Friday, December 13, 2013

CrossFit Training Weeks 4-5

WellnessFX Physical Challenge: Max Christine Push-Ups
1:1 Coaching

After constantly questioning myself about my training choices and talking to others, I finally decided to start 1:1 coaching with John Post.  He actually seems excited about my goals.  I need someone who at least thinks it's possible for me to make the team.

My first session was part discussion, diagnostic, skill work, and a short HIIT workout.  The result of our first session was a training scheduled, my first set of butterfly pull-ups, sore abs, and a ripped hand (NEVER AGAIN!).

New schedule: 
5 Level 1 days a week
1:1 once a week
25 chin-ups and dips on work days
continue mobility and skill work

This all makes sense to me, although I worry that it isn't aggressive enough.  The key will be to work hard and focus during regular classes.  Eventually, the intention (I believe) is to keep the rest days, but make work days 2-a-days.

Mobility Rx

These last two weeks have been great here.  I've gotten two fantastic ah-ha moments with my overhead position and hamstrings.  The problem with my left hamstring was that I would have increasing pain as I did stretchy mobilizations.  The simple fix for that is to be completely warm.  I finally messed around with my first-rib stuff based on what Roop and Becoming a Supple Leopard said.  After jamming a pvc pipe in there and working my overhead position, I grabbed at least an extra 5 degrees of motion.  I obviously need a lot more than that, but it's for this mobility crap to actually show some results.

Bergener Olympic Lifting

Coach Mike Bergener is a pretty big deal in the CrossFit community for teaching olympic lifting.  I've been watching a ton of his videos.  I'm trying to internalize his lessons, and I'm adding the Bergener warmup to my pre-workout routine.  One encouraging thing I learned was the emphasis on footwork.  This is encouraging because I can work on footwork as much as I want without fatiguing myself.  

Although not from Bergener, I started taking a huge breath before going for a heavy lift to help stabilize my core.  This along with committing to the hook grip really helped when I was working on the Clean & Jerk.  I felt really stable and had not grip fatigue.

1 RMs

Clean & Jerk - 185 (12/9/13) 
Snatch - 135 (9/7/13) 
Back Squat - 275 (11/29/13) 
Front Squat - 205 (1/7/13)
DL - 315 (7/9/13)

I made a few PRs recently, and I'm confident that I'll be able to add to these every time I retest.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

CrossFit Training Week 3

Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Pull-ups

I've seen definite improvement in my snatch.  I've given this the most extra time, and I'm starting to get more comfortable with the positions.  I'm getting better at identifying my weak points (hips, catch).  This should help me spend my time more effectively.

The clean is a bit better.  The pain in my right elbow area has gone away; so, I think I'm keeping my arm position more consistently.  I got to spend the whole olympic skills class on jerk, which was really great.  I haven't given it that much focus for a long time.  I need to improve my overhead mobility, but I'm starting to realize that I need to stop using that as an excuse for getting overextended.  I just need to keep everything tight.

I haven't gotten anywhere with pull-ups.  I have decided that I'm going to do them every day instead of 3 times a week.  Hopefully that extra work coupled with losing some body fat will accelerate progress here.

Mobility Rx

I've been monkeying around with the mobility rx Roop gave me.  Everything he said made sense, but I'm not seeing any immediate improvements.  I think I just need to dedicate a little more time each day and another week or two.  The thing that is definitely not working for me is the hamstring mobility.  The only one of the 1000 exercises that doesn't make it feel worse is smashing.  It's likely nervous system related; so, I just need to relax more.

Do Work

Up until last weekend, I've been hitting crossfit everyday with additional before and after work.  I was going hard at a Startup Weekend EDU event.  Because of the time constraints, I didn't workout Saturday or Sunday, and then I wanted to get extra sleep on Monday.  One day would have been fine, but I can't really afford missing that many days again.  I did have the benefit of no soreness for once, but I'm still sleep deprived.


A quick overview of my current diet.  I'm shooting for Paleo at around a 500 calorie deficit each day.  Additionally, I'm shooting for less than 20% calories from carbs; which works out to no fruit (except avocado) and no starches.  My body fat is not low; so, any fat I can lose will allow me to perform better.  Again last weekend was an unfortunate departure, and diet continues to be a key factor in my success/failure.

I started my supplements this week:
  • 5g BCAA + 5g Creatine + 1 AlphaBrain when I wake up (I'm currently not eating before my morning workout)
  • 30g Protein + 15g L-Glutamine shake immediately after workout
  • 5g Creatine before bed
  • My normal assortment of vitamin supplements at breakfast and dinner: Multi, C, E, Fish Oil, Potassium, Calcium/Magnesium/Zink


Since I declared my goals, I've gotten some really positive feedback.  I've been getting some extra support from a few of the coaches too, which is awesome and intimidating.  Angela has been fantastic.  She's really helping me in all the ways she can.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Writing Take 2 Week 3

More of the same.  Writing about every other day.  I did write a pretty beefy post about crossfit - which took forever, because I was worried about what people would think, and I kept getting distracted by Heroes (I'm glad Sylar's a bad guy again).  

Most of the time, I've been using a 15 minute timer when I started writing (like during this post), but I found I didn't while doing a lot of the crossfit writing.  That writing was more about wanting to get it out there and less about me developing a writing habit.

Not so great on food this week.  Next week I'll kill it though.

Didn't really do most of my habits.  I need to sleep more.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

San Francisco CrossFit Regionals

I want to make the San Francisco CrossFit Regionals Team in 2014.  I am not trying to make it to Regionals as an individual competitor.  I've made this goal to see how far I can push myself physically.  It's an aggressive and slightly arrogant goal.  Very few that understand this level of performance have been overly supportive.  Although this was initially discouraging, it's now made achieving this goal even more exciting.  This goal can loosely be thought of as being one of the top four competitors in the CrossFit Open at San Francisco CrossFit.  This alternate goal is what I'm specifically targeting.  Open performance is not the only criteria, but it should be a decent proxy for all other criteria.

