Be water, my friend.

Posted: September 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

I have a tendency to seek control over most of the things in my life. I treat time as a sacred commodity that must be utilized to its fullest. One of my greatest frustrations is wasted time, an irksome pet peeve that has grown over the years to make it hard for me to even enjoy a rerun. It can be useful, as it pushes me to seek out spare time and fill it with reading, writing, or pursuing the myriad of other habits I am seeking to install in my life. But it can also lead to an inflexibility, a resistance to spontaneity and general r&r. That was the principal driving force behind my pre-vacation rant about rallying against the power of a holiday to derail well-planned, well-structured day-to-day plans. As the first day of my vacation arrived however, I realized that I had two choices. I could stick to the plan, forcing my dailies into play amidst pool-time. beaches and some excellent revelry with friends and family. Or I could submit to the moment, suspend all of the current demands I had placed upon myself, and be like water. Become the revelry.

I chose the latter.

I realized that my entire motivation to keep plugging away at these things during my one week of vacation was spawned by a fear of failure, a fear that not maintaining my coveted plan that had mastered my freetime to maximum effect would derail the whole plan. Missing a single day meant abandoning the flow, breaking the chain, and ending a two week streak of completing my daily habits.

It meant letting go.

So let go I did. I watched football, played in the pool, visited the beach, looked the stars and saw the Milky Way and a shooting star… I let the week take me within the tides of its own design and allowed myself a week without control.

It was simply great, culminating over the weekend with a spontaneous stay in Savannah rather than making the full drive home in one go. It was my first time there and I loved it. The people were grand, the atmosphere was fun and energetic and historic all at once. The great trees with the beards of Spanish moss lined the streets, leading to 18th century cemeteries and beautiful parks. By the time we made it home Sunday night, I could truly say I had filled my time with fun without having used a minute of it.

With Monday of course came a return to work and the dailies. The site I use to manage my daily goals, Habitica, thankfully has a ‘Stay at the Inn’ feature, which enabled me to pause the goals for the week I was gone. I checked out Monday morning and began once again engaging with these goals of reading, writing and working out that I find so much value within

I also left on a new project in the Everglades. I have been lucky enough to work from home these last two months, but it was at last time to head back out into the field, hiking through forests and grasslands in search of buried history. Despite the knee-high water and the mosquitoes, the physical work itself, my coworkers and being back in nature has made my return that much more satisfying. As always we have our random animal encounters. There have been a few gators, a water moccasin, herds and herds of staring, half-interested cattle, bounding deer and a great array of bird species. Something about it all just adds a certain extra value to my life I cannot quite explain.

So now the dailies are being integrated into my hotel-living lifestyle while I travel and dig, and all the while I am hoping to incorporate new plans into this system as I become more acclimated to being back in the field. The book is coming along nicely, and if things continue as they have I am hoping to be ready to go into editing mode and start pursuing publishing options as soon as the new years starts.

In the meantime, I must remember Bruce Lee’s wonderful advice. I must be like water. Be fluid. Adapt. Evolve. Do not be a slave to your goals. Pursue them vigorously, but enjoy the everyday while you do.

How do I learn to follow through?

Posted: September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

Answer by Michael Offord on Quora:

I have always found this to be the most difficult and necessary aspect of any successes I have had in life. You can dream, organize and plan until the idea of what you want to achieve is hovering right there before you, and then it all falls to ashes the moment you fail to follow through.

I believe that we each have our own motivations, that learning to follow through is different for each of us, but I can speak to the ways I have found brought me the most success.

Central to any plan I have set into motion is a built-in rewards/punishment system. When I was younger, this involved writing out scenarios where I had succeeded in my plan and where I had failed, and truly trying to put myself in both of those futures and actually feel the success and the loss.

To keep this system of visualization strong, I then incorporate these ideas and images into my everyday life. A ringtone that reminds me of the cost of not following through, a desktop wallpaper containing bits of what I hope to achieve, or even a dry erase board that I face everyday presenting these realities side by side.

