Category: Personal Development Challenges

My next fitness challenge: combining Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4

So I am going to be finishing up with my first round of morning meltdown-100 next week (specifically on Sept 15th), and then moving right into a combo/hybrid workout of another two programs—LIIFT4 (which will be my second time going through the program) and Yoga Booty Ballet (specifically using their abs & butt makeover calendar).

I’m combining these two programs for the following reasons: 1) I want to continue doing weight training, and I really enjoyed doing LIIFT 4; 2) I’ve always enjoyed the Yoga Booty Ballet program (and actually this was the first program I bought from Beachbody years ago); and 3) I think they will complement each other nicely.

The workouts in each program are between 30 and 45 minutes—which is basically the current amount of time I want to spend working out (especially in the mornings), and while the yoga booty ballet workouts aren’t ‘live’—I don’t mind doing them on repeat for the next eight and a half weeks.

One goal for this combination is to see if by the end of the program am I lifting heavier than I did at the end of the first round of LIIFT4?? I’m hoping with coming off of morning meltdown 100, I will be lifting a little heavier for some of the exercises (though I also know that there are several that I’ll still be lifting “light” on for quite a while as well). So we will have to see mid-November how much heavier I’m lifting on some of the exercises.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthPandemic2020Personal Development Challenges

Minimal Money Spending Challenge

So I noticed that over the past two months, I had been spending quite a bit of money on certain things—namely more e-books—I am an avid reader, and have the tendency to buy books before I finish reading ones that I already own. For example—after my first staff position was terminated I decided I was going to focus on personal and professional development and started buying numerous books. I think by the time I managed to get my second staff position the number of books bought were up to about seventy books. Fast-forward a little over two years and that list has ballooned to almost three hundred and fifty books, I’ve read about forty-five of them and consider another ten to be “reference” on a topic—that means I have probably another 280 books on the list to read. I also have bought numerous other books as well—so yeah, I shouldn’t be getting anymore books for a while (at least in terms of personal/professional development).

I also had been buying extra lives on a silly match-three game during the past couple of months. So the two combined to more money spent than I really meant to spend.

Therefore I’m declaring March to a minimum-spending month. What do I mean by that? Well, other than books that have already been pre-ordered (and there are only about six or seven of them), taking my dog to the vet, a possible physical order from amazon, and possibly meeting up with a friend for lunch—I’m not going to be spending any money.

I’m going to turn my focus to the things that I already own—the large number of books (both fiction and non-fiction), which I should be reading. I’m going to attempt to have a book review or two done monthly (though with some of the non-fiction books, it could wind up being some type of monthly challenge). I’m also going to focus on working through the various electronic e-courses that I’ve bought (hopefully remembering to take good enough notes for possible blog posts).

I also will just take a deep breath and not worry how long it takes me to get through various levels on the match-3 game in the morning or at night.

The goal is to only have spent money possibly a dozen times this month (not counting bills being paid); if it works well it will continue through the rest of the year (with various changes to what I’m possibly spending money on).

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Update on the April Full Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be entering it’s latest full moon stage tomorrow, and actually should be within the Scorpio constellation. I will admit that this year has totally confused me on which constellation the moon is in and when, since there have been a couple of times that it seems to have transitioned quickly back into the same constellation it was in the previous month. So it looks like I’m going to have another chance on working on my goals for a Scorpio full moon, as that is the constellation that it will be going through tomorrow. That means that it’s time to look back on the first round of Scorpio goals and see how I did with each one.

So goals for this full moon period are going to include:

            Getting my fitness and nutrition back on track.

            Working on my transition plan.

            Practicing gratitude/happiness/keeping a positive outlook daily.

So how did I do with each one?

            In terms of fitness and nutrition—this didn’t really happen, though I am trying not to buy as many sweets on campus. Now that our wifi/internet is hopefully back to it’s normal speed and not disappearing at the drop of a dime I will hopefully try to get back into doing a workout daily.

                        I’ve realized that at times I get bored with the workout because I’ve done it before and then I lose interest in the entire program. I’m thinking that I’m going to have to push myself to get through a program and try to lift a little heavier each week (if possible) in certain exercises and see if that can help propel me through various programs.

