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Andromeda Blows Up the Evening Death Star


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Cheers, fellow nerds!  This is my third challenge - this year, and over here on the NF boards.  I’m slowly getting more comfortable with the format, though logging in regularly is still a challenge for me.  

My first two challenges ranged pretty widely across categories - some nutrition goals, some exercise goals, some mindset and sleep goals.   

Not this time!  Nope, this time, I’m like Luke Skywalker piloting into a narrow canyon hoping to hit a tiny target to blow up the Death Star.  This time, I’m going to turn my attention 100% to a 2-hour window every day when my healthy habits always fall apart:  the period of time between 8:45/9:00 and 10:45 - midnight.  As a working parent with a more-than-full-time job (and also now the homeschooling / remote schooling second job I never wanted), this is usually the first time all day when I have almost any discretion over my time.  And this is the witching hour for me.  


return of the jedi episode 6 GIF by Star Wars

 

After I get my son to bed, usually by about 8:45, here is what I SHOULD do.  
    •    8:45 - 9:30 - I SHOULD finish some tasks (kitchen clean up, personal email responses, bill paying, etc, or maybe work a tiny bit more).  

    •    9:30 - 10:15/10:30 - I SHOULD carve out some non-internet R&R time to wind down after a day of going hard at work and parenting: watch a little TV with my husband, read a book or newspaper, etc.  

    •    10:30 - 11:00 I SHOULD prep for bed, journal a bit, and then LIGHTS OUT.  


Reality ? Instead, this is the time almost every day when I collapse into a heap on my bed, open up my laptop, and fall into my favorite internet black hole.  Which then blows my evening habits to smithereens. 

episode 4 GIF by Star Wars


This is not a productive or particularly restful use of my time, and even worse, I tend to get sucked in to what I’m looking at and then I stay up late, and then I don’t get enough sleep or I can’t get up in time to exercise, and then I’m cranky and I make bad choices and I lose patience with my son when he acts up and EVERYTHING GOES HAYWIRE.  Truly, so much about my wellbeing is better when I have a healthy late evening routine and then get the lights out on time.  

So, that’s the goal..  That’s it.  Establish a healthy late evening routine and get the lights out on time.  That’s my whole challenge.  Simple enough?

 

giphy.gif

 


Problem is, I’ve tried to fix this before.  And failed.  9:00 pm is the WORST time for me to try to exert even a little willpower to alter ingrained bad habits.  It’s just my energy low point each day.  
afraid the phantom menace GIF by Star Wars

 

So, what I need are some new strategies.  Here’s what I’ve got for the how of this challenge, but I reserve the right to change tactics if these aren’t working.

8:45 Big sigh.  Whew!  Sit down anywhere - truly, anywhere - that is not my bed.  Aim for: couch?  R&R - TV or reading time
9:30    Transition -- into tasks if you need to get these squared away
10:15 stretch, bed prep, journal
10:45   LIGHTS OUT

 

This seems super-easy, right?  But . . . so far I have mostly failed at it.

 

But!  Confidence booster!  Running in the back ground of this mission is to MAINTAIN good habits built in previous challenges.  I've made real progress on these.  Nutrition: meal prepping, intermittent fasting, and food tracking / journaling have made enormous shifts in my eating and general health.  Exercise:  I'm running about 20 miles a week, biking 15-20, and getting in 2-3 strength workouts.  My goal this challenge will be to MAINTAIN these good habits.  So, I won't be tracking these here, but in my own spreadsheet I'll keep tabs, and I may comment occasionally about how these are going.   But my confidence in shifting these habits is giving me confidence that I can do other things.

 

giphy.gif

 

Still: the Evening Routine Death Star is my major target.   Here we go.  May the force be with me. 
 

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This is a very relatable challenge.

 

Since stretching and mindful sitting (as opposed to endless mindless lounging) are both on your ideal evening routine, I'm gonna suggest becoming a floor sitter. I find most comfortable positions for sitting on the floor are light stretches, you tend to naturally work through several of them, and it's difficult to mindlessly lounge around on the floor, so you can get two for one there. Honestly, it's pretty great for keeping the legs and core limber.

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I felt like I could run forever, like I could smell the wind and feel the grass under my feet, and just run forever.

