I recently decided to create a new playlist on my YouTube channel - Java with Ali - as I have worked with a number of students over the years and some things seem to appear time and time again. Some of which are so obvious to me since the Masters that I could have done with them in the past myself! It would have alleviated the stress and pressure and I think I would have enjoyed myself more. In fact, I know I would have enjoyed myself more as I discovered these during the PhD and I loved doing the PhD because I had these tools. Bob Proctor says that 'discipline is the ability giving yourself a command and following it' and he's right. It takes discipline and it's something that brings happiness once you figure it out. I mean, you can do what you like and follow your own plans, however, I thought I'd share mine as they have worked so brilliantly for me in the past and are still working now. So part of the series I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks including the growth mindset and others and in this blog post I will talk specifically about plans. I uploaded a video regarding study plans and they are similar to fitness plans. You can see my first 28 day challenge in the previous blog post where I talk about doing it and now that it has completed I thought I'd share some results and what I have learned. It all went well, no hiccups. I completed it. I am happy about that and then I decided to do a second 28 day challenge with the things that I have learnt from the first one. I decided to incorporate a green smoothie daily.
As you can see the green smoothie was a breakfast replacement and included a handful of spinach, protein powder, a full romain lettuce, an apple, a banana and a pear with some water. So this was the part of the plan that didn't go too well and as I said in the YouTube video, there is a dip in most plans where motivation wanes. I experienced serious stomach pains and thought it was because I drank it too quickly. I introduced more water and decided to drink it throughout the day instead of just over a 5 minute period in the morning. I adjusted and still woke up every night in pain for a few weeks. I decided to stop drinking the smoothies and see if it got better. I had to stop, it was the only thing that I had changed along with increasing my fitness plan from 30 second reps to 60 second reps. My breakfast then became oat bars as oats are known to be really good for your gastrointestinal tract. I found out in my reading that 90% of serotonin comes from your stomach - I have no reference for this but after this experience I believe it. I had low energy from pains experienced every evening. I was waking up nightly. It was a really challenging few weeks with bad stomach pains to stay myself. So now I have bought pro and pre-biotics and have already noticed a difference including drinking a lot of water every morning first thing in the morning. I had to take a break from them for a little bit.
My point is, we may need to adjust the plans to get what we want and have faith that this is a long term goal and we'll get there eventually even with hiccups along the way. Now I have two more plans which also include improving my German grammar and German language overall. As I am working from home there is less practice speaking German and I want to maintain and attain a better level too. I also mention in the YouTube videos the growth mindset as well as using the Pomodoro method. That deserves a different blog post and for now I will talk about using the Pomodoro methods in my plan.
I am using the Pomodoros to calculate my amount of time spent on learning German and have introduced 1 of these daily over the next 21 days. It may not seem like much, however, concentrated effort over a 20 minute timeframe when introducing a new plan into your life allows for an accomplishable goal to be achieved. It is not unrealistic and this is also about motivation which I speak about in the YouTube series regarding 'I'll do something for 5 minutes... and guess what, 2 hours have past and you're still on task'. It's part of the initiation method that gets you started so while I note down 1 * Pomodoro, I will use that as the minimum and see where it takes me as I know I can afford 20 minutes per day on task.
I have set a fairly nice plan over the next 21 days. I have learnt that 21 days is better in case anything pops up like the stomach issues again and I know that I can address that in a shorter time and increase my level in the next stage. So for now I have a conservative 21 day plan for both fitness and German to keep both my motivation and level of energy up as I adjust the plan to keep moving forward. I know that it's okay if I waiver a little off track while I fix other things. It's like if you tilt a plane's nose ever so slightly en route from Ireland to New York, you'll end up in Canada and it takes a tiny readjustment to get back on track so now I can safely say I am back on track and ready to keep going. No pressure, no stress, only focus and relaxed in knowing that I am strengthening both my body and my mind in the next 21 days.
As I mentioned in the YouTube, with fitness as well as study, you usually start with amount of time on task before you figure out how many reps you can do within that timeframe. During this next 21 days I will start counting how many I can complete. I won't be rushing them, they are focused tasks with concentrated effort. Effort * persistence = moving towards your goal and motivation comes from the latin word 'to move' so action allows us to accomplish our goals. I am also using the initiation method and leave these 21 day plans somewhere I can see them. I have a morning routine with a glass of water beside my bed and my clothes and equipment ready - for both German and fitness. Part of this is also allowing myself to be kind to myself I don't achieve a day for whatever reason and that is where the growth mindset also kicks in. I am confident that I will get to my goal and if I have a bad day regarding stomach or anything else that's okay. I know I am putting in my best effort.
During the PhD I had written a blank piece of paper stating 'Motivation is the latin for 'to move'' to remind myself to keep moving and it worked. It acted as a way for me to keep focused on my goal and consistent in my effort. Notice how I align the days of running with the B task for German and I also allow adventures on Sundays - this is to keep being inspired, enjoying life, no sacrificing mindset as that's not what it's about, it's about accomplishing your goal while enjoying the process and the same goes for study. As I say in the video - I know that my abilities can grow through hard work and effort. It is part of the process to allow yourself to have the adventures and experience loving life. I love making plans like these and following through. It's not only about the accomplishment for me, it's about enjoying the process. I love the process regardless of the results that it brings. The results are the side effects of the motivation - the movement or action I am taking to achieve the result and enjoying that action.