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In a tale perhaps not too uncommon, I joined NF Academy a couple of years ago, was doing well for a month or two, got injured and drifted away (and ballooned up) during recovery.

 

So, anyway, for a variety of reasons I refocus and respawn a few weeks ago, starting small.  Mostly focusing on the "core" NFA quests, but also broadening my horizons with NF Yoga (which I'd gotten at the same time a couple of years ago but never actually got into).  Now, as I approach the one month mark, I've completed many of those "core" quests, and as I'm browsing through the class quests to decide what I want to do next, I just happen to see the 4-week challenge quests in the Rebel class.

 

And I think to myself, "4-week challenge?  What the...?  Were those here last time?  I don't remember them..."  Curious, I do some searching (because as much as I love NF's mission and the way it approaches life and fitness, it's websites are not exactly the best laid out things) and I stumble across these forums right in the middle of the planning week for the next challenge.  "Huh... Well... what do you know?"  For a guy who doesn't believe in fate, it's looking awfully preordained...

 

I'm in.

 

My goals:

 

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with my meals.
    • Quantify: Eat vegetables twice a day at least 5 days a week.
    • Details: I do love me some veggies, but I'm not always the best about eating them.  Especially when eating out.  To that end...
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Quantify: Limit eating out (including convenience store or supermarket deli foods) to 2 times a week.
    • Details: I also love to cook, but I am really busy and often pick up lunch at the local supermarket or convenience store because I didn't have time to cook.  Managing my time better will assist.
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Quantify: Complete my NF Academy workout 3 times per week.
    • Details: I'm currently on Level 1, but should hit my boss battle at the end of week 2.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Quantify: Meditate at least 10 minutes a day.
    • Details: I've always been interested in it, but not really done anything about it.  I'm curious to see what, if anything, meditation can add. 

 

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Checking in at the end of Day 1 (I'm based in Japan, so am about 13-14 hours from those of you running on Eastern Time).  I don't intend to do a daily update as I also keep a separate fitness blog (and don't want to double my work), but I do intend to check in periodically.  Today was a good day, overall.  It doesn't feel that different from previous days, but considering that I've been tracking food for 3 weeks, working out for 2 weeks, and doing yoga for 1 week, I suppose it isn't really that different from previous weeks.  I guess that's actually a good thing, as it means that healthy habits are being built, so yay!  Anyway, today was a good start for my first challenge.

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with my meals.
    • Complete: Kabocha eaten with lunch and dinner.
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Complete: Lunch and dinner cooked at home.
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Complete: Completed NF Academy Workout 1A, together with Level 1 NF Rings workout.
    • Bonus: Will do a NF Yoga Mini-Session today before bed.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Complete: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.

Tomorrow is a busy day (busier than usual with both a dentist's appointment and a trip to the eye doctor to renew my contact prescription before work), so I need to get my pre-bed routine done and in bed.  I hope those of you whose days are just starting have a good one.

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On 9/17/2018 at 10:33 PM, Greyson Fauchard said:

Checking in at the end of Day 1 (I'm based in Japan, so am about 13-14 hours from those of you running on Eastern Time).  I don't intend to do a daily update as I also keep a separate fitness blog (and don't want to double my work), but I do intend to check in periodically.  Today was a good day, overall.  It doesn't feel that different from previous days, but considering that I've been tracking food for 3 weeks, working out for 2 weeks, and doing yoga for 1 week, I suppose it isn't really that different from previous weeks.  I guess that's actually a good thing, as it means that healthy habits are being built, so yay!  Anyway, today was a good start for my first challenge.

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with my meals.
    • Complete: Kabocha eaten with lunch and dinner.
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Complete: Lunch and dinner cooked at home.
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Complete: Completed NF Academy Workout 1A, together with Level 1 NF Rings workout.
    • Bonus: Will do a NF Yoga Mini-Session today before bed.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Complete: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.

Tomorrow is a busy day (busier than usual with both a dentist's appointment and a trip to the eye doctor to renew my contact prescription before work), so I need to get my pre-bed routine done and in bed.  I hope those of you whose days are just starting have a good one.

