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  1. Soulcon Warrior Elite started January 29th, right at the tail end of the last challenge. So this challenge will continue with that. Warrior Elite Objectives: Weekly Objectives: Share the gospel with at least 5 people/week. Eat healthy six days/week with no carbs after 1pm except from berries and vegetables; feast day on Sundays. Run at least two 5ks/week (although some weeks the challenge may require the runs to be longer). Exercise a total of 30 minutes 5 days/week. Daily Objectives: Start every day on your knees, praying the Lord's Prayer aloud for your family and your Soulcon brothers. Knock out 40 push-ups right after prayer. Push-ups are a great reminder that falling down is common, but getting back up is what takes the strength. They are also a great reminder for your body that it will obey the goals you have and you will not obey the lust it has. Read the daily devotionals. Drink one gallon of water every day. No carbohydrates after 1pm other than from berries, vegetables, and sweet potatoes (except on feast day). Finishing Objectives: Memorize Ephesians 5:1-21 Ice bath/cold shower challenge: 4 minutes. Breath hold: 90 seconds. Share your testimony on social media. Personal Objectives: Walk at least 10,000 steps/day. Cold shower daily. Daily breathing exercises to prepare for 90 second breath hold (Wim Hof Method?) Go to the gym at least 3 days/week. Daily scripture study before bed; this is non-negotiable. Use Scripture-Typer daily to memorize scripture. Complete all graduate school assignments before due date; this is also non-negotiable. Work on Duolingo daily. In bed by 10:30pm at the latest Sunday-Thursday (Fri. and Sat. a struggle because daughter works until 2am). Meditate daily for at least 10 minutes; this should be silent and not guided--the aim is quiet time with God. Continue outside morning routine (take dogs out, work through stretches/movements). Daily bodyweight movements (especially push-ups, pull-ups, and burpees). Read quietly for at least 20 minutes/day. Listen to at least one informative or motivational podcast/week.
  2. First, some mood music: It's time to take it to the next level. Soulcon Team Juliet begins Monday, November 27th. I have been invited to join the Warrior Elite Challenge that starts at the end of January, so I need to be prepared. Below are the Soulcon Challenge Objectives: Pray the Lord's Prayer out loud, on your knees, every day No carbs after 3pm from grains and breads (sweet potatoes, vegetables, and berries are allowed) Track your caloric intake except on feast days Drink at least 64oz of water a day Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 days a week Run, walk or crawl two 5ks a week Before you leave home for the day do 40 pushups (or as many as you can) <---- I may be substituting burpees here. Sleep 6-8 hours a night (excluding feast days) Evangelism: Talk to at least 10 people you don't know about your faith There are also weekly physical challenges: Week 1: Test-In Week Max Push-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Max Sit-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Run, walk, or crawl a 5k (who crawls a 5k?) Make sure to record your 5k time, push-up, and sit-up count to challenge yourself on Week 6 Week 2: Max Week Monday: Push-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many push-ups as possible. Wednesday: Sit-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many sit-ups as possible. Friday: Bodyweight Squat Day You have 24 hours to do as many squats as possible. Week 3: Fast Week Have one fast day with at least one person on your team (this team consists of a Facebook group). On this day, you will drink only water and black coffee. Week 4: Hell Week This week you are limited to fruit, veggies (including sweet potatoes, not white potatoes), lean proteins, unsalted nuts, and protein powders (no milk added, only water). Also, no weight training this week, just daily push-ups and any bodyweight training you desire. Push yourself as hard as possible, and have a healthy competition with the guys on your team. You can keep track of: miles from jogging or walking miles from cycling miles on the elliptical Additionally, I have some personal goals and objectives that will supplement the ones above: Body: Spartan-style workout at least three days/week (bodyweight stuff, carrying buckets of rocks, tubs of water, etc.) Primal Body Reboot movements daily. Cold showers daily. Lift at least twice/week. Walk at least 10,000 steps/day Eat whole foods for at least two meals/day. No junk food for the duration of this challenge. Practice throwing knives at least once/week. Mind: Finish at least one book/week. Listen to at least one informative podcast/week. Read at least one scholarly article/week about any topic of choice. Heart: Hug and kiss wife and kids before leaving home for work. Call parents daily. Message or call at least one Soulcon brother daily. Greet people on campus when passing them. Soul: Study scripture using the SPACE method (to be explained in a later post). Pray throughout the day, either spoken or unspoken. Meditate daily; this could include WHM breathing or some variation. Spend at least 30 minutes/day in nature. So there it is. Very similar to past challenges, and I know it seems like a lot. But if you know me, you know it's not impossible. I need to be challenged again to push myself.
  3. I am certain my goals and this challenge will transform as I go along, but that's totally okay with me. I need flexibility and I need fun. As many of you know, I lost my grandfather during the last challenge, and it has been tough. I am reaching, like trying to connect with my memories of him, and since so many of them include me as a child, I feel this strange sort of regression back to childhood, to when things were simpler (not easier, just simpler). So, in order to make things simpler, I'm sticking to the usual: finding interesting and pleasurable ways to move my body and enjoying time in nature. But because Season 2 of Stranger Things comes out in just a few weeks, I have decided to fill my challenge posts with Stranger Things! Soulcon and Spartan: See my previous post here for more information, but basically I continue to eat fresh whole foods, drink lots of water, do a lot of bodyweight exercises, pray and read scripture often, and complete some daily challenges (physical, mental, and spiritual). School: Continue to complete work for Masters Degree. Check Blackboard daily for due dates, grades, comments, etc. Stranger Things: Read, watch, listen to, and play as many influences on the series Stranger Things as possible (which means lots of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, and other horror/sci-fi movies and shows, as well as a killer 80's soundtrack and some D&D).
  4. First things first: Soulcon will continue for the next two weeks, as will my training for the Spartan race. This challenge is not meant as a replacement, but rather a supplement in some cases and a renovation in others. This post is inspired by this quote: "You want to improve your mental toughness? Try this: Be tougher." The construction of the challenge is based on a post by SealGrinder PT titled "10 Tips to Increase Mental Toughness." So, without further explanation, let's do this! 1. Focus on the Present Be mindful of where you are and what you're doing right now. Focus on taking the next step and the next step and the next step. Make small present decisions that take you closer to your bigger goal. Don't stress about the future or moan about the past; be here now and do what you can right now (even if that doesn't seem like much). If you find yourself "lost" in the chaos, pause, take a deep breath, and focus your mind on the present. 2. Have a Short Memory Don't dwell on past mistakes; learn from them and move on. Forgive yourself and forgive others equally. Don't hold on to past hurts either inflicted upon or inflicted by you; learn from them and move on. 3. Stay Positive Take control of a tough situation by driving out negative thoughts reinforcing the positive. Laugh out loud even when you don't feel like it; as a bonus, make someone else laugh and join them. Watch a positive motivational video/movie. Listen to uplifting music, something that reminds you to stay focused and not quit. Read articles/stories about people overcoming negative situations by staying positive. 4. Become a Ritual-aholic Be faithful to your morning routine: 4:45 am wakeup (or earlier) Prayer/Bible reading/quiet time with God -- There is no compromise with this; it is THE most important thing on this list. Take Minnie outside Pushups or burpees (at least 30) Cold shower Brush teeth Get dressed Make bed Drink a tall glass of water Evening Routine (to be modified later) Write down at least 3 things from the day for which you are grateful. No cell phone/iPad/Macbook after 9:30 pm. Read every night. Brush teeth In bed by 10:30 pm with almost no exceptions (work, time with family, etc.) 5. Enjoy the Battle Find joy in the struggle. Like this: If you have to, tell yourself you are enjoying the struggle and force yourself to smile or laugh even as you sweat and grunt and push through your challenges. Listen to music that gets you fired up and helps push you along (see "Stay Positive" suggestions). 6. Visualize your Future Self Similar to Steve Kamb's Level 50 idea, imagine the self you want to be after this challenge. Create a full mental picture as detailed as possible, a full "character study" (physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral). Role play as your future self while completing your challenges, even if you aren't yet able to achieve all that you want your future self to achieve. 