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My Journal - Alex


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Hi to whoever's reading, I'm Alex.

Day 1 - starting a new chapter in life and hoping to not get too attached to forum and threads.

I'm feeling a little annoyed at myself for not having quit games after several attempts at it. It is important for me to move on from games so that I can rekindle my social life, gain the motivation I need to fulfill my ambitions and improve my confidence and self esteem. I need to quit games sooner or later, I will be moving on to university soon so it is necessary to get my life sorted before then.

I believe that others currently perceive me as a robotic type of person: I work hard for weeks until I drop, where I will 'recover' by binge gaming. I also have a passion for robotics and am not terribly funny, which explains a lot. I would like to be perceived as a more creative and outgoing person that is easily approachable, I have some talents in poetry and inventive thinking but I need to pursue these to make them happen.

I would like to change my inability to effectively communicate with girls I like, I always mess up one way or another. I know that I will be able to improve on this by practicing my social skills and with general practice. I would like to move from being a realist to an optimist. I have had times when I have been optimistic for a week or two where I have been happier, but I plan to change this to be permanent to make every day fun! The last thing I would like to change about myself is my willpower to do tasks that are new and challenging. Previously I have been able to try new and interesting things, but over time i have lost the capacity to try new things and continue pursuing them.

According to the provided table, I have approximately 23584 days to live. I better make the most of it!


Edited by AlexTheGrape
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Hello Alex, welcome to our community :)!

Awesome job taking that first step! As you stated, there is so much more to life than these number on a computer screen. Just keep this in mind in the days to follow, because if you are anything like me, gaming is dangerously easy to crawl back to. You're already ahead of the game with starting this journal though, so great job :).

I look forward to hearing more from you as you continue this journey of self-discovery, and always remember that we as a community have got your back if you need anything!

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I'm very confident that you will be able to accomplish your goals as long as you work on them just a little bit every single day. What would you like to begin working on first? It's best to start gradually and give yourself very easily achievable goals. Success, even easily achieved success, will start giving you momentum.

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Hey Alex!

Great to see your journal up here. Although you can't control what you did before and the "success" or lack thereof you had, your results were a direct result of your actions, so if you change your actions (with your newfound knowledge and community to support you), your results can also change. It's important to not compare ourselves now to "versions" of ourselves in the past... because things have changed in some ways too!

Instead, focus on what you know will provide results over time: the right (small) actions taken day after day, your habits. I'd recommend reading The Power of Habit as soon as you can. It will help a lot. :)

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Day 2 - I've actually started Day 3 but I need to write on every day of my journal even if I forget! Building up habits - 1% complete.

In my diary I have brainstormed project ideas for myself, and chosen three. One is to create a 'back-garden' folder. It will include 5 poems I will write, with a list of things to do outside relating to those poems, and even a flow chart to help me decide what outdoor activity I should do depending on what I've been doing or how I'm feeling. This will be helpful later on when I run out of things to do and replace gaming, for example I could do photography in the garden.

Another project is to practice performing another 'jig' for the Easter camp I plan to go back to next year. This will require me to practice playing guitar and get familiar with it again, learn to read TAB (the language used for regular guitar books) and finally practice a new song until I am fluent at it. Other music goals will then show themselves afterwards!

The last project involves setting up a system to motivate me to do my schoolwork. This includes having a rewards basket with fruit, vegetables and maybe chocolates in it that I can take something from whenever I complete set work on time. If I don't do something on time, I have to pay $5 out of my own wallet to a 'generosity fund', where i will donate the money to a charity or spend the money on random people to help me make friends and just do something for others.

If anybody has any ideas that I could add or apply to my projects, I would love to hear them!

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Day 3 - Games are not on my mind for once!

My daily mission was to purchase and read the slight edge, its first chapter in particular. Not only did I read that chapter, I read the second too! I'm also reading another book about the lessons of life called "Follow Your Heart", these books go hand in hand.

I got more schoolwork done than I expected, in website development in particular. I planned to complete my website and my documentation over the next day or two, but I got more done today because one task ended up completing two jobs! My documentation required validation of my code, and in doing that it showed me what bugs needed to be fixed, which ended up in me fixing the website too. I'm currently working on making a website for an emergency spill cleanup business as part of a school project and home project. If you'd like to have a look at it, here's a link: http://spillresponse1.altervista.org/index.html

Any feedback would be appreciated, but don't trouble yourself if you're busy!

I planned to have a morning run as soon as I got up, but i ended up just being drowsy and running at midday. I did keep committed to my run, but I need to get into the habit of doing it on time.

Five things I'm grateful for:

  • The lush garden outside where I can do work with the sun on my face
  • The game quitters community and the support we give each other
  • Shoes to keep my feet protected
  • An endless supply of water in my home
  • A family to support me through my recovery
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Day 4 - Sunny sky, sunny me!

Today there was a clear sky outside, and it made my run with the dog all the more fun. Not much brings a smile to my face faster than when he sprints so fast that he pulls me along on the lead! The little things in life make it so much more enjoyable.

I've made my morning plan, it will really test me to get up early! Here it is:

6:20 - 6:30 Wake up and meditate

6:30 - 7:00 Morning run

7:00 - 7:10 Shower and get dressed

7:10 - 7:40 Breakfast + reading/GQ forum posting

7:40 - 8:00 Pack bag or anything else I need to get ready

I will post again tomorrow with how well or not well my schedule went, but I'm bound to be groggy with sleep since I'm still in 'holiday mode' by getting up late.

I spent a lot of time yesterday working on my laptop outside, it felt great and I need to do it more! The garden is a real 'high energy environment' when compared to any room at home.

Credit to anybody who's attention span has made it this far!

5 Things I'm grateful for:

  • The beautiful weather today that brings up everybody's spirit
  • The Sir Loin pork that I had for dinner, my favourite! No wonder it was knighted :P
  • The clothes I wear, I overlook the need for clothes
  • The slight edge book, with persistence my habits will push me in the right direction!
  • The ability to plan - I don't know how I would organise myself otherwise!

If you have any suggestions, please let me know what gets you up in the morning? Thinking of complex motivational ideas is a little hard as soon as I wake up, and forcing myself doesn't put a smile on my face. I would really appreciate your suggestions!

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If you have any suggestions, please let me know what gets you up in the morning? Thinking of complex motivational ideas is a little hard as soon as I wake up, and forcing myself doesn't put a smile on my face. I would really appreciate your suggestions!

?Glad you're doing fine!

What gets me up in the morning is what in the past made me stay up late: the need for quiet time to focus on myself.

How I use my morning time now is to write my dreams down before waking my children. Motivation comes from knowing that the more accurate and consistent I am, the better my dream recall becomes. Consequently I am more aware I'm dreaming and I have lots of fun.

Time ago it was entering the gym first so that I could get hold of the squat rack, which is essential for my training routine.

Note that I'm using an alarm app called I can't wake up! which requires one to do something specific to turn it off. I set it up so that I must scan a barcode I put high in a bookshelf in our living room. So technically that's what gets me up ;)

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Days 5, 6, and 7

Sorry for not posting regularly, I was very busy with a third of a year's worth of computer science schoolwork that is due tomorrow!

I finished reading Follow Your Heart, it really opened my mind to