Monthly recap : February 2021

And it’s the end of second month of 2021 already. The first 2 weeks of this month went quiet well for me. I sort of had an intense argument with my mom in the 3rd week which adversely impacted my mental health thereon. Although we are past that argument, things aren’t back to normal yet. However, this month ended on a fantastic note in the form of my participation in an event. This was definitely one of the BEST decisions in my life and surely one of my biggest highlights this year. (More about this in my detailed blogpost soon.)

Mental health

  • Meditated for 27/28 days. Although quantitatively this looks like a lot, qualitatively my meditation practice has been below average this month. On most days I could only complete a meditation session of 5 mins, there were days when I did a 3 min session too. However, the benefits of constantly practicing meditation have finally started to show. I’m able to handle stress and anxiety comparatively better than I used to, however, I still have a LONG way to go.
  • Journaled/documented my day for 26/28 days. (I’ll be completing the the journal for last 2 days of February today). I’ve been quiet diligent at this activity and it has surely helped me in focusing my attention to the present moment.
  • Practiced gratitude journaling for 15/28 days. There has been some improvement in this area. Initially I used to write about random things without feeling any real gratitude towards it. I did it for the sake of doing it. But in the last few days, I intentionally write about things that have actually made me feel happy and grateful for. This has definitely help create a more effective gratitude journaling practice.

Goals for March:- 20 min meditation everyday (maintain my streak on headspace app), practice journaling and gratitude journaling everyday. (Same as last month)

Personal Growth

This section is for a new skill or talent that I’ve acquired in this month, tried a new activity or thing that has pushed me out of my comfort zone.

  • I participated in a Fitness Competition for women in my town. This event helped me rediscover my strenghts and weaknesses in a way I never imagined. I prepared for this event for the whole month of February and was suprised at the progress in my fitness level just with the help of consistent practice.

Goal for March :- Cross 500 followers on my blog before my birthday on 13th April

Workouts

My focus was on preparing for the fitness event due to which I had skipped many of my weekly HIIT sessions. I was lazy and skipped my running sessions too this month. Mediocre progress in this category as far as routine practice is concerned.

  • 2 long runs in this month
  • Participated in a running event where I stood 6th overall, Saw a dramatic improvement in my pace from 6.30/km to 5.19/km.
  • HIIT workouts twice a week during the weekdays (ranging from 20 to 30 mins)

Goal for March:- Work on increasing strength, toning muscles and improving overall fitness. Lose body fat and have a toned body

Education

Goal for March:- Complete first reading of pending 2 subjects of CFA and 2 online courses

Entertainment

Goal for March:- As I have a 2 week leave from office this month starting next Monday, 5-5-2, complete 5 books, 5 movies and 2 series

March 2021, here I come!

Curtain call

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

-George Eliot

As this extraordinary year 2020 draws to an end, I am reminded of the uncertainties as well as opportunities showered on us this year. The other day, my colleague called 2020, “a year of self discovery” and I couldn’t agree more. While I am aware of the pain and turbulence caused by this year, I might be one of the few people who is extremely thankful for the existence of 2020.

Before Covid-19 hit my country and a nationwide lockdown was announced in India, my life was pretty much the same. I woke up every weekday, squeezed myself in a local train, spent my time doing work that I absolutely despised in office, came back home, wasted my time on the internet and repeat. The only thing I looked forward to during those times were my runs and any impending running events that I registered myself to. The lockdown brought with it a halt in the mundane daily routine and blessed me with a lot of time on hand. I had never spent such a long time at home before that. Ever since I was in school, I have been running hither and thither throughout the day, each day, for some work or the other. This year, in 2020, I spent close to 3 months at home, with my family, with my thoughts, doing nothing, relaxing and rejuvenating. It was blissful.

I was depressed, disoriented, lacked passion and purpose in my life before the Covid-19 lockdown. The lockdown made me realize the importance of my existence and all the amazing blessings I have in my life. I try my level best not to take my life for granted. I try to find happiness in the small things that make up life. I try to give my 100% in everything I do in life now. This is how 2020 has helped evolve my thoughts and actions. I am eternally grateful for this year as it gave me the much needed break that I had been desperately seeking ever since I started working.

I have planned to blog every single day till 31st December to document my emotions till the end of the most special year of my life. I want to usher in the new year with a clear mind, positivity and unending self love. I aim to create a wish list for the next year, a detailed one, with a rock solid will to achieve every single goal I set for myself going ahead. I want to transform into the person my childhood self would be proud off. I am proud of myself now but I truly wish to challenge my skills, willpower and determination to become the best version of myself. LET’S DO THIS!

