Day 1516 - Moved Back to the States

Day 1516 Record Keeping
Day 1487 Fixed Meditation (10 min, vipassana)
Day 1362 Writing (7 13 min Pomodoros)
Day 901 Rowing (
35 min walk)
Day 642 Mobility/Stretching (DID NOT DO
Day 292 Social Media (STOPPED)XX

Ok sleep. 

Moved back to the States.

It's been less than 2 weeks. I've surprised myself being pretty consistent with meditating and writing a lot, despite not recording it. Since I had to sell my rower in Spain (along with everything else), rowing has to officially change. Right now I'm just trying to get up to walking, biking, and maybe some kayaking. It's been hard - we missed one of our flights back and were "only 15 hours late arriving" (as my mother said). This resulted in some pretty massive jet lag. I also got sick for what seemed like the 10th time this year. 

This is a huge transition for me, the end of a full decade of living abroad as an expat.  What with all the change, I haven't had time to really think what I want my workout regiment to be. I'm seriously considering GMB Fitness, an excellent bodyweight program Lydia does with progressions. The more I hear about it the more impressed I am. 

I'm still contemplating reinstating my social media habit. I've put it on hold after reading Cal Newport's book on Deep Work. I definitely want to hold off on it until I get my proposal in. My procrastination protocol is still working like a charm even in this, the hardest writing assignment I've ever had.

One of the biggest reasons we came back was hitting a wall with mastering eating. Eating is a real lynchpin habit to me - it governs energy, aesthetics, health, and is a stepping off point for a lot of other skills I'd like to master.  But in Spain, it hit a wall - there wasn't enough space to store premade meals. Our meal prep was contingent on going to 3 or 4 stores to get ingredients. And that didn't even count for all lunches or any dinners. One of our main schemes with coming back to the States was the knowledge that it would be easier here.

And it has. The last week we went to the store, and bought all ingredients for a week. Easily. Hand chopping salads? Why bother, when they come in bags! You don't even need to zoodle your own veggie, they come pre zoodled! Making lunches has been utterly effortless, exactly what I want self change to be. And Lydia is going further with it. She wants to cook through paleo cookbooks and have a randomized list for dinners, so even the act of making a menu doesn't even come up at all!

I'm beginning to think that moving back was a really good decision strategically. Sure it's definitely easy to lose it with all the easy access to delicious food. But it's also really easy to make changes. I'll miss Spain but right now I think it's already paying off. 

Day 1210

Day 1210 Record Keeping
Day 1182 Fixed Meditation (15 min)
Day 1057 Writing (4/30 min)
Day 596 Rowing
(30 min, 4700 m)
Day 337 Mobility/Stretching (10 min, hip & calf stretch, back smash

Early to Rise
Day 365 Sleep Recording  (12:30|12:50|10|11:15)
Day 336 Bedtime Curfew
Day 174 Wakeup Alarm

Good sleep. On week 4 of my extended sleep study. Moved Sunday meal prep to Monday - I'm reading The Weekend Effect by Katrina Onstad, which is convincing me that my weekends should be jealously guarded from absolutely everything, including this project. Also tried Personal Kanban, a workflow strategy through the app Trello. I have used spreadsheets, to-do lists, and many planners and none of them have really stuck. This app has me excited like a game. So I'll be using it and observing how it works for me, as well as researching other methods of workflow.

Day 1119 & Return from Self Care Vacay

Day 1119 Record Keeping
Day 1091 Fixed Meditation (DID NOT DO)
Day 965 Writing (DID NOT DO)
Day 505 Rowing (walked, about 2 hours)
Day 246 Mobility/Stretching (DID NOT DO)

Eating (from yesterday)
Day 36 Sunday Meal Prep 80 SUPERHABIT

Early to Rise
Day 274 Sleep Recording  (1|9:30|11)
Day 245 Bedtime Curfew
Day 83 Wakeup Alarm

Good sleep, good wakeup. Superhabit for Meal Prep Sunday - no longer recording SRHI.

