August 2017 // Small Goals

I’ve wanted to start setting small goals for myself every month, but every time I try the list gets to be too long, and since I don’t know how to prioritize or decide what can be put off until the following month I get overwhelmed and do nothing at all. But doing nothing doesn’t seem to be getting me very far, so I’ve decided to try doing something instead.

So here are my small goals for the month of August 2017:

1. Schedule my driving classes. This one is the scariest. I have a phobia of driving and I’ve been trying for years to work through it. My goal was to have my license by the end of the summer but I was scared and avoided it. Now I feel like crap and I can’t go on like this anymore. A year ago I signed up for three adult one on one driving classes a year ago and I’m hoping my contract hasn’t expired, and I can still use my reaming two and get some professional help. I know I can do this, I just have to be brave!

2. Read two books. I had a goal of reading 30 books by the end of the year and I have fallen embarrassingly behind. I’m having a hard time stepping away from screens and focusing on books. I think I am officially addicted to my phone. I will have to do another purge of apps and games and make this my phone’s lock screen wallpaper again.

3. Choose a few essay collection to read nest for research. One day, sooner rather than later maybe, I’d like to write my own collection of essays. I’d like to write a lot of things, but essays have always held a special place in my heart, and all of the greats tend to compile a few into a book or two at some point. It probably isn’t smart to do it the other way around, the collection of essays before the success and fame, but this idea is something I have never been able to get out of my head. That and the great sci-fi dystopian series with a biracial genderqueer lesbian hero who saves the day and gets the girl of her dreams I know I have in me too.

Walk in the mornings, hike on the weekends. I need to start being more active, and the easiest way to start is to just get up and get out in my neighborhood every morning. I’ve already begun walking for at least 15 minutes to half an hour with my dog in the mornings, but I’d like to get a little further into nature and explore some hiking trails on the weekends before the weather starts to cool down.

Buy new furniture for the bedroom and move the old furniture out. After 15 years of sleeping on the same lumpy old mattress, my girlfriend and I finally stopped procrastinating and got a new bed and a new set of night stands. We’d like to do a proper purge of the crap that was kept in the drawers and under the bed. Then get new dressers and properly purge all our old clothes too. Then all that crap has to be moved to the garage and organized for pick-up/disposal in some other month.

Cook one meal a during the week and one big breakfast on the weekends. My girlfriend is the cook in the house. She enjoys it, and she’s good at it, but as her job duties and responsibilities intensify at work it’s up to me to stop being so spoiled and start doing more to ease her mind and show her som appreciation. That means cooking at least one meal a week and frozen pizzas and delivery do not count. In addition I’d like to introduce some variety to our morning meals and have something other than smoothies or yogurt. MAybe we’ll start our own Symmetry Breakfast, yeah?

Start planning our big vacation, or decide to we are too busy right now and postpone it until October. We need to get away, like, desperately. This summer has been so hard on us, and it’s a miracle we aren’t at each other’s throats. Somehow we have managed to stay close and to support and lean on one another through it. We still have some big changes coming but we won’t be able to meet them without this, unless we have to, in which case we’ll toughen up and survive the way we always have.

Design save the dates, maybe? We have been engaged forever, but we are chronic procrastinators, and no matter how disappointed I am every year that we don’t get our shit together and get married, we have yet to take any steps beyond browsing venues and adding to out Pinterest wedding board. This month we will be one year out from our “we’re getting married no matter what” date and I’d like to make some effort to have a wedding we will love.

The list is probably longer than it should be, and I had to fight myself to get it even this short. There is so much I want to accomplish and I want to accomplish it all right now, but I know myself too and the more I put here the harder it will be for me to even begin. Small steps, small chunks, and plenty of time to fail in is what I need.

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The inspiration for these posts come from Nicole at Writes Like a Girl. Check out her goals and join the linky with your own.

Featured image by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

Progress Not Perfection, 2017

I thought I would skip this whole New year’s Resolution thing. I thought I would just keep going as I have been going and hope that December 31st, 2017 would find me better off than The year before. I thought I was wise. There is no “new year, new me” after all. I am smarter than that, I am better than that…or maybe I am just afraid.

This past year was a hard one. There was so much death and disappointment. There was so much I thought I was sure of, but I learned in the end that we are all living on much shakier and shiftier ground than we knew. I finally learned what I thought I knew,  that the world is big and scary and indifferent. So, I thought, why eve try?