 

I like the phrasing of your goals. "I'm the kind of guy who...." I think I saw something with that phrasing in the NF Academy materials, and now I want to go back and look at the goal-setting stuff again. It's also nice to add a "bonus" achievement. Great job picking achievable goals.

 

I'm also in the opposite side of the world from America time zone (South Korea). Glad to see another newbie is over here too. Good luck with your goals this week!

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"Believe that a further shore is reachable from here." --Seamus Heaney

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Thanks! 

 

To be completely honest, I'd forgotten about the Academy goal-setting "template", and was following something I'd read somewhere else in some Neuro-Linguistic Programming book (though I can't quite remember which one.) 

 

It was all about setting goals as if you are what you want to be, instead of phrasing it as wanting to be because the subconscious brain can't process wishes.  It also can't process negatives,  to the point of stripping out negatives, like if your goal is "I don't eat candy" the subconscious brain sees "I eat candy" and reaffirms it.

 

Or something like that, anyway - I read it quite a while ago, but the gist still sticks with me.

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Checking in again at the end of Day 3. 

 

I've noticed over the last week or so that my sleep habits have changed.  Previously, on going to bed at (around) midnight (though often later), I would usually wake up between 7-8 am (or later, depending on just how late I stayed up), and I'd wake up two or three times during the night to use the restroom.  And that made sense during nights after a party (when I would drink a LOT), but it was something that happened even without a party.  I mean, I'd have no trouble going to sleep, initially, and no trouble going back to sleep once my bladder was empty, but I always wondered why even when I'd only had some a glass or two of water or tea (not a few beers, a few cocktails, some sake, a couple of whiskys on the rocks and whatever else people gave me to drink) I'd have the same response.

 

I still do wonder about it, as it goes, but I'm more curious about the recent changes.  Instead, I still go to bed (firmly) by midnight, but recently I've been waking up earlier, at 6:30, and not having needed to go to the bathroom at all during the night.  In what I suspect is not entirely a coincidence, these changes both correspond to the addition of Yoga (at least a mini-session if not a full session) and meditation at night before bed, but with nothing else changing it doesn't seem to me like they cause this.  Maybe they do, though.  I feel just as rested and refreshed, though, so it's not a complaint, of course, but it is an odd difference I've noted.

 

Putting all that aside, the primary reason I'm posting today is that I completed several of my quests for NF Yoga over the last week.  To reward myself on a job well done, I decided to level up my gear.  

 

My starting equipment was... well, nothing.  My clothes, I guess?  I mean, I could do yoga naked, but I suspect my neighbors (who can see into my apartment window if they choose to look) might frown on it.  Or maybe not; I do have a sweet, sweet ass.

 

Anyway, back to the point, while you don't really need anything to do yoga apart from the will to do it, I tend to think that investing in yourself is always worthwhile.  Also, I found my feet were slipping a lot during Downward Dog.  So, I did some window shopping over the weekend to see what I could find.  Surprisingly, not much.  There's no sports shops around here that I can find, and the department stores don't really have much for yoga (apart from some cheap, shoddy mats), so Amazon here I come! 

 

And, to make a short story long, today my upgraded equipment arrived - a yoga mat and yoga blocks!  Check them out:

 

IMAG0215.thumb.jpg.c5bbbb91a9b1d52446e5bb374b1671c5.jpg

 

Tomorrow will by my first day using them, which it will also be my first day doing the Water B routine, so it'll be interesting to see how things go.

 

But that's tomorrow - focusing on today, how did I do?

  • I'm the kind of who eats vegetables with my meals.
    • Complete: Lunch included daikon and broccoli, dinner had tomatoes, avocado, red peppers and cucumber.
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Complete: Lunch and dinner were cooked at home.
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Complete: Completed NF Academy Workout 1B, together with Level 1 NF Handstand workout.
    • Bonus: Will do a NF Yoga Mini-Session today before bed.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Complete: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.

Thursdays are my busiest day, so I'm going to make sure my meals are prepped for tomorrow so I can grab it and go after yoga.  Pleasant dreams (or days) to you all!

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Like Lady Amezan, I love the idea of wording your goals around what kind of person you are. It seems like it would be more motivating than just having a checklist of chores. 

