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What better analogy for going to grad school after being out of college for several years than a school that is simultaneously wonderful, confounding, and possibly deadly?

 

I’ve recently accepted a new main quest:

 

Make it through my master’s degree without taking on debt.

 

I started off thinking about all of the things I don’t want to do to get to that end point: I don’t want to lose all my progress in health and fitness. I don’t want to become a shut in. I don’t want to feel deprived and angry. But I decided that a better way to look at it is what I do want out of this time.

 

Once I had my “do†list, I realized that there are three loose categories present, and I’ve picked a goal from each.

 

Fitness Goal: Track calories eaten, everyday. (+4 CON)

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Last challenge I completed most of a Whole30 before finances got in the way, and I loved how it made me feel. Right now I’m eating what I’ve already purchased in my pantry/fridge/freezer, so I’m more a “freegan†than anything else. But it’s still important that I fall into the right range for calories consumed, so I need to track this every. single. day. Better to go over calories and be able to see it in the data than not track it and have no idea how much over I went.

 

It should be noted that I will also be exercising during this challenge and posting about the workouts, but since I’m already averaging 4-5 workouts a week I don’t see a need to make a goal for it. Best case scenario, I’d keep doing what I’m doing; worst case scenario, I’d exercise just enough to make my numbers and then slack off.

 

Grading: Days completed

A = 40, B = 35, C = 28, D = 14, F = 7

 

Learning Goal: Spend 15 minutes a day learning. (+4 DEX - I’m calling this dexterity of the mind :tongue:)

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This one is intentionally vague. It might be listening to a TED talk, working on my French skills, doing some math at Khan Academy, whatever. I want to get my brain back into “learning†mode.

 

Grading: Days completed 15 minutes (can not makeup days, to avoid fudging the numbers and making up all my hours in one fell swoop)

A = 40, B = 35, C = 28, D = 14, F = 7

 

Confidence Goal: Complete full oral and facial hygiene routine everyday. (+2 CHA)

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I’m in my mid twenties and still have acne, and years of chugging energy drinks have left a bit of yellow in my teeth. I can earn ten points a day (one point for each part of the routine), with a bonus point available for not picking at my skin.

 

I tested this one out during our week off, and it was really hard for me to keep up with. So instead of grading this, I'm going to take baseline data this challenge to see where I'm at. So if I'm only able to average, say, four points a day, I can grade myself on a curve based on that to slowly work up to doing all of the routine.

 

Ungraded

 

I loved my “mini-challenge†format last challenge, so I’m leaving a few points open for me to earn from those. A few ideas off the top of my head:

  • master a new hairstyle (master = do not need to view instructions before being able to complete hairstyle within 15 minutes) (CHA)

  • write down something positive about myself every day (WIS)

  • try not to say “sorry†unless I actually mean it (e.g. instead of my boss saying, “Could you hand me that?†and me saying “Ooh, sorry!†just saying “Sureâ€) (CHA)

  • finish lesson 10 of Coffee Break French while answering the questions before the “student†(format is teacher asks question, pause for me to respond, then student responds) (WIS)

  • fill up a Pinterest board with at least 20 outfits I like (CHA)

  • use ^ to put together a thrifted outfit suitable for work for under $15 (DEX - flexible thinking!)

  • work up to a 60 second plank (first step to doing a handstand)

  • Complete Zombies, Run! 5k training app (STA/DEX)

  • Run three miles at 10 minutes per mile (STA/DEX)
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Break recap:

 

The Good:

I went thrift store shopping and found a ton of nice clothes that I can wear to work or casually, that helps fill out my wardrobe a bit more. I also managed to make up my own hairstyle and got quite a few compliments on it. Total confidence boost! 

I even completed my grad school application and all of its component parts - now it's just waiting time. *opens up school account every five seconds to see if I've been accepted*

And finally, I bit the bullet and reorganized my apartment. It's been feeling cramped and dark, and I finally took a morning to rearrange everything and make it comfortable.

 

The Whoops

I seem to be having some sort of... insomnia? I wake up at 3 or 4 every morning, and when I finally get back to sleep I'm tired when my alarm goes off at 6. Maybe I should just get up then instead of trying to sleep more?

I haven't been to the gym as much as I'd like - this is hilarious to me as an introvert, but I've been too socially busy. Dinner after work, farscape fan club, etc... I'm not super concerned about this, but it is something to get back on top of.

