Basic Training — Or, a spreadsheet to change your life

Hello my friends!

After an unplanned and too long hiatus, I am dipping my toe back into the waters of oversharing and underdelivering to provide you with an outline of the long promised, never before explained Jenny Goodguts Basic Training Program (take 1).

I still have not explained my experiments in Doing More Good (rather than doing less bad) but, As God is my Witness, that is coming soon. I want to go ahead and share Basic Training (take 1) because using this kind of spreadsheet has changed my life. My life then reverted back to how it was before, somewhat, but I’m trusting that reinstituting the spreadsheet will once again change my life.

And don’t take it from me, I have one reverberating testimonial:

Thanks for telling me about your spreadsheet. I made one too. It was really helpful” (paraphrase)
— Angie

The mechanics of the spreadsheet:

It is a printed piece of paper. There are a number of small daily actions listed. They are slotted into a timezone (breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc). The sheet is taped to the wall in my kitchen. At the assigned time of day, I look at the sheet and try to make sure all relevant tasks are complete.

Originally, this spreadsheet was mostly used to help me remember to take certain supplements, breathe before eating, consume cultured foods (more on this later) so it was a perfect system for those tasks. I (almost) didn’t miss checking a box for 8 weeks, and that is REALLY saying something for me.

The tasks in Basic Training don’t fit as easily into the original time slots, and are not quite as simple to complete, so I am experimenting with a new spreadsheet and will modify (Jenny Goodguts Basic Training Program, take 2) once I see how these different types of activities work within this system. Instead of waiting until it is perfect, I’m sharing as I go.

What does Basic Training include?

Basic Training lasts 4 weeks.

It focuses on preparing the individual to be stronger, healthier, and more resilient so that we can get to the superhero stuff down the road.

It follows the Jenny Goodguts principle: Do More Good. In a nutshell that means it does not focus on things you should not do or on what you might be doing that is ‘bad’ for you. It focuses on adding more good things to your life, on ways to spend time and energy that will support your vision of what you want to be instead of focusing on what you don’t want to be.

Basic Training is something that can be completely modified for any individual. I’m sharing the actions that are part of my own spreadsheet as an example but feel free to adjust in any way you like! I will provide more guidance on how Basic Training can be modified in the future, but I’m in desperate need of it myself, as well as of some accountability, which public blogging provides, so I’m rolling it out barebones to start with.

Basic Training includes five aspects:

1) Nutrition/Energy
2) Movement/Strength
3) Clarity
4) Spirit/Soul
5) Rest/Restoration

For my purposes,
Spirit = What is bigger than me?
Soul = What am I?

EAT MORE SUNSHINE: Drink a green smoothie every day (my basic recipe forthcoming but you can check out Simple Green Smoothies for good ideas).
GOOD GUTS: Eat 2 Tablespoons of cultured food, 2 times a day (kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha are my current sources, sometimes pickles but you have to read labels).
MOVE: Dance to 3 songs every day.
MOVE: Attend 1 exercise class every week.
CLARITY: Meditate for 10 minutes each day. I’m going to try Headspace but am actively seeking recommendations!
SPIRIT: Spend 10 minutes outside every day.
SOUL: Play a musical instrument for 10 minutes every day.
SOUL: Write for 10 minutes every day.
REST: Out of bed by 6:30 am every weekday.
RESTORE: Enjoy screen-free activities after 9 PM. 
I will print my checklist today and start tomorrow. My rules are that I can get the tasks done at any time during the day, the timezones are just useful guidelines of when something might fit. I predict that rest/restore will be the most consistently challenging element, but making time to play music will be a close second.
In the comments on the blog, I would love to know if you have any favorite songs to dance to (with a happy vibe). I pulled out my old 45s over the weekend and danced to Vienna Calling by Falco. You probably have no idea what I am talking about, but it was pretty amazing to be transported back to 1985. I could almost remember feeling 10 years old again. I’m also looking for suggestions about guided meditations. If you have any that you love, please share!


Basic Training Spreadsheet Is Here!

6 thoughts on “Basic Training — Or, a spreadsheet to change your life

  1. Re: meditation app, check out Calm. I did it for a while. There is guided or unguided meditation. You can start short, say 5 minutes, then slowly build up to however long you want.

    Songs: “This is the Day”, by The The, “Electric Feel”, by MGMT, and “Walking on a Dream”, by Empire of the Sun:

    We are always running for the thrill of it thrill of it
    Always pushing up the hill searching for the thrill of it
    On and on and on we are calling out and out again
    Never looking down I’m just in awe of what’s in front of me

    1. Thanks Patricia ; ) I’m compiling a happy songs playlist so will check these out since I can’t listen to Falco EVERY day ; )

  2. Dear Jenny,
    Thanks for the guidance of Basic Training! With every intention of participating- the realization that thought of “my daily habits” precedes my ability to outline my implementation of “My 4 week commitment” to the five areas of the program. As my father said “TTT” Thanks for the structure and I will keep you posted on my progress. I am a work in motion.

    1. Hi DJ,

      Thanks for writing! While there is no “right” way to do Basic Training (since it is meant to be modified by each individual to her/his situation), you are doing it right ; ) The idea is definitely to think about each of the 5 areas and consider what would be a beneficial, doable, daily practice each day for 4 weeks. We are all going at our own pace ; )

    1. Hi NGina,

      I have tried the Insight Timer (especially Tara Brach who my GP recommended to me) but as a beginning beginner at meditation I’m finding that the FREE 10 day intro pack at Headspace is very useful to learn how to set up a basic daily practice. After I finish my free 10 days on Headspace, I think I’ll go back to Insight Timer, and also check out Calm as suggested by another reader, and then also try some of the offerings on Headspace (and any other suggestions I get!) to see which works better for me as a still beginner but who has 10 days of practice under her belt ; )

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