I did some number crunching, comparing my performance in the CrossFit Open 2013 to the SFCF Regionals Team.  Although the math is crude and inaccurate for a number of reasons, the numbers are useful as a gauge of improvement needed and as a guide towards specific movements that need to be prioritized in training.  Generally, I need to improve 10-40% on my 2013 performance to be at the same level as the worst team member from 2013.  I'd likely perform better now, but not 10-40% better.

Anders Larson put together another excellent post breaking down all the movements from past CrossFit Opens.  Jim Kean also wrote a great post on his training.  Based on that information, my CrossFit Open 2013 performance, and my own knowledge of my skills, I will be focusing on improving these movements in this order:
t = Technique
e = Metabolic Conditioning
s = Strength
  1. Pull-up - st
  2. Snatch - ts
  3. Clean - ts
  4. Jerk - ts
  5. Burpee - te
  6. Thruster - e
  7. Toes-to-bar - st
  8. Double Unders - t
Along with daily crossfit classes and 20-40 minutes of mobility, I will add this additional skill/strength work:
Mon/Wed/Fri - Pull-ups
Tue/Sat - Clean & Jerk
Thu/Sun - Snatch

I have a lot more to write about the specifics of what I'm planning for workouts, mobility, recovery, diet, supplements, mental preparation, etc. I'll write more about those as well as my progress in future posts.

Ultimately, I want to achieve my goal, but the experiment is really about how much I can improve.  How good can I get if I put all of my attention towards this one goal?  I worry about failing.  There are two ways I can fail: I can miss my goal, or I can fail to execute my plans.  The first is acceptable, and I'm not worried about that.  The second is the part I'm worried about.  I've rationalized my way out of self-imposed challenges before, but I'm hoping that being publicly accountable about my goals, plans, and progress will help me accomplish what might not be otherwise possible.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Writing Take 2 Week 2

Generally, I've been writing a good chunk this week.  It helps that I have something to write about (CrossFit Games Training), but this has sort of eliminated the need for creativity, as I'm just writing about planning and stuff.  I think that's fine, I'm just not sure how much of a habit it's forming.  I'm going to keep doing it though, because I'm actually going to start posting stuff about training now that I have a goal and a plan.

I've really got my eating, crossfit, sleep, water, mobility stuff together this week.  I think all of those will be key focus points going forward.  The only thing I haven't straightened out is soda/tea.  I found that if I stay caffeinated enough with soda, that I don't make any diet mistakes, and the time to sleep effect isn't terrible.  Next week, I'm going to start weaning off of soda with no attempt at caffeine reduction.

I haven't really been doing the gratitude habit much.  I've done it a few times, but I usually think about something else or just fall asleep.

Again, I haven't really done any debt reduction stuff, because I'm focused on getting these real estate turnovers out the door.  The first one will be "done" this weekend, but that's usually just a step in the whole process; so, I'm thinking it'll be another couple weeks before I dedicate any time to it.

Solid week overall.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Writing Take 2 Week 1

This was a short week of actually trying to write; so, I guess I did pretty well.  I'm shooting for 15 minutes or more per day.  The suggestion was for 5-10, but when I did it before, I found that I never got anywhere with that little amount of time.  I could have gone longer, but that's not really how my brain works.

I've gotten to write some things out that I've been thinking about, and that's been nice, but I really want to get some in-depth stuff out.  I'll just keep sticking to the 15 minutes this next week and see what happens.

I haven't done much for the financial stuff.  I'm mostly dealing with real estate from that perspective.

I still try to do the gratitude thing at night as I'm going to sleep, but my mind wonders so quickly, I often fall asleep before I've gotten 3.  No big deal though.

Food and procrastination are going ok, but I need to focus more on efficiency overall.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reduce/Eliminate Debt Week 5

Along with Eating Healthy, this is sad been my most successful Sea Change month so far.  I had two focuses: killing monthly recurring payments and making better impulsive financial decisions.  

I was hugely successful with the first.  I tried to tackle these by identifying, prioritizing, and systematically killing each payment.  By the end of the month, I was able to reduce payments by $196/month!  I have a few that I wasn't able to finish, and I will continue to work on those, but I'm extremely satisfied.

The second goal was mostly unsuccessful and really just made me feel guilty.  I said the Financial Intention every day, but it didn't really help.  I have a thought that I could really help reduce that bad behavior by just making a rule that I can't go to convenience stores.  It's stupid and small, but I think it would save me from impulsive little purchases as well as buying things that aren't healthy (basically the only thing healthy in a convenience store is water).


Leo wants me to Read More this month, but I'm not really interested in that.  I read already, and I don't need to put pressure on that.

Instead, I've decided to do the Writing month again.  I really think I could benefit from it, and I don't think I gave it a fair shake last time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Reduce/Eliminate Debt Week 4

A little less productive this week.  I guess I got all the easy stuff taken care of already.  I'm still making some progress (at $102/month saved), and I hope to have a good chunk more taken care of by the end of next week.

I'm not really getting anything from the Financial Intention thing.  I think I broke it from the beginning because I didn't really buy into it.  I always say that whatever you think is going to work, will.  Whatevs.

One side note, is that I feel like I'm spending time on this everyday, and that it doesn't seem very sustainable.  The hope I guess is that eventually, you wouldn't really have stuff to work on everyday.  Depending on what module starts next month, I might keep going on this one to just clean everything up.

Did really well on eating, gratitude, and mobility this week.  I didn't get to workout as much as before, because I hurt my back a bit, but that gave me renewed motivation to get my mobility going again.  On the diet front, I decided to eat super low-carbs and reduce calories (~1000/day according to fitbit) this week and next week to see if I can cut up before Vegas.  I'm not gonna get all Jersey Shore on you, but it's working :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Reduce/Eliminate Debt Week 3

I've been making great progress on reducing my recurring payments.  So far, I've eliminated $80/month.  I've got another $200 or so that I think I can get rid of as well.

