April challenge

As we usher in April, I decide to change my plans. Since I didn’t do a good job on the challenges last month, I’d better be more realistic this month, but most of the challenges are similar to those of March.

I find that it’s hard for me to develop more than one habit at a time. So this time I won’t expect myself to plug in several things on a daily basis.

And, I’d like to create a theme for each month! The theme is about what I want to focus in a month.

It can be broad. For example: Month of reading, Month of exercise, Month of writing, Month of movies, Month of psychology…

It can be more specific, like month of an author(anyone you love or you’re curious about) , month of a director, month of getting up before 7 a. m., month of English speaking…

It sounds interesting to me!

And the theme of my April is:

Month of Japanese!

I used to dabble in Japanese but I gave up quickly. Last month I binge-watched a manga, which made me want to learn Japanese again…

When it comes to learn Japanese, I want to use a different method: Only focus on what the teacher teaches, and learn more slowly. For example, spend two weeks learning Japanese phonetic Kana syllabary. Slow it down and practice 30 minutes every day.

My challenges are as follow:

1. Health

Go to bed before 10:45 p. m.

I find I was always about 15 minutes later than my last aim–11:00 p. m. So I change it. As long as I can go to bed a little bit earlier than I did before, it’s fine.

As for taking a walk every other day and standing up from time to time, I will remind myself to do them as much as possible. I just want to focus on sleep this month, so I won’t push myself to stick to the two plans.

2. English

(1) 100-day reading project

I almost finish The Great Gatsby! I’ve already been done with 1/3 of the whole project.

(2) Learn an English lesson every day

(3) Review when waiting in line.

The plans above are the same as those in March, except for the last one. Since I have the habit of learning this beautiful language, I have confidence in myself!

3. Japanese

Spend 30 minutes on it every day.

A lesson two days.

4. Reading and writing

(1) Read two books in Chinese this month

(2) Update one post every week

What’s more, regarding this challenge series, I’ll update a post about it, including my musings and life details, every two weeks a month, that is, in the middle of the month and at the end of the month.

I hope I can do a better job this April. Fingers crossed!

What are your plans this April? Are you interested in creating a them for this month? If so, what theme would you like to make? Leave a comment down below!

Happy April, everyone!

Vera from China

Goals · Life

A rundown of the first week of my March challenge

I made some plans last Monday, and now it’s time to check out if I did a good job on the first week of the challenge!

1. Health

(1) Go to bed before 11 p.m.

I didn’t do a good job. Actually I hit the sack over 11:00 p.m., like 11:15 p.m. and 11:05 p.m. on the first two days.

Unfortunately, yesterday my roommates and I gossiped until 1:00 a.m… Crazy!

I only made it on two days last week… Anyway, More power to me~~~

(2) Stand up and relax after sitting for a while from time to time.

It’s a flexible plan. I did more often than before.

(3) Take a walk every other day.

Actually I did it every day, though it wasn’t a long walk. My dorm room is virtually a stone’s throw from the nearest canteen…

But sometimes I went to a canteen farther away to pig out my favorite dish —— 酸汤牛肉 (suan tang niu rou), which is a tangy, flavorful soup with beef plus different vegetables you pick! It’s out of the world!

2. Learning English

(1). Reading The Great Gatsby every day.

I’m content with my performance on this plan. I read the book every day, but I think I should have reviewed it more —— there’re so many great expressions in the novel.

(2). Finish an English online lesson every day.

I did it every day. Give myself a pat on the back!

(3). Review for 15 minutes each day

I reviewed my notes on the app Evernote when waiting in line. But I don’t know if I spent 15 minutes reviewing every day.

3. My essay

Complete my essay by March 20th.

When an assignment isn’t given by myself, I have no motivation to do it… I’m sorry…

I made no headway in writing my paper, but I read a book of literary theory by Bakhtin, which was introduced on my optional class. Bakhtin really delved deep into dostoyevsky’s classics!

4. Reading and writing

(1). Read Chinese Literature for thirty minutes every day.