My second system I installed to keep me motivated to act was actually borrowed from Seinfeld. Just google “Seinfeld chain” and you’ll see how big this idea has grown. It basically entails using a calendar to mark each day you succeed at a said goal or list of goals, and then after a few days of success you start building your chain. The key is to not break it. At one point I was using multiple colors to represent multiple goals, creating multiple chains that I did not want to break.

More recently in my life I have begun to add to this a third element, what is now referred to as gamification. If you haven’t come across it, it is the art of transforming the daily activities of your life into a game of sorts, where you can gain levels, earn things, have your health injured or have privileges taken away, etc. It has been the most fun and rewarding system I have used. There are a ton of apps and sites dedicated to this, and it really has held me accountable to following through everyday on the habits and tasks I have set up for myself.

And really that is what it comes down to through all of these little devices, it’s accountability. You have to create a situation in which you find yourself accountable each day that you follow through or do not follow through. If your interested, I have been keeping a blog about my most recent foray into gamifying my life at Chatter of the Ego. Specifically the entry titled
The Tao of Gamification explains the process of gamifying your goals, and goes through some of the tools I have found over the last few years.

I hope this helps!

How do I learn to follow through?

To be clear, nothing has gone awry quite yet.

In fact, progress has been unwaveringly positive. Since the commencement of this plan I have not missed a day nor a task.

So why the negative preamble? From my experience, holidays and vacations have a strong tendency to derail momentum and unravel patterns of behavior. It is in the very nature of these breaks in regular time to disrupt the status quo for a day, a week or more, to remove us from the monotony of life and tease us with freedom.

Unfortunately this tease and the sort of plan I have in place are not well met. Labor Day alone almost broke my string of successes. Now I venture northward for a week at a remote house on the Atlantic coast with nary a concern. Nice try universe. I will not be swayed.

In fact, I will cause the universe great weeping and gnashing of teeth and add to my daily habits. Since the writing, reading, running and working out has proven successful, I think it’s time to introduce a new daily into the mix. Enter the Matrix!

Or rather, I will return to my daily coding lessons, which I have left buzzing in the background for months now. This way it is I who knocks, who changes the status quo. I will write science fiction. I will write code. I will continue to feed my body with unwelcome exercise and my mind by reading endlessly into the night. This vow I cast into the teeth of Dionysus, to dare tempt me with a week of leisure.

Clearly I do not know how to vacation. Perhaps I will find a balance, all work and no play, etcetera, etcetera… To be fair, the writing and reading are as much play for me as anything else, but the effort of daily practice alongside these other goals makes it become a bit more like work. So I will do my dailies, but I will find peace in the moment, and enjoy the freedom of being elsewhere and not bound to my job.

I will NOT allow it to break my string however. Priorities first.

I know, it’s still early, but day by day, I can already feel things clicking into place.

The reading has been of course the easiest to habitize, as I’ve been a passionate reader for as long as I could turn a page, and it only took reminding myself to open  a book every day to reignite that fire. The writing has been a little tougher, but at one point or another I am always at my computer. Now that I have blocked all the rather distracting bits of the interwebs from myself, when I take breaks from work I have my novel opened in the background. This allows me to jump in and do some editing here and there throughout the day. This does not replace my required bloc of writing through, which I do either in the morning, or more often in the late evening (just wrapped up and it’s midnight). There has to be a solid half-hour to an hour a day dedicated to nothing but writing (hopefully I’ll work up to two hours soon), and so far I have been exceeding that goal. I am still not putting out the heavy word counts I’d like to see, but I am at least putting out some words every single day.

The exercise has been tougher. The yoga yesterday proved once again that I am one of the least flexible men in the universe. The workout was better, and the soreness today is more of a reward than a discomfort. The running has been a little labored but hugely satisfying. I am not the type to get that so-called runner’s high, but I was feeling a little rough today, and after my run I felt pretty fantastic. It also might have been due to escaping a herd of zombies and bringing supplies back to my base (seriously, Zombies, Run! is a blast).

