Monthly Challenges

In October 2013, I watched a brilliant and inspiring TED talk by Matt Cutts. He posits that anything you want to add to your life, learn, do or even not do can become a habit with a 30 Day Challenge. I loved this concept and decided to implement it into my life.

My monthly challenges have evolved since I began but generally are either physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, skills, etc. and are grouped into one of three categories – “Do,” “Don’t” and “Learn.”

 

 2017

January

  • Learn how to do a bridge – with the hope of learning how to do a kip up next month…
  • Continued learning the basics of drawing (You Can Draw in 30 Days, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) – been a ton of fun learning some basics such as depth, perspective, shading and has helped me become more perceptive
  • 30 Day Minimalism Challenge (inspired by a great documentary called Minimalism) – fun challenge to help you physically, mentally, emotionally, electronically declutter your life
  • Don’t mix alcohols – failed one time but it became abundantly clear that I feel much better when sticking to one kind

February

  • Quarterly 3 day fast – boring but getting surprisingly easy the more I do it
  • Psyllium Husk – 1 tablespoon with water after dinner. Has immediate results for some but I didn’t notice much of a difference
  • Don’t eat within 2 hours of bed – failed a decent amount but definitely felt lighter the mornings after when I did follow through
  • Kip up – failed miserably. No consistent place to practice and feel like I need to enlist the help of a coach

March

  • Learning some basic dance moves – painful but making progress
  • Lunch time meditation – didn’t get to occasionally but even 10 minutes makes a world of difference

April

  • Dancing – the final performance was this month and it turned out pretty much as good as I could have hoped for. Happy and honored to have helped such a great organization as The South Bend Center for the Homeless and to have challenged myself by stepping out of my comfort zone.
  • Going through last quarter’s entries in my BestSelf journal – the goal is to see broader patterns over longer periods of time that I might otherwise miss in the moment, to relive good experiences, to learn from difficulties or failures and to see where the most productive and useful time is spent (amazing how much time is wasted in non-useful articles, meetings, books, etc. but I think that’s the price of admission to occasionally stumble upon the few gems which do have lasting impact).
  • Learning how to Learn – Coursera put together a great course on the different techniques to become a better learner, covering topics such as memory, chunking, how to deal with procrastination, how to study, improving productivity, test taking skills, etc. My Summary Notes

 

 2016

January

  1. Do
    • Wim Hof Method – a series of breathing exercises, stretching and cold exposure which leave you feeling energized, calm and focused. Can’t recommend highly enough. His book, outline found here, gives a broad overview but the course you buy goes much more in depth
    • Huperzine A before bed (200-400 mcg) – read that this helps with lucid dreaming but I ended up sleeping so terribly on it that I stopped after 2 weeks
  2. Don’t
    • Eat red meat – no particular reason but to deprive myself of something I enjoy
  3. Learn

February

  1. Do
    • Wim Hof – continued with the yoga, meditation, exercise, cold exposure all rolled into one. Finish the exercise feeling, calm, center yet energized and focused. Do it!
  2. Don’t
    • N/A 🙁
  3. Learn
    • Foodist – a recent sponsor of Ferriss’ podcasts so thought I’d try it out. Great resource and learning guide for people who are nervous about cooking and want to improve

March

  1. Do
    • Roast an entire chicken – had never done this and thought it would be fun to try. Surprisingly easy, delicious and fun. Also, fed me for a week
  2. Don’t
    • N/A – will be focusing more on my “Dos” and “Learning”
  3. Learn
    • Tai chi – have been wanting to learn more about tai chi for some time now. Only got through one book and excited to learn more about it and practice over the next several months. Exciting avenue to learn more about yourself, get some good exercise and gain mental clarity/calmness

April

  1. Do
    • N/A
  2. Don’t
    • Use social media – jumped off Facebook and Snapchat and never really use Twitter or anything else. It was really nice to disconnect for a while. Might download the Facebook messenger app on my phone but don’t think I’ll be using much of anything else…
  3. Learn
    • Tai Chi – got through some more books which were helpful but you definitely need a teacher/class/mentor to get anywhere with

