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  1. Times are hard and A wandering bard lives and eats on the mastery of their craft and the sharpness of their memory. No one likes tripping over the notes after all, or (heaven forbid) forgetting the lyrics half way through. So, in an effort to give their best performance this musician should endeavour to keep their fingers nimble and their tunes fresh in their mind. Especially as i play more than one instrument, most especially as I'm susceptible to distraction by the newest shiny musical object. Therein lies a deep dark hole filled with lost plectrums my friends. essentially keeping up the skill level with a few of them is something i need to work on. I want to be able to play them in front of people without crippling stage fright or self consciousness. ….i mean, there is going to be both of those things anyway, id just like to keep them to some sort of manageable level of terror. (Maybe i will make that a future goal sometime, try to reduce my stage fright 🤔) I used to practice mandolin most mornings. It was part of my routine and something i really enjoyed, over the last year or so its just something I've fallen out of the habit of doing. so this month I'm going to try to - practice twice a week for half an hour.( If i manage more. That is super. I just dont want to overload myself) also, this last month it became very evident that i really needed to sort two things in particular. - drinking enough water - going to sleep at 10-10:30pm Not doing the two above is messing with my meds and general wellbeing in various directions and needs sorting asap. to this effort I'm going to start using a water jug again and endeavour to get through 2 of them a day. Which evens out at about 6mugs worth (i probubly need to measure things at least once, just to know where i stand) For the sleep, I'm going to get back into the habit of setting an alarm so i don't read for too long. strait forward, so hopefully achievable. And, left over from last month we also have -finish sorting room (this is going to take a while, clearly. But its getting here) Already ongoing - try to go for 3 walks a week -stick to healthy snacks in between meals oh, incase anyone is curious. My mandolin is a 100+ year old bowlback. It is awesome and has amazing tone. I found it in two pieces in an attic and its had major neck reconstruction surgery. It plays like a dream 98% of the time but sometimes the original tuners are a bit crotchety
  2. I tend to do a special Valentines themed February, to be hot and shallow and go to a lot of parties. (Mostly shallow, as I still largely aspire to either of the other two.) Some years it's a Casanunda challenge from Discworld, but I think I'm in Trek mood this year. So I'll do second edition of last year's Vulcan Valentine's challenge. 1. Strength training Dating on Vulcan requires a lot more combat than you might expect. So physical training is important. But what will not do is upsetting the delicate hormonal balance that keeps you from killing half a dozen people with sharpened hockey stick. To keep cortisol down, the goal is minimum effort, but lots of consistency. Low and slow. I'm still into isometrics. I haven't managed enough consistency to really know for sure if they're as efficient as the claims say, but they're Good Enough, and they're the workout I will do, so that's fine. I will count anything. The goal is consistency. But I do want giant muscles eventually, cuz I have people to beat with a lirpa. Also bonus points for my stupid daily walk for my stupid physical and mental health. It's boring, but it's a good daily vitamin of movement. Goal: be strong, do an exercise 2. Rest Dating on Vulcan requires quality sleep. I need to stick to a sensible bedtime. I also need to work hard to keep my chronic sleep deficit down. Under seven hours is the target zone. Under ten hours is pretty decent. Under 17 hours is sort of a yellow alert, not great. Anything over that, I am in red alert. I also need to baby the most annoying sinuses on the planet. I also need to do a yoga nidra meditation to practice sleep during the day. (I need remedial sleep lessons, guys.) Goal: 11pm bedtime. Keep sleep deficit under ten hours. Keep my sinuses happy. One yoga nidra session. 3. Emotional Management I've been reading a lot lately about emotions stored in the body, usually in the form of some kind of tightness or stiffness, and also in the form of different modes of nervous system activation that don't always respond to modern stressors correctly. (Emily Nagoski talks about both of these in some of her Burnout talks, and the yoga nidra-adjacent folks also talk about it, and various ADHD people have been touching on it from a different angle. It's just showing up everywhere I turn.) This is likely me, and probably a more effective approach than trying to out-reason various behaviors and emotions. Meditation has left me with a certain distrust of using the mind to master the mind, because it's just not that smart, and the only thing that's made a really noticeable difference in ADHD symptoms and so on is frequent rest breaks. There are various recommendations, but it's generally low intensity movement and rest aimed at helping stress responses shut off and undoing some of the physical symptoms they leave behind, so the body stops taking cues from them. Both my previous two goals count towards this, in part. But also, it turns out my fave yoga evening cooldowns are probably ideal. Also, there's mindfulness and metta meditation I'd like to get done; metta is definitely on point here, and mindfulness is just helpful in a foundational sort of way. I, uh, also need to remember to actually do the rest breaks I plan to do. If my day is going badly, I'm likely to start skipping them, but if my day is going badly, skipping them is probably the reason why. I have to treat them like a job. Goal: Get emotions out of the body. (By doing something extra that is not covered already, and, like, meditating and stuff.) 4. Vulcan Is a Hot Planet Vulcans play a darned good eyeshadow game. Also, it's easy to forget what sassy clothes horses Vulcan can be. Like, that bling, guys. They out-bling a lot of planets. The traditional Valentine's challenge includes various wardrobe, makeup, skincare, or bachelor pad modifications for increased hotness. (This is not totally shallowness, because I get stuck in utilitarian ruts and stop paying enough attention to that stuff. Caring appropriately for the aesthetics of one's body, clothes, and environment is purely logical, and not frivolity at all. Logic.) Goal: One style or hotness upgrade per day.