Overall I don’t think I’m deep enough yet to truly appreciate any great, fundamental changes, and yet I feel it on the horizon. Already my body is responding positively to my physical efforts, and my mind is opening up like a long-closed flower savouring long-missed sunlight. That has probably been the most promising, this surge of creativity and lightness I feel. The writing, the reading, the meditation, and the re-engagement with music (my primary accompaniment with writing since I started my first novel 20 years ago) has filled me with inspiration to achieve these and future goals. I cannot waver. I must maintain and grow. The reward is too great.

Alright, so a day deep and probably too early to say much, but so far it’s been a success, and the echo back from the various apps and motivators I am using is resolving itself into an eventual whittling of those tools. It’s late (because I’ve been writing, so that’s a plus!), so this will be short.

First the primary gamify apps: HabitRPG and LifeRPG… still too early, but a few things of immediate note.

HabitRPG has a depth I had not explored before. Besides the satisfaction of seeing my character already growing, with better equipment and a steed (it’s a freaking seahorse!), there is a social aspect that really helps keep you engaged with the Habitca site. You can join parties to fight bosses (the success of which is based on you and your companions completing your tasks each day). You can also join guilds of varying interests, from writing and learning Spanish to simply gathering to discuss pop culture. It reminds me of the old message boards and chat rooms I encountered when the interwebs first opened to me decades ago, strangers chatting about like-minded things, sharing ideas, interests and actually motivating one another to succeed. It’s a far cry from the endless comment threads elsewhere on the internet that are simply rank with derision, anger, hatred and ignorance. It’s a great feature.

LifeRPG on the other hand is the app and nothing more. While originally it was my favorite in this fight due to the ability to feed skills based on completing tasks, the lack of anything else starts to make it feel a bit hollow. We’ll see how I feel as the days go on and I see my Writing, Coding or Strength skills increasing with completed tasks.

As far as the fitness apps go, Zombies, Run! is proving to be brilliant. With your headphones on you start your run with the sound of a helicopter, and a voice on the radio trying to guide them in, and eventually you as well, amidst the hoards of zombies roaming the land. You are prompted to run when zombies are near, you are given missions like raiding the local hospital, and you collect random items along the way. The key to its success, besides the voice actors and the immersive story, is that you don’t actually have to look at your phone or ever change direction. When they say go to the hospital, just keep running. When they say there are zombies, just run faster! To top it off, in between the dialogue and sound effects, you can overlay your own background music, so you still get to run to your favorite playlist.

Fitocracy so far is great at keeping track of my activities, and rewarding me for those, but I simply have not been using it long enough to make a final decision on its value. On the other hand I think I have already had enough of FitRPG to determine it still has a long way to go to be of any use. The quests are too simple, I’ve already acquired some of the best loot possible, and it constantly has issues with freezing and syncing with the data from my FitBit app. It simply is not worth the effort, though the idea is fantastic and I hope they can make it better in the future.

That covers my first 24hrs. So far it’s been satisfying and very promising. I am very optimistic about the adventures to come.

So the plan is set, the habits and tasks laid out, and thus comes the most difficult part of any attempt to change your life: implementation.

In making life changes, even small ones, the most essential element in strengthening one’s resolve to maintain said changes is feedback. This can be experienced in the sheer enjoyment of the work, the notice and admiration of your peers, and eventually from the tangible results spawned by your efforts. Skipping tasks, ignoring the plan and generally failing to meet the goals you’ve set for yourself can also provide its own form of negative feedback, which can either motivate or dishearten deepening on your resolve and the magnitude of the setback. While there have been a myriad of ways that this balance of reward and punishment has been achieved over the years, for me the greatest motivator has proven to be gamification.

