Why I did not blog

A fortnight ago I was all determined not only blog but to do so daily, 10 days in a row.

I did not. And I did not feel bad about that at all.

Why? Because the experiment has taught me not once, but twice about the real essence of blogging.

When I first missed blogging, I learned.

When I realize blogging daily is NOT my thing, I learned.

My goal and promise: I do not write according to a schedule, but because I have something to share with others who are on a similar journey.

 

 

Experiment #2 – PIIT Workout Programme

I just finished day 2 of PIIT28. (I am not an ambassador so don’t expect a review or a link to purchase!).

I am no stranger to intensive training and it all started in my early 40s. Yes, in my 40s. For 3 years, the transformation took me from a newbie to one of those enviable beings who actually love and yearn for daily/regular intensive workouts. Achievements included weight loss (needed at that time, though clinically I was within the healthy range), great cardiovascular health, and muscles that not only looked good but helped fix my knee (injured 25 years ago), back and shoulders. People came to me for advice.

Unfortunately, then came a rather classical “crash and burn” story involving a return of my bulimia (last seen 20 years ago!), this time built around obsessive calorie tracking and exercising, all cheered on by a fitness circle that celebrates the extremes.

 

It was not all losses though. Through the experience, I had learned to:

  • Love exercise….in particular, learned how to restart my workout in the most pleasant way so that my body actually asks for more. That is, a Self-motivating Engine.
  • What kind of workout person I am. Basically, I found The Click.

 

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So what do I want to get out of this Experiment?

  1. Well, I never followed a programme from the beginning to the end, which is totally fine, because boredom kills motivation. In some cases, some programmes (designed to help but also to be sold, understandably) just aren’t the most safe or sensible for everyone. For PIIT28, I disagree with 6 consequent days of workout with 1 rest day. 3 days + rest + 3 days or even 2 rest days is more suitable for many reasons, including time management and injury prevention.
  2. My hypothesis is that a guide – followed with modification – should be like an anchor, allowing me to track and cheer myself on along the way. To see the proverbial needle moving is a very good thing.
  3. Is there anyway to never have to “restart workout” again? Is there any way that Self-motivating Engine operates on a steady pace without start-and-stop? Building on my previous achievements and learning, can I go further in the pursuit of an active lifestyle?

 

So here’s to Experiment #2!

What missing a day of my 10-day experiment has taught me

Yesterday was a good one, including restarting my Pilates and HIIT training (fitter than I expected after taking a training break) and discovering a lovely Japanese ramen-cum-izakaya place. Before I knew, it was past midnight and me fading and unable to think let alone write.

So I decided to miss the 3rd day of my 10-day continuous blogging challenge. I thought about whipping up a sentence or two so not to have a gap… yet that would defeat the purpose of blogging in the first place. This is no completing kindergarten homework to get a star; this is about documenting moments and sharing genuine thoughts. This is self-experimentation for discovering and bettering life.

 

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There is a fundamental difference between the “10-day Challenge” vs “10-day Experiment” mindsets.

A Challenge is about getting to that finish line, that’s it. 

An Experiment focuses on collecting data (observations, reflections, etc.) throughout those 10 days in order to evaluate a hypothesis then apply learning. 

 

In this case, I failed to following the challenge rules but I have succeeded in learning a few important things:

  1. The ultimate habit I wish to develop is regular blogging as opposed to daily blogging. If the focus is on “writing something everyday”, it becomes an empty pursuit where I likely churn out meaningless sentences. Regularity to be defined, maybe once a week at least? Mon/Wed/Fri?
  2. A single word can change the whole mindset. Challenge vs Experiment; Trophy vs Learning.
  3. I really enjoy writing about this self-experiment. The promise to “report” on my progress and thoughts is an anchor; I look forward to sharing at the end of the day.

 

If you are a leisure blogger and have ever struggled with “how often should I blog”, I would like to know your story.

 

 

Steering your self improvement projects alone. Not.

I feel particularly overwhelmed these few weeks but in an organized way. With a keen sense of insight and enough experience, I am neither lost nor confused – each and every one of my self-improvement initiative is loud and clear. Still, it is paralysing.

the-mirror-box-creates-a-never-ending-myriad-of-reflections-for-the-museum-center-in-krasnoyarsk-russia-many-pieces-here-are-interactive-brought-in-by-a-young-group-of-art-minded-engineers-and-scientists
The “Mirror Box”, the Museum Centre in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Determination. Momentum. Paralysed? No, that won’t do! 

 

I have decided to take on a new partner in my journey (in addition to my existing rock of a husband and a couple of friends).  Just like accounting, haircuts, or legal affairs, I am searching for a seasoned professional (therapist) who can further my clarification and actions. Not stopping any current self-experimentation, of course.

 

As mentioned, I excel in self-observation and insights – “perhaps too much”, said a couple of professionals. Coupled with my educational background in psychology (social psychology, but I also covered cognitive, behavioural, etc.), I can be a picky partner. My very first experience with a therapist was a joke, as I was mentally pinpointing the official scientific term behind her every word and suggestion. Granted, she was probably rather green, or just a misfit for me.

So, here’s the learning of the day. Even with determination and love aplenty, it is important to recognize when a professional partner is required.

When deadline is your fuel

Only 2 days into my 10-day blogging experiment, an unmistakable trend emerged: that my motor runs on deadlines. 

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Source: themetapicture.com

As if that was a surprise. As far as I remember, and I do have an exceptional memory, exam revisions mean all-nighters and real deadlines bring out the best of me.

This is rather inconvenient when it comes to this 10-day experiment model. A day has 24 hours and nothing has stopped me from posting at 11:45 pm (indeed, the clock just turned 12am; it is tomorrow).

 

It is of course not rocket science. Countless people have life-long routines. Many  use calendar entries to kickstart a new routine, such as working out 5:30 pm every  weekday. But routine and I are not fast friends. While understood on an intellectual level, I rarely/never manage to evolve into a creature of habit. I too have used my calendar including multiple alerts…but things just did not happen.

This time it feels different. I get it. I FEEL IT, the desire to have a neatly scheduled day so I do not have to wander/rush from task to task. Looking back at the last 2 days, surely my blogging would have been more enjoyable had I set my alert to a specific time, hot tea in hand, and approach the keyboard with oh-look-I-am-so-in-control pride.

Here’s to wrapping up day 2 and onto day 3.

Experiment #1 – Blog everyday

As per my last post, I am going to start a series of 10-day (+/- as needed) challenges to keep my many persona projects going.

#1 did not start on the best note. Technically I missed the day and now at 2:30 am I am finally putting fingers to keyboard.

Today I want to write about Self-Experimentation which is kind of what I am doing now, designing experiments (e.g. 10 continuous day of blogging) on a single subject (me!) to collect data (how I feel, what I have done) to test a hypothesis (that small and regular time-based challenges contribute to lifestyle changes).

A poor diary keeper, I never bothered to keep a record of my previous “self projects”. The longest log I ever kept was the calorie/exercise count on MyFitnessPal (a separate and long story). Occasionally I would start a spreadsheet, or invest in a fancy notebook, but neither managed to change my habit.

Yesterday while googling the topic of X-day challenges, I found a series of X-day challenges templates from Checkli templates. While Checkli is designed to “make and share free checklists” (an app), their templates came up in the image search. Nothing ground-breaking but just simple, elegantly-designed, and functional. Shoutout to Checkli – I downloaded your app too!

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It is a print version only – not editable. Which may actually be a great idea – I can put it up on the wall right by my desk (no escape) as opposed to having it as one of the 20 windows on my laptop.

So, here I go, #1 challenge, day 1. Done.