I fail to read books for 30 minutes every day, but I read it from time to time.

(2). Update a post every week.

I’m writing this post to keep this resolution! If you’re interested in my thoughts on the one-week practice, check out my reflection part below!

By the way, I went back home last week, and enjoyed an exhibition of Dong Qichang in Shang hai!

My reflection

I have to say, becoming a stickler is so difficult for me.

Paying too much attention to the destination —— in other words, my goals, somehow makes me stressed.

I feel as if I were in debt when thinking of those specific numbers I gave myself, like an hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes.

Perfectionism forces me to strictly spend enough time on those tasks while procrastination or other things make daily task more difficult to finish than I expected. Often times, What I thought would be finished by 1:00 p.m. was actually completed at about 5:00 p.m.

Some plans that actually become my habits, like learning English, are easy for me to stick to, whereas something I really want to avoid, like writing paper, is rather tough to do every day.

Also, it’s important to work on these plans first when I have time. Usually when I procrastinate them until bedtime, I feel as if I’m trying to meet the deadline!

In addition, it’s good to read books before go to bed, but not the books that get my noggin jogging.

I find that high-quality time when I’m really focused is not that much as I expected before. Even if I’m free all day, I still can’t be industrious all the time, not even for six hours in one day.

It’s frustrating, but I need to be come to terms with the fact. After all, we need some time to just clear our mind, or embrace unexpected things from time to time.

I’ll be more flexible. I remember it took me over one year to make learning English a part of my daily life. Since I’m still developing new habits, just working on them every day is fine. Let me put the precise numbers aside temporarily.

It’s a matter of balance. Take my time~~~

Thank you for reading my musings! How is your March going? Do you have any plans to stick to? How do you descipline yourself into finishing something you actually don’t like? Leave a comment down below!

I wish you all the best! More power to all of us!

Vera from China


My plans for March, 2019

So far It has been nine days since the new semester started. I said I would make some specific, actionable plans in my last post. Challenging ourselves is full of fun and yet never a smooth sailing. Considering my performance these days, I want to stick to several things as follows.

1. Health

(1) Go to bed before 11 p.m.

I know it might seem a cakewalk to some of you… But I always fail to do this… I can’t give up!

(2) Stand up and relax after sitting for a while from time to time.

(3) Take a walk every other day. It’s not difficult as long as I don’t order takeout as frequently as before…

2. Learning English

(1). Reading The Great Gatsby every day.

I’ve signed up for a reading project geared toward different levels of Chinese English learners which not only allows learners to read and listen, but also analyzes the book you read.

Dividing the content of three books into excerpts which can be read about 10 minutes every day, this reading project is a 100-day challenge. Though I find what I’m reading now —— The Great Gatsby, challenging for me, I really enjoy it.

(2). Finish an English online lesson every day.

This plan is about improving my listening and speaking. Speak, practice and have fun!

(3). Review for 15 minutes each day.

The piecemeal plans above are what I need to do to improve my English skills. In fact there are much more learning materials for me to learn, but I deside to focus on these three. According to my performance in the last few days, it takes me three hours and even more to get all of them done every day.

Having been on an language learning kick since last year, I’ve made it a habit to learn English. But I’m not efficient. Thus, it’s efficiency and remembering what I learn that I should focus on.

3. My essay

Complete my essay by March 20th.

To acheive this goal, I think I need to spend two hours a day working on it. A detailed plan need to be made, I won’t write it down here, though.

4. Reading and writing

(1). Read Chinese Literature for thirty minutes every day.

I’ve been reading books written by Long Yingtai recently. It’s amazing!

(2). Update a post every week.

That’s it. I suppose perhaps it’s too much for me… Just finishing what I must do will take me about six hours every. Am I unrealistic again?… I hope I don’t feel overwhelmed. Anyway, it’s an experiment that I can adjust according to real situation. But now, fingers crossed!

What do you plan to do this month? Leave a comment down below! Have a fantastic March, my friends!

Vera from China