To put it simply, gamification is the practice of applying game-like qualities to everyday life in order to push, inspire and reward. While there are several ways to do this, generally it involves building a role-playing game (RPG) around your goals, and creating a reward system that responds to your daily activities. I have done this through notebooks with character sheets, through excel docs with point systems, and most recently through apps designed for this very thing. It was in fact my desire to create the perfect life-gamifying app that coding became one of major goals. How you do it, the depth, the level of detail, the system of rewards, is really up to you. Each of us finds our motivation in different ways, and so it becomes imperative for you to understand what your personality needs to be driven and shape your RPG around that.

I’ve already noted I had set off on a path to design my own app, having not found one that fit me perfectly. That being said, there are great apps out there that can help you gamify aspects of your life. For this current program I start tomorrow, I am duel-wielding apps at the start before deciding which to use for its duration.

The first is HabitRPG. It combines an online site (Habitica) with the HabitRPG app to allow you to create an avatar. Through successfully accomplishing Habits, Dailies and To-Do’s, you earn experience points (EP) and gold. The EP level up your character, and gold can be used to purchase weapons and armor that you can equip to further increase your stats. Gold can also be used to purchase rewards like a few hours of video game time or a night out at the movies.

The second is LifeRPG (not to be confused with Life RPG which I talk about later). Where HabitRPG excels at the avatar experience of having an 8-bit avatar that can don armor and wield a sword, LifeRPG has a great skills/attribute system. The main reason experimenting with these various apps led me to wanting to create my own was that none of them had the stat system I was looking for. LifeRPG actually does. You can create master skills, such as Strength, Writing, Coding, etc, and then you can set it so that each habit/task you create feeds into these. For example, when I write for an hour on my novel, it adds skill points to my Writing and Willpower skills. When I take a coding lesson, it adds to my Coding and Intelligence skills. As the points accumulate in each skill, those skills level up. This is the immediate measurement of growing a skill that I want.

Combined the two give me the complete package. With the former I have an avatar who gets gold and EP, who changes as I am able to buy better armor and weapons. With the latter I have a skill tree that is reactive to the individual talents I am developing. The app i wish to create would be a merger of the two.

There are of course other apps out there giving similar experiences. I already mentioned Life RPG, which is very similar to the HabitRPG format of earning gold and EP for an avatar He levels up and gets to equip the weapons and armor you buy with your earned gold. There is the colorful Task Hammer, which tries to accomplish the blending I mentioned above. You choose from one of four characters, and then create a set of tasks you wish to accomplish. The daily achievement of these tasks feed into whichever governing attribute you assign them (strength, vitality, intelligence, perseverance or charisma). It’s decent but does not excel in either area as do my two selected ones above. The avatar is sort of boring, and I really need to customize the attributes into which my tasks are feeding.

Outside of the RPG realm there are plenty of habit-assisting apps that reward and punish, without all the nerdy fantasy. There are also a great series of exercise apps built around the same idea. FitRPG gamifies you FItBit with quests you complete through physical activity. Fitocracy likewise challenges you to missions, minus the hardware. As they say on the app page, you “track your workouts, earn points, unlock achievements, beat quests, and slay the laziness dragon!” My personal favorite though is Zombies, Run!. There are missions, a base to build up and zombie attacks; and it all meshes with your personal music.

Clearly there are a lot of options, and it really comes down to knowing who you are, what motivates you, and what will keep driving you when the novelty of new resolutions wears off. For me it’s gaining levels, building a character, and running from zombies. More to come.

The time has come once again to make a play at creating new patterns and opportunities, to gamify my life in order to gain control of my future. As evidenced by the lack of entries since early March, I allowed work and life to intercede and eventually derail the 4 week plan I set up for March. Life has been good, but busy, and unfortunately that also means uninspired. There’s been fun and sun. beaches and vacations, and a whole lot of digging from Florida up into West Virginia. Overall it’s been a fun, fulfilling summer, and yet I feel a tide of change is needed.