Although, I've been saying the stupid Financial Intention everyday, I'm still buy stupid stuff like chips and soda.  It's funny how bad decisions in one area are also bad decisions in other areas.  I've decided to add a reminder at around 5p to restate the Financial Intention, to see if that keeps me on track at night when I'm weak and stupid.

I'm still killing it on crossfit, but I'm slipping a bit with the eating and mobility.  Shouldn't be hard to get back on track.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reduce/Eliminate Debt Week 2

It's been pretty easy to do my weird Financial Intention mantra every day.  I even tweaked it a bit to fit my issues.  I've been a bit better about making progress towards reducing recurring payments as well.  

I actually did an audit of all my recurring payments and was surprised at what they added up to.  On the up side, there were a good chunk of them that can be cut out with little or no pain.

I finally think the Financial Intention stuff is starting to pay off.  I still buy stupid stuff like popcorn at the movies, soda, dining out too much, etc., but I'm at least thinking consciously about it and make a few better decisions here and there.

Other Habits

Killed it on Paleo this week during the week.  I've also been going to crossfit everyday for a while now.  I'm super ripped at this point #lie.

I'm still doing the Gratitude habit, and I continue to enjoy it.  On a side note, I think it helps me fall asleep faster.  Weird.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Reduce/Eliminate Debt Week 1

This week started the Reduce/Eliminate Debt module which consists of creating the daily Financial Intention habit as well as making progress towards longer term habits like paying debt automatically and such.  

I've been good on my weird morning phrase that I say (out loud).  I have been unsuccessful at actually doing the stuff in my "mantra" or completing any of the financial tasks that I've given myself.  I think I just started with ones that were hard.  I need to break them down better to bite off reasonable daily chunks.

Still going strong on the Gratitude habit.  I like it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Gratitude Week 4

This last week I tried to be grateful as I was checking off the completion of my habits.  I should have done it as I was about to do the habit, but it was still nice.

I've really enjoyed this Gratitude thing.  It's all been very subtle, but whenever I did it, I was always happier afterward.  Can't complain about that.

I'm going to continue these two habits (3 things I'm grateful for before going to bed and being grateful while performing habits) for a while.

Next week is Reduce/Eliminate Debt.  The idea here is obvious.  The habits you're going for are 
  1. Face debts
  2. Be conscious of spending
  3. Automatic debt reduction
  4. Regular review
The problem with these habits is that they aren't daily.  These can be developed but take 1-2 years.

To form these long term habits, we start with a daily Intention habit of declaring how you're going to be I guess.  It's kind of like a daily affirmation, but it's something like, "Today I intend to be conscious about my spending…."

Personally, I'm pretty good with these long term habits already.  I've had everything in for years.  I know my debts, assets, network, payments, etc.  All payments are automatic.  I review and categorize all charges once a week.  

The only thing I don't do is watch spending.  I basically buy whatever I want, but I'm naturally against buying stuff.  I get trapped on buying perishable things like food (restaurants), drinks, services, etc.

I think what I'll do is make my daily Intention focused on spending to help me make better short term choices.  Then I'll take 5 minutes a day to identify something I can eliminate and actually eliminate it (I'm looking at you Earth Class Mail).

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gratitude Week 3

I've been doing really well on the Gratitude habit this week.  I've found it works really well to just think about what I'm grateful for as I'm going to sleep.  Maybe that'll subconsciously do something for me too.

I really like Leo's article on Using Gratitude to Form Habits (that link to sea change members).  Basically, you think about being grateful for each of the steps of forming a habit (choose a habit, commit, do it, check in).  This let's you feel good about the steps before you even see the results.  I know I've accidentally done this in the past, and it works great.  In fact, I wonder if that's why it's easier in the beginning of forming a habit, because you're pumped about getting to do it (maybe not).

Now that I've been successful so far, I think I'm going to incorporate gratitude into my other habits (mobilizing, self tracking, crossfit, paleo, etc).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gratitude Week 2

I basically forgot about this until today.  I lost the reminder on my wfx app.  No excuses.  Play like a champion!  

This is the weakest post ever.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Gratitude Week 1

No posts in a while.  That's mostly because I'm lazy, and I haven't been doing a good job on these Sea Change habits.  Wanna fight about it?

This month is about Gratitude.  Each night, I note 3 things I'm grateful for from the day.  I setup a habit and reminder in the WellnessFX iPhone app.  Sometimes they're a little cheesy, but it's simple, and I feel good about it.  This is also something that Angela and I can easily do together.

I'm going to put one more week toward this, then try one of the other gratitude habits.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Get Organized Week 2

I guess I didn't really do anything specifically for organization this week.  However, I've been pretty on top of keeping incoming things organized and batch processing.  I think I'll add a little note to my monitor or something to remind me to focus on it though as I don't have any recurring tasks that I want to add at this point.

Next week is about the physical stuff.   I'll commit to 10 minutes in the morning and continue with the digital organization stuff I was already doing.

I'm eating perfectly, giving myself the correct amount to do each day, working out every day, sleeping, and overall killing it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Get Organized Week 1

July is the Get Organized module.  I think the ultimate goal is to make sure everything has and is in its place.  The first week was dedicated to assessing the current information (mostly digital) that needs to be stored and how you're currently storing it.  I'll put my list of tools I use below.  The upcoming week is mostly about putting things in their place as they come in.

I figured I wouldn't really have any changes during this part, but I've realized some things that I've been slacking on or didn't have a good system for.  This should be a nice, low-effort module with a good return.

In the essence of last month's module (Simplify Your Day), I'm attempting to reduce the amount of things I give myself to do each day.  My goal is to be able to complete everything in my nozbe list for the day some time in the afternoon.  That will give me a feeling of accomplishment, reduce stress, and free up time to workout, relax, or start some side projects.

Still not Writing or Meditating.