I used to wake up a lot, too, and still do if I drink alcohol. I make sure to minimise even water/tisanes in the hour before bed, and I have also started relaxation techniques. I've also reduced caffeine and temporarily quit alcohol. I'm sleeping through the night without waking, which is a huge win. I'm hoping the better sleep quality will trigger other improvements in my life, we'll have to see what happens. 

Looking forward to reading about how the yoga works out for you! 

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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It being the end of Week 1, I believe it's a good time to check in.

 

As mentioned in my previous update, I did Water B on Thursday and found it to be a bit more challenging than Water A, which I suppose is the idea.  It'll be a good thing to add to the mix.  For the next week or two I'll be alternating between Water A and Water B, growing more accustomed to them, before trying out Fire A, but today I did the Yin Yoga Stretching session and found it to be nice.  Certainly longer than either Water A or B (though about as long as the Star series), but holding those fewer poses for longer (while more difficult/bordering on but not quite reaching painful at moments) felt good (or bad in a good way, if you understand what I mean) and was almost meditative in a way.  I think I may make that my regular Sunday morning jam.

 

Speaking of meditation, I also tried a longer meditation.  For the past two weeks when I've meditated I've kept it to 10 minutes before bed and it's been good.  Yesterday, though, I decided to tackle a couple of Druid quests and do something new - a 30-minute metta meditation (3 quests with one stone - nice!) during the middle of the afternoon (in addition to a meditation after waking up and before bed).

 

It was... hmm...  yeah...  I mean, not bad, by any means, but as I went through the guided meditation, I noted that I already love myself, my life and just about everything it contains, and I always want the best for myself and work for it.  So that part of it felt like "Well, duh.  Do people actually need to be told this or tell themselves this?"  Actively wishing others well is also good, but I also already do that, too (though admittedly not as much as I love and wish myself well).  Despite having never heard of it before seeing it in the Druid quest list, I guess I'm more metta (*snicker*) than I thought.

 

Another thing I noted was that my head felt weird after meditating for 30 minutes.  Not bad, just... different.  Like my brain was full.  It passed after a few minutes, but I'm curious if it'll happen again.  It didn't happen during the nightly session, but I might try a different kind of meditation for 30 minutes and see what happens then.

 

In other news, I stepped on the scale for my weigh-in this morning and found I was down 1.2 kg, which means I'm down 4.6 kg from my peak this time last month.  (*A Link To The Past item fanfare*) Sadly, while I will be able to follow-up on this next week (including a bunch of other details as it will be a "full" measurement day), that will also mark the start of the "Don't Weigh Yourself #2" quest, meaning that the next time I take my measurements will be on the last Sunday of October, well after this challenge has ended. (*shrug*)

 

After that, I'll have to decide how often I want to do weigh-ins, but I think it'll depend (at least in part) on my results for October.  I may keep it to once a month (along with the other parts of the "full" measurement day), I may do it weekly, or may also connect it in some way to future 4-week challenges.  We shall see.  But that is for the future.

 

As for my goals in the now, how did I do this week in review?

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with his meals.
    • Goal: Eat vegetables twice a day at least 5 days a week.
    • Result: Both lunch and dinner every day included vegetables. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Goal: Limit eating out (including convenience store or supermarket deli foods) to 2 times a week.
    • Result: Did not eat out at all this week. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Goal: Complete my NF Academy workout 3 times per week.
    • Result: NFA Level 1 workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday. WEEKLY WIN!
    • Bonus: Full NF Yoga sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.  Mini-sessions daily.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Goal: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.
    • Result: Meditated for 10 minutes every day before bed. WEEKLY WIN!
    • Bonus: 3 meditation sessions on Saturday, including a 30-minute session in the afternoon.

Anyway, it's been a good end to a good week, so now it's time to get my game on.  To those of you starting your days (and finishing your weeks), best of luck to you!

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Nice job, I'd also forgot the wording part of the Academy...might have to dust that stuff off again!

Welcome to the Rebellion! 

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for

Current: RES: SET but not always ready

Spoiler

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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Still alive and kicking as of the end of Week 2, so I felt it was best I should check in.

