February 2015 was a success – albeit smaller than I had hoped – but I managed to work in the direction of my goals.
The big event this month was that we finally sent off our manuscript. A brief explanation – as some of you may know, I work as a biological researcher at New York University. I am interested in the mechanisms that enable blood vessels to grow into the brain, and we found several genes that are necessary for the process. Excitingly, one of those genes is involved in a lot of different types of cancer!
Of course, even though the research will hopefully eventually benefit humans, we can’t really experiment on human subjects. Instead, we use zebrafish, that have blood vessels very similar to humans, as model organisms. We basically switch different genes on and off and use a microscope to record whether blood vessels are still growing or not. These experiments take several days to finish, and all in all, our work was approximately 4 years in the making. Even though the finish was a bit stressful, we are proud.
I am also happy, however, that I can go back to a normal blog post publishing schedule in march.
Two months gone in my challenge “One Year Of Discipline” – based on Victor Pride’s book 30 Days of Discipline and multiplied by 12.
As a brief explanation, “30 Days of Discipline” basically is a collection of 10 habits – some of which relatively easy, some of which hard work, depending on your personality. Those routines prime yourself for a successful day, and you can tackle your main project(s) (habit #11) heads on and efficiently. It has continued to work nicely for me and produced some good results, as you can see below.
These are my goals and performances in February 2015.
#1 – Career
(a) Lab work
As mentioned above, we finished our manuscript and sent it in for review.
The last week in february was quite daunting and stressful, because – well, because working on a manuscript always gets crazy when it comes to the actual submission.
You go back and forth between figures and text, then for some reason you realize there is a glitch in on elf the graphics and you have to redo it etc. In the end, the biggest challenge was shortening the manuscript from 11.000 to 7.000 words. And when you believe this will “only take 15 minutes”, your WRONG. Dead wrong.
But eventually, we finished. Now, we are waiting for the review process to finish – in all likelihood, the manuscript will come back to us, and we have to implement further experiments. For now, though, we have some quiet calmness.
(b) This blog
I did not keep up very well with the blog, due to bad planning on my part. I kept a daily list, but I wasn’t following it very efficiently – it took me too long to transition between tasks. In the end, that did not leave enough time for writing blog posts.
These are the plans I had by the end of january. I believe they are still doable if I focus more, so I will give the list another shot.
(a) I will keep my daily journal posts, but I will write a shorter blurb and focus more on my impressions and thoughts about the daily disciplines and what I want to improve. Thus, the journal will reflect more of my personal journey.
(b) I will still include pictures, but I will choose some from my own stash of photos, instead of scouring the internet for hours on end.
(c) I will keep the daily YouTube videos.
(d) I will only post 2 or 3 articles of a more general interest per week. That gives me time to do research, arrange graphics and thoroughly edit the article before publishing. I can already write the drafts on the weekend and then edit them during the week.
(e) The topics I wrote about were all over the place. I want to make that more homogenous. So I will focus on one – two topics each month to write about. An initial idea would be (#1) happiness and what it means for me; (#2) book reviews and biographies. (#3) articles about science. Politics, interesting research, careers.
Those plans will allow me to grow my blog, while at the same time continue working my job as a biologist.
#2 – Health
Pictures from the beginning and the end of February – frontal view:
Unfortunately, not much of a change. Let’s see whether this will get better in March!
The daily calisthenics in the morning went ok. Currently, I am at 44 complete push-ups – nose touching the ground. If I could increase that to 75 by the end of March, that would be fantastic.
Of course, the total number of push-ups, squats and sit-ups will be at 120 each.
Not much has changed. I only went from 22.2% down to 20.9%. Roughly 1% loss in less than 30 days.
I did not have enough sleep, I ate too irregularly during manuscript submission. That might have slowed down my progress. Relatively easy to fix now that we have submitted the manuscript.
I stopped with the juicing during most of february. I will pick that habit back up in March.
Simply stated: not enough. Irregular sleep times. I will get myself back to 6 hours sleep per night during March.
#3 – Social Life
(a) Friends and family
Not a good job with keeping up. This will be different in March. It may seem strange, but I have to put those phone calls on my “to-do list”, else I forget them or do not find the time.
Went pretty well, we frequently went for coffee to talk more about the manuscript.
#4 – Habits
1. Eat three meals or less: I never ate less than three meals, but also not more. Those meals were not always very healthy, a lot of mozzarella with tomatoes, not enough steak with eggs and vegetables.
2. Get up between 5 and 7 am: Got to bed too late often, got up around 7 am. This will change in March.
3. Cold showers: Always, no matter HOW cold it was outside… I realized that the showers at the institute apartments are much more comfortable, because they push out the cold water with pressure. At home, less water pressure means that the cold water hits my skin much more intensely.
4. No Porn and Masturbation: check.
5. 100 push-ups/squats/sit-ups minimum: 120 each, every day.
6. Dress to impress, dress for success: Always.
7. Make a to-do list: Never failed to do.
8. Stand tall and proud: I do that automatically now.
9. No excuses/explanations/BS: Check.
10. Keep those ideas written down: I continued to write down my ideas.
11. My purpose: Blog and lab work. Almost no time for anything else – even the commute is filled with reading.
To check the description of the “One Year of Discipline” challenge, click here.
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