Second 10 Day Challenge Down?, Another to Begin

My first 10 day challenge was to eat cleanly for 10 days. I succeeded.

My second 10 day challenge was to drink 60 oz of water a day. I think I succeeded.

First. Why 60 oz? Rule of thumb says 64oz a day. I have a 20oz (3x) bottle, and I rounded off.

But… I found 60 oz way too much. I haven’t been exercising (weather not permitting). So I halved it after the first 4-5 days. I didn’t feel thirsty or dehydrated. And I wasn’t running to the bathroom every 5 minutes. Plus I drink a lot of tea, which I didn’t count (some say pure water only, some say tea counts as water consumption).

Over-analyzing much? Yeah. I think I succeeded and have carried the new habit on throughout the last few days. Like I said in the last post, I can’t believe staying hydrated is a habit I needed to develop.

The goal is to have these 10 days challenges create momentum for permanent change. I kind of relapsed on eating well, but got that back on track. My excuse was that I had to “feed the cold” I got. Lame, I know. But I can’t be too hard on myself… What I was eating was not too too bad (just a little overboard on carbs–not sugar though). But it did take some effort to steer me back in the right direction.

So now I have two challenges checked off, my 3rd is to go to bed and wake up in a disciplined time frame. I would love to simply say “to bed by 11pm, up by 6:30 am,” but having a 2 month old and soon to be 5 year old makes that impossible. This is also tackling 2 habits at once, but I need to get some traction here. I am going to wake at 6:30 no matter what (no snooze, no delaying getting out of bed). And I am going to be all ready for bed at 11. So if the baby goes down, great. If not, at least I don’t waste extra time after he finally goes down. Lately I’ve been up to 12:30-1am, but I could have cut a lot of time if I had gotten ready for bed beforehand. From 11pm on, no TV, phone, computer, etc. All brushed, flossed, etc.

I wanted to have my next challenge be to meditate for 5 minutes a day. This is something I had on my to do/try list for a long time. Not for a real religious or zen experience, but to have it help with my focus. I need to find the time, carve it out, and do it. Without the discipline of getting to bed and waking up, squeezing this in would be too difficult. This will be my next challenge, hopefully.

First 10 Day Challenge Down, Another to Begin

My first 10 Day Challenge was “to eat/drink pristinely for 10 days.” I think I did well. “Pristine” can be left up to interpretation, but in honestly I didn’t mess up. Well other than taking 2 bites of cake at a birthday party. I SWEAR it was more not to be rude than for the love of the cake. Really. No REALLY! Other than that, there was no other cake, candy, chips, cookies, crackers, etc. Nothing fried. Nothing “bad.” It felt good and it wasn’t too hard. I had been slipping here and there previously. I hope those 10 days jump-start better habits.

My second 10 day challenge would be kind of embarrassing if I hadn’t seen so many others have trouble with and try to overcome the same (through resolutions or challenges, etc.). It’s… Get this… Drink more water!!!

I can’t believe I  need to be more mindful of this. On an average day, I don’t drink enough water. I don’t know what it is. I know proper hydration is beneficial for so many things. Overall health, weight loss, brain function, athletic performance, etc.

So, today is day 1 of drinking at least 60oz of water a day!

 

Tea Steeping Times and Temperatures

I’ve gotten into drinking tea 1) for health benefits and 2) to reduce the caffeine consumption I was getting from my abuse of coffee. Plus I’ve gotten to really like the taste of some and like taste testing various blends.

Here is a handy guide to steeping times and temperatures.

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Android’s backwards “ok/cancel” dialog is killing me.

Total first world problem here.

I don’t know what genius at Google decided to reverse the positive/negative dialog you get when performing actions on Android. For all 20+ years of my computer usage, the left is “yes” the right is “no.”

I can’t count how many times I accidentally uninstalled a program, deleted a file, etc. because of this idiotic change. WTF!

CHANGE IT BACK GOOGLE! The arrogance kills me.

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Google Not Now

I posted about some frustrations while using Google Now. That’s it. I’m done.

