I’m writing this post at a departure gate in Dublin airport, waiting for my flight back home to London Gatwick. It’s a nice feeling to be sat working on my blog whilst on the go and it feels quite appropriate to do so in light of the forthcoming fear-facing challenge I reveal below.

July has been a busy month and in this post I sum up how I’ve got on with the goals I set myself back at the end of June. To remind you, these were:

  1. To become an advanced early riser
  2. To set out my plan towards living a minimalistic life
  3. To reveal my ultimate fear-facing challenge
  4. To give my first presentation at a Toastmasters meeting

Becoming an advanced early riser

This one has been tough but ultimately rewarding. I chose this goal because of seriously low levels of energy and productivity. On a typical day, I drag myself out of bed in the morning feeling exhausted and depleted of energy. The rest of the day is then spent trying to wake myself up and as the day goes on I perk up, eventually finding myself with increasing amounts of energy in the evening. This then results in me then working until the early hours of the morning on my blog and associated projects. I then go to bed late and wake feeling exhausted to repeat the cycle all over again.

When I read about Steven Aitchison’s guide to becoming an advanced early riser and the promise of early, energetic and productive starts I knew I had to give it a try. There are lots of elements to becoming an advanced early riser and I’ve struggled to incorporate them all into my daily routine. To give you a flavour of just some of the many things suggested:

  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Cutting down on caffeine
  • Taking power naps
  • Using relaxation and meditation techniques morning and night
  • Keeping your sleeping area tidy

Despite the fact that I have failed to do all of these things consistently, I have managed to stick to these principles for about 10 out of the 31 days this month and I’m amazed by what happened on those days. Typically, I got up between 4.30-5am, made myself a cup of coffee and then checked my email and social networking accounts, responding to comments, emails and tweets until about 5.30am, then I would work on my to do list or latest post until around 6am, followed by a 15 minute meditation. At 6.15am I jumped in the shower and with plenty of time to spare I would get ready, eat breakfast and stroll to the station to catch the early train to work, getting me in 20 minutes before I was due to start. Rather than sleeping as I used to, I’ve been using the time on the train to work on my blog, read and listen to audio webinars arriving at work feeling able to focus on my day job rather than feel distracted by all the bits and pieces of outstanding work related to Life is Limitless.

What I can achieve in those few hours when it feels like the rest of the world is sleeping is something I never thought possible. I’ve loved working on this goal and whilst I don’t feel I have fully cracked it, I intend to continue following the guide until being an early riser feels like second nature to me.

My plan for living a minimalistic lifestyle

In a recent post titled ‘The first step in my bid for freedom’ I outline my plans to live a more minimalistic life. I won’t go over that plan again here but I can reveal that the biggest benefit of this plan for me is the freedom it gives me to live out and follow my dreams.

My ultimate fear-facing challenge

This shouldn’t be a surprise to many as I’ve hinted about it for months on and off this blog. My ultimate fear-facing challenge is as follows:

In February 2012 (in six and half months), I will leave my job and the life I currently have to travel around the world for a minimum of 12 months. During that time, as well as travelling, I will be working towards the goal of turning this blog into a income generating, location independent business.

Why is this my ultimate fear facing challenge? Well since starting my first ‘proper’ job after graduating from University in 1999 I have never been without a salaried job. I have had three jobs during that time and I have never left one job with out another job to go to and not just any job but a better job, for more money. I have been climbing the career ladder (successfully) for the past 12 years and having got myself quite high up on it, I’m now planning to jump off.

I will have a safety net of sorts in the form of savings. I’m currently saving enough money to sustain myself for a year so that I can live without working 9-5, while I continue to build this blog. More details to follow on this plan.

Giving my first Toastmasters Speech

As predicted, I wasn’t able to get on the agenda to deliver my first ‘icebreaker’ speech during July, but I am on the agenda for the August 10th meeting. This speech is the first of ten speaking projects (speeches) each with it a different set of criteria to adhere to. The purpose of the icebreaker speech is to introduce yourself to your Toastmasters group, in no more than six minutes. At this stage you are not expected to have mastered the art of public speaking and in the evaluation conducted, areas of both strength and areas for improvement will be fed back to me after delivering my speech.

Personal Goals for August

  1. Raise £400 in sponsorship for a skydive (in October).
  2. Learn a 3-5 minute hula-hoop routine.
  3. Make first sale of a personal item using Baker’s ‘Sell Your Crap’ guide.

Business Goals for August 

  1. Conduct at least one interview with another blogger
  2. Double number of subscribers.
  3. Do at least one guest post.

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What goals are you working on right now? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with them.