But of course we should try, we should always, always try. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t at least consider what the new year could bring if I tried hard enough. Progress, not perfection is my mantra but progress cannot happen without a willingness to examine where you are, and an occasional course correction and I suppose that is what New Year’s Eve is all about.

So, here it is, my dreams and goals for 2017, a year I hope will have more good and less bad than 2016.

Yoga and less sugar. I hate physical activity, and I hate thinking about what I eat, but I am getting older now, and things have got to change. I’m not going promise a whole new lifestyle, but I promise to start I promise to try out a Yoga habit and to be more aware of the amount of sugar I am consuming.

 

30 books, for real this time. I failed my reading goal this year, but I don’t care, I read way more than I did in 2015, so I am happy. This year I am going to have a reading plan, a list of specific books to read so that I don’t waste any time.

A new direction in writing. This year I am going to be very busy. I am going to be working more hours at work, and I am going to spend more time writing. I want to put together a collection of poetry. I want to work on this novel and possibly start on a sequel for next year’s NaNoWriMo. I want to write more on science, philosophy, and current events too. I hope to do everything I can to start getting paid for these words too.

Snail mail! I have always wanted a pen pal, and I think 2017 is as good a year as any to get one. I love snail mail and paper products, and I’d love to have a reason to start making things and sending them out to someone. I need a reason to experiment I suppose.

Weekend trips and a real vacation? I want to see new places, eat new foods, and breathe new air. I want to stimulate my mind and make some memories. I want to get out of this town and see the ways that other people live. I want to slow time and see the world.

I will never be a real artist. I had to choose between language and art and writing was something I could never let go of no matter how much art pulled. So, art will be regulated to nothing but a silly thing I do when the words don’t come so easily. I look forward to sharing my doodles with you.

Do scary things! There are two things hat give me terrible anxiety, and they are two things I need to be able to do if I want to start changing my life in real and meaningful ways. I need to meet new people, and I need to get over my fear of driving. Every day next year I will do one scary thing. I will tweet someone I admire, I will share ugly drawings, I will ask for help, I will drive to the store, and I will submit work wherever I can. I will do the thing!

I know that even though a new year starts tomorrow that doesn’t mean I am instantly a new me. I know that change takes time and hard work. I know that I need dedication and motivation. I know I have to be flexible and let myself fail a few times too.

Tomorrow I will still be me, but I will try to be a better me. Maybe I will make it and maybe I won’t but I will treat January 2nd the same way, and January 3rd, 4th, 5th, and so one all the way to December 31st, 2017. A new year is a new chance, and so is every day of that.

I hope we all make progress. I hope we all find what we are looking for, learn to love ourselves and each other, and come out a little better than we hoped. That would all be wonderful, but even if we all just survive with our hope and curiosity intact we will have accomplished more than most.

Good luck to you all in the coming year.

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Featured image via Unsplash

The Kind of Mother I Hope to Be….One Day

I have never been very enthusiastic about the idea of having children. I just didn’t think I was the type who was very nurturing or motherly. I realize now this is because I have never felt very feminine. I don’t feel womanly in that way.

What I mean is, I don’t think pregnancy is for me but that doesn’t mean parenthood isn’t for me. So I have been rethinking motherhood. I let myself consider the possibility that I could be in charge of a little life one day. The thought is terrifying.

I want to be a good mother but it seems like a hard thing to be. It seems like something where you are bound to fail and your failures could affect another person for the rest of their lives.

I’ve had some mothers tell me I was lucky that since I am in a relationship with another woman, I was free from the threat of pregnancy.* But lately, I have been rethinking that too. It’s not so much that I am lucky we can’t have children naturally, I am lucky that I get to think this through before I bring another life into this world. I get to decide if motherhood is for me and what kind of mother I want to be before I become one.

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I want to be the kind of mother that allows their child have control over their own emotions.

Many parents want to have absolute control over their child, even they way they think and feel. I want my child to feel free to think and feel as they want, ever if they can’t always do as they want.

Parents often forget that being a child isn’t easy and that it is a frustrating and confusing time. To many of us grow into adults still harboring those same feelings because we were never allowed to feel them as kids. I want to be the kind of parent that lets their child be angry, hurt, sad, and happy because I love them enough to treat them like a person in their own right

I want to be the kind of mother who lets their child know how great is is to be around them.

I only know a few parents who I can say actually interact with their child every day. Not just because they have to but actually sitting down with them and doing an activity or taking them somewhere, just for them, on a regular basis. Most parents I know work, go home, feed their kids, yell at their kids, put them to bed, wake up, take them to school, then go to work. I don’t want to that.