                        In terms of nutrition, I need to figure out a better way of dealing with stress and irritation—currently it’s going to buy some type of sweet/candy that I know I don’t need but I usually eat it anyway (or I save it for the weekend at home). If I can avoid getting the sweets (and the extra coffee) in the morning/during the day—besides losing some weight I will also be saving some money.

            In terms of working on my transition plan, so far the only book that I’ve finished reading so far has been: “Reboot your life: energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith. This book has shown me that its fine wanting to take a break from things, and that it’s even expected that people do that (I had no idea that companies like Google and Genetech actually support employees doing this).

                        So this is something that I’m seriously thinking of doing. I know that I have enough money saved (one nice thing about my current living arrangements), and that this is the perfect time for me to do so. Therefore sometime by the end of the year I’m going to embark on my own “reboot break”.

                        I’ve also joined another subgroup within a professional group I’m in—this one focusing on different aspects of scientific writing (but focused on non-academia areas). There are two other books that I’m currently reading (and hopefully will be finishing within the next full moon), and they are: “The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life” by Margaret Loensteine and “Next Gen PhD” by Melanie Sinche.

Listening to a teambeachbody podcast this week (and currently I forget which April one it was), but one thing that stuck with me was—working the personal development that I need to be working on for myself and not what others think (or I think I should do to be like others). Listening to some of the podcasts have been reminding me that I really haven’t been working on me for me; and that is another reason why I’m leaning towards doing a “reboot break”.

Finally in terms of trying to practice happiness/gratitude daily—this is a hit and miss. I realize that the part of my day that I’m currently at times the unhappiest is when I’m at work. One reason is that we’re getting into the nicer weather and I don’t like being stuck indoors all day. I think that I’d almost prefer a job that had flexible hours/schedule to where I could work from both an office and then from home (or a park or somewhere I could take a break and get outdoors). I’m trying to find things to be happy/grateful for daily, and it boosts my mood for a while—but if others are in a bad mood that seems to spread around everyone and it’s hard to stay upbeat. So that is yet another nudge I need for taking a “reboot break” so that I can figure out what the next stage of my career is going to be.

Things were hit and miss this last month, and I’m not sure if it was just because the semester was winding down or if I was going through another small bout of depression (or both). Since we’re going to be cycling back through Scorpio, I will have the chance to modify the goals and figure out the best plan for moving forward again—since the moon in Scorpio will also mark the start of the full moon going through all my houses (from the first).

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Book Review, and yes I think I need to reboot my life

So one of the books that I’ve finished reading this month is “Reboot your life: Energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, & Jaye Smith. I actually bought this book sometime last year (I think because the title of the book grabbed my attention), but I actually sat down and read it over the past few weeks.

I’m starting to think that once we start listening and trying to tune into the flow of the universe, little things start to happen for a reason (picking up the book last year, but actually sitting down to read it this year). This is one book that I will be going back to over the years, as I take reboot breaks as needed.

The authors call these breaks, reboot breaks but they can also be referred to as gap months (or gap year) or a sabbatical. During the time I read the book, I’ve realized that since earning my PhD back in 2010 there have only been about eight and a half months (in total) that I wasn’t working. But I also realized that I never really spent a large amount of time during those times to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’d started to do that a little with the last “break”, but was also still caught up in the “need a job/need to earn money/need to get off unemployment” mindset.

The authors walk you through the steps that are necessary for planning and taking a reboot break in one’s life—and with the way society is going, we all need to unplug and reboot to make sure that we are actually doing what makes us happy and not just what is earning us a paycheck.

The book talks about everything from planning your reboot break, to how to fund it, talking with others about your break (current employer, family, friends, and others), and what they consider the different stages of the reboot break; as well as a few other things. I also didn’t realize how many different companies were actually on board with their employees doing a reboot break (and some of them might even still pay you while you’re “rebooting” your life).

I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I probably really need to do a reboot break—I’m not happy in my current position (it’s a dead end position, limited pay raises, and slightly limited opportunities for personal/professional development. Noticed I said limited—there are opportunities, but one has to make sure that they don’t take away from the main job—which may mean having to do “overtime” but without the benefit of earning the overtime pay).

Job searching is difficult right now, when I’m still undecided on the path(s) I should be investigating. Also I’ve realized it’s hard to search, when I feel like I’m living in a fog—therefore I also need to be focusing on my physical and mental health as well.