May

  1. Do
    • Create a list of people I’d love to meet one day so that it is concrete in my head and I can take action (whether consciously or not) to try to make it happen
  2. Don’t
    • N/A
  3. Learn

June

  1. Do
    • Balance on an indo-board – took me a bit to get the hang of it but by the end of the month could do it easily and am working on juggling while balancing. Great to get into flow quickly
    • Gymastics exercises – inspired by Ferriss’ podcast with Chris Sommer, I looked into their website and started doing some should/hip flexibility work and other strenght/balance exercises
  2. Learn
    • Top 1,000 most common words in Spanish using vis-ed flash cards – great refresher and there were more words than I would have guessed that I didn’t know. Vis-ed has a ton of different languages and is a really useful tool when trying to learn languages

July

  • Took a break this month and loved it

August

  • Best Self Journaling –  automatic game changer. Got me to do a couple things which I’ve been putting off for literally months, gets me to sit down and focus on what I want to accomplish that day, what my larger goals are, what I’m grateful for and more
  • Brain HQ –  brain games which help you improve your memory, reactions, recall, focus and more. Fun and supposedly help reduce dementia by up to 50%. Fun and only takes 5-10 minutes per day
  • Learn about complexity and chaos theory (see Sync, Complexity, How Nature Works and Thinking in Systems)

September

October

  • Gymnastics Strength Training is a new mainstay into my morning routine. Great mobility, flexibility and strength results in just 10-15 minutes per day
  • Mini trampoline – got the inspiration after watching Tony Robbin’s new documentary on Netflix. Jumping for 10 minutes per day is supposed to have great circulatory and digestive benefits – no idea if that’s true but at the very least, it’s fun…
  • Three-day fast – third time I’ve done this now and it keeps surprising me how easy it is. Had a bit of a headache the first day but the second and third days I felt sharp although I missed the “process” of cooking and eating with close friends. I used ketoforce this time around (3 cap fulls in the morning with juice from half a lemon) which is supposed to help you get into ketosis faster. I didn’t notice a huge difference in how I felt compared to the last couple fasts but will keep it up.
  • On Complexity – finished up my teacher’s reference guide on complexity. I got so much out of this deep, deliberate dive and hope you find it somewhat useful too.

November

  • Silent retreat – it was really nice to get some space and feel like it was alright to do nothing, to walk slowly, to eat slowly, to meditate, to think deeply and escape technology and time for just two days. Would highly recommend and will definitely do it again at some point
  • On Disney – finished compiling my learnings and takeaways from reading up on Disney and Pixar which has been an awesome project

December

  • 3 day fast – last one of the year and each time seems to get a little easier, although still challenging. You start feeling really sharp towards the end of the second day and it has been a great experience learning that I can go days without eating if need be
  • Decaf tea with apple cider vinegar and honey before bed – definitely helped me sleep a bit deeper but not to the point where I’ll be doing this every day
  • Bruce Lee – learning about his life and philosophy has been fascinating and look forward to digging in more next month
  • Learn the basics of drawing – this has been one of my favorite challenges this year. I have zero artistic talent but this book walks you through fundamentals in a fun and engaging way. Will definitely keep up moving forward
  • Get creative and experiment with Joule, a sous vide made by ChefSteps
  • Year-End Challenges:
    • Napoleon Hill’s 28 questions – personal check to see where I stand on things important to me. I have done this the last couple years and find it an easy yet powerful way to reflect on the past year
    • Revisit my 1, 5 and 10 year goals – I put no pressure on myself to live and die by these goals but I find it helpful to have some ‘roadmap’ in mind. Helps me see how I stack up to what I set out to do this year vs. what I actually did and see how the game plan for longer term goals are playing out.
    • Pareto Spring Cleaning – something I do every 6 months or so and it helps me think about what has caused the majority of my problems, successes, joys and stresses. Weeding out the bad and doing more of the good.
    • Read BestSelf journal entries to see how I spent my time these past 3 months, what I’ve been grateful for and possibly pick up any patterns or themes that were lost on me while in the moment. I have loved this quarterly practice as it helps extend your time horizon and in some ways become an observer of your own life