I want my child to know I am happy they are here and I look forward to seeing them. They are not a burden in my life, quite the opposite actually. I want to do fun things and learn about the world all over again with them. My child will open up a whole new world for me and I want them to know I need that as much as they need me.

I want to be the kind of mother who’s child knows their best is always good enough.

I want to be the kind of parent that praises the effort more than the accomplishment. Both are important but by praising the effort a kid knows that trying new and difficult things is what is important, not being the best at things. Too often kids are pressured to do more than what they can and they feel guilty because of it. The feel inadequate in a time when they should just be having fun and learning about the world.

I want my child to be the kind who has courage and curiosity. I want them to know that they have not failed as long as they tried and can honestly say they did their best. Life is hard enough, I want my kid to have a little time where just trying new things is fun and fulfilling.

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I know that being a mother is not easy. I know that all mothers want to be good mothers and that it’s easier said than done. I know I will get frustrated, I will get angry, and I will wonder if this was the right choice. I just hope I won’t feel like that all the time. I want to enjoy being a mother. I want my kid to enjoy being my kid.

I want to raise a happy child, not just a smart or accomplished child. I think many people can look back and the best memories you have of your parents are those times when you knew they loved you by the way they acted. I think most of us can say we wish we had more times like that.

I want to be the kind of parent we all wanted to have, but I worry I won’t be. When I look inside myself I cannot say for sure if I am, or ever will be ready for that kind of responsibility. I am too selfish, too absent-minded, to emotional, too fragile, to raise another human being.

I will probably be a terrible parent…

But maybe not *shrug*

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

// N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

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*FYI: telling a lesbian couple (or any couple) that they are lucky they cannot have children is very rude and hurtful. Don’t do it.

Featured image via Pixabay

2016 Dreams and Resolutions 

I can’t believe it will be a whole new year in just a few short hours. It snuck up on me this time, I thought I had more time than I did and I feel a little unprepared to start a new chapter in my life. There was so much more I wanted to do this year but I have to be content with what I did. Time neither stops nor slows for anyone right?

So instead I am thinking of all I want to accomplish in the next chapter, and working on a plan to get it done.

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Make my health a priority. I turned 30 this past year and I had to face the fact that I am never going to be young and carefree the way I was in my twenties. I can’t go on acting like I’m invincible, I have to start thinking about how I am going to live a longer life, and that means taking better care of myself. So this year I want to:

  • Join a gym. There is literally one walking distance from my house now. I have no excuse not to do this.
  • Start a meatless-Monday tradition. Studies have shown that red and processed meat can increase your cancer risk, so I’m going to start cutting back.
  • Buy a longboard. I want to do more to be active than just going to the gym. I need an activity that gets me out in the sun and moving and longboarding looks like a good time.
  • Stay smoke-free. No more putting poison in my body. I have gotten through the worst of quitting, and I know every day will get easier.

 

Make learning something new a daily habit. This was also a resolution I had for 2015 and while I did better than 2014 I still wasn’t perfect. When things got hard I gave up, for months, and lost a lot of progress. This year I am going to remember that even a tiny bit of progress is good and not get so down on myself.

  • Finish learning Spanish with Duolingo. I love this app so much! I think I might actually be addicted to it. I do little Spanish lessons anytime I have more than 5 minutes free time. I have a long way to go still but I would love to be able to finish it this year, and maybe start German next?
  • Continue working on Codecademy and Khan Academy. I don’t have specific goals for these projects except to say I need to work on a little bit of a project there every single day. I am interested to see how far I can make it through each site learning resources after a whole year.
  • Read 30 books. I didn’t reach my reading goal in 2015 but I’d like to try again in 2016. This time, I have a daily goal of reading 10 to 20 pages which won’t be terribly time-consuming.

Do more writing, outside of this blog. Last year I had a few poems published in felan zine and it was a great feeling to know someone thought I was good enough to be included in their work.

  • Get published again, this time in a bigger publication. I’ll be on the lookout for other places to submit work. I want to have more to add under my list of writing accomplishments, I want to have some “writer’s cred”.
  • I want to publish my own work too. I want to become a better essayist and poet and publish and sell my own zine. I think it would be great fun and good practice to self-publish a small zine of my own.

Be a better blogger. I think I’ve done well for myself here, considering I am still new at this. I was Freshly Pressed, and I met and surpassed my goal of 1000 followers (I’m sitting at 1450 now). Next year I want to change things up a bit.

