Delimit My Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" ~ Hellen Keller

Archive for the tag “30 day challenge”

A Month Without Video Challenge and Life Updates

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A Month Without Video (Started 4/13/15):
I continuously find myself watching one online videos after another in a never-ending procrastination loop. I watch Good Mythical Morning (a YouTube show) every morning with my breakfast, more YouTube series while I eat lunch at work, TV shows during dinner, and I continue to watch more videos in the times between. Even after I have finished eating, I procrastinate by continuing to watching more videos. I can easily waste hours just clicking through random videos without a thought. I finally decided this habit was detrimental to my work, my life, and my valuable time. If I wanted to make the most out of my life (which I do!) then watching videos was not going to cut it. Delimit my life! With that statement in mind, I decided on this challenge to break the habit and take back my free time.

The challenge is to go an entire month without watching any videos (or TV shows) on the internet or TV. The only exception is watching a movie at a theater since this is a defined activity. I also rarely go to the movies theaters, but I can easily waste an entire weekend watching movies on my computer.

It has been three days since I started this challenge and it has been difficult. I am starting to realize how ingrained this habit was into my life and trying to break it has been interesting. Every time I make breakfast, I get this feeling of excitement as I walk up the stairs to my room thinking about watching Good Mythical Morning. I never realized I felt this way until now because I get a sudden sadness as I realized I cannot watch it. This happens after every meal or anytime I feel like I need a break! I make food I think about watching a video; I sit at my desk I think about watching a video; I get bored I think about watching a video. I cannot stop thinking about watching something. I realize that I do this because I want to distract myself. I do not want to be thinking or doing something. I want to let go and waste time. Every time, a sadness hits me. Luckily, the feeling does not bother me since I can reason why I am feeling it. I can then quickly change my thoughts to just enjoying the food or appreciating the free time to think. This challenge has also lead me to feel FoMo (the fear of missing out), which is something I do not normally feel. It is an irrational fear but I still find myself with thoughts that I am going to miss out on something.

Life Updates:

Since my last post, I have completed a few challenges (some major and some minor):

  1. Accepted into graduate school for my PhD. This is the most significant change and challenge in my life since starting this blog. The process of applying to grad school was intense and there were days I definitely wanted to quit everything. I did not have any free time as I pushed through my undergrad research, taking the GREs (basically hell), applying to grad schools, and completing my final year of undergrad. After being accepted, I moved to a new state, met new people, and basically started a new life. It has been a challenging experience so far, and I will continue enjoy the journey.
  2. My diet now consists of only plant foods (fruits, grains, beans, etc.). I have been eating a whole foods plant-based diet for well over a year now. I started off just going without meat for a week, because at the time I was so dependent on meat that just a week seemed insane. My attitude towards food has changed immensely since then and my health and fitness has increase.
  3. I started a new years resolution for 2015 to touch my toes with straight legs as a flexibility challenge. I recently accomplished this after three months (end of march) of consistent stretching. The challenge now is to touch my toes cold (not having to warm up and stretch).
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Day 30 Cold Shower and Blogging Challenge Completed!

comfort-zoneJust 30 days ago, I took on the personal challenge, from ImpossibleHQ, to take a cold shower every day, and that I would blog every day. There was no way I could have known how cold those showers would be or the challenge of writing every day. Similarly, the powerful feeling I got today after accomplish a seemly impossible challenge, and the confidence that I have gained by facing my fears. I remember that first sleepless night when I was freaking out about taking my first cold shower the next morning. I was so nervous, and I had no clue about writing about myself, feelings and thoughts, with no filter. I wanted to give a real perspective on how I faced my fears without hiding my own insecurities.

Today, I have completed both my challenges, and I would like to share what I have learned over these past 30 days. Hopefully, these tips will help you if you decided to take the challenge.

  • People will think you are crazy for taking cold showers. Laugh at them because you are crazy, and you like it that way!
  • Cold showers feel amazing, invigorating, and you will laugh at once fearing them.
  • In general, writing is much hard than a cold shower, for the cold only lasts five minutes.
  • Fear is your minds way of saying “No!” Your obedience is not required as you can merely reply “Yes!” Don’t let your mind bully you.
  • Don’t think, breathe in, jump in, and exhale as the cold water hits you. This will guard you from the natural shock response, and you will find that a simple breathe calms the body more than you know.
  • You have to be honest with yourself, otherwise, you will never admit to having any fears.
  • Find some way of motivating yourself like blogging, daily pictures, friends, family, or anything that will keep you going on the hard days.
  • There will be hard days and you will want to quit. Don’t, because it’s more fun to feel like a badass later than a quitter now.
  • After 30 days, you will have found the badass inside and will want to conquer all your fears. For once you realize that they are not real, an entirely new world will open up before your eyes.
  • Always have a schedule for when you will write and keep to it. It will make the entire process much easier.
  • If you can’t write then simply write about the thoughts about not writing. Once you have started it’s easier to keep the momentum going and eventually a good idea will come.
  • Conquering the fear of public writing can be difficult so write from the heart, review it for a limited time, and post it immediately after. If you write about how you truly feel than you have nothing to fear.

I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk. ~ Tony Robbins

Day 26 Talk to a stranger each day

Well, I finally found a challenge that will expand my comfort zone and it sounds uncomfortable, even impossible. Just thinking about talking to a new person everyday makes my head spin. I have no clue on how to start a conversation with someone new and not embarrass myself? What if I just freeze up on the spot, petrified? It most likely won’t turn out that bad, fears always bring up the worst thoughts, but the thoughts do race through my head.