2015

December

  1. Do
    • Ido Portal hanging protocol – wasn’t too serious about it but hung from my pull up bar a couple minutes per day. Like it enough to keep doing it but didn’t find any huge benefits
    • Wim Hof Method – started mid-month but am loving it. It is a 10 week breathing and cold exposure protocol which I’m really excited about
  2. Don’t
    • N/A this month
  3. Learn
    • Determine 2016 goals – a lot of it is keeping up with good habits and routines I’ve set up but always looking for more. Any recommendations would be much appreciated

November

  1. Do
    • Ask family and close friends for areas of improvement – definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but I got some really valuable feedback from people who know me very well and I trust. Highly recommend
  2. Don’t
    • Don’t crack my knuckles – made some progress but still a bad habit
  3. Learn
    • More about wine – got some books on what influences the smell and taste of wine and how to better describe it. Interesting and pretty useful

September

  1. Do
  2. Don’t
    • Have more than 3 drinks any given night – failed a couple times but not too often.
  3. Learn

October

  1. Do
    • Ice on neck before bed / cold showers – amazing how deeply I slept after this (Tim Ferriss hack)
  2. Don’t
    • Get impatient with my family. Hate to think I treat complete strangers better than family
  3. Learn

August

  1. Do
    • Ask for 1-3 areas of improvement – really difficult but interesting to ask close friends / family for this input
    • 30 Day Pull up Challenge – I am pretty terrible at pull ups but was amazed at the progress over 30 days. Managed to get to 30 pull ups in a row, from a base of 10
  2. Don’t
    • Text while around other people – not very difficult but made me aware how much people in general do this
  3. Learn

July

  1. Took a break with moving and traveling to Sweden / Istanbul

June

  1. Do
    • Archery class – fun to do something I’ve never done before
  2. Don’t
    • Watch more than 60 minutes of TV any given day
  3. Learn

May

  1. Do
    • Be grateful before every meal – not a prayer but just recognizing how lucky I am to have a meal in front of me is very humbling
    • Big History Project – glad I took these courses. Maybe not too much new information but it was interesting to see the progression from our universe forming billions of years ago to the future of humanity
  2. Don’t
    • Eat meat for two days per week – wasn’t too difficult and think I could continue if need be
  3. Learn
    • Godin Freelancing Workshop – really good workshop and glad I took it
    • Bitcoin Basics – really good, free course on Udemy and a bit goofy but gave me a good understanding about the basics of Bitcoin

April

  1. Do
    • Ask people to describe you in 3 words – bit of a difficult challenge in the sense that you open yourself up in a new way to people. I really enjoyed this challenge and would recommend giving it a try. It was interesting to see what different groups (friends, family, teammates, colleagues) came up with.
  2. Don’t
    • Say “yes” unless it’s a “hell yes!” – got this idea from McKeown’s Essentialism and while I wasn’t able to put it into practice too often, I did say no a couple times to certain requests because I was overloaded. It was somewhat difficult but my colleagues understood and respected me being open about my inability to do quality work if I took on their requests.
  3. Learn

