Check In 2

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I am actually on time with this one, even in amongst my current little blog project, so let’s have another check in shall we?

1) Learn how to fuck with eyeshadow

I was about to say that I’ve hardly worn make up these past couple of months, but that’s a lie. I have, the truth is I just haven’t made the investment in any eye shadows or the brushes that I would use to apply them. It’s just not been high up on my list of things to do, I dunno why. Probably because I am good at the one face of make up that I can do and I can get it done in 15 minutes which proves useful sometimes.

2) Learn how to do a full pull up

This is not something that I have even attempted to start trying to be able to do. I am all about trying to improve my upper body strength right now and so I am doing stuff that works my arms and chest a lot, but none of that has translated into me even attempting to do one pull up. I’m scared of them, this is the problem, this is why I have made it a goal for the year.

3) Be able to a full push up

Look, on Wednesday 14th March, mainly because I was trying to make up how shitty the workout the night before went, I did 5 whole full push ups that had a decent range of motion and was done on my toes and not my knees. So this one is making progress. I have also managed to do more since that date. I mean the reps aren’t ever all that high and for the most part I can’t get that much full of motion, but I can do it enough sometimes.

4) Read 70 books

I’m slowly making my way towards being halfway through this challenge and we are not yet halfway through the year, so this feels like it is going well for me. I mean I hit a bit of a reading slump at the end of last month, but this is moving in the right direction. I’m currently at 23 books (almost).

5) Lift heavier

I said I wanted to be at 20kg squat weight, 10/12kg arms and barbell complexes/lunges/clean and presses by July and we’ve just closed April out and I am still at what I was at when I broke the weights thing down in the last one of these. However, I say this, on Sunday I went up in weights, so I’m just about fucking with 17.5kg squats, 10kg arms and then barbell complexes was at both 12kg and then 10kg because I had to go down for the final track because I could not get through it with 12kg. The squat weight felt almost fine when it was racked back when I had to go front rack my wrists were not a fan. 10kg arms is maybe a tad ambitious so that may now be the last to go up while I work on the barbell complexes and stuff first. I felt strong. It felt kind of good. Every single muscle in my body was shaky af when I finished. But the weights are making a difference and I kind of love them for it.

6) Eat more fruit and veg

I’m still really hit and miss with that. The good news is that we are reaching the season where all my fave fruits are back in season and are tasting good. I always eat more fruit when the weather is warmer. So this is kind of a work in progress. There are small changes that are happening each day with this one that I am just kind of rolling with because it was never going to change overnight.

7) Cook More

Hey, look which one is still going nowhere? Don’t get me wrong, I do cook. I can cook just fine and I cook well, but I just don’t do it often and that hasn’t really changed. My main reason for this one was just that I wanted to be a bit more in control of my diet because that is like 80% of the battle when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, but that has just naturally changed over time anyway as it became more glaringly obvious in my house that I wasn’t fucking about with that thing.

8) Finish the damn book

This is a slow moving goal for obvious reasons. I felt really motivated at the beginning of April as I always do when the time comes around and in theory it comes with a month of epic writing sessions, and I did make some real progress with it during the time that I was off from work and went on holiday and all that jazz but then I had to get back into the routine of being at work and it really took a lot out of me for some reason, because 2 weeks is enough to make it feel like you are at the bottom of the mountain and have to hike back up again and so I fell out of being motivated for it. And now I’m just hovering at nearly 10,000 words.

9) Write for half an hour a day

See above about the fact that I have been very unmotivated to write and so therefore this one is also currently not even close to being a habit.

10) Get better organised

Look, we all know the answer to this one don’t we…?

11) Get my Peak score to 900

I’m in the 830’s, so you know this one is plodding along. I will tell you that I lost my epic daily streak because on the day that I got to Amsterdam I fucking forgot to complete one of the games and only remembered after midnight meaning that I had to start from one again. Is this a real issue? No. But it still on some level continues to make me feel some type of way.

12) Meditate more

This is my spring/summer goal. I need to build it and make it a habit. I really, really do. It’s my May project.

13) Save, save, save

This is kind of going fine, kind of not. There’s been no change there. One day, I swear I will report one and it’s gonna be mind blowing.

14) Put more effort into blogging

I think at this point all the foundation work for this is done. The rest is just stuff that I have to do in terms of putting content up and also being better at sharing it. And yeah, I did just quietly change the theme on here whilst I was gone in March.

15) The Masters

This remains the most complicated thing for me. I was fully pumped to do this for a lot of last year and then my mental health took a hit and doing anything remotely related to education was so far from my mind that it was hilarious. Then when I started thinking about it again this year there was just a massive question mark above it. A huge, flashing one that seemed to give off a red colour. And because I took that time away from the decision I have found myself now questioning if that is even something that I want to do. It’s an extra 2 years in education and education actually broke me come the end of it. Maybe it’s a case of feel the fear and do it anyway, or maybe it’s something that I shouldn’t do. I don’t really know anymore. I’m still pondering.

And that is my second check in of the year. On the one hand there are some improvements and I can feel some habits forming, on the other hand there is still some areas where I really need to try and make them second nature for me. But this is where I am at with this at the moment.