I haven't been Eating Healthy, but that should be all back on track this week.  Conversely, I've been without soda since May 28th (41 days so far).  I even did no caffeine (not even tea) for 8 days (up till today I had vacation; so, no need to focus).  I'm back on tea now, but I switched to green tea, because it's supposed to be the best, and I have to concentrate at work.

Procrastination hasn't been great, but pretty decent considering the vacation.

Organizational Tools - List tools currently used for main types of information

  • Task tools
    • Nozbe
    • Some Evernote checklists
    • WellnessFX app
  • Calendar and planning
    • Google calendar
    • Nozbe
    • Evernote
  • Inbox
    • Gmail
    • Hipchat
    • Facebook
    • Text message
    • Mail
    • Walkovers
    • Voicemail
  • Financial
    • Mint
    • Google drive
  • Read later
    • Bookmarks folder
    • Gmail
  • Other work/personal info
    • Evernote
    • Google docs
    • Drawer
    • iPhone Notes
  • Passwords secure info
    • Google docs
    • Passpack
  • Receipts, financial docs, drafts, tickets
    • Google docs
    • Evernote
    • Eventbrite app
    • Drawer
  • Contact management
    • Gmail contacts
    • iPhone contacts (synced)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Simplify Your Day Week 4

Although I never did much past identifying important stuff, making sure my daily tasks were aligned with that, and reducing my daily tasks as much as reasonable, I think it went well.  I'm not sure it made any lasting changes, but I'm going to continue to monitor that all my tasks align with what's important to me.  I think that should be there for life.

Next month is Get Organized.  I thought about skipping it, because I'm pretty organized (I already use Nozbe for GTD, Evernote, Zero-Inbox, etc).  On the other hand, putting focus on it for month might help clear up some things and get my system running a little smoother.  The first week is just about identifying where I'm at and beginning to put things in the right places.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Simplify Your Day Week 3

The last couple of weeks, I've been focusing on limiting what's in my Nozbe next actions for the day.  I made a list of what is important to me (below), and every day I make sure that the only tasks on my list correlate with what's important to me.  I also make myself eliminate at least one non-essential item each day.

I've tried to implement a block of time in the late afternoon to batch my daily tasks, but I keep putting it off, because I'm working on something else.  The only big downside there is I'm not planning my next day's tasks the day before, which then forces me to do it in the beginning of the day.

Next week I'm supposed to focus on single-tasking.  I don't have a big problem with that.  I'm actually pretty good at getting into flow-states while working, and crossfit offers me the same in-the-moment experiences.  I'll probably just refocus or replan how to implement batching my daily tasks.  Maybe I'll shoot for after lunch.

Important Things

  1. Improvement: Physical and Mental/Skills
  2. Money
  3. Humor
  4. Companionship

Friday, June 7, 2013

Simplify Your Day Week 1

I never got anywhere past reading what the plan was for the Simplify Your Day month.  I started going through the prioritization stuff, but nothing else.  I'll try to catch up on that stuff this weekend and start next week.

No writing or meditation.

Still eating perfect paleo.  Only tea (no soda).  Maybe a few too many almonds though.

Procrastination is killing me.  There's definitely some non-work things that I need to be doing.  Hopefully I have a very productive weekend.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Writing Week 4

After a break, I'm picking most things back up.  I never got back to writing.  It's disappointing, because I would like to be better at writing, and I think that I would like to start concretizing my ideas.  Maybe I'll swap out a future month for a Writing Take 2.

Although I enjoyed working on Meditation, I've given it up for now.  I like not having a lot of things to do in the morning (at least I do right now).  Maybe I'll try some long (30+ minutes) meditation sessions on the weekends.  I've also researched a few free guided meditation places which might be interesting.

I'm pure paleo again; so, I'm back on the healthy eating.  I've even dropped soda (trying again); so, I've started drinking black tea for the caffeine.

I haven't been doing the Procrastination stuff, because I just want to get to work and start working instead of doing some random real estate task that I don't really want to do.  I'd like to figure out how to be happy with how that all works, but I don't like delaying work or wasting my reserves and non-work stuff.

Next month is Simplify Your Day.  I think I'm pretty good at this already, but it basically consists of saying 'No' to some non-essential request/task each day.

For self-tracking, I'm back on everything I was doing before.  I've added water as well.  I want to add measuring range of motion, but I'm a bit stalled on that because I either need a trained partner and goniometer(s) or use an iPhone app that I'm not sure I can trust.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

CrossFit Open 2013 Take 2

Angela and have decided to take another crack at CrossFit Open 2013 approximately 6 months from the original dates.  That means we start in the beginning of September.  Our goals are to improve our scores on every workout.  The point is to prove to ourselves that we're improving at this CrossFit stuff.  We fully expect a side benefit to be better performance on CrossFit Open 2014, because it is unlikely that those workouts will be comprised of movements that aren't in previous Opens.

We don't expect improvement across the board to happen accidentally.  The plan is to work on a few key movements from now and until Take 2 that held us back in the original Open.
  • Snatch
  • Wall ball
  • Kipping pull-up, chest to bar, toes to bar
  • Double under
  • Jerk
I won't go into how these will improve all workouts.  The problem is that these only cover specific movements.  An additional limiting factor is conditioning.  We have no plan for that other than continuing to go to as many CrossFit classes as we can get to.

Because we're serious about committing to this, we've decided to publicly declare that we will shave our heads (Angela too) if we don't complete all of the CrossFit Open 2013 workouts.  There's no penalty for not improving.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sea Change/Quantified Self

In short, I've stopped doing everything that isn't passive.  It was getting a little daunting tracking/doing all these things.  I'm taking some time off.  I'll get back on when I'm ready.

