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Getting inspired back

Thursday, November 01, 2012

So here I am in Stoccholm, Sweden, for an organization development conference. Tonight I slept at a friend, with whom I studied coaching/OD together in the last 1.5 years. In the program, we used to run together in the mornings, before the classes, so I asked her how about a run in the morning, as we used to do.

I was hesitating a lot to get up or to sleep. Last night I had only 5 h sleep, and now only 6h. Usually, I prioritize sleep first. But then, I woke up anyway, so it was not much effort anyway to get up.

And we had such a fascinating run together! She showed me downtown Stockholm, around the lake, the famous hall where the Nobel prize winners get their special celebration dinner, the city hall. This place just looks gorgeous.

During the run, we talked about POSE running, what it takes to learn it, challenges, advantages.

For breakfast, she had a powerful surprise for me.

On the program, I kept proactively asking the faculty to organize fruits and vegetables for the coffee breaks. Each time we had the next week of courses coming, a few weeks before I wrote them to please don't forget the fruits for the coffee breaks. As a result, we had fruits all the time, and we enjoyed it so much.
And funnily, people attending other programs in the same hotel/building were envy to us, how that we have fruits and they don't.

So, she remembered how much I like to have fruits, even when I'm travelling, and she bought this whole basket of fruits to have it for the breakfast when I'm here.

I'm touched!

And I am just amazed, how this circle works. I work on changing myself, step-by-step. Others get inspired around me, slowly. And then, it comes back to me, they inspire me back.

My take away?
It does matter with whom I choose to get surrounded by. Since I run, I have friends who also happen to run, and put effort into living healthy.

Now both of us feel great and energized, and happy for this perfect start of the day.

Whom do you inspire around you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 11/3/2012 5:58AM

    Must remember to bring that up again for our next teachers' meeting. I have volunteered to get the snacks and make sure to get fruit, but the secretary who usually does it always buys junk. Thanks for the reminder!

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KRISZTA11 11/1/2012 10:08AM

    I'm so glad to hear from you!
Your trick asking the organizers to provide fruits during coffee breaks is my favorite...
Normally they serve candies, biscuits, chocolate, crackers and so on, something you don't need sitting all day, and having had some nice breakfast&lunch at the hotel - unless you want to fall asleep during the presentation. Fruits make the difference!

It is amazing how motivation spreads...

Try to catch up on your sleep!


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SWEDE_SU 11/1/2012 4:58AM

    oh my, stockholm!! one of my favorite places to run:-) and i love the fruit bowl! and the inspiration - isn't it great when others also start to see health around them! emoticon

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TCANNO 11/1/2012 4:54AM


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Fastest Ever

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yesterday, I had a business meeting in Vienna and I used the opportunity to stay for the weekly POSE-running workshop. Every Wednesday night there is a possibility to train with coach Andy.

I did the POSE training in June, and then the triathlon training with dr. Romanov himself in September (which I want to cover in a blog, too). I am practicing since then almost every day, but somehow, my technique didn't click, and I needed the trained eye.

Stretching, warm up run, drills, and then interval training. Strangely, I loved the drills, especially the SpeedRope ones, they give variety to my running exercise.

Intervals were 4 times:
1_lap of 400m at near top speed, pause until heart rate drops below 120 bpm (2 min)

When I need more than 3-4 min to settle back below 120 bpm, then I know my aerobic capacity for that day is over. :-)

I did all laps with focus on executing the technique well, pull, pull, pull.
I had a good rythm, had my cadence high enough, and kept my stride length short enough. My heart rate was going up to 185, but it didn't feel extreme, just high.

I had to correct was the pull of my ankles too high. Andy told me I pulled so high as I would run with 3 min/K.

After the 4th lap, I was thinking about how much I enjoy this company, ambiance, the feedback, the run itself. And on top of it, even just with and hour of training, my technique improved a lot.

Then I glanced on endomondo on my phone, and boy I was surprised.

I was running with 4 min/K, and I didn't even feel it to be fast!

Key learning?
This pose technique works, I just have to keep on training.
As most things in the healthy life, this doesn't bring results from just overnight (as many people wish), but it works.

As for maintenance, an advantage I see on learning this technique that it has already shifted my focus from "just running" to "run well".
So it's not about whether I run or not, it's about getting better. It was intentional for me shift my focus by going for the POSE technique, but I never expected it to work so well.

What is your strategy for keeping up motivation?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IGSBETH 9/29/2012 2:17PM

    Way to go!

