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Balsquith's 8th Challenge - Getting back on track


Balsquith

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Main Quest: Turn my life around

 

This sounds a bit more dramatic than it is, but the effect is the same. I have been unemployed for the past 3 months and rather than now having the time to do more things, I find that I am actually doing much less with my life, including much less exercise.

 

I would like to start turning this around with the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Get up to the alarm:

 

I have dropped back into a habit of not getting up when my alarm goes. This does not even constitute snoozing as I am usually turning the alarm off altogether. This is inevitably leading me to start my day later than expected and far less motivated. I would like to get up to my alarm everyday with snoozing or turning it off. The actual time the alarm goes is not important.

 

Goal 2. Daily Exercise

 

I want to get into a routine of doing some exercise everyday. I want to make this easy in order to try to turn it into a habit. My plan is to do at least a plank everyday. My current maximum is 1min 30, and I plan to build this up daily.

 

Goal 3. Pullups

 

As well as daily exercise I also want to get myself back into a weekly routine of strength training. Once again I will keep this easy. I will do at least pullups 3 times a week. My current maximum is 7 and I plan to aim for 10 by the end of the challenge.

 

Life Goal. Courage with languages.

 

I live in Vienna and I know enough German to say something useful, however I live in some sort of self-created fear of making mistakes or not knowing what to say and therefore basically avoid any situation where I might have to speak in German. This goal is basically about courage. I want to put myself in a situation to speak German to a stranger at least once a day. It only needs to be one sentence. Saying 'danke' doesn't count.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

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Week 1 Summary

 

Alarm: 4 days out of 7. A definite improvement towards the end of the week.

 

Daily Exercise: 3 days out of 7. A reasonable start, but I a definitely nowhere near towards making a habit of it. I will try to be more consistent doing planks at the same time everyday.

 

Pullups: 2 days out of 7. Due to the slighty odd way in which I set up my challenge I actually did the pullups on the days which weren't counted for daily exercise. I did 4 sets of 3 pullups each time.

 

Courage: 4 days out of 7. I am incredibly happy with this. This is an increase from 0 days per week in something which I should and could be doing 7 days a week without even thinking about it. Each of these occassions was short and thought out before hand (e.g. reserving a table at a restaurant).

 

Overall: Mixed bag, but moving in the right direction in all areas.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Week 2 Summary

 

Alarm: 5 days out of 7. Had a bit of a wobble over the weekend

 

Daily Exercise: 2 days out of 7. A bit disappointing given that I only need to do something for a few short minutes a day. I need to get my morning routine together.

 

Pullups: 4 days out of 7. Very happy with how this one went. I performed 4sets of 4 pullups each time.

 

Courage: 3 days out of 7. A bit of a wobble in this one too, mostly brought about by not really having a very good idea of how and where I am going to push myself. If I don't have the situation in mind it is not going to happen. Maybe I should stop wearing a watch so that I can ask people the time.

 

Overall: Once again a very mixed bag. This week the pullups were my strongest area. Getting up to my alarm and doing daily exercise shouldn't be ask hard as they are proving.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Getting up to my alarm is a strange one, I am probably getting enough sleep (between 7-8 hours) and I sleep pretty well, it is more a case of just not being motivated enough to get out of bed. Once I am out of bed there is no problem, if I don't get up with the alarm it can lead to a lie-in of up to an hour, which is not the most motivating way to start the day. The easy solution would be to put my alarm on the other side of the room so that I have to get up, this is however not really possible without my alarm then waking my girlfriend up, which wouldn't be very polite. I am trying to develop a routine so I get up before my brain tells me that it would be nice not too :) It is going ok. Making sure that I am giving myself enough time for 8 hours sleep would also be a good thing to think about doing.

 

Talking to random strangers about the world cup would be a very big stretch for my German skills, not to mention my general courage, but maybe something to try when I see the inevitable hordes of German fans out and about tomorrow. Thanks for the idea :) The world cup is a great topic at the moment for the English, lots to complain about ;)

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Week 3 Summary

 

Alarm: 3 days out of 7. Only managed to stick to it mid-week. A poor showing this week.

 

Daily Exercise: 4 days out of 7. Getting better, but this goal should be really easy. I am going to do a plank right now.

 

Pullups: 3 days out of 7. Quite happy with how this one went. I performed 4sets of 5 pullups each time. I think it is time to test whether I have increased my maximum number.

