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Mike Wazowski

Mike Wazowski: Building the Habits of an Athlete

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Gonna be filling this in after some more reflection, but basically, gonna be trying to build habits I can sustain over the long term that'll support my performance as an athlete (and in my day job as an analyst, hopefully - but that's going well enough for now that it's not a pressing concern).

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Welp, I thought I had more time to navel-gaze during zero week before coming up with goals, so I guess we're gonna make week 1's goal to have goals by the end of the week. I've got some time blocked off for reflection, so it'll totally be doable because I never underestimate how long things'll take.

 

In terms of reflections on my athlete state so far, I did a rough draft of problem statements I'd want to start addressing:

  • Mental Game, Part 0: I NEED TO STOP TREATING ALLERGY MEDICATION AS OPTIONAL - I've been a raging grumpasaurus all of this past week, and it appears strongly correlated with when I ran out of "the good stuff" (Sudafed, the kind you have to buy from behind the pharma counter) and therefore wasn't able to take it. After a lunchtime trek today, my mood and energy both improved within about an hour and stayed that way. Frickin' breathing issues, why do I always fail to notice your slow onset and consistent mild to moderate discomfort?
  • Mental Game, Part 1: I want to be better at staying focused and with a positive attitude throughout practice (and noticing when that's slipped and trying to figure out why - am I hangry? Do I need to take a puff of albuterol because of asthma crap? Do I need a quick self pep talk?)
  • Mental Game, Part 2: I want to be more resilient in the face of setbacks, including both physical (like injuries) and emotional (like disappointing competition results) and keep perspective that I'm usually only aware of the highlight reels of my idols' journeys, not their whole journeys
  • Mental Game, Part 3: I want to be better at relaxing and recharging my batteries without feeling guilt over what I should be doing; I also need to get better at consistently making recharging a priority for myself, instead of letting it happen ad hoc when I have "burn it all down" moments
  • Mental Game, Part 4: I feel like I don't have the time to work on my solo personal development topics (i.e. practice solo) but TBH, at least right now, that's coming more from a lack of motivation than a true lack of time; I need to figure out how to make solo practice more consistent in my routine, especially during the summer since my college kids are completely off
  • Physical Game, Part 1: I want to be better about body maintenance - I have a few recurring injuries but a bad habit to not do any maintenance for them until they start bugging me again
  • Physical Game, Part 2: I'm starting to need more mobility - specifically in my wrists, ankles, and shoulders - to accomplish the things I'm being asked to do in lessons; additionally, I can never have too much hip mobility or trunk rotational flexibility for my genre (especially the flexibility to move my ribcage independent of my shoulder blades, it crops up EVERYWHERE)
  • Physical Game, Part 3: I want to break out of my rut of almost always feeling tired walking into practice - I know I'm not consistently getting enough sleep and need to address it
  • Physical Game, Part 4: I want to be leaner and continue developing muscle for vanity's sake, and because it plays into my "niche" as a dancer (I'm almost a caricature of "masc" physique compared to a lot of my competitors because my pecs and lats are naturally prominent and have gotten more so with strength training - but in a sport that regularly covers every inch of a dress in rhinestones, there's no such thing as "too extra" so I can keep lightly improving there); also, getting my waist as lean as it can sustainably be while I still enjoy my life will help with the "wasp waist" illusion that my costuming helps to create
  • Physical Game, Part 5: I need to figure out if my habitual under-extension of my knees (i.e. not locking them) in my cuban dances (rumba, cha cha) is coming from a lack of mobility, a strength deficit, or purely postural or technique (I suspect the last of these, but it's possible it's one of the others as well)

I'll probably start with prioritizing just a couple of those to dive deeper into, and port others over as I start feeling like I've built good habits / systems (and periodically check in with whether opportunities have shifted).

 

Obviously, that's waaaay too many problem statements to try and tackle all in one go, so naturally, I'll still bite off more than I can chew and scale back (but being aware that this is how I work is progress, yes? YES!). Thank you for attending my crazy ramblings sermon.

 

Welcome aboard, y'all!

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5 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:
  • there's no such thing as "too extra" 

 

That is the greatest thing that I have ever heard! Definitely going to steal that.