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/28/2012 1:47AM

    emoticon So encouraging! Keep up the great work!

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STRIVERONE 9/27/2012 5:36PM

    "Yupppiduppidoooo!" Indeed!
That's impressive.

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KFQUILTER 9/27/2012 4:54PM

    AWESOME JOB. Keep up the training. emoticon

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My Motivation Paradox

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last time I wrote about the habits that keep me strong, or those that I want to improve on.

However, there's one habit that has an even more powerful effect on me.
Not on just my healthy lifestyle, but on my whole life in general.

I have read in several articles that a new approach is needed when one reaches the Target Weight. It requires setting goals that are different from before, as the challenges are now different.

And the main challenge is motivation.

Instead of setting my focus on target weight, develop daily exercise, update nutrition routine or regularize sleep hours, my objective should be about something that has the healthy lifestyle as a "side effect". If I pursue my goal, the healthy life happens on the way.

I give it a lot of thought first, but surprisingly, it just emerged naturally.

In the past two years, as my friends saw the success of my healthy lifestyle, they come more and more for advice, tips, encouragement. And sometimes they asked me to join in on the way to give support on a consistent way.

This is not new to me, as I study coaching with Gestalt for the past two years, and I am involved in several coaching relationships myself. I enjoy coaching a lot, it gives so much results with little energy, and it is so much fun.

So the goal I set is to get engaged with others to support their healthy lifestyle development.

And this habit of supporting others seems to have the strongest effect on my healthy lifestyle. It gives me consistency, energy, fun. The paradox is that usually my target is to help someone to improve, but I noticed that it comes back, and I get changed during the process.

As I support someone to get in the daily dose of exercise, naturally, my exercise happens consistently in the same time.
When I listen to someone with active listening about the struggles to eat better, or to fit in exercise minutes, I discover that in fact I have those struggles, too.
When we brainstorm about how to organize healthy eating on business trips, the same practices happen on my own trips.
When we have a debate on how much calories are in a meal, and which one has more valuable ingredients, I pay more attention on those.

And when a friend reaches a healthy lifestyle goal, s/he gets motivated.
But what I observe is that in fact I get motivated in the same time.

Somehow, this became my most interesting healthy lifestyle habit.

I motivate others = I get motivated

And after sending a motivating message, I tend to scratch my head and just wonder:

So then, who's motivating who?

This is from Thursday, a powerwalk I made in Graz, next to the river Mur.

Whom do you help around you with healthy lifestyle development?
What effect has it on you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRIVERONE 9/18/2012 7:39PM

    That's a great philosophy. Where I might let myself down, my perceived obligation to others who might see me as an example keeps me moving forward. There is a Karmic reward in giving of yourself.

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WATERMELLEN 9/7/2012 8:41PM

    Great blog: motivating returns motivation, for sure.

And: thanks for your kind comment on my "grit" blog!

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PRAIRIECROCUS 8/20/2012 3:51PM

    Lovely blog !
emoticon for posting !

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EDELWEISS33 8/19/2012 10:11PM

    my fave motivator is my daughter. she was on track in high school and in the rotc. she has lots of good advice and invites me to exercise with her even though I am way out of shape and never have been in shape. she doesn't judge me. she just gets me to get doing some kind of exercise.

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ALDEBARANIAN 8/19/2012 7:20PM

    They always say that the teacher learns more than the student. Starr Daily used to say, "You're always 'inin' what you're 'outin'." Someplace back there I noticed that the one who anoints someone else with oil gets oil on themselves too.

It's good to be connected to a live wire like you.

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DESIDERATA~GIRL 8/19/2012 9:02AM

    That's very inspirational - I wish I could motivate others as you do! I don't like saying 'i wish' because it always sounds so empty because I could do it if I tried. But I don't really know how to motivate others tbh. There are several people in my family who are obese but would complain like hell if I tried to suggest they did x activity or should be eating more of y. Some people don't wanna be helped until they want themselves and ask for it. All I can do is to keep on my healthy eating and being active whislt allowing them to join in, but nothing deliberate or formal helping.

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SWEDE_SU 8/19/2012 6:21AM

    as another "newbie" to maintenance, i have been trying to figure out what comes next - your blog is wonderfully insightful, gives much food for thought. though i have not had as much weight to lose as many others have faced, it still was a challenge, and like many others, i have gained the same pounds back many times. trying to motivate others is a wonderful suggestion for staying on track to stay motivated.

