The Dream+Flow (previously titled “Plan”) for this cycle/108 (One Oh Eight) is being posted late. I like to get these done before Day 1 of the 108 but it’s Day 23 right now. I’m pretty excited about this 108 for a number of reasons. Let’s start with the new title…
For the previous 4 cycles (4 to 7) I labeled the start of a new Cycle X Plan. Before that (A to D and 1 to 3) I used a title for the start of a new cycle. For example, the start of cycle A, the beginning of these 108-day adventures, is ”Day 1: Flow to Your Dream”. Beginning today I’m going to use “Cycle X: Dream+Flow (Title)”.
Just using “Plan” was kind of flawed. If we use my last cycle as an example, there aren’t any clear goals laid out. This is true for Cycles 4 to 6 as well. Actually… reflecting on it now, and going over my notes, I suppose it wasn’t actually a flaw. The lack of goals was by design. The first sentence of my reflection of Cycle C is “With this 108 I ditched goals and focused on the process.” I suppose ever since then I primarily focused on Flow (the process). Since that was the case, I take it back… “Plan” was the right language to use as I was solely focused on executing my daily Flow. This cycle is a big deal as it’s the first one, in a long time, where I’m formally introducing goals (Dream). What’s also a big deal is the syntax upgrade. Now I’m using language directly connected to my personal philosophy (Dream and Flow).
That’s the first thing I’m excited about. The syntax change and what it means…
Cycle 8 Plan | Cycle 8: Dream+Flow (Don’t Be Crazy)
Mastery of Flow
This is the second thing I’m excited about. Everything kind of fell apart the last cycle. An injury messed up my keystone habit, running. Everything was kind of built around running. When the running stopped I ended up letting everything stop and I never started things up again until Day 1 of this cycle. The day before this cycle is where I experienced my mastery of Flow.
At the end of the last cycle I didn’t have any daily habits going. All I was doing was playing a lot of video games and gaining weight. I didn’t really do any reflecting during the reflection period either. The only thing I had planned was cutting out refined sugar in solidarity with my wife who decided that was something she was going to do this cycle. A week before the 108 started I had the thought that I could swim since I still couldn’t run so I went to a local pool and for a test to see if my injury got in the way of that. It didn’t. Then, a day before the cycle began I…
- Updated my habit app
- Decided that I was going to meditate and journal every day
- Decided that I wanted to lose weight and made a simple plan for that (intermittent fasting)
- Decided I was going to read and study Chinese every day (even if it was only a single page and a single character)
- Decided I was going to do a stretching routine every day
- Decided I was going to swim M to F every week
In the span of an hour or so I went from having no plan (no Flow) to having a pretty robust one. The only reason this was possible is because of how focused I’ve been on mastering the art of Flow for the past 3 years. Now it’s Day 23 of this cycle and I haven’t missed a beat.
The reason I decided to master the art of Flow is because it’s the essential component of achieving any goal or making any Dream come true. Want to lose weight? What you do every day will determine your success. Want to make more money? How you spend time each day will determine what happens. Whether you get what you want in life is mainly dependent on how you spend your time every day. It’s the only thing you have any real “control” over. There are countless other factors which contribute to this… your genes, your race and culture, the country you live in, the language you speak, your sexual orientation, your sex, etc. etc. These things are out of your control, the only thing you have a bit of control over is how you spend your days.
The other critical element about Flow is… it’s also what you experience! You don’t live the life of your Dreams. You live the life of your Flow! What’s the point of having a big Dream if the life you experience reaching it is a slogfest? Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes a slogfest can be very fulfilling. If you’re trying to end world hunger or save the rainforests and it’s a slogfest, the joy derived from making progress probably makes it worth it. If your goal is something like “having a million dollars” and it’s a slogfest getting there… What’s the point? You don’t experience a million dollars, you experience the effort of making it. Might as well enjoy yourself on the way there!
I’m straying pretty far off topic, but I also want to add that Flow doesn’t mean not working hard. Another key element of Flow is the flow state. This is often triggered by doing hard work! Writing, martial arts, running, dancing, lifting weights, swimming, painting, playing or writing music… Hard work often helps you experience Flow.
Hard work also lets you experience the highest level of Flow. Living an “effortless” life regardless of what stage of life you’re in. The secret is effortlessness comes from lots of effort! Let’s take LeBron James or Steph Curry as examples. They make EXTREMELY hard things look effortless. Why? Through TONS of efforts off the court!
The interesting thing about life is you never leave the court! You perform and practice in the same space… I’ve gone way way off topic… All I wanted to say is that I was extremely excited about how quickly I went from having no Flow to a really nice one.