The one with the hundredth

100/100

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” 

-Bernice Johnson Reagon

WOW! My emotions are all over the place today. I feel emotional, elated, proud and ecstatic at the same time!! I DID IT!! I completed my challenge of posting an article daily for 100 days. This feels surreal. To be honest, I was very scared of leaving this goal unaccomplished during the initial days of this challenge. I do have the tendency to set huge goals for myself and realize later on that I don’t have the ability or willpower to accomplish it. But this was different. Writing an article on my blog never felt like a task, it was something that helped clear my mind everyday. My day felt incomplete without posting on my blog. Maybe that’s the reason I was able to conquer my irrational fears about this challenge and reached the shore without having to experience any sort of turbulence on the way.

The impact of this challenge on my life

When I started out, I had zero confidence in my writing skills. This challenge forced me to think beyond my limitations and pour my heart out every single day on this blog. I have a long way to go in the field of blogging and accomplishing this challenge is a step in the right direction for me as it helped clear a lot of mental blocks such as :-

  • I was worried that I would run out of topics to write about for 100 days. Turns out as long as we are alive in the Universe, we will always have something to share to the world.
  • It is not as difficult as my mind made it seem like in the beginning. I started taking each day as it comes and broke down the 100 days into 1 article each day and concentrated only on that day’s article. Thinking of the challenge as a whole can be quite overwhelming, breaking it down into smaller, more achievable goals is less intimidating to our mind.
  • I don’t know if my there has been any improvement in my writing skills, but I sure am much quicker and better at putting my thoughts into words now. That’s a big win for me!
  • Whether you do something or not, time passes by anyways. It’s better to utilize time to the best of our ability and do everything that our mind can dream of.
  • You don’t need to have a particular skillset or extraordinary talent to do something you like. If you are truly passionate about it, you will grow along the way and become better with each attempt. Don’t let the fear of societal judgement hold you back from your dreams.
  • You can never know what you are capable of unless you attempt it.

Gratitude to the readers and my blogger friends

I started from square on with about 6 followers and now I have about 160+ of you following my blog. This is the biggest level of appreciation for me and motivates me to continue doing what I love. Thank you for your amazing comments, likes, support and feedback, I cherish them dearly and it fills me up with gratitude and love!! All the bloggers on this platform are superstars in their own right and have the most amazing writing style. I get to learn something new from each one of you. Keep up the great work, you guys are INCREDIBLE!!!

What next?

The challenge has come to an end but this isn’t the end of my blogging journey. I’ll continue to post articles (hopefully daily) for as long as I can think of till I find my niche and a fixed schedule to follow. A heartfelt thank you for all the support and amazing friends I have made here. I am truly overwhelmed!

Fix it up

#88/100

“If you say you can or you can’t you are right either way” 

-Henry Ford

Our water purifier at home wasn’t working in the right manner for a long time. We got it a few months back but were struggling with it’s inadequate performance ever since. It used to take an unimaginably long time to fill the water tank with it’s extremely slow pace of filtering the water. We were told that it was due to the low water pressure from the source. We tried to make peace with it’s slow pace of working and got used to it. Our patience reached the limit when the speed of filtering the water declined drastically and we completely ran out of drinking water. We called a technician today who fixed up the purifier and now it works like a charm. I couldn’t believe how happy it made me. Everyday when I looked at the water purifier, it gave me this nagging feeling that something isn’t right. Fixing up this particular thing gave me a sense of happiness that I cannot describe in words.

This really got me thinking. Every time I complete a task that has been long due, my heart explodes with happiness. I get a great sense of accomplishment which lights up my day. There’s always some work or task that I procrastinate everyday for various reasons. The task could be complicated, scary, unknown or uninteresting. When I finally get around to attempt it and eventually complete it, it makes me feel immensely fulfilled. I can’t imagine the amount of progress in my life that I could make if I could push myself to attempt such tasks right away instead of taking an eternity to work on them.

Our normal day consists of 90% routine work and 10% new work/tasks that we either procrastinate or tasks that we believe will end up in a “failure” which I certainly don’t wish to experience. Unfortunately I believed hat as long as I continue to work on things that I am aware of, I don’t need to deal with any disappointment or sadness. The secret to a happy and rather remarkable life lies in attempting those tasks which our mind deems impossible. “I can’t lose weight”, “I can’t get a new job” or “I can’t clear this exam” are the first I thoughts I had when I faced the specified situations. I said all of this without trying my best. I was scared to give my best yet remotely consider the situation where I could fail or not get what I desired.