Return from Self Care Vacation
About two weeks ago I posted how I really needed a break. A combination of just horrible nights of sleep and emotional turbulence. The break was initially supposed to only last a week and then I was going to see. After the first week I realized that I was just starting to get the hang of relaxing. 

Because, for me, relaxation has to be structured. If I melt in my couch and surf the internet I end up not doing anything, which is actually a lot less relaxing and positively boosting then sticking a schedule where I get out, go for a walk, do something creative, learn something, etc. And even then it was hard.

The first thing I realized is that I need to nail my sleep down. The other thing is that I need to get outside and brighten my mood to start the day off right. And those are the two things I’ll focus on implementing next. 

I don’t have the scale I need to judge sleep experiments nailed down quite yet. And, of course today is the day when guests are coming back AND I’m traveling to the States for two weeks at the end of the week. This obviously isn’t the best time to formalize both new habits, nor push the ones I have. 

While it seems that things are really scattered, I have, in the past week, continued to meditate, to get out and walk, set my wakeup alarm, and gone to sleep earlier. I automatically completed two meal prep sundays, such that it is now a superhabit. And I successfully completed my Gotham writing course! These are Good Things.

The next few weeks I will focus on getting all my habits at their minimums and I’ll try my best to go for a walk in the morning (which is easy since I like it and it’s fantastic weather) and work on my sleep scale.

Day 1097 & How Long Does It Take to Form a Once-A-Week Habit?

Day 1097 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits

Day 33 Meal Prep Sunday 80

Early to Rise
Day 252 Sleep Recording  (3|11:30|12:15)
Day 223 Bedtime Curfew
Day 61 Wakeup Alarm

Great sleep, great wakeup. Cycling through immense exhaustion and depletion for the week. Last several days have been filled with rapid cycles of depression and anxiety. Been napping and have been quite tired despite having a record streak of amazing sleep.

How Long Does It Take to Form a Once-A-Week Habit?

Meal Prep Sunday logged in at an 80 on the SRHI! But this isn’t just about Meal Prep - it’s about gauging something no one seems to talk about: How long does it take to form a solid once-a-week habit?

There are several such habits I’ve thought about doing. A body metrics habit to record body recomposition. A regular Instagram (or other social media marketing) day. A weekend relaxation ritual. A refeed day.  A weekly grocery trip to stock up on healthy snacks and veggies. Anddd, I seem to not be remembering all the ones I had listed out on some random text document, but you get the point. There are just some behaviors that, at least on the surface, are more optimal when done in a more spread out fashion than the typical routine.

It’s been a long, long road to mature my Sunday Meal Prep. If this SRHI score is accurate, it took 231 days to become solidly automatic. Which is not exactly efficient, and may well direct me towards implementing more once-a-day habits when planning in the future.

Day 1083 & Reflections on Sleep Cycle

Day 1083 Record Keeping

Weekend Habits
Day 31 Sunday Meal Prep 74

Early to Rise
Day 238 Sleep Recording  (12:50|(5-9:30)|1:30)
Day 209 Bedtime Curfew
Day 47 Wakeup Alarm

Horrible sleep, horrible wakeup. 

Reflections on Sleep Cycle

It’s interesting taking  notice when I wake up at nights and can’t get back to sleep. Last night I went to sleep at 1 AM and woke up at 5 AM. I couldn’t sleep for 4 hours, and then I slept for 4 more hours, getting exactly 8 hours. 

But what usually happens is that I start to get really depressed as I see failing to get up early and get a good, solid, stable night’s rest as a reflection of a failed character. When I inevitably get up late, I see myself as lazy, even if I now know that I’m not oversleeping (score one for the quantified self people!). 

I also tend to not have any protocols for getting back to sleep - or waking up and doing work even though my mind is going a million miles a second (despite meditating, etc). 

While I still maintain that an ideal sleep is what’s normal - going to bed at a decent time and waking up in the morning, there are times where that’s simply not possible. I felt like I nailed sleep back in the States, but jet lag has caused this weird biphasic sleep pattern. As I travel, that may well be inevitable. If it is inevitable (even if only at certain intervals) than it should be taken advantage of, instead of raged against. 