I’m not going to waste time being a beta tester for Google. The thing has so much wrong with it that it’s too time consuming for me to list.

Bottom line: Convenience-inconvenience=value. Right now, for me, it has negative value.

It didn’t give me anything that was really worthwhile. And the notifications and alerts on traffic conditions to places I wasn’t going to were becoming a nuisance. Plus, it cut the battery life in half.

The location and web search history tracking and the specific details of them are really creepy. And with no value in return, what’s the point.

Cognitive Dissonance and Goals

I’m going to start posting some back of the napkin type posts. I want to try to capture some of my thoughts/ideas on paper, but also display them somehow.

What do you think of this one? Often pursuits can be fruitless without well defined goals. Also uncertainty, fear, doubt, confusion can often muddle vision.

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First 10 Day Challenge of 2013

As mentioned in my 2013 “Resolutions” post, one of my “resolutions” (getting sick of the quotes? Yeah me too.) is to do a series of x day challenges to chip away at some habits I want to build.

I had planned on some of these in advance. But I also went ahead and got Zen Habit’s 52 Changes E-Book. There are a lot of great ideas in there. And a lot of overlap of things I wanted to do–so I know I’m not the only crazy one out there! More to come on those soon…

Funny enough… I think the biggest challenge is not to take on too much at once. I feel impatient, but I know if I want habits to stick, I need to take them on one at at time. I need zen like discipline here.

My first 10 day challenge is to eat/drink pristinely for 10 days. I have gone on very good streaks before, and some of my healthy eating habits from 2012 and earlier stuck. But I need a good intense focus on this area to start the new year off right. It might be a quick early win I need for some momentum. It’ll also incorporate my cook twice a week goal.

My pristine eating consists of following basically the anti-inflammatory diet. I cover more details in my Healthy Living Checklist post. No cake, no cookies, no chips, no candy, no crap. Eat as whole/natural foods as possible. Low sugar, low simple carb. High water. Low caffeine.  No artificial sweetener. Low salt. High vegetables. Some fruit. And consume no more than my BMR says I should (calorie counting done thanks to MyFitnessPal).

Yesterday was day 1 and a success. It included my Turkey Chili recipe from the Dolce Diet Living Lean. Cooked once so far. Check. One day down. Check.

9 more days left to get this habit back on the rightful track!

2013 “Resolutions”

I can look at my 2012 resolutions in 2 ways. 1) Failure or 2) a road map that presented its share of twists and turns, which ultimately led to overall improvement (in thinking, creativity, effectiveness, focus).

I’ll take #2. See what I did there? ;-) In all introspective and non-denial honesty, I learned a lot in 2012.

There IS a growing movement of not setting hard-fast goals. For example it might be better for your goal to be “to eat healthy” rather than “to lost 20 pounds.” While I do see the value in that thinking, I still think there should be a target to aim for. Sort of like the old quote, “Aim for perfection, settle for excellence.” But there are very valid points to that thinking and I think it’s kinda sorta where I ended up in 2012.

I definitely made headway in a lot of the areas I focused on in 2012. But as I mentioned early on, the pursuits led to learnings that then compelled me to change course. At the minimum, the careful thought and creation of my 2012 resolutions jump-started a more effective and ever evolving personal development path.

I think overall (and recently) I learned not to try to be such a perfectionist. Rather I should just go for things and not fear failing or getting things wrong at first. This is where I’ll start for 2013.

I hope to carry the non-perfectionist notion into 2013 from day one. Instead of trying to read x number of books or blog posts on y skill before trying it first, I’m going to try first, and rely on books and reference material only when needed. JUST SHIP BABY!

I’ve become a fan of Tim Ferriss. Not to digress, but I AM going to follow my “no book rule” and NOT read his 4 Hour Workweek and 4 Hour Body! Instead I’m going to rely on the gist I attain from other sources of learning (for these books and many others), like shorter blog posts or YouTube interviews and presentations. His latest, 4 Hour Chef, was too interesting to resist though–there is a lot of entertainment value (see how I’m justifying the purchase and time investment?). Where was I going with this… His philosophy is to basically apply the 80/20 rule to time and energy when taking on projects/endeavors/etc. Look for the 20% effort that will yield 80% results. I have already started focusing on this. Other than more obvious time/attention wasters like Twitter, Facebook, etc, there are others that creep into the mix that on the surface look like productive activities, but their ROI (time/attention/etc) is very low. I really catch myself at times being “productive” only to evaluate time I wasted on very low-value/yielding tasks.