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TINAJANE76 8/19/2012 6:04AM

    I think motivation is a reciprocal relationship. I love the idea that what I do inspires and helps other people for its own sake, but it also helps me to stay focused on reaching my own goals and keeps me accountable. I sure don't want to let down the people I've inspired by gaining all the weight back! As a maintainer who's lost a significant amounts of weight, I get friends, family, SparkFriends and sometimes even relative strangers asking for advice all the time. I know I don't have all the answers for everyone but am happy that I'm setting a positive example and inspiring others to live healthier lives.

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CLAIREINPARIS 8/19/2012 5:32AM

    This is so true and really interesting! Thank you.
I think for me, what I share the most (with my colleagues, friends, and Sparkfriends of course) is that exercise doesn't have to feel like exercise. A long hike feels more like discovery and fun to me, and yet it is exercise! This is what I share the most. That, and the need to understand oneself.

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GREENGENES 8/18/2012 2:42PM

    Great insight. Thanks for sharing. Very much in line with how I think about teaching. It sounds like a contradiction but my philosophy has evolved into "I teach, therefore I learn".

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LILY_SPARK 8/18/2012 11:15AM


I always say the best compliments I ever get are when somebody says that I inspired them or motivate them. BEST!

And you're right, they in turn motivate me, not only because it's a great compliment but if I'm having an "off" day or if I'm feeling "useless" or dejected about where I am one week, one of those coworkers or friends can share something they're working on (unrelated convo) and it fires me up again. Love it!

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BEATLETOT 8/18/2012 10:36AM

    Oliver, I love what you wrote...your friends and family are so lucky to have you!

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SUNSET09 8/18/2012 9:49AM

  This is a great reflection on motivation and what you can do to get motivated and to help others. We cannot stay where we are and expect things to change. When the weight is lost, we are no longer fat, when we run a few marathons we are now runners. and have to work harder to become faster and/or stronger. This is an eye opener for some. Thanx for sharing and being the coach that you are . emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CAPTHAMMER 8/18/2012 8:52AM

    Life is like a boomerang;
what you give, you get back!

For those of us that were able to watch you blossom as a Daisy, this seems a perfect progression of your abilities. You've always been a great motivator to all of us and I hope you continue to share your thoughts in frequent blogs. I learn so much from you (and you know I love your photos).

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WILSON1926 8/18/2012 7:04AM

    What a great post. Thank you so much

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    What a wonderful blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom. I'm new to Maintenance and have been really thinking about my new 'strategy' and have come to find that I don't really need to change all that much. The healthy habits I formed to reach my goal weight are the same habits I can apply for my healthy lifestyle going forward - some 'tweaking' here and there will be needed but it's not that far of a stretch.

I feel very strongly about living a life that sets an example for my children - all adults in their 20s - 3 married, 1 with a baby. I keep telling them to do their "future selves" a favor and take care of their young bodies now.

I'll be subscribing to your blog - thank you again, Pat emoticon

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EOWYN2424 8/18/2012 6:34AM

    Some people just won't admit they are overweight and need to lose weight. I've learnt to keep my mouth shut when it comes to them.

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The equation is simple

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The equation is simple.
Especially with the basics.

I drink enough = less cravings
I move enough = less cravings
I track my food = stay in budget
I sleep enough = less cravings
I eat fibers = feel satiety
I write blogs = get feedback
I'm active on forums = motivation up
I eat slowly = feel full with less
I skip sweets = feel full without extra snacks

Some of these are strong, some of these are less.

I noticed lately that my weight is going slightly up. Not much, I am between 75-77 kg in the past months.

When I follow my habits well, things keep in shape, when I don't it shows on my weight.

My mantra is that is shouldn't be about willpower. If it's about willpower, there is a high chance to fail. So, probably I have to review these habits, because they are not "habity" enough just to stay there.

I have habits that are strong, and I don't even think about them, and they just happen.
- Measuring my weight in the morning
- Exercising every day (min 10)
- Burn calories every week (3000-5000 kcal/week, by 30-60 min exercise per day)
- Reading motivating magazines/books/movies
- Measuring portions
- Reading labels
- Deciding on nutritional value
- Eating salad or similar for dinner
- Eating lots of vegetables and fruits
- Skipping salt
- Dark chocolate, yogurt, fruits for snack and desert
- Granola bars and müsli for breakfast
- Taking exercise gear with me when traveling
- Commuting by bike and walking (instead of driving)
- Motivating my self by coaching friends
- Having an exercise goal to follow
- Brushing teeth after breakfast
- Sleep 8h a day

I think the list of healthy things are really longer then the ones that need improvement.