Before I start up again, I need to do a real deep evaluation of the level I'm willing to commit to.  Unfortunately, incrementally adding tasks isn't creating the no-brainer habits that I was looking for.  Everything took some bit of my willpower reserve (which I believe to be finite).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Writing Week 2

I've had a bit of a slow start with Writing.  It's the same crap that I did with the original Meditation month.  I'm not giving myself enough time/permission in the mornings to do the writing.  I've been fitting it in randomly.  I've also not thought about topics ahead of time at all.  Even more, I haven't read/watched any of the followup stuff Leo has put out about writing.  I'm slacking, but I got 4 of 7 days; so, it's not all bad.

I'm committed to doing better by means of hitting every day.  The other problem is that I write very little in 5 minutes.  I usually get like a paragraph.  Weak sauce.  I'd like to increase the time, but that'll probably kill the writing altogether.  Maybe I'll bump it up to 10 after being consistent for 7 days or something.

I'm still Meditating every day.  I've actually been very consistent on it.  I knocked it down to 5 minutes though.  I'm still not doing any better (probably worse) with staying focused on the breathing.  I hope I'm not falling into a just-want-to-check-it-off-mode.

Ooooo the Healthy Eating is not going well.  I need to get my shit together.

Procrastination… Back Off!  I'm trying to work over here!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Writing Week 1

I finished up the Meditation Habit month on Tuesday.  I've decided to keep it for another month to see how it goes.  I've dropped it to 10 minutes.  Maybe just brute force repetition will start to make it work.  I'll reevaluate next month.

I've been better on the healthy foods this week.  I've eaten avocado most days.  I still haven't really picked up the tea.  I think I drank it once this week.  I'll likely coordinate the tea when I finally get serious about giving up soda.

I've been hitting the MIPTs well, but that's probably because I'm giving myself easy ones.  Whatevs.


I started the Writing Habit month on Wednesday.  In typical form, I didn't actually do any writing on Wednesday.  I only have to commit to 5 minutes a day.  

I wanted to branch out and write fiction or something else completely different, but that added a barrier that I didn't want to deal with.  Instead, I just started writing about some general ideas I have about life or whatever.  

I'm not sure how all that's gonna play out.  I'm also going to miss the whole weekend for writing; so, I'm pretty much starting on Monday.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Meditation Take 2 Week 4

Although I'm glad that I was able to knock out these last 4 weeks of meditating every (read most) day; I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't really get better at it.  This last week, I watched a few videos on meditating to see if I should be doing anything different.  I specifically decided to not do my visualization thing and JUST observe my breathing without trying to control it.  I had a few chunks of time on Tuesday where I think I was completely clear, but otherwise it was just fighting to stop thinking.  15 minutes was no big deal, but it was a little harder to commit to the time every day, because I was really busy this week.

I started doing Warrior (I don't eat during the day) again.  That's been going fine, but I got me off my game with the avocado.  I'll fix that.

MIPT sucked this week.  I worked a lot, because of some stuff going on, and never got back on board.  I'll try to get it going again next week.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Meditation Take 2 Week 3

This was the 10 minute week.  It wasn't at all hard to sit there for the whole 10 minutes (I have a lot of practice sitting and staring).  The main issue was that I'm not getting any better at clearing my mind and focusing on my breathing.  Of course, I've done no additional work on this other than the daily meditation.  I feel like a few blog posts could get me going in the right direction.  I start 15 minutes tomorrow.

I'm getting pretty solid on setting my MIPTs.  I think I'm picking good ones and taking care of them appropriately.

I haven't done a great job with the healthy eating this week.  I've sort of fallen off the train since the CrossFit Open ended.  I have high confidence that I will straighten my shit out starting now-ish.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Meditation Take 2 Week 2

I've been killing it on the meditation habit.  Just started 10 minutes this morning.  I don't feel like I'm getting better at it anymore.  Whatever.

Healthy Eating - good
MIPTs - very good

Friday, April 5, 2013

Meditation Take 2 Week 1

If you're following along, I decided to restart the Meditation month from March.  I mostly failed last month, and I wanted to give myself another shot.  Luckily, April is Exercise, and I don't need to focus on developing that.  Last week, I came up with a bunch of plans to help me do better this time.  I didn't really do any of them.

It turns out that, rededicating myself was enough.  Also, making it obvious that skipping it because I "didn't have time" was a procrastination technique.  I've been doing it every day and bumped it up to 5 MINUTES today.

I've noticed that focusing on my breathing is getting easier.  I've started incorporating the thought of a shore where the water retreats when I breathe in, and rushes up when I breathe out.  Super hippy, but it seems to work.

I made my MIPT meditation; so, I'm 100% there.  I've been solid on the healthy foods as well.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Meditation Week 4

Unfortunately, this is the end of my Meditation month.  I'm not sure I gave it my best effort.  I never got past 5 minutes.  I only did it 4 times in the last week.  I was really hoping to incorporate this going forward.

The good news is that next month is supposed to be The Exercise Habit.  Obviously, I don't have a problem with that; so, I'm thinking of trying to the Mediation month over again.  Here are some potential reasons I didn't do that well, and how I'm hoping to fix them this go 'round.

Forgot - A number of mornings I straight up forgot to do it.  That's lame.  I tried fixing it with a morning alarm, and that mostly fixed the forgetting problem (as long as I hit snooze until I actually did it).

Out of time - The only days that I did it were when I had ample time in the morning.  Of course, having time in the morning is completely subjective.  Especially when you're only talking about 5 minutes, the decision that you don't have enough time is really a procrastination technique.  This one is tough to overcome, because I'm not really willing to wake up earlier to have more time.  I also prefer to do it right before I leave (see optimal); so, I can't just do it right when I wake up or whatever to avoid running out of time.  I think my best bet is to sell myself on the benefits of meditation more.  I think that if I knew that I was going to get a bunch of awesome results, I'd be able to justify the time and avoid procrastination in the moment.  I think I'll start reading some more about meditation to get syked about it.

Optimal - I really enjoyed the immediate feeling after meditation going into work.  It lasted about 30 minutes or so even at 2-5 minutes of meditation.  This put my brain in a great place to start the day.  The problem is that it forces me to do it last thing in the morning, which contributes to out of time above.  I suspect that I'm partly using this optimal seeking as a procrastination technique, because I know it deprioritizes it for my morning routine.  I'm going to try the techniques above for a week.  If that doesn't fix everything, I'll start putting it earlier in my morning routine.