It’s not terribly complicated. As much as I am happy with my life as it is, there are certain aspects that need changing, and they are roughly the same themes I find myself returning to again and again. This is what I want:

  • First and foremost, to be a published writer. I need more than anything else at this point to fully complete a book, and at the very least self-publish through something like Amazon. I believe the current project I have been on and off again, Copernicus, will be perfect. I just need to change how I approach it. It must be treated as a job, and as such be attended to a specific number of hours every day.
  • Next is my physical health. I am not exactly in poor health, but I could definitely be doing more to ensure I enter middle age (am I already there?) as fit and sound as I possible. A simple regime of running, working out, yoga and meditation could do wonders.
  • The last bit is my pursuit of endless education. Specifically for this run of goals I will bounce between online courses, spanish lessons and coding, The coding is becoming increasingly important to me as it, like my writing, is an avenue to future financial freedoms outside of my career.

Instead of burying myself in planning as I am prone to do, I am simply lifting from my March plan and reorganizing it a bit. The basic breakdown is as follows:

thePlans

These are the fundamental habits I will work to replicate in my everyday life. And again, taking from the March plan, this would be the rough schedule:

theSchedule

The reason I say it’s a rough schedule is because some elements of it will be more fluid than others. For example, the top three lines are pretty locked in. I want those to occur everyday no matter what is happening in my life. The fourth and fifth lines, relating to my physical health, must also occur consistently, but they obviously play off one another, so I will adapt them as I see fit. The final bits about coding, linguistics and endless education are more of a suggestion, as the goals I have for those lie more in weekly totals. And they’re interchangeable. If for instance I get on a roll with my coding lessons, I will keep them going rather than leaping to my Spanish or other online courses, picking them up later in the week or in the next. The point is to be engaging with these ongoing lessons in an organic way that I feel is making progress. That way I am not a slave to the program.

The last action to take is the elimination of those darling social media sites and apps that are forever wrenching my attention away from what I should be doing and shoving it toward something shiny and absurd. This has always been the key to making these changes in the past, so I will be deleting all social media apps from my phone. I have also already installed tools on my PC that will block these sites, and penalize me for visiting them if I find a way around it (damage and loss of experience to my HabitRPG avatar – I’ll discuss that tool another day).

All of this get’s implemented on September 1st, the day after tomorrow (my bday!), though I am already engaging in a few of these habits today to get the whole mechanism moving. I will be updating regularly through this, my wordpress site, but on everything else I am going dark.

I’ll pick a target date to mark some level of completion, like 21 days or a month, but the true purpose here is to create life-changing patterns that become a part of my everyday life. I want to be published, I want to write and code for money, I want to be physically fit, and I want to disconnect from silly distractions. I know I can do this, I just need to make it so. I will begin right now, turning to the stars and my current writing project, Copernicus.

Wow.

So I’ve spent a good part of my morning swimming through my endless sea of folders and files scattered across several computers, external hard drives and jump drives. I am attempting to organize the chaos, and in so doing am coming across self-reflective writings and audio recordings more than a decade old. They speak of a life unfulfilled, of frustration, of demons and sadness and a sense of being lost and without direction. There is drinking and smoking, audio clips from parties, and from private self-reflections, there is writing about goals and fear and despair… It is a little striking, looking through this window at a Me that once was.

My first impression, how morose and inspired I can be all at once! I was so passionate, creative, and yet there is a sense of desolation and fear of a stark and failing future. I am constantly setting up goals, with constantly running threads of quitting smoking, putting a stop to the partying, getting serious about health and fitness, and forever searching for jobs. I am lamenting in recordings about the fate I have created for myself and that the only way it will change is if I change. There are money issues, legal issues, car issues, life issues…

To be fair it’s rather inspiring, considering where I am now (so many of those boxes that remained unticked for years are ticked now). The passion and creativity is also interesting, that idea of inspiration drawn from suffering somehow exemplified by my struggles to break bad patterns and find a path in life.