This is the parliament in Budapest, Hungary. I was there last weekend, and I was wearing my running shoes for motivation for walking. It was great, I did several hours both days!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRAIRIECROCUS 8/21/2012 3:05AM

    emoticon List !
emoticon emoticon

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SHOOPETTE 8/18/2012 2:55AM

    Great List! and the parliament is beautiful!

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GREENGENES 8/16/2012 8:51PM

    Great stuff. Even good habits can be habit forming.

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KMICHA 8/16/2012 1:30PM

    What an awesome list Oliver! you have proven success . . . they are simple things, but they all pull together to work for your (our if we follow!) benefit! Thanks for sharing!!!

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STRIVERONE 8/16/2012 12:18PM

    What an excellent prescription for a healthy fit body. Would you mind my copying some of it into the forum on the LiveFitRevolution.org site. I'll credit you and link back to your blog.

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CLAIREINPARIS 8/16/2012 10:34AM

    The equation is simple indeed, and shows how well you have learned to know yourself over yourself and how well you know what works for you. Way to go!
And thank you for the beautiful photo of the Hungarian Parliament!

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BEATLETOT 8/16/2012 10:15AM

    Gorgeous photo!

Oh, and it's great to see you back! =)

Comment edited on: 8/16/2012 10:16:27 AM

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MARCIAC10 8/16/2012 8:52AM


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Conclusions of my 30 day trial on sleeping 8h per day

Saturday, July 07, 2012

On June 1st, I started a 30 day trial to experiment with sleeping 8h per day.
(Following the inspiration from Kriszta11.)

My conditions were:
- 8h, no matter what
- Preferably during the night, but I can catch up later during the day
- If not 8h on a given day, might add extra the next day to save it back
- Cannot stock sleep for the day ahead
- I do it for 30 days, and then decide what to do afterwards

I made a written contract for myself, and a tracking calendar, that I scotched next to my bed. I found an easy way to track the time spent sleeping during the day - I use a simple casio watch's stopper (15 USD - I got it from a friend as a gift).

I managed to sleep 8h almost every day. There were 3 days off, when I was on a conference, and our program was just too heavily charged. Start at 7.00am, and we were left to go to bed at 2300 in the evening. Of course, with shower, brushing teeth, changing clothes, some down time, etc. - 8h never fits in that.


1. My overall energy level increased tremendously
2. My after work head ache has gone
3. I am more active during the work day in general
4. I am more rested when back home after work, the recovery time is shorter
5. I learned to sleep with earplugs and eyeshades
6. When travelling, train, bus allows some extra sleeping time
7. My optimal time is around 7h20-7h30 minutes.
8. Sleeping exactly 8h can leave me more tired in the end
9. In general, the time lost by sleeping, is gained back by being more alive the other times
10. I eat less during the day - just less appetite
11. The saturday morning farmer's market under my window is not a challenge anymore - I just don't wake up, thanks to the earplugs
12. Earplugs also help me to sleep with the window open all night - fresh air is so much better (before I closed the window to cut out the noise of the square)

1. Fix time to go to bed at the same time of the day
2. Develop a go-to-bed routine, time it
3. I often wake up at night, would be interesting to experiment what influences this, and move towards sleeping the whole night trough
4. Optimise my sleeping cycle, to wake up at "refreshing" phases vs. "leaves me tired" phases
5. I tend to wake up at the same time in the morning, no matter how much sleep I had. To fit in enough sleep, I need to go to bed earlier.
6. One reason to stay up late is watching movies - probably shorter things, like TV series would fit better, to get the benefit of enjoying watching it, but not necessarily for 2+ hours.
7. I already don't drink coffee and coke after 3pm, but I should also limit exercise to max 3h before sleep. A decent evening run can keep me awake easily until 0200am.

If you want to try 8h sleeps, my recommendations:
1. Commit to do it over a periof of 30 days, no matter what
2. Set the start date, probably in a few days
3. Set the end date.
4. Prepare what you need to make it happen:
- earplugs (it took me 10 different brands to find a comfortable one: Macks silicone),
- eyeshades (the 3rd version was finally comfortable: Daydream B-1002),
- window covers,
- tracking calendar (self printed),
- alarm,
- stopwatch,
- new bed,
- calculate when you need to go to bed,
- which days will be hard
And get this done before you start, so when you have started, you have everything in place, and can focus on sleeping. Maybe allocate 30 min to prepare.

