30 days to fix my life

These are the last few hours of my 30-day trial of various changes to my life. For the last 30 mornings i have got out of bed and got going at 7am consistently. I have completely cut out coffee, i have gone to bed at a decent time and i have prioritised my evenings more effectively, much reducing the amount of time i spend watching television.

By consequence i’ve felt a lot happier, more engaged, more enthusiastic to do my job and do it well. My weekends have seemed more structured. I’ve felt emotions that seem somehow more authentic, and i’ve looked forward to my bedtime, enjoying a good read in bed. I’ve often woken up before my alam sounds in the morning, and enjoyed dozing in bed listening to the birds and the weather. I’ve given up chocolate almost by accident, and i’ve no intention to start eating it again. I’ve come to absolutely love Rooibos Tea! :)

Several people have asked me: what happens next? Well, ideally more of the same. I spent 30 days exercising my self-discipline, forcing myself to follow a routine in order to establish a habit. I’d like to think it won’t be difficult to keep it up now. I used twitter extensively, tweeting every morning that i’d got up on time. Some of my followers will be glad to hear that i won’t be doing that anymore! Twitter is a great motivational tool, but i no longer need it. I think it would feel weird now to stay in bed after my alarm has sounded.

So the experiment has been a great success and it has set me up to continue the good habits that i’ve established. Thank you everyone for your encouragements during the past month. I’ve really appreciated it!

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Progress update on my life improvements

So it’s been 10 days since i started implementing the changes to improve my life. I think it’s time for a little progress report. On the whole it is going incredibly well, better than i even imagined.

The caffeine withdrawal symptoms were horrible. I stopped drinking coffee on Sunday 18th July. By Monday evening i had a heavy headache, not particularly painful but giving a compressing feeling on my brain, making me feel fuzzy and slow-thinking. Then i threw up. Just a little bit at first, but later on i threw up really horribly and painfully. I never imagined that i could get sick from lack of coffee! Funny, it explains why i’ve sometimes been sick when i go away to visit people. Looking back now, it’s obvious it was the coffee withdrawals that caused it.

On Wednesday and Thursday i felt as if my natural emotions were returning. I began to feel a genuine sense of calm and happiness, quite unlike anything i’d felt for a long time. By Friday i was positively bubbling with wellbeing. It was amazing.

Going to bed on time has been quite easy. Without caffeine, i’ve felt ready for bed at the right time. I feel a genuine tiredness without the caffeine giving me an artificial sense of being awake. Some days i really look forward to bed time. With my routine, i’ve found i prioritize my evenings much more effectively. Knowing that i’m going to get ready for bed at 10pm means that i am much less inclined to watch television, putting off other things until later. I’m also delighted for the opportunity to read in bed, now that i’ve made time for it.

Getting up has not been a problem. The last 10 days i’ve been up at 7am sharp. I’ve written down my whole routine, so i do the same thing every day, including weekends. I found it useful and enjoyable to go out for a walk on Saturday and Sunday morning, at the time i’d normally walk to work. It keeps my routine consistent and means i’ve kick-started my day, getting useful things done early, and getting a bit of exercise.

A completely unexpected side-effect of giving up coffee is that i also seem to have given up chocolate, quite by coincidence! I guess i’m on quite a healthy living trip, so i felt if i was going to cut out caffeine, i ought to do it properly … but it’s amazing how i’ve not even had any desire or craving for chocolate. Every time i’ve given up chocolate before it’s been massively difficult and a big deal.

All in all, i’m feeling a whole lot better than before. My enthusiasm has returned, my lust for life is alive and well. I’m sleeping better, performing better during the day, enjoying my work again. I’m fairly sure this will prove to be the best thing i did all year! Maybe next i’ll even find a desire to do some serious exercise! :D

Fixing my life

Today i have made a few decisions, a few changes to make my life better.

What is wrong with my life? As it happens, a few things, but these are the most notable problems that i’ve known for a while and didn’t have the courage to admit to:

  1. I watch too much television
  2. I stay up too late
  3. I find it hard to get up in the mornings
  4. I rely too heavily on coffee

Recently i’ve felt i’ve not been getting enough sleep, i feel tired and irritable a lot of the time, i have little motivation to do things, and i am useless without coffee. Caffeine disrupts my sleeping patterns, so the problem is cyclical and self-perpetuating.

So a few things have to change, and i think i’ve found the answers in Steve Pavlina’s blog. Firstly, i’m going to give up coffee. I don’t want to be controlled by caffeine, so i will switch to rooibos tea, which i love!

Secondly, i am going to practise getting up on time. I literally mean practise. Something Steve mentions that i’ve never considered before is practising getting up when you’re already awake. You get undressed, get into bed, set your alarm for 5 minutes time and then practise getting up straight away, having a wash, getting dressed. Then you do it all again. It sounds funny, but it makes sense. Willpower alone is not good enough. Even with the best intentions, 7 o’clock aimee makes the wrong choices. My foggy brain gets confused and tries its very best to convince me to stay in bed. Therefore i need to train my subconscious brain to get up automatically.