 

This has been a bit of a rollercoaster of a week in terms of work and home life, with various problems cropping up.  I won't bore you with details, as the problems aren't that special; we all get problems, it's just that dealing with them makes it hard to stick to the plan.  I mention it only because this is the first time (as I was starting week 4 of this crazy little journey) that anything's really come up that interferes with it.  I wouldn't say the previous weeks were easy, just there was nothing complicating things.

 

Just the same, this last week has reminded me of my favorite book.  I don't know if any of you have read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, but it's the one book I find myself returning to once or twice a year.  And despite having read it 20 times or more, I still find it wraps me up and gives me all the feels.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

 

One of the core ideas of the story is the idea of following your heart and chasing your dreams - that if you truly desire something, the whole universe conspires with you to help you accomplish your goals.  BUT, it won't just give it to you.  Instead it tends to follow a pretty simple pattern:

  1. Some early success (i.e. "Beginner's Luck") to encourage you to achieve your dreams and set you off on your way.
  2. Trials and tribulations to ensure you're worthy of achieving your goals.  Unfortunately, these periodic trials are what send many people astray, bogging them down and ensuring they never realize their dreams.  While this could be problems or setbacks, it could come in the form of just a long period of time with no success or even progress, or even come in the form of success (fear of losing what you have gained keeping you in place instead of moving you forward).
  3. For those who push through their trials and tribulations, though, sees the culmination of all of your effort as everything begins to fall in place - the more your listen to your heart and push through adversity, the surer your steps along your path and those things that once rose in your path to stop you fall away until, ultimately, you achieve your dream.

This philosophy is one that resonates with me, and I suppose the reason I come back to the book time and again is that it was the book that put words to those stray thoughts.  As such, I tend to wonder if this week of troubles is the universe challenging me - testing me to see if I'm now worthy of reaching my goals; trip me up, throw obstacles in my way, and otherwise push me to the breaking point to see if I do give up, or if I've gained the strength and wisdom to see things through.

 

Of course, this could all be the work of an active imagination, but I like the thematic feel of it.

 

Because of that, I do feel like I've accomplished something, as despite the troubles and complications this week has brought, I pushed through and kept going:

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with his meals.
    • Goal: Eat vegetables twice a day at least 5 days a week.
    • Result: Both lunch and dinner every day included vegetables. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Goal: Limit eating out (including convenience store or supermarket deli foods) to 2 times a week.
    • Result: Did not eat out at all this week. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Goal: Complete my NF Academy workout 3 times per week.
    • Result: NFA Level 1 workouts Monday and Wednesday, with the Level 1 Boss Battle on Saturday . WEEKLY WIN!
    • Bonus: Full NF Yoga sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.  Mini-sessions daily.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Goal: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.
    • Result: Meditated for 10 minutes every day before bed. WEEKLY WIN!

All told, while the workouts were not necessarily complete (no warm-up on one, only two sets instead of three on another), I kept moving, kept working and came out ahead, and my eating plan was on point.  I feel like, while this week was more of a challenge than the previous three weeks, I could do it again if I had to (and I almost certainly will), so I feel like I've overcome the first hurdle (of probably many) as I work to achieve my fitness goals.

 

As a final note, I stepped on the scale this morning and found that I was down 1 kg from last week, for a total of 5.6 kg from the end of August. (*A Link To The Past item fanfare*)  As noted last week, this is the last week of weekly weigh-ins (for at least 1 month, and potentially longer), so I won't be able to report on this in the final two weeks of the challenge, but success breeds success, so as long as I stay on point, I'm going to assume a ~1 kg decrease in weight each week.

 

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Wow, despite your difficult week, you won every quest! Awesome results!

 

I love your explanation of the book into tiny little bits. You've inspired me to think that my plateau with the weights isn't happening because I am innately weak, it's just the spirits of the iron testing my persistence to see if I am worthy. And I am. I will woo them with sheer obstinacy! 

 

giphy.gif?cid=3640f6095bb113315239673273

 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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We're into the home stretch, so it's time to check in!

 

This week started out great, and then those trials just kept coming.  In fairness, though, this one was my own damn fault. 

 

As a part of my nutrition program, I've been doing Intermittent Fasting, and it's been good so far.  My feasting window is from 1pm to 9pm, and I've been good about it - I do occasionally eat past 9pm, but only because the meal started just before nine.  Once that meal is finished, though, I'm done eating, and most days I'm done well before 9pm, so I'm happy with my compliance.