  3. Sometimes we fail to see the forest for the trees....I was taking to much time looking at trees to see the obvious...huge thanks to @DarK_RaideR to pointing out that a battle log may work better for me in keeping up on here...I had one previously but it was dated and no longer fits...so this one is shiny and new! For those new to my saga, I've been here for over 3 years now (January 2, 2014) I've been a Ranger (and everything that entails) since the big restructure of 2016. I am <95% Paleo in my style of eating, because I have RA and it makes me feel better...I'm slightly addicted to 5k's, and am discovering that weight lifting can be a lot of fun if I take it slowly and don't aggravate my neck injury. I'm an accountant and work for a minor league baseball team in Florida, which is every bit as much fun as it sounds So I have a spreadsheet for tracking purposes (may look very familiar to some, )...if this works for you as well feel free to borrow my sheet (file/save copy into Google Drive I think...) and tweak it to fit your needs My overall, far reaching, want to accomplish this year, goal is to lose 40 lbs...at the very minimum I want to look good nekkid In my opinion, not anyone else! To work towards this goal I'm going to go to the gym 3x a week, or if I'm not able to do that I will do an alternate workout (such as hitting my step goal, bike ride, bodyweight workout...etc) I was aiming for 5x but that was stressing me out because I was not always able to accomplish it due to life/work commitments! I re-worked the routine I worked out with the trainer to come up with to fit into the new goal...I may also add tracking at some point to see where I'm hitting with calories if results are not forthcoming. Sleep is a struggle for me, I rarely get 7 hours a night and this makes a huge difference in my energy, not to mention my pain levels if I don't...I'm going to try and do better with this... The last one is NF related, I am tired of going weeks without checking in on here, so I'm going to make it a point to not only be on here, but post somewhere on here at least 3 times a week to keep myself accountable...I did better with my goals when I was doing that, and I enjoy supporting and encouraging others
  4. Hey All, it's been a minute haha. In my time away, I really tried changing my mindset a bit. (Not being doom and gloom if I make a mistake or whatnot) I decided it was my phase 1, and just just trying to focus one getting a few habits set. I can spoiler what I was doing for phase 1 to say anyone reading haha The start of Phase 1 At some point early this year, my shoulder got messed up. Frozen shoulder is what they are calling it. I didn't have it checked until recently. I have some PT to do for it, and that is going to be part of my phase 2. Phase 1 has been rolling well enough, that it is time to add in some movement portions. Phase 2 goals #1 - Do PT every morning PT for my shoulder is 3 things at the moment. More to be added next visit in a couple of weeks I had been very bad about getting them done until more recently. I feel like I am doing well with it now, but want to make sure I get it in each morning. I find it is easier for me to get it done right after I wake up. Eventually I will get more movements. I eventually hope this also helps get me into doing body weight exercises and/or going to out apartment complex gym haha #2 - All the walking! I've really, really, really been thinking about running again. I don't quite feel like I am ready for c25k yet though. In the past, I have done it as this weight. I feel like I should get use to walking first, before I run. I've started up this last couple of weeks. At least getting in a walk every now and then. Wasn't super consistent. I want to be better at it. I have tested myself with a bit more walking to see what might be a comfortable distance/time. I play pokemon go while walking around. the 15 minute daily incense is a good minimum. I walked 2 miles today with just a couple of pauses, and my feet are a bit sore. I feel like 30 minutes wasn't bad. This first week, I want to focus on the 15 to 30 minute time frame. I have a route to follow in pokemon go that is about 30 minutes, so that helps. Once I feel like I am doing well here, I might just start up c25k again. I am creeping into getting below 300lbs again, so this will help even more haha. #3 - Getting better sleep This has always been something I work on. It is just too easy for me to stay up late. With more movement, I will really, really need more recovery time. I have been playing Pokemon Sleep, as well. I have alarms set for time to read, and time to go to bed. Bed time comes at 11:30pm, but that gets very close to 11:45-50. Eventually, I might want to move up going to bed time and such. That is pretty much it. I haven't taken body measurements in awhile. I have taken a few pictures at least. Then scale weight has been done. 306 today. No real grading too. It's just been the mindset I have had lately. It's ok to make a mistake. I'm more focused on getting these established as a habit. Challenges for me will of course be things like Christmas. I've already decided that I will be fine eating what we normally make, and leftovers. I can get back to keto after that. I want to still not go super crazy, no "I have to eat all the things since I am not on diet!" I had told my wife I want to still try to track what I am eating, so I want to measure some things out like potato salad. Then I can have an idea. Will be curious to see how my blood sugar numbers react as well too. Anyhow, good luck all!
  5. Bouncer stood facing away from the Eclipse watching as the world turned dark underneath the shadows. Noticing how the world reacted. The moon had said hello to watch the changes in this Autumn season. As the sun returned and the cool wind swept through Bouncer’s robes. Bouncer felt the welcome magic of the Moon, something that she had been ignoring far too long. What would happen once she accepted the magic of the night moon instead of a passing by hello? A friend that could be a healthy relationship, an ally to enhance the tools she already learned over all these years. This challenge fell together. I will be focusing on the number 1 habit of having a routine bedtime (getting to sleep early enough for 7-9 hours of sleep). Turning off screens by 6 pm 7 pm, be in bed by 8 pm. (If out late try to be in bed within an hour of coming home). I have sleep debt and low skill habits on sticking to a healthy bedtime. The one habit I have because of 2 kittens is a wake-up time. Even on a day off I will be up at 5 am due to the squeaky alarms of a tortoise kitten. I will not be 100% on this challenge due to some days I will be out late or working late. I will focus on 80% good enough! Exercise, nutrition, and decluttering are side quests/bonus buffs for this challenge (since they will all enhance a better sleep cycle). But when shit hits the fan I will have a 100% day if I get to bed by 8 pm or within an hour of getting home for late nights. Daily reward, if I have time in the morning 15 mins of no guilt gaming play (or planned time after work). (I’m really into Sims 4 right now and I usually only have time to play 5 mins at a time…) Life Quest – Blood Moon Awareness
  6. Took a week for me to figure out the one thing I want to change, and the way in which I want to change it. I've known for a while now that I need to get up earlier. I'm pretty good at starting to for a bit, but it doesn't take: eventually, something goes haywire somewhere and I wind up being up late and needing to sleep late to make up for it, and before long I've regressed to the old mean. Meaning (harrrr) that I need a new mean. Instead of getting up at 9:30 AM, I'm going to spend the next few weeks focusing on just getting up at 9:00 AM. Get myself used to what life looks like there get a feel for making happen what needs to happen when it needs to for me to hit that target consistently. I don't need to be perfect, but landing there 80% of the time should get me somewhere like where I need to be. Exciting news on the job front. I put in for a promotion last week, which I've said before I'd be a shoe-in for. Didn't have the means to put in previously as HR didn't open up any slots, but when they did this past month, I went for it. It's a decent bump in pay and apparently the extra work isn't that much harder. Other good news is that the job opened up overtime again! It's only a little bit, but it'll help the paycheck and the caseload, and that's all I really want. Also, figured out that the head cold is actually just seasonal allergies based on its responses to medication, so I'm cleared to get back to the mats. Though I still need to figure out how to honor both the job and my desires. Because the writing's going well and I'm not willing to negotiate on that. Ah well. It'll be sorted. In the meantime: Goal: 1/1.
  7. I'm tired and don't feel like coming up with any additional goals, so I'll just be continuing the habits I started during the last challenge: - Workout 6x/week. - Sleep for 6+ hours/night. - Work on cosplay when time permits, and post pictures. - Alcohol on special occasions only. I'm going to a convention on the last weekend of October, so I'll be trying to finish a cosplay (the same one I've been working on since probably April) but I have very little hopes of actually finishing it. At this point I've stopped caring about having a finished cosplay for conventions because this has both never happened and is unlikely to ever happen and I'm tired of stressing myself out to the point of making myself extremely miserable and not enjoying the cons I go to. Bonus Week Zero goals: - Submit receipts/mileage for my volunteer work with the local cat rescue organization. - Attempt to clear additional space in my room. - Send an email to a clinic (I'll elaborate more on this later). ^ These are just things I don't want hanging over my head during the actual challenge. (The receipts/mileage one has been on my to-do list for almost a year now and it's super easy to do BUT now it has morphed into an Impossible Task and now it's giving me anxiety.)
  8. I've been in this really annoying cycle for the past few years. The cycle goes like this: 1 Getting a wake up call about how far my fitness has fallen, 2. Diving into workouts that are too intense for my current level of fitness, 3. Getting hurt, 4. Having to rest for several weeks, to heal 5. Getting comfortable with laziness, and ceasing healthy behaviors. And repeat. Let's just try it again. The goal right now, is just to workout ..... at all. I don't care the schedule, frequency, style, program. Just to workout at some point in the week and to let that build.