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

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Check In 1

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These are coming bi-monthly. At the beginning of the month. At the end of every two months. I should remember that right? (No, I will remember that). That will make it 5 in this year and then a round up.

And without further ado here is the first check in

1) Learn how to fuck with eyeshadow

I’ve worn make up so little these past couple of months because I just did not really leave the house and it was just for my birthday that I put it on and as such I spent that day truly living my best. I also do not currently own any eyeshadows or appropriate brushes and I’m cutting down on my spending so that will be a goal that I might attempt later i the year.

2) Learn how to do a full pull up

I’ve not even gotten myself into a situation where I have even attempted to do this yet. I walk past these pull up bars in the park on the way to work every morning and think about how I will maybe use something with that kind of set up and then just haven’t even tried. I’m trying to work on my chest and upper body strength before I go in. I don’t even know why that is to be honest, but I just don’t feel ready to tackle this one yet.

3) Be able to a full push up

My half push up things are fine. If I’m on my knees and on the right day I can get down real low. I’ve not really gotten any further with the full one. Mainly because there is something a little bit niggly in my right wrist which makes bearing weight on it a bit hit and miss. Which is nice and useful for most body weight movements. It means that my balance is being tested slightly more because I try and avoid putting my hands down for some moves now and also means that I don’t do high planks and my knees are better at scraping the floor in mountain climbers. It also means that I avoid push ups currently. Like I said, it’s hit and miss, sometimes my wrist is fine, sometimes it’s not. I have to play it by ear.

4) Read 70 books

I’m 11 in. Soon to start the 12th. I’m making progress with this. I’m currently a little ahead of schedule, but only by a book. This is plodding along.

5) Lift heavier

I’ve come the realisation that this one is kind of vague and so I’m breaking it down a little. I’m aiming to reach a TUT squat weight of 20kg, arms/chest to 10/12kg and then everything else to roughly 15kg by July. And then I will reassess then if I have managed to do it. I went up in my squat weight last Sunday to 15kg on a whim, but my arms/chest didn’t feel quite up for the challenge of 10kg and I was right they struggled with their usual 8 and the rest of it I just felt like I was going to compromise massively on form so I just stuck with 10kg which seemed like the right choice. I am making steps. The 15kg felt kinda good, I was surprised at how much I had missed it and also by how much I enjoyed it.

6) Eat more fruit and veg

This remains hit and miss. Some weeks I’m really good and on it and hit 5 a day and then some weeks I don’t. I really need to work to make it a more conscious effort.

7) Cook More

This is going nowhere right now.

8) Finish the damn book

I aimed to get to 10,000 words on The Thing this week. That’s where I’m at with that 10,000 words. No real character building, only a vague plot, no coherence with the way that I am writing it, but the words seem to be there and I do know what I want the arc to be. It’s something.

9) Write for half an hour a day

This is not happening. I mean I am writing for half an hour or more when I’m writing for this blog, but externally of that I am not that disciplined with that yet.

10) Get better organised

We all know the answer to this right?

11) Get my Peak score to 800

On February 6th this happened. I knew it was coming because suddenly the number stopped hanging in the 770/780’s and was at 794. And so I plodded along to get to my goal of 800. It felt like such a great achievement after it alluding me for so long. So now the goal is 900.

12) Meditate more

Again, not really happening right now. It’s just not a habit that I appear to have any desire to cultivate for some annoying reason. Ironically I think I am in my own head too much and can’t switch off, nor can I accept that that is just a thing that happens, but the key is to let those thoughts pass and then bring it back. As I’m writing this I am in the midst of reading Eat, Pray, Love and she has just got to India, which is the Pray, part and she is talking about meditation and how she struggles with it and I feel kind of the same way.

13) Save, save, save

I’m made a huge reduction in the amount of unnecessary spending I am doing, so this is kind of fine right now. It’s where I want it to be to be honest. I’ve allowed myself a couple of things (like my Apple Watch and a new pair of trainers) but for the most part I am getting better at saying no.

14) Put more effort into blogging

This seems to be doing alright. I mean I did just sort of reinvent this blog a bit these past couple of weeks (and this is the last mention) and I feel a new sense of excitement about it which is always good. I’m also getting better at sharing my posts more frequently. This feels good.

15) The Masters

Okay, so this is still an idea. But I now also have another thing that I may want to do. I’m aware that I am being quite vague about this but currently it’s still just a seed in my head that I may or may not water…

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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Look Back (not) in Anger

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There was a reason that I didn’t post on Sunday. The first one is I actually forgot what day it was, in the way that only really happens when you reach the dates between Christmas and New Year’s. The other was that I figured I would just post on the final day of the year to finish the year out in blogging style…and by that I mean I am gonna ramble on in reflection for 2014 and then look to the future that is 2015.

First things first, I actually adhered to a resolution that I set myself at the beginning of the year. The resolution in question is I took a jar and vowed to myself (I mentioned to one person that I was even doing it because my track record is awful at sticking to things and I did not want to be asked about it should I fail) to fill that jar with a piece of paper every day with something good that happened on the day.