 

Great job laying out your goals. Figuring out exactly what you want, at least for me, is the hardest part. 

 

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5 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

but in a sport that regularly covers every inch of a dress in rhinestones, there's no such thing as "too extra"

 

I'm imagining rhinestones everywhere, and I'm worried. If you're bending and twisting for the dance moves and there are hard rhinestony bits in the crook of your elbow, or the back of your knee, or in your armpit... wouldn't that make for a rather crunchy and unpleasant dance? 

 

5 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Obviously, that's waaaay too many problem statements to try and tackle all in one go, so naturally, I'll still bite off more than I can chew and scale back (but being aware that this is how I work is progress, yes? YES!). Thank you for attending my crazy ramblings sermon.

 

:D If anyone can do ALL THE THINGS, you can. You can do all the things. Good luck.

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12 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

so it'll totally be doable because I never underestimate how long things'll take.

:D

I forgot.. do you have a coach?

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On 5/13/2020 at 9:40 PM, Harriet said:

I'm imagining rhinestones everywhere, and I'm worried. If you're bending and twisting for the dance moves and there are hard rhinestony bits in the crook of your elbow, or the back of your knee, or in your armpit... wouldn't that make for a rather crunchy and unpleasant dance? 

Hehe - I mean, most dresses I'm picturing are sleeveless, or use sheer sleeves, or are just more lightly stoned on the arms. And have bodice portions that end around the hip level. But it is definitely a weird adjustment getting used to how 

 

Quote

:D If anyone can do ALL THE THINGS, you can. You can do all the things. Good luck.

On 5/14/2020 at 4:22 AM, KB Girl said:

:D

:D

 

Quote

I forgot.. do you have a coach?

Yep! He's great for the dance feedback, which is why there isn't a ton dance-specific here - mostly, these are the things I need to be doing outside of dance to get the most out of my dance time.

 

4 hours ago, raptron said:

"For this challenge, I am going to focus on just everything. As usual." 😉

DUH! Can people actually take stock of all the areas of their life and find one they ARE totally satisfied with? MONSTERS, I tell you.

 

...I'm at least half kidding, kinda.

 

No major updates here - I think I might be having a sinusitis flare-up (I have a chronic pattern of sinus infections) so the plans for the next couple days are LOTS of sleep, fluids, and resting as much as I can (also, cutting way back on my coffee consumption because my sleep's been jacked up the past week plus and I'm always feeling a little on edge and I'm sure that my heavy consumption of cold brew helps neither of those things.

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@raptron, you'll be delighted to know that I'm dedicating this challenge to only one area of goals: rest and recovery! You'll also be alarmed when you see the rest of this post, because it almost certainly looks like A LOT (but big chunks of what I've written is documenting existing habits / routines, and I'm just sliding a few extra things into it).

 

When I looked back at my goals, a slight burnout / feeling of exhaustion was the urgent, screaming problem while the other stuff was more down the road or nice to have. So with that in mind, I'm really gonna focus on getting better sleep, reducing my stress levels, and taking care of my body's mobility.

 

Tentatively, here's what I've got going on for goals this challenge - and I've got a week of PTO coming up during Memorial Day week, which will be a nice booster shot of R&R to help with these burnout feelings.

 

Every Morning:

  • Wake up, ideally without an alarm, but I'll use a stop gap one to make sure I don't straight up miss the start of the work day
  • Take medications (including allergy stuff)
  • Hydrate
  • (For now) Caffeinate - I'm gonna try tapering down my coffee consumption to 0 over the coming week, going to complete 0 for my PTO week - I *think* coffee has been contributing to some sleep troubles plus maybe putting me a little more on edge, so it's time for an experiment!
  • Pray / Meditate
  • Mobilize: stretch / self-massage anything that's noticeably tight, adding in extra work on places I just wanna improve, if time
  • Walk, run, or bike outside - or pick a time later in the day to do it
  • Shower and get dressed for the day
  • Check in with email and budget (existing daily routine) plus any social media I have a burning desire to check - all on my personal computer so I start associating the work laptop only with work (plus doing whatever I want during my lunch hour)

Success Criteria:

  1. Did I take daily medications?
  2. Did I pray / meditate at some point during the day?
  3. Did I mobilize stiff / sore stuff at some point during the day?
  4. Did I move around at some point during the day?
  5. Did I get outside (or consciously decide not to) at some point during the day?