Fixing this small little element of my house today made me wonder about the other elements in my life that aren’t working well. There is a long list of things that could help turn around my life, yet I’m scared to attempt them. Instead, I waste my time and avoid getting out of my comfort zone. Just imagine how our life would be if we truly believed in ourselves and started working on the long pending elements of our life. Starting today, I’ll start paying attention to such tasks and do my best to attempt it right away.

Change is the only constant

#83/100

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

– George Eliot

I was talking to my colleague today and ending up learning a lot of things from him in what started off as a casual discussion. There has been a lot of changes in my office recently. The colleague I was talking to is a sales professional who handles a clientele belonging to a particular sector in the industry. The changes I was talking about relates to shuffling of these sectors and the client base in the process. While other sales team handle sectors and clientele that have been part of the organisation since a long time, my colleague used to handle a sector that was newly introduced in our department. He along with his teammate were responsible in setting up the sector from scratch and building the client base.

I asked him if he was upset that his sector was taken away or if he had any apprehensions about the change. His answer just blew me away. He said, “Not even a bit. I would have had a regret had I not been able to give my 100% to my work. I sowed the seeds, watered the plant diligently and was blessed enough to enjoy the fruit of my labour. Now, I seek a change in the routine, a new challenge, a new adventure.!” He also asked me if I see myself working in the same organisation 6 months down the line, although my reply is a glaring NO, I chose not to comment. If you cannot see yourself working in the same place even for the next 6 months, what is the point of being so attached to the work you do? I was astounded by the clarity and ease in his replies.

I still remember my attitude towards work in my previous organisation. The attrition rate was very high causing a lot of team shuffles and changes in work profile. I dreaded it every single time. I was too comfortable with my daily routine and couldn’t bring myself to test my skills in a new and challenging environment. Basically, I had zero confidence in my ability. I have outgrown this phase however still haven’t been able to develop a thick skin to any big change in life like my incredible colleague. He did tell me it takes time and patience, all I can do is work on it consistently.

That is all I can do. Work on my skills consistently, learn whatever I wish to learn, be attentive in the present moment, do what makes me happy, make time for myself and celebrate my life. I might not be able to predict any big changes in my life but I can be prepared by striving to be the best version of myself, each day, every day!

A little extra effort

#77/100

Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.

-Wayne Dyer

I remember watching a show as a kid that had left a lasting impact on me. In the show, the main protagonist was a little girl who was an average student in school and had no friends. On her birthday, she invited her entire class for a party but not a single one paid visit to her home. Just before the end of the party, her doorbell rang. It was her favorite aunt who gave her a surprise visit. The little girl poured her heart out to her aunt and asked her why she was unable to make friends? Her aunt thought for a while and searched her purse to fish out a beautiful necklace with a butterfly pendant. The aunt told the kid that this was a magic necklace. The wearer of this necklace will have all their wishes fulfilled. But there’s a catch. In order for the magic to work, the the little girl had to ensure 3 things on her part :-

  • Always be kind and helpful to others
  • Be thankful for everything that you have in life
  • Work a little extra hard each time

The little girl was overjoyed with the gift and tried putting it to use right away. The next day in school, she offered help when a fellow classmate was stuck at a math problem. She smiled and said thanks to her teachers for looking after her in school. At home, she studied for an extra hour than usual to put the third rule into practice. Nothing really happened for the first 2 days. On the third day, a fellow classmate asked if she could sit next to her. She finally had someone to talk to in school!!! When the end term results were announced, she was surprised to find that she had topped the class. All the extra studying hours had finally paid off. Her kindness left a lasting impact on everyone and she quickly became everyone’s favorite in school.

We already know the benefits of being kind and grateful in life. I wish to elaborate on the third rule. This story sounds very basic now, but as a kid it motivated me to do well in school. A little extra effort today works a long way. Every human being has a self imposed limitation set by their mind. Yet, we find few people in our day to day life, who are way ahead than the rest and at the top of their game every single time. Are they born this way? Not exactly. Some people are surely born more talented than the rest. But, if they don’t work on their talent each day, someone else with average skills will move past them in the race of life. Talent cannot be developed but skill can be. We can learn and be good at any thing we put our mind to, only if we are willing to run the extra mile for it.