  • Focus more on quality, not quantity. With everything else I want to accomplish I may have to publish here less often but what I do publish will be of much better quality. I want to go more “in-depth” and learn to edit better.
  • I want to try for Freshly Pressed again. I got a lot of exposure for this blog and it was nice to feel some kind of confirmation that I was doing something good and right. I’d love to experience that again.
  • I also want to involve my readers more. I’m not sure how yet but maybe an event of some kind….

Become a better person. Resolutions are all about improving your life and character but I like to focus on exactly what that means for me.

  • Learn to be less afraid. I still haven’t gotten over my fear of driving. this year I need to practice more and get my licence finally. No more excuses! I can do this!
  • Become more aware of and more involved in civil rights and activist movements. I’m not looking to do anything radical, yet, I just want to help spread the word and be more informed about what’s going on in the world.
  • Embrace minimalism. Starting in January 1st, I will be doing a 30-day minimalism challenge. I want to learn to control my impulses and spend my money and time and what is really important or what I really want to do. Practicing a bit of minimalism can give you perspective on you wants vs your needs.

Do a whole bunch of fun stuff. A lot of these things I did last year but they were so much fun I want to do them all again. The new ones are to travel to another city in another state and

  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • See a concert at Red Rocks
  • Visit the Museum of Nature and Science
  • Visit the art museum
  • See a play
  • Go camping
  • Spend a day at the hot springs
  • Visit another city, in another state
  • Get another tattoo
  • Get another piercing, or stretch my ears up another size

And finally, and most importantly, get married already! My girlfriend and I have been engaged for over 2 years now and we just cannot get our shit together enough to plan and execute a damn wedding. This year we are going to finally make it happen.

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I may have chosen to do too much but I felt it better to aim too high than to sell myself short and aim low. I’d rather give my all and accomplish more of this than to put together some half-assed resolutions and accomplish it all.

So wish me luck in the New Year and know I wish you the same in return. Next year is going to be a good one for us all, I can feel it :)

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

— Neil Gaiman

 

Currently // November

“November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.”

— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

November is coming to an end. While it’s certainly not my favorite month of the year, it is a chance to start planning the years end. So I thought documenting where I am in these last hours before December sounded like a good idea. I may just do this every month!

Updating my About page and working on a new page, a /now page. The now page is important for two reasons, to remind me what my ongoing projects are, and to let people know that I do more than just blog.

Writing a poem or two for The Rising Phoenix Review on growing up poor. I’d hoped to be done and submitted already but I am nervous so my brain stopped cooperating and I gave up. I’m trying again.

Feeling sad because my girlfriend will be working late tonight. I miss her but more than that I worry she is working and stressing too much.

Needing a bit of a vacation. Nothing extravagant, just a small weekend trip out of town to forget all responsibility for a few days. Plus it’s romantic :)

Watching Crash Course‘s playlist of videos on world history. There are so many of them! I’ve only got 5 left and I hope to finish them before the night is over. I think next month I will focus on their chemistry videos.

Reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, still. It’s not that I don’t like the book it’s just that my brain likes social media more than books now. Don’t worry I’m working on correcting that bad habit.

Drinking lots of ginger tea, which I thought I would hate but turns out I LOVE! I’ve cut back on my coffee intake and have replaced it with matcha. I treat myself to a blood orange San Pellegrino every so often too .

Planning my epic, handmade Christmas gift for my girlfriend! I’m really excited about it but I am not confident that I have the skill to pull it off. We shall see :/

Loving the process of making found poetry. I have only made a few so far but I’ve worked them into my Sunday schedule to help me learn to do more with my hands. I enjoy putting on some music,flipping through my old magazines, carefully cutting out a few phrases, and rearranging them to form new meanings.

Hating this damned election! I enjoy  politics but these candidates, particularly Trump, and increasingly Carson, are just sad. It’s started out all fun and games but every day they make our election process look like more and more of a joke. I mean, have you seen Trump’s Twitter??

Hoping that I can get the supplies and knowledge needed to begin putting together a zine of my very own. Putting out a zine has been one of my major dreams for the past year and a half and I think I can finally start putting it together for release next year. Stay tuned.

And that, my friends, is what’s currently going on with me. But how about you? What are you currently working on, enjoying, hating, or hoping? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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I admittedly stole the idea for this post from Andrea at Create.Share.Love. Check out her Currently post for November too!

