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Nova Aquarii

[StarlordPhoenix] The Force Awakens

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Hello fellow Adventurers! I am back.

 

As some of you may have noticed, I dropped off the face of the planet last challenge. I was dealing with lots of stress, TONS of traveling, and multiple health issues and illnesses, and I decided to just take a break to regroup. But, I have returned, and I am so pumped for a new year of challenges and adventures. Full disclosure, I absolutely love New Years and setting New Years Resolutions/Goals. I mean, I definitely also think that people can, and should, set/start goals at any time of the year, but there is something I find particularly fun about New Year goals. Don't judge me, I am a hopeless dreamer (but also an extreme skeptic and cynic...I am a walking paradox).

 

Anyway, I am really excited about this year. Last year I took a step back from a lot of my other goals to really focus on subduing my inner demons, recovery, self-discovery, stepping out of my comfort zone, and exploration. It was a very challenging year, but it was so worth it. I can look back and see that I have made so much progress with my mental health and have taken multiple strides closer to the person I want to be. For the first time in years, I feel like I am physically, mentally, and emotionally in a place to actually achieve my fitness and personal/creative growth goals. That being said, I am still not where I want to be with my mindset and will definitely continue to work on it in 2018. 

 

My primary focus for 2018 is on growth and development. When I look back on my life, I realize so much of it has been focused on being less; being smaller, weighing less, appeasing people, avoiding drawing attention to myself, side-stepping leadership roles, telling myself "I can't" or "I am not good enough" for positions, activities, hobbies, etc. I want this year to be about being more; stronger, more powerful, smarter, more confident, more skilled, taking more initiative, more creative, more talented, more decisive, and removing "I can't" from my vocabulary. Once upon a time, I believed that I could do or be anything I set my mind to, and it is time to reawaken that mindset. 

 

So, now it is time to talk about challenge goals. As much as I really want to do ALL THE THINGS right now, I am sticking with the model of picking just a few things to focus on at a time.

 

Physical Growth: (150 possible XP)

     Yoga: 5x per week (3XP per session)

     Bodyweight Workouts: 3x per week (5XP per session)

 

Mental Growth/Learning: (50 possible XP)

     Read 2 books (my ultimate goal is to read 25 books in 2018) (25XP per book//partial credit awarded for percentage of book)

 

Creative/Skill Improvement: (100 possible XP)

     Practice Guitar at least 15 minutes 5x per week. At least 10 minutes must be active practicing/learning. (2XP per session)

     Learn to cook 2 new things (I suck at cooking/don't know how to cook, again aiming to learn about 2 new things per month this year) (25XP per)

 

Increase Quality Time: (-XP)

     Limit time spent on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube) to 1 hour per week (-1XP per min. over limit each week)

 

Total possible XP = 300

XP needed to level up = 250

Loot: TBD

 

Edit: Almost forgot to mention, I am allowing myself one missed bodyweight workout and one missed yoga session without penalization this week because I have been sick and would rather focus on recovering than forcing fitness on a compromised body.

 

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Go you and welcome back!

 

Have you decided what two books you'd like to read yet?

 

7 hours ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

So, now it is time to talk about challenge goals. As much as I really want to do ALL THE THINGS right now, I am sticking with the model of picking just a few things to focus on at a time.

 

Good decision :) And you still have quite a few goals to manage this challenge! Allow me to cheer you on....

 

:applouse: :encouragement: :triumphant:

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So glad you are back this challenge! I hope that everything has settled down and is back on track. As always, if you need to talk - I'm available!

 

Also, have you put any thought into what you want to cook first? I love to cook and would be willing to bounce ideas around if you are interested!

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16 hours ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

I am a walking paradox).

 

I love this. I think it was Walt Whitman who said, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes)."

 

Your goals look great, and good on you for knowing what your body needs.

 

Following!

 

 

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23 hours ago, pureleeawesome said:

Have you decided what two books you'd like to read yet?

 

Well, the first one is going to be "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere." Since that will likely be informative and interesting (I know nothing about Aikido), but a bit dry, I think I will look for something a little more fun for the second one. 

 

 

23 hours ago, Sylvaa said:

So glad you are back this challenge! I hope that everything has settled down and is back on track. As always, if you need to talk - I'm available!

 

Also, have you put any thought into what you want to cook first? I love to cook and would be willing to bounce ideas around if you are interested!

 

Things are starting to settle a bit. I want to move and find a real job soon, but I have at least somewhat adjusted back to normal life again.

 

I have not put a lot of thought into it, no. When I say I don't know how to cook, that is only half true. I know how to make sure something is edible, it just might not be great. I never really learned how to cook properly, and I have always been lazy about cooking, and I am not at all picky about healthy food and entirely willing to eat all but my greatest of failures in the kitchen. But, I am finding myself in situations where I would like to actually cook for other people, so I want to learn how to cook food that the rest of the world would deem edible.

