Habit Tracking November: Getting There

After having done very poorly on keeping to my habits in October, things have greatly improved in November. Here the overview for November:

Habit Tracking November

Some things to note:

  • Exercise: While in October, I was only able to do exercise twice due to being injured, I exercised eleven times in November. For some time, I thought that I would be able to go running every day. Unfortunately my muscles got too stiff and I needed to take a break (that would be between 21/11 and 25/11). We went on a short trip to Brisbane around the 7/11 and I am especially pleased I was able to exercise notwithstanding the travel. I went running on the beach which is nice in itself as well.
  • Meditation: I still was not too successful with meditating. To some degree this was due to me not being able to find a bit of quite time in the morning.
  • Emails: I was quite successful at keeping my email inbox empty. I like spending a little bit of time every day rather than having to ‘clean up’ the inbox in one go on the weekend, which feels more like a chore. Sometimes I still get frustrated though if I find 15-20 emails in my inbox after having cleared it the previous day (this excludes work emails). Most of these are not spam emails and require me to do one or the other thing.
  • Posture: I feel like my back pain is getting worse. I was able to use the Upright Go quite frequently but I think I need to take further action, such as doing specific stretches and exercises.
  • Learn: My speed for doing my current touch typing exercise (lots of special characters, see below) was between 43 and 50 words per minute in October; in November, it was between 43 and 53 words per minute with a higher average as well. I also did a touch typing test for typing more common words (typingtest.com/); my speed was around 50 to 55 – still not as fast as my wife, who gets 60 plus.
Touch Typing and Writing

This is the text I am currently practice to touch type. I upload this to speedcoder.net as custom code.

(p)
(p)
(elem)
(elem)
(a, b)
(a, b)
(a, b)
(a, b)
(x, y)
(x, y)
(x, y)
(x, y)
=>
=>
=>
=>
=>
a => b
a => b
a => b
a => b
{ al }
{ al }
{ al }
{ al }
(a) => { b };
(a) => { b };
(a) => { b };
(a) => { b };
(a) => { b(p1); };
(a) => { b(p1); };
(a) => { b(p1); };
(a) => { b(p1); };
const f1 = (p) => { b(); };
const f1 = (p) => { b(); };
const f1 = (p) => { b(); };
const f1 = (p) => { b(); };

Apart from this, I started a larger project in November about organising the quotes I have collected. I had collected them in multiple Word documents (organised by topic). I realised this was a very poor way to organise them and are now working on bringing all quotes into a database using airtable.

For the next months, I again want to focus on exercising as much as possible and also to work on my posture.

Habit Tracking October: Injured and Distracted

Following my new system for tracking habits I have again kept track of various habits I try to follow. Here the overview for October.

Habit Tracking October

Overall, I didn’t do very well, just like in September. Here my notes on the individual habits:

  • Exercise and Stretching: Since I injured my rib at the end of September, I was not able to do much exercise. The two times I managed to do so I went on strenuous walks, first to the Werribee Gorge and then to the 1000 Steps.

  • Emails: I have adopted a new habit where I aim to have less than five emails in my personal inbox (certainly not possible with my work one). I managed to do so quite consistently. I think it stresses me when too many emails pile up in my personal inbox so I think keeping things managed day by day is a good habit to adopt.

  • Meditation: While I was not being very good at meditating regularly in October, I improved somewhat from September. I also developed for myself a little meditation map that I followed:

Meditation Map
  • Learn: For the latter half of the month I was not very diligent in continuing my touch typing practice. I think this was due to me being involved in a small programming project; I taught myself how to develop 3D graphics using JavaScript. So, in a way I did some learning during most of these days just not the kind I planned for.
3D Application
  • Posture: I was able to use my Upright go for around half of the days in the months. Should definitely try to do better.

For the next month my main goal will definitely be to pick up exercising again. For me, it is the most important habit but one I often fail to adhere to.

Practice: Exercise

A healthy mind enables a healthy body, and a healthy body enables a healthy mind. Finding spiritual enlightenment and peace requires a strong and healthy mind and thus it is essential that we take good care of our body.

A healthy body requires a strong and happy mind, good nutrition and regular exercise. In this practice, I will list some pointers to get started with regular exercise:

Walking

If there is any form of exercise that our body has been designed for, it is walking. Before our modern sedentary days, we would have spent most of our days walking about. It is usually not practical for us to do so anymore. However, we can try to walk at every opportunity. Note that the faster we walk, the greater the benefit for our health. It has also been shown that spending time outdoors in a natural environment can help boost our mood; thus a walk in the forest should be preferred to walking on a treadmill.

Resources

  • Walking for Good Health: This excellent resource from our local state government gives a good overview of the benefits of walking and how best to go about it.

Running

There are few animals our size that run as slow as we do. However, running is another form of exercise that is very natural for us. The advantage of running is that it is an excellent exercise for our cardiovascular system. It has also been shown that running is good to reduce stress and for our cognitive development.

Resources

  • NHS – How to run correctly: Running may come natural to us but there are still plenty of things to keep in mind all of which are listed on this page.

Body-weight exercises

Especially for those short on time, high intensity interval training and other forms of body-weight exercises have shown to provide similar health benefits to more time-intensive forms of exercise. The idea is that short bursts of very intense exercise will trigger similar biochemical responses in our bodies than longer stretches of exercise will do. I must say that I am a little bit sceptical of this claim; it just seems a bit too good to be true. I think that body-weight and high intensity interval training are a good complement to other forms of exercise but not necessarily a complete replacement.

Resources

Weight training

Weight training has been shown to provide numerous benefits especially for the elderly. Weight training can help keep our muscles and bones strong and prevent injury. I think weight training should be practised in moderation though, especially in younger people, since other forms of exercise, especially those working our cardiovascular system can provide more significant benefits for our health and mind.

Resources

Stretching

Back pain is one of the most common causes of missed work days for office workers. Weight training and body-weight training can go a long way to alleviate the issues from too much sitting and computer work. However it is also essential to do stretching regularly, especially after long sessions at the desk or after doing exercises.

Resources

  • Fitness Blender: Fitness Blender also contains a nice collection of stretching, yoga and pilates videos

There are innumerable other forms of exercise we may engage in, from playing soccer or tennis, rowing, mountain climbing to bicycling. I have chosen the above exercises since I believe anyone, no matter the fitness level, time availability or access to equipment can engage in these. That is not to say that other forms of exercise are inferior. In fact, the best way to exercise is mix as many different forms of exercise as possible (as long as they are not harmful for us).

Image credit: Wikimedia