March

  1. Do
    • Day of silence once per week – was only able to get 2 “Silent Sundays” in out of 4 but really enjoyed this practice. I didn’t listen to any music, watch TV, or talk at all – just read a lot and tried to be aware of the noises around me. Definitely out there but it was fun to try
    • Give away 30 things in 30 days – this was fantastic and while I struggled deciding on exaclty what to give away, it felt great doing so. Mostly clothes but also some accessories and random stuff
  2. Don’t
    • Swear – quickly and repeatedly failed but I started catching myself towards the end of the month and being mindful of when I did
  3. Learn
    • Location of all countries – EuropeAsiaAfricaLatin America
    • Languages (Italian, Portuguese, Danish, German) with Duolingo and Vis-Ed  – great progress and feel like I’m learning a lot. This is a yearly goal and will need to keep working diligently.
    • Memorize William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence – “To see the World in a grain of sand/And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/To hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/And Eternity in an hour”

February

  1. Do
    • Reach out to one new person every day – this was a challenge I really enjoyed doing and will incorporate it into my daily habits. People often want to hear from you and keep in touch, it is just difficult to find the time and keep on top of it. I got in touch with 30 people in 30 days – often people I haven’t spoken to in years. Creating a reason, even a silly reason like a monthly challenge, to reach out to someone makes it easier
  2. Don’t
    • No white lies – I failed at this but it was a great exercise to notice what I would want to avoid telling the truth about. For me, it was often trying to get out of social events I didn’t want to attend.
  3. Learn
    • Memorize the Gettysburg Address – not sure how useful this will ever be but it was a fun challenge
    • Main streets and general layout of Chicago – I’m pretty awful with directions and thought this challenge would help me. It’s hard to put the time into memorizing something like this when Google Maps is so great…
    • Languages – keep working on German, Italian, Portuguese and Danish on Duolingo and Vis-Ed. Think I’m able to keep the languages separate and there is a lot of overlap

January

  1. Do
    • Pay everything in cash – this challenge wasn’t that effective as most of my bills are automated and paid directly through my bank but it did make spending money on small ticket items like coffee and nights out more difficult. Moving forward, I’ll keep more cash on hand to pay for these types of items and hopefully make it that much harder to spend frivolously
  2. Don’t
    • Drink alcohol – I did a sober January and absolutely loved it. Super productive and great energy that only increased as the month went on. Not going to say it wasn’t difficult, but it made me aware how much alcohol brings me down and will definitely reduce my intake moving forward. I missed the social aspect  at times and people were very understanding, and often jealous, that I was doing this challenge. People won’t judge you as much as you think.
  3. Learn
    • Finish memorizing German Vis-Ed flashcards – These flashcards are great if you haven’t heard of them before. For a good number of languages they offer flashcards of the 1,000 most commonly used words. I have slowly been making my way through the German words and have memorized the vast majority.
    • Start Italian, Portuguese and Danish on Duolingo and Vis-Ed – Already speaking Spanish and Swedish, I decided ItalianPortuguese and Danish would be my next languages to focus on. Again, my approach is to do one lesson on Duolingo and make my way through the Vis-Ed flashcards. Good progress and we’ll see if I’m able to keep the often similar words in these various languages distinct.

 

2014

My Do/Don’t/Learn breakdown didn’t start until 2015 but still took on a number of challenges throughout 2014

 

December

  1. Do
    • At the beginning of the year I read Joel Greenblatt’sThe Little Book that Still Beats the Market” and decided to invest some money into his Magic Formula Investing. While it did not beat the market (and Buffett and Graham would not be surprised…), it had modest returns and was interesting to follow. So, I sold the losing stocks 1 day before the 1 year holding period and sold the winning stocks 1 day after the holding period (for tax purposes)
    • Determine my 2015 year-long goals as well as some potential monthly challenges
    • Meditate twice a day using the Headspace app – Finding the time to meditate became somewhat arduous at times but overall I really liked this challenge. I will change my routine so that I now meditate in the mornings instead of at night as I found that it really helps set you up for a great day. Headspace is a great app which is easy to use and gets rid of a lot of the “fluff” which is often associated with meditation. Highly recommend at least trying it out.