One thing the book does try to stress is that one should try to plan out their reboot break about a year in advance (though they claim that you can condense the timescale if you need to). If I decide to do a reboot break, I’d be doing it in roughly seven to eight months (more or less when my current contract is up), though I’ve also thought of possibly trying to find a part-time job during the holidays for money and then starting my reboot break at the start of the new year.  So far I’ve only gotten as far as acknowledging the fact that I need to take a reboot break—how long it will be, or when I still haven’t decided—but the break will happen within the next eighteen months.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is burnt out, beginning to burnout, or ones who have no idea of what they actually want to do in life. I wish I’d found this book sooner (or actually read it when I originally bought it), that way I possibly could have already done a reboot break and have figured out part of my life.

I will keep you posted on how my reboot journey goes (from the planning, to execution of the break, to then finding the type of industry position that I really want) over the next (let’s say) eighteen to twenty-four months.

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One month into the 333 clothing challenge

So I’m trying to do the 333-project for April through June, and I’ve realized a couple of things so far:

I currently have over forty short-sleeve and sleeveless shirts. I also can’t totally put away the longer sleeve shirts, as there are still some cool days (though I could just wear a sweatshirt hoodie over a short-sleeve shirt), and I also don’t have enough hangers for my clothes. This is the one that is irritating—I actually bought a set of hangers last year, and it was a batch of 50 hangers, and I’ve taken a couple from my parents closet and that is in addition to the two dozen or so other hangers I have. Takeaway—I have too many shirts (since I’m not even counting the sweaters that I put into the dresser drawers or the clothes that I have in my storage unit).

I do cycle through the t-shirts, though I wear some of them more often than others. So far it hasn’t gotten warm enough to move to the totally sleeveless shirts (which I will probably do during summer (with a light jacket left at work for those chilly days). I’m finding this slightly funny to realize that I have a lot of clothes, as I’ve never considered myself a fashion person—I buy what I want, and I wear what I want. I just never really noticed how often I’d buy something that I would only wear maybe three or four times before it got lost in the closet.

I’ve also realized that since I’ve gained weight back after the purchase of certain shirts—they don’t fit as nicely as they once did. This means that I should probably spend an evening (or morning) trying on all my shirts and any that I don’t like the look and feel of—I donate or try to sell. I’ve realized that once I lose weight again—I can buy new shirts to replace the ones that will become hopefully too baggy to wear. But wearing shirts that aren’t comfortable isn’t doing much for my mental health either. Therefore hopefully by mid-May I can get the number of t-shirts down from over forty to hopefully twenty-five (a decrease of at least fifteen t-shirts).

The major goal of this challenge is to downsize the amount of clothes that I own to a degree (there are still the clothes in storage—which are being used as packing material and therefore I have to wait until I move to be able to go through those).

So the goal for the coming weekend is to go through my shirts and try on each and every one—and the ones that I don’t like how they fit, put them in a box to either donate or to sell and make a little bit of money.

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Decluttering Challenge: Going through the clothes

So one of the challenges I’ve been thinking of doing is the project 333. This is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for three month.

The 33 items includes: clothing (tops & bottoms), accessories (scarfs and such), jewelry (which can probably be considered an accessory), shoes, and outerwear (jackets).

            Items not included: underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, workout clothes, and sentimental jewelry that you always wear.

So I’ve realized that this is something that I’m going to be modifying as I go along. This modification is for several reasons:

I have pants, shorts, and capris in different sizes (mainly due to weight flux—losing and gaining) and I’m hoping to start it back in the downward trend. This means that I potentially could be dropping sizes and since I don’t want to have to buy new, I need to keep the different sizes.

I’m not including any business casual or business professional clothes in the challenge (since I’m also hoping to change jobs—I need the two types of business clothes for networking and interviews).

Winter clothes have been put away, and the rest of the shirts have been separated into four categories:

Long and three-quarter length sleeve shirts (these are basically early spring, late fall, and early winter shirts);

Short sleeve shirts (most of which are hung—though those that are either seasonal [look more like they’d fit a specific holiday—say Halloween] or are a little more political, have been folded and put away in the drawers. But of the shirts that I have hanging—there are forty-two short sleeve shirts. It will take me a while to figure out which ones I would want to keep (unless I want to cycle through them),

Sleeveless shirts, these have been divided into two categories:

The dressier tunic style shirts that are hung in the closet, and the more traditional tank tops that are stored in the dresser drawer.