I feel that’s a good aphorism to follow throughout this endeavor. Instead of making it into some character failing, view it as a method to gain an advantage - that may well mean getting some good work done for a few hours and getting back to sleep.

Day 1078 & Resetting Sleep After Jet Lag

Day 1078 Record Keeping
Day 1050 Fixed Meditation (10 min)
Day 924 Writing (2/13 min, draft)
Day 464 Rowing (HIIT, 15s:60s, 14 min, 2500 m)
Day 205 Mobility/Stretching (10 min, hip stretch, back smash)
Day 302 Pantry Check (DID NOT DO)
Day 300 Food Recording (DID NOT DO)
Day 30 Sunday Meal Prep 71 (retroactive from Sunday)

Early to Rise
Day 233 Water
Day 233 Sleep Recording  (12:30|12:50|2|3)
Day 204 Bedtime Curfew
Day 42 Wakeup Alarm 80

Ok sleep, great wakeup. Woke up again at 3 am. I really need to learn how I can

Reset Sleep After Jet Lag
I think the biggest problem with resetting sleep has to do with my relationship with writing. Writing is my biggest challenge. When I started out seriously writing, I got more sleep because if I was tired at all there was no way I could choose the words I needed carefully and really think. It wasn’t like a regular job where people regularly show up with half a mind. As a writer I have to be totally alert and rested, and I can barely make it through when I’m at 100%.

I’m beginning to see that as the old way of doing writing. Rather than thinking of writing as a super cerebral perfect choosing of poetic words emphasizing specific turns of speech from the get-go, my new model of writing has to do with several passes done at a rather low thinking level in order to avoid perfectionism and resulting writer’s block.

Thinking less is actually pretty helpful for busting out a rough draft. Thinking less is really helpful for removing The Editor mentality when scamping for sentence level rewriters. James Patterson’s idea of progressing quickly through many rewrites to prevent getting stuck at any one point backs this point up. It switches the whole endeavor to a more mechanistic, workflow driven emphasis that has less to do with one specific success or mistake. I like it.

It also means that I should at least be able to force myself to get up earlier, for at least a reset. Unfortunately I’ve been doing my sleeping one way for quite a long time, so in the moment I naturally default to habitual behavior. Time to change!

Day 1001

Day 1001 Record Keeping
Day 973 Fixed Meditation (20 minutes - excellent)
Day 847 Writing (1 round/30)
Day 387 Rowing (KB HIIT,  8 min, 15s:60, 15s:30, 30s:30)
Day 128 Mobility/Stretching (back stretches)
Day 225 Pantry Check (DID NOT DO)
Day 223 Food Recording (DID NOT DO)
Day 19 Sunday Meal Prep (Moved to today) 78

Early to Rise
Day 156 Water (DID NOT DO)
Day 156 Sleep Recording  (DID NOT DO)
Day 127 Bedtime Curfew 68

Great sleep. Excellent meditation. Changed up my schedule in order to do the majority of my routine before coming downstairs so I’m not distracted by my parents. Tried to change up my HIIT to apply to the kettle bell I have at home - still messing around with something that’s not too easy or not to hard. Did my Sunday Meal Prep today, which is an excellent bump in automaticity. It felt weird not doing it on Sunday but I was utterly busy. Almost did it yesterday, ended up doing it smoothly today, despite having to use zip lock bags and figure out where all the utensils were again.

It’s weird being back. Today I continued to help my mom set up her own habit chart. I’m thinking about having a blank set of docs - the SRHI, an already set up chart, and an implementation intention and mental contrasting worksheet - in order to stream line the process if others are interested.

Day 943

Day 943 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits
Day 166 Pantry Check
Day 164 Food Recording (DID NOT DO, FROM YESTERDAY)
Day 11 Meal Prep Sunday 75

Early to Rise
Day 97 Water
Day 97 Sleep Recording (10:50|11:20/3:20/6|1:30|1:50)
Day 70 Bedtime Curfew 75

Horrible sleep, good wakeup. I have to remember that normally I don’t even get around to doing any habits the week after I get back, so my spottiness this past week is more admirable than it feels in the moment.

