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Thank's Cam! It's true, it really gave me a boost!

Whoops, that wasn't an easy commitment to make.

I'll give a better update sometime soon, due dates are getting crazy and exams are coming up. I might disappear for a week or two sometime in the future, but I'll be riding the success curve! Exams are over on December 18th, I'll be back to making a commitment to daily journal entries on December 19th

Once I'm finished my exams there are projects, ideas, theories and concepts that I want to organize properly. There are books I want to read, projects I want to work on, ideas and concepts I want to apply to my life, and things I want to explore and learn. Right now though I need to be focused and determined to get my essays and exams done. I'll be dumping these ideas into Trello or a word document so I can visit them when the dust of this "New Semester" settles. This is not the "One semester to rule them all" but more of the "first semester in a new beginning". There will be no fails, no 60%, maybe even no 70%. Maybe I'll be making the honour roll this semester (in fact my goal is to obtain the highest grade possible in every class) , that is my goal, but if not this semester then the next one will be guaranteed hit.

I realize it is the 25th and I haven't posted an architectural drawing like I promised. While I was busy, there was 100% enough time to do something but I didn't. Totally on me, but right this moment I don't want to consider future due dates or anything, school first. You'll see a drawing on here one day.

See you guys soon! 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Alex, thanks for that! I haven't been posting because after my last exam I was swept into a whirlwind of things to do with my girlfriend (she is leaving on the 29th). Also, while I've been implementing some morning habits semi-successfully even while at my girlfriends I really have nothing to write about here at the moment. School is over and these habits are relatively small and uneventful. 

I got my grades back, and while I was disappointed with myself at first, I went back and took a look at my real grades from past semesters and realized that even with all of my faults, mistakes and missteps that this has been my best semester in university yet! 

Now my goal is to make next semester the new best ;). Learning from those faults, mistakes and missteps and building a better system to get work done! I'll be here more after my girlfriend leaves, want to take the chance with this break to do some reading and to organize my belongings and throw out the huge amount of scrap paper and other things I hold onto for no reason.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Cam! Hope you had a Happy Holidays and a fantastic New Year!

So, my girlfriend was suppose to leave on the 29th of December, but the weather conspired against her and her flight was canceled twice, before finally she was able to leave this morning, back home to Brazil! Although I'm sad to see her go I have faith in our relationship. I'm going to work hard everyday to continue our relationship and make it stronger and better than before! I don't know if it's going to be easy, but it doesn't matter because she's worth it! 

Currently I'm sitting in my computer room and it looks like a storm has blown through here. This is my first pass through this room to organize and throw out stuff I no longer need. It's also to get the things my girlfriend left behind organized so I can donate them tomorrow.

Part of this purge is to deal with loose leaf paper and the mess that is my desk drawers. But, during my organization I branched out and ended up cleaning out a couple of drawers in my bedroom. I also dug into my filing cabinet full of PC and Gamecube games. Managed to throw out trial discs and other garbage. Have a bunch of old games from the first computer my dad purchased, definitely never going to use them even if I were to relapse. All of my PC and Gamecubes games are in the correct cases now as well. The first drawer of my computer desk is looking good now, the second one still needs a little work.

Hopefully I can get the room looking half decent and clean tonight, go out tomorrow and donate/recycle all the stuff I don't need and use the rest of tomorrow to read and take it easy. Maybe take it easy for a couple of hours then I will jump into organizing and ensuring all of my Xbox360 and Wii Games are in their correct boxes. After that I have some baskets on the bottom row of my bookshelf that need to be looked through. There are a lot of unorganized comic books in these baskets, and things I no longer need. 

My Comicbook collection is a beast within itself, and I realize that the sunken cost fallacy is keeping me subscribed to my comic books. It's not that many that I subscribe to, and when I do read comic books I do actually enjoy them. Going forward it may become an issue of organizing and selling the comic books I do not want anymore. I will most likely cancel my subscription list to save myself money and the stress of having unread comic books.

I do have other things to do on this break before the next semester begins, but I guess this is the agenda for the next day or two.

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Good on you for taking the initiative to clean the place out! I have gotten most of the way through cleaning my room out fully, its not that it is messy, but I have really old things and decorations collecting dust that I don't have any connections to.

It was hard for me to resist temptations of the sunk cost fallacy when deleting my games, but I'm sure that you have similar problems with the comic books. If you feel pressured to read your unread comic books, perhaps you could unsubscribe but get the occasional comic book when you've read all the ones you have?