1904

This picture is the product of all that. I don’t actually know when I am going to open this and read back over my year but it won’t be for a while I feel. Really build up the nostalgia for a fairly strange year. I committed to this resolution this year because it kinda forced me to focus on the positive more than I usually do and to try and stop being such a pessimist (I also did 100 Happy Days over on Instagram back in March through to June (and yes, there are also A LOT of pictures of my dog on there…)). I think maybe it worked a little bit, I am definitely less pessimistic than I was in January.

Moving on from my state of mind to more solid ground. I am talking about books in this instance. I randomly stumbled (although I didn’t really stumble on it was a conscious effort, I had just forgotten about it as a whole) on my Goodreads account yesterday when I remembered that I had finished a book (because yes I only just finished Gone Girl, this whole reading month thing didn’t go well, but I am always a reader and I will always a reading list that is too long so it’s nothing to really beat myself up about). And then I remembered that I set myself a reading challenge at the beginning of the year and then forgot about it entirely after May when I stopped reading 2 books a week, and I discovered that I wasn’t going to complete it, but I was close…so close.

Reading challenge stats

I also got the chance to look back at my year in books and it was very much a product of the fact that I was studying for an English degree at the beginning of the year, because it is pretty much made up of the books that I had to read for it (as is my ‘currently reading’ section, I am reading 9, yes nine, books and most of them are books that I was supposed to read in their entirety for my course but never quite got around to doing. Oh and Moby Dick which I started reading in the winter of 2012 and am still only half way through…oops). Looking back at it was a bit strange because the fact that at the beginning of the year I was still stressing (…I mean studying…(I really like my parentheses today)) and working stupidly hard and now I’m not. But it also reminded me that as a direct product of my course I have read some incredible books this year.

Year in books pt 1 Year in books pt 2

A Visit From The Goon Squad, is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read, as were parts of Brief Interviews. I also remembered that I have read a lot of stuff that really stopped and made me think about things in a new way and in doing that also helped challenge the way I think. I have read stuff that made me incredibly angry and stuff that made me fall back in love with literature and reading (thank you Rainbow Rowell this time for kickstarting that again over the summer for a short while). I have over analysed books and looked at them from several different perspectives and continually reminded myself why I decided four or something years ago that English was what I wanted to study.  I really fudging love it. And my love of it is something that I thankfully keep carrying around with me because even though my degree is over my fingers still itch to underline things that interest me when I am reading a book still and I keep seeing the way certain sentences can be interpreted in several different ways.

And it’s great.

Sticking with talking about words, this year I also hit my stride with writing and found myself discovering that three of my favourite things right now is a blank page, black ink and a place to go with words. I’ve filled two notebooks with various things of differing lengths (including a fair amount of my Nano novel which I start editing soon actually) since September alone. That is something I never envisioned would happen last year because along with the fear of writing rubbish I also just didn’t have anything I wanted to write about. I got over that fear and soared. There is a lot of stuff I have written that won’t see the light of day for various reasons but I enjoyed writing them and at the end of the day spilling out onto a page with something that I am proud of is more important to me in some cases than whether or not people read it (or whether I let people read it).

So now that I’m done reminiscing and because I am a cliche (but they are cliches for a reason I guess) I am going to make a list of things that I am going to try and do over the course of 2015 (it is also totally not starting until Monday because the 1st is always a write off and who starts things on a Friday…always have been good at finding excuses I have, makes this first one a bit ironic…)

1) Stop procrastinating so damn much – I knew exactly what I was going to write for this and yet it still took me over an hour because the internet is both my best friend and my worst enemy (it also took me an age to edit it because, well Tumblr). And I cannot tell you how many times I have lost actual hours of my life just on my laptop doing nothing of importance but just putting something off until I either forget what I was going to do or I am too tired to give my full attention when I should. So I need to cut down on that, it’s time I guess.

2) Tone the hell up and stop eating so much sugar – I need to stop relying on my metabolism because I am not going to be 21 forever (in fact I am not gonna be 21 anymore in less than a month now) and actually do find some sort of exercise that doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out. I also need to stop living my life only eating only dinner on some days start eating more fruit and veg and cut down on the M&Ms consumption.

3) Stop worrying – I worry like you wouldn’t believe. I think worry was a bigger issue for me than stress when I was at uni. I am really good at seeing where everything can go wrong and thinking of all the ways that something could have gone better if I had done this or that and then worrying about what people think of me. I have made some progression in at the not worrying thing but progress is still needed. I just need to make like Elsa and let things go. It will probably/almost definitely do me a world of good.

4) Keep writing and reading  – self explanatory really, especially the second one. The book hangover is well and truly over.

5) Don’t be so afraid of things – the main reason I don’t do things is because I am scared to because I don’t what it entails and I am also really good at coming up with excuses as to why I can’t do something that has a question mark over it. Ultimately the unknown scares me. But hey, a lot of things are rooted in the unknown and I can’t spend all my time being scared of it because I gain nothing like that. So I need to stop thinking of all the reasons that I can’t and think of the reasons that I can.

So that’s it for my final post of 2014. Parentheses count : 15 (really went for it today and this makes the count 16).

See you on Sunday!

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