Night motivation - So why don't I just do it at night if I missed it in the morning?  Duh.  I've long learned that I have zero will power left by the end of the day.  It takes everything I have to not go out to eat for dinner every night or just buy junk food and watch endless hours of Amazon Prime Instant Videos.  There' s no I'm convincing myself to do something at night that I couldn't convince myself to do in the morning when I was at my strongest.

Killing it on avocado and sweet potato.  Not doing great with the migration from soda to green tea.  I'm sort of going in backwards on that.

My procrastination work is about the same.  It's actually very similar to the mediation issues; I set the MIPT, but then keep pushing it back in the day, because I want to focus on work.  Tighten up!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Meditation Week 3

I'm continuing my meditation practice.  I was able to get a morning habit going long enough to bump up my time from 2 to 5 minutes.  I'm starting to get better at it in those extra minutes.  "Better" meaning that I'm getting distracted less.  I can just focus on the breathing.  Pretty neat.

I'm hoping I get up to 10 minutes.  It'll be interesting if I can hack it for that long and if I'll notice anything else.  I already feel a lot more relaxed immediately afterward and for about an hour or so.  I wonder if 10 minutes will give me a few hours of that same feeling.

Food - on point.  Procrastination - weak.

Moreover, I've completely stopped making daily notes/observations.  During Procrastination and Healthy Eating, I was making notes every day, but I haven't done that for a couple weeks now.  I'll wait until next month to start that again.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Meditation Week 2

This will be a quick one.

I only meditated a few times; so, I'm still on 2 minutes.  It seems impossible to not let my mind wonder.  Hopefully more diligent practice will help.

Killing it at my healthy foods and procrastination.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Meditation Week 1

The first week of Meditation I count as a win.  I actually only did it 3-4 times, but I really enjoyed the challenge and the resultant relaxed feeling.  

I couldn't believe how fast I would lose focus.  I always did it in the morning just before leaving for work.  This had a side benefit of making my walks to the bus extra serene.  I would sit comfortably in my chair and stair at some spot in front of me.  I tried to think of just breathing in and out.  I would even think "In… Out…"  Regardless of my tactic, I was thinking about other stuff almost right away.  I could bring myself back, but I would lose it just as fast.  

I figured that I'd be better at this, but I'm mostly optimistic.  What will it mean if I do get good at it?

Still drinking green tea (with an occasional DMD) and eating sweet potato and avocado.

My MIPTs have been failing this week.  I got super focused on a work project and didn't let myself work on things in the morning.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Healthy Eating Week 4

This week was sweet potato week.  Easy.  Turns out it tastes good.  I ate it most days baked potato style.  I don't know if I'll eat it every day, but I'm definitely making sure I have some on hand.

This is the end of the Healthy Eating month.  It has turned out fantastic.  Here's a quick hit-list:
  • I eat avocado every day - I didn't eat it at all prior.
  • I drink green tea every day - Not only did I not drink it before, but I thought it was ridiculous 6 months ago.  I've also stopped drinking soda this week, but I'm not committed to it.
  • I added sweet potato to my food repertoire.
That's pretty awesome for 1 month.

In addition to the Healthy Eating, I've continued to practice my anti-procrastination habits.  I think this is starting to take hold.  I've done a better job of picking MIPTs and doing them early in the day.


March is Mediation.  In short, I'm supposed to meditate every day.  You start at 2 minutes per day.  If you get 7 days in a row, increase it to 5 minutes, then 10, 15, 20…

I don't know all the types of meditation, but I hear there are a lot.  The one they recommend is sitting in a quiet area, focusing on your breathing, trying not to let your mind wonder.

I tried it this morning, and it was interesting how fast I started thinking about other stuff.  This will be a good exercise I think.  It's also nice that it has very low requirements, as it feels like my daily habits/tasks are piling up.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Add Bundler to Gem

If you have a gem that you're working on, and it isn't using bundler for dependency management, it's easy to add.  I wanted to run the rspec specs without pain; so, I created a Gemfile like this:

source ""

This will just use your gemspec's dependencies.  Run bundle and you're ready to go.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Healthy Eating Week 3

The great thing about the way this Sea Change thing is setup is that it's noncommittal.  Every week, you try something.  If it works, keep it.  If it doesn't, move on.  I gave Eating Breakfast Mindfully a shot, but it's not for me.  I mostly felt like I was wasting time and not enjoying my little bit of morning time with Angela.

This week I'm going to start eating sweet potatoes.  This should be an easy one.  I don't particularly like the taste, but I have a feeling it's because of unfamiliarity.  I'd like to replace my regular potato/starch cravings with sweet potato because it's paleo.

I've been solid on avocado and green tea.  I'll probably do that for the rest of my life.

I've been much better at selecting and completing my MIPTs.  I'm forcing myself to do them first before my work tasks.  I'm also picking easier/smaller ones to get quick wins.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Healthy Eating Week 2

This month's goal in the Zenhabits Sea Change Program saga is to form Healthy Eating habits.  The first week, I started eating avocado everyday.  I have continued doing this with great success.  This last week, I started drinking Green Tea.  This has also been very successful.

To make these changes, I didn't make myself stop doing anything that I normally do.  I only added.  In the case of avocado, this is easily accomplished by adding it to my regular lunch meat salad (I put a LOT of meat in my salad).  For Green Tea, I experimented with different times.  So far, a (mid-)morning cup works very well while I read or write something.  It gives me time to enjoy the heat and flavor as I sip it.

Ultimately, I would like to replace my other sources of caffeine (mainly Diet Mt Dew) with tea, and then reduce my overall caffeine consumption from there.  That is not the goal here.  My goal was only to get comfortable with drinking tea.  Which I have done.