 

 

From Here to 2016

The end of the year is approaching and I thought it best to sit down and think about how I’d like the end of the year to find me. I haven’t done everything I wanted to this year but I’d like to make one final push to the end, and start 2016 off on the right foot.

I’m not a blogger whose stats mean everything, but they do mean something. My first goal here was to reach 100 followers, I did that just over a year ago. My next goal is to reach 500 followers. I haven’t gotten there yet but as of this writing I am very close. It’s kind of nice to have so many people want to read what I have to say. I hope to reach even more people next year. I hope to reach somewhere between 750 and 1000 readers. I absolutely think I can do it.

So from here until 2016 I’ll be working on my editorial calendar and get ahead of my posts here. I’m also going to start cross posting to Medium and Tumblr more. I want to get back into participating in Twitter chats and to comment on and share other bloggers work more. I also want to start writing posts that are more thought provoking and posts that are helpful.

This year I had my writing published for the very first time. Two of my poems were chosen for inclusion in a zine called fēlan. It was a small thing but it was also a big thing. It felt very good to be chosen. It was the first bit of validation I have felt. I want more of that. I want to feel like my work is good enough to warrant printing on real paper and offering for sale. I want know that one way or another my writing is good enough to make a living at.

So from here until 2016 I am compiling a list of publications to submit work to next year. I will have of schedule of their deadlines and I will work hard to write the best I can for them. I hope by this time next year I will have been included in many more publications.

But if I hope to make any sort of living at this I have to learn to write fiction too. So I will be joining a few writing challenges that focus on creative writing. Creative nonfiction and story telling are where I hope to go with this. I had tried this year to write fiction but I am terrible at coming up with ideas. I figure it is a matter of just practicing better though, I used to be bad at coming up with ideas for this blog. I practiced and now I see ideas everywhere.

So from here until 2016 I’m going to practice thinking of ideas. I will start with prompts and photography inspiration, writing based on pictures I see. I’m going to start with short stories, small scenes, and bits of dialog, to get the ideas flowing

The last thing I want to do next year is begin working on my art again. That will be the hardest thing to accomplish because I really have no time for it and I have not idea what I am doing. It took quite a long time to build a writing habit and now I must get myself into an “art habit”. I don’t know how I am going to do it yet but I know I have to start slow. I would like to do a Year of Creative Habits type of thing but I’m not sure how I am going to work that in.

From now until 2016 figuring out some way to become the artist I want to be. I am leaning towards breaking up a challenge of being creative for the year, into 12 smaller art challenges. A month of collages, a month of drawing portraits, a month of watercolors, you get the idea.

Which brings me to my final goal, and the point of making time for art, I’d like to write and illustrate my own graphic novel. I’ve wanted to do this for a very, very long time now but it always seemed like an impossible task. I tried to let it go but I still think about it constantly. I have ideas for characters, I have a general idea of what time period this thing will cover, and I know how I want the reader to feel while reading it, I’m just a little short on plot.

So, from here until 2016 I will be brainstorming and free writing until I have a better idea of where I am going with this thing. I think if I have a clearer vision the whole it won’t feel so impossible. I know it will take some time but I don’t want to waste anymore than I already have. This rest of this year will be about ideas so that next year can be for rough drafting.

I know this all seems like a lot. I know I might not accomplish all of my goals but by starting to think about it all now, by trying to plan ahead, I think I can give myself the best chance. I want to set myself up to do more than I ever have and get farther than I ever thought I could.

And this time next year I will be doing the same for 2017.

My 30-Day Learning Challenge End-of-the-Month Report

This past month I decided to join a 30-day learning challenge from one of my blog heroes, Leo Babauta at Zen Habits. The challenge was to choose something you wanted to learn about, or learn how to do, and spend a little time every day in the month of June working on it. At the end of the month you just had to report back about how it went. Easy-peasy.

The thing I chose to learn about was mathematics. More specifically I chose to learn as much math in 30 days from the Khan Academy as I could.

I was draw to the challenge for two reasons. For one, it was motivating. I’d been working on Khan Academy for a long time but I wasn’t consistent and I tended to quit when I got into math and science subjects I didn’t know. This challenge gave me a reason to try harder. It’s also gave me a reason to make learning a daily habit.

What’s this challenge all about? It’s about motivating ourselves to finally tackle learning whatever we’ve always wanted to learn. It’s about developing the learning habit. And along the way, maybe learn some effective learning techniques.