I’ve also realized that this doesn’t even count all the clothes that I have in storage (which I wouldn’t be able to sort through until I get a new place and unpack). So I do have a clothing problem—I have way to many clothes. So the plan for the next three months is to determine which shirts (at least of the short sleeve variety) I wear the most often (though truthfully I remember wearing each shirt at least once last year), and then determining the best way of getting rid of the others (either selling for a little money or donating to charity).

When it comes to the accessories: I do like my jewelry—so this would be something else that would take me awhile to figure out which pieces I really want to keep and which ones I would be willing to part with. Other accessories that I have include a couple of hats (only three are winter, the other three are nice weather hats), and two scarfs (again one is more winter and the other can be considered seasonal—it could be worn with something in the fall as it is a brightly colored scarf). I also have several pairs of shoes (which in theory I should have down to say one or two), but some are seasonal (winter) and the rest are tennis shoes (so also workout shoes).

Luckily it doesn’t include workout clothes, as I have a good number of tank tops that I wear for both working out and sleeping. I’ve also realized that basically all of the tee shirts that I have all have some type of graphic design on them, so I need to decide which ones I want to keep and which ones I’m willing to part with.

So I’ve decided that for the most part I’m only going to currently concern myself with the short sleeve and dressy tunic tops for this challenge. If I cut the number of those shirts down—then I’ll move on to the longer sleeved shirts for a challenge come fall and winter. I’m also going to leave everything hanging—and what I don’t wear by the end of say two weeks (which is when I usually do laundry)—I’ll start boxing up and setting aside. It will be interesting to see if by the end of June if I can get the current number of t-shirts down from the over forty to say twenty five (in other words I’m going to see if I can get rid of twenty different tops within the next three months).

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Book Review: The Big Book of 30-Day Challenges: 60 Habit Forming programs to live an infinitely better life by Rosanna Casper

So the books that I’ve finished so far this month all have had one thing in common: they focus on creating new habits or breaking bad habits. I’ve recently reviewed the two volumes of the 30-Day Productivity Plan by Damon Zahariades. Here I’m going to focus on the one of the books that focused on creating new habits.

The first book is “The Big book of 30-Day Challenges: 60 Habit Forming Programs to live an Infinitely Better Life” by Rosanna Casper.

The book contained seven different chapters that basically had seven to ten different 30-day challenges within them. If someone really is ambitious they could do all sixty challenges—it would take at least five years to do the entire book.

The seven chapters include: Fitness, Food, Self-Care, Mindfulness, Organization & Productivity, Networking & Relationships, & finally Creativity and Learning.

Reading through the book, I’ve realized that there are some challenges that I’m already doing, for example the step challenge.  The American Heart Association has a recommendation that you try to get at least 10,000 steps a day, which depending on your stride length should be somewhere around 4 to 5 miles of walking a day. My current challenge for myself is trying to get to 14,000 steps a day. The reason for that number is that if I manage it all year—I would end up with a little over 5 million steps for the year. This year, I’ve already had several days where I’ve been below 10K. This is usually because I haven’t had the greatest night sleep, it’s the weekend/holiday/snow day and I just don’t feel like getting the steps in. I am trying to break myself of that bad habit this year.

But out of all the exercise challenges, there are two that I know I probably won’t be doing—the run every day (I have never enjoyed running, and while at times I picture myself running a 5K—I don’t actually see that happening any time soon), and the stairs workout. With the stair workout, the only time that I would have access to stairs would be at work currently, and I’m not going to go in even earlier just to make use of the stairs for this challenge. I do try to take the stairs when I remember (but I will admit that I’m lazy and I usually head towards the elevator).

But the three challenges that I am going to be putting on a list include: the 30 days of exercise, 30 days of yoga (for me this could mean actually doing the PiYo workouts from Beachbody which combine yoga & Pilates), and 10 minutes of stretching.

While I read through the different food challenges, the only two that I’m currently doing include: drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, and eat a healthy breakfast every morning. There were other challenges that included fasting, eliminating sugar, and keeping a food journal. Since I’m trying to re-establish a good relationship with food, I’m only going to focus on the types of challenges that would work with that major goal. Those would be the two challenges I mention above, plus trying to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The third chapter dealt with self-care. I am trying to get better sleep (the fitbit alta does track sleep somewhat—it tells me how often I’m tossing and turning, or having to get up to go to the bathroom; but doesn’t tell me if I’ve reached REM sleep). I really don’t like cold showers (unless it’s a really hot and humid day or I’m slightly overheated & I need to cool off). Currently I don’t “dress up” daily—mainly because I work in the lab, and I don’t want to be having to put on a lab coat to ensure that nothing is spilt on my clothes (though technically I should be wearing a lab coat anyway—I just sweat way to much and therefore only put on the lab coat when it is absolutely necessary). I’m not sure how well I would do on a no complaining challenge (mainly because of the state of the world and everything in it)—though I do try to make it through the day without complaining, gossiping, or judging other people. I also try to spend some time outdoors (though it may not be a half hour, but I do try for at least a total of 20-30 minutes if not more a day). Also at times I find it difficult to think of things that make me laugh (so this is something that I could work on improving as well).

The fourth chapter dealt with mindfulness. This is something that I have been trying to get better at over the past year or so. When I was initially laid off from my job last fall, I realized that I really need to do a lot of self reflection, and I realized that one thing that I didn’t do nearly enough of was taking care of my mental health. So the goals that are included in this chapter include: meditating for 10 minutes, writing down affirmations, 10 minutes of visualization, seeking daily awe, higher power challenge, daily journaling, keeping a gratitude journal, keeping a dream journal, and practicing lucid dreaming.

Out of those challenges, I do try to meditate nightly (though it may only be for two to five minutes; sometimes I can get closer to 10). In addition I do try to journal daily, though sometimes I’m so tired at the end of the day that I forget to do it—so this is something that I know that I need to work on. I haven’t tried keeping a gratitude journal or a dream journal, nor have I tried lucid dreaming. So if I were to pick two challenges, I think I’d stick with the ones that I’m currently trying to do: the daily meditation & journaling. At some point I will work in the gratitude & dream journaling and even writing down the daily affirmations—but baby steps first.

The fifth chapter dealt with organization and productivity. So these challenges have more to do with doing digital “detoxes”, cleaning out the email in-boxes (if you have more than one account), tracking your spending, and just general things to help make your life a little more streamlined.

I am in the slow process of trying to get rid of clutter in both my room and storage unit (this is slow because I don’t have a lot of time to focus on the storage unit right now & at the same time I’m not sure of what I would need that I have packed away in there). I have been trying to track my expenses and aiming for no spend days to expand into no spend weeks and then expand into a no spend month (so far I’ve managed to almost have a no spend week this year so far). Making my bed daily is something that I manage about 10% of the time, and getting up at 5am is difficult when you have a poor night sleep anyway. But there are challenges that I am working on.

Chapter six has to deal with networking & relationships. Challenges include: 30 minutes of family time, love through everyday interactions, reach out to friends, have lunch with someone new, create daily delight for others & the rejection challenge.

            I have been trying to reach out to friends that I haven’t talked to in years via social media. I also spend time with both my parents and younger brother (when he comes to town), in terms of spending time with other family members, that will require planning a trip out to visit people (since other than my parents & younger brother—no other relative lives in the state). Having lunch with someone new will probably be a challenge for me once I move—since I take my lunch to work daily, there is seldom a chance to sit down with someone new at lunch.

Chapter seven has to deal with creativity and learning. The challenges in this chapter include: learning or brushing up on a musical instrument, learning a foreign language, take a photo every day, learn a brand new skill, write down 10 ideas every day, cook one new recipe per day, read 20 pages a day, watch a TED talk every day, write a novel in 30 days, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, perfect your pitch: videotape yourself, and exercise your brain.

           At some point I may try to brush up on my skills in terms of playing the flute (that way I can banish the bad memories of playing it in school and build better memories of me learning for the fun of it). I am also going to be trying to refresh my memory of both my Spanish & German skills (I’ve figured that it would be a good thing to be able to speak at least one foreign language). I’m also in the middle of a photo challenge already. I’m also trying to keep up on my reading at least 10-20 pages of a non-fiction book (in addition to reading (or re-reading) fiction books as well). As much as I would love to cook more—this is something that I’ve fallen behind on and will pick up more on once I’m back on my own.

