From Static to Active: The Multiply Challenge (5x12x100)

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So… Hi! (this is not a journal entry Pat, don’t make it awkward)

These past few months (cough years) have been interesting and after a lot of wandering in the lower parts of the mood graph. I’m finally in a place in which I can be functional. Still, I’ve been kind of MIA and now that “I’m back” in a way, there are a couple of things I need to pick up where I started and some things that I need to start from scratch with my new acquired wisdom (can you tell I’m a Ravenclaw?) That’s when I decided to create the multiply challenge.

It was (and still is) a lot to deal with and kind of (really) overwhelming which is why instead of setting unrealistic expectations like I usually do. I set up a fully customized challenge for myself to work on the areas of my life that I felt needed some consistent attention.

Little Disclaimer

Little disclaimer for my peeps wanting to get their shit together as well. All of these came about in a few months of getting my shit together after almost 2 years of the lowest of the lows and a decade of therapy. I’m in a phase in which this makes sense for me to get back on track.

The only reason why I’m doing this challenge is for myself and because I know that I’m in a place where I can accomplish it. A year ago I probably wouldn’t have been able to do these tasks, not even on day 1, and would’ve postponed it to no end. In this moment in time, I felt like I needed something like this challenge to give me the little push to do the things that I want but there are moments for everything in life.

Sometimes you just gotta focus on your health or bettering your relationships or just do your best to embrace existence and go day by day.

While I’ve been through the lows, I often beached myself just because I wasn’t “doing anything” and I felt like I was just existing. After a lot of time in that state, I realized that that was just the way it was supposed to be. And by that I don’t mean it doesn’t suck because it does but in those lows things are tough enough, I don’t need to add self-judgement to spice it up.

The Multiply Challenge

I don’t know about you (🎶but I’m feeling 22🎶) but no matter how much I want to get something done or do an activity that will make me happy, procrastination tends to get the best of me. Starting tends to be the toughest part because once I get started on the activity, let’s say for instance reading, I get carried away and can continue the activity and enjoying it.

This made me realize that I needed to work with my strengths and other traits to get around this bad habit. That’s when I came up with the idea of the 5x12x100. It basically consists of 5 minutes I will spend on each of 12 activities for 100 days. That way, if I’m feeling great, I may get carried away with the activity and get some progress on specific projects and if I’m not feeling great or inspired by the activity, I’ll be good to go after just 5 minutes.

As long as I get done the 5 minutes of the activity, I’ve accomplished the challenge. This will help whenever I feel like procrastinating or just ditching the activity altogether because I just tell myself that it’s just 5 minutes and after that is good.

You may be wondering what are these so renowned activities? Well, thanks for asking, I’ll gladly oblige and tell you.

The 12 Activities

All of the activities are health related to some extent. Whether it be physical or mental health, I wanted to make sure these activities, no matter how small, would improve these two sides of my life.

  1. stretch
    • I stretch mainly for 2 reasons. One, to warm up my muscles for exercise, and two, to ease my back and head aches.
  2. silly dancing
    • Though this could be considered an exercise activity, I wanted this activity as a mood booster and just because it’s fun. When I say silly I mean the cha cha slide, la macarena, dancing like Ally Dawson from Austen & Ally (if you know, you know).
  3. exercise
    • Something that I’ve realized in some of my lowest points when I feel like I need to do something but cannot manage to get out of bed to do any activity that will bring me happiness, is that for some reason, exercise is a thing that I can get up for in those times when I’m paralyzed in anxiety.
  4. karaoke
    • This activity goes along the same lines of silly dancing, it’s mostly there as a mood booster. Also, I sing every single day while going about things so it’s an instant checked off to do.
  5. write
    • When I say write I don’t mean any type of writing like a grocery list or a journal entry. This activity is focused on creative writing and that can be a poem, a script, a story, anything really that requires any sort of creativity and that could eventually become a published piece of writing in its original for or through a video script.
  6. edit
    • Thanks to this activity, you’re seeing this video. I really enjoy editing but like with most tasks, I get overwhelmed by the idea of it and the amount of time it requires and just procrastinate on it to no end. The hardest part is connecting my hard drive and opening the editing software; once I have the timeline in front of me I get carried away with editing and can manage to get a lot of progress done without being aware of the time I spent on it and it makes me feel accomplished.
  7. draw
    • I really believe that practice is the best way to make progress and one thing that I really want to improve my skills on is drawing. Mostly because I just enjoy the activity and improving my skills will make easier my process of putting my mental images down on paper. For the past few years I’ve used simple blank notebooks as sketchbooks and medibang for digital illustrations. I recently got procreate on the iPad to be able to rename my files and arrange them in a more sensical way and it was and it still is a bit of a learning curve from using MediBang.
  8. Duolingo
    • My Duo birdie. He and I have a love hate relationship but it’s mostly for shits and giggles because his status on the widget are so dramatic, they honestly make my day and annoy me at the same time because “Why does that bird have so much personality?”. I just banter a lot with Duo.
  9. study
    • This is a bit of a first come first serve. When I say study I don’t particularly mean academic studies but more random yet specific topics that interest me. For instance, one of the many things I love learning about is bees. So, for this activity I could choose to do some research on bees or watch an animal documentary. I could also research a certain craft that I’m interested in. One thing that I got is a couple of books on creative writing so reading or annotating those books would be considered time for this activity.
  10. music
    • In high school, I studied music theory as an elective and learned a bit of piano. Something I’ve always had on my list of goals is to properly learn to play piano and while in high school I learned the best way to master any skill is to practice so that’s why I added this activity to the list. First, I’ll be focusing on reviewing the theory I already know and make sure I know how to read scores to then move onto practicing piano exercises and lastly, learn a few songs.
  11. read
    • One of my favorite activities of all time but for some reason, I find it really difficult to pick up the book I intend on reading. But then, when I end up picking it up, I don’t stop reading so it’s a matter of starting because I do really enjoy reading.
  12. journal
    • My memory is not the best in terms of not knowing what I’ve done the past week or even yesterday if I don’t write it down. Like it will literally be gone if I don’t write it down.