 

14 hours ago, Wolfen said:

Your goals look great, and good on you for knowing what your body needs.

 

Thanks! And it has not come without a lot of trial and error, mistakes, and learning experiences. I use to try and meet my goals at the expense of my body. I didn't care how much it cost to meet my goals. Eventually I realized that defending and protecting my body, not attacking it, was the true way to long-term health and progress.

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Anyone else's first week look something like this?

 

slide_279239_2071948_free.gif

 

I may have underestimated just how busy I was going to be with work and did NOT plan accordingly. It also took longer to get over my cold than I thought it would. To be fair, I got a lot accomplished last week, I just didn't get very far with my challenge goals. My progress for the first week:

 

Physical Growth: 

     Yoga: 4/5

     Bodyweight Workouts: 2/3

 

Mental Growth/Learning: 

     Read 2 books: Not started

 

Creative/Skill Improvement: 

     Practice Guitar: 1/5

     Learn to cook: Not started

 

Increase Quality Time: 

     Limit time spent on social media: 35 min on social media (Goal met)

 

Anyway, this week is also very busy, but I intend to meet my goals this time around! I want to start logging my progress more frequently, but that might have to wait till next week, when things slow down. 

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On 1/9/2018 at 10:09 AM, CallunaTook said:

You can do it! 

 

I am sure that girl fell down on purpose... she was training for a Tough Mudder... :-D 

 

That's hilarious! Although wouldn't it make more sense to train for a Tough Mudder in the type of clothes you'd be running in? Find out how mud proof your undies are before you go for it for real hahaha :D

 

 

On 1/9/2018 at 7:03 AM, StarlordPhoenix said:

Learn to cook: Not started

 

Do you have a plan for what things you want to learn first? Or were you going more for the "that looks cool!" *attempt was made* approach? I usually go with that one myself :P

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On 1/10/2018 at 4:57 PM, Leigh said:

Do you have a plan for what things you want to learn first? Or were you going more for the "that looks cool!" *attempt was made* approach? I usually go with that one myself :P

 

For this challenge, no, I don't really have a plan. I just got the idea in my head that I want to start learning to cook new things this year, and added it to my challenge, haha. I am one of those people who gets an idea to make something, looks up a recipe, substitutes half the ingredients because I don't have them or think something else would be better/healthier, and then ends up with...interesting foods. I suppose it would really help if I actually like, oh, I don't know, followed a recipe? I don't know if I have followed even once a recipe verbatim in my entire life. Which is probably surprising, considering that I have spent most of my adult life rarely eating out and purchasing little, to no, freezer meals/bag meals. Typically the most "processed" items I purchase are almond milk, fresh deli turkey, occasionally corn tortillas or corn chips, salsa, cheese, canned beans, and greek yogurt. On very rare occasion I might buy a bread or pasta, granola bars/protein bars, or ice cream, but that is like once a month/once every few months. I mostly buy my fish and meat raw/frozen, my fruits and vegetables raw/frozen, my potatoes/sweet potatoes raw, my grains (rice, quinoa, random other grains) raw, my coffee whole bean, my chocolate as cocao nibbs, 100% cocao baking chocolate (or 95% dark on occasion), and cocoa powder, and my honey raw and local. 

 

I guess my main desire is to learn how to cook more things, and also learn to cook things at a level of proficiency that I would feel confident serving it to other people. I know how to cook things so they are safe for consumption. But, for example, 8 times out of 10, I overcook my chicken. I feel like I over-spice stuff a lot, and I have not really developed any go-to dishes for parties/family gatherings. This did not use to bother me, but now I am in increasingly more situations where I would like to cook for other people, but don't feel like I know how to prepare something that people other than me would like (important side note, I have a very odd pallet and enjoy food experimentation, and treat new foods, and even "failed" food creations, like an adventure). 

 

I mostly need to sit down and just learn the basics, I think. Or maybe just stop applying my non-conformist nature to cooking and actually follow a recipe. 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew, it has been a very busy week. Between my part-time online grading job, my seasonal job, and the commute to said seasonal job, I have probably lost about 60 hours to work this week. That being said, I had a much better success rate with my goals this week. 