November

  1. Do
    • Movember – Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for those who actually had to look at me…) I had to keep looking somewhat professional so I kept the beard until the last day when I rocked the mustache. I took a picture every day to see the progress…
    • Read all Berkshire shareholder letters – For anybody even remotely interested in finance and investing this is a no-brainer. Buffett does such a great job of laying out his investment principles in layman’s terms that anybody can grasp it. The difficult part is keeping emotionally stable enough to weather the good times and the bad. Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful
    • Know all 1,000 German Vis-ed flashcards – Made huge progress and knew the vast majority of the words but still need to get through those last 20 or so words which are giving me trouble. If you don’t know Vis-ed, check them out. They have a large array of flashcards from languages to mathematics and I have found them to be extremely helpful when trying to learn some new topics (especially using spaced repetition)
    • Set up game plan for SportsReplay – I won a non-profit challenge on 99Designs and a couple weeks later had a beautiful webpage design. The designers were very responsive and awesome to work with and I would definitely recommend using them for any webpage, logo or other design you might need help with. (LPT – Tim Ferriss partners with them and you can get $99 off by clicking here.)
  2. Learn
    1. The 27 Amendments and American Presidents in order

October

  1. Do
    • Play “Imagine” by John Lennon on the guitar – slowly but surely making progress here. This will be a multi-month challenge for sure.
    • Solve a Rubik’s cube – It took me the entire month but I was finally able to solve the Rubik’s cube. Once you know the different algorithms, there really isn’t that much to it.
  2. Learn
    • 1,000 German Words – I’m about half way through with memorizing these words and look forward to seeing if I’ll be able to manage all 1,000 before New Years
    • Juggle a soccer ball 100 times – This was more difficult than I thought and I wasn’t able to get to 100. 69 was my max so will need to move this challenge forward into November
    • Calligraphy – I learned the basics and now know a bit more about this world. It is not something I am looking to pursue but it was interesting to get to know how much detail goes into some of these projects.
    • KWIK videos – Jim Kwik has put out some absolutely amazing videos ranging from speed reading to memorizing anything. I will upload my summaries of these videos soon and highly recommend all of them. He gives you tips and tools on how to memorize pretty much anything just using a couple straightforward techniques.

September

In September I really wanted to push myself with music and language. I was a little disappointed with my progress and will have to keep making big strides in this area in order to accomplish my goals

  1. Do
    • “Imagine” by John Lennon on Guitar – I was pretty disappointed with my minor progress. I knew this would probably be the most difficult challenge I have undertaken as I am musically illiterate and never dreamed that this would only take me a month to learn. I memorized the most 8 common chords and came up with a game plan for how to learn this song in the upcoming months.
    • Experiment with New Recipes – I read the “4 Hour Chef” by Tim Ferriss and loved some of the meta-learning lessons and recipes it provided (it gives you much more than cooking tips and can’t recommend highly enough!) I made some new dishes and love trying new things so this was a fun challenge for me. I’ll definitely keep experimenting and finding new dishes to try moving forward
    • Lift 3 times per week – I used Tim Ferriss’ suggestions from 4 Hour Body, namely the 5 second up/down cadence, the specific exercises and going until failure in each exercise. My lifts were 30 minutes long and typically consisted of bench press, squats, lunges, row and a variety of smaller muscle groups like biceps, triceps and shoulders, etc.). I gained 6 lbs of muscle and lost 2 lbs of fat – nowhere close to Tim’s 34 lbs in 28 days but still a good gain.
  2. Learn
    • Brew a better cup of coffee – I bought the Aeropress and it is magic. It is very affordable ($25), takes 30 seconds to clean, is portable and makes an amazing cup of coffee. This has completely replaced my Keurig brewer and will be a great stocking stuffer this holiday season.
    • German – I want to learn the 1,000 most commonly used German words by the end of the year. I decided to use Vis-Ed flashcards and if you don’t know Vis-Ed, it is a very powerful tool to learn languages or any number of other topics. I made really good progress but I will definitely be pushed trying to learn all thousand words in 3 months.
    • Solve a Rubik’s Cube – I tried figuring this out for myself without learning any of the algorithms but was unsuccessful. I will keep working on this in October and try to be able to solve it every time. Also, the world record for fastest Rubik’s cube is pretty mind blowing.