 

Courage: 2 days out of 7. This is my hard challenge, and it is proving to be hard, both in application but also in terms of ideas for how to do this. In essence I am not particularly courageous even when I am speaking in English and I wouldn't really know where to start with pushing myself there. This goal is in danger of falling apart from not having a real plan. I will have a look at some courage building ideas and then dial them down a bit so that I even stand a chance at doing them in German.

 

Overall: A bit disappointing overall. Getting up to my alarm and daily exercise should both be simple and can be done at home. Pullups require travelling to the pullup bar, but I am hitting my target of 3-4 times a week, so that is going ok. The courage challenge is floundering as I don't have a planned mission for each day, thus making it very easy not to do anything at all.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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For your courage goal, what about going to the grocery or a cafe and asking a question about something?  Maybe something as simple as asking where the apples come from or what is the daily special?  It doubly tough in a new language if you're not particularly outgoing in your native tongue, but you can do this!  Can you practice more with your girlfriend what you might ask before you go out?

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Your idea for the courage goal is great, and something which I will try to work with. I guess I have been waiting for suitable situations to come up rather than making them for myself. I was just laughing to myself when you said "Maybe something as simple as asking where the apples come from or what is the daily special?", I'm not quite good enough yet for these to be simple, but as you say, I can probably figure out the words in advance to give myself a good chance of not suffering complete failure!

 

Thanks for your advice :)

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Week 4 Summary

 

Alarm: 5 days out of 7. A positive for the week.

 

Daily Exercise: 2 days out of 7. I lost focus entirely here.

 

Pullups: 0 days out of 7. I didn't have access to a pullup bar and never worked on an alternative

 

Courage: 4 days out of 7. Several opportunities to push myself came up and I used them. Quite happy with how it went this week. All of these were chances that came to me; I must work on creating chances for myself.

 

Overall: In many areas this week was a mess, this shows through in terms of my goals for this challenge in terms of my loss of focus on doing any exercise at all. I need to work things out for myself in the coming weeks and get myself back on track.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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I saw an idea for using a table as a pull-up "machine" once.  That's actually a pretty good idea I might have to try, come to think of it.

Way to go on making progress on the Courage front!  This goal is such a cool one.  I like following along to see what you're doing with it.

 

Steady on!  A little planning goes a long way! :)

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Using a table as a pullup substitute is a great idea, but unfortunately all the tables in my apartment have strange leg configurations, meaning I can get under them sufficiently. Lucky I have had my pullup bar back for the past couple of days. I also thought about trying to find a suitbale tree branch, but am not sure if my strength/technique is good enough to cope with such a major change. Pulling up on a tree banch would be a cool skill though! Maybe I should try it anyway.

 

I like the idea of my courage goal too, but because it is the most challenging, it is also easy to not do anything towards it and then blame it on not having a plan. I have got so used to leading my life here without ever having to speak, that it is difficult to overcome my programming. I had to exchange a DVD in a shop yesterday which was fun and seemed to go fairly smoothly. I didn't catch everything the guy said to me but I think I got the general gist. He didn't change to English which is always a good sign that things went well :)

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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I love your goals!  Sometimes the hardest part of the fight is just getting back into it!  Keep attacking those language skills!  I used to study German in college and just picked up a Rosetta Stone set to try to learn again.  Do you have a pull up program you are working on?

HUMAN SPIRIT SOLDIER

Ranger/Druid

STR 4 STA 2 DEX 3 CON 3 WIS 3 CHA 2

 

"We must all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret." -Jim Rohn

 

"The first virtue of a soldier is endurance of fatigue.  Courage is only the second virtue"  -Napoleon Bonaparte

 

"Grant yourself a moments peace, and you will realize how foolishly you scurry about. Be silent, and see that you talk too much. Be kind, and see that you judge too harshly. Hasten slowly, and you will soon arrive." - Chinese Proverb

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Hey KungFuTuba,

 

Thanks for the support. It is frustrating that easy things are so hard to get back into a habit of doing, but hopefuly I am at least beginning to head in the right direction again.

My plan for pullups is a bit basic. I tested my max (7), halved that and did 4 sets of 3 in the first week, then 4 sets of 4 in the second week. I am now stuck at 4 sets of 5 because I often can complete all 5 reps in the final set. Do you have any ideas for a better programme?

