As promised in day 31, I will give you an update on my progress (habits established etc). Starting from day 1, I’m looking at each post to find little “promises” that I’ve made to myself.
In the beginning of the challenge, my main goal was to become more accustomed to writing. I completed the challenge and I desire to write, and this post is a proof of that. I also started working on a scientific project that I’ve neglected for a long time, mainly due to my difficulty in writing. I now aim to write more blog posts. I already have something in mind.
In days 3 and 4, I wrote about a habit I’d like to establish and a habit I’d like to eliminate. Let’s start with the success. I wanted to start reading more, but I couldn’t decide about the steps I needed to follow. Time went by and I wouldn’t read a page. After the end of my exams, I discovered that there was a lot of free time available. I was getting bored of procrastinating all day, so I took reading up again. I just finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an amazing book that I started reading 4-5 months ago. Today I read a small book, a birthday gift. I’m planning of reading one more before going to bed. I’m far from a formed habit, but I’ve made some steps forward. However, I couldn’t control my Impulse Control Disorder. To assign a negative feeling to my habit, I formed a rule the day I wrote the post: every time I tried to mess with my skin, I’d use the “skin picked” hand to squeeze the forearm of my “picking” hand really hard. It didn’t work. I’m thinking of following a different approach. I’ll create a spreadsheet in which I’ll track my habit. I have to search for possible triggers and eliminate them.
Sunday walks were supposed to help me get in touch with nature and become a badass Magician. I did it only twice. I haven’t been so strict about it. To give a meaningless excuse, he weather was always awful and I don’t feel like walking in the rain (I particularly hate that my feet can get wet and my shoes dirty). I will try next Sunday though.
That’s all. I could have commented on more. This post completes the post category “AoM Journaling Challenge”. Farewell.
I made it. I’m awesome!
Reflect on the last 30 days of journaling. Did you enjoy the experience? What did you learn about yourself? What was most difficult? Will you continue the practice? If so, take some time to map out how you’d like your journaling habit to continue. It can be entirely up to you; don’t worry about following a set of rules. Maybe you want to write every day, maybe you’re okay with a slightly longer session every month or so. Just make sure it’s something that you want to do.
That’s my last post for the AoM Journaling Challenge. My first post was on January 4th. My aim was to write for 31 consecutive days, but that didn’t work out so well. But I’m still satisfied from myself. I actually completed a goal that I set. It feels amazing at the moment, although it’s nothing that important.
Through this series of posts, I remembered the importance of self-reflection. I rediscovered some of my feelings and actually thought about how I can improve my life.
Surprisingly, being consistent was not the most difficult part of the challenge. After the first posts, everything started rolling. I struggled more with my journal’s publicity. I had to think more in order to avoid stuff that could be of potential harm, personally or professionally (given that my blog isn’t anonymous). I tried to make abstractions of my thoughts, where applicable.
Although I really enjoyed the experience, I don’t plan to continue the practice regularly. Now that I’ve developed the skill, I will use journaling as a tool in case of an upsetting personal situation. It will surely help to clear up my thoughts.
I plan to post an update about certain things I wrote during the challenge, the habits I implemented etc.
I hope that my journey has inspired some of you. Now it’s your turn.
One day to go. I can’t believe myself. Let’s get this down:
Jot down a list of all the things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as “Family, Job, Home…” or as detailed as “The bacon I had for breakfast, the weather being warm today, the chance to sleep in this weekend…” When we aren’t feeling chipper, thinking about what we’re thankful for can help get us in the right mindset. No matter how down and out you may be, there is always something to be thankful for.
There’s no particular order. I’ll write whatever comes to my mind. I’m grateful for the following:
My health and well-being (students in medical school learn to appreciate that).
Access to water and healthy food.
Today’s success for a friend.
The exam period went relatively well.
I have a partner to support me with my medical school journey.
And many more.
Try writing out your own personal manifesto. I’d describe the benefits and the how-to, but this short post does it much better than I could.
I hope that this manifesto will help me in my difficult times, just like a manly guest contributor to AoM wrote:
With a manifesto, it’s like you always have access to a calmer, more rational you.
It will be a short one. I just wrote down its categories. Here we go:
I will pursue my dreams, in any way possible. To get there, I will set goals that I consider achievable, regardless of what other people believe. I will work towards them as frequently as possible. I will work on any new goal I set, without forgetting my older ones.
I will only commit to challenges that I believe I can complete. Whenever I undertake any task, I will be reliable. I will be a trustworthy person, someone who people will ask for help.
I will take good care of my body. I will listen to its needs and follow them accordingly. I will prevent any condition that is preventable. I will stay strong until my days are over, without being physically dependent on others.
Ending the mini-series:
Finally in this three-day journey, you need to gather the tools necessary to make your life a masterpiece. Take a look at the article, and define the various tools that you will need and use to work towards those purposes and goals you laid out a couple days ago.
Two days ago, I laid out some goals. According to AoM, I could benefit from gathering a list of tools, so that’s what I’ll write about.
