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Injury

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Of the tasks entered on my 101-in-1001 list, few have required so many attempts and so many failures as this one. Even though everybody has bad habits of their own, I think there are enough similarities to enable you to understand my situation. So, in what ingenious way do I damage my fingers? Some people bite their nails, but I have taken a fancy to simply tearing them to pieces. Even though that was a slight exaggeration, this habit is not very good and has made me shed blood occasionally.

It is very difficult to change behaviour like this, because it has to be done relentlessly and over time. After a while, I gained enough consciousness of the problem to be able to notice when I did it. Then, I managed to learn to intentionally stop, which was much more difficult than I expected. So far so good, but since I wanted to remove this habit altogether, one important thing remained, namely doing it over time. I had decided that one month would be enough. If I could manage a month, a year or a lifetime would not be a problem.

The tricky bit is that I still do this unconsciously, mostly in situations of great stress or when my focus is somewhere else than my own ten fingers (which is, believe it or not, fairly often). Only when it is too late do I realise that I have to restart the clock and begin the month all over again. I think I have done this at least twenty times. Gradually, however, I have been able to notice when this occurs, because I know so well in which situation the behaviour appears. Now, I can proudly announce that my fingers have been unscathed for a month. This might seem like a minuscule step for mankind, but it is in fact quite a big step for me personally.

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This is my third monthly report. To review introductory comments and the purpose of these reports, please refer to the initial report made for January 2008. Text in italics is copied from the previous monthly report for reference.

Looking back: March 2008
I do not think that I general change is needed yet, because it might be enough to know that certain tasks failed the previous month. Therefore, I will merely add new things and let the old, unaccomplished goals remain more or less as they are. Below can be found my goals for March.

Report: I still do not think the setup is flawed. There are some things I need to work with, but I think I am in command of the situation.

PhysicalSince last month was such a success, I have decided to increase my exercise dose a fair amount and see what happens. I have three distinct goals. Firstly, I increase the weekly running mileage to thirty kilometres (twenty last month).

Report: This is something of failure which can be blamed on two thing: a trip to Gothenburg and a sprained finger. Yes, I could have managed the running if I had really wanted to, but I was not motivated enough. Instead, I averaged about 20 kilometres weekly, which is alright by me.

Secondly, I shall change my workout on the days I do not practice diving. I and Niklas, with help from one of our instructors, have put together a fairly ambition exercise regimen (separate article coming in queue). Since I have not yet tested it, I cannot tell if I can manage it, but I shall me at least two attempts weekly and find a suitable level of exertion.

Report: Running the risk of repeating myself, I blame the same two reasons I stated above. At least, we have trimmed the regimen down to a manageable duration of time, and I think the idea is sound. I have tested the program several times and I feel that it is sound.

Thirdly, I shall continue practicing endurance for hand-walking, changing to a greasing-the-grove tactic (involving large amount of repetitions spread out evenly in time, as opposed to distinct sessions). I intend to start with a thousand repetitions a week, and see what happens.

Report: During the past month, I realised that this pace is not enough, I have to increase the repetitions faster. Therefore, I increased the number of repetitions greatly from 1000 a week to 2500 a week. However, I only managed to do that for one week before I sprained my finger. I consider this a success, but I need to increase even more in the coming month.

Creativity Next month will contain a lot of school work, so I believe that I will have a limited amount of time to spend on creative projects. Still, I have decided to keep the goal from last month. I intend to finish a draft of Magneter och mirakel, worthy of sending out to readers for feedback, preferably the last round before proof reading.

Report: Although not entirely finished, I consider this a success. I have very little left to do and expect to finish either today or tomorrow. I have spent much more time on this than I thought, rewriting part of the rules from scratch.

Also, I have decided to contribute a certain amount of creative effort to yet another Kaleidoskop project titled Haragada, a desert Sword and Sorcery setting with loads of cool ideas and a terrific atmosphere. I have half a dozen ideas and before the month is over, I shall have put my concepts into words and sent them to whomever will edit the project (hopefully not myself).

Report: Success! Not only have I finished my part, I have also finished the task of correcting and editing the language used in the game. I am convinced that it will be a nice product, and it feels incredibly good to have done my part satisfactorily. Even though it is not mentioned in last months report, I have also finished my part of Nostalgi, another upcoming game from Kaleidoskop.

EducationStudying Chinese will require quite some effort this month. I have two exams and one project I really ought to commit myself to. My goal is to receive full grades on the two exams and to have completed the projects main body of text (everything excluding abstract, introduction, analysis and conclusion). Also, I shall of course apply for the Taiwan scholarship.

Report: It is fairly difficult to assess the outcome of the two exams. I know that I did well on the first one and I feel that I did an adequate job with the second, but the results are not yet available. Having put down as much time as I thought necessary, I still consider these two as being successful. If I miss full grades, it is not because I ought to have studied more.