Day 915

Day 915 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits
Day 139 Pantry Check
Day 137 Food Recording (initially forgot to do again)
Day 7  Sunday Meal Prep 70

Early to Rise
Day 70 Bacon & Water
Day 70 Sleep Recording (1|3|11:30|12:30)
Day 43 Bedtime Curfew 80

Good sleep, good wakeup. Sleep curfew is super automatic. Will move it up to 12:40 pm. Forgot to do my food recording AGAIN, which is very strange, as it has been so automatic. Yesterday night I was in a particularly bad mood, so that might account for it. 

Day 28, No Alcohol Challenge. Felt a particular combination of stuck, bored, and overwhelmed last night, so really craved a drink. It’s fascinating, I don’t really crave alcohol’s ability to lighten the mood. I mean, I crave that too, but it’s more a combination of both things -the ritual of going out and having something to do to distract and alleviate boredom….AND a substance that tastes good and makes me feel jovial. And it’s more the former than the latter.

It’s funny how over the years the easy way out - going to get a drink or indulging in a food I like - has come to put me in my “happy place” more than other activities. One outdoorsy person I know goes on hikes in the wilderness. Others mountain climbing. I used to be like that too with biking. And I want that again.

And furthermore, with meditation, I want to not need to have a happy place - I want to be able to carry that with me at all times. I feel all the tools are here, I just need to fit them together and see what really works.

Day 901

Day 901 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits
Day 125 Pantry Check
Day 123 Food Recording
Day 5 Meal Prep Sunday 59

Early to Rise
Day 56 Bacon & Water
Day 56 Sleep Recording (1|2/3|12|12:15)
Day 28 Bedtime Curfew 63

Ok sleep, good wakeup. Meal Prep Sunday was really good - had the option of not doing it (had extra food that I’ll eat in the beginning of the week), felt lazy about doing it, but felt a strong pull to do it anyway. Sleep is getting better - I’ve addd the slash (2/3) to designate not being able to sleep, reading or using my phone more, and then going to sleep again. I’ve been doing mobility exercises during the weekend these days because I need to - still have a bit of an impingement in my left hip socket and soreness on my back. Kelly Starrett suggests doing mobility exercises every day, no excuses. I really do believe that this and meditation should be practiced in some form or fashion every day - they’re just too critical when it comes to life.

Day 14, No Alcohol Challenge.

I’m loving how meeting people is largely no problem. That was original a part of the challenge, but I’m actually now seeing this separation between socializing and drinking as becoming the most important part of this challenge.

I have no problem with drinking. I very much dislike this fusion of two separate elements of my life together, and I believe that advancing in social skills will necessitate further separation of this. It will be interesting how and if I incorporate alcohol again after this challenge is complete. But….one step at a time.

Here’s a pic of me last night. Vichy is the brand of water all the old men here drink. It’s salty.

Day 894

Day 894 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits
Day 118 Pantry Check
Day 116 Food Recording
Day 4 Meal Prep Sunday 48

Early to Rise
Day 49 Bacon & Water
Day 49 Sleep Recording (1|3|3|3:20)
Day 21 Bedtime Curfew 60

Horrible sleep. Despite going out last night with friends, went to bed at the correct time. Went to sleep late. Woke up early but was exhausted, went back to sleep and had a series of the worst emotionally draining dreams possible.

No Alcohol Challenge Day, Day 7, one week down! i had my first non-alcoholic beer at brunch. Went out with friends after a movie, had no problem ordering water while they ordered beers. Deflected the question of why I wasn’t drinking. Before I would have been really anxious about that question, I don’t find I am here. I know people who don’t drink and go out, so it feels more acceptable. Also had my first waist and belly measurements since starting this - lost an inch off of both!