Do a daily study session (at least 10 minutes) for as many of the 30 days of June as possible.
2. Optional: Journal about your learning.
3. Optional: Join the Sea Change Program (http://seachange.zenhabits.net) for articles/videos on learning, daily accountability and weekly reviews.
4. Mandatory: Report how you did at the end of the month here: http://bit.ly/1HB3Su7

– From the The 30-Day Learning Challenge sign-up form

I’m getting older and I want to keep my brain as active as possible, more than just doing puzzles everyday. I want to push my brain to actually learn new, and often complicated, things, then retain the information over time. I also want to get into a habit of trying to solve problems without first being told how to. I want to practice thinking logically.

Khan Academy is great for all of these things.

The problems are set up like a test you would have gotten in school. A paragraph describing what they want from you, or an equation to solve, and a graph or image to work from, plus a space to enter your answer. That is it. There isn’t any fancy graphics or anything to distract you from the reason you are here, to learn to solve this problem.

The math concepts are broken down by grade for K-8. You are given a percentage of how much of that grade you have completed. Each concept has four levels of completion. First you must practice something, such as multiplying by 10’s, or finding cube roots, or recognizing conic sections, whatever that is. You can practice anything as much as you want.

In order to move up through the levels though you have to wait for the “Mastery Challenges”. These give you one or two problems from the concepts you have already practiced. If you get it right, you move up a level, if you get it wrong, you move back down. I moved down a lot not from not knowing how to solve the problem, but from not reading the problem all the way through before answering. It was incredibly frustrating.

The thing is the Mastery Challenges are only offered every 12 hours or so, so you have to remember what you learned, you have to retain the information. That’s good and all but it also limited the amount of work I could get through in a day.

So how did I do? *drumroll*

Well, not as I would have liked. I didn’t make as much progress as I wanted to and there were many reasons for that. For one, Khan Academy is always adding more stuff. You will think you have completed everything in one of the grade levels but the next time you log in you will find that it is no longer at 100%. I had to go back twice this month and work on things in the lower grades due to added content. Not a bad thing at all, but my stats don’t look as good now.

Another problem was simply me making stupid mistakes on things I really did know. This was especially bad on days when I was tired. I would accidentally add instead of multiply, I would not see negative sign, or I would just type the wrong number in, these things caused me to drop back down a level where I would have to wait until the next day to move back out of.

And lastly, and purely my fault, was not working on it everyday. I did work on it most days but there were some where I was busy, tired, or had gotten frustrated the day before and felt discouraged. Then I would feel bad about missing days and missed more days from being disappointed in myself.

BUT I have not given up. If you look at the above picture, at the bottom of the list, under “All of Math” yo will see I am at 50%, halfway there! Yeah, a lot of what I have done so far has been easier stuff, but still, 50%! That feels good and makes me want to work even harder to get there. I want to continue to develop this daily learning habit.

 

One of the questions Leo wanted us to consider going forward is what worked and didn’t work, and what adjustments can be made going forward.

What worked was just sitting down and going from problem to problem without worrying about how far I wanted to get that day. If I didn’t know how to solve something it took time to learn it, but when I wanted to make a lot of progress I would only choose to do the easy stuff. This wasn’t a problem at first but when I ran out of easy things to do I would just give up.

Going forward I will just do the problems in the order the Khan Academy gives them to me instead of picking and choosing what I want to work on. It will slow things down but I will get more of a challenge every day rather than mindlessly doing things I already know.

Another thing that worked was not doing these first thing in the morning. At first I thought I should work on this challenge early in the day to get it done but I found myself distracted by thinking of other, more urgent, tasks I had planned. I changed up the times after the first week and found that doing a bit, 10-30 minutes, of math work during my lunch was the best. I wasn’t too tired and I didn’t have other things to do then.

One thing that didn’t work was not choosing a more measurable goal. I just wanted to do “as much as I could” but that gave me a lot of leeway to slack off. If I had said something like “get through all of K-8th grade math”, or Algebra, or Geometry, I would have a better idea of what was possible and could adjust for the future better.

All-in-all I enjoyed the challenge and I did learn a ton too. I’ll continue to work on the math going forward but I think I will also do more months of learning with different focuses. Already I am thinking about using Khan Academy’s science videos for a challenge in July, then reporting back more specifically about what I learned.

Could be a fun blog project :)

Bonus: Learning tips for your top challenges are here: http://zenhabits.net/learning-tips/

Image by Averater (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons