Log 4 - A Month of Failures

The past two months haven’t been that great. There was one thing that I excelled in and that was failing - failing to consistently dedicate time to my goals. I would say that three main factors contributed to this:

  1. My elbow injury influenced other parts of my life.
  2. I’ve made studying optional.
  3. I started watching TV shows.

My elbow injury influenced other parts of my life. Around two months ago, I injured my elbow from adding too much weight too soon to my bodyweight exercises. After researching the cause, I concluded that the weighted pull-ups led to tendonitis and I decided to give it time to recover by avoiding upper body exercises until I was feeling good again. There were times when rotating my forearm would cause discomfort in regular daily activities and that was not pleasant. I made the right call in resting before using my elbow more.

The recovery period was a real bummer. Workouts became dull since I wasn’t able to perform any upper body exercises; however, I began to dabble in calisthenic exercises to liven up workouts. I grew interested in box jumps and how high I could jump and have mixed feelings about my stats. My box jumps are at 42" and vertical leaps are at 26". The numbers are decent for my height, but I’m trying to get to a 30" vertical leap, so I have been focusing on explosive power in barbell squats.

People say health is important, but health is more than that to me. Health is central to my lifestyle. Because of the injury, I decided to take it easy outside of essential activities such as work. I made sure to rest so that I could recover but deep down, I knew that I was resting more than I needed to. The elbow injury wasn’t severe enough to impact my energy levels nor capacity to learn, but I was using it as an excuse not to study.

I’ve made studying optional. Whenever things become optional, they fall to the side. I was initially semi-consistent with studying Mandarin, but I missed one session. And then another. And soon, I missed so many that studying became an “I’ll get to it one day” activity. When I was forcing myself to sit down and study, I felt good. I knew that I was making progress towards my goal by chipping away at it consistently and would eventually reach the destination.

Not being able to study on one day doesn’t mean much in the entire learning journey. But it’s not about the one study session. Missing the session means more than that. It tells me that it’s okay to skip studying and thus, the goal decreases in importance. Becoming fluent in Mandarin is an important goal so studying needs to stop being optional.

I started watching TV shows. Ever since the pandemic started, I began watching more TV. It’s so easy to turn on a TV show and unwind after a hard day’s work. It feels nice to relax but at the same time, I end up falling behind on other things I need to do and that doesn’t feel good. Cliffhangers are the worst! They encourage me to watch the next episode to find out what happens and midnight creeps up on me. This leads to less sleep to accommodate waking up early for morning workouts which then results in less mental energy after work to tackle other tasks. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be limited.

I also went on vacation for over a week and dedicated more time to work, preparing for and catching up after my absence. This took up additional time that I could have spent studying but it was worth it so I’m not counting this as a factor.

Now that I’ve identified the three factors encouraging me to procrastinate on my goals, it’s time to combat them by weaving better habits into my life. Luckily, my elbow has recovered and I can do upper body exercises again! I’ll be patient and take my time with weight progression. I need to make studying mandatory and partner that habit with sleep. The earlier I turn off my electronics at night and sleep, the earlier I can wake up to study Mandarin before going to the gym. Limiting my media consumption to one hour a day should assist with tackling the TV show hurdle and give me more time to focus on other things.