My contract

Stopwatch to track - I have about an hour to sleep for today to complete.

The Saturday morning farmer's market in Gleisdorf

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. I have been using ear plugs for years now, and there is no going back for me, I sleep so much better! And I do know that I need 8 hours of sleep to function well during the day, so I really try hard to get them.
Lovely pictures! What a pretty square and market!

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    emoticon Blog !
emoticon for posting !

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CUSH1932 7/26/2012 8:30AM

    great blog and the results are interesting and encouraging. emoticon

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SWAZY33 7/25/2012 9:11AM

    I love that you did this study on yourself :) and that you saw the overall improvement when you got the sleep!
I need 8-10 hours! I don't know how ppl function on less than 8...They would find me curled up under my desk! haha emoticon

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PETITFLOUR 7/15/2012 5:09PM

    Thanks for the insight. Well manged - loads of determination there :)

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    Very interesting blog. I usually wake up 3 or 4 times during the night, and if I am lucky, fall back to sleep. I have nights I don't sleep a wink. However, I just had my grandkids here for 2 weeks, and every night, I slept solidly from about 10:30 PM until 5:00 AM. They kept me busy all day, and I was just totally exhausted when I finally found my bed.
Gleisdorf? Would that be in Germany? Having been born and growing up in Germany, I wonder where it would be. I come from the "Bodensee".
BTW, your before, during and after pictures, are inspiring.

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STRIVERONE 7/7/2012 9:41PM

    That is a program I need to get on too. Being retired, I don't have much of an excuse for not doing it.

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DINGALLSTOO 7/7/2012 12:24PM

    way to go! ! emoticon

I think falling asleep in my easy chair is my problem, need to get in the bed

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ALDEBARANIAN 7/7/2012 10:16AM

    Good blog, and helpful.
I tried doing the sleep challenge, but it didn't work for me. Writing all that stuff just before going to bed amped me up so I couldn't sleep.

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KIM--POSSIBLE 7/7/2012 9:45AM

    Great blog! Interesting to see your reflections on the positive and negative changes you saw with this! Never thought about using earplugs, but with 4 kids upstairs and my bedroom being downstairs and my husband snoring, that might help!

I am going to track sleep for the rest of July and see how it impacts me. Will be good to do before school starts back! Thanks!

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MARCIAC10 7/7/2012 9:01AM

    I use a sleep mask and earplugs. Helps me to sleep better, too!

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BEATLETOT 7/7/2012 8:21AM

    Well-done!!! Bravo! What a cool, great experiment! Loved reading your insights!

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MARYDSAN 7/7/2012 8:19AM

    Thanks for the blog. We are shooting for 7-9 hrs of sleep this week (Zella pointed us to your blog-thanks, too, to her for that).

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KRISZTA11 7/7/2012 7:45AM

    How clever and well-planned experiment!
I'm glad it worked so well for you!
I didn't do it so nicely, just made 8 hours of sleep a priority.
It is often only 7 or 7.5 hours, but that's it.
6 or 5 hours of sleep is absolutely unacceptable for me, I would never do that...
And I lived on 6 or less hours of sleep for years!

Just like you, I found that 7.5 hours of sleep is good for me - but getting that in really really requires going to bed 8 hours before having to wake up.
It means I say no to my family when they want to see another episode of Weeds or Game of Thrones.
It means that if we visit friends, we leave before 11 p.m., or if not possible have an afternoon nap next day, and so on.
If we have guests who stay long, at 11 pm I say goodbye and go to bed.
It may seem rude, but that's better than lacking sleep and being really rude to everyone next day.

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GETSTRONGRRR 7/7/2012 7:44AM

    Great blog and great insights! Sleep is usually the first thing to go for me when I get busy at work....I've gone for weeks on 4-5 hours.

Let me see if I can experiment with this like you did.....nice job!

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KMICHA 7/7/2012 7:04AM

    Way to go! Thanks for the insight! Will you continue to strive for your optimum sleep time each night? This is one area that I most definitely need to work on! emoticon

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ZELLAZM 7/7/2012 4:45AM

    This a great blog post, Oliver. Brings conviction to me. I KNOW I need more sleep but a strategy for sleep is not in place. The new 5% LTGL challenge this week is sleep so your testimonial comes right on time! Time to learn again from "Mr. Strategy" aka HAKAPES! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/7/2012 4:46:02 AM

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