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theflyingaccountant

Respawned: Building the Habit

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8 hours ago, analoggirl said:

Hmm, not sure if this helps any but in the rare times I want to drink alcohol - I'm not bragging - & it's beer, I tend to drink less when I think of how 1 beer = 1 sandwich, so I can't eat as much of the tasty beer snacks (or something like that). It's liquid bread, and there are more fun things to have than that? 

 

It is quite expensive isn't it. I also had this thing for a while where I wanted to try ALL The flavours. Bad times for the wallet.

 

Your respawn looks good. The fact that you came back even better. Just keep doing it, your brain might adjust if only to make you stop nagging at it :p Well, I don't know if that works for you. TL;DR - Wooht!

 

Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, I know that beer has lots of calories, but it's that "try ALL the flavours" part that gets me.

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Day 2 Progress Report:

 

The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 5 minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 2

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Hang from the bar for a maximum of 5 seconds after I get home from work.

Squats done: 0

Time hung from bar: 5s

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 5+ minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: Yes.
 

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5 minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1+

 

Made a tweak to secondary habit 2. In the interest of working on my whole body and not getting in the habit of doing squats every day, I decided to tweak it to an a-day, b-day approach so that I alternate squats and bar hangs. Not going to stress too much about it if I end up doing two a-day's in a row or vice versa.The objective is to do something with my body every day. But this should break up the monotony of the same exercise every day a little bit.

 

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Gonna have to take little bites out of that piano goal today. Been trying to learn to play scales with hands together since I hear that's one of the most effective ways to develop hand independence. The problem is that my right hand is literally locking up once I get to the top of the second octave--to the point where I can't even strike the keys with my pinky or ring finger. They won't budge.

 

I think it's because I've been spending too much time on the computer lately. My shoulders and upper back have also been hella tight and I've got a little bit of neck pain, so I'm inclined to think that all of these are related.

 

Gonna see if I can take a lacrosse ball to my arms / shoulders. May even try talking my wife into seeing if she can find any knots in there.

 

Also gonna take a rest from the computer for a little while. Maybe something in all of that will help.

 

Worst case scenario, it's a bonus habit, so if I miss it, no harm done.

 

Edit: Lacrosse ball worked, and I was able to get another 2 and a half minutes in. Not gonna push it much farther than that, and aside from updating the challenge tonight to record any drinks that I have, I'm calling it a night from all things computer-related so my hand / shoulder can rest up.

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Good to hear the lacrosse ball worked, tight back/neck can definitely cause issues in your hands.

 

Another suggestion I have is to have a look at your posture, if you are spending lots of time at the computer hunched over the source of the problem back actually be the front of the shoulders. By hunching it will shorten the muscles in the front of your shoulder and cause your back to feel tight over a period of time. Maybe  try stretching the front of your shoulders out too. 

 

Lie face down on the ground with one arm outstretched perpendicular to your body and roll towards it until you feel a stretch in your shoulder/pectorial area, repeat for the other side.

 

Hope that helps

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8 minutes ago, Psykamaholik said:

Good to hear the lacrosse ball worked, tight back/neck can definitely cause issues in your hands.

 

Another suggestion I have is to have a look at your posture, if you are spending lots of time at the computer hunched over the source of the problem back actually be the front of the shoulders. By hunching it will shorten the muscles in the front of your shoulder and cause your back to feel tight over a period of time. Maybe  try stretching the front of your shoulders out too. 

 

Lie face down on the ground with one arm outstretched perpendicular to your body and roll towards it until you feel a stretch in your shoulder/pectorial area, repeat for the other side.

 

Hope that helps

 

I'mma def try that. Thanks!

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Day 3 Progress Report:

 

The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 3+ minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 3

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Hang from the bar for a maximum of 5 seconds after I get home from work.

Squats done: 1+

Time hung from bar: 0s

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 5+ minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: yes.
 

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5+ minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1+

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Day 4 Progress Report:

 

The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 3+ minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 2

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Hang from the bar for a maximum of 5 seconds after I get home from work.

Squats done: 0

Time hung from bar: 5s

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 5+ minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: Yes.
 

