Category Archives: x day challenge

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!


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!

First Successful 30 Day Challenge

My first successful 30 day challenge is almost through. I deem it a success. This one was simple enough. Stay away from time wasters. My main two were Twitter and Google Plus. There were also some message boards that I avoided too. I confirmed the suspicion that I get nothing valuable from them. All they serve to do is use up valuable idle time.

I’m reading a book now, Find Your Focus Zone, to deal with my self-diagnosed scatter brain. I’ve been trying to pinpoint the source of my frustration in not being able to accomplish more (personally and professionally). I think the source is a lack of concentration at important (yet not so obvious) times. I’ll get more into the assessment and the book in another post, but the gist I took away so far is that you can program the brain negatively when constantly checking up on things like twitter. A good and fitting quote so far is “the brain influences behavior, AND behavior influences the brain.” Bad habits and behavior can snowball. Also, these distractions can serve as fodder for avoidance and procrastination. Again, more to come in another post.

My next step is to drop Twitter and Google Plus almost entirely. I might check in once a week or so (there are really interesting people I can gain valuable information from). I know for sure I’m not going to miss anything at all by not checking in on them every hour. Same for the message boards. I’m also going to drop/reduce other non-productive habits. The key of course is to be mindful and identify them.

My next 30 day challenge is going to be hard. 30 days without hitting snooze on the alarm clock. Also I’m going to have a set wake-up time each day. Although the current one isn’t quite at 30 days (I’ll keep it up), I’m starting this one {gulp} tomorrow. This means getting to bed at a more set hour, which I’ve been sort of slacking off on.

30 Day Challenge Update – Time Wasters

I’m a week into giving up Twitter, Google+, and some other social media and message boards.

So far so good. So far, I confirmed my suspicion that none of the above were providing me with anything valuable. I get my information from other sources (e.g. blogs through Google Reader), which are probably more reliable anyway.

The time gained really hasn’t been put to any real good use yet. But I do notice that I’m less dependent on my phone. Or more accurately, I don’t need to constantly check my phone. And if I put it down for an hour or more, I’m not compelled to check anything other than for new message icons.

It bothered my wife that my head was always on the phone, and I don’t blame her. This has cut that down tremendously. It was all needless. At least for me anyway.

Now for one of my new year’s resolutions, I’m going to try to identify less obvious time wasters and chop away. And replace that time with more enriching activities.

New 30 Day Challenge – Time Wasters

I haven’t forgotten about 30 day challenges. My first one ended up to be a failure in the sense it only lasted 4 days. But it emphasized something that’s been bubbling up inside my head.

The task then was to write a stream on consciousness writing for 30 minutes every night. It turned out to be too much of a task. Plus the upside of doing it wasn’t really clear to me even though I chose to do it. I read that it helps with focusing the train of thought and with writing, but perhaps I didn’t really believe it or even know what a success would look or feel like. There are probably a million reasons why I abandoned… Bottom line, it was probably a waste of time.

I wanted to do 30 day challenges at the start of each month. But this next one can’t wait. Or better, I don’t want to wait. It starts right… right…. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…………. now.

For the first time ever, I’ve come up with some rock solid new year’s resolutions. I’ll get to them in detail in another post. But one of them will be along the lines of identifying distractions and both eliminating them and substituting something constructive in their place. So this 30 day challenge is part of a test run and/or momentum builder for that resolution.

This 30 day challenge is 30 days without Twitter, Google+, or other social media and message boards. All except Facebook.

The logic is simple. I want to eliminate distractions and time wasters, but not cut out social interaction all together. I find Facebook valuable in keeping connected with people, and I don’t spend/waste a lot of time on there. Twitter, Google+, and the others, however, I find I spend way more time just browsing and not connecting with anything or anyone in any valuable way. It’s more of a boredom filler than anything else.

I do have a few caveats though. If someone DMs (or @’s me) me, I will respond–I set notifications accordingly so I don’t have to go Twitter, etc. to look for those messages. Again, I don’t want to abandon real social connections. I also can’t abandon the usage for my company, which is minimal anyway.

Now that I’ve gotten those distractions out of the way, it’s time to button up and finalize my new year’s resolutions.

First 30 day challenge ends in a tap out

Well that one didn’t last long at all. I started my first 30 day challenge last week. And it only lasted 4 days. I wanted to do a stream of consciousness writing every night for 30 days. I may go back to the drawing board though and try to salvage it for another try (another month). I tried 30 minutes each. That may have been too long for each night. Maybe 15 minutes is enough??? I had to fight to get myself to do the last one, then threw in the towel the next day. To be honest I didn’t know what would come out of it. I did get to write down a lot of what was floating in my head (2 hours worth). There are some things I want to get done because of the writing. So maybe it was valuable in some way… Anyway my next 30 day challenge will be something easier/faster so I can get some momentum going with this concept.

30 Day Challenges

I got this idea from Matt Cutts of Google. Committing to something different for 30 days each month (or every other month or whatever). I was thinking about doing this for quite a while.

During Lent this year, I gave up junk food, which I narrowed down to the 4 c’s (cake, candy, chips, cookies). That was sort of a 30 day challenge of itself (40+ days actually). I only messed up once completely accidentally and mindlessly during Church coffee hour. I picked up a brownie and took a bite, then realized it and threw the rest away. Besides being the annoying one who turns down cake at birthday parties, it was relatively easy for me. I don’t eat much of it to begin with.

The 30 day challenge doesn’t need to be a sacrifice however. Rather motivation to try new things.

So the new month begins and so does my first 30 day challenge. This is something I put off for over a year and a half. It is stream-of-consciousness writing. The one recommendation I’m going to ignore is to do it in writing. Rather, I’m going to type them keep them in a Google Docs folder. I’m going to isolate myself from distractions first and commit a half hour to each.

Lets see how this goes…