2014As New Year’s resolutions seem almost made to be broken, I thought that instead of making new New Year’s resolutions this year, as I have done in the past, I am going to set a more practical direction for this year. Instead of making a list of things that I will do “some time” during next year, I have made a list of skills and habits that I will work on for one month at a time.

The way this is going to work is that I will pick one skill or habit to focus on each month, and by the end of the year, hopefully some of these habits and skills will have stuck.

I won’t stop learning the skill or practicing the habit at the end of each month however, but instead add another skill to my repertoire to work on. What sticks will stick, what doesn’t feel worthwhile will fall away. If I throughout the month feel like I don’t want to continue, that is fine too, but at least I will have learned something.

stretchingThe first habit I will be working on is stretching. My goal is to stretch for about 20 minutes in the evening before going to bed. This is something I should have started with a long time ago, especially with how hard I have been working out. Better late than never, I suppose. I was reminded of how stiff I was and how necessary it is that I stretch when I made an offhand joke to a friend of mine that I don’t need to stretch, while at the gym. I thought about it afterwards and told myself that from now on, I will be stretching more. I never did. Now however, with the turn of the new year and in deciding that I will pursue one new habit each month, I felt it was time to get started once and for all.

Another habit I really want to set, is to get a proper morning routine. Right now my mornings mostly consist of me waking up to my alarm telling me that I need to wolf down some food and get out the door, which starts my day out in a rush. Instead, I want to wake up, do something productive, eat breakfast in peace and go to work without stressing. 

Other habits that I haven’t decided in which order to do yet, as I have the two first months planned, has still to be set. If you have any suggestions for skills or habits to work on, let me know and I might incorporate it into my list and into my schedule.

  • Improving my photographyimprove-photography
  • Write two new blog posts every month
  • Cooking better food
  • Learning to write short-hand
  • Learning to play poker well
  • Shoot well with bow and arrows
  • Become better at mental mathematics
  • Learning to beat-box
  • Learning some cool magic tricks
  • Improving various IT skills
  • Learning super-spy skills (à la Jason Bourne)

 

So, what skills and habits are you going to work on during 2014?

How will you make this your best year yet?

A lot has happened during 2013, and I just thought I would share a few of the highlights with you here.

The year started out pretty amazing, in India, where my wife and I had a wedding reception, as only her direct family had been able to attend our wedding in Sweden. I must say, an Indian wedding is pretty much wild! All in all, more than 700 people attended the two events that we had, and the venues were magical both times. The first event was what is called a Sangeet, where there is music, dancing and other festivities for the closest family members and friends. The second event was the proper reception where the extended family and circles of friends were invited.

Reception Venue

After returning to Sweden, life went back to it’s normal pace. However, in part due to a bad joke I had made during the trip to India, and in part due to the fact that I was actually putting on weight after quite some time of struggling with just that, I decided that I would be returning to the gym, harder than ever!

I set a bunch of fitness goals, that are on my Bucketlist and started working towards them. I told myself that this year, I would look ripped on the beach. Of course, that never happened, but I was continuously working towards that goal. By summer, I ended up looking quite fit, with a lot more muscle than I had ever had before, all while maintaining my weight. I started taking vitamin supplements, drinking protein shakes and generally trying to improve my health in every way I could. Your health is the most important thing in life. If you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to do anything as well as you could if you are. Also, on the first of October, I finally had my six pack! I still need to work hard on it to make it more visible, but I got the thumbs up from my gym partner to claim that I have one.

Apart from fitness, I have been working hard at ticking off other items on my Bucketlist, something that more and more is becoming something of an obsession. This year alone, I have ticked off 12 items from the ever growing list.