August

  1. Do
    • Get CPR Certified – I got certified in CPR and in situations where people are choking. It was all pretty straight forward and did it in an afternoon. It wasn’t difficult at all but I am very happy I did it.
    • Vegetarian – After doing a raw/meatless day per week I wanted to try being a vegetarian full time for a month. I didn’t crave meat nearly as much as I thought I would but I definitely ate less healthy as I had less options (especially since I’m lactose intolerant, I was essentially vegan this month) and felt tired and more irritable than normal
    • Apple Cider Vinegar – Every morning, instead of hot water with lemon, I drank one TBS of raw, organic ACV with water in the morning. I didn’t feel different from this and lemon but it was easier than lemon juice so I think I’ll keep this up moving forward. Positive Health Welnness has a great, in depth article on the benefits of lemon water if you’re interested in learning more

July

  1. Do
    • Raw one day per week – On Meatless Mondays, I added the raw aspect which wasn’t all that difficult considering it’s not too big of a step from vegetarian to raw. I definitely felt good doing this and will keep this up.
    • Incorporate fermented foods as much as possible – This is supposed to help with digestion so I ate a lot of sauerkraut and kombucha tea. I didn’t feel any noticeable effects but will keep up as I don’t think there are any down falls and long term it might help with gut health.
    • Bikram Yoga – Did this twice per week for 6 weeks. I absolutely love how calm, relaxed, and refreshed I felt. I will work this into my weekly workout routine – maybe one time per week or so.
    • Spike Mat – This was a completely foreign concept to me but a challenge I really enjoyed and will keep up. Essentially, it is a yoga mat with plastic spikes sticking up and the idea is that you lie on it for as long as you want – I did between 15-20 minutes before bed. While the first 2-3 minutes are pretty painful, soon after you enter a state of extreme relaxation and as a consequence sleep deeper than ever before.  I ended up combining my time on the spike mat with meditation and listening to binaurals.
  2. Learn
    • How to Salsa – I learned the basics through the Pocket Salsa app. It made me want to take a real class and truly learn how to dance salsa and anything else.

June

  1. Do
    • Meatless Mondays – Essentially protein cycling once per week which is shown to have good health benefits. Again, could be completely in my head but I felt lighter and cleaner after a month of this and I plan on keeping this up moving forward
  2.  Learn
    • How to do a handstand – I made huge improvements with the handstand but still can’t do it confidently without a wall or something to support me. I will keep working on this moving forward until I can confidently balance every time.
    • High quality cocktails – It was fun learning what some of the main cocktail recipes entail and got hooked on the bourbon old-fashioned

May

  1. Do
  2. Don’t
    • Crack my knuckles – I definitely failed on not cracking my knuckles but I was at least conscious of when I was doing it and think I cracked them less. This is a habit I absolutely want to break and is something I will keep working on.
  3. Learn
    • How to juggle – I learned how to juggle after only a couple days. it was something I had always wanted to do had a really good time learning it. I want to incorporate more physical skills into my monthly challenges.