  9. While this is supposedly a Doctor Who themed year, I tend to do a special Valentines themed February, to be hot and shallow and slightly drunk. (Mostly shallow, as I still largely aspire to either of the other two.) So we will have a short diversion. After all, one can get into a rut. 1. Strength training Dating on Vulcan requires a lot more combat than you might expect. So physical training is important. But what will not do is upsetting the delicate hormonal balance that keeps you from killing half a dozen people with sharpened hockey stick. To keep cortisol down, the goal is one single strength exercise a day, from this list: plank, bridge, horse stance, superman, maybe some rowing if I'm feeling it. Also, my stupid daily walk for my stupid mental and physical health. I will count anything. The goal is consistency. But I do want giant muscles, cuz I have people to beat with a lirpa, so strength. Goal: be strong, do an exercise 2. Eat the plomik soup. Dating on Vulcan requires correct fueling of the body. We're aiming for closer to therapeutic keto this time around. Brain needs ketones. I don't know if we'll get to that macro split, but we can manage a stick of butter. Goal: eat a stick of butter (or equivalent fats) Goal: drink a gallon of water 3. Rest Dating on Vulcan requires quality sleep, or at least some quality meditation. Goal: 11pm bedtime with meditation. 4. Emotional Management This is me lately. Also, I recently heard someone say that time management these days is really emotion management, and I think that's very true. For me, this also hits some ADHD stuff, cuz ADHD tends to magnify strong emotions. I'm gonna practice spotting and reacting to emotions or emotional spirals (hopefully not too many of those). Treating the don't-wannas with rest counts. Goal: one emotional intervention Bonus: Vulcan eye makeup Vulcans play a good eyeshadow game, so this probably requires at least some eyeliner. Okay, wait, this challenge is entirely inappropriate for a February challenge. It involves actual stuff, and not, like, stocking my bar and upgrading my wardrobe. I may need to reconsider this. Sigh. Vulcans do not know how to have a good time.
  10. I'll get this part out of the way first: I am not killing myself, so no need to report me to a crisis unit or anything. HOWEVER, I will be killing myself (ever so slowly) if I keep drinking two bottles of wine daily and getting less than 6 hours of sleep every night, so that absolutely has to change. And hey, both lack of sleep and excessive drinking contribute to weight gain. Fix my life and get thinner and more ripped? Sign me up! The plan: 1. Don't drink alcohol. 2. Go to bed before 10:30 on weekdays/get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. 3. Exercise 4x/week (they're short workouts). 4. Journal every now and then (this will be done in this thread). I'll elaborate more on these goals later. (Elaborating is in progress.) 1. Don't drink alcohol: Right. Some time during the last challenge, I mentioned that I was experiencing abdominal discomfort. This started after a pickle-flavored vodka bender between the holidays, so I figured it was just a part of the hangover and would go away in a few hours. But it didn't. It's not painful or anything (only a 1 or a 2 on the pain scale) but the thought that something isn't right has been plaguing me since that day. Then I was a dumbass and googled "where does liver cancer hurt" and, uh oh, it's the exact same spot. Panic mode engaged! An appointment with my doctor was booked when the discomfort was still present a week later, and then fretting about every possible bad outcome ensued. What if it's cancer? What if the health care system doesn't get me in before it's at stage 4 and there is no hope? I (and probably everyone reading my posts) realize that I don't quite enjoy life to the fullest, but the thought of it possibly being over in less than 6 months just terrified me. It feels like I haven't even lived yet. I haven't even lived yet. Practically everything I do is for other people and I usually end up putting myself last. The thought of the Grim Reaper showing up all like "lol sup, time to go" without me having even attempted to live life on my terms and focus on my own goals is just...depressing. More depressing than any of my current problems. The previous 2 challenges were an attempt to escape The Grind and go into a field I'd truly have a passion for, so an attempt was made, but what if it's too little and too late? (I've found that I can manage The Grind and the side hustle at the same time, so that was a winning realization at least.) Anyway. The doctor appointment was yesterday and nothing too terribly wrong seems to be going on with my liver, but a blood test and an ultrasound will be booked in the near future just to be sure. I did open up to him about drinking way too fucking much and how it's likely self-medicating and has been going on for probably 10 years now due to being easily depressed by this, that, and the other thing, and also all the things all at the same time. So that's going to be getting addressed this year, but before we get to the next step I need to stop drinking stupidly large amounts of alcohol because apparently starting antidepressants immediately after quitting booze cold turkey is dangerous. So now I'm (temporarily) on some pills that will help cut cravings until the next appointment...which just happens to be before the end of this challenge. I was trying to avoid the medication route, but I've just about hit "Fuck It" point. May as well try if it's on a temporary basis. I've stopped drinking for 30-60 stretches before but never addressed the underlying problems that made me want to drink in the first place so the unhealthy drinking habits always came back. If a tiny pill can give me advantage on the WIS save for the first 30 or so days, then I'll take it. (I'm still not 100% sure about the antidepressants, but would be willing to try them on a temporary basis at the same time as counseling or therapy. Hopefully my mood improves on its own after not drinking until mid-March, though.) 2. Go to bed before 10:30 on weekdays OR get 7 to 9 hours of sleep: Alcohol allows me to ignore my body's GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP signals and also causes poor quality sleep, so it only makes sense to focus on sleep. Mainly because it will make getting more sleep easier and I like it when things are as easy as possible. One of the functions of sleeping is to get rid of molecular/cellular garbage in one's brain, meaning that my brain is probably 98% garbage after....16 or so years of chronic sleep deprivation. Hopefully with enough consecutive days of quality rest, my thoughts will also become less garbage. If my thoughts become less garbage, I will in turn be less likely to reach for a bottle of wine the moment shit hits the fan IRL. Goals 1 and 2 totally synergize one another. I don't have a set strategy for how I'll manage to get to bed on time on a regular basis, but I'll come up with one before the end of week zero. I have a feeling it will involve the planner I bought in November and still haven't used. 3. Exercise 4x/week: Self-explanatory. I have a coach who designs a training program for me and knows how stupid my schedule can get, so the workout plan includes really short workouts. I just have to, y'know, do them. The nice and unused planner may be useful here too, actually. 4. Journal every now and then: Also self-explanatory. I'll be using this thread as a journal and ranting board as per usual 😆 I find that I have to re-arrange my sentences so often if I write in a physical notebook that it ends up full of crossed out words or sentences, or eraser dust, and then I look at the page and it looks like a toddler took a marker to the page, and then I feel super self-conscious because I used to be great at writing when I was a teenager and now I practically can't do it anymore. At least writing on the Internet allows me to use backspace and to copy/paste so I can have a final post of a somewhat decent quality. Also, I don't use the name Ahyar Dreamspark anywhere else on the Internet so I am afforded complete privacy by writing here. (Okay, mostly complete, because some people on the FB group probably know who I am on here, and it's probably not too hard to find out if one REALLY wants to know, but any of the people I would be complaining about here are unlikely to ever know.)