Dream is the language I use for goals. Goals are often stuffy, boring dreams. Things like “lose 10 pounds” or “make $5,000/month”. Goals are really important to have but at the end of the day, goals serve a Dream. Losing 10 pounds could be associated with a Dream of looking better. It could also be associated with a Dream of being healthier. To me the Dream is the eagle eye view of what you want your life to look like. Then you break it down into smaller dreams/goals. Then those get broken down into a Flow. For example, being a New York Times best selling author gets broken down into a Flow of regular writing to begin with.
Basically your Dream informs your Flow. What’s funny about what I experienced while writing this is that my Dream was having some mastery over Flow. This mastery over Flow is really a part of a larger more complex Dream which involves having communities, physical spaces, apps, books, courses, seminars, etc. etc. but… I determined that if I’m going to be a guy that builds all of these things around the concept of Flowing to a Dream I better have some mastery over Flow! Having mastery over Dreaming is equally important, but it’s a much easier thing to refine than Flowing. I just laid down a lot of words before getting into the Cycle 8 Dream+Flow. Let’s get to it!
Cycle 8: Dream+Flow
Don’t Be Crazy
At the beginning of this cycle I only had one Dream in mind, “Don’t be crazy”. Being crazy is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. Not the cool kind of crazy, although I have that as well. 🙂 The manic, end up the mental hospital, kind of crazy. This kind of crazy is extremely disruptive to my life, Flow, and Dream. A manic episode will take you from having too many dreams and a way too intense Flow to having no dreams, maybe even dreaming about suicide, and a Flow so low that you’re unable to do simple things like shower and shave.
I specifically have “Don’t be crazy” as a goal for this cycle because this is the time of year when I historically have had problems with managing my energy. I believe I can come up with systems to totally avoid going to the hospital AND disrupting my life and the lives of the people around me and this cycle I want to make sure I’m doing those things.
- Meditate daily
- Journal daily
- Track mood
Journaling is probably the best indicator I have for where my mental health is. If I go through my old journals and compare them to when I end up having a manic episode there’s a clear pattern that emerges. My handwriting gets strange, I start missing days, I start obsessing over numbers, and I start doodling weird stuff. Meditation helps keep me centered and if I start losing the capacity to meditate it could be an indication of an elevated mood. Finally, using a mood tracking app specifically designed for people with mental health issues. It will be another way to see patterns emerging and make lifestyle adjustments if needed.
Weight 88 kg
This goal came out of nowhere. On Day 1 I decided to lose the weight I gained from being injured. 88 kg might actually be a little too low, but it’s the target I randomly came up with. Here’s the Instagram post I made about it.
- Intermittent fasting a minimum of 16 hours
- Exercise M to F
- Weigh myself daily
I’m tracking my intermittent fasts with an app called Zero. I’m using the free version just for the fasting timer. This will help with calorie restriction without trying to count calories and there are also health benefits associated with fasting. Something an interesting result from fasting, especially after longer fasts (20+ hours) is that I naturally want to eat healthier. Eating garbage after not eating all day just doesn’t feel right.
Regular exercise is just good for your health! It also helps out with burning some additional calories. I originally was swimming every day but COVID restrictions closed the pools. Now I’m biking and if restrictions get more serious I’m prepared to come up with a home exercise routine.
Weighing myself daily is just so I can see if what I’m doing is having an impact. I weigh myself at the same time each morning after using the bathroom.
Create a Mini Dream+Flow Course
This one just popped up on my radar a couple days ago. For most of my adult life I’ve juggled too many projects at once. When I miltownkid zooming, I also had about a billion other ideas that I was working on… Pwning Life, MyDeadXbox (gaming channel), emKid (personal vlogging), MilTownKlan (community), Digital Budo (kind of like Pwning Life… but different), The Pwning Network… the list went on and on.
Even recently I’ve had too many things going on, but I thought I was being focused (compared to my usual state). There was Being Bipolar, Black Horse Tai Chi, Black Lives Matter (Milwaukee and Taiwan), Flow to Your Dream, and Casey Abbott Payne. I was thinking about going miltownkid again and start streaming, making YouTube videos (properly edited and scripted), etc. It’s taken me time but I’ve finally settled on THE ONE THING: Flow to Your Dream.
I want to set up a squeeze page, an email series, some videos to go with them, and an ad (for Facebook or YouTube). Nothing super fancy, just something to get the ball rolling. The idea being that if I have all of those things ready for the next cycle then I can run ads and build an email list to sell the 108-day challenge that will start January 1st of 2022 when everyone is in New Year’s Resolution mode.
- Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day M to F
This time can be spent doing anything from writing, to reading, to investigating different tools I might use (like for email marketing). Whatever I have at the end of the cycle I’ll use for marketing during the next cycle.