The sequel to the famed Spiral of Awesomeness ended up miserably prematurely – well, perhaps miserable is wrong word as I did perfectly adhere to it for five days, then it became impossible with Valentine’s Day springing on and me wanting to spend the weekend with my girlfriend. Subsequently I scrapped trying to adhere to the challenge which spiraled me out of control into horrid, unproductive weeks after another. Now its time to change that.
Know thyself is the old cliche and in my own case, I know that I get the best out of myself when I put myself into clear criteria, like original Spiral of Awesomeness was. However, it all comes back to the old argument of flow vs. rigidity. There’s no exact answer, and we are all on the different parts of the spectrum, depending on our life situation, personality and what we’ve done in the past.
Both Spiral of Awesomeness challenges have quite high degree of rigidity. Perhaps even in my current life situation I could perform well with it had I already gotten used to everything that is part of the routine, but I was once again trying to jump right into the moon as most of those good habits had atrophied prior to the challenge. Yet, even despite this I managed to kickstart everything… for a few days. But over long term these kind of kickstarts rarely work. You obviously need to kickstart to some degree, but too much and it will collapse on its own impossibility. Generally speaking, the faster it goes up, the faster it comes down. Lasting change is built slow.
You can’t go completely with flow either – or again, some people can, but I know myself – I can’t. I need “challenges” to add some rigidity into my days. Key learning from the failed sequel to Spiral of Awesomeness is that I can’t pour too much rigidity into it. Challenge is essentially just having a routine of sorts, I call it a challenge mostly for psychological effect, as a motivational tool.
So key is to drop that part and leave more room for maneuvering. But as said, for me it makes a massive difference to be on a “challenge” with set parameters that I have to fulfill.
Now at the end of the month I will be going to Brisbane, Australia to attend an RSD program. This is a massive investment on my social skills, and I don’t intend to let it dwindle to waste. Combining flight tickets and the program price already goes WAY over my one month’s salary. So I wanna really capitalize on this event to go to the max. I want to “warm-up” to the event with this few weeks I have before heading Down Under.
The more important part of course will be after the event, but I think its crucial to have better habits built up while being in Bangkok prior to the trip as well to take the value up to 11.
So my main focus for the rigid section of my days is being social. I have filed for leave until the end of my Australia trip, so I have absolutely no obligation to work at all (aside needing some money to stay afloat with my expenses, but my expenses in Thailand are extremely low so that’s not a lot). Basically that means my days are at completely blank slate. Ah, free 14 or so hour space of time to fill just as I wish.
Given all the failed rigidity I’ve given myself over the recent months, that freedom feels almost too abundant. So how do I fill it? Spending time with my new girlfriend?
Sort of. I want to be going out at least two hours a day every day without fail. Some days I accept if I just hang out with my girlfriend, but ideally I obviously want to be actually out, under the eyes of people, cause that’s where my sticking points are. At the end of March I want to be used to being out and still being myself.
Rounding it Out
Obviously the challenge can’t be just 2 hours of going out, or it could but I wouldn’t call it a challenge, merely trying to put down a new habit. Since I am all about challengifying everything, it needs to be well-rounded. Obviously, if I had my life together I would just add going out into already well established routine, but it is starting to seem like I will never have a well-established routine so I need to make a challenge that takes into account everything. After all, I still need to make sure I do other stuff as well.
So there’s two other strict daily habits – first is setting a daily goal and completing it. It’s a habit I’m yet to establish and can easily work in conjunction with going out, especially since the goal can be related to going out. Another is 2 hours of daily physical maintenance. Every form of exercise goes into this, as well as stretching, massage, etc.
That’s it. Basically out of that vast space of 14 hours from which I am basically slicing only 4 hours for mandatory daily tasks. Should be much better balance FOR ME in terms of rigidity vs. flow – rest of the day can be used as I wish.
Finally I want to make sure bad habits don’t settle in, but instead of full denial like in Spiral of Awesomeness, I am just going to use my Universal Awesomeness Score – I am not allowed to have daily and weekly scores fall under certain, increasing limits:
Week 1 (Daily – Weekly): 20 – 150
Week 2: 25 – 200
Week 3: 30 – 250
This is only a three week challenge, after that I will set out for Post-Brisbane Challenge, maybe I will come up with some catchy name to it. Anyway point limits will make sure I don’t gather too much negative points from bad habits, or even if I do I round out my activities with stuff that hauls more points. Here also comes another element of principles that work for me – streakify it! If I have a three week streak of going over 20 points every day, I am much less likely to let myself slip up. It’s just an easy psychological leverage I have over myself. I don’t know why things like this even matter to me, but fact is it works so starting to string together good days builds good momentum that will pay huge dividends in the near future.
Thing is, if I am going to achieve the lofty aims I have for my life, I will need to start stepping up much more. During this challenge I will already turn 27, and my youth is already at its dusk. There’s still lot of life left, but the groundwork is starting to be finished, and if there’s something wrong with the foundation, whatever I do later will suffer as well. Time is short, but I have to make haste slowly, for rushing will only lead to more failure.
Any thoughts? Drop a comment.