  11. Wait, wait, hold up, you're telling me that this challenge is going to pop off on January 1st? Just lines up like it's meant to be? Well. I guess I know what I'm doing! Howdy, everyone! Kishi here, your friendly neighborhood itinerant monk. Took a few weeks off the forums just to chill and focus on end of the year shenanigans, but that was then and this is now! Even though now is technically then, but it will be then by the time the challenge officially starts. As a rebellious rebel, I'm not a big believer in the old Rule of 3 + 1. I instead believe that you can change one thing, and that one thing interact with and change all the other things. It's all connected, man. Of course, that being said, no real reason to have just one challenge when two will do. In my case, the big thing that I really want to hone in on is getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier. Reason being that I want to get my job done earlier in the day so that I can make more mat time. I'm about 80% of the way there, really, but the striking sparring only happens on Fridays and it's an earlier class than the others. So technically, I only really have to be early to bed and early to rise for one day of the week, but that one day will be easier if I'm keeping those hours other days of the week. Also, I suspect it will be better for me. So, you know. There's that. The other goal is a writing goal. Just want to do a page a day. 50,000 words in a month is nice and all, but 90,000 words in a year that you actually like? That's better. I think. Maybe. Never got there. Sure would like to, though. So, those are my two challenges for myself this time around. And... yeah.
  12. Better late than never, I'm jumping back into the fray because I need the extra accountability. of posting my progress here. For 2023, I've chose the word 'Worth' to be my motivational focus. I've done this in previous years, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much. Last year's word was 'Dare', and I don't know how much I lived up to it, but I did dare to buy my own home after decades of renting, so that was a pretty big move to make. What does 'worth' mean to me? It means asking myself important questions every once in a while. Like, is what I'm doing at this exact moment really worth my time and attention? And telling myself, when I need to hear it, that I'm worth more than I let myself believe. Matthew 10 says 'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the hairs on your head are numbered. So don't be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." God thinks I'm worth something. So I need to start believing that myself. W = Read the Word of God daily O = Organize, clean and otherwise keep your surroundings in good order. R = Follow regular bedtime and morning routines. T = Track your food and water intake daily H = Do something that makes you happy every day. Trying to come up with a clever, nerdy theme for a challenge is tough and has held me back in the past. So I'm going to quit trying to be clever and just stick to my goals for this year that I already laid out above. The hardest so far in this new year are the routines and the tracking. And sometimes even the 'happiness' aspect. To give myself more time for these activities, I've taken the worst offenders of time wasting off my phone - Facebook and this Harry Potter game I've been addicted to lately. My goals for the last 4 weeks of the current challenge then are as follows: Routines Follow your bedtime routine and lights out by 11pm at the latest Follow the Nerd Fitness Gym General DOMS Bodyweight Workout 1 (4 week program) Tracking Track food and water intake daily. Aim for 8+ cups of water and tracking at least 66% of your food daily. Happiness - Spend at least 10 minutes a day reading, writing, playing ukulele, crocheting, learning to watercolor, or working on voice recording Not at all clever, no fancy gif to catch the eye. But if you've noticed my post and read this far, let me know what you think! Any tips?
  13. I'm channelling Black Widow assassin Yelena Belova for this challenge because, after almost eight (!) years as a Warrior, I've switched my primary guild allegiance to Assassins! The badge has been swapped for a few months now, but a fun Assassin-themed challenge got side tracked by moving and new house craziness. I'm still duel-classing as a Warrior as I'm a strength-focused Assassin, but my goals have definitely shifted to cool bodyweight movements. Side note: WOW some Yelena gifs have big spoilers. I'll try to put any gifs with Endgame, Black Widow, and Hawkeye spoilers in a spoiler box if I use them. Bit about me for any newcomers: GOAL 1: Practice my posing Training session at least 2x/week, aiming to build up to 4x/week. Some of this training will actually involve the characteristic Black Widow fighting pose, as one of my aims is building squat strength and mobility for pistol squats. I'll also continue walking regularly, but probably won't track walks this challenge. GOAL 2: Don't blip You know that feeling when you get distracted by something and suddenly 5 years go by? Time management goals: Start work by 10 am and finish by 6 pm Start training sessions by 6 pm Start getting ready for bed by 10 pm, no phone in bed at night except for Kindle and alarms, and (from Monday, Week 1) shut lights off/put phone away by midnight GOAL 3: Make macaroni and cheese (minus the macaroni) Do some sort of food prep 2+ times a week (counts as long as I make at least 2 servings) Limit grains to white rice, rice noodles, and oatmilk. Let's goooooo
  14. When the stockings are hung by the fireplace, and the snow is falling, and the mince pies and sherry have been left out for the Hogfather, and everyone is settled in for the end of the year, there is only one question left: have you been naughty or nice? That's it. That's the challenge. Along the way, I'm going to lean into hibernation. A week of meditation retreat, a week of extra sleep, a week of intermittent fasting (and feasting). I'm going to lean into all the martial arts/meditation "soft is better than hard" and "do less" mottos, and treat every under-performance or attention failure as a reason to rest more. I'm going to try to solidify my evening workout and metta meditation before bed. What I'd like to add is consistency with a daily walk, preferably first thing in the morning, and for mindfulness meditation. And I'm going to aim for a lot of holiday cheer. As close to a fatal dose of winter hygge as I can manage. Mandatory hot cocoa. table { --palette-red: #7b0a0a; --palette-cream: #e5d5bb; --palette-tan: #b2a288; --palette-lgreen: #668c6f; --palette-dgreen: #213c18;} table.plan { border: 2px var(--palette-dgreen); Border-top: 50px; Border-bottpm: 50px; background-color: var(--palette-lgreen); Width: 100%; Color: var(--palette-dgreen); } .plan tr:nth-child(even) { Background-color: var(--palette-cream); } .plan tr:nth-child(8n+1) { background: var(--palette-dgreen); color: var(--palette-cream); font-weight: bold; text-align: center; } .plan td:nth-child(4n+1) { Background-color: var(--palette-dgreen); color: var(--palette-cream); font-weight: bold; text-align: right; } .plan td:nth-child(4n-0) { font-weight: bold; text-align: center;background:var(--palette-dgreen); } table.tally { border: 1px solid var(--palette-red); Background-color: var(--palette-tan); Width: 100%; Color: var(--palette-dgreen); } .tally tr:nth-child(even) { Background-color: var(--palette-cream); } .tally tr:nth-child(9n+0) { background: var(--palette-red); color: var(--palette-cream); font-weight: bold; text-align: center; } .tally tr:nth-child(9n+1) { background: var(--palette-red); color: var(--palette-cream); font-weight: bold; text-align: center; } .tally td { } .tally td:nth-child(4n+1) { Background-color: var(--palette-red); color: var(--palette-lgreen); font-weight: bold; text-align: right; } .tally td:nth-child(4n-0) { font-weight: bold; text-align: center;background:#7b0a0a; } Day Plans Hogswatch Cheer 🎄 M28 Winter clothes Digital job Fix Christmas lights Xmas movie Warm socks next to the bed T29 Wrap early gifts Schedule Doctor Who Xmas specials Xmas movie W30 Online zendo hours Get dates for events Redo work schedule Xmas movie Th1 Winter clothes Start all the yule logs Xmas movie F2 Find winter boots Get out lights Xmas movie S3 Garden task 12/5 prep Xmas movie Su4 Seasonal baking Find a timer Restock the hot cocoa stash Xmas movie Plans Hogswatch Cheer 🎁 M5 Date to watch Xmas movie Batch of eggnog week T6 Start meditation week Time scarcity week Xmas movie W7 Th8 F9 Finish project A S10 Su11 Seasonal baking Plans Hogswatch Cheer ⛄ M12 IF week Test morning routines T13 W14 Th15 Date to watch F16 S17 Su18 Seasonal baking Plans Hogswatch Cheer 🎄 M19 T20 W21 Th22 F23 S24 Su25 Hogswatch #1 Plans Hogswatch Cheer 🕯️ M26 Day off T27 Annual review Annual plan W28 Th29 F30 S31 Hogswatch #2 Su1 Tracking template:
  15. Conquius Balances the Books I flipped through the Citadel's ledger with a sense of dread. All of the necessities had been accounted for. We had ample supplies to make it through the winter, but as I scanned the ledger line by line, I was reminded of the frivolities upon which I spent my hard-earned coin. Many of them, naturally, were things for Jormungandr and Cerberus, but I can't say that all of them were strictly necessary. Some of them were for me: a new set of gambeson, drinks down at the tavern, a new tunic to wear to court, et cetera. They each brought me their own small joys, and some of them - like clothing purchases or riding equipment - have been extremely useful, but I can never quite shake the voice of my grandfather, a man who lived through the Great Depression, telling me to hold onto my money. In the past, I've tried to do like the monks and go the ascetic route, but I ended up winding myself up so tight that I bought a bunch of things in a fit of whimsical backlash. Thus, I've decided that what I need is a proper budget. A means of portioning out part of my coin to whimsical fancy, while maintaining a strong sense of financial responsibility. In time, I hope to build an adventuring fund - a pool of time and money that I can use to go on extended adventures. This Challenge is all about financial planning and responsibility. I've put some details of my personal life, including the impetuses for this challenge, in the spoiler text. Quest One: Balance The Books. Balance The Books will be comprised of a set of basic financial goals I intend to meet in 5 weeks. For my resources, I'm using The Financial Diet, and r/PersonalFinance. ✅ Set Up A Budget - Using a Budget Spreadsheet and the 50/30/20 Budgeting Template, I'm going to assess my current spending habits, and build a monthly budget. I will do this without guilt or judgement for my past self. Previous purchases are previous purchases, that money is gone. This will be the bulk of the quest, and I'm giving myself the first two weeks to do it. ✅ Build A Small Emergency Fund - Now that I know my monthly spending, I will set up a small emergency fund to cover my 1-month essentials. I will build into my budget a portion of my paycheck to go towards this fund. In time, I intend to build up to a 6-Month Emergency Fund, but that's a longer-term goal that is out of the scope of this 5-Week Challenge. Automated Budgeting - I plan on looking into various budgeting apps recommended by TFD. I'm leaning towards Mint. I want to do this manually via spreadsheets first to give me an understanding of how I'm currently spending my money, but around Week Three I want to start looking at automating my budget to reduce overhead time. New Credit Card. I've been using my debit card to pay for absolutely everything. This doesn't help my credit, and it also means I'm missing out on potential rewards. I want to spend some time researching Credit Cards, find out which one aligns best with my ethics and goals, and then make the switch. I plan on tackling this on Weeks Four and Five. New Bank (stretch goal). My current bank has had some major scandals due to some dubious practices. I want to change banks. This will take some research, but if I have time near the end of the challenge, I want to at least start the search. Quest Two: Rise With the Dawn. If you followed my last Challenge, Conquius Rises With the Dawn, you'll find that I started picking up some better habits for improved sleep. I made some great strides, and I want to keep it going. I'm primarily concerned with the following habits, which I'll be reporting on daily: Dishes Chores After Dinner. Starting my evening chores after dinner lets me enjoy the remainder of my evenings, and go to bed stress-free. This goes beyond dishes. It could be laundry, packing my bike, setting out my gym clothes, etc. If it's my night to cook dinner, I start when I get home from work. It means sometimes that dinner is early, but no one in my apartment minds. Get Up, Get Out. I found a great app, Alarmy, that helps me get out of bed every morning. I've used it with very low rates of bed-recidivism. I'm going to keep it going, and I'm going to use that time in the morning to do some Hard Winter Training. Quest Three: Hard Winter Training tl;dr - 2/week lifting doesn't mesh well with my schedule, a shorter 4/week lifting schedule in the morning might. To make it work I have to: Master the Art of the Short Workout. My old weightlifting gym has a solid Fundamentals program. It comes in two flavors: 2/week and 4/week. Adopt the 4/week paradigm, and complete your workout in 45 minutes or less. That's a few sets of a compound lift, some accessory circuits, and 5m of stretching. I'll track workout time on my Garmin watch. Go to Bed On Time. My math says that I'll need to be up at 6 to make this work. My partner is also planning on getting up at 6, so that makes this a good bit easier. For this to be sustainable, I need to be getting 7+ hours of sleep nightly. I'll track it on my Garmin watch. I'll also be reporting on these daily. Wednesdays will be 30m of indoor cycling at an easy pace, or, weather permitting, my normal bike commute. If this doesn't work, that's okay, I'll switch to a Monday/Thursday 2/week paradigm, and just make Fridays my cook nights for the foreseeable future. Gotta experiment to find what works, gotta be willing to fail.