It's nice to hear about how committed you are to your girlfriend. It reminds me of a relevant school experience. I was once asked a question in school about difficult life situations, and it went like this: "You have been called to help provide for and support your family in a far away country, but you may have to stay there for a few years. You have a girlfriend where you live and think she's 'the one', but if you leave her to help your family you may never see her again. What do you do?" My classmates were conflicted about which option would be best, but I came up with different reasoning that was widely accepted: 'Go help your family. If she's really 'the one', she will be there for you when you get back. Otherwise if she does not wait for you and enters other relationships willy nilly, she obviously doesn't have the commitment to stay with you anyway. '  Likewise, if you both stay committed to each other, you are surely made for each other. Good on you for your commitment, it's wonderful to see such dedicated people in this world.

Now all that fluffy stuff is out of the way, how are your daily habits and such going? I didn't hear about any ways you're investing in yourself with new habits... :P Let us know if you are or aren't doing this so that we can encourage you and support you either way!


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Cheers Alex! I really feel the same way. If we're meant to be together we can make it through this period in our lives! She has to go back to Brazil to finish her undergrad, and I have to stay here to finish my undergrad. I can't change that, but there are things I can do and we can do as a couple to make our relationship even stronger! :D

I actually don't remember if I shared what my daily habits are, but 3 of them relate to creating a morning routine. I did a lot of reading (again) on habit forming and I think I've create a system that works for me, borrowing heavily from other systems and readings I've done.

  • 6 Minutes of Meditation (after getting out of bed)
  • Make Bed (after meditating) 
  • Journaling (After making bed)
  • 10xp on Duolingo in Brazilian Portuguese 

Looking at the stats, Duolingo has been by far my best, followed by Journaling. Both are easy to do regardless of my location! Bed Making suffered from this, as December I spent a lot of time at my girlfriends, who sleeps on her comforter so there was no bed to make... Hold on, the only time I've missed making my bed is when I've been away. I guess that makes it the BEST! 

Meditation on the other hand has been pretty shaky as it is location, time and memory dependant. I didn't have a lot of success doing it when I woke up at my girlfriends because I would wake up and then forget to do it, I even forgot to do it today with no distractions. Once I miss it in the morning it because very difficult work up the willpower to do :v. I'm going to do it after I get back from eating out with the parents. Going to make a point of doing it tomorrow when I wake up. 

My room isn't particularly messy either, but like you I have a lot of things that I don't need anymore but for some reason still have. I've also been an aspiring minimalist, really enjoyed reading and learning about minimalism and it is something I want to embed into my life! I'll leave some links in my next post about it.

You're correct about the sunken cost fallacy, and I'm definitely going to cancel my subscriptions. There are only so many excuses or reasons I can hide behind while trying not to look at the real reason I haven't unsubscribed yet.

Once this cleaning purge is finished, I'm going to spend the rest of the week reading for leisure and for improvement. I've got two books related to school work lined up, "How to get Straight A's" and "How to Win at College" by Cal Newport. On the leisure side I want to finish Zoo City because it's been a really great read so far. Hopefully between those books, my experiences last semester and the slight edge I can build a method for school that works for me. 

I think that's enough for now!

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Thanks Cam, me too!

Nothing much to report, took my girlfriends leftover clothing and some video games to the Goodwill today, did my daily routine still, 3 days in a row for everything!

Finished Zoo City, great science fiction read! Started The Forever War and it seems good so far. Gonna start reading How to get Straight A's tomorrow.

I started today a weekly habit of taking a b12 supplement, after doing some reading about b12 supplementation in whole food plant based diets I found it much easier to do it weekly, rather than daily. 

Found someone on Reddit who posted their self-imporvement reading list for 2016, might borrow from it. https://www.reddit.com/r/selfimprovement/comments/3zkxrb/my_selfimprovement_reading_list_for_2016/

But, I think it might make more sense to read a more narrow list of self improvement books and spend more time implementing the ideas from those books.

That's about it for today, until tomorrow!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Certainly been awhile since I've posted, but I'm definitely not known for my consistency when it comes to that. As far as my daily habits has mentioned earlier I've been on quite the streak. Habitica says I have a 16 day streak going for all of them excluding making my bed, which is a 19 day streak. (Big deal for me)

School, and system for dealing with readings and notes

My first week of the semester has already happened, and I'm very excited by the potential success of this semester. This semester can be a lot more than grades. Doing well can give me access to two letters of reference, consulting experience for my CV and original research! Also, it adds to my cultivation of my work ethic and my development of systems. 