Current Challenge: #24 - Mrs. Cosmopolite Challenge

Past: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6,  #7#8, #9#10, #11a & #11b, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23

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What a great challenge!  I love that you are completely focused on the one thing that is your biggest struggle.  I did something similar last challenge and it helps, so I'm doing it again!  Evenings are such a hard time to find willpower as it is all gone by 9pm.  

 

may the force be with you GIF by Star Wars

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Ranger-Monk Hybrid

I am a strong little powerhouse 

Current Challenge: EXPERT Level!

 

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Love your challenge theme! I wish you the best in finding what works to swap in for your new awesome & productive evening routine.

 

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Dry January | 2022 Reading Challenge

 

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." - Qui-Gon Jinn, The Phantom Menace

"I Find That Answer Vague And Unconvincing." - K-2SO, Rogue One

”Persistence without insight will lead to the same outcome.” [spoilers], The Book of Boba Fett

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On 3/22/2021 at 5:07 PM, Jules Andromeda said:

After I get my son to bed, usually by about 8:45, here is what I SHOULD do.  
    •    8:45 - 9:30 - I SHOULD finish some tasks (kitchen clean up, personal email responses, bill paying, etc, or maybe work a tiny bit more).  

    •    9:30 - 10:15/10:30 - I SHOULD carve out some non-internet R&R time to wind down after a day of going hard at work and parenting: watch a little TV with my husband, read a book or newspaper, etc.  

    •    10:30 - 11:00 I SHOULD prep for bed, journal a bit, and then LIGHTS OUT.  


Reality ? Instead, this is the time almost every day when I collapse into a heap on my bed, open up my laptop, and fall into my favorite internet black hole.  Which then blows my evening habits to smithereens. 

I have some suggestions. Take or leave as you wish.

 

It sounds like your trigger for your old (bad) habit is opening up your laptop, so maybe you should avoid any computer-based tasks for your 8:45-9:30 slot at first. Pick one task beforehand (maybe while you are putting your son to bed?). Then you have a goal already picked out when you finish that task. Leave your computer somewhere out of sight preferably too.

 

9:30-10:30 could also benefit from having an activity picked out in advance, but you could also try engineering your environment by having a cozy reading nook with your book all picked out and ready for you, for example. Husband could help too perhaps if you are hoping to do something together. Ask him to pick out a show or a board game or something. :)

 

10:30-11:00 might take care of itself because it will feel like a reward after getting the first ones done maybe? If not, I'm the wrong person to get suggestions from on this one. But keeping your computer and phone away from your bed area will surely help.

 

Good challenge! Rooting for your success!

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I love all the good advice!  

 

On 3/22/2021 at 4:31 PM, sarakingdom said:

Since stretching and mindful sitting (as opposed to endless mindless lounging) are both on your ideal evening routine, I'm gonna suggest becoming a floor sitter. I find most comfortable positions for sitting on the floor are light stretches, you tend to naturally work through several of them, and it's difficult to mindlessly lounge around on the floor, so you can get two for one there. Honestly, it's pretty great for keeping the legs and core limber.

 

Great idea!  Actually, this could help for evenings where I really want to go into my room and close the door, but I don't want to get into bed yet.  This would give me an option for privacy, when I'm not quite up for being out on the couch and socializing with my family, without just completely collapsing into lounge mode.  I like it.  

 

On 3/24/2021 at 11:09 PM, Terra said:

 Evenings are such a hard time to find willpower as it is all gone by 9pm.  

 

YES.  That is exactly my problem.  And I just want to curl up into a ball and do something familiar and comforting.  That's why I feel like, while I'm trying to blow up this bad habit with laser-like focus, I also have a lot of compassion for how I got into this rut.   I need another habit that is still workable for my energy levels and needs at that time of evening. 

 

On 3/26/2021 at 8:38 PM, juliebarkley said:

It sounds like your trigger for your old (bad) habit is opening up your laptop, so maybe you should avoid any computer-based tasks for your 8:45-9:30 slot at first. Pick one task beforehand (maybe while you are putting your son to bed?). Then you have a goal already picked out when you finish that task. Leave your computer somewhere out of sight preferably too.