Thirdly, i’m going to get up at the same time every day. I will get up at 7 o’clock for the next 30 days. This is something i’ve often said i will do; i’ve done it before and really felt the benefits. With proper training to get up straight away, i can make it work.

Fourthly, i’m going to get to bed at a good time. I want to be in bed at 22:30, reading a book until i feel tired and ready to sleep. I will turn off my phone to avoid the temptation to check twitter and emails in bed. I intend to be asleep by 23:30. To prepare for this i must do the washing up at 21:00, and start getting ready for bed at 22:00.

This is going to take discipline, but discipline is like a muscle: the more it is used, the easier it will become. Lately my discipline has been underused, which is why i’ve been finding things so difficult. I look forward to the benefits of discipline, having more time to read, watching less television, getting to work earlier to prepare for the day, having more energy, breaking my addiction to caffeine.

So with all that written down (so that you can all hold me to it!) off i go to practise getting up when my alarm goes off! :)

Cucumber!



cucumber
Originally uploaded by viZZZual.com

I’ve been sent home. I’m too ill. I’m not *that* ill … i managed to get a decent bit of work done this morning, but it made me very tired. So i’ve come home with a fascinating book to put me to sleep keep me occupied: Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides. Nearly 400 pages – yikes!

I like cucumbers. Sometimes i think a nice fresh cold, crisp and juicy cucumber tastes almost like a watermelon! Depending on my mood i might prefer slices, chunks or strips. I like cucumber grated in salad, and it makes a tasty and refreshing juice. Wow, cucumbers are great!

Today i discovered another Cucumber that i like – the feature runner that supports behaviour driven development. We switched over to Cucumber at work today. Just like that! We converted two of our projects to Cucumber and already gained the benefit of having ambiguous steps pointed out, and enjoyed the pretty colours and helpful information in the output.

One thing i like about Cucumber is it is multilingual. I have been thinking about writing my features for MyChores in LOLCAT! I’m not quite sure how it’s going to work, but i think it would be pretty funny[0] to pretend i have a team of cats testing the code! Maybe it’s a bit impractical, i don’t know. Perhaps i’ll give it a try this afternoon.

[0] My interpretation of the word ‘funny’ may not be the same as everybody else’s!

Kind of FAIL, actually.

Yesterday i said my body was made of WIN. That is only partially true. Having successfully fought off the flu virus, i seem to have now caught a cold.

Okay, immune system, let’s put that down to a brief lack of concentration, shall we? Now will you please stop moping and get on and fix it?!

A cold is preferable to the flu because at least my muscles are not aching and i am not needing to sleep all the time. But this is still a DO NOT WANT! situation, and unfortunately my immune system seems to have decided it is bored of fighting germs and it’s just going to let this cold have its way.

Time for another dose of Echinacea.

Getting better now

I have been ill with the flu since Wednesday afternoon, which may explain why i’ve not been online lately … i could barely stay awake for more than a few hours at a time! I am on the mend now. Last night i woke up at about 11pm with my body about a trillion degrees, and i believe at that point the war was over. The virus died and now we’re in the mop up phase where my lovely white blood cells go round and repair all the damage done by the virus over the last few days.

My body is most definitely made of WIN! :D

I have just watched Death of a School Friend on the iPlayer. It’s a devastating and moving documentary about a teenage suicide and the impact of friends and family even 40 years later. I’m not ashamed to say that i cried throughout most of the programme.

I hope i might be able to go and see the Winchester Fireworks this evening. It’s always a stunning display, and having stayed indoors for 3 days i feel i’d like to get out. Provided it is not raining, and i don’t feel too tired, i will probably go. I am also hoping to get to church tomorrow morning. I missed it last week when i was away with my family.

CT5K – what next?

The time has come when i must decide what, if anything, i am going to do after Couch-to-5K.

To be quite honest, i am now bored of running around Winchester. I did 30 minutes tonight and it wasn’t particularly difficult; it was just dull. The question now is not whether i can do it – it’s whether i can be bothered to keep doing it!

One thing is for sure: i’m not going to keep increasing distances. There’s only so far i can go round here before i run out of street lights or have to cross a dangerously busy road. Keeping to the same old roads has become monotonous. I might try with a shorter distance and aim to increase my speed. I might also go for a long run on Saturdays – like 6 miles or something, going right out into the country with some nice music on my ipod, or a MuggleCast, or something like that. I’d probably enjoy that.

There is absolutely no doubt the running has done me a tremendous amount of good! I feel very much fitter, my muscles have toned up just beautifully, my sleepwalking has been cured (as far as i know!) and i have had very few nightmares since beginning the programme.

Any thoughts what i should do next? I really need a plan otherwise i am just going to end up doing nothing!!

*sniff sniff* Mmmm i can smell something delicious! I wonder what my sweetheart is making for dinner! :D

Slugs

I thought i’d seen a lot of slugs lately. This article suggests it’s not just my imagination: Is the UK facing a slug plague?

In other news, today i have a rather sore throat. Which is quite ironic after my healthy wheatgrass juice yesterday! That’s the last time i treat myself to something uber-healthy!! Though i did rather like the flavour.