I never got around to reading the Cal Newport books like I said I would. So far I've been following (this formerly mentioned guide) http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport/howtostudy.html minus the idea of recopying notes verbtaum. I tried taking notes of my readings, but the first one I did that on took way too much time and was too long in length. I find it hard to believe that this is useful, and the idea of making notes on readings is very annoying to me. I've seen this around enough to know that "testing" or "quizzing" yourself, with flashcards or questions etc, is considered the best method for learning and memorizing things.

Following this handy dandy guide from supermemo about how to effectivly put together flash cards https://www.supermemo.com/en/articles/20rules I've read all my readings for my first class tomorrow, and after going to class and taking notes and discussing the readings etc I will go back and create flash cards about the important bits of information and concepts in the readings. Rinse and repeat next week and add the new cards to the deck etc. Daily review of the flash cards required, definitely using Anki or another SRS program.

That being all said, I realize that not summarizing my readings weekly leaves me in the cold during exam review, at which point I would just have to re-read the readings, which has been shown to be uneffective. BUT! I would have been cranking out new flash cards every week and reviewing them daily for months before the exam. Which I think means my flash cards end up becoming my summarized notes, and the need to "Study for the exam" becomes questionable because I've been studying everyday since I created the flash card for that week. Given that, then the time spent studying could be used to review lecture/discussion notes, flashcards and skim readings for details missed etc.

Anyone have any critiques or blind spots of this system?

Tweaking this to fit also with my Economics and Statistics class. The textbook for both class already contains questions at the end of each chapter, and one has answers at the back of the book. They also both highlight important vocabulary covered in that chapter. That stuff makes generating flash cards a whole lot easier, but most of these flashcards will be about definitions and processes, and not about the actual calculations or practicing those calculations.  The economics course has weekly quizzes, my economics course last semester had similar quizzes and I did fine the first half, but really dropped the ball and stopped doing them the second half of the semester. This was bad because I effectively lost 5-7% of my grade for no reason. And, that is only from the grade for those quizzes, but the quizzes themselves forced me to practice and apply concepts in the first half of the course, which caused me to perform better. In the second half of the course, without the quizzes I scored significantly worse on the final exam. So for both courses there will be an emphasis on flash cards for concepts and terminology, and online quizzes or textbook questions for applying and testing those concepts. 

For both courses I'm considering reaching outside of the required course material, either to replace or to supplement the course material. Watching Khan Academy videos on Macroeco and Statistics before diving into my readings or the lecture might be a time saving way of helping me better understand the concepts. 

Thoughts on adding additional habits

I did not do any of my readings during the week. I managed to do one Friday, I did not make any progress Saturday, but today (Sunday) I managed to do most of the readings I set out to do this weekend. Most of it happened today because I use the momentum from my daily habits to shoot me into the "reading" mood. 

The last thing I do of my dailies is duolingo, and even before I finished it I told myself I was just going to read 10 pages of the reading, and then I could eat breakfast. It worked well and I set the same goal after each. Most of the articles or chapters individually did not go much beyond 10 pages, so it was easy to convince myself to just read a few more.  I believe when it was all said and done I read 50-60 pages between 3 classes. 

I figured one of the keys for the future, to keep up this habit, is to set a goal of reading 10 pages per day, per class (50 pages total). But, I get the feeling this is a little too inflexible for my needs at university. Especially in this beginning stage because I have a little bit of catching up to do. My thoughts are then to create and use the 10 pages per day per class rule, but allowing myself to take pages from other classes to fulfill the need to catch up in another class. I was thinking about including a debt system, so if I take 10 pages from eco to do stats, stats would owe econ 10 pages. But, I feel like that is too complicated to be worth my time. Another question is if it is possible to read 50 pages everyday, IE maybe I don't need to read 10 pages for my stats course, and that time could be better used making flash cards. Again, I guess I could fulfill that habit by reading 10 pages elsewhere, but that only works if I can find that time. I may lower the habit to require 5 pages per class per day and say it is a floor (That is, I HAVE TO read 5 pages per day, but I can also read more, of course).

I think that is enough rambling for now, going to take this and remove the ramblings to create a system I can reference when I need to get stuff done.

Sorry it's so rambly! Talk to you guys later!

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