 

9:30-10:30 could also benefit from having an activity picked out in advance, but you could also try engineering your environment by having a cozy reading nook with your book all picked out and ready for you, for example. Husband could help too perhaps if you are hoping to do something together. Ask him to pick out a show or a board game or something. :)

 

10:30-11:00 might take care of itself because it will feel like a reward after getting the first ones done maybe? If not, I'm the wrong person to get suggestions from on this one. But keeping your computer and phone away from your bed area will surely help.

 

It's funny, but you're so right.  One of my goals (this sounds ridiculous I realize) but one of my goals is to watch more TV.    I'm an introvert, and so is my husband, and so once the kiddo is in bed we both have a tendency to crawl back into our shells.  But we only have one TV, and it's out in the living room - so I have to leave my room/shell, sit on the couch, potentially interact and chat with him, while watching something that is time-limited -- 30-50 minutes for most episodes.  It's about right for the amount of time I have, and once I get into a series, the desire to see the next episode helps.  So - that's good.  I'm also thinking about your reading ideas -- not trying to tackle more challenging reading right now, but lighter fare -- detective novels,  fantasy, etc.  -- and sitting in my favorite corner of the couch with a cup of tea.  Any of these routines, if I enjoy them even a few times in a row, can become their own little addiction.

 

I decided not to track zero week, so here we are

 

Week

Sun

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

1

good! half-fail ?        

2

             

3

             

4

             

5

             

 

 

 

THANKS FOR ALL THE ENCOURAGEMENT.   Targeting systems, powering on.

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Update - 4/8/21

 

So far, this challenge isn’t going so well.  --I mean, I’m still doing  well with the basic health habits I set up in previous challenges: meal prepping, intermittent fasting, running and strength training.  That’s solid, and I’m healthier in many ways than I was this time last year. So - the Force is with me much of the time!  -- But work and remote schooling and whatnot have gotten harder lately, my evenings have been more chaotic and less predictable, and my evening rhythms just are not getting set into a predictable pattern the way I’d like.

 

So - question: what can I tweak that might make this work a little better?  Here are 3 ideas:

  • Check into the forums more frequently for more inspiration and supporting others.  Things have been busy lately.  But I’d like to check in here a bit more often.  This helps keep my goals front and center in my mind.

  • Since the husband has been ill and camping out on the couch with a huge mess of snacks and blankets and TV tuned into poker matches, my reading nook on the couch has been out.  But we do have a futon sofa in our office / spare room, and if I could get the husband to clean up his work stuff from that space, that could be my evening area that is NOT MY BEDROOM for finishing up work tasks on the computer before I shift into R&R mode at 9:30.  

  •  Try watching a TV show 5 days in a row during my R&R time with the husband.  We never finished Stranger Things season 3, so maybe I can get the husband to watch an episode a night with me from 9:30 - 10:15, before I start prepping for bed.


OK.  I have a rough game plan.  Going to take another pass at the death star!
 

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Did a TV night last night.  Yay!  Husband immediately fell asleep just as the Russians started torturing the ice cream scoop kids in Stranger Things Season 3.  Eh.   So, he can't stay awake when we hang out together, but it's still better than my death star routine.

 

Other successes:  I had a great 7 mile run  for my Saturday long run that was actually a little too easy.  I could easily up my pace or add distance, and I'll be working on doing both.  I can't tell you how this makes me feel.  So powerful, so strong.  I haven't been able to *easily* run 7 miles in more than 5 years, so I just am riding so high on this.  Meal planning, meal prepping, intermittent fasting, and strength training are also continuing to go well for me.  As a result, my weight has been slowly coming down, and I've had to take down some boxes of old clothes in the attic because my current set doesn't fit any more.  That's felt weird, but good -- like revisiting a past self and trying parts of her on again.  

 

To be perfectly honest, all of this momentum on the nutrition and exercise?  It didn't just magically emerge from will power.  I've been pretty unhappy for the past several years with my work life, and have felt VERY stuck.  I finally worked out a plan to get myself out of this rut and onto a new path.  It took a while, but I have been accepted to the program I wanted into, and I am giving notice at work this week (though I won't leave for another 6 weeks).    IT is THIS -- this feeling that things can be better  -- that has shifted my energy levels, my sense of self, my motivation levels, etc.  And now I see my health and weight trending back towards where I was when I was less unhappy.   Which I knew, sort of -- I knew that my constant low-grade depression and overwork was affecting my health.  But now it is REALLY CLEAR how closely intertwined these are for me.