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5+ minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1

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Not much to say these days. Still truckin' along, I guess.

 

Day 5 Progress Report:

 

The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 5 minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 2

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Hang from the bar for a maximum of 5 seconds after I get home from work.

Squats done: 1+

Time hung from bar: 0s

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 5 minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: Yes.
 

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5 minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1+

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One of my Master Quests is to get a pilot's licence. If I ever get that far, I may come back here for pointers.

 

When you go to Italy, you'll know that you've got the accent down if they actually reply to you in Italian. When I went to France, I would order food in French, but they would invariably reply in English. Do you know anyone who speaks Italian?

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Day 5 Progress Report:

 

Tweaking Supporting Effort #2. I don't think the bar hang is doing much for me at this point, so I'm changing Level 1b to a minimum of 1 pushup.

  

The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 0 minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 2

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Do one pushup after I get home from work.

Squats done: 0

Pushups done: 1+

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 5+ minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: Yes.
  

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5+ minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1+

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3 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

One of my Master Quests is to get a pilot's licence. If I ever get that far, I may come back here for pointers.

 

When you go to Italy, you'll know that you've got the accent down if they actually reply to you in Italian. When I went to France, I would order food in French, but they would invariably reply in English. Do you know anyone who speaks Italian? 

 

If you ever get that far, I'mma need you to pass on some of those pointers to me. ;)

 

Don't have my pilot's license yet, either, so it looks like we've both got the same goal.

 

I actually don't know anyone who speaks Italian. The best I have are a couple of guys I work with who went there once or twice, but that's about it.

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8 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

When I went to France, I would order food in French, but they would invariably reply in English

 Way to nothelp people learn :p Hope you find a conversation partner

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Hello fellow finance professional!

 

Good luck with the challenge, you’re rocking it so far!

 

How are you finding the piano?  I’ve always said it’s the thing I’m going to learn in my 60’s to stave off Altzheimers! but honestly I think it would be super tough for me to get beyond chopsticks even now!

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3 hours ago, Quirky Quinn said:

Hello fellow finance professional!

 

Good luck with the challenge, you’re rocking it so far!

 

How are you finding the piano?  I’ve always said it’s the thing I’m going to learn in my 60’s to stave off Altzheimers! but honestly I think it would be super tough for me to get beyond chopsticks even now!

 

Well hello back! Though, these days, I'm not doing much in the finance realm. Mostly just SOC reports for now.

 

As for the piano, I'm tellin' ya. I'm probably averaging around 10 minutes a day tops, and I'm already seeing some improvement in my abilities. Right now, I'm just working through a book called "Scales Bootcamp," and I'm not really doing any songs yet, but I'm already getting to where I can play at relatively decent speeds with hands together. That's my goal for now-Just get the muscle memory and coordination down first. It's definitely helping to just sit down at the thing every day, even if it's only for about 5 to 10 minutes.

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16 hours ago, analoggirl said:

 Way to nothelp people learn :p Hope you find a conversation partner

 

There was a little restaurant a short walk from the gîte that we went to a lot. It was owned by a couple and the wife was front-of-house/waitress and she always answered me in English when I ordered in French. Imagine my dismay when I learned towards the end of our visit that she and her husband were Dutch!

 

Part of the way through the trip I read something that said I should try to mimic Inspector Clouseau if I wanted to be understood. It sounded silly but it worked! Faces went from confusion to comprehension.

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21 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

I actually don't know anyone who speaks Italian. The best I have are a couple of guys I work with who went there once or twice, but that's about it. 

 

I think there's definitely value in listening to good quality Italian podcasts/online radio. Their annunciation should be relatively clear (apart from the phone-ins). When you repeat the Duolingo words, try to mimic the accent from the podcasts

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Day 6 Progress Report:

 

Yeah, yesterday not so much. But I had a wonderful evening hanging out with the wife. We cooked dinner together, had some wine, and sat in the club chairs listening to Carole King. So, still a wonderful night in my opinion.



The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 5+ minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 4

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Do one pushup after I get home from work.

Squats done: 0

Pushups done: 0

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 0 minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: No.
  

