Getting ready for the February Challenge and Two Other Challenges

I'll be starting two long term challenges in February - one on the 1st, and one on the 7th, as well as my normally planned 30 day (ok, 29 day this time) challenges.

First, I'll be waking up at 6am for days I'm going to work, and waking up at 7am for days I am not going to work. I'll be going to bed each day so I get chance to sleep at least 8 hours - likely 10pm or 11pm. To help me, I've purchased a light that gets brighter the closer it gets to the alarm I've set for it. I'll also have some Zzzquil around in case I didn't get 8 hours the night before.

The other challenge will be regarding SQL exam training. I'm going to go through several Pluralsight courses, and the Exam Ref book, and start taking practice tests for 70-764. Luckily almost no one reads my blog, so I could talk about the things I learned without fear of losing readership. I'm giving myself two months to study for this exam as I've not taken a Microsoft certification exam before and don't know what to expect. I have yet to figure out what habits I need to start to get myself in a good spot - I don't remember doing too much studying in high school or college.

The next challenge isn't a challenge, but more of a lifestyle change. I'm getting Invisalign braces on February 7th and will have them until August of 2021. I'll be sticking with them this time around - and I don't have a job where I'll have to talk on the phone all the time like I had to last time. It was the reason why I didn't stick with it 10 years ago - people couldn't understand me, and all my coworkers were in other parts of Ohio. My only concern is not drinking enough, because I can't drink hot tea all day like I do now in an effort to not continually collect kidney stones. Perhaps I'll go find some white tea and make sure it's just rather warm instead of really hot. I can increase my seltzer water consumption and buy some that is not flavored. I also likely not drink coffee. When I had Invisalign the first time around, I wasn't a coffee drinker. I'll talk to the orthodontist on what he recommends. I know I can take the trays out and drink what I would like, then brush my teeth and put them back in, but I'm a slow drinker. I drink coffee to savor the taste while I read or write code. I don't drink it for the caffeine. I've not drank coffee for a few days in between and not felt any different. I'm going to buy several packs of Glide floss and some toothbrushes just so I don't have to realize I don't have what I need when I'm out and about after eating dinner at a restaurant.

The final challenge is stupid. I've created a good habit sometime in 2013, but then it became a monster. I started down the personal finance road, which is a good way to live - spend your money on things you value, and cut back on things you do not care about. It's important to track your expenses and income and investments, and tweak things on the way. I read a ton of books, subscribed to many blogs and a few forums, and got into the habit of checking my accounts too much. Even others on the forums joked that they had the same issue. It wasn't like they were going to do anything with the information more than quarterly at best, and I'm feeling the same way. I tried to not look at my investments except for monthly, and that has just slipped. I'm back to looking every day. No reason. I am not going to change my investments. I'm not going to increase my deposits. I'm not going to make any withdrawals except for in an emergency. There is literally no reason to check my investment accounts with the exception of logging in once a month to make sure there was no unauthorized access. And, when I was in the middle of my separation during 2018, I stopped tracking my accounts because I didn't want to look. I wasn't making any deposits and everything there was already properly allocated. For 8 months, I just looked at my checking account, made sure it had enough money to cover my bills, then left the bank website. I want to get rid of this habit and just not check for months, but I think the fear of unauthorized access will get me to look once a month. It would still be better than the nonsense I do now. I think I'll also remove myself from the finance forums and blogs and subscribe to SQL or piano or music theory blogs instead. Hopefully, I'll latch onto those and learn a lot in the same manner I learned personal finance. ...We'll see.

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