 

Still.  I've got work to do on this particular habit . Here's where we are at the end of week 2:

 

Week

Sun

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

0

No tracking

           

1 - 3/28-4/3

good!

half-win?

fail

fail

fail

good!

good!

2

half-win?

half-win?

good!

fail

good!

half-win?

good!

3

             

4

             

5

             
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On 4/9/2021 at 5:17 AM, Jules Andromeda said:
  • Check into the forums more frequently for more inspiration and supporting others.  Things have been busy lately.  But I’d like to check in here a bit more often.  This helps keep my goals front and center in my mind.

  • Since the husband has been ill and camping out on the couch with a huge mess of snacks and blankets and TV tuned into poker matches, my reading nook on the couch has been out.  But we do have a futon sofa in our office / spare room, and if I could get the husband to clean up his work stuff from that space, that could be my evening area that is NOT MY BEDROOM for finishing up work tasks on the computer before I shift into R&R mode at 9:30.  

  •  Try watching a TV show 5 days in a row during my R&R time with the husband.  We never finished Stranger Things season 3, so maybe I can get the husband to watch an episode a night with me from 9:30 - 10:15, before I start prepping for bed.


All three sound like fun ideas! I never got past Stranger Things season 2, but hey, sometimes you need a reason to do even fun things.

they / them  |  half-orc paladin ( oath of the watcher )   --   lv 0

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On 4/11/2021 at 2:17 PM, Jules Andromeda said:

I've been pretty unhappy for the past several years with my work life, and have felt VERY stuck.  I finally worked out a plan to get myself out of this rut and onto a new path.  It took a while, but I have been accepted to the program I wanted into, and I am giving notice at work this week (though I won't leave for another 6 weeks).    IT is THIS -- this feeling that things can be better  -- that has shifted my energy levels, my sense of self, my motivation levels, etc.  And now I see my health and weight trending back towards where I was when I was less unhappy. 

That is fantastic news! How are things going now?

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Things are mostly good!  Though obviously I haven't been good about posting here.  But giving notice at work has been weird.  My boss doesn't want to upset people and so isn't telling anyone that I'm leaving . . . .   And won't for another two weeks. Which puts me in a weird limbo.

 

I am still really struggling with the current challenge.  I'm doing better, but still haven't established a successful alternate routine to  old habits.  I keep adjusting my strategies, however.   My son went back to in-person elementary school this week and that may also really change things, since I suddenly can get more done each day and hope to feel more in control over a lot of my life.  Constantly supervising him with remote schooling was hard and left me so exhausted at the end of long days.  

 

So - I'm at about 50% in terms of adhering to these strategies.   Which, now that I think about it, IS an improvement, even if the death star hasn't technically been blown up.  :)

 

 

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That is a little weird about work. Do you want people to know that you are leaving?

 

Habits take a little playing around with before you find the strategies and adjustments that will work for you. And annoyingly, what works for one habit doesn't always work for another.

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DEATH STAR BLOWN UP?!?  MAYBE?!?

 

Okay, I realize I am REALLY OVERDUE for the final update on this challenge.  I'm in a period of re-adjustment for rhythms and focus now in several big ways, as my son is finally back in school and I am now down to my last 2 weeks at this job that has been draining my soul for years.  

 

But finally, after lots of fits and starts, I seem to have completely eliminated the bad habit I was trying to eliminate!  We'll see how this goes as I move forward.  But for now, I was able to adapt some of the mental strategies I'd picked up from intermittent fasting and apply it to temptations in this realm, and it's . . . worked.   I've got a streak going and am getting some traction with the new replacement habits and that feels *really* empowering.

 

I am opting out of the current challenge happening right now.  I have so many adjustments happening in my own life that I really just want to focus on holding course with the good habits I have.  I've slipped in strength training, for example, and my sleep schedule has been a little weird.  So, no new goals for now.  But I think I'll rejoin the NEXT challenge.  So, see yall on the other side!

 

 

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