  16. Year of Battle. You know the plan: destroy fatigue, anxiety, and distraction addiction so I can have an actual life with lifting, art, writing, and whatnot. Last challenge I managed to create a sort of routine. I am amazed at myself. This is what I have been struggling to achieve for many years. I am terrified it won’t stick, because I have no idea what I did to make this time different. Oh well. With Tank providing a blessed paladinic example of consistency, I will dig in and fortify. This challenge, the goal is simply to hold the line: gym first thing art until noon sleep routine from 9-10
  17. S’up folks! Long time no see 😂 I am currently in Texas, flew in on the 18th, here until giftmas. Mx is the “best person” in a friends wedding mid Nov that’s been delayed since Nov 2020 so we decided to make use of all that banked up leave I’ve accrued and make a real trip of it. We’re ping-ponging all over the place for the next few months so keeping this challenge relatively light. Rough itinerary: Austin, KC Missouri, Florida (Orlando), New Orleans, Las Vegas, NYC, Canada (Niagara Falls), Pennsylvania(?), Los Angles. Short: Hydrate, don’t diedrate (drink a bottle of water a day) Team Green (eat a vegetable a day) Sweaty Betty (workout in some form twice/week) Kick Jetlag (meditate instead of napping, bedtime & wake up time) Long: So far been sampling some excellent food (think BBQ, Burgers and Burritos) but the fibre has been a little lacking and I’d like to be a little more regular as well as look nice in my dress with no pooch 😅 Bevvies are all around and while I am partaking, I need to include some water as well. While I’m in Texas I have access to a quite well outfitted Home Gym and I’d like to get a couple more lifting sessions in before we’re relegated to hotel ‘gyms’, after which I’ll probably be squeezing in bodyweight or yoga when I can (who knows, maybe they’ll have a kettlebell). The flight over was 15hours and we arrived before we left so that has wrecked my sleep schedule and I’ve succumbed to more than one midday nap. I’d like to switch the body clock over so I’m not wide awake at 2am again, especially since we’re here so long. Advice is to meditate instead of napping, get sunshine in the morning, bedtime and getup semi-regular (noting that I technically am on holidays, so, y’know). One off side quests: ✅ see a squirrel ⏹ see a raccoon ⏹ see a Vegas mermaid ? ⏹ ren faire ⏹ try a pumpkin spice latte ⏹ do a Halloween ⏹ do a Thanksgiving ⏹ Disney World ⏹ Grand Canyon ⏹ paintball ⏹ American football game ⏹ Niagara Falls
  18. I hate business jargon, but I do like fruit. The last four years have been tough all ‘round, and I’m pretty sure I’m still bouncing back. So while I love a lofty goal, this challenge is all about baby steps. —No, smaller than that. — No, even smaller than that. What are the easiest possible things I can do to move slowly in the direction of my big goal?* Hydration- glass of water in morning, at night, and with/before each meal. I used to be great at hydration! Now I suck at it! See, that’s what happens if you ignore the little things that seem to be below notice, you become cranky and dehydrated. Movement- 500 active cals/day. (I don’t even know how many steps that corresponds to, maybe like 12000 or so, but a lot of my favourite activities are things like biking and swimming and yoga that are not very steppy). Sleep- ugh, I used to be a champion sleeper, but during the last few months that’s been going by the wayside. From experience, two things I can do to sleep better are to avoid alcohol and drift off listening to a sleep story (currently digging Sherlock Holmes). Flex- wear tank top whenever the day’s agenda and temperatures permit it. Honestly, catching glimpses of my new muscles in the mirror is the most motivating thing to keep me from slacking off the strength training or eating like a jerk. This goal would involve short shorts too if we weren’t moving into Canadian November. Skin- I finally found my perfect sunscreen and holy grail nighttime routine. But apparently they don’t do much good if I don’t USE THEM. Do so, everyday. *Big Goal = to continue evolving into a hot and happy badass. For now this means body recomp, killing it on the important things and earning mad respect at work, while ALSO eluding enough garbage tasks to have fun and feel happy.
  19. I groaned as I turned over in bed, and looked out of my bedroom window. The sun was already well into the sky, and by my calculations, I had about a half hour before my patrol shift began. It was just enough time to don gambeson, grab a bite to eat, pour my bean potion, and be on time, but it wasn't enough time to do any of that comfortably. My gambeson was chosen in haste and felt a bit schlubby; my breakfast and bean potion were consumed so quickly that they were wholly unsavored. I was well rested, but my morning was rushed, and I felt it in my body. Not a good way to start my day. This has been my routine for a few months now, with the only exception being my weekly commute into the office. I decided a while ago that I would prioritize getting enough sleep by rising whenever I deemed fit, so long as I signed onto work by 9 AM. This has led to me regularly getting 7+ hours of sleep (yay!) but sometimes not properly getting out of bed until 8:30 AM (boo!). I want to get up earlier. 7 AM is my current mark, but as we all know, getting up on time isn't really about waking up early, it's mostly about going to bed on time. So for this challenge, I'm building good habits that will get me into bed on time. First, I'll identify some of my current bad habits. Late Night Dishes. In our house, we have a very solid rotation of who does dishes what night. It's decided every Monday evening, along with the meal planning, then stuck on the fridge. Given that there are three of us, and the dishes get done every night, I end up doing the dishes 2-3 times a week. There's no reason for me not to know what night I'm doing dishes. It's on the fridge. However, sometimes what'll happen is after dinner, instead of starting the dishes, I'll go and sit on the couch, scroll through my phone, maybe even doze off. This has resulted in me, more than once, forcing myself out of half-sleep to do the dishes, and it feels awful. It puts me in a bad mood, and puts me to actual bed later. Snoozapalooza. I have often made attempts to get up earlier just by setting my alarm to the desired time. This has led to me hitting the snooze button over and over again every 10ish minutes, eventually getting out of bed when I would have originally. This sucks, and it feels bad. Not only does it not accomplish anything, but also my partner hates it. Falling Back Asleep. Sometimes, even if I manage to get out of bed on time, I'll crash back in for another hour. Phone in Bed. Self-explanatory. I'm often scrolling in bed on my way to sleep or first thing in the morning. And here's what we're going to replace them with: Dishes after Dinner If it's my night to do dishes, I'm going to start the dishes right after I'm done with dinner. I'll ask if anyone wants anymore food, then I'll put it away. I'll put an audiobook on like I usually do (currently listening to the Stormlight Archives), and get to the dishes. The earlier that they're done, the better. Should help me defeat Late Night Dishes. Restrict App Hours My phone has a Digital Wellness feature that I've been using to restrict certain apps (Instagram, Tumblr, etc) during work hours. I'm planning on enabling it to also disable those apps after 10 PM. Should help beat Phone in Bed. Additionally, I'm going to put whatever book I'm reading back on my nightstand. Reading at bedtime is a habit I started building a while ago that I never quite got to stick. Very often I was just too tired to read once I hit the mattress, and just went straight to sleep. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if I'm not immediately tired when I get into bed, I'd rather read than scroll. If this combination of habits doesn't work, I do have a slightly more nuclear option (deleting said apps from my phone for a few weeks while I build a new habit). Smart(er) Alarm Clock I'd really like to get through this challenge without buying a new alarm clock. Right now I use my phone which is set on my nightstand for convenience. That has caused issues because the alarm on my phone is easily snooze-able, and contributes to Phone in Bed. Originally I was thinking about moving it somewhere so I'd have to get up and go get it, but that would run the risk of bothering my roommate and my partner. Instead I'm going to look into some of the smarter Alarm Clock apps that require you to move around, do math problems, take pictures, etc in order to deactivate them. This will help beat Snoozeapalooza and Falling Back Asleep. Get Up, Get Out Getting out of my bedroom dramatically decreases the likelihood that I'll go back to bed. Funny how that works. So my plan is to get up, do my morning routine, throw on my clothes, and get out of my bedroom. This might mean getting out of the house for a walk, it might just mean getting downstairs and pouring myself some coffee, but the goal is to escape the bedroom. My goal is to use these tools to get in and out of bed on time, and shift my whole sleep cycle back about 1-2 hours. In bed and asleep by 11, up at 7. If I can build this habit, I'd like to use that time to start some kind of movement habit, be it a morning walk, yoga, or even a short bike ride, but for now I'm just focusing on the sleep. For each weekday that I get up on time, I'm marking a green circle on my dry-erase calendar. That's how I'll track my progress. I'll copy it over into this thread every so often so y'all can see my progress!