 

Every Evening (a new wind down routine):

  • Kick off my evening wind down via Alexa: the goal is that she'll set all my lights to a warm tone, then dim them over the course of an hour, ideally also while playing white noise or calming music for an hour and fifteen or something
  • Journal (optional)
  • Meditate / Pray
  • Do nighttime grooming stuff
  • Stretch / self-massage anything sore (or that I just want to mobilize extra)
  • Get under the covers, read in bed til I feel tired

Success Criteria:

  1. Did I get in bed by the time my lights dimmed out, or shortly thereafter?
  2. (the rest of the success criteria are duplicates of the morning routine)

 

During Workdays:

  • I reactivated my site blocker on my work computer, and also changed the screentime passcode on my phone because it'd gotten too automatic to override it (I'm playing with the idea of changing it weekly or monthly to keep overrides from becoming automatic); I also reconfigured some category limits, because no joke, I gave myself over 2 hours to spend on social media on Saturdays and Sundays when I was first setting that up
  • I also hope to take mobility breaks whenever I feel like I need them, since my WFH setup isn't the most ergonomical, but that's not getting tracked for now

Success criteria: 

  1. Did I honor my screentime / site block restrictions and not try to work around / bypass them? Exceptions are made if I made a legit decision to send something outgoing or look something up that needed to be done urgently.

 

 

New Habits / Projects not covered above: 

  • Order medication resupplies as soon as I take the second sheet out of the box (they come in little blister pack sheets, 2 to a box) - this gives me a week plus for shipping to happen or for me get over to the pharmacy (because one of my meds can be used in making meth, so I have to buy it in person and show photo ID - which really feels like they should find a way for me to handle that remotely)
  • During weekly planning, I'll be making sure I have at least 1-2 evenings totally free of commitments - if I'm feeling sociable, I can make plans happen ad hoc, but I don't want to feel like I *have* to muster social energy if I'm not feeling it
  • One of my 3 D&D campaigns is winding down of its own accord this week (HEIST TIME, BABY) and I'll be aiming to wind down one of the others, because I bit off more than I could chew in my excitement to play again - it was super fun, but it was also a lot of extra screen time on top of everything else (plus that was a lot of recurring social commitments on top of some lunch stuff and a recurring happy hour / book club)

Success Criteria are n/a for the above, they're just guidelines that I think will help me manage my stress levels (I will not lose sight of the ultimate goal of all these tweaks, which is to help me better manage physical, mental, and emotional stressors).

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On 5/15/2020 at 2:39 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

DUH! Can people actually take stock of all the areas of their life and find one they ARE totally satisfied with? MONSTERS, I tell you.

 

Well, no.But most of us don't try to fix all of them at once. ;) 

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On 5/17/2020 at 12:12 PM, KB Girl said:

Actually sounds pretty reasonable :) 

:) yep, it's turning out more reasonable in practice than it was in theory!

 

On 5/19/2020 at 10:26 AM, raptron said:

I laughed while scrolling.

Hehe, figured you might!

 

Quote

BUT, yes, I concede they are reasonable.

❤️ the raptron seal of approval for "your goals aren't bonkers crazypants" is more meaningful than you might realize!

 

On 5/19/2020 at 3:45 PM, miss_marissa said:

I bet typing the list out took more time than actually completing the tasks will take :) 

You are decidedly not wrong! At least if I take my bare minimum for outside walking of a walk around the block - I've been tending more towards taking a loop that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 miles and goes through some pretty parts of my neighborhood (which I'm certainly not complaining about, it's my favorite time of the morning).