So there are literally five years worth of 30 day challenges presented in this book. I’ve realized that I’m currently working on a number of them already (trying to turn them into daily habits). But there are several others that I’m going to slowly start working in my daily routine as well:

Writing down 5 to 10 ideas a day (I know the original challenge was 10 ideas—but sometimes you need to work up to the challenge).

Watching a TED talk every day.

Listening to podcasts (I use to do this daily, but I’ve fallen out of the habit—so it’s something I’d like to get back into doing).

Working suduko puzzles (again this is something that I use to do daily, but have again fallen out habit on).

Getting better at keeping a daily journal (and start to incorporate gratitude & dream journaling as well).

Try to spend more time outdoors

Eat more fruits & veggies

Start practicing more yoga

Work on perfecting my plank

Spend more time stretching.

I do recommend this book if you’re looking for ideas on different 30 day challenges. It covers different areas of life, and with the number of challenges per area–you can pick and choose the ones that you think will be most beneficial to your life.

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Update on the off the couch challenge (and briefly the sleep challenge as well)

So we’re on the second weekend of me getting up at a set time (with an alarm), we’ll see how tomorrow goes. So I’m getting closer to getting a set sleep schedule set up, it may just take a couple more months before I’m getting up at the same time daily.

As for the off the couch challenge I’ve realized two things: 1) I’m fairly active during the day at work (for the most part), to where I’m getting at least 250 steps an hour [fitbit tracker], but 2) I’m not that active on the weekends—I’m trying to play catch up on stuff on the computer, so I’m sitting on my butt more than I’m moving. Plus the weather is getting nice, so I really just want to sit outside and soak up some vitamin D. So I’m going to have to come up with ways to combat my sitting on my butt during the day on the weekend (and I do realize that there may have to be an alternative plan in case it is raining out).

Today for example, I took the three dogs (one at a time) for a walk around the block before and/or after dinner. This allowed for me to give them some brief exercise and for me to get some of my steps in (I’m slowly getting tired of marching in place to movies). Tomorrow I may try to do the same thing, but maybe spread out through the day [to where the dogs may get multiple walks]. Also during the week (depending on where I’m at step wise), maybe I’ll walk the dogs before or after dinner as well to get the steps in and get some additional exercise. Though I may also try to do some more yard work (weather permitting) to also be up and moving around.

I also need to charge my iPod again, that way I can also just dance around the bedroom and get some exercise in that way as well.

I’m thinking with the computer work, since there are numerous videos to watch in these different modules, that after each one I may march in place for fifteen minutes (or straighten something up), to get the blood flowing again before sitting back down and doing more computer work.

Other ways of getting my steps (and getting off the “couch”)—using a smaller glass/mug for water [therefore I will have to refill it more often]; folding the clothes out in the laundry room [instead of carrying the basket back to my room]; and using the kitchen sink to fill the container that I use to refill my aquarium [slightly longer distance=more steps].

This is about the time of year that I slowly start fading on my step goals, due to the weather getting so nice, and me just wanting to sit outside and watch the birds. I know that there are numerous ways to get my steps in on the weekend that aren’t just watching a movie and marching in place, I just need to figure out which one(s) I can consistently do, and do them.

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Week Two (or month one) of the 52 week challenge–Getting enough sleep

So I mentioned earlier how I was going back and redoing the 52 week challenge that was based off of the book 52 small changes: one year to a happier, healthier you by Brett Blumenthal.

Basically her book has 52 shortish chapters detailing a different type challenge for the week. These challenges cover areas such as diet and nutrition, fitness and prevention, mental well-being, and green living. While the title of book states 52 weeks (aka 1 year), the author notes “the amount of time required to make lasting change is highly individualistic and depends on the person, the change, and the circumstances.”

I have the first challenge pretty well under control. That particular challenge is to make sure that you are drinking enough water every day. My liquid intake usually is water, tea (caffeinated in the morning, and herbal at night), and almond milk.  Lately I will admit to grabbing a mocha on campus to get my caffeine in (also its been chilly and I didn’t feel like making a mug of tea before I left the house). So if I add in the tea to my water tally, I’m usually somewhere between 85 and over 100oz of water a day (my morning tea is usually a dilute [1 tea bag per 20oz] mug).