April

  1. Do
    • Wake up at 4:30 three times per week – I kept getting up early and either working out, reading or meditating. I love this routine as I feel it sets up the rest of the day. Was feeling pretty tired by the end of the month though
    • Take a 1 second video every day- I came across an inspiring TED talk by Cesar Kuriyama which describes his ambitious goal of taking a 1 second video every day for the rest of his life. I instantly fell in love with this concept and really enjoyed the 30 second video compilation at the end of the month. I would love to keep this going as much as possible moving forward.
  2. Don’t
    • Watch TV – I failed this challenge after only a couple days. I tend to watch TV while I’m eating dinner and is part of my winding down routine at nights. I usually watch some sort of documentary so don’t feel too bad about it but found out that I am more reliant on TV than I realized. This will be something I want to try again.
  3. Learn
    • How to speed read – I learned the basic principles, techniques and some of the different schools of thought. I improved my average reading speed from around 300 WPM to over 600 WPM by just incorporating a couple simple techniques. A couple websites and apps that I recommend are spreeder, readsy, spritz, and the spritz speed reading app bundle. These are all Incredibly powerful programs that are very easy to use. The spritzlet bookmark is an absolute game changer – it takes 30 seconds to install and will instantly set up any page or highlighted material to be sped read (?). Give it a try – it can do up to 1,000 WPM which I hope to be able to achieve and comprehend one day! Note – I definitely don’t, and wouldn’t want to speed read everything. It is simply something useful to have in your repertoire whenever you need it.

March

  1. Do
    1. Sleep 6 hours per night – I ended up going to bed around 10:30 and waking up around 4:30. This was one of the more difficult challenges I have done so far but one that I really liked. The second week was definitely a struggle but it got easier after that. I ended up having several hours to myself in the morning before work even started. I used this time to read, study, workout, and meditate. It set up great things for the rest of the day and although I do not plan on being as strict with myself moving forward, it will definitely be something I incorporate from time to time.

February

  1. Do
    • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – I didn’t achieve my goal of doing this 2-3 times per week but I got at least 1 to 2 sessions in per week. I was using the treadmill and the free version of the Tabata Stopwatch app to sprint at 12 MPH for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Did this for 1 set of 4 reps – for a 12 minute workout including a quick warm-up. I definitely felt alert for the rest of the day and will make this part of my weekly workout routine (maybe only 1 time per week though).
    • Hot water with lemon – Immediately upon waking I drank a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon. It might be completely in my head but I felt like it cleared my head and helped with digestion. Check out these posts by The Way U Think and Positive Health Wellness which have some great detail on the benefits of lemon water
    • Cold showers – After my workouts I’d end my showers with 2-5 minutes of freezing water. This will really get you going in the morning and the drastic change in temperatures is supposed to have great health benefits too.

January

  1. Do
    • Extra push-up every day – I wanted to test out the concept that you should be able to do one extra push-up everyday. This was a difficult challenge as it pushed me to my breaking point every single morning. However, I’m happy to say that I accomplished my goal of getting one extra push-up everyday and ended up being able to do 66 consecutive push-ups on January 31.
    • Meditate – I was meditating at nights for about 20 minutes and found it to be very calming and something I looked forward to doing before sleeping. Definitely difficult to quiet your mind and it gets frustrating at times but I feel like I am beginning to reap some benefits such as being mindful that “I am not my mind nor my body” as Deepak Chopra explains. This has helped me see things from a more unbiased perspective and created a sense of calm since I am beginning to realize that my thoughts and body do not constitute who “I” am.

 

2013

I began my monthly challenges in October of 2013 and have been hooked ever since.

December

  1. Do
    • 7 minute exercise – using the same concept but only doing one at a time. Amazing how good of a workout you can get in just 7 minutes if you are focused on what you are doing.
    • Meditate – kept reading learning about meditation. I started using some other apps which offer guided meditation and also started incorporating some binaurals which effect your brainwaves depending on the tone and frequency.

November

  1. Do
    • 7 minutes of exercise daily – strange exercising so little compared to what I was used to but it was intense and effective. I used the (very macho…) Lolo 7 Minute Workout App. Very simple to use and it guides you through the quick, whole body workout.
    • Meditate – I didn’t meditate as much as I had hoped to but I learned the basics around mindfulness meditation and will continue practicing. Sam Harris, who has a multitude of incredible and often controversial talks, offers an excellent guided meditation that I found helpful.

October

  1. Do
    • No red meat – while at the time I was not a huge red meat eater, I remember how much I enjoyed my big first steak at training table

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