 

The Ugly

Ah yes, speaking of dinner out with friends - guess who weighs the same amount as before my whole 30, bringing my total weight lost over the last three challenges back to ZERO.

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So, time to start working on that *sigh* This is why I'm starting my challenge early - I can do a lot of damage, or completely undo all of my progress, in a mere week and a half!

 

My mini-challenge for the rest of the week is:

 

Wear Pants: Wait wait, don't leave. Hear me out! Ok, so I wake up pretty early every day, and I've realized that how my morning goes is very dependent upon whether I get dressed as soon as I'm out of bed. If I get dressed, I'm more likely to eat a good breakfast and be productive. If I don't get dressed, it's pretty likely that I'll flop on the couch with my iPad for three hours. You can probably guess which of these outcomes I prefer.

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Learning Goal: Spend 15 minutes a day learning. (+4 DEX - I’m calling this dexterity of the mind :tongue:)

tumblr_lfqdk57yTQ1qa8ir9o1_r1_500.gif

This one is intentionally vague. It might be listening to a TED talk, working on my French skills, doing some math at Khan Academy, whatever. I want to get my brain back into “learning†mode.

 

 

 

I love the "dexterity of the mind" bit.  I love TED talks also and have seen Khan Academy stuff but haven't tried any of it.  I might have to.  Good luck with your other goals also!

Spartan Assassin: Level 15

 

STR31   DEX26   STA27  CON25   WIS28   CHA23

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I love the "dexterity of the mind" bit.  I love TED talks also and have seen Khan Academy stuff but haven't tried any of it.  I might have to.  Good luck with your other goals also!

Thanks! I discovered that TED talks have an audio podcast, so I can listen to them on my commute. Khan Academy is seriously amazing - at least to me, it's as addictive as a good game.

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I love that this is HP themed! As someone who just finished school for the second time with lots of fitness thrown in I can say that this is totally doable and I'm hoping that if I hang around this thread you'll have someone to comiserate with and encourage you! Great goals, can't wait to see how this goes

Warrior, Ravenclaw, book lover, history nerd, Red Sonja wannabe

 

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I love that this is HP themed! As someone who just finished school for the second time with lots of fitness thrown in I can say that this is totally doable and I'm hoping that if I hang around this thread you'll have someone to comiserate with and encourage you! Great goals, can't wait to see how this goes

Thanks! It helps to have people around who've done this successfully to remind me that this is absolutely possible.

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Thanks! It helps to have people around who've done this successfully to remind me that this is absolutely possible.

Totally, and it sucks, and you're going to miss workouts for finals and then be mad and then debate missing more and then be more mad and then binge eat during late night paper writing sessions and then be really mad, but it all happens! No one is perfect and school is a lot of stress to cope with. That doesn't mean you're going to fail at fitness and eating though, you can totally do it and you'll be so thrilled that you did!

Warrior, Ravenclaw, book lover, history nerd, Red Sonja wannabe

 

Current Challenge

Battle Log

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Totally, and it sucks, and you're going to miss workouts for finals and then be mad and then debate missing more and then be more mad and then binge eat during late night paper writing sessions and then be really mad, but it all happens! No one is perfect and school is a lot of stress to cope with. That doesn't mean you're going to fail at fitness and eating though, you can totally do it and you'll be so thrilled that you did!

Thanks for the confidence boost! I tried to set myself up for success, it's only one class at a time so it's a little less stressful.

But getting my master's, staying fit, AND not going into debt may be tricky.

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Suggestion: Schedule your life like woah and then STICK TO IT! Put in when you're going to sleep, what you're going to eat, what you plan to study ect. Excel is great for this. Even schedule free time. Then you'll see that it is all manageable. Of course, I'm the queen of excel so there is that

Warrior, Ravenclaw, book lover, history nerd, Red Sonja wannabe

 

Current Challenge

Battle Log

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Suggestion: Schedule your life like woah and then STICK TO IT! Put in when you're going to sleep, what you're going to eat, what you plan to study ect. Excel is great for this. Even schedule free time. Then you'll see that it is all manageable. Of course, I'm the queen of excel so there is that

That is a brilliant idea, I've started using excel more now that I use it for work.