Next week is a new habit.  Although I am supposed to be doing all of these new habits mindfully.  I am not very consistent on that and don't treat it as a priority.  To improve this, this week's habit will be to mindfully eat breakfast with Angela.  

Mindfulness is a consistent theme on Zenhabits.  It's also very related to my own tenant of Single Tasking.  Single Tasking for eating is a precondition for Eating Mindfully.  The first step is to not do other stuff: Facebook, TV, book, thinking about all the crap you have to do…  That's Single Tasking.  The second step is actively thinking about the eating by paying attention to the flavor, texture, temperature…  That's Mindfully Eating, and that's the goal for the next week.

Mindfulness is actually pretty difficult for the majority of people (including me).  It takes effort to bring your mind back to the present activity.  That's why I'm limiting it to breakfast.  I considered limiting it to 5 minutes at breakfast.  However, I don't want to watch some clock (thus taking my mind off of the task), and it shouldn't take much longer than 5 minutes to eat anyway.

I'm having Angela do this with me.  This could be a double-edged sword.  Having Angela work with me often helps me stick with something, but if she falls off it may bring me down too.

I'm continuing to set and track my Most Important Procrastination Task from January's Sea Change focus: Procrastination.  It hasn't gotten much better.  I need to force myself to do my MIPT first thing (like this post).  If I push it off until the night, I'll never do it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quantified Self 2013

I've decided that 2013 is my Quantified Self year.  If you don't know what Quantified Self is or can't get an idea from the name, I'll tell you what I think it is.  The QS movement is about collecting empirical data about yourself and ideally using that data to guide changes in your life.  A simple example of this is weighing yourself.  You can use that information to guide you towards eating more/less or any number of lifestyle adjustments.  This is not new, but many of the current metrics have only recently been easily captured.  I'll give a number of examples of other things that you can track when I describe my personal QS strategy.

Once I was hired at WellnessFX, I knew it was time to get serious about QS.  WellnessFX offers personal blood diagnostics which is commonly used by serious QSers.  I was already regularly tracking normal stuff like weight and body fat percentage.  I was intermittently tracking workouts, diets, sleep, caffeine… but never rigorous about it.

At some point, I came up with a pretty exhaustive list of possible things that you could track.  There were well over 100 different metrics.  I knew I'd have to prioritize which were most important, but even then, it's still overwhelming to start tracking 20 different things all at once.  Around the same time, I signed up for the Zenhabit's Sea Change program which you may have read about in my other posts.  You pick one habit change per month and try to accumulate them over the year.  12 habit changes in 1 year is way better than your 2-3 new years resolutions :)  I decided to apply the same thing to my QS metrics.  I would add 1-3 metrics per month.  By the end of the year, I would have some serious momentum and data.

I was technically starting this in February; so, I stashed everything that I was already tracking into my January metrics.  Here's what I had for January:
  • [Continuous/Passive] activity/sleep (Fitbit)
  • [Continuous/Passive] computer usage (RescueTime)
  • [Daily] weight/body fat % (bioelectric impedance scale)
  • [Daily] clothes I wear (just take a picture and auto-upload to google plus)
  • [Intermittent] Personal Records (PRs - workouts, lifts, etc in evernote)
  • [Intermittent] cough/sneeze (some iPhone app)
The Fitbit stuff is great (unless you lose it!), because you record all this data with little or no interaction.  Passive tracking is the ideal way to do QS whenever possible.  The only reason I manually record my weight/body fat % is because I already had a scale; otherwise I'd buy one of the cool wifi ones that sync your stuff automatically.  

I started tracking what I was wearing, because I was getting worried that I was wearing the same outfits during the week.  I don't wear that many different clothes.  I think this will also provide some interesting insight into how I look and colors that I prefer.  Correlating that info with others may show me info I never thought of.

I need to start tracking my PRs for workouts and lifts so that I can better gauge what I need for crossfit workouts and so I can see where I have deficiencies.

I seem to have had a persistent cough for a couple months (that I remember).  I started tracking when I cough or sneeze so that I know when it stops or if it never does.

This month (February), I'm adding a couple more:
  • Food/drink in my Fitbit
  • Supplements in WellnessFX iphone app
Tracking your food can be pretty cumbersome; so, I kept this month easier to get used to it.  I like tracking my food in Fitbit, because I get a real time calories in/calories out based on my real time activity tracking.  

I could use anything to track my three supplements (vitamin c, vitamin b, multivitamin), but I picked the WellnessFX app to test it out.  Additionally, my WellnessFX practitioner is the one recommended I take those supplements; so, this will make it easier for me to share my info with him on my next consult.

Going forward, I'll be adding 1-3 metrics per month based on how difficult I think it will be to adopt the tracking habit/routine.  Here is a subset of the metrics I plan to add:
  • All workouts
  • Alertness
  • Mood
  • Sex
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Memory
  • Illness
  • Caffeine
  • Water
  • Sun exposure
  • Work/relax/lazy/intimate time
  • Temperature
  • Reading (time/content)
  • Social interaction (on/offline)
  • Skin
  • Mobility

Friday, February 8, 2013

Healthy Eating Week 1

My task for the previous week was to make a small, mindful healthy eating change.  I chose to eat avocado once a day.  This worked out really well.  I ate avocado 6 of 7 days.  This was made easier because I started eating multiple meals again, and the lunch salad was begging for some avocado.  I was a little lax on being mindful while eating it, but I'm really starting to get used to the flavor and texture.  It should be easy to keep this food in my diet forever.

On the procrastination front, I have been just as 50% successful as I was before.  I'm starting to note what works and what doesn't, but that doesn't necessarily fix the problem.  Baby steps.