 

To be fair, I was never much of a breakfast person (apart from during holidays, when a big American, country-style breakfast always hits the spot), so I suppose that many days I was already, unintentionally doing IF.  Anyway, this occasionally conflicts with work - for my position, I typically works afternoons and evenings, which isn't so much of a problem as work usually falls during that time (helpful to keep me from eating due to boredom), and there's generally an hour or two on either side for eating.

 

The problem comes on Thursdays, because Thursdays I work from 1 pm to 9 pm.  Now, there are breaks during where I can still eat (however quickly), but for the last few weeks more work has been falling into my laps during those break times on Thursday.  This week was bad enough to the point where during the course of Thursday I was only able to eat about 1000 calories between 1 pm and 9 pm, which, not healthy, yeah, a man my size should be eating double that (and I generally do).  But, in the grand scheme, it shouldn't be a big deal - right?  One accidental ultra-low calorie day?  Big whoop.


That night, getting home, though, I was surprised at how lethargic I was - no energy at all.  It was crash into bed, meditate and sleep.  Not a big deal, but Friday morning I was just as tired and so I made sure to eat a big lunch, ate dinner after work and was still too tired to do my proper workout.  Fortunately, by Saturday I was fine and was able to do my workout and a Yoga session, but it made clear just how vital regular eating is.

 

On the plus side, after this week the Thursday work will be slowing down so I'll be able to eat properly on Thursdays - I'll just have to figure out something for this final week of the challenge, because I don't want to go through that again if I can help it.  And I can.

 

Otherwise, things are going well now, and I'm feeling fine, so I'm thinking this final week will be, well, not easy, but certainly do-able.

 

Anyway, how did I do this week on my goals?

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with his meals.
    • Goal: Eat vegetables twice a day at least 5 days a week.
    • Result: Both lunch and dinner every day (well, just lunch on Thursday) included vegetables. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Goal: Limit eating out (including convenience store or supermarket deli foods) to 2 times a week.
    • Result: Working lunch on Friday, otherwise all food was prepared by me. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Goal: Complete my NF Academy workout 3 times per week.
    • Result: NFA Level 2 workouts Monday and Wednesday and Saturday. WEEKLY WIN!
    • Bonus: Full NF Yoga sessions on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Mini-sessions daily.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Goal: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.
    • Result: Meditated for 10 minutes every day before bed. WEEKLY WIN!

And on to the final week of this challenge!

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1 hour ago, Greyson Fauchard said:

We're into the home stretch, so it's time to check in!

 

This week started out great, and then those trials just kept coming.  In fairness, though, this one was my own damn fault. 

 

As a part of my nutrition program, I've been doing Intermittent Fasting, and it's been good so far.  My feasting window is from 1pm to 9pm, and I've been good about it - I do occasionally eat past 9pm, but only because the meal started just before nine.  Once that meal is finished, though, I'm done eating, and most days I'm done well before 9pm, so I'm happy with my compliance.

 

To be fair, I was never much of a breakfast person (apart from during holidays, when a big American, country-style breakfast always hits the spot), so I suppose that many days I was already, unintentionally doing IF.  Anyway, this occasionally conflicts with work - for my position, I typically works afternoons and evenings, which isn't so much of a problem as work usually falls during that time (helpful to keep me from eating due to boredom), and there's generally an hour or two on either side for eating.

 

The problem comes on Thursdays, because Thursdays I work from 1 pm to 9 pm.  Now, there are breaks during where I can still eat (however quickly), but for the last few weeks more work has been falling into my laps during those break times on Thursday.  This week was bad enough to the point where during the course of Thursday I was only able to eat about 1000 calories between 1 pm and 9 pm, which, not healthy, yeah, a man my size should be eating double that (and I generally do).  But, in the grand scheme, it shouldn't be a big deal - right?  One accidental ultra-low calorie day?  Big whoop.


That night, getting home, though, I was surprised at how lethargic I was - no energy at all.  It was crash into bed, meditate and sleep.  Not a big deal, but Friday morning I was just as tired and so I made sure to eat a big lunch, ate dinner after work and was still too tired to do my proper workout.  Fortunately, by Saturday I was fine and was able to do my workout and a Yoga session, but it made clear just how vital regular eating is.

