Now that July is about half over, I thought I’d take a look at my challenges, and honestly assess how I’m doing with them. This is my first month, so I expected it to be a bit bumpy, but overall I suppose I need to start working harder in future months.

As far as going vegan for the month goes, I made it about 5 days, then messed up. After that I kind of continued to do so, including last night where I ate an entire calzone with some marinara and alfredo sauce, because I am an idiot. I’m kind of hoping that the getting sick from it part will deter me from consuming them in the future. Not fun, and it made me feel like crap afterward, a reminder that I need.

The sketching has been going better, with me doing significantly more this month than usual. It still means maybe half a page a day of doodles, but it is progress nonetheless. I plan on continuing this onward in general, and trying new things with it. I have sketches done for 12 of the 14 days that have passed so far, which isn’t perfect, but again, way more than my average. I will attempt to fill every day from now on, as well as doing a bit more each day than I have so far. I have the free time, so that shouldn’t really be an excuse for me.

The list of thanks I am posting to twitter each day, as it’s easier for me to record them there to remind myself of it. Some of them are a bit sarcastic I admit, but I’m still trying to make it positive while dealing with some less than stellar days. Without further ado, today I am thankful for:

  1. That I was not in the car accident that delayed traffic for over an hour today.
  2. The excellent stand up sets that are available to stream on Netflix. Saved my day!
  3. All of those dragonflies doing handstands on the bushes outside. They can fly and are gymnasts. #showoffs
  4. No matter how much it is clearly a bowl of sugar, kids’ cereal boxes can still sound like it is healthy for you.
  5. Late nights and net surfing. Still counts!
  6. The delicacy that is amazing Sicilian pizza. It has nothing to do with the cheese that it totally was not covered in.
  7. New opportunities and hope that good stuff can happen.
  8. This puppy: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lk71s6mgWW1qhhroto1_500.png
  9. The film “Horrible Bosses”, which was all kinds of hilarious.
  10. That odd feeling you get when you wake up from a nap thinking it’s the middle of the night to realize that it was just a nap.
  11. Today it is completing the GRE and delicious cupcakes that I am thankful for. And the new full trailer for Tin Tin
  12. My car, crappy as is, running for me after hitting 135k, and also for this wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_inventors_killed_by_their_own_inventions
  13. Today about the only thanks that I can give up is for a slice of cake and coffee, provided that I ignore the unhealthiness of it.
  14. Good friends are always something to be thankful for. That, and getting ready to go to a midnight muggle fest 😛

There’s more to come, stay tuned!

Yes, I have to admit, I already have a bit of a problem with my first month of challenges. Even giving myself foods that I can eat, it turns out the temptations of processed cheese were a bit too much for me yesterday.

Mario Mac and CheeseSomeone who will not be named was telling me that he didn’t want to be the cause of my slipping up on the month of veganism, while at the same time cooking homemade whole wheat macaroni and cheese, and proclaiming what a great cook he is. It was after everything was done and “Jurassic Park” was rolling that we began to eat, he the macaroni and cheese, and myself pretty much half the snacks in the apartment. It was only after he was near done with his plate that I decided that I had to have some. And it was delicious. And I don’t really regret it.

I figure that it is a personal thing; that I am working on trying more foods and using the constraint to think differently about what I put into my body. It is not an exercise in deprivation, but in broadening of scope. Considering the last time that I had homemade macaroni and cheese was at least a year ago, I am alright with experiencing it (and it was delicious). Future challenges will involve more broadening of scope, like maybe baking vegan cupcakes that taste more like cake than cornbread, or trying to eat something different each day. Maybe it’s me rationalizing, but I’m thinking that as a personal improvement challenge, I’ll get it off my chest now that I won’t beat myself up about it, and figure that if anyone else does, they have a different idea of what it is that I’m trying to do.

 

By the way, it was Daniel. Totally Daniel.

As I mentioned the other day, while talking about getting a life, I have a few challenges for my first 30 day challenge set, and I have various reasons for attempting each. I figure that 30 days, beyond being a neat and clean measurement of a month, is also a good amount of time for habit formation. While I don’t plan on making all of the changes I try for a month permanent (some that I have planned I don’t think could be reasonably or healthily maintained permanently), I believe that they can be useful for setting myself onto a better path in general. So, here is some reasoning for each, or as much as I figured before blindly steamrolling forward:
 

1. Going vegan for the month

I have been vegetarian for near a year already, and was never a humongous meat eater to begin with, so it’s not too far of a stretch for me. I haven’t held it as a perfect standard; I still enjoy sushi every once in a while, and if nothing else is readily available that interests me, can have chicken or a turkey burger with my meal. With the loss of meat though, I replaced it mainly with cheese, which isn’t really much healthier. I still try to keep moderation, but spending a month actively avoiding both I figure will help me to get a handle on what foods do what to my body. I’m still not going to be super-duper picky (like my coffee creamer, which has “less than 1% sodium caseinate, a milk derivative not from lactose”). I’m thinking that the hardest thing here will be my love for pizza and having to give that up for a month.

2. Drawing a new sketch every day

I have always held out a bit of hope of being able to incorporate illustration into my work in some way. Blogs like Hyperbole & a Half and Books of Adam are hilarious, and I only wish that I could get in on some of the fun. I keep a sketchbook at my desk, and use it once a week at best, so there is certainly room for improvement there. I figure if I can commit to just drawing something every day and not thinking about it too hard, I’ll improve a bit, or at least have a habit set up. I’ll post results every few days if I ever get the scanner hooked up.

3. Find something to be thankful for every day

This one is simultaneously the easiest, and hardest. Easiest of course because it requires no extra commitment of time or efforts, just thinking and writing something down. Hardest though, because I can get kind of cynical, and trust me, there are plenty of things in life and in this town that aggravate me. If I think on the positives, at least I’ll have some reason to feel a bit better each day and not want to throttle everyone I come across. I’ll tweet these when I think of them each day, and will compile them here as well when I make posts.

 

That’s it, anyone think I can accomplish any or all of these?

Get a LifeI am a horrible procrastinator, something that I can freely admit. This used to be a badge that I wore with pride, but now I feel is more a source of shame and a mark of sloth. I get embarrassed when looking at how little I accomplish with my free time, and spend more time than I care to admit aimlessly surfing the web. I recently installed leechblock on firefox to help stop myself from visiting time-wasting sites during the day, but while sick this week found myself scaling back and then just turning it off.

I have made and broken many promises to myself, but maybe I’ll be able to keep a few if I set quantifiable goals. I am greatly inspired by Google’s Matt Cutts, who does regular self-tests on himself, such as his 30-day challenges.  I have decided to blindly sheep along with him and try some out myself. Seeing as it is near the end of the month, I’m allowing another week of “preparation” (read: extra slack time) before putting this plan into action. I already have a few ideas lined up, but there are plenty of months to fill if it works out, so I’ll just start with a few for this one. My ideas for the next month are:

 

-Writing at least one thing that made me happy each day

-Doing at least one sketch each day

-Going the entire month vegan

 

I have various reasons why I chose these three things, which I’ll end up going over when I start, but this is basically my promise to you, internet, that I will make some minor goals with a set timeline and make myself complete something for once in my life.