If you wish to live an extraordinary life, be prepared to work extraordinarily hard for it. I don’t want you to lose your food and sleep over it. Remember the exact moment when you feel like giving up or calling it a day, push yourself to sustain past this feeling for some more time. This can be applied to any aspect of life. Be it an extra lap during your morning run, reading few more pages of a book, reaching work a few minutes earlier than the rest or simply studying an extra chapter for the day. A little extra than your mental limitation, that’s all it takes to turn ordinary into “extra”ordinary!

An achiever

#73/100

“Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move.”

Bangambiki Habyarimana

I was watching a clip of Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s new book launch promo today and she said something that instantly struck a chord with me. She wants to be a person who sets goals and achieves them. The second part of this sentence is what differentiates it from any other motivational pep talk. We are always taught to chase dreams, our goals and made to feel bad if we don’t achieve them. But we are never pushed to finish what we start. Having goals is great, but it makes no difference to your life if you don’t put consistent efforts on it. Like anything in life, there will be failures and setbacks. That’s when 99% of the crowd backs out. The 1% who continue, end up realizing their goals or learn enough skills to chase a different one.

Instead of being a person who sets big goals, I want to be a person who lives up to my word, no matter what. I have envisioned a dream life for myself, yet I delay working on it every single day. Rest is great, watching movies and shows are blissful, but they’ll seem much more sweeter and victorious if earned as a reward on achieving your goals.

Instead of a ‘doer’ mindset, I have adopted an ‘achiever’ mindset in life now. The difference between the two is the consistency of efforts for any task or goal in life. A doer always has ample time to complete their work, probably till the end of their life. An achiever, well, they are focused on achieving their targets in minimal time. After all, their main goal is to complete what’s started.

Let’s push ourselves harder and break the self imposed restrictions set by our mind. As we all know, we are much stronger than we think!

Be fit 2.0 : Milestone 2

#69/100

And it’s time for the second milestone already. I had a fairly disciplined fitness and healthy eating regime during the first half of this month. In the second half, my mother had an injury at home and the doctor had to put a cast on her hand for 6 weeks. Since my routine went for a toss, I had a difficult time adjusting to the new one which involved managing house and office work together. I ended up missing few days of my workouts, couldn’t manage a consistent running schedule and had a multiple stress eating incidents. I’m slowly adjusting myself to the new routine and planning to bounce back on track, stronger than ever.

Here are my achievements for this month :-

Weight :-

Starting weight (10th August) : 62.9 kgs

Milestone 1 (31st August) : 62.5 kgs (Lost 0.4 kgs)

Milestone 2 (1st October) : 61.4 kgs (Lost 1.1 kgs)

Workouts :-

I was regular on most days. On the days I had to go to office, I made sure to wake up early and rope skip. I started with 500 rounds and gradually increased it to 1000 by the end of the month. It helped me clear my mind and gave a great endorphin boost at the start of the day. However, I did miss 4/5 days of workouts after my mother’s injury. Overall, I’m pretty happy with my workout progress.

Meditation :-

I haven’t meditated even once in the past month. I plan on meditating for at least 10 mins right after I wake up so that I don’t procrastinate it throughout the day. This is my goal for October.

Food :-

This month has been tumultuous when it comes to my food habits. I stress ate on many occasions and indulged in a lot of junk food. My water intake hasn’t been up to the mark. I plan on improving it in October

Key achievements :

  • Ran twice outdoors, 6 kms in 44 mins on 6th September and 10 kms in 1.14.06 hrs on 13th September.

Goals for Milestone 3 (31st October):-

  • Workout 6 days a week
  • No refined sugar
  • No cheat meals (Fried, processed food)
  • Rope skip every evening at least 500 times
  • Attempt 10 push ups
  • Run at 10 kms every Sunday
  • Meditate for 10 mins every morning right after waking up

See you until the next milestone!!

Discipline > Motivation

#68/100

“A great way to develop self-discipline is to make it a habit to do the things you should be doing when you feel the laziest. Every time you feel really lazy, do the opposite of what you feel like doing.”

-Anonymous

I used to chase motivation before. I waited every single day to do a task that truly motivates me and that task never saw the light of the day. Motivation comes very rarely to me. Most of times I have to force myself to do work according to my schedule or requirement.

Mornings are tough these days. I don’t feel like waking up. I somehow feel stressed with my responsibilities at home and work. I feel like screaming from frustration most of the time. I am fighting a battle between my heart and mind everyday. My day is filled with work that doesn’t make me happy. I do get ample time but I feel too dejected to use it fruitfully.

