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.