  • Taking my wife canoeing
  • Witnessing a meteor shower together with my wife
  • Learning to Juggle
  • Writing a killer CV
  • Running my first 5k race
  • Doing 20 consecutive chin-ups
  • Getting a six-pack
  • Doing 100 consecutive push ups
  • Doing 200 consecutive squats
  • Starting to properly learn Russian
  • Getting more than 500 daily visitors on my blog
  • Making $100+ through online work

Of course I have done many more things than these throughout the year, such as getting a new job, traveling to Latvia for our one year anniversary, and started training for the 60 km long Engelbrektsloppet ski race as well as the other Swedish Classic races, but this serves as a small highlight of what has happened during the year.

I am really optimistic and looking forward to what 2014 is going to bring. What I am sure about however is that it is going to be brilliant, a lot of work and so much of fun! I look forward to sharing more with you in the year to come!

Till then, have a wonderful day!

Today is a very special day from a numerological point of view. It is the last time for 90 years that a date can be written in a direct number sequence, with next time being in 2103/02/01.

As I have always found number sequences interesting and because today is such a special day, I planned something special to mark the occasion. Therefore, at 10:09 today, I did 100 push ups which has been on my bucketlist for quite some time, in order to make an interesting number sequence even more special, ending up with 13/12/11 10:09.

About three weeks ago I decided that I wanted to challenge myself a bit extra, so almost jokingly I told a friend of mine that I would do 100 push ups on the 11th December, which was about three weeks away at the time. As of saying that, my personal record was only 60 push ups, so in the last few weeks I have really tried to push my own limits.

All in all, I am extremely proud of this, even though this is definitely not going to be my max for long! I’ve caught a push up bug!

ESK_banner1I have decided together with a good friend of mine to complete one of the toughest series of endurance races available in Sweden, called A Swedish Classic (webpage in Swedish). It consists of four separate races that you have to complete within a 12 month span, in order for you to be able to say that you have completed a Swedish Classic. So far the Swedish Classic diploma has been awarded to 23’486 men and 4’959 women since it started in 1972.

Update: As we were too late to book ours slots for Vasaloppet 2014, we will start the Swedish Classic with the Vätternrundan race and complete Vasaloppet in 2015 instead. A positive thing about this is that we will get more time to prepare for the various different races, but it is too bad that we won’t be able to complete the whole thing during 2014.

Update 2: We were lucky enough to get tickets for an earlier race called Engelbrektsloppet, which also is a part of the Swedish Classic race, which means that we will be able to complete the Swedish Classic in 2014! This is so exciting! On another note, I have needed to buy new gear for almost all of these races, such as new skis and a racing bike for the 300 km long Vätternrundan!

The Swedish Classic races are:

Vasaloppet

logotype.vasaloppetThe race that we will be starting with is the ‘Vasaloppet’ cross country ski race, which is 90 km long. It is the oldest, the longest, and the biggest (in terms of participants, normally with over 15’000 people in the main race and an additional 60’000 in related races the same week) cross-country ski race in the world and has been a Swedish traditional race since 1922. The race is held in memory of the Swedish king Gustav Vasa, who fled towards Norway in 1521 on skis. Read more about Gustav Vasa here. The race annually has millions of people in Sweden as well as around the world hooked to the TV or radio and is one of the biggest sporting events of the year in Sweden. Read more about Vasaloppet on Wikipedia. Vasaloppet is held annually on the first Sunday of Mars.

Vätternrundan

VätternrundanVätternrundan is the world’s longest recreational bicycle race, 300 km or 186.4 miles long, circling the second largest lake in Sweden. The race isn’t officially a competition, but instead everybody receives an RF transponder so that they can find out their own race time. In 2011, 27’973 cyclists passed the finish line in the 30 hours that the race is going on for. During the race you can stop at any of the nine stop locations to receive water, food and a free massage and once you have completed the race you are awarded a medal, a diploma and a warm meal.  Read more about Vätternrundan on Wikipedia. Vätternrundan is held during the weekend before midsummer, ever since 1966.