The next thing I noticed is the myriad of half-written works left behind in the wake of my meandering whirlwind of inspired desperation. So many writing projects, so many started stories that are a paragraph, a page or even chapters long. A few are solidly between halfway and fully being a complete book. Another of those to-do list items that worry a constant thread though my ramblings is this need to ‘get back to’ writing. This is a thread that has continued to this day, a 15 year reminder to return to my writings, to create, and ultimately finish, the stories in my mind.

This is perhaps the greatest casualty of my life, that my writings are always in flux, that my bouts of creativity come in waves. At times I was writing for months at a time, at others only weeks or even a few days of fevered inspiration. Yet there is this eternal lack of completion. The smoking, drinking, jobs, education… these things I slowly conquered and put behind me. But the writing, it is forever my passion, and forever my burden.

Ah, so now the grim reflections of my youth are seeping into my present day. Nice to see you 20-something Mike, can I borrow some of that passion and creativity? Yes, this is my house. Yes, I have a beautiful wife who supports me and makes me laugh everyday. Haha yeah man, I did become an archaeologist. Crazy right? You were a part of that.

On that note, I need to turn to those very writings and make something inspired today. No prompts, no fun writing exercises…. I need to pick a project out of the pile and run with it.

It’s only just begun and I’m ready to make a report. So far, so good, so sore.

I am finding time for the simple habits. I’ve been able to do more than the minimum on the coding, the Spanish lessons, and the CrashCourse classes. The reading has been ‘just enough’, though for work I am report writing this week rather than digging holes so I am reading through a lot of material outside of the leisure reading for which the goal was set. The writing is likewise partly consumed by the report writing, and so far all the creative bits have been through a website I’ve used from time to time to conjure inspiration (http://writerkata.com/). It’s a series of prompts that begin with sentences, grows into paragraphs, then the last prompt requires a short story. It’s fun, challenging, and forces me to write about things I would never usually consider doing on my own. I may use this forum to post a few of those, perhaps through another thread.

The meditating has been simple enough to incorporate. I have enough apps to allow me creative control on what type I am doing. I can do anything from a quick 10 minute breathing meditation to a deep, half-hour guided meditation. The yoga has likewise been simple to integrate, using it as a warm up to the workouts and running.

The workouts and running now, that’s been the trickiest to place into time and space. It takes a bit more commitment. There’s a wardrobe change, a shower, a TV takeover for the workout that entails a bit of privacy from my wife and father-in-law, and of course the actual physical commitment. And yet I still managed an intense 40 minute workout yesterday, and a solid 2+ mile run today.

Thus far this is a pretty dry rundown of how these changes have functioned in my life these past two days, but the results are what we’re going for here, and it’s still too early for that. Well… my legs and shoulders are already pretty sore, so there’s that. I must pace myself, and remember that I haven’t exercised or ran in months (despite my job of hiking and digging holes everyday). I am eager to see progress, to feel results, both physically and in the skill sets I am working on. Of all the pursuits, the results of learning to code and improving my writing have a much larger endgame, to forge skills that lead into new ventures, to create worlds and hopefully new avenues of income.

I also want to expand upon this journal writing. In parallel to my self-monitoring in this pursuit of new habits, skills and levels of fitness, I should be reflecting on the world around me. I should be writing a series on archaeology, a series on writing, a commentary on politics, the state of humanity, or a reflection on science, technology and space! I should be commenting on how Leonard Nimoy just passed and what he meant to me, on the speech the Israeli PM just made in Congress and all that I felt it meant to the world. There’s so much chatter in my mind about the myriad of things this world contains, and while perhaps people don’t necessarily want to hear it, I should be tossing it out there anyway.

And so I will… it’s not part of the March challenge, but I will work on extending the journaling into these realms.

For now though, it’s been an accomplished two days, and so I depart for a little space exploration as reward.