Motivation is a very important factor to lead a productive life. However, it doesn’t work in our favor most of the time. The foolproof way of getting work done is to create a habit out of it. You create a to-do list for the day and get down to strike off every single item on the list. Big goals such as preparing for an exam or losing weight needs your consistent effort over a long period of time. In such cases, you cannot leave it to your will to decide if you are motivated enough to work on it for the day.

I’ve decided to try creating a morning routine which is a humongous challenge for me. I really wish to create a daily practice of visualization/gratitude, meditation and journaling. At the moment, my morning consists of me groggily waking up and zoning out for almost an hour, procrastinating my office work by wasting my time on the phone and rushing through the rest of the day as everything is already delayed by that time.

Since I’m a morning person, I’m contemplating to wake up 30 mins early each day till I’m habituated to wake up at 5 am everyday. I KNOW, SOUNDS INSANE RIGHT? I absolutely don’t find time to meditate and journal once I start my office work. This might be the best manner to squeeze out a little time each day for myself and work on things that’ll help improve my mental health and be beneficial in my goal to become a better version of myself.

I know I’m looking at a challenge that looks too difficult to accomplish. My weight loss was also one such impossible challenge which I succeeded only by being disciplined and making exercise and healthy eating a lifelong habit.

I’ll try my best to live up to this challenge. No better day to start it than the start of a new month. I’ll post about my experience with this challenge at the end of October. Till then, wish me luck!

Patience is virtue

#64/100

Do you remember the feeling of complete disbelief you have when you come across any gigantic challenge in life? I’m talking about the tasks that require us to work hard for a very long time before we start seeing any results on it. We are a generation which is used to “instant gratification”. We are absolutely not ready to wait for a long time for our reward. For us hard work and rewards go hand in hand. Technology and the current corporations have utilized this phenomena to their best capacity to bring us applications that cater to the needs of the current generation. Everything is digitalized and available to us at the push of a button. We have the attention span of a goldfish, we need to see visible results for us to continue working on it.

The experience that I am about to share now relates to my struggle to continue working hard while battling the ill effects of this phenomena. The first month of my weight loss journey was extremely hard. I had never seen results with any weight loss method (casual ones) I had applied before. I had zero hope of being successful at this attempt (honest one) as I was trying it out for the very first time. Every single workout session was a challenge. There were so many instances when I questioned my decision of subjecting myself to the pain of exercise. For a person who has never been into any form of physical activity before, working out consistently without seeing any results whatsoever was a battle between the ease of giving up and my resolve to lose weight. It wasn’t just this, I had refrained from eating unhealthy food. That means I had to sacrifice on all the food that excited my taste buds but were unhealthy for my body.

However, I wanted to share this experience because it has been one of the biggest life altering lessons of my life. Though there were times I wanted to give up, I was able to motivate myself to continue working hard. I kept telling myself that the pain won’t last forever, I just have to do this for 3 months (that’s the deadline I had set for myself) and I can give up if I don’t see any results after that. This experience taught me to live in the present. For some reason, I felt that I needed to lose weight in a specific time frame, anything beyond that would be a waste of time. I really don’t understand why I kept chasing time earlier. Working on myself is a life long process, one can’t put a timeline on it. No one will judge us for not doing it before or after a certain time. The best time to start any activity is “NOW” and the best way to be consistent at it is to work on it “one day at a time“. We tend to compare our daily results to the end goal and get disappointed for not being successful at it.

I broke down my goal into monthly targets and celebrated each milestone. My initial goal was to lose over 12 kgs in 3 months. For the first few days I kept checking my weight after every difficult workout session and wanted to give up on not seeing any results (classic mistake!). Then I decided to mark one day each month (milestone) to check my weight and maintain a log of my daily food and exercise schedules. This helped me immensely as I could see gradual progress in my food and workout habits daily and that kept me motivated till my milestone days. On each milestone day, I could see a considerable progress in my weight, body and fitness levels and that just boosted my confidence to next level.

Although my initial reason for my weight loss was for completely aesthetic, healthy eating and workouts have become an integral part of my life. I have become stronger, physically and mentally after consistently working on myself and achieving this goal. This experience has taught me to stay patient and to keep going when things get tough. As they say, “The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart

The next time you have a huge task and keep questioning your abilities to complete it, just remember to be consistent at it, one day at a time.