 

Week 2 Update:

 

Physical Growth: 

     Yoga: 4/5

     Bodyweight Workouts: 3/3

 

Mental Growth/Learning: 

     Read 2 books: 2/7 Chapters of The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman (cofounder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha

 

Creative/Skill Improvement: 

     Practice Guitar: 5/5 (my fingers do not appreciate this goal right now, and likely will not until my calluses grow back)

     Learn to cook: Cooked ground turkey for the first time (with some veggies and pasta sauce, served over shaved carrots)

 

Increase Quality Time: 

     Limit time spent on social media: 45 min on social media (Goal met)

 

So far my yoga and workout sessions have only been about 5-10 minutes long, which is a lot shorter than where I want to be. That being said, I was standing 8+ hours a day most of this week and last, sooooo, I am just proud of myself for actually getting in multiple sessions. My seasonal job fizzles out this coming week, so I hopefully I can start increasing the duration of my workouts and yoga (in between job searches and applications...oh the joys of adulthood). 

 

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Ever have one of those times where everything is a whirlwind of business and uncertainty, and you are handling everything like a champ, just getting stuff done and staying positive and on top of things, and then you slow down for five minutes and find yourself randomly crying in the shower and not wanting to do ANYTHING? Where you don't want to try, you don't want to be positive, you don't even know what you do want? That is my evening. 

 

I know I am just mentally and emotionally tired, and frustrated, and that things will be different...eventually. Always eventually. I am stuck in one of those transitional periods of life. I am hunting for a new job in a new city, a city to which I have yet to move. I don't have a lot of friends, especially in the area I am currently staying, or in the area I am moving to. The relationships I have with the people I care about are strained or a bit rocky lately. 

 

I am a person who likes control needs control. So, times like this tend to be very draining. I know they are important for growth and are an inevitable part of adventure, but that doesn't mean I have to like them, and it doesn't mean they are easy.

 

 

 

To at least attempt to end on a positive note, I finished my first book for my challenge yesterday. It has been far, FAR too long since I read a book in its' entirety in only a week.

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49 minutes ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

Ever have one of those times

 

Yes...more often than I like to admit. On the surface, I am a very positive person. But some days, I really am screaming on the inside, and I just want to fall apart. Hope your spirits are lifted soon. It doesn't last forever.

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On 1/18/2018 at 11:09 PM, Wolfen said:

 

Yes...more often than I like to admit. On the surface, I am a very positive person. But some days, I really am screaming on the inside, and I just want to fall apart. Hope your spirits are lifted soon. It doesn't last forever.

I wouldn't say that I necessarily come off as an extremely positive person on the outside, just a very stable, everything-rolls-off-my-back, take-it-all-in-a-stride kind of person. But apparently I have these annoying things called "emotions." It is nice to know that others can relate.

 

On 1/22/2018 at 8:35 AM, CallunaTook said:

Are things any better after the weekend?

 

It took more like a week for things to get better, but things have improved, yes.

 

 

 

 

 

So...this is the part where I am suppose to do a challenge update, isn't it? About that...

 

Image result for explosion gif guardians of the galaxy

^^live footage of me staying positive in the wreckage that was my challenge

 

I kinda, sorta, entirely dropped the ball with my original goals this challenge. In hindsight, I have a good idea of what went wrong. I went into this challenge without much of a plan, without really looking at my priorities for the month, and without looking at my resources. I went into this challenge still recovering from an illness and in a state of high stress. I wasn't focusing on the right issues, and eventually those issues undermined everything else. 

 

For my original goals, the only thing I am really sticking with right now is the reading. I am about 2/3 through my second book, so I should at least complete that by the end of the challenge (hopefully by the end of the month, as my real goal is to read two books per month this year). As for everything else...may I direct your attention to the background of the picture above. 

 

All that being said, I still have a progress report. During this challenge I have finally taken the time to get my stuff unpacked and organized (at least until I have to move again, since this is temporary), update and entirely revamp my resume, go through and organize the information on my laptops and get my new one set up, develop the habit of taking my vitamins and supplements consistently, practice better self-care, getting better sleep, and significantly improve my water intake (usually at least 2 liters a day), which had significantly suffered since Germany. 

 

On top of that, I have also worked on correcting my diet and my relationship with food. I have a pretty long history with disordered eating, but before I left for Germany, I was doing really well. I had improved my relationship with food so much, and I was probably at the healthiest I have been in years, both mentally and physically. While in Germany, between the high levels of stress from traveling and eating a new diet, my body started reacting negatively towards wheat and dairy (which I did not consume a lot of in the States). These two items happen to be the primary staples of the family I was staying with. Once I discovered this, I made the choice to stop eating those foods, forcing me to eat very differently from the family and making eating out far more difficult (Germany is obsessed with bread). Food and meal times became very stressful and frustrating. 

 

When I got back from Germany, it was about Christmas time. By this point I could occasionally have a little wheat and dairy without headaches that would last for 24 hours or dizziness and exhaustion, I was still trying to avoid it as much as possible to continue to allow my body to recover. Naturally this made traveling, eating out, and big family dinners with my bf's extended family a bit more challenging. During the times I was home, I was busy and not really taking the time to cook and prepare food. I wasn't eating enough, and the food that I was eating was not all that healthy. My sugar and processed food intake went up.I started catching the seasonal bugs going around. For the first time in at least 12 years, I had the stomach flu.