I recently had a WellnessFX consult (I'll try to write about it at some point) where one of the suggestions was to swap out my daily 20oz Diet Mt. Dew with 3-4 cups of Green Tea.  Other than substituting my caffeine intake, I'd be substituting whatever poison they put in diet sodas with the hippy health benefits of Green Tea.  For the purposes of small changes during this Sea Change month of Healthy Eating, I'm only committing to drinking one cup of Green Tea every day.  I'm not going to cut out the DMD.  I just want to get used to the process, taste, texture, etc.  We'll see where it gets me.  I will continue to eat avocado every day as well.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Procrastination Week 4

This was pretty much a failure for the procrastination stuff.  I think I only did 2-3 MIPTs.  Of course, I didn't do any of the stuff over my trip (26-31).

I learned a bit about how I procrastinate and some of the causes.  Most of the stuff that gets in my way is related to worrying that others will think I suck.  Instead of doing something and risk being ridiculed, I put it off.  

One of the common procrastination mechanisms I use is planning/tracking.  I use my mini-OCD in task management to trick myself into reprioritizing the thing I don't want to do lower and lower.  Or I will overindulge in note taking or number tracking instead of just doing the thing I should be doing.

Although I certainly don't think that I've solved my procrastination issues, I am more aware of my actions.  I plan to continue to set a MIPT and track the good and bad associated with completing it.

Healthy Eating

February's focus is on healthy eating. The plan is to pick some aspect of healthy eating to work on each week, and focus on it each day.  The main approach is replacing a bad food/habit with a healthy alternative, like replacing chips with carrots and peanut butter.  In the first week, they suggest picking the easiest change possible to get used the process.

My healthy eating issues don't occur daily.  They occur weekly.  I usually eat perfectly (from my perspective) during the week, but I eat poorly on the weekend.  However, instead of focusing on the larger problems, I'm just going to try to expand my food choices.  

This week, I will eat avocado every day.  This isn't going to replace anything, and I already like avocado.  That's what makes it easy.  Other food additions will include mostly vegetables, perhaps cooked in different ways.

Another aspect of the plan is mindfully eating the alternate/new food.  I will pay particular attention to this.  In general, I want to be more mindful, and this will be an excellent 5-10 minutes per day to get going.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Procrastination Week 3

Once again, I have procrastinated writing the procrastination post.  That could be funny, but it isn't.  

I don't think I'm doing a good job of the Pause Habit.  I think the reason is that when I want to procrastinate, I procrastinate before I start.  I don't have the opportunity to pause, because I just avoid it altogether.

In general, I've been more lax on setting my MIPTs first thing in the morning.  This isn't a problem though, because I set my tasks for the day on the bus, and I just set my MIPT then.  I think it's more efficient, and it makes my morning shorter.

The rest of the month is dedicated to practicing these habits.  This is probably best, as I think I just need to get my routines set.  

Next week, I'm in Mexico.  I haven't decided if I'm going to worry about this stuff during that time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Procrastination Week 2

This last week's goal was to form the Start Habit.  The idea is that just getting started is the hardest part of completing a task.  If you start, you'll likely get over the initial friction and complete it.  If not, at least you made a dent.

I was very good at setting and starting my MIPTs (Most Important Procrastination Task) during the work week.  I ended up picking the same task most of the days.  I would do a chunk of work on it (CRPs for my rentals - gross), and then go back to work.  It wasn't very hard.  I also got my hair cut, which I typically procrastinate for weeks on.

The weekend was a different story.  I set my MIPT, but never started them.  I think if I tried to do my MIPT first thing instead of planning it amongst all my other work, I could better guarantee that it happens.

Overall, the week was successful.  It may have to do with the MIPT being the same most days though.  After the first day's initial friction is overcome, maybe it's easier subsequent days.  Perhaps I should force the MIPT to be different each day regardless of whether it was finished.

This post is 3 days late.  That is not from procrastination.  I was crazy sick since Monday night.

Because I've been sick, I'm starting this week's goal of the Pause Habit late.  I'm supposed to pause whenever I feel the urge to procrastinate while doing my task, take a deep breathe, and let it fade away.  Sounds like a bunch of hippy crap, but we'll see...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Procrastination Week 1

The goal for this week was to form the habit of setting the Most Important Task first thing in the morning.  After the first couple days of forgetting to do it right away, I got my shit together.

On the first day, I modified the goal slightly.  I decided that, with respect to the goal of the month, what I really need to set each day is my Most Important Procrastinated Task.  There are plenty of important tasks that I have no procrastination issues with.

Although I was solid on setting my MITP each day, I did a pretty poor job of actually accomplishing them.  I usually blamed it on not having a chunk of time or something.  Classic procrastination.  I don't feel that bad, because the goal was just to set the task.

The goal for this week is Habit 2 - Start.  The idea is just getting started, at any point, even for just a minute, will overcome the majority of procrastination.  This is absolutely true in my experience.  We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Public Accountability

In the interest of being successful with my commitment to following The Zen Habits Sea Change Program, I've decided to publicly post once a week on my progress and adherence.  

From the site:
Sea Change v2 is a monthly membership program designed to help you implement and stick to changes, with a different module each month. Modules will be focused on helping you: 
Stop procrastinating [January]
Eat healthier [February]
Meditate [March]
Exercise [April]
Write daily [May]
Simplify your day [June]
Get organized [July]
Declutter [August]
Be grateful [September]
Reduce/eliminate debt [October]
Read more [November]
Let go [December]
I'm actually pretty decent at most of these, but I've found myself slipping recently.  I'm also using this to offload choosing what I should "work on next"; so that I can be sure to make incremental improvement.

The first month is about Procrastination.  The first week is commiting to Habit 1 - Most Important Task.  Again, I'm actually pretty far along with setting goals and task management (I've been using Nozbe for GTD for years), but this will get me back into a simplier set of good habits (I hope).

I've run into some serious procrastination issues recently with NewGroupies.  I've wanted to do some design things as well as some feature enhancements/redesigns.  I've found it very difficult to get going on these for some reason.  I'm experiencing similar procrastination with some real estate and day-to-day items as well.  I hope this gets me going on the right track.

Next week, I'll report on how I did each day, what I learned and what I'll be focusing on for the next week.