Saturday October 3, 2020 // Afternoon Nap

Anyone in my inner circle or who has been following my online writings for a long time knows I’m deeply into habits and routines. Long before James Clear rose to his popularity, I was habit stacking and habit tracking. Not trying to tout myself as some guru or anything. I’m most certainly not. I just want to set the stage for anyone new to me.

However something that people in my inner circle might not know is that short-ish challenges are an extreme motivator for me. Over the years I’ve done countless 20-day, 30-day, 50-day, and 100-day challenges. The most difficult one was in 2014 when I ran at least one mile everyday for 100 days. It took place over June, July, and August. I was working a job in DC which kept me contained to a bus for three hours a day. I traveled for work to Chicago and New York during the time. And I was super out of the fitness-is-a-priority thing, much like today.

One mile a day? Someone might read this and say that’s no problem. For me, it was the most difficult thing I’ve done physically since high school wrestling wayyy back when. But I did it. And it was a triumphant achievement. At the end of the 100 days was the best shape I’d been in since, well, high school wrestling.

However after the 100 days my running days were spent. I had never felt more like a runner in my life but I was over running. So I stopped. And over the next six years (!!!!!!) running was just something I never got back into. I’d start for a day or two. Write a huge running plan. Then stop. A few months later try again. Run for a day or two. Write a huge running plan. Stop. Repeat the cycle.

Anyway, enough about running and onto the point of this whole thing. I need a challenge. Not something that’s 100 days. TBH that’s too intimidating and who the heck knows where we’ll be in 100 days (2020, huh?). As I write this on Saturday October 3rd I see a good opportunity to do a 4-week challenge starting on Sunday October 4 through Saturday October 31. So an October 2020 Challenge. 4 weeks or 28 days to do something. What should that something be?

There are endless possibilities. What do I want? And what is optimal to work on right now?

Yes, I’m working this out live as I write this. I could focus on continuing learning Vietnamese but at a much stronger effort than a couple minutes of Duolingo a day. That’s not really a true want or has optimal timing right now. I could do something around my side business. Making 28 tutorials for my YouTube channel or something like that. Do I want this? Yep. Is this optimal timing? Maybe.

I have a feeling though that deep down I want something more primal. More physical. A physical challenge always has a mental component to it and always improves a person in other areas of life.

For 28 days what could I focus on physically?

How about a fitness routine? Being real, doing something everyday that requires X amount of time isn’t something I’m capable of doing right now. Being a full-time remote worker with a very demanding job, my wife in the same situation, and our toddler at home with us during a pandemic… yeah, I need some flexibility. It’s tough trying to be a 100% father.

There are a few physical things I’ve been meaning to do more of and before the weather changes from cool autumn to cold winter this is an optimal time to do some of them. And it’s something I’ve been wanting to do…

Alright, let’s pick a few physical things that’ll push myself (AKA a challenge), that I’ve been wanting to do, has good timing, and has some flexibility for this October 2020 Challenge.

We can break it down into these X habits Y amount of times each week.

Habit #1: Drink two 12-ounce glasses of water a day, everyday (28 times total)

I suck at drinking water. Seriously. I’m completely cool with running off of coffee and an occasional beer or G&T. That’s all I need. If I say four glasses of water I’ll never do it. If I say one glass of water that’s not quite enough of a challenge. Two 12-ounce glasses is something I’ve strived for for years and it’s never a habit I’ve made stick for more than a couple days. Let’s try it for the 28-day challenge. 

Habit #2: Do a 10-minute stretch 3x a week (12 times total)

Growing up doing Tae-Kwon-Do I had the nickname “Splits”. That was because I was ridiculously flexible. I could kick above and behind my head with ease. The years have taken my flexibility away and I’m basically the Tin Man now.

10 minutes would be a solid stretch session for me and it’s something I can find the time for 3x a week. Gotta be flexible with becoming flexible.

Habit #3: Walk or run one mile 4x a week (16 times total)

This is going to be the difficult one. That’s about a 25-minute commitment. Walking a mile takes about 20 minutes + getting shoes on, finding headphones, etc. If running, well that’s probably like a 10 minute pace (yeah, definitely slowed down) but I’d want to do a proper warm-up and cool down so I don’t get hurt.

The time commitment is the most difficult thing for me as the late evenings after the little guy goes to bed is the only time I really have to myself where it’s feasible to go out for a stroll. And just being real, waking up early to do this is pretty much a no-go. If I’m waking up early it’s to work on my side business and if my son wakes up early and I’m already up, I’m going to get him so he doesn’t wake up my wife. Sleep = one of the gosh darn most important things to maintaining a happy household.

Doing this walk/run 4x a week? That’s going to push me but let’s see if we can make it work. It’s a challenge after all.

How to Track My October 2020 Challenge

I remember a couple years back this fitness guy who’s YouTube channel I like was doing a similar multi-habit challenge and he kept a little log spreadsheet on paper. I think I’ll do something similar. I’m an avid Coach.me’er (linked at the beginning of this post) but with all my habits on there I know these will get lost in the shuffle.

I’ll try to check in on my progress throughout the month. Wish me luck on this October 2020 Challenge. If this goes well I already have ideas for November…

– Josh // about to be waterlogged