7. Hang Around Winners Spend time with people (irl more than online) who are either at or above the level you want to be; this includes both physical ability and spiritual walk Have mentors: men who are more mature and experienced with life's challenges; utilize these men as often as possible by asking questions and spending time with them to watch and learn how they navigate the trials of life. 8. Repeat Affirmations Memorize Bible verses that serve as promises and affirmations from God. Repeat positive affirmations in your mind or out loud that help you focus your heart or mind. Abba, I belong to you. I am a warrior, not a quitter. I am stronger than I know. I am the one Jesus loves. I am an adopted son of God, brother of Jesus, husband and father, teacher, friend, and mentor. I will do this. What we do in life echoes in eternity. When trouble smiles, I smile back. Read and memorize quotes by men who have come before you and overcome challenges and adversity 9. Read Good Books Read at least 10 pages total every day. Choose books that contain and/or teach examples of mental toughness, either fictional or real. Examples: Extreme Ownership -- Jocko Willink Fearless -- Eric Blehm The Way of the Seal and/or Unbeatable Mind -- Mark Divine Spartan Up! -- Joe De Sena Matterhorn -- Karl Marlantes Unbroken -- Laura Hillenbrand Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- Richard Carlson A Thousand Splendid Suns -- Khaled Hosseini 10. Calm Yourself Meditate daily using the Insight Timer app. Practice breathing techniques (WHM, box breathing, etc.) Incorporate yoga and stretching into your day. Do at least one thing every day that brings you joy: sprint across the field, take a barefoot walk, go for a swim, hike deep into the woods and soak it up, sit in silence and do nothing.
  5. This challenge (as well as the next one) will be influenced by two things: Soulcon, which starts July 10th and the Spartan Race, which will be August 27th. Soulcon is a ministry for men created by Navy veteran, author and lifestyle/fitness coach Cody Bobay. It stands for SOULCONtrol and refers to the Bible's call to submit our mind, will and emotions to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Essentially, Soulcon equates the concept of self-discipline with strengthening your walk with the Holy Spirit; they are not mutually exclusive. The spirit (your soul) needs to be strong in order for the body to be healthy and strong. Soulcon is a 6 week challenge for men, and there are four main fundamentals that are part of the Soulcon daily routine: what you eat, what you drink, exercise, and rest. In addition, there are several required objectives: Pray the Lord's Prayer out loud, on your knees, every day No carbs after 3pm from grains and breads (sweet potatoes, vegetables, and berries are allowed) Track your caloric intake except on feast days Drink at least 64oz of water a day Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 days a week Run, walk or crawl two 5ks a week Before you leave home for the day do 40 pushups (or as many as you can) <---- I may be substituting burpees here. Sleep 6-8 hours a night (excluding feast days) Evangelism: Talk to at least 10 people you don't know about your faith There is also a weekly physical challenge: Week 1: Test-In Week Max Push-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Max Sit-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Run, walk, or crawl a 5k (who crawls a 5k?) Make sure to record your 5k time, push-up, and sit-up count to challenge yourself on Week 6 Week 2: Max Week Monday: Push-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many push-ups as possible. Wednesday: Sit-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many sit-ups as possible. Friday: Bodyweight Squat Day You have 24 hours to do as many squats as possible. Week 3: Fast Week Have one fast day with at least one person on your team (this team consists of a Facebook group). On this day, you will drink only water and black coffee. Week 4: Hell Week This week you are limited to fruit, veggies (including sweet potatoes, not white potatoes), lean proteins, unsalted nuts, and protein powders (no milk added, only water). Also, no weight training this week, just daily push-ups and any bodyweight training you desire. Push yourself as hard as possible, and have a healthy competition with the guys on your team. You can keep track of: miles from jogging or walking miles from cycling miles on the elliptical There are two more weeks, but I will save them for the next challenge. I will also share my Spartan challenge in the next post.
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