Speaking of 4 Hour Chef… And goals in general. One of my 2012 “failures” was to create a weekly meal plan and stick to it. It was clear early on that the task was a bit overwhelming. Mostly on the shopping front, not the actual cooking front. Just the thought of the monumental task (for me) was enough to feed procrastination and avoidance. I’ve decided to take Ferriss’s advice and start with only 2 meals per week to start. That’s it. And that’s “resolution” #1. Cook 2 healthy meals a week. Hopefully there will be enough leftovers!

I did join toastmasters and I did give one speech. So I did dip my toes into that 2012 resolution water. A really bad string of scheduling conflicts, then the birth of baby boy #2 got in the way of attending more. Simply, “resolution” #2 is to give more public speeches in 2013.

I will open up an IRA this time. I sort of procrastinated the research on it. I finally understand what I can do and what to do. And I have enough for the minimum required. This is an example of feeling the need to know way too much before taking action. I should have just gone on a lunch hour to Fidelity, instead of feeling to urge to do hours of independent research on IRAs. “Resolution” #3 is to finally open an IRA.

I have a long list of outstanding things to do around the house. Nothing major, just little fixes here and there. I had the ambitious goal of finishing one thing a week in 2012. Sure enough new stuff got in the way of old stuff. And a lot remains on the list. I think the mental stress of falling behind led to the ultimate doom of this resolution. This is kind of what Bregman alludes to. “Resolution” #4 is to chip away at the list.

Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, who talks, advises, etc. about goals, changing habits, etc. says you will likely fail if you take on too much at once. Better yet, you should really only take on one change at a time. Therefore I’m going to make “resolution” #5 a series of x day challenges. I’ve done 30 day challenges before with varying success. I’m going to spend a little while thinking about dialing the days back a little (maybe 10-15) and firing away at things I want to learn, try, accomplish etc. And perhaps there will be breaks in between. Some for fun. Some development areas. Some are are already in a quasi state of progress now, but desperately need more focus to create a permanent habit. I don’t think the first 4 lend themselves to this… Therefore “resolution” #5 is to do x (tbd # of days) challenges for the following: meditation, exercise, hydration (yes really), sleep (bedtime and wake-up schedule), nutrition/healthy eating, reduce caffeine consumption, do more  brain/memory training, and others as I think them up, like x days of eating with only chopsticks or something fun like that. As I mentioned, some of these are in a varying states of habit, but they tend to slip. More dedication and focus one at a time might be in need.

There are a few other things on the periphery, which will remain on a soft kind of “radar screen” if you will. They are to get more quality input and inspiration (e.g. going to museums, watching more educational documentaries, etc.), learn to speed read, and to toy around with “outsourcing” mundane tasks. The outsourcing will have to require that time gained put to the utmost good use. For example, if we hire a housekeeper to tidy up, the time not wasted tidying up will be spend on real valuable areas, like getting more important stuff done, doing volunteer work, doing paid freelance work, etc. NOT watching more reality TV (not that we do anyway). We’ve already ordered groceries from PeaPod, and I’ve already put things on Amazon’s “subscribe and save” autoship.

Lets see how 2013 goes!

Got a recommendation, let me say no thanks

I’m a sucker for a good recommendation. I like having recommended channels, people, things, etc. on the social networks. What they need, however, is a no thank you option to 1) hide that recommendation in the future and 2) learn from that choice. Facebook and LinkedIn can use this big time.

Here is some recommended channels on my YouTube page:

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Let me say, “no thanks.” Then offer me up some more recommendations why don’t ya? As it is, there is a little x to remove the recommendation, but it’s just temporary. The same recommendations come back again and again.

This is my blog, links, and other random stuff.