 

Alright, we're about a week in to the adjusted goals! Thoughts so far:

  • I've been really good about all the morning stuff, and I'm noticing it's definitely helping keep low back and shoulder pain/tightness in check (although it's not totally gone, I suspect my WFH ergonomics are partly to blame, more on that below).
  • I've been really, really digging the time outside every morning - even on a gray day, getting outside and hearing the sound of birds (and construction, because let's be real, it's road repair season) has been good for reminding me that there's real, living, breathing life outside the walls of my apartment. It's turning out to be *the* time when I listen to podcasts, and I'm kinda liking that pairing. I might even start jogging occasionally to try it out and see if I actually enjoy it while the weather's nice (gasp, who am I?!?).
  • I've been feeling uninspired to journal, and I'm noticing that when I take the time to quietly pray and then stretch, I don't particularly feel the need to journal as I do the "brain defragging" I associate with journaling while I'm stretching in the evenings. Journaling is no longer being tracked, nor is it considered a goal.
  • I've had a couple whoopsies moments with screen time and with my lights for the wind down in the evenings, but I think I walked away with some good learnings:
    • I get really excited about D&D character creation and tweaking - it is a thing I *should* table late at night (at least in terms of thinking mechanics / researching them, thinking about flavor is totally A-OK)
    • I also get really into crosswords when I start them (I downloaded the free trial of the NYT crossword app for the daily mini puzzle then proceeded to do 3 full-size ones yesterday over the course of the day) - I've got a book of crosswords somewhere on my bookshelf that I never got super into, might get back into those and also think about if it's something I enjoy enough to be worth some sort of subscription thingy in the future.
  • I *definitely* need the PTO I have booked for next week - realized while checking in our work system that I haven't taken any time off this year other than to go to my grandpa's funeral, and I'm also starting to make some really, really basic mistakes when completing my work tasks. It's gonna be a glorious week of having almost nothing I have to do!

Basically, some room for improvement, but mostly doing well - today was my last day of consuming caffeine for the month of May, so if you don't hear from me til June, you can safely assume I've descended into a non-verbal stupor (and/or I'm just really, really enjoying a vacation week!).

 

Other random life update stuff:

