The Web App Challenge: £0 to £3000/month in six months

It’s a new year. Time to re-focus on those life goals and keep life heading in the desired direction.

I was reading Nathan Barry’s blog today and have decided to join him in the Web App challenge. Unlike Nathan, I have some idea about the web application I want to build, but I’m still researching and planning at the moment. To be honest Nathan’s post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m hoping to be just as transparent and take inspiration from his aggressive approach and tight timeline (leaving me less time to procrastinate!).

What our challenges have in common

– Extracting ideas in the style of Dane Maxwell

– Building a web application

– Using Ruby on Rails

– Looking for to create a SaaS (software as a service) product.

How our challenges will differ

Unlike Nathan, I’m assigning a budget of ZERO. I plan on doing the design / development / marketing etc by myself, whilst working full time at my job (which is often more than the usual 9 to 5).

I have experience in programming with Ruby and Rails, but have never built a full web app, especially one I intended to sell. I’m hoping the next few months will solidify my knowledge of Rails and allow me to create software that provides real value to my eventual target market.

Join in?

Whilst the Web App Challenge isn’t an official challenge (as far as I know), I encourage you to join in. It would be nice to have some community to share the ups and downs and building a software product with. Besides, what better way to start the new year than to start working on a new project?

To our successes in 2013! Happy new year 🙂

— CD

Be healthy – 30 day challenge update

The thirty day ‘be healthy’ challenge came and went far quicker than I thought it would. In all, I would say it was a success, as long as I renamed the challenge ‘no alcohol’ rather than ‘be healthy’.

Trips to the gym dwindled from 3 times a week to 1, and my diet, whilst not terrible, included one too many treats for my liking.

Since the challenge I have definitely felt less inclined to drink alcohol whilst socialising, and when I do, I notice I consume far less than before.

So what’s next? I’m not sure. I want to pick up programming again (haven’t coded properly since May 2012 when I built a recommendation system for public displays) so it’s likely my next challenge may be related to that.

Be healthy – 30 day challenge

Early this year I wrote about doing 30 day challenges and promptly forgot all about it. You can insert all the usual excuses here.

My main excuse: I spent some time travelling and have been enjoying life. In recent weeks, I have returned to ‘reality’ and have a more stable routine. I’ve actually started working more normal hours (9 to something) and this has brought with it some new challenges.

A little background. At some point during my travels I lost around 8kgs of weight from 68 to 60, and in the last three weeks I put on around 3 to 4kgs, mainly due to little exercise, poor diet and lots of drinking. About a week ago I revisited my old blog posts and decided it was time to do a thirty day challenge and get back to writing more frequently. And so, my challenge for this month: ‘Be healthy’.

What does that mean?
– Eat well (cut out junk e.g bad carbs, chocolates etc.)
– Exercise at least 3 times a week
– Drink lots of water & green tea (avoid fizzy drinks, sweetened tea and too many juice drinks.)
– Stop drinking alcohol (this is hard given the culture and people I am surrounded by, where drinking is very much ingrained as the default social activity of choice)

How am I doing?
I had meant to write this post sooner but didn’t get round to it. On the bright side, I have some stats for the last 7 days:

– I have been to three separate social drinking occasions / nights out and stayed mainly on tap water.

– I have been eating ‘healthy’ meals where possible, although I have cheated and snuck in the odd chocolate / doughnut.

– I have exercised 3 times for at least an hour.

A few people have asked me why I am doing this challenge, so here’s my reasoning:

– I want to see if I can do it (a lesson in self discipline and willpower)

– I want to save money for other things e.g. Flying lessons and investments (more to come in a future challenge)

– I have a personal goal to reach a certain level of fitness.

– It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to drive home after a night out than take a cab.

– I wanted to see whether alcohol makes me enjoy a night out more or less. So far I’d say I’m happy sober and can make my own good mood without the need for drinks. Waking up without a hangover or feeling rough is great too and gives me more time to enjoy the weekend.

If you’re thinking of doing a 30 day challenge – do it! Leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing too 🙂

Try something new for 30 days.

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit (30 days if you want to be sure).

Days in groups of 30 seem to pass me by all the time, and my life seems to change very little between any two days that are a month apart. There’s nothing I can do to stop time passing by, but I can change what I do (and achieve) in that time.

There are lots of things I’ve thought I’d like to do or try at some point but they never seem to happen, or I try for a day and then forget when reality and other obligations present themselves.

So, with inspiration from Matt Cutt’s TED Talk and blog, I’ve decided to take on the 30 day challenge. I only decided less than an hour ago, and already I’ve formulated a list of some things I’d like to try. Initially I thought I’d do one at a time, but some would make sense together.

Here’s the list in no particular order:

– write one blog post a day
– limit television viewing to 1 hour a day
– practise coding for 2 hours a day
– workout at least 30 mins a day
– wake up at 8am (whilst getting 8 hours sleep)
– take one picture a day
– no junk food e.g. chocolate, biscuits, sweets, crisps, donuts and anything with “bad carbs”.
– drink 2 litres of water
– no talking on Wednesdays unless in response to a direct question (an idea from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari)
– meditate for at least 10 minutes
– write a to-do list with 3 major goals for tomorrow, each evening.

That’s the list for now. I will add to it over time and cross off items as completed.

I think this will be a really good exercise in developing will power and self discipline.

I’m hoping to use this blog for some accountability, please feel free to ask me how its going and if you’re feeling adventurous, suggest new things for me to try or tell me about your own 30 day challenge experiences.