I always seem to be over analyzing situations and psyching myself. It’s the same issue I have with asking a girl out on a date. I just think about all of the horrible, although unlikely, circumstances in which something goes terribly wrong. Then I think about the repercussions and embarrassment. Irrational as it may seem, I just figure that it’s not even worth trying, so I walk away. I absolutely hate that I do this! Hopefully, this challenge will force me to conquer my fear of rejection.

The challenge however is a little vague in the details department. Does it count if I talk to waiters, grocery store clerks, and even say hello to the random person hiking the same trail?  In my mind, I don’t consider that talking to a stranger. They just seem like an exchange of pleasantries rather than actual communication. For my purpose, talking involves some topic that flows back and forth continuously between two or more people. I know a rather formal definition but I’m a scientist at heart. So if I am going to do this challenge I need to live up to my own definition.

Therefore, I have created some formal rules for this challenge. Obviously, I have to actually communicate with the stranger, more than just a greeting, so I have to get their name and learn something new about them. The conversation should be longer than a few minutes otherwise it borderlines small talk. The bonus challenge is finding something in common with the stranger. This could include hobbies, songs, food, and any other areas. Ultimately, the goal is to have a full conversation with someone new.

Some questions I am still grappling with. If I get rejected by someone should that count, or do I have to find a new stranger? I think I have to say yes, because rejection is a part of meeting new people. Next, should I be allowed to use the challenge as an opening line for talking to strangers? It might become a handicap or a cheat if I use it. However, it could take away some of the awkwardness as it gives the stranger a reason to talk with me.

If you have any suggestions on the rules or some good old advice on talking to strangers, I would love to hear them.

Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends. ~ Shirley MacLaine

Day 12 Hidden Rose

Cold, shivering, freezing, painful, and uncomfortable all describe how I feel when I am taking a cold shower at my new place. The past two showers have been horrible, and the entire time I’m just wish it would end. Just admitting that makes me feel weak but I have to. I remind myself again and again that it is only five minutes and that I made it through the other cold showers. However, nothing I say changes my mind, which seems to be begging me to get out. The cold shower challenge is difficult because it pushes your mentality every morning. Any weakness is exploited and causes the entire experience to feel much worse.

I decided to save money on gas, mini challenge, and bike to my classes, about two miles one way. Not super far but the path is hilly and I haven’t biked in a few years. I also go to the gym in between classes. So my stamina has been weakened lately. The problem is that freaking cold shower remains a powerful force of discomfort and it just plain sucks. It is far colder than any shower I have taken before and I can’t seem to calm my body down during it. I find myself complaining about it throughout the day. It’s like a completely different experience than the ones before. This is causing me to feel less enthusiastic about my morning challenge. I have to be strong everyday when taking a freezing cold shower because they are not pleasant, they are not forgiving, and they will break you down, if you let them.

This is great though! Actually, it is amazing, fantastic, and wonderful! I have found a cold shower worthy of my fear and therefore found a limit in my life. I have finally delimited a part of my life but I just did not realize it. I had pushed up against it and my mind recoiled in panic, clouding my thoughts. Reflection helped me realize that I had finally come to a barrier in my life where I was not comfortable. I had a choice, to see thorns or roses! I chose to rejoice at my new challenge, my rose, to be conquered and surpassed so that I may continue to delimit my life!

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Day 9 A Long Day

Move in day for my college was today so I drove a good five hours and moved into my new place. I didn’t stop driving till I got to my campus so I had to push lunch to 4pm. I met up with my friend, and roommate, Will to go eat at Chipotle. My friend Keyes (nickname) arrived after us just by coincidence which was cool. Then Will and I went to move into our new place. This is where the fun began!

We stood in line to sign all of our agreements, but we happened to hear that we needed a receipt for some house payment. So we drove to the campus office just to find out that we had to pay at one of the table we were just at. We drove all the way back and finally got into the right line. They were down to just one credit card machine because the other ones broke; this just always seems to happen. We stood in a line of about five people, small size, yet it took us 45 minutes. During our idle time standing, we over heard that we had to pay a premium charge which I had no clue about. So I had to transfer from my phone all of my money into one account, not much to begin with, in order pay for my new place. I was living in stressville, and I still am slightly.

My place is actually really nice, and I think I am going to enjoying living here but there are some downfalls. Starting this year, my college made it mandatory for each house to have one single and one double room. So as a senior in college, I will be sharing a room with someone I don’t know. It really brings me back to freshman year, and I’m actually freaking out inside. Living with someone new is hard enough but having them sleep in the same room is almost ridiculous.  As a freshman, my schedule was much lighter and there wasn’t a huge worry about sleeping. But over the years, I have found that sleep is a necessity when it comes to college. I have gone through periods of poor sleep since I had insomnia growing up and I still get it when I am stressed out. It happened on that first night of my cold shower shower challenge. There is no pointing on worrying about it, at least that’s what I tell myself.

P.s Today’s cold shower had nothing on my long tiring day, felt routine to me.

*** It’s very late (about to pass out) but I wanted to complete my blog for the day. Since I haven’t gone to sleep I still count it as day 9 even though its past midnight for me.  Plus, I had to get the internet setup at my new place, which I did, but it takes some time.

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