Craig Payton/ Personal Journal Entry: 100 day Challenge #2 for 2012

by Craig Payton

March 17, 2012

I have reset the challenges represented in my daily accountability log.

Earlier in the year I detailed my goals and challenges beginning in the new year.  This was reported on after the first 60 days.  IN fact most of the goals and challenges in the New Years list had begun 40 days earlier when Michael Santos suggested making a 100 day challenge for ourselves ending March 2nd.  Now that I have reached the end of the first challenge I recognized the need to reset some goals, re-calibrate others or eliminate them for now and also to add a couple.

The following will be the goals, activities and some brief descriptions and explanations, which I will track from

March 15th through June 22nd (items with a * are new or re-calibrated for this challenge):

Acountability Logbook – Daily tracking of all goals.  I keep track of this to make sure that I do this basic accountability task daily.  I still give myself a miss on this one from time to time.  New habits require diligence to maintain.

Taiji – Daily practice is the surest way to progress.  I have had many teachers who have said this in a myriad of ways.  I always understood it to be true.  Now I have EXPERIENCE of it and what it can mean.  I am only somewhat more than 30-40 days in a row of uninterrupted daily practice but the difference in practice is profound.

Straight A Guide – I track this daily.  I will consider this goal met if I produce work at least every other day.

Get up <5 A.M.   In order to be ready for the day I must continue to rise at this hour or earlier.  I do not use an alarm clock.  Usually I place my attention upon the time I want to get up as I am settling down to sleep and most days I awake very near the time for which I have set my intention.  This is a simple yet effective mental tool anyone can learn how to perform.

Nevertheless I have times when I don’t set my intention for a day or two, or when we have daylight savings time and things are thrown off a bit.  Right now I am usually getting up by 5 AM but occassionally it will be 5 10 or 15 minutes past.

Call Home – I call home and speak to my Wife and/or Children 2 of every 3 days as available minutes allow.

Write Home – I track when I write home, either email or letter (infrequent), and also whether I make contact with my Son and Daughter.  I track communication with my Son and Daughter seperately in order to make sure they get equal attention from me, or as close as I can manage.

Book Report Work – I continue to read Non-Fiction and write Report/Reviews of them.  More to be published soon (now Mar 17th)

Write Old Friends – I track when I make contact with friends I had before I came to prison in order to make sure I maintain those connections and even strengthen them where possible.

Marriage – I make sure I make an extra effort whenever possible to show my wife how important our relationship is to me.  I give myself a check off when I do so I can track how often I take that extra step.

College Research*  Re-Calibration.  for this period I will set aside the goal of College Education Research.

Writing – Maintain the goal to write minimum 30 minutes a day.

Other Fitness training.  In addition to Taiji and Qigong I have a check box to show those days when I did other training, i.e pushups, bardips, sit ups, flexibility training, running, playing basketball, etc, etc.  I want to hit the goal of checking this box 5 times per week.

Morning Meditation/Qigong practice* – For at least 2-3 weeks I have been doing meditation/Qigong practice from 6-7.  This is a daily check off and I intend to continue this as long as possible, or permanently as part of my lifestyle.  Perhaps in the future I may have to start at 4:30 or 5 in order to get in practice before other responsibilities, but I believe it is well worth it and the health and energy benefits are to me undeniable.

Guitar* – This was added for this cycle.  I hope to put in some time every day, with certain days being long blocks of practice.  I have been practicing at least 2-3 times a week including one weekly guitar lesson.  I am fortunate enough to be able to work with a professional musician here in camp.  Although this skill will most likely not result in any career development for me it si very fulfilling to progress as a guitar player.  I have played since my late teens/early twenties but hoave not made any real progress in my skills for many years.  Since starting sometime in November last year I have regained all my previous skill and re-doubled that skill way past where I had b een stuck for many years.  This is a very pleasureable and also mentally stimulating activity.  To just play in the manner at to the level I knew previously would be one thing, but to learn new material and practice new drills and skills I had never done before is definitely a challenge for my brian and does serve the purpose of keeping me mentally challenged and growing.

I have discarded tracking the categories of mind/body and Meditation as they are redundant with morning practice.

Ba Duan Jin*  – I have added this exercise set which translates from the Chinese as 8 pieces of brocade.  It is an ancient set of 8 movement and stretching exercises.  In some ways this set has elements more like Yoga and ordinary calisthenics but definitely with a Chinese Qigong flavor.  This has been very helpful in overall body well being and specifically has helped release my achilles tendonitis.

In addittion to my daily check off items I also have a 100 day fitness challenge.

Walking.  I will walk 10 miles per week.  (minimal amount, but enough to keep a higher baseline of activity along with everything else).

Push Ups.  Will complete 50 push up test by the end of the 100 day challenge.

Pull Ups.  Will do 10 pull ups test by the end of 100 days.In order to achieve upper body fitness goals I will work out 5 days a week.  I am still working on my routine and do plan to go into exhaustive details here.  It is likely that such routine will  change over time, with addittions and refinements as I go along.  I am not focused on weight loss, but on overall strength and fitness now.  Eventually I plan to ad running in place of the walking.  Currently I am recovering from tightness/tendonitis in my left achilles tendon and am focusing on specific exercises and flexibility training to address this.  I believe this was caused by doing too much of just brisk walking without other training, leading to shortened and tense muscle fibers in my lower leg.  As I progress I plan to be able to run/jog more.

As a side note, the tightness or injury has led me to explore my gait, stance and other balance issues to a very fine degree.  It has been very instructive to explore the potential causes of the injury.  I feel I have begun to reveal and correct some stance and gait imbalances.  As the saying goes problems represent opportunity.

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