Vansbrosimningen

VansbrosimningenThe Vansbrosimningen is a 3 km long race has been going on since 1950, with participants swimming with the current for around 2000 meters and then up against the current in an adjoining river. For the race in 2014, there are already 3643 people who have signed up as of the time that I’m writing this article. Read more about Vansbrosimningen on the official website (in Swedish).

Lidingöloppet

LidingoloppetIn 2014 Lidingöloppet celebrates it’s 50th anniversary, which makes it an even more special event. The race is a 30 km long cross country running event. During 2013 there were 43’500 participants in the race, making it the largest cross country running event in the world. Read more about Lidingöloppet on Wikipedia. Lidingöloppet is held annually on the last Saturday in September.

Preparation

As these races are all endurance races, we have both been training conditioning a lot, in addition to strength training during the summer. The summer’s training culminated in a short 5 km race on the 14th of September, where I due to stomach issues only was able to complete the race with a time of 29:56. Still, for my first ever race, it felt good to have finished in under 30 minutes.

I’m really excited to having committed to this project, so now I can’t wait for the snow to come so that I can start training skiing in anticipation of Vasaloppet. Of course I will keep you all update on the progress and the results of the races. Wish me luck!

I realize that I haven’t been writing for a very long time. There are several reasons for this, but I promise that I will write a few posts about what has been happening lately. I also know that I haven’t been writing any personal blog posts in almost a year, so I think that it’s time that they come back too.

new-year-new-job

One of the biggest things that have happened lately is that I have gotten a new job that I’m really excited about. I was unemployed for a few months during the summer, but I think that I used my time quite well.

For example, I had a lot of time to go to the gym, which really has started to show results; I have finally started to be able to see my six-pack abs! At the moment they can’t be seen all the time, so I still have some ways to go to improve that, but at least they’re there!

I filled my summer quite well with other activities as well, some of which I am planning to share with you here on the blog in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!

I am quite excited to having started writing again, so expect a few new blog posts soon!

If you have never tried to learn another script, anything that you see in a different script looks mysterious, strange and difficult to understand. There are many different kinds of scripts in the world, but few as simple as the Korean Hangul.

Creating Hangul

If you’ve seen the writing systems that look like strange scribbles from the far eastern countries, you probably also come across the Korean writing system known as Hangul. Hangul is actually a proper alphabet that was created rather than developed over time. The story goes that a Korean king named Sejong the Great wanted to promote literacy in Korea, especially among his own soldiers, and thought that the Chinese writing system (called hanzi in Chinese, hanja in Korean) was too complicated and didn’t properly correlate to the way Korean was spoken. He set up a competition for linguists to create a writing system specially designed for Korean, which was to be as simple as possible so that anyone could learn it. There were many scripts that were developed in this competition, and the Hangul we see now was elected the winner of the competition.

Well, if the idea was to make a simple writing system, why does it look so complicated, you may ask. Well it really isn’t complicated at all. You just haven’t tried to learn it yet, and as you know, anything you haven’t tried to learn could either be extremely complicated or very easy to learn. In this case, you just don’t know how easy it is just yet.

Hangul is Easy

I believe that anyone can learn to read and write Hangul in less than an hour, no matter what excuses you may come up with, that you just don’t have a mind for languages, that you are too old, or anything else. I also firmly believe that most people can learn it in 20 minutes or less. How cool wouldn’t it be if you could learn a completely new writing system in as much time as it takes to watch an episode of The Simpsons? Read More →

In my previous post about classic tie knots I showed you how to tie the four classical tie knots. In this post we will go well beyond the basics and focus on a few really cool looking tie knots that can best be described as exotic and definitely will draw attention.

Exotic tie knots that draw attention!

Never heard of a tie knot drawing attention before? Well, now you’re going to learn several that do. I have found these knots in various places on the internet and just like with the classic knots, I haven’t invented them myself, but they are nevertheless very cool.

The Eldredge Knot

We start off with my new favourite knot; The Eldredge knot. It looks pretty amazing, don’t you think?

eldredge-knot Read More →