as the ultimate example of present-at-hand technology and enframing. Darth Vader a walking example of enframing. When is the last time Darth Vader smelled a flower or watched a sunset? In The Original Trilogy, we only see him stand on metal floors except in one scene in "The Empire Strikes Back" where he is inside the Hoth Rebel Base (excluding Luke's cave experience, which isn't really Vader, but a hallucination). Anakin Skywalker, the man who would become Darth Vader, exclaims to Padme in Episode 1 "I'm a person." In Episode 2, he begins the enframing process by losing part of his arm and having it replaced with a robotic limb. With Yoda’s home life on Dagobah contrasted against the Death Star, there is no doubt which is the path to the dark side. Yoda lives a meager life in a hut molded out of mud. He only consumes that what he must to survive. He utilizes no technology outside of rudimentary tools and utensils; therefore, leading the perfect example of a ready-at-hand technological experience. It is very possible to live as Yoda does on Earth. Amish and Mennonites do it every day along with many African and South American tribes and even other communities dedicated to living a wholly natural life. These communities are very isolated to the rest of the world, which means a Jedi would not be able to serve the greatest good of the world in one of these communities; however, they would be able to serve the greatest good of the community and nature of the planet. Yoda hides in isolation, preventing Darth Sidious and Vader from discovering him while preventing himself from fighting the dark side and protecting the galaxy from a tyrannical government. He is able to preserve the nature of Dagobah by only employing ready-at-hand technology, but he fails to help protect the galaxy. Technology may be leveraged in many ways, but fall into the two categories of ready-at-hand and present-at-hand, which are defined by how it is used by humans. Photography when used to post "selfies" and such falls into present-at-hand, but when used to promote and educate about nature, natural experiences, and such it falls into ready-at-hand. Jedi must be careful with how and why they use technology. Now, on to the CHALLENGE! 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. I'm keeping it similar as last challenge with a couple upgrades while keeping in mind that Thanksgiving falls in the middle of the challenge. My main quest with attribute points is below: FITNESS: Build STA +2 and DEX +1 by Running, Sprinting, Hiking, Biking, Rowing, Rollerblading, or Training (HIIT or Sports*) for 20 minutes or more, three times a week. Get to the gym once a week at lunch time (or on the weekend) for an extra work out.Winter is here and that's when I tend to mail it in, so I'm going to turn up the pressure by going to the gym at lunch time at least once a week. Schedule will resemble TuWF, MWTh. FITNESS: Build STA +1, STR +3 and DEX +1 by meeting at least 95 % of my fitness side quest goals. I've switched around a few exercises to my fitness side quest goals. Going for another 100%. DIET: Build CON +1 by eating "Healthy Meals"** 34 times or more, eating "Unhealthy Food"*** 18 times or less and count their calories, drinking 230 fl oz of Dr Pepper or less, taking care of my skin and lips by applying moisturizer 80 times or more (twice daily), brushing (twice daily) and flossing (once daily) 120 times or more. Looking to make more small strides. I will be counting calories, but not as a goal this time. LIFE: Build WIS +3 and CHA +3 by completing two Toastmaster Speeches, participating in Table Topics thrice and Meeting Roles four times, working on my High Performance Leadership project by recruiting students for a Speechcraft, successfully completing the Area Speech contest, and completing 2 IJRS Personal 101 lessons.I'm three lessons in to my High Performance Leadership manual, but I'm in the bulk of the work now inlesson 4, which I won't complete until May. I finished my second Competent Leadership manual and have only one speech left in my third Competent Communicator manual. I have 1 speech left for my Advanced Communicator manuals. I plan to do a Speechcraft training session for the 1 hour training session I need