Only one problem: I live with my significant other. This may be a cop out, but it's much harder to have a super rigid schedules when there's another adult involved. So far I've gotten a round it by spending a couple hours working before he wakes up and scheduling my gym time in the way home from work (so I do to et home and then have to decide to go to the gym), but doing much scheduling beyond that may get tricky.

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That is a brilliant idea, I've started using excel more now that I use it for work.

Only one problem: I live with my significant other. This may be a cop out, but it's much harder to have a super rigid schedules when there's another adult involved. So far I've gotten a round it by spending a couple hours working before he wakes up and scheduling my gym time in the way home from work (so I do to et home and then have to decide to go to the gym), but doing much scheduling beyond that may get tricky.

True enough, this was way more complicated when I lived with my ex. Still, you can try to stick to a bedtime schedule and yep, gym and/or library on the way home from work. If studying with him is hard a lot of neighborhood libraries offer quiet rooms and wifi. I always hit the gym on the way home from work. Once I get home I see all the cleaning and things that need done and I don't go back out.

Warrior, Ravenclaw, book lover, history nerd, Red Sonja wannabe

 

Current Challenge

Battle Log

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I've been playing with the idea of a "flexible routine" that doesn't rely solely on time, since I've been going to bed at he same time but waking up at varying times. So something like, when I wake up I get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, then do hygiene routine and put on makeup, etc...

That also makes it so even if I'm doing something socials t night so the time is different, I can still do the same routine.

I think your suggestion of planning exactly what I'll do for school and when is smart. Instead of just having a block on my schedule marked "study", having specific tasks to do then.

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When you look better, you feel better. I promise. I used to be the girl who went everywhere in sweatpants and a teeshirt with long hair always in a (wet) ponytail and no makeup. Then my friends taught me how to wear makeup, I watched way too many episodes of what not to wear, and I got my act together. I don't even leave the bedroom now without getting dressed. I know that sounds super uptight, but it works for me. I just feel like a better, more attractive, productive human being when I'm up and dressed. I think this will really work for you too as you "wear your pants" during this challenge. Can't wait to see what you accomplish!

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When you look better, you feel better. I promise. I used to be the girl who went everywhere in sweatpants and a teeshirt with long hair always in a (wet) ponytail and no makeup. Then my friends taught me how to wear makeup, I watched way too many episodes of what not to wear, and I got my act together. I don't even leave the bedroom now without getting dressed. I know that sounds super uptight, but it works for me. I just feel like a better, more attractive, productive human being when I'm up and dressed. I think this will really work for you too as you "wear your pants" during this challenge. Can't wait to see what you accomplish!

Definitely. I'm trying to make sure I don't over correct and become super vain, but it's totally good to be proud and confident in how I look.

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Hit the gym after work. Personal bests on all of my strength work!

I started a zombie run afterward and was feeling pretty good (my "slow" pace is now 5-5.5 mph, and just a week or two ago my slow pace was walking at 4 mph), but my app crashed halfway through. I didn't get a good look at my numbers before it went down, and didn't feel up for an hour and a half run so I just stretched and left.

My calves feel really tight, even after lots of stretching. It feels just shy of actually cramping, but more than usual soreness, weird!

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Maybe you over did it a little? Have you tried massaging your calves? 5Below sells a rubber spiked muscle massage ball that I think would be helpful for most. They say lacross balls work too. Great workout though, and I hope that you're feeling better

I always do foam rolling after my workouts, and this time actually felt overall less sore an usual (usually I have some knots in my thighs), it was just my calves. I'll do some more light stretching and self massage today, since I want to run after work.

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My gym has a bunch of them and I eavesdropped on a personal trainer explaining it to a client.

So you put it on the ground and put your muscle on it (for me, leg muscles). You lift the rest of your body off the ground so that all your weight is resting on the roller and move slowly from one end of the muscle to the other, staying away from joints like your knee. Imagine it's like a tube of toothpaste and you're squeezing out the last bit. If you encounter any knots, gently roll back and forth over them to help loosen them up.

And this is the part I totally didn't know, do this BEFORE stretching, since it loosens your muscles up more.

I have a hard time doing my calves since that requires a little more upper body strength (or maybe I'm just too tired by the time I get there), but it's prettiest easy to do on my thighs. This is amazing on the IT band (on the outside of your thighs) cause those can be so hard to stretch thoroughly

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That is a brilliant idea, I've started using excel more now that I use it for work.