The project is an utter failure since I have not even begun with the part I am not required to have done. I blame this on lack of time an optimism. Sure, I could have spent more time on it, but I think taking baby steps towards self-discipline is much better than crashing into some unforeseen obstacle.

I have applied for the Taiwan Scholarship.

Sleep – This being such a grand failure last month and realising that I have a considerably amount of other things to do, I will keep the goals left over and expand them slightly. I intend to spend five hours researching normal sleep and another five hours on researching lucid dreaming.

Report: Utter failure, same explanation as for the project mentioned above.

Looking ahead: April 2008
On a general note, I think that I am moving forwards. I am especially satisfied with my creative output, which has been fairly disciplined and coordinated. I have not stumbled into any major flaws, except that I tend to overrate my capacity a bit. Therefore, next month’s goals will be a little bit more humble, but not by much. I have no intention of growing soft.

Physical – I need to keep a fairly high mileage weekly if I aim for a Marathon during the summer. Last month’s goal seems reasonable to keep, provided that nothing out of the ordinary happens. Instead of counting per week, I will aim for a total of 120 kilometres during April.

As for the workout regimen, I intend to keep the goal from last month, but I change this one as well to a total number of sessions instead of a weekly number. I aim for eight sessions during April.

I have realised (again, at another level this time) that walking a hundred metres on my hands is extremely demanding. I shall have to increase the number of repetitions drastically if I hope to achieve this goal. I aim for a total of 10000 repetitions during April, preferably in sets consisting of 100 repetitions.

Creativity – I need to keep the snowball rolling, because with this momentum I feel that I can achieve almost anything. Education-related things will absorb time, but I still feel I want to keep this high output of creative material. I will switch focus to my novel. My goal is to have written at least one page of running text, as well as having discussed a complete synopsis of the novel with at least two friends.

Sleep – Sadly, the following is a quote from last month: This being such a grand failure last month and realising that I have a considerably amount of other things to do, I will keep the goals left over and expand them slightly. I intend to spend five hours researching normal sleep and another five hours on researching lucid dreaming.

101-in-1001 list – I intend to finish the task concerning attending a first-aid course (two dates booked for April). I also intend clear at least one of the religions from the ones whose representatives I would like to meet face to face. I also intend to write at least one scholastic aptitude test to enable to me assess the difficulty involved in scoring 2.0. See the list for more information.

Conclusion
In spite of the setbacks, I am satisfied with my performance. I am especially happy about the creative output and feel that I have reached an adequate level, a level I feel comfortable with. These monthly reports have enabled me to develop and has motivated me to perform things I would otherwise have left undone. As long as things keep improving, I see no reason to revise the basic concept. Wish me luck with April!

Update: I have now received the results from the first exam (language) and my score was 175,5 out of 177, which means that I achieved maximum grade with 16,5 points to spare.

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Sprained finger

This is just a brief note explaining why my written communication will be a bit terse for a while. Yesterday I sprained my right ring finger while practicing. I will not bother you with the details, because they are rather embarrassing. I have no idea how long this will take to heal, but I suppose you will not hear much from me in the meantime.

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This is the first of two tasks which concern my back. The problem is that it sometimes begins to hurt terribly in the muscles parallelling the spinal column. In order to compensate for this, I lean slightly to one side to assuage the pain. However, as the pain intensifies, I have to incline my posture more and more. If it gets really bad, my ribcage actually grinds against my hip bone. Stand up and lean to the side until this happens and then try to imagine perform normal tasks while in that position. No easy thing, I tell you.

At this time, however, the other side starts to hurt because of the tensions built up from moving around in the previously described manner. This starts a cycle of roughly 12 hours or so, in which the pain alternates between left and right. The only remedies are pain killers, sleeping and some stretching exercises. The problem is that none of those seem to be quite satisfactory and I would much rather like to nip the problem in the bud. This is what this task is about: to get to know what causes the aforementioned condition.

As most of you probably know, I practice Tai Chi Chuan regularly and have been doing so for some time now. Our chief instructor, Paul Silfverstråle, is also trained in traditional Chinese medicine. I am not very well into this subject myself, but what he did was a light massage followed by some cracking associated with the spinal column. It all felt terribly nice.

Then we spoke a bit about the issue itself, and he gave his view of the matter. He said that stiffness and tension in those muscles can cause a temporary misalignment of the spine, which the muscles then would try to counter by contracting even more. So, the solution might be found in getting more relaxed in my back, which he showed certain exercises to help me with. The relaxation in my back was palpable when I went home.

It is now two weeks since my visiting him, and I can feel a tremendous improvement. I dare to say that his assessment of the situation has given me the means to accomplish this task.

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