I am embarking on a new personal end of year challenge. Since the quote “a good mind in a healthy body” is my personal motto, my personal challenge will have both a body and a mind component. The challenge here will be to be consistent and stick to my schedule. This will be extra hard due to the fact that besides my challenge I still have to go to work, try to maintain my blog, as well as live life in general! ๐Ÿ™‚

So here goes the challenge:

Body: Fitness + Nutrition
My ultimate goal is to have gained weight (probably the ultimate target weight is 90 to 95 kilograms), while still being able to see a six pack on the stomach.

The challenge will be to maintain a schedule of going to the gym three times a week. I need to especially work on the nutrition part, as right now my eating is a bit haphazard. I should be taking enough calories in order to be able to gain weight, meaning above my maintenance level. I plan to do this by eating a big breakfast (consisting of a porridge, followed by a ham sandwich and orange juice), then lunch (whatever they have in the cafeteria, preferably white meat, or steak, or salmon together with things like brocolli – so protein + carbohydrates), then having another ham sandwich roughly 2 hours before I go to the gym, then go the gym after work, have a post-gym protein shake and then at the end have a dinner (with meat or eggs, the ideal would be protein + fats). This will be quite challenging, especially dinner at the end, as sometimes I tend to come back home from the gym quite late.

The working out part will consist of going to the gym 3 times a week and doing a routine based around heavy compound movements. The routine will begin with some light stretching (both static and dynamic) and then a 10 to 15 minute stationary bike warmup. Then I will go into a full body routine three times a week. The routine will consist of pullups, light squats (since there is no squat rack in my McGym), deadlifts, bendover rows, plus I will alternate between incline bench presses and shoulder presses (each one done once a week). I will further add some stretching and some other work (since I am still trying to recover from my ACL surgery). I will experiment a bit with the routine to see how it fits with the time and what my knee says about it (it still feels kind of unstable).

Mind: Language Learning
My ultimate goal here is to of course be able to speak different languages, however the most important thing in this challenge will be coming up with a learning routine and sticking to it. Oftentimes I start a learning routine, stick to it for a few weeks and then give up. I will try to be more persistent and effective this time.

The languages I will be learning and perfectioning are: Dutch and French. With my Dutch, I am around the A2 or B1 level. I have signed up to go to a Dutch language class once a week after work from 6 to 9:30 on Thursdays. That’s actually quite a challenge, since I have to finish up at work, then take a bus to the class and then sit in the class for 3 and a half hours, actually doing exercises and group work and other things. It is quite tiring.

For French, I am on the C1 level, so I am fluent, however there are some things that I still need to work on. One of these will be comprehension. For this I will try to watch and listen to as many French things as I can. Furthermore I will need to seek out as much interaction with people in the French language as I can. This is not something that you can plan out, however it is very important, especially if you are on a more advanced level in the language.

Furthermore in French, there are some grammar things I need to improve. Two main things that give me trouble are the genders and the subjunctive. For this, I bought special workbooks and will need to drill myself on them. Here establishing a learning schedule and sticking to it will be key.

I will try to spend at least an hour on language learning on Sundays and Tuesdays (and hopefully Mondays as well). I will alternate between French and Dutch during those times. I was originally also planning to do Polish as well, however had to cancel my class, as it conflicted with my work time. Next year, I plan to start up Polish again (I am probably at the B1 level in Polish at the moment).

Once I have completed this challenge and have developed some good habits and stuck to them, I will try to optimize the strategy and embark on a Mission. With a Mission, here I mean picking a concrete goal and working towards achieving it. So this is my two part strategy: set myself a challenge and form routine habits and then once this routine becomes a sticky, embark on a mission trying to achieve concrete goals. This will require persistence and dedication, but I am up for the challenge! ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s your personal end of year challenge?

Read more:
About my personal language learning strategy
How to learn a foreign language

The workout routine I have been doing
How a routine of deadlifts and pullups made me blow up to my biggest weight ever

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