Challenge Rules

You already know about the 5 minutes, but I added some extra rules just in case to cover my base. These rules really came in handy to make sure that I didn’t go through any loopholes and not do it properly.

  1. First, it must be completed within the 24 hours of the day (my time) and the reason for this rule is because I could’ve easily said: “well, I haven’t gone to sleep yet so my day isn’t over” or “it’s today in another time zone”.
    • A little bit of a loophole I found with this rule is with the workout related activities. If I completed the workout activities that take around 15 minutes and I started them around 11:40PM I could just stay in my workout clothes, wait until 12AM, and redo the same 15 minutes of workout and that way I wouldn’t have to sweat twice. I just really dislike sweating and though I enjoy the workout activities, I’ll be happy to not sweat at 2 different times. I’m quite proud of myself for figuring out this loophole.
  2. Second, the time cannot be accumulated throughout a period of time. There’s no catching up. For instance, if I wanted to not read today, I could’ve been like “I could read 10 minutes tomorrow to catch up for today’s reading session.” That’s not happening here baby!

This set of rules made sure of me sticking to the purpose of this challenge which is to do these activities on a daily basis. Not the time I accumulated throughout the week or within a session of me being awake.

To be honest though, part of me thinks these rules are genius and the other part of me wants to slap my past self for setting these up because even on day one, I wanted to set up a loophole shenanigan and that just would defeat the point of this challenge.

Wins

This challenge also somehow increased my confidence in myself as it made me realize how much I know myself and the way I work around things.

A week into this realization I still maintain my view on how much this challenge has really improved my day to day. It has somehow become something that energizes me and no longer something that takes energy but gives it back to me times fold. This is really exciting for me because now, whenever I’m not feeling great, I not only have the commitment to work on this challenge but also the reward it gives in energy and mood. I really wasn’t expecting it so it’s really a sweet side effect of it.

This challenge has also made me more committed to myself and by keeping up with this commitment, I take myself and my goals more seriously. Not only that but my confidence in my abilities has improved greatly and though it sounds cheesy and kind of dramatic; I’m just genuinely grateful for everything I’ve been getting out of this challenge.

Biggest wins from this challenge:

  1. renewed and improved confidence in myself.
  2. better mental and physical health.
  3. improved mood.
  4. built discipline.
  5. made progress on things that matter to me.

Tracking System

Now, I couldn’t just have this challenge for myself with no way of tracking it and I love me a good journaling and planning system. I’ve combined a digital and analog system to adjust to me as I see fit. The digital mostly consists of DayOne. It’s a great journaling app and in it, I put a little title to the day at the end of it and made a checklist of each of the activities. Below them, I a bullet point describing more in depth what exactly I did for the activity. For instance, below reading, I would write down the book I was reading and with editing, what video I was editing and so on and so forth.

I realized that I also needed something analog (unsurprisingly) to check off and visualize my progress on this challenge and I knew that a traditional habit tracker wouldn’t do. In my sketchbook, I put a calendar of the months the challenge would be taking place in and wrote the dates in the upper corner of each box and with a marker, wrote the number of day of the challenge. With that, as each day passes, I check off the day as done.

This will be it for this post, though it won’t be the last of getting my shit together because again, is there such a thing as having everything in order? This was a really fun project and I’m happy that it’s the first one I’m sharing after a long while.

I know this was a long and hefty video so thank you so much for watching. I hope you liked it! If you did, make sure to give it a thumb’s up, subscribe, and click the bell of notifications so that you get notified every time I upload a new video.

Be Yourself, Be Happy, Be Human.
Lots of love, Patrick.

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