I could use some help. Especially in pursuing my dream: becoming a neuroscientist. There is one person available (being a neuroscientist himself), but I feel I have betrayed him. I will set things straight by dealing with one of my stressors, an unfinished neuroscience project he gave me. By doing this, I will be able to look him in the eye and ask him to guide me, as I’ve done in the past.
A Mastermind Group
I’ve tried in the past to create one based on my academic interests. I failed. Maybe I haven’t searched enough for members, but I’m thinking that the place I live is not the right one. The only mastermind group I use is a reddit community concerning my physical training.
I just started journaling. Online. I prefer it this way. But a pocket notebook could be nice. I currently use my smartphone as one. I find that writing is better though, especially when writing down ideas.
Discipline, The Most Important Tool of All
Of course. I was never disciplined. I’ve just started to change this, mostly thanks to physical training. Consistency is one of the major components of training, and I think that there is a “transfer” happening: my other endeavors benefit. The AoM Challenge is also helping.
I will try to answer a list of questions today (Dr Florida’s questions), I think it’ll be easier:
The importance of where you live: our home and environment have a tremendous impact on our lives. Take a look at the eight factors that should be considered when choosing where to live. Maybe you’ve never actually chosen, and you’ve just ended up where you are by default. Take the time today to think about the idea and importance of place. You may determine that where you are is perfect, or you may realize that you belong somewhere else.
I live with my parents in an apartment. It’s located in the second largest town of Greece, Thessaloniki. I grew up here. I’ve actually never lived anywhere else for more than 2-3 months.
How do you like the place you’re living now? Is it somewhere you really want to be?
I don’t exactly enjoy being here. It’s more of a convention. I’m getting tired of living with my parents. Although I find Thessaloniki beautiful, I’d like to explore another place.
Does it give you energy?
No, I wouldn’t say that. But it doesn’t matter, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve noticed that Thessaloniki’s climate affects my sleep negatively. The air here is “heavy” (high moisture levels) and it’s always warmer than the weather I’d like.
Do you feel like yourself there?
Yeap. Myself was developed here, so here’s your answer. I expect to travel a lot in the future; my mental status has to be independent of my habitat.
When you walk out onto the street—or the country lane—in the morning, does it fill you with inspiration, or stress?
Unexpectedly, yes. Whenever I walk out of my apartment block, especially in the morning, I feel like I’m going to conquer the world. This feeling may be triggered by the fact that there are a lot of trees nearby, turning on my nature switch.
Does it allow you to be the person you really want to be? Are you achieving your personal goals?
It allowed me. Now things are different, mainly professionally (“small” academic institutions, few opportunities to network). To achieve my personal goals, I think that I’ll have to live elsewhere.
Is it a place you would recommend to your relatives and friends?
Sure. But only for a short period of time, there aren’t many things to do/see around here.
Have you thought about moving?
Of course. Given that resources are available, I will move to a place (or places) that can support my professional development. I’m not in favor of staying in one place for the rest of my life. It would make me less able to accept new challenges (away from home).
If so, what are the top three places on your radar screen? What do you like about them? Specifically, what do you think they offer you? How would your life be different in these places?
I haven’t actually thought of places. I plan to continue my studies abroad, which gives us a first characteristic that I’d like: a neuroscience department. Another thing: safety (low crime rates). If it’s a relatively big city, I could enjoy festivals or meetings that would never happen here. What’s more, smaller shipping costs (online shopping) and the availability of products (e.g. cooking ingredients) will make my life a lot easier.
AoM keeps making it harder:
For three days, we’ll work from AoM’s “Craft the Life You Want” series. While many things in life are out of our control, there are more things than we often realize that are in our control. Most often, we simply don’t realize that we have the power to change things in our life when we aren’t happy. Today, work on crafting a life plan. It can be a long process, so if you’re short on time, start by defining your various roles as a man, and your ultimate purpose and goals within those roles, including specific action steps.
I will now describe some of my short-term goals and action steps needed in order to achieve them.
I can hold a free-standing handstand for 10 seconds by June 1st, 2014. I’m training for that, but I’m stuck for a long time (2-3 months). I started practicing more regularly and I’m planning to include a spotter (my brother) to help find my balance.
On or before September, 2014, I have completed at least one neuroscience-related project. There is already one project waiting for me, but there is also another that is still an idea. Finishing the first one and starting working on the second is the most ideal case. I’m more determined than ever, my dedication to physical training has given me that. The AoM challenge has helped. I’m starting after the end of my exams. I’ll create a “sacred” project spot in my weekly routine. I’ll stop studying about anything else, to keep my attention fully focused. Whenever a problem arises, I’ll learn the principles that will help me then.
On July 15th, 2015 or sooner, I have graduated from medical school with a GPA greater than or equal to 8/10. My current GPA is 8/10, and there are around 14 courses left. I have to be more efficient in reading for medicine. I’m lucky that my skill to remember things is improving. But I have to keep earning good grades (8, 9 or 10 out of 10). I’ll try to be more focused whenever I study for the exams. And in the lectures.
I’ve been accepted to at least one Masters program on neuroscience by July 15th, 2015. The ultimate goal. Everything must lead to this. I think that I’ll start my future planning in the summer (potential programs, fees etc). I have to improve my academic skills. One at a time. Now its time for neuroscience (the second goal).