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 0 minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1+

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20 minutes ago, The Hero of Time said:

 

I think there's definitely value in listening to good quality Italian podcasts/online radio. Their annunciation should be relatively clear (apart from the phone-ins). When you repeat the Duolingo words, try to mimic the accent from the podcasts

 

I am definitely stealing that idea. Originally, once I got deep into it, my plan was to start watching Italian kids' shows on YouTube, but come to think of it, that approach may work better. Thanks!

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Day 7 Progress Report:

 

Got my piano and duolingo wins in early. Went well over 5 minutes for the piano mainly because I had such a hard time on the C scale doing hands together. The goal for that one lesson is to be able to do the scale in four octaves twice without stopping and without making mistakes at 150 bpm. I can do the scale at that speed, but I've noticed, after a while, that I get stuck in my head and stop paying attention to what my fingers are doing, so they get tripped up. Like, my mind literally wanders to other stuff and I lose track of where I am. It's almost the identical problem that I face with meditation, maybe with the exception that 1-In meditation, that's pretty much baked into the process and 2-I'm not having to simultaneously walk two hands up a keyboard.

 

I did finally manage to hit that goal of four octaves twice at 150 bpm with both hands, so there.



The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 5+ minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 4

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Do one pushup after I get home from work.

Squats done: 1+

Pushups done: 0

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 5 minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: Yes.
  

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5+ minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 1+

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12 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

I did finally manage to hit that goal of four octaves twice at 150 bpm with both hands, so there.


Awesome. These basics will really serve you well when you're playing songs later. 

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Day 8 Progress Report:

 

Yesterday was not a good day for the beer goal. Nothing to say for myself except that I just decided not to implement some of the techniques that I'd been practicing. It's kind of a bummer to see all of that green and then the one line of red up there.

 

Oh well. Today's a new day. Time to get it.

 

The War:

Get a private pilot's license and have enough money to be able to enjoy it.

 

The Financial Campaign:

1. Build up a minimum non-retirement savings of $20,000.

 

The Physical Campaign:

2. Keep my body healthy so that I can enjoy flying as I get older.

 

Main Effort: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Meditation time: 3+ minutes.

 

Supporting Effort 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Drinks consumed: 3

 

Supporting Effort 2. Do things with my body every day.

Level 1a: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell after I get home from work.

Level 1b: Do one pushup after I get home from work.

Squats done: 0

Pushups done: 1+

 

Supporting Effort 3. Establish a daily study habit.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Study time: 0 minutes

 

Bonus Habit 1.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Budget updated: No.
  

Bonus Habit 2.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Playing time: 5+ minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 3.

Level 1: Study one Duolingo Italian lesson

Lessons studied: 0

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13 hours ago, Harriet said:


Awesome. These basics will really serve you well when you're playing songs later.  

 

That's what I keep hearing. For now, I just want to get the muscle memory down so I don't have to think so much about where my fingers are going, and the scales are definitely helping for that.

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Guess this is probably as good a time as any for an introspective. We've got, what, two weeks until the challenge is done?

 

Right now, what I'm rolling around is the "why" behind all of this. Sure, I can make myself better, faster, richer, smarter, more organized, more efficient, etc.

 

But why?

 

Back in the late '00's, I got into some of the "minimalism" and Zen Habits-type blogs. The message that kept sticking with me was a message that said that corporate culture will suck you dry and turn you into a cog in the machine. That squeezing every little bit of productivity out of my day would rot my psyche, and the proper way to live would be to "live the simple life" and become one with nature. To eschew those trappings of the corporate life.

 

The perfectly curated life was to be an anathema to true spiritual peace. Money is bad for you. Desiring things is bad for you. One should be anti-materialistic. What is most important is to be spiritually centered. What's most important is to be holy.

 

I guess that message rung true for me because it spoke to my own beliefs growing up in the South about what it meant to be "holy." I was raised Southern baptist in a small, country community on the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The good life looked like a farm to me. No fancy audit reports. No huge buildings or shared office spaces or self-driving cars. Old rusty plows. Honeysuckle. Homemade ice cream. Fall festivals.