  20. Long-ass background: The Body Rocks FUEL: Stick to intermittent fasting schedule with an 8-hour eating window (10am to 6 pm). Broth or miso is allowed in the evening. Proper hydration (more water) that avoids dehydration (less coffee, less alcohol). Continue the intention to eat plant-based foods until dinner. WORK: Continue the 20x20 from the last challenge past completion. At least 20 workouts, at least 20 minutes each session of: Endurance: 16 of 20 Strength: 11 of 20 Flexibility: 18 of 20 Use endurance sessions to get my 3-mile running pace up to at least 6 mph (in preparation for the fall autumn epic quest). Continue the push-up progression (10 days at 10, 20 days at 20, etc...I'm in the 30 days of 30 now). The Mental Rocks FUEL: Get the sleep routine set: go dark by 11 pm and get out of bed every day no later than 5:45 am. Read fiction at night instead of playing games on the phone. WORK: Finish the final academic quarter of my life. Use pomodoro at work to make steady progress on important but unexciting projects. The Spirit Rocks (fuel and work are one): Take a morning walk: at least 30 minutes in nature (or at least outside). Practice mindfulness three times daily: on the morning walk, in the yoga session, in the moments before sleep. Yoga streaking? Accounting: I'll use the attached table to keep score: 2 points for each workout (first three), and one point for each day I count as successful (within reasonable parameters). I'm aiming for at least 5 points per week in each category. Best wishes to all!
  21. I had plans for this challenge. I am not using them. It's time for a special monk challenge. I need to get in touch with my inner girly monk, and I will be using my blond guru for this. After all, aikido is about elegance, and who is more elegant than Miss Piggy? Miss Piggy's Life Lessons Spirit, Determination, Grit, Confidence, Pursuit of Dreams, Beauty, Being Tough, Kicking Down Barriers with Martial Arts, International Star, Best-selling Author, Diva Kicking Down Barriers: Strength and Mobility I will lift the one I love. I will stretch the one I love. Spirit: Meditation I will meditate. (That's meditation depicted there, right? Pretty sure.) Toughness: Prioritize Sleep and Rest I will sleep well. I will schedule rest breaks timed for better performance. Kicking Down Barriers: Eat Enough I will eat enough for my metabolism to run right. (And maybe try to get some data.) Determination, Grit, and Confidence: Know What I Want I will practice knowing what I want. (This will be partly in a journal, but I also want to practice knowing what I want when I hit roadblocks in the dayor encounter task resistance, so this will evolve.) I will practice rewarding myself for incremental progress on goals to reinforce grit. Diva: Look Fabulous I will incrementally increase my fabulosity. And possibly refuse to age. International Star and Bestselling Author: Art is Important I will make art. I will make things around me beautiful. Diva Bonus: Be a Rockstar I will give myself bonus points for being more rock n' roll. Templates Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Totals Strength: At Least One Exercise Yoga Walk Eat Enough Sleep: Full Lights Out by Midnight Meditate Dopamine Increments Write Schedule of Rest Write Down What I Want (in a Journal) Make Art Make Something Pretty Fabulosity Improvement Bonus: Rock n' Roll Totals While that is a lot, most of it is things I am doing or have been working on, or fun things. It's more about noticing what I do that serves a goal, or opportunities to do something that serves a goal. I am a busy person, being a big international star, so I will just do what I feel like each day, and track it. After all, why should moi do anything she does not feel like, hmmm?
  22. Jumping in late due travel and illness. I'm going to treat the rest of this challenge as an extended Zero Week - the plan is to test out some goals and ramp up my activity levels so I can hit the ground running next challenge. Goals for this week: Re-start bodyweight training, using Elements to build a base Go for a walk x2 Build on my sleep success last challenge by 1) starting to get ready for bed by 10:30 pm each night, and 2) not using my phone in bed at night (besides for Kindle/alarm setting)
  23. UPDATED THE FIRST POST with goals for the actual challenge. Anything in blue is updated. My goals this challenge are: 1. Do the physio exercises for my shoulder. That is it. As we have seen, more than one goal is not recommended. I had three goals last time and that was a spectacular failure. HOWEVER, I will add in some side goals, which are things I'll try my best to do but won't beat myself up over if they happen to not get done. I fucking swear, I was about to join the Also Doesn't Wanna theme. Okay, I still might. Anyway. The side goals are: a) Track the amount of alcohol I drink, and the amount of $$ I spend on alcohol (use a Google sheet or w/e). b) Track my bed time (leave a notebook next to my bed to make this low-effort to the point where I can't NOT do it). c) Continue the Window Quest that will likely not be completed during Week Zero (see the text in black). Not drinking for the whole challenge would ideally be a goal, but telling myself "you CANNOT have this substance!" just makes me want it more, and then not having it depletes willpower and then there's no willpower left for other, more important things. Same for bed time: "you MUST be in bed by this time!" just makes my brain go "NO!" and then blow past my self-assigned bed time. (Are there actually people out there who aren't constantly at war with themselves? What's it like?") Ideally I'll stop wanting to drink because tracking drinks is additional effort and many moments of "ugh, I could have wine but then I'd have to write it down" will likely happen. Then my alcohol tolerance will go down and drinking to excess will feel like shit and I'll want to do it even less. ALSO, in the event that I end up going through the whole 5 weeks with no alcohol (Canada Day being the only exception), I'll buy myself something worth $400 to $500 at the end of the challenge. Why this amount? Because I got my credit card bill yesterday and decided to add up all money spent at the liquor store and it was $457 😐 Awakening didn't work too well last time, so let's continue going in the opposite direction. What is the opposite of awakening? FUCKING SLEEPING. Week zero will consist of NOTHING except un-fucking my sleeping situation, because I keep getting told that everything else somehow falls into place if one gets enough sleep? Seems fake, but what have I got to lose. I especially need to deal with the blinds and curtains situation. There were some extensive renovations made to my room in 2016. Windows were replaced, walls got new insulation, the electrical was re-done, and a hardwood floor was put in. It was quite nice to be able to not fucking freeze to death in the winter time and also to have more than one electrical outlet available. Fancy $300 blackout blinds were ordered and brought home and...are still not installed. In 2022. Curtains? Lol, forget about it. So, since then, I've just been jamming the end of some towels in the top of the windows to make blinds. The towels need to be fairly thick to keep the light out, but apparently this messes up the top of the windows and they won't close, or something. This was never a problem before, but as of one week ago mom insists that it is, and she has replaced the towels that actually kept the light out with a thin sheet of fabric (pale, see-through) in one window, and a darker piece of fabric (short, leaves a gap close to where my face is) in the other window. The result is that I now wake up at 5:30 in the fucking AM every day. Every time I suggest that HEY, WE SHOULD INSTALL THOSE BLINDS THAT WE PAID $300 FOR YEAH? I am met with "No, not now!" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Combine that with a late bedtime and trouble falling and staying asleep, I've only had between 3 and 4 hours of sleep every night this week, even less on the weekend, and I am going absolutely fucking crazy and I'm constantly exhausted and OMFG this needs to fucking end. Step 1. Remove the mold from the bottom of the window frames. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: there's mold on the bottom of the window frames because the windows were left open during a thunderstorm less than a month after the renovations were completed. Step 2. Put painter's tape around the window frame areas. I also forgot to mention: the window frames were not painted. Step 2.5. Do we even have paint? If yes, great, skip this step. If no, go buy paint. It's going to be white paint, so there should (in theory) not be any arguments about what paint color to get. Step 3. Paint window frames. Step 4. INSTALL THE FUCKING BLINDS. Mom is going out of town this coming weekend, so I'll be able to do this both a) without having to ask for permission, and b) without being micro-managed the whole time. Step 5. Buy curtain rods and curtains and install those too if I'm feeling extra motivated. Ugh, I forgot step 0.5 where I'll need to un-clutter the spaces below the windows, and now I'm looking at this whole list of steps and am realizing that I will probably not be able to do all of this within one week. I'll try, but I'm also not expecting miracles. Or very much sleep 😕 The other part of the Week Zero challenge: don't have any booze during Week Zero. This doesn't require that I actually do anything, so hooray for what should be an easy win and huge pre-challenge momentum boost. Boy oh boy did that not happen 😅 But this will be addressed during the challenge. Will come up with challenge goals later.