 

Over the past few weeks of this challenge, I have taken the time to really focus on cooking and preparing more of my food. I have worked on balancing my nutrients and increasing my fruits and vegetables. I have worked on eating more, addressing my negative emotions regarding food, and finding balance. I feel that I am approaching my pre-trip normal as far as nutrition and relationship with food is concerned, and I believe in the coming months the rest of my physical health and strength will return to, and then surpass, my pre-trip normal (as I become more active).

 

So, most of my original challenge goals have been benched for the rest of this challenge, but I have actually had a pretty productive challenge nonetheless. Going forward with the last week of this challenge, my goals are as follows:

 

Finish reading my second book

Reduce my caffeine intake (one coffee per day)

Continue limiting my sugar and processed foods/making most of my food

Continue working on finding/preparing for a new job

Keep my head up and stay positive :)

 

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43 minutes ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

but things have improved, yes.

 

Really, really glad to hear this.

 

43 minutes ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

^^live footage of me staying positive in the wreckage that was my challenge

 

At least you're adorable.

 

44 minutes ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

So, most of my original challenge goals have been benched for the rest of this challenge, but I have actually had a pretty productive challenge nonetheless.

 

I had a similar experience where I benched some of the goals and took others a little less seriously than originally intended. But progress is progress, and if it takes you even one step closer to awesome than you were before, that's a good thing (especially if some days you feel like giving up).

 

I'm still in your corner cheering you on.

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It sounds like you are taking the time to grow more in tune with yourself and what you need. Sometimes it takes a healthy dose of wisdom to know when to change course. :)  It seems to me like things are going well. 

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On 1/29/2018 at 11:57 AM, Wolfen said:

I had a similar experience where I benched some of the goals and took others a little less seriously than originally intended. But progress is progress, and if it takes you even one step closer to awesome than you were before, that's a good thing (especially if some days you feel like giving up).

 

I'm still in your corner cheering you on.

 

Thanks for the encouragement. I definitely feel like I am still making forward progress, even if it is not necessarily in the areas that I had intended at the beginning of the challenge.

 

 

5 hours ago, CallunaTook said:

It sounds like you are taking the time to grow more in tune with yourself and what you need. Sometimes it takes a healthy dose of wisdom to know when to change course. :)  It seems to me like things are going well. 

 

I have spent the last year or so really focusing on becoming more in tune with myself, and I have made a lot of progress in a lot of areas of my life because of it. 

 

 

 

So, I wrapped up my second book (Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, by Dr. Joe Dispenza, for anyone wondering). I have also started another book, so I have had lots of success building this reading habit this month. I haven't really had much sugar or processed food. I think the only sugar I am getting is in the occasional piece of dark chocolate or handful of granola. I don't really have to put a lot of effort into it at this point; I don't really crave sugary and processed foods. I also don't have a job, so I am more focused on buying nutritionally dense food instead of wasting my money on junk. I guess that is a benefit of being broke, haha. As for coffee...

 

Image result for coffee meme

I have been pretty good about limiting my coffee intake. For the last four days I have had no more than 12 oz of coffee a day. For comparison, I often drink 35-50 oz a day (the world looks different with 50oz of coffee in your veins, it is an interesting time). I have been extra tired, despite getting more sleep, and one evening I got a bit of a headache, but other than that it has been pretty easy cutting back. I am reaching the "why the heck am I doing this?" point, though. 

 

Image result for coffee meme

 

For those of you who don't know, I adore coffee. And I am also the queen of coffee. There are currently two coffee pots, a Keurig, a French press, and an espresso maker in my house. I have three years of cafe experience, a year and a half of that being with a Starbucks. I have read Howard Schultz's book, Onward, about the history of Starbucks, as well as countless articles and the history, production, types, and health benefits/risks of coffee. I am basically a walking encyclopedia of knowledge regarding coffee.

 

So, only having a small coffee once per day is actually something of a challenge for me. The hardest part about this challenge: after a few days, you don't want to succeed. Why am I even cutting back on coffee this week? On Sunday I spent a few hours in a weird daze from drinking so much coffee, and that was not the first time that week. I knew I needed to dial it way back and recalibrate.

 

I must admit, it has been nice feeling a little calmer this week. I know coffee has many health benefits, and I certainly have no intention of giving up my beloved drink, but this week has been a nice reminder that too much of a good think can still be a bad thing. 

 

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15 hours ago, StarlordPhoenix said:

I definitely feel like I am still making forward progress, even if it is not necessarily in the areas that I had intended at the beginning of the challenge.

 

Me... almost every challenge.

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