November: A month of challenges

Tomorrow is the 1st of November. Tomorrow is the day when I will embark on three challenges… I’m not sure how to describe my feelings right now as I am torn between immense excitement about what’s coming and fear that I may fail.

I have been thinking about setting a 30 day challenge for quite a while, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Swinging between giving up something I really love or challenging myself to do something I absolutely hate on a regular basis did not prove to be the right strategy. After all, the main goal of my ideal challenge would be to achieve something rather than impact my health and wellbeing negatively. I found that there is a thin line between the two… So thinking and thinking, one day it all crystallised in my head – a physical challenge, a health-related challenge and a study challenge. With this 3 in 1 strategy in mind, I came up with the following:

  • 30 Days of Gym:

    The gym challenge calendar – a cross for every day of exercise coming soon

I do exercise regularly and I enjoy it, but 30 days of exercise is a bit of a push as I will have to be planning my time efficiently and not make excuses on those rainy cold weekends. I even got a buddy for this one, which is supposed to make things a little easier and possibly motivate me. Eljee and I will be going to the gym on a daily basis and the rules of the game are that each day should involve at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise and a moderate amount of sweat! I think I’m ready for this one, there’s also a calendar on the wall in the office where we’ll be marking each day of exercise – oh, that public accountability that makes you work! I have scheduled the first week gym sessions in my diary to make sure I do find the time lol.

  • 30 Days without Sugar

Here I’ll be struggling and I know it. I’m giving up processed sugar in order to find out how that will affect me. Apparently, processed sugar is the only substance that our body has no real benefit from. And it’s also addictive. I know that I would probably be getting cravings in the next couple of weeks and my mood will be affected as well, but I want to go through with that experiment to see the potential positive impact on my health. Plus, I think that in combination with the gym challenge this would have even greater impact… Unfortunately, no one was interested to join me on this one, but I’m determined… To be safe though, I gently asked my flatmate to hide all temptations in her room, I’m not sure how much I trust myself with sugar in the flat…

  • 30 Days of Academic Writing:

I got inspired to do this one by the Twitter #AcWriMo. The idea comes from Charlotte Frost and goes like this – set yourself a crazy writing goal, work on a strategy how to achieve it, make a public promise and a track record of how it goes – all of this as part of a bigger community of people struggling with their writing (yes, we all do at times!).

#AcWriMo goals

My ultimate goals are three so far – to redraft and update my PhD literature review chapter, draft one journal paper and write-up initial drafts of my eight data analysis case studies. The last one would also include transcribing of some interviews just because I am currently carrying them out and there is no way I can write the case studies without having the interviews transcribed.

My daily writing goal is at least TWO  hours per day on workdays, but I will also write on weekends when time permits.
My progress will be publicly available on this blog, on my Facebook page, on Twitter and the academic writing accountability sheet (I’m number 87 there). Again, just like the gym challenge, I have scheduled at least two hours of writing a day in my diary so that I can manage all my commitments and stick to a plan. I have tried to make these early mornings or late afternoons where possible as these tend to be my best writing times.
There… I said it all! Let the challenges begin and wish me luck! A lot of it!!!
PS. Don’t forget to follow!

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