 

But when I examine those beliefs I have about my past, I have to conclude that all of my memories are distorted. Even assuming that my memories themselves are accurate (not very likely considering the tendency that the mind has to fill in blanks to provide for a coherent narrative), there's so many angles of my childhood I never got to see. My childhood experiences are the way that they were because the adults around me walled out most of the painful parts about growing up in the 80's and 90's in Georgia. It would be practically impossible for me to recreate the world that I knew as a kid.

 

If that's even what I want, that is. It's one guess as to why I feel this persistent dissatisfaction with my life.

 

The problem is that I can't even point to any one thing and say "I don't like this thing because it's X. I want it to be more Y." I can't do that.

 

Instead, what it feels like is just a dull ache. Things are not perfect enough for me. So I'm dissatisfied.

 

And that dissatisfaction takes me to this question: Why bother?

 

Why change? Why put in the work to learn to play piano or to be successful in my job?

 

Suppose I put in all of this work, and finally, for ten years out of my life, maybe in my 50's or 60's, I get to really enjoy what's left of my youth before...

 

Okay then. Now I've got something to unpack.

 

Is that what I think it means to grow old?

 

You work work work work work then have fun for a little bit and then your body falls apart and that's it?

 

It sounds so utterly bleak. Like I'm scaling this huge mountain only to celebrate my triumph once I reach the summit, and then take a flying leap off into oblivion.

 

There has to be much more to life than a tiny flash of joy embedded in a huge pile of struggle.

 

There is more to life than that. It's a hard sell for me, though. I've spent so much of my life expecting the worst--waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't look for the good things. I look for the awful things. That way, when I see one, I can point at it and say "See? I was right!"

 

That's the voice that I'm working against when I'm doing this challenge. He's the guy who just says over and over that it's pointless and I'm just wasting my time because, no matter what, the end result is that we all end the same way. Some days, the voice is easy to ignore. Some days, it's not.

 

Only thing I can do is keep going. One foot in front of the other.

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...and as usual, sometimes all it takes to get my mind right is a quick shower.

 

It's the present moment. That's what matters.

 

I'm wrong about the past. I'm most certainly wrong about the future.

 

I'm probably also wrong about the present, but at least I'm in the present right now.

 

And what about this work stuff, hm? I click my mouse and press buttons on my keyboard in a video game, and it's called "play" and I do it for hours. I click my mouse and press buttons in a different setting, and it's called "work."

 

Press whichever keys on my piano at whatever tempo I like? Play. Press specific keys at a specific tempo that's hard to me? Work.

 

What am I really looking for? Is it joy? Or is it just comfort?

 

Welp. I thought I had a brilliant insight, at least. Still back to the same old place: Getting my mind to cooperate with itself.

 

Anyway, this is as good a place as any to bring things back to the challenge itself.

 

Do I feel like any of these habits are automatic? No.

 

They're definitely easy enough to knock out, though. I'm noticing improvement in several of the areas that they touch.

 

Not so much in the health realm. Let's be honest: 1 squat per day with the empty bar ain't gonna do nothing. I'm definitely making some notes for future challenges.

 

Part of the problem is that there's no routine to any of this. But I'm also incredibly resistant to putting together any sort of routine. Part of it's an "if I have a routine, then I won't be fun and spontaneous. I'll just be the sort of stick in the mud that always has to wake up at exactly the same time, brush his teeth at exactly the same time, etc." Part of it is that I just don't think it's something I can do.

 

Which isn't true either. I've kept a routine. I've gotten up at 5 am in the morning before.

 

But then, after a while, my mind kicks in and talks me out of it. Next thing you know, I'm back to waking up at 7.

 

So what did we learn from all of this?

 

Nothing much. 'Cept that it's all in my head.

 

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Good going!

 

& You already said so before. I will paraphrase probably. You cannot work on something you have not defined. And to define something, you usually need data. And so you write down your thoughts. And maybe see a pattern.

 

A dude a long time ago said something I found incredibly annoying in high school:

 

"The purpose of life is to live life with a purpose."

 

It sounded like he was trying to be deep and failing. But it kind of makes sense to me now. So if you like the thought, maybe in the future as well, here you go.

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