to do for my Advanced Communicator Gold, so I can earn my DTM. My Club Coach and Area Governor roles are going very well. I'm holding a speech contest in March and assisting one in April. Jedi Training will take a backseat this challenge. I'm hoping to finish the course this spring. I have 5 lessons left, so 2 this challenge and 3 in the next should complete it. To improve my project management and proposal skills, which are vital to rising higher in the ranks of my contracting company, I decided to take some online courses. I just finished Acquistion 101 which is a prereq for just about every course at the University. I signed up for the next course which ends on April 12th. * - Training or playing Basketball, Soccer, Rugby, Football, Hockey, Swimming, or Racquet Ball ** - "Healthy Meals" means no grease, minimal fat and calories, mostly veggies, meat, and fruit, while avoiding starches. Breakfast is not included in count. *** - "Unhealthy Food" means anything with excessive grease, fat or sugar, empty calories, or any meal void of veggies or fruit. Breakfast is not included in count. NOTE: By these terms, a meal can be neither healthy nor unhealthy. These are neutral meals which I still need to watch my portions on, but will not be tracking this challenge. CHALLENGE GOALS: SIDE QUESTS FITNESSBarbell ExercisesDeadlift = lbs, 60 repsBack Squat = lbs, 60 repsIncline Bench = 155 lbs, 60 repsDecline Bench = 155 lbs, 60 repsBench Press = 240 lbs, 60 repsOverhead Press = lbs, 60 repsStanding Curl = lbs, 60 repsDumbell ExercisesBench Press = lbs, 60 repsFly = lbs, 60 repsOverhead Press = lbs, 60 repsStanding Curl = lbs, 60 repsHammer Curl = lbs, 60 repsInverted Row = lbs, 60 repsSide Raise = lbs, 60 repsForearm Curl = lbs, 60 repsReverse Forearm Curl = lbs, 60 repsForearm Twist = lbs, 60 repsGoblet Squat = lbs, 60 repsTricep Ext = lbs, 60 repsMachine ExercisesTricep Pull Down = 65 lbs, 120 repsLeg Press = 1320 lbs, 120 repsSingle Leg Ext = 125 lbs, 120 repsBodyweight ExercisesBox Jump = in, 100 repsLunge = lbs, 100 repsBurpee = lbs, 60 repsMount Climbers = lbs, 120 repsPull Up = lbs, 60 repsChin Up = lbs, 60 repsHammer Pull Up = lbs, 60 repsDip = lbs, 120 repsDive Bomber = lbs, 150 repsPush Up = lbs, 500 repsAbdominal ExercisesCrunch = lbs, 600 repsBicycle Crunch = lbs, 600 repsLeg Lift = lbs, 200 repsSide Leg Lift = lbs, 350 repsOblique Twist = lbs, 600 repsSide Bend = lbs, 600 repsSide Raise = lbs, 200 repsRollout Wheel = lbs, 300 repsReverse Situp = lbs, 300 repsCardio ExercisesSprinting Distance = meters, 20 repsJogging Distance = miles, 6 reps3 mile Jog = min, 1 reps2 mile Jog = min, 2 reps1 mile Jog = min, 3 repsDIETDiet & HealthSkin and Lip Care = 40 qty Dr Pepper = 230 fl ozHealthy Meals = 34 qtyUnhealthy Food = 18 qtyBrush & Floss = 120 qty LIFECareerFamily & HomeChores = 50 hrsNF CommunityChallenge Thread = 6 qtyBattle Log = 40 qtyEpic Quest = 2 qtyMini Challenge = 6 qtyNew Follow = 1 qtyFriend Thread = 6 qtyToastmastersManual Lessons = 2 qtyMeeting Roles = 4 qtyTable Topics = 3 qtyJediIJRS Personal 101 = 2 qtyJedi Reading = 500 minGeocaching
  16. I'm going to be a Jedi! I figured since Steve calls himself a Berzerker as a Warrior/Ranger cross class, then I'm going to cross class Ranger/Druid/Monk and become a Jedi. Right now, I'm in the Druid phase, working on my meditation and building my body into a strong foundation to launch back into Ranger and Monk activities. I'm gearing up for the Star Wars Workout for the next challenge, so I'm working pushups, Rocky situps, and planks into my morning Yoga to build up strength and stamina. I'm doing gentle, stretching Yoga in the evening to unwind and prep myself for sleep so that I get all the rest I need. I'm meditating before each exercise routine to clear my mind of worries and stress from the day so that I can be completely focused on my goal. We all know what happens when you're not focused during a workout! Challenge Quest: Build strength and stamina needed to become a Jedi. 1 - Warrior Yoga/core workout every AM (+2 STR +3 STA +1 CHA) 2 - Cobra Yoga/stretching every PM (+3 DEX +2 CON) 3 - Meditation before each workout (+4 WIS) Life Quest: Pay off $1000 of medical bill debt.
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