July 2019 - 3 For 30

3 For 30 – Week One & Two

I am a planner. It’s one of the things I love about my monthly challenges – the fact that I know what my goals are for the month, I can work towards them and at the end of the month I can be satisfied knowing that I’ve accomplished them.

I will push myself so hard to follow up on what I said I’d do. It’s why I’m never late to anything, and if I say I’m meeting you at 5pm, I’ll be there at 4:45pm. It’s definitely something I take pride in, but I’m also super hard on myself when I can’t follow through.

I started this 3 for 30 with so much optimism and realized very quickly that I had taken on too much. For one, I started this challenge during the fourth of July weekend, which was super fun and didn’t leave a lot of time for focus on my three things. Then I had an unexpected work trip, which really took me for a spin and threw all my planning and self care out of whack.

It is also super hard to start goals during a vacation. I managed to follow through on almost 2/3 of the 3 of 30s this last week, which wasn’t ideal. It was much harder than I thought though to keep up momentum when my daily routine was thrown off by travel.

So I’m going to walk you through my 3 for 30 for the first two weeks of the challenge and be open and honest about my ups and my downs.

Walking

This one was easy to step into because we were moving around so much over the long holiday weekend. I hit the 30 minutes of consistent walking every day except the 3rd of July because I spent a lot of that day in the car driving.

I wasn’t able to time myself this week, but I did keep my apple watch on through all of the awesome hiking we got to do during the week.

We spent the 4th in Bend, OR and had a great time just walking around the town and exploring. Bend is really charming and we’d driven through it before and had lunch, but hadn’t really spent a lot of time there. I definitely want to go back.

We had a great drive down and stopped anywhere we felt like it along the way. Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, The Cove Palisades State Park, Peter Skene Ogden State Park and Smith Rock State Park.

Smith Rock State Park – we enjoyed the stop so much we came back the next day to hike around.

We went hiking at this natural rock formation wonder park on Friday. Side note of candor: always remember to bring enough water. We did not and had to turn around before we wanted to because it was hot and I was worried we were going to die (I exaggerate only a little). I made it half way up a trail called ‘Misery Ridge'(that should tell you all you need to know) and the lack of water and the fact that we were only half way up made me turn around right then and there. I believe in pushing yourself, particularly in exercise situations, but I also knew it was hot, I was sweaty and my water was low. Not a good combo. I did bring my water shoes though and as we hiked back down the ridge we found a good spot in the river to swap out shoes and cool down. Heaven.

I ended up in Los Angeles the week after the 4th for work. Surprise trips are not really in me. Like I said, I usually have a plan for the week and this threw me off pretty bad. It was a lot of work, a lot of sitting in fancy buildings in fancy chairs staring at large buildings. The Pacific Ocean was nearly legible through the smog of the city, but I was over it. Southern California is my home and it was weird to be there and be too busy to visit my parents or see any friends. On top of that I didn’t get to walk a lot this week so my 3 for 30 with walking started to slack. We were working 12 hour days with mandatory group dinners after so being active and healthy and outdoors was not going to happen. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun. We snuck in a good time on Wednesday and went to the top of our office building, which apparently is the highest point in LA, and enjoyed the sunset with a glass of wine. Of course several other people did as well so as beautiful as it was, always remember that Instagram isn’t reality.

Language

This one I’ve had some success with. The Duolingo app is honestly amazing, so easy to use and great and reminders that aren’t overbearing.

I’ve had a ton of fun using it. I took Spanish in high school, but never retained anything other than a few simple phrases – my particular favorite “Podria ir al bano”, which was the only way to get out of class.

This screen shot is a little old. I’m already up to level 5 in travel and working my way through it. I’m having a great time with the app. I practiced today at my eye appointment, I practiced in-between meetings in LA and even on our vacation to Bend when I wasn’t driving. I’m feeling confident in keeping this one up even after the month is over. I’m having a great time with it.

Writing

I thought writing would be the easiest of my 3 for 30, but it’s been the most difficult so far. I think it’s because I like to be in a certain place and mood when I write. After a long day of hiking or after a day of meetings, I’m not really fond of sitting with my laptop and typing away about nothing. I’ve got too much nature in my head after a hike and after a long meeting I physically don’t have it in me to just go back to staring at a screen.

I think my take on my writing based off these past weeks is to not think of it has something that has to be done so formally. I work best on writing when I’m relaxed I’ve come to realize. So starting this week I’ve been taking my writing where I can get it in. That means on my notepad app in bed, typing away random thoughts when I have a few moments at work, scribbling on a little pad I keep in my bag while I’m waiting for my food somewhere. I work best on writing when I don’t force it. When I can relax with it. That’s the biggest lesson these last two weeks and I’m hoping I can take that with me for the next two.

To recap

Well, that was my 30 minutes of writing today and it felt good. My language is right on track and my walking needs to be upped a bit. What are your three things that if you did them for 30 minutes a day, would make a big improvement on your life? Even just one thing is okay! One of the most uniquely human things we do is to constantly better ourselves. I think we just need to take the pressure off ourselves every once in awhile. We’re only human after all.

July 2019 - 3 For 30

3 For 30 – Intro

Last week I got a chance to finally read through The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There wasn’t a lot in the book that stuck with me, but one part stood out and helped me develop this challenge for July.

Author Stephen Covey at one point asks the reader to think of one thing that if they did it every day for 30 minutes how much better they’d be at that thing at the end of a week, a month, a year. I had three things pop into my head immediately: writing, walking and language.

Image result for writing block

I was thinking about how much better of a writer I’d be, how many more ideas I would have put down on the page if I had spent 30 minutes a day with zero distractions just writing. If I had done that for the past year, where would my writing be today? It’d probably be pretty freaking excellent. When I read Stephen King’s On Writing this was his biggest piece of advice. Force yourself to write. You can only get better by practicing and writing everyday. I’m going to start taking that to heart.

The next thing I thought of was walking. I’m supposed to walk a relay from Portland to the coast in August and I haven’t done any training for. It’s not a long walk in general as it’s part of a relay team, but there is a 7 mile stretch that is labeled as hard and a 4.6 mile stretch about 8 hours after that. The biggest concern for me is making sure I’m practicing on the sidewalk/pavement as the walk takes place on the road. I do plenty of walking on trails, but I think street walking can be different on your body. I easily get shin splints so I figure if I can walk for 30 minutes at a brisk pace every day (which I should be doing anyway), I’ll be in a much better position than if I sporadically do walks throughout the day as I’m doing now.

Finally, I saw this video last week on Reddit about a guy who is self taught in several conversational languages. I’m sure you’ve been asked the question, ‘If you could have one superpower what would it be?’ People tend to pick flying or invisibility but for me it’d be the ability to speak any language. Imagine how free you’d be to travel and explore. To interact with different cultures. I’ve had the Duolingo app rotting on my phone for years and have only really played with it a few times for Spanish and French. I want to take this month to do 30 minutes of Spanish a day.

So how I can measure my three things for 30 minutes a day in July with you all? I’m hoping to share my writing experiences, my slumps and my triumphs. With walking I’d like to share my times and see if they improve. I recorded for Portland to Coast a 20 minute mile so it’d be good to start tracking that and see where I’m at. Finally, with language I’ll share the what level I get to each week on Duolingo and any particular concepts that I’m getting stuck on or find interesting.