I have been chomping at the bit to start another self-improvement plan and have only now found the time and inspiration to set one in motion. The last venture was a 21 day project involving fitness, good reading & writing habits, and pushing to get that oh-so coveted job in the field for which I went to school, archaeology. It ended just a few days shy of 21 days, but with good reason. After a year of random jobs that demanded so much of my time and gave so little satisfaction in return, I finally found myself employed by an actual archaeological firm. I suddenly had no time to finish my 21 day plan as I was bounced about the country getting paid to dig holes in the earth. That was October. Flash-forward more than four months and I have had the opportunity to be a part of projects all across the eastern US. It has been fantastic, fun and immensely satisfying. The people are wonderful, the projects range from routine to fascinating, and working outdoors… there’s nothing better!

So why a change now?

This time around the goal is more inspired and perhaps less desperate than the previous plan. When I implemented the 21 day plan last September, it was because I did not like what I was getting paid to do, nor did I enjoy having all of my spare time consumed. I am in a different world now, where my job is satisfying, and my spare time is exactly that, spare and mine to use. I have up until now been utilizing it for some productive things, but admittedly after a year of working 7 days a week it has largely been filled with fun times with the wife while catching up on the movies, tv shows and video games I left behind so long ago. As a result some of the habits I sought to implement within the previous plan have fallen to the wayside, specifically the writing and working out. So for the past few weeks I have been cultivating this plan to reinvigorate those habits, as well as grow a few others that may prove useful in the future. It began with a series of plans, each one containing a series of habits to achieve those plans. You must understand, I have a penchant for organizing things in excel, for color coding, and for code names.

Plans

To make it simple:

The Ninja Warrior plan is to get in shape. It is achieved through working out (Hulk Out) and running (Zombies!).

The Taoist Master plan is get my mind and spirit in alignment. I am hoping to do this through daily meditation (Zen) and maintaining this journal.

The Chatter of the Ego plan is to engage and develop my literacy skills. This is through my most revisited and usually well-maintained habits, reading and writing everyday.

The Endless Education plan is to expand upon my skills and open up new doors. I have jumped in and out of coding for years and want to use to finally solidify those skills (Code Monkey). I also am reengaging my spanish lessons (Linguistics) and taking online courses in random science fields of my choosing (CrashCourse).

Next, I needed to assign the habits values:

Habits

Once I figured out what habits were necessary to achieve my plans, and the frequency with which they needed repeated weekly, I then worked out a schedule.

Schedule

Now I know that this may all seem like A LOT of planning, and for many they would say ‘just do it!’ For me though, i need structure and planning if I am ever to act on and maintain a series of habits. This is what works for my brain.

The final step was making this portable and setting it within a reminder/reward system, which is what I did during my last 21 day plan and it worked beautifully. So I have a special calendar app within which all of these details are entered throughout the duration of the plan. I also have them entered in an app called LfeRPG that tracks your progress and rewards you with experience points as you complete each task. For example, when I completed my coding course earlier this morning, it gave me experience points towards gaining a level, as well as feeding experience points into computers and intelligence. Different habits have different attributes they feed into, often crossing over depending on what they help to grow.

I know I know, it seems like a lot of build-up around a simple to-do list, but for whatever reason it’s how my brain works, and this is what makes me take action. I’ve nearly cleared my actions for day 1 (still have to Yoga and Hulk Out), and I feel the momentum within me to follow this through to its entirety. Oh, and this time around I’m going past the 21 day mark and making it a full four-week program. It ends on the 29th of March. I’ve also deleted all social apps from my phone and blocked them from my computer. That worked well last time as sites like Facebook and Reddit can consume an hour in the blink of an eye.

Finally, as with all the habits within this plan, the values assigned to each are minimums. I intend to do much more writing and coding than I’ve allotted, and I would like to write in this journal more than once a week.

That’s it for now. I will update again soon, maybe with greater detail on the individual tasks and how they are going.