Only one problem: I live with my significant other. This may be a cop out, but it's much harder to have a super rigid schedules when there's another adult involved. So far I've gotten a round it by spending a couple hours working before he wakes up and scheduling my gym time in the way home from work (so I do to et home and then have to decide to go to the gym), but doing much scheduling beyond that may get tricky.

Haro friend! I like where this is going so far. It sounds like we're both playing with some mental elements this challenge, now that we've got our fitness routines more or less under control.

Feel free to get a little selfish on the significant other front. I find people in couples sometimes compensate and put their own goals on hold in order to be 'better aligned' with the habits of the other person. Rubbish. Egg each other on. My manfriend started exercising for reals after seeing me go at it consistently - but my own caveat is that we don't do it together. I find respecting each other's space and time actually leads to more rewarding conversations later.

On the acne front - how's that going for you? I know you're on a tight budget, but have you had a derm assessment before?

sicil

Level 4 Xeph Assassin

STR 6.5 | DEX 15 | STA 12 | CON 10.5 | WIS 9.5 | CHA 8.5

 

Current Challenge: Lucky In Love

#4 Finding Zen#3: Preparations For Battle | #2: Ninja School | #1: Lapsed Ninja

 

"You're welcome on my boat. God ain't." - Firefly

 

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Haro friend! I like where this is going so far. It sounds like we're both playing with some mental elements this challenge, now that we've got our fitness routines more or less under control.

Feel free to get a little selfish on the significant other front. I find people in couples sometimes compensate and put their own goals on hold in order to be 'better aligned' with the habits of the other person. Rubbish. Egg each other on. My manfriend started exercising for reals after seeing me go at it consistently - but my own caveat is that we don't do it together. I find respecting each other's space and time actually leads to more rewarding conversations later.

On the acne front - how's that going for you? I know you're on a tight budget, but have you had a derm assessment before?

The thing is, my boyfriend and I are already really independent from each other - I go to work in the morning, and either he has class that night (or works on the weekends), or we come home and stare at our various screens. I just don't want this to become something where he feels like we can't go on dates or spend time together because I've always scheduled myself to do something else.

 

I actually just stopped writing and had a conversation with him about scheduling date nights - we already loosely have them based around Agents of SHIELD and Legend of Korra, but obviously I want those to continue even during the off-season :)

 

I've had acne for a loooooooong time. Literally over a decade at this point. In junior high I went to a dermatologist regularly and it was a mostly negative experience - complete with creepy elderly doctor ("You have beautiful eyes"), and intense clinical extractions (using sterile tools to pop zits) that left me in tears and my face bright red for days. More than anything else it seems tied to my menstrual cycle (er, belated TMI I guess). Part of the problem is that, as with everything else, I've never been super consistent with any acne medication. That's part of why it's a goal for this challenge - actually give it a solid 7 weeks to work, and if there's no improvement I can try something else.

 

Speaking of not doing things consistently, I'm realizing that there's a flaw in my challenge set up: focusing on a couple of things (i.e. budget, bringing a lunch, facial hygiene, etc) means that for that challenge I generally do fantastically in that area but drop all the previous ones I'd worked on. I really need to find some balance within all of these things, or maybe realize that I will never have a perfectly balanced budget, perfectly styled wardrobe/makeup/hair, live on half of my income, cook every meal, have an active social life, AND have 18% body fat.

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After work I was going to go to the gym then realized that, d'oh, I'd gone grocery shopping and had meat and eggs in the car. Whoopsie. I instead used this time to catch up on everyone's threads (whee!), make myself a bike/run/walk to Mordor and back spreadsheet (see progress bar below).

 

I also took the advice of JessFit and made myself a general weekly calendar; I'm used to already making a weekly schedule for work, so I'm already in the habit. Since my hours can fluctuate quite a bit even on the same day, I decided to focus on generalizations - even if I end up working 9:30-6 instead of 8-4:30, that's still the same amount of time, so I should still be able to plan around it.

 

Orange is routine stuff, green is something where I have a choice (I picked "bonus time" instead of "free time" to try to keep myself conscious of where I'm spending my time), and there's a spot for each day of what I'm studying during each routine and what I'm doing with my lunch. It may be lunch with a coworker, reading a book, crafting, whatever, I just want to use that time wisely.

 

And gray is stuff that's non-negotiable; work, date night with my SO, and weekly slots for cleaning and any errands that need to be done. Look at me, bein' all organized!

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