Archive - June, 2016

So It Failed

I have failed my share of challenges over the years and this was yet again one of those. Turned out that the 35 points by 4 pm. was too tight limit for me. Of course it is all just an excuse but that limit indeed did not leave me much room to manuever if I slept it.

Now it leaves me at a position where I either accept the punishment which is dealing with my broken headphones for next 6 months, or set a new challenge where I can attempt again earning the right to buy new ones.

One thing is for sure – the headphones in themselves did not work as a very strong motivator, unlike the Muay Thai pads for my previous challenge. It just did not get me excited in the same way so on those days I woke up sleep deprived or unmotivated, there was just not enough to fire me up. Of course, one problem for future to solve is the question why I can’t get bothered just intrinsically, but that is something I can figure out later – for now, it is important to get back on the horse and keep the good habits going.

New Challenge Parameters

My first instinct is to punish myself by making the challenge harder to make up for the failed day – but that won’t obviously work, as I already failed, what is gonna happen with the harder challenge? It is like after failing a heavy bench press, you slap another couple of plates on the bar and try again. You will just crash harder.

The answer is to drop back the intensity a bit, but to add the punishment factor in just add more repetitions – in other words, just make the challenge have more days by making it longer. So the amount of points I need to score will start off bit lower again on a level I know I can do it, but challenge will run until August 14th to be full 8 weeks. Also I will gradually pick up the intensity to keep up the challenge.

Another change is instead of having high limit to reach before 16, I will add more checkpoints during the day to make sure I gain points more evenly.

8 Weeks of Intensity

Week 1

Daily limit 60

12:00 – -10 points

16:00 – 15 points

20:00 – 40 points

Week 2

Daily limit 65

12:00 – -5 points

16:00 – 20 points

20:00 – 45 points

Week 3

Daily limit 65

12:00 – 0 points

16:00 – 25 points

20:00 – 50 points

Week 4

Daily limit 65

12:00 – 0 points

16:00 – 25 points

20:00 – 55 points

Week 5

Daily limit 70

12:00 – 0 points

16:00 – 30 points

20:00 – 55 points

Week 6

Daily limit 70

12:00 Р0  points

16:00 – 35 points

20:00 – 60 points

Week 7

Daily limit 70

12:00 – 5 points

16:00 – 35 points

20:00 – 65 points

Week 8

Daily limit 75

12:00 – 10 points

16:00 – 35 points

20:00 – 70 points

By the end challenge will be much more difficult, but it starts off easier and gradually builds up – this one should be very manageable and by the last week my record for the week should be bordering on 600 points.


So aside making the challenge more gradual, I also made the rewards more engaging including making this a mutual challenge with my girlfriend so she has her own stake in this to put some social pressure on me to meet my daily goals. So should I succeed I will buy something for her too, and should I fail it is something away from her – I have noticed that I hate disappointing people so this should hit some deeper personal value and thus provide more intrinsic motivation to keep going during those lazy moments. As for myself, I will still keep going for the new headphones, cause the old ones really annoy me.

For simplicity’s – and consistency’s – sake my daily goal will every day be static 3 hours of work without wifi to ensure no distractions. This will make sure gaining the 10 points from completing the daily goal will be equally easy or hard every day. Furthermore, I will allow myself one off day every week, where I do not need to meet the point goal. But fail two days in a week, and it will be a failed challenge.

May Madness Completed – On to The Next Challenge

May Madness Challenge completed last night with me finishing off a 478-point week in UAS terms. That is an all-time high and the statistics about the resounding success of the challenge won’t stop there – during the five weeks of the challenge, I managed to score two top-10 all-time days, and have now record streaks of over 50 points every day and 300 points a week running for a record of five weeks in a row.

So yeah, in short, while I was only getting through the challenge grazing the bar, I still succeeded in a massive way, actually bumping my general productivity, as measured by UAS, by over 50 %. The effect on consistency was the biggest though – I have never gone even close to scoring so much successive strong days.

What I stumbled across what something that works for me as emotional leverage to get myself to feel that gun in my head that makes me work hard – or if not hard, at least harder – hard enough to reach the goal I had for the challenge.

While I am undecided whether there is actually such thing as momentum, I know that resting on my laurels now would be to lose all the good work I have done. So I will keep building on this win and string it with another challenge.

June Joy Challenge

So let’s use what we learned in the original challenge to start another, add some challenge and make sure I remain motivated. There has been countless challenges I tried and I failed before, and the difference was probably some form of accountability. Even if I am only accontable to myself, as long as I understand there is clear consequences to failing or succeeding, it will be enough to keep me moving on those slow, unmotivated moments. The vision of getting the Muay Thai pads was compelling enough to really fire me up and the prospect of screwing it up would have pissed me off. At the same time it was something I did not have to get in case of failure, so I could actually follow through with denying them from myself, should the challenge fail.

Obviously material things are not the best thing to fuel your motivation, but whatever gets the animal moving still works in the end. So I am going to keep with that theme. The reward, for completing the challenge will be this time getting new earphones for myself. The old ones are pretty much destroyed, but still usable so I don’t absolutely need new ones, but should I fail it would definitely be a punishment to keep using the old ones. So upon failing, I would doom myself to using the old ones until at least December.

Challenge Parameters

As for the exact parameters, we look to build up from the old challenge again, with some adjustments based on the experience of May Madness challenge.

  • Challenge will run 4 weeks, ending on Sunday the 3rd of July
  • Every week I have to score at least 400 points
  • Every day I have to score at least 60 points, but I can have one off day every week as long as I still complete above
  • One of the weeks has to be record week
  • There has to be at least one 100-point day and 3 days over 90 points
  • I have to reach 35 points every day before 4 pm. local time

So lets quickly run through those. Some of those are a bit arbitrary, like wanting to score one 100 point day, but as for the 60-day daily goal, the key is just to keep pushing the requirement higher and higher as I adjust. I do give myself one day off in a week, should it be needed, cause sometimes it is just nice to have some flexibility in your life. The final point is actually one I have most to say. The thing that was very common during May Madness was me rushing before midnight to make the points and admittedly sometimes manipulating the points a little to make the last few points (like drinking stupid amounts of water).

Things like that of course go beyond the point of the point system, but I did it because that was the requirement I set for myself. To avoid such things this time around, I want to get up to 35 points, 25 points of the daily limit with good eight hours to go. Hopefully this is enough to prevent me from needing to last minute rushes to get points. Another positive effect I hope to see is it spurring me to start my days strongly. I know the strongest days only come after really fast starts, so if everything goes like planned this should encourage me to not only reach 60 points daily, but go much higher on a regular basis.

Will see if this will be as successful challenge as May Madness, regardless it won’t be too big adjustment directly following the prior challenge. I can just keep doing the same things that I have been doing so far and that have worked for me so far.