  • Dance: My partner and I adjusted how we warm up to include just a basic lead-follow rep before getting into our other stuff, and it's making a huuuuuge difference in my enjoyment of the practice and how productive it feels - really helps us stay attuned to the partnering aspect that's so important to our genre!
  • Workouts: Still chugging along with strength workouts 1-3 times a week - I'm really digging the apartment gym setup I'm got going, it really doesn't feel like I'm limited at all in terms of strength training options (other than knowledge of calisthenics progressions, but thankfully there are books for that)
  • Ergonomics: I finally admitted to myself that just slapping my laptop on my desk and using the desk chair I already had (that's really a dining chair) is definitely not ideal ergonomics, so I've started making moves on that front:
    • Keyboard and mouse: I bought the wirecutter recommended bluetooth keyboard and mouse and I've been really happy with both since they arrived yesterday! Bonus: they can easily switch pairing between my work and personal computer by the push of a button, and they're portable enough that I could feasibly cart them to and from work each day without much issue
    • Laptop stand: I ordered a backordered adjustable one that I really like the look of, no clue when it'll arrive so for now I'm using the "stack of books" methods as a basic replacement. Between that and the keyboard / mouse, I'm definitely noticing an improvement in my seated posture and the strain it puts on my back
    • Chair and Desk: now that I've got the keyboard and mouse issue sorted, it's becoming really noticeable that my chair and desk are suboptimal for long periods of working - the chair isn't breathable (plastic shell), so as we get into the summer I'll need to either turn the A/C down more aggressively or start wearing less lower body clothing (i.e. working in my underwear) to avoid a sweaty bum. Additionally, the desk is a bit too tall for my seated height, so my arms aren't able to maintain that ergonomically recommended angle and instead my forearms are angled upwards (definitely not ideal). I'm mulling over a couple solutions, either alone or in combination. Given the expense and/or effort involved in each of them, I'll 
      • Splurge on an adjustable height desk (ideally one that can also be standing) - it'd be a big expense, but given a lot of other budget savings (RIP dance competition plans til at least the fall, plus I'm saving a boatload on going out to eat with friends right now) I could shuffle things around to afford it. The only downside would be finding a good home for my still quite serviceable desk, but given that I get exposed to lots of college students through coaching them, I have a suspicion I could find a good home for it
      • Splurge on an adjustable height office chair - similar considerations as the desk splurge, though it has the added benefit of being more breathable than my current chair (which I would keep as backup seating / an improvised dining chair for if / when I host people for dinner or a big gathering at my place  - I definitely have plans to host a big watch party for major dance competitions when they can happen again).
      • Get a friend who knows woodworking to help me permanently adjust my desk to be a bit shorter - I should probably do this if I plan on keeping the desk, though it's a little lo (it was an inexpensive Target purchase forever ago, so not a huuuuge loss if I end up donating it to a friend or a college student's apartment or something)
      • UPDATE: after talking through it somewhat over a zoom call with friends, I'm leaning strongly towards splurging on an adjustable desk that can double as an improvised dining room table when I have people over to eat. I'll almost certainly leverage the college students I know to find a good home for my current desk so it doesn't go to waste - it's by no means amazing, but it'll be free and totally serviceable for someone who'll only use it occasionally.
  • Hair: We've hit the "buy clippers so you can do a DIY haircut" stage of staying at home, folks. I found a YouTube video that looked like a really good guide, so I'll be playing with that once the clippers and shears I ordered come in. My first attempt will probably be a mess, but it's ok, it'll be fun to learn a new and practical skill (and the frugal side of me is getting a little too excited about the possibility of saving the expense and hassle of a haircut every month).
  • Other home stuff: Two big wins this week:
    • I HAND WHIPPED whipped cream for the first time! It was a tiny amount for some hot cocoa, but it was really cool to do from scratch without any equipment AND flavor with a pump of flavored syrup that I use in yogurt and smoothies and stuff (I lack the tools to make anything but a giant amount of whipped cream in my stand mixer except by hand, so I was very, very excited at the POC - and will almost certainly be doing hot cocoa with peppermint whipped cream once that's seasonally appropriate)
    • I finally got the reading chair I ordered for my bedroom nook, and I'm in LOVE with it. It's a LOUD yellow color and I put a patterned blue pillow on it, so it's an awesome pop of color in an otherwise drab room (between that and the plants I've added, I really really like the way my home feels like home now - I smile basically every time I walk into my bedroom during the day - the novelty will fade, but it's really feeling like my space (and funny how I'm embracing LOUD colors in my decorating now, when I used to shy away from them).
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13 minutes ago, Mike Wazowski said:
  • Hair: We've hit the "buy clippers so you can do a DIY haircut" stage of staying at home, folks. I found a YouTube video that looked like a really good guide, so I'll be playing with that once the clippers and shears I ordered come in. My first attempt will probably be a mess, but it's ok, it'll be fun to learn a new and practical skill (and the frugal side of me is getting a little too excited about the possibility of saving the expense and hassle of a haircut every month)

 

If you don't have access to a mirror you can use together with your bathroom mirror, to check what the back of your head looks like, get one of those as well. Since our eyes can't see the back of our heads, it's much easier than you would think to miss a spot when you cut your own hair like this. Husband has been doing it for years, and I usually have to get that one last spot for him.

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1 hour ago, Scalyfreak said:

If you don't have access to a mirror you can use together with your bathroom mirror, to check what the back of your head looks like, get one of those as well. Since our eyes can't see the back of our heads, it's much easier than you would think to miss a spot when you cut your own hair like this. Husband has been doing it for years, and I usually have to get that one last spot for him.

Haha don't worry, the vanity of a dancer already has me covered there!

 

Only thing that's a question mark is if the old, not especially well-maintained trimmer I have will be any good for cleaning up my hairline. If not, it's NBD, I can order one in the name of fun experiments.

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If it's a trimmer of good quality it might simply need to be thoroughly cleaned and oiled. The one Husband uses is several years old, just like the clippers, and as long as nothing gets stuck in the moving parts and the blades are kept oiled, they can last for ages.

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Oh man, you have to get it cut every month? That would be so expensive and time-consuming... learning to cut it at home should be super useful, then.


Enjoy your time off! 

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12 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Oh man, you have to get it cut every month? That would be so expensive and time-consuming... learning to cut it at home should be super useful, then.

 

Yes, a healthy person who wants to keep their hair very short needs frequent trims for upkeep. A lot of guys I know have learned to trim it themselves for just that reason.

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