 

Good luck with getting your German back in shape. If nothing else, my language learning mission has given me massive respect for all the people out there who speak a 2nd (or more) language.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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There's an excellent, fully progressive program at twentypullups.com.  All you need iis a pullup bar.  I've had a lot of success with it in the past, both with myself and training friends.  Totally free and no sign up necessary.  Just download the free PDF and hang it next to your bar!

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HUMAN SPIRIT SOLDIER

Ranger/Druid

STR 4 STA 2 DEX 3 CON 3 WIS 3 CHA 2

 

"We must all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret." -Jim Rohn

 

"The first virtue of a soldier is endurance of fatigue.  Courage is only the second virtue"  -Napoleon Bonaparte

 

"Grant yourself a moments peace, and you will realize how foolishly you scurry about. Be silent, and see that you talk too much. Be kind, and see that you judge too harshly. Hasten slowly, and you will soon arrive." - Chinese Proverb

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Hey KungFuTuba,

 

That pullup programme looks great, I shall definitely give it a try. I am going to test my max again at the end of the 6 weeks to see if it has go up at all. I shall then us this max to start me off on this programme.

 

Thanks for the information.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Thanks for the support as always Trendywendy. It is nice when people don't change to English. I try to do my missions away from the centre of town to give me a better chance that the people won't instantly change languages when they hear my accent. Yesterday I had a complicated concersation (for me) in a chemists, today I don't have a plan yet.

 

It actually took me quite a long time until I managed to do my first pullup at all. There are a lot of things at play, strength, technique and the psychological side. As I worked towards my first pullup I mostly used negatives, where you jump up to the top position (from a step) and then lower yourself slowly down. I think they work really well and they seem to be part of most programmes building up to a pullup. I wouldn't describe myself as particularly strong, so I would say that the technique (recruiting the right muscles) and the psychological side to get over the bar are equally important. You can definitely do it :)

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Week 5 Summary

 

Alarm: 3 days out of 7. A slip. Most days I managed to get up relatively early, but often failed at the first attempt.

 

Daily Exercise: 3 days out of 7. An improvement on last week, but still a bt disappointing. It is interesting how something which only takes a couple of minutes to do can be so tricky to get round to during the day.

 

Pullups: 3 days out of 7. After 12 days off I seem to have lost a lot of strength on my pullups and struggled my way through these sessions never quite reaching 5 reps over all 4 sets.

 

Courage: 2 days out of 7. Disappointed with how these went this week. This is not to say that I didn't use my German this week, but I am only counting times when I pluck up courage and talk to someone I don't know in German and put myself in a tougher situation than ordering food or a coffee. I need to work on creating ideas as I am otherwise liable to not follow through with this goal.

 

Overall: Another difficult week of trying to get myself back into doing things to push myself forward. Definitely not a disaster, but not particularly a success either.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Help!  We Need You!

 

We need Rangers to jump in on the last part of the mini-challenge...and your pullups are especially needed.

 

We're killing murderous, bourbon swilling imps via pullups and burpees (modifications allowed for fitness level and injuries).

 

Check it out here. And contribute your kill stats here.

 

Level One Rebels/aspiring Rangers are welcome, too, so bring friends!

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity:

but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

~T. E. Lawrence

 

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands,

flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. 
~John Muir

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Thanks for the invite ShadowLion.

 

I will have to see what exercise I am capable of in the next couple of weeks. I slipped and twisted my ankle warming up for a frisbee practice, so I might not be able to get to my bar or jump up and down from it, very frustrating.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Injuries are tough.  Keep doing what you can; anything to keep the ball rolling even a little bit.  The rule of thumb I've been taught for sprains and strains is keep track of how lond it takes to feel better, then give it half that much time more before you start stressing the joint/muscle again.  And, of course RICE-HA applies as well.  Good Luck!

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HUMAN SPIRIT SOLDIER

Ranger/Druid

STR 4 STA 2 DEX 3 CON 3 WIS 3 CHA 2

 

"We must all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret." -Jim Rohn

 

"The first virtue of a soldier is endurance of fatigue.  Courage is only the second virtue"  -Napoleon Bonaparte

 

"Grant yourself a moments peace, and you will realize how foolishly you scurry about. Be silent, and see that you talk too much. Be kind, and see that you judge too harshly. Hasten slowly, and you will soon arrive." - Chinese Proverb

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