  24. I'm still very much recovering from (finally!) buying and moving into our own house this past challenge, so keeping this simple and focusing on the priority right now: SLEEP. Towards that end: Goal 1: Stop working by 6 pm (so my mind has time to turn off before bed) Goal 2: Start getting ready for bed by 11 pm. I will also try to gradually wind this deadline back towards 10 pm. Goal 3: No phone use in bed at night, with the except of kindle/setting an alarm. Corresponding tracker: ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ [Stop working by 6 pm] ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ [Start getting ready for bed by 11 pm] ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ [No phone in bed at night] 🐈 = did the thing (aka channelled my inner cat) 🦉 = didn't do the thing (aka was a night owl) I want to add back regular workouts soon too, but between packing/moving/cleaning/unpacking/DIY, I'm still recovering from and doing a lot of extra physical activity. We'll see how the next few weeks go. For this challenge at least, I'll aim to get a good workout space set up.
  25. Vetinari sighed, and put down his pen. "Drumknott," he called towards the outer chamber. The clerk entered noiselessly. "Yes, my lord?" he said. The Patrician waved at the papers on his desk. "Take these away. I'm..." He trailed off, and rubbed his goatee distractedly. Drumknott cleared his throat. "Bored, sir?" He gathered up the papers on the desk into a neat sheaf. "One does not get bored of ruling a city like Ankh-Morpork, Drumknott," said Vetinari in a tone that would, in other men, be described as slightly peevish. No one ever described the patrician of Ankh-Morpork as peevish. At least, not if they valued a scorpion-free existence on the outside of the dungeon walls. It was, however, the time of year when a certain... restlessness set in. It was the same every May. One would have to be fairly close to the Patrician to notice this shift in mood, and that was precisely where most people strove not to be. Drumknott noticed. "I have taken the liberty, my lord," said Drumknott. He placed a thin file folder in front of Vetinari, and carefully squared it up. "I thought one of these might amuse." Vetinari opened the folder. He flipped past the first sheet, plucked out the second sheet for further perusal, then the third, flipped past the fourth, and paused on the fifth. "Interesting," he said. "She has been away quite some time, has she not?" "Indeed, sir," said Drumknott. "I understand she will be reporting back to work soon. The Dark Clerks have cleared a desk for her. Do you wish to send down an assignment?" "Oh, I think we should have a very special assignment waiting for Sara Kingdom," said Vetinari. He smiled thinly. A Challynge yn Foure Partes Parte I: Clerking "As a wizard, I must tell you, Havelock, that words have power." "As a politician, I must tell you I already know." I'm reading two books that talk about writing as a mental transformation habit, which I was surprised to find, cuz I've been toying with the idea of "write it down or it didn't happen" as a core principle of thinking through plans and problems - basically, the idea that if you don't make it tangible, you're probably kidding yourself on how clearly and well you really thought it through - and writing as a way of finding out what you're not aware you think, the act of recording as a necessary part of the thinking process itself. The first is inspired by Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", but brings in more research-based stuff, and the second is one of the researchy books it's based on. So I will be hauling out the notebooks and doing a lot of writing. There will be some basic journalling to clear my head and figure out what I'm interested in these days. There will be weekly (and possibly daily) planning and review writing on sets of questions and stuff, to make myself do the job clearly and fully, and bypass the lack of focus going on. There may even be an experiment with expressive writing as a way of processing and clearing the head of various bits of negative flotsam and jetsam it stalls out on, or has to keep handling. (Doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs, but the science is good.) Basically, a lot of writing. A ton of writing. Parte II: Monking "Time has stopped for everyone but you," said Sweeper patiently. "Actually, that sentence is wrong in every particular, but it’s quite a useful lie." Lately, I've been managing to sleep purely by doing very deliberate physical and mental stillness meditations in bed. It's ridiculously hard. This is not normal for me, at least in recent years, so it's a big sign that my meditation habit needs to come back in a big way. If my brain is buzzing that hard when I'm trying to sleep, it's probably jangling that hard all the time, and that can't be helping anything. So I'm gonna learn how to stop time and get some stillness back with meditation. Parte III: Patrolling Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. This part is simple. Walking. I will patrol my city. Parte IV: Assassining The Assassin moved quietly from roof to roof until he was well away from the excitement around the Watch House. His movements could be called catlike, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things. Strength and mobility training, for scaling rooftops and things. The strength training will start with a continuation of the previous challenge's isometric stuff: horse stance (static squat), planks, ITWY exercises, and some bridge. When my schedule gets wrangled into shape, I will try to get some daily yoga before bed, but it's not gonna be a week 1 kinda goal. It was a Guild of Assassins, after all. Black was what you wore. The night was black and so were you. And black had such style, and an Assassin without style, everyone agreed, was just a highly paid arrogant thug. Pure bonus material, but I think some wearing of black and stylishness should get points. A lot of aikido teachers will tell you to focus on elegance, and putting the focus on the process rather than the goal tends to improve the efficacy. I've noticed this with writing, too; a focus on elegant handwriting tends to slow down and smooth the jangly bits in the brain and the content becomes better. Ye Planne The plan is not to jump into doing all of this at once, because I'm currently at very low capacity for getting things done and adding things to my list, but to step up how much I'm doing during the challenge. Some goals aren't even on my list for the initial week or two, and the rest, for the first couple of weeks, I'll be fine with hitting them half the days. Doing something half the days is better than zero of the days, and I'm going to need some time to try to find a good schedule time for them. Wrangling my schedule, especially when it comes to sleep, is turning out to be a big obstacle, so I'm starting by doing just what helps get that stabilized better. Template: Week 0 Day 1 Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Meditation Journal Written Plans & Reviews Emotive Writing Exercise Walking Strength Yoga Assassin Style Bonus
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