 

On the plus side, after this week the Thursday work will be slowing down so I'll be able to eat properly on Thursdays - I'll just have to figure out something for this final week of the challenge, because I don't want to go through that again if I can help it.  And I can.

 

Otherwise, things are going well now, and I'm feeling fine, so I'm thinking this final week will be, well, not easy, but certainly do-able.

 

Anyway, how did I do this week on my goals?

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with his meals.
    • Goal: Eat vegetables twice a day at least 5 days a week.
    • Result: Both lunch and dinner every day (well, just lunch on Thursday) included vegetables. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Goal: Limit eating out (including convenience store or supermarket deli foods) to 2 times a week.
    • Result: Working lunch on Friday, otherwise all food was prepared by me. WEEKLY WIN!
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Goal: Complete my NF Academy workout 3 times per week.
    • Result: NFA Level 2 workouts Monday and Wednesday and Saturday. WEEKLY WIN!
    • Bonus: Full NF Yoga sessions on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Mini-sessions daily.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Goal: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.
    • Result: Meditated for 10 minutes every day before bed. WEEKLY WIN!

And on to the final week of this challenge!

 

What an awesome series of wins! btw, I enjoyed reading about your experiment with metta meditation in week 2. It's much harder for some of us to feel goodwill towards the world, so maybe you're just a natural! I try to do some metta meditation each week, but it's so much harder for me than any other kind. 

 

I hope week 4 you can finish strong and get some cool XP and loot!

"Believe that a further shore is reachable from here." --Seamus Heaney

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Sounds like more awesome wins, plus you learned something about how your body responds to food/lack of it, so that's an education win that will help you plan future Thursdays. 

 

Any insights on how the meditation is working out? I'm curious about whether you can feel a difference immediately, or whether it takes some time to see the benefits. 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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5 hours ago, Harriet said:

Sounds like more awesome wins, plus you learned something about how your body responds to food/lack of it, so that's an education win that will help you plan future Thursdays. 

 

Any insights on how the meditation is working out? I'm curious about whether you can feel a difference immediately, or whether it takes some time to see the benefits. 

 

To be completely honest, I'm not really sure what effects meditation is supposed to have, but I can talk about what I have experienced.  So, fair warning - my results may or may not be typical.

 

I can't really speak to long-term benefits or effects as I've only been doing this for a month, but I have noticed some immediate benefits.  First, it is generally very relaxing.  I meditate for 10 minutes right before bed, and I've noticed that I fall asleep almost immediately.  Now, prior to meditation I would still fall asleep pretty quickly, but I have noticed that I'm now out within a minute or two of my head hitting the pillow instead of maybe five to ten minutes (or sometimes longer).

 

I also notice my own thoughts a little more.  Instead of the usual background patter of the voices in my head asking random questions, or making random statements, that running monologue in my head has mostly calmed to a single voice - my voice, telling me that I love myself, that I'm doing good, and that we're happy as we work in partnership towards a better future.  Oh, those random thoughts are still there from time to time, but I now notice them and see them from a distance, and instead of being distracted by them, I let them go.

 

As such, it is easier (not, you know, a lot easier, but it's getting easier little by little) to focus on things.

 

That's what I've noticed thus far - I don't know if that's what's supposed to happen or if that's all that happens or if more will happen.  I'm curious to see what will happen, though, so I'll keep it up.

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Thanks for the insights! Relaxation, focus, and calming the runaway thoughts all sounds like really good outcomes. It's also interesting that it helps you fall asleep. I've been doing a sort of relaxation/meditation routine in bed, which means if it's successful in helping me sleep, I don't really get the benefits of mindfulness. Maybe I would still get the benefits of helping me sleep if I meditate properly, before bed. 

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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And we've reached the end of this, my first Challenge.

 

I'm happy to report I was able to finish strong, if not entirely according to plan.  And I think that's more important, because life gets in the way.  There's no way (shy of becoming some sort of mountain hermit) to completely isolate yourself and dedicate yourself to a plan or lifestyle (and even if you did become a mountain hermit, it's probably iffy...)