Meal Prep Sunday # 4 went very well today. Efficiency was really good, but automaticity wasn’t, and hasn’t been. I’m curious if a trigger is really needed for this or if a habit that’s once a week doesn’t need to be triggered if I just have to get it done at some point during the day. 

Day 887

Day 887 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits
Day 111 Pantry Check
Day 109 Food Recording
Day 3 ? Meal Prep Sunday 25

Early to Rise
Day 42 Bacon & Water
Day 42 Sleep Recording (12:40|1:10|10:40|11:40)
Day 14 Bedtime Curfew 53

Good sleep, good wakeup. I am planning on doing my Sunday meal prep later in the day. This is problematic in terms of not having a precise implementation intention. Since I tend to do this cook-up later in the day, it also interferes with when I record it. I also don’t really know how to count non daily habits like this…UGH.

Day 880

Day 880 Record Keeping
Weekend Habits
Day 104 Pantry Check
Day 102 Food Recording
Day 2 Meal Prep Sunday (DID NOT DO!)

Early to Rise
Day 35 Bacon & Water
Day 35 Sleep Recording (1:20|2|10|11:45)
Day 7 Bedtime Curfew 33

Horrible sleep, very tired wakeup. Did not do the second day of my Meal Prep Sunday, hahaha, and I don’t even know how to record it (is it day 2, or is it day 8?). But I did have an amazing time at the beach, did a lot of walking and biking, and did mobilization exercises.

Day 834 & Meal Prep Sundays and the Hangry Blues

Day 834 Record Keeping
Day 806 Fixed Meditation (30 min)
Day 680 Writing (3 rounds of 30 min)
Day 220 Rowing (30 min, 5300 m)
Day 58 Pantry Check (79)
Day 56 Recording

ok sleep, good wakeup.
Despite waking up and not being able to go back to sleep and dragging, I did really well today. Really unfocused meditation.

Meal Prep Sundays and The Hangry Blues
In a previous post -  “Syncing with Significant Others” - I talked about problems Lydia and I have with syncing our eating plans. This came to a head again today. I haven’t started my “early to rise” plan and since I still wake up later, our schedules don’t always match up.

She wants to eat early when she’s at a breaking point in her day and she wants to at least sync up for dinner so we can eat together. She’s fine taking care of her own lunches without me, but worries that since I don’t get hungry until later in the day I won’t be hungry when she will be for dinner.

I am pushing and extending several of my habits. Writing/work in particular is being extended, and there’s a certain rhythm I get into after I start. It’s gotten to the point where I either am being forced into a wake up habit (which is something I want to do eventually) or I gotta break my rhythm. 

I have no problem starting multiple chains now. I know I can do this; my tea and food recording habit before bed has proven I can start new chains (perhaps with the aid of a ritual). 

I don’t however want to start a new habit of eating then working more. Mainly because it requires a more global change in my food habits. I need to plan at least my lunches. The last several days it hasn’t been a problem because I usually cook the day before and have those leftovers during lunch. It doesn’t really interrupt anything that much in that there’s no leaving the apartment or cooking anything from scratch.

Our solution, other than starting a wakeup habit, is to start planning meals. As Lydia mentioned, I’m extending more and more, of my habits so there’s going to be an inevitable point where I have to deal with those habits abutting against the need to eat whether or not I wake up early. 

We discussed a Sunday morning meal prep, a happy coincidence because I just stumbled upon a SubReddit for that - Meal Prep Sunday (and Lydia was reading about it on . The how of it all is still in the air. We’ve got a few ideas, and it will be my first foray into a once a week habit. This also has been inevitable - there are too many planning things I feel like I need to incorporate once a week. I’m thinking a ritual of perhaps gathering metrics and stats, course adjusting, meal prep, and later a social/leisure planning session might be just the thing I need for Sundays. 

After I grumped about having my work interrupted and grumped some more because I was getting hungry, we ordered in some Indian food with no naan (Naan is one of my kryptonites) - just curries, which are (mostly) clean. I don’t like planning the entirety of my life, but it is amazing how much needless stress I run into by not planning. We’ll see how it works.