The second week challenge is going to be a little more difficult. The second week challenge is making sure you get enough sleep. The difficulty for me is going to be making sure that I’m getting roughly the same amount of sleep every night. So (to digress a little), back in November the battery to my fitbit zip died, and I couldn’t find the little piece of plastic you need to open the back and change the battery. So I decided that I would order an new one, except for the fact that they weren’t in stock. So I decided to upgrade and I got myself an fitbit alta. This new fitness tracker also monitors the amount of sleep I get every night as well.

This has helped me to slowly start tracking my sleeping patterns. The main one that sticks out is the fact that on the weekends I’m getting almost ten hours of sleep (going to bed at roughly the same time, but getting up almost three hours later), whereas during the week I’m lucky with seven (which is my goal).

I know that it is recommended that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  My only problem with that is I get up at quarter to six because I’m not really a morning person, and I need time to wake up before having to deal with people; and while that would give me quiet time in the morning on the weekend–I kind of like sleeping until almost nine in the morning.

One reason they suggest for that is due to the thought that sleeping in can make you even more tired (which I can agree with slightly–I have found myself yawning in the afternoon [and I know that there is no reason for it]).

So I’m going to treat this week two challenge as it is an monthly challenge, and here are the things I’m going to do to try to ensure that I start getting better night sleeps:

1. Look at the fitbit sleep data and try to see if there are any similar times that I’m tossing and turning (or awake), and can I determine why?

2. Make sure that I’m working out after work, but before dinner (this way it is a good four hours or so before bed).

3. Log all foods (especially afternoon & any evening snacks) to make sure that they aren’t messing with my sleep schedule.

4. Try to finish my evening decaf herbal tea hopefully by 8:30 at night; this is cutting it close to suggested cut-off time for liquids, but that is only because of the time I go to bed at night.

5. Finally, decide when to try to start going to bed & getting up at the time daily.

I know that the combination of all five of these things will help me get my sleep schedule straightened out, but I also know that the hardest one will be number five—I enjoy sleeping in on the weekends, and I also know that it will be a hard habit to break. That alone is why I’m figuring that this challenge will take me almost a month to ensure that I’m getting the same amount of sleep daily.

What are some of the things you do to try to make sure that you get a good night sleep?

No Comments Personal DevelopmentPersonal Development Challenges

Starting again with the 52 week challenge

The 52 week challenge is based off of the book by Brett Blumenthal: 52 small changes: One year to a happier, healthier you. I had started this challenge back in August of last year when I had finished the book, and had tried to post almost daily on how I was doing with the different challenges, and then I slowly stopped doing it.

So I’m going to take the challenge back up (the book never stated when you had to start—just that it may take longer than a year to get each challenge in). So in addition to the photography challenge, I’m going to (hopefully) post a recap for each week to share how I’ve done with that particular challenge.

The first challenge is the water challenge. This is a topic that everyone has an opinion—some agree that you should just drink the 8 to 10 glasses of 8oz (which will have you roughly somewhere between 64 and 80 oz of water a day), while others suggest that you try to drink half your body weight in water a day. Me—I’m in the first camp—I usually try to aim for at least 70oz of water a day (weekends are a particular challenging time for me in the regard). The main reason why I go with at least 70oz of water a day, I’ve tried to drink half my body weight in water a day, and usually fell short by 5 or more ounces (so its easier for me to say–get to at least 70 and you can stop for the day).

While I’m at work, I have a 20oz mug that I will fill up as close to the top as I can from the water fountain and drink from that (and I don’t refill until the mug is totally empty). I try to ensure that I drink at least three mugs (four if I can swing it) before heading home. Then when I’m at home I try to drink another 16 oz or so before, during, and after my workouts.

Like I said the weekends at times are the hardest for me in this regards because I sleep in (therefore am already at least an hour behind on the water), and I’m usually not on my feet as much, so therefore I’m at times not as thirsty. Though I have figured out that if I take the water bottles (when we have them) back to my room, that is motivation for me to try to drink them all before bed.

I also have tea (twice a day—caffeinated in the morning, and herbal at night), plus I put almond milk in my shakes—but I don’t really count those towards my daily hydration.

So I think I’m going strong with my water intake (plus I have it on my weekly habit tracker, that I try to drink at least 70oz a day, and if I fall short I make a note of how much I drank that day). So while I keep up with the water, I’m going to start trying to plan for the second challenge: which is making sure that you get enough sleep.

How do you make sure that you get enough water?

No Comments HealthPersonal Development Challenges