 

What do I mean?  Well, this has been a busy and eventful week, but through it all, I was able to accomplish my goals with some adjustments for life "getting in the way".  For instance, Monday was a national holiday here in Japan (Sports Day, to be precise), and while Mondays are typically a NF Academy Workout Day, I was out on a date where we spent the day walking and seeing the sights in the beautiful city of Kobe.  Over the course of that day, we walked over 10 km, and so while I wasn't able to do my planned workout, I still got in a great deal of exercise.  Similarly, today (normally a rest day with some Yoga to stay active) had my school's Halloween Party, complete with trick or treating around the neighborhood.  Over the course of the day, that involved another 6 km of walking.  I consider those to be wins in the true sense - not that I was able to meet a superficial goal (do an NFA Workout or Yoga), but that I was able achieve the ends through other means (the ultimate point).

 

And - as others have noted before and will most certainly note again - that's the important thing; building and following through on habits and following the spirit of those habits (when the letter of it isn't quite feasible.)  It does leave me feeling positive about my continued performance, as now, at the end of week 6 of this journey, I feel like I'm changing for the better.


And on that note, on to the results:

  • I'm the kind of guy who eats vegetables with his meals.
    • Goal: Eat vegetables twice a day at least 5 days a week.
    • Result: Both lunch and dinner every day included vegetables. WEEKLY WIN!  (AND MONTHLY WIN!)
  • I'm the kind of guy who cooks most of his food.
    • Goal: Limit eating out (including convenience store or supermarket deli foods) to 2 times a week.
    • Result: Ate out on Monday with my date, otherwise all food was prepared by me. WEEKLY WIN! (AND MONTHLY WIN!)
  • I'm the kind of guy who exercises regularly.
    • Goal: Complete my NF Academy workout 3 times per week.
    • Result: NFA Level 2 workouts Wednesday and Saturday and a 10km walk on Monday. WEEKLY WIN! (AND MONTHLY WIN!)
    • Bonus: Full NF Yoga session on Saturday.
  • I'm the kind of guy who takes a moment.
    • Goal: Will meditate for 10 minutes before bed.
    • Result: Meditated for 10 minutes every day before bed. WEEKLY WIN! (AND MONTHLY WIN!)

Do I eat out?  Yeah, sometimes, but I make healthy choices when I do.

Do I exercise?  Absolutely.  I may not do a prescribed workout, but I'm staying active.

Do I enjoy forbidden foods?  Hah - trick question.  To paraphrase one of my favorite games, "Nothing is forbidden.  Everything is permitted."  But, yes, I do enjoy a treat once every week or two, which I track and which, with an otherwise healthy diet of whole foods, is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

And that's the lesson I've learned at the end of this 4-week challenge; Life doesn't get in the way, life simply shows us our options. We get to choose what those options are at the price of accepting the consequences.  Maybe that means that sometimes we don't do what we planned, but we still get to do something that brings us closer to our goals.  Doing so makes us winners.

 

And for all of us who remember that, going forward, I think we're all winners.

 

The next question is what to do going forward.  Not so much about lifestyle - eating well and staying active are things I want to do now.  More to the point, do I do the next challenge or not?  I've completed the NFA quest, which was the whole impetus for my joining this first challenge.  I have my long term goals, but are there other things I would like to work on for another challenge?  There's always room for improvement, but it requires some thought as to what I would want to make my targets for another challenge.  Just the same, I guess I've got a week to think about it.

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Wooo, look at you, hitting all your targets!

 

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I totally agree with your attitude about the spirit versus the letter of the goals. I've been deviating from my plan occasionally when we have social outings. However, this makes me more motivated to be strict when I'm at home alone because I want to have a good average for the week and I know there's always something coming up where it's practically obligatory to eat "treat" foods. As for the next challenge, did you find it motivating and not too burdensome to post here? I personally found I was a bit more consistent knowing that I'd come back and tell everyone how the challenge went. I'm already thinking of more wins I can stack on top of this month's.

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Great job! As far as future challenges go, I think they are designed in a lot of ways for those who may need extra encouragement, or who don't have a solid support system. Good luck with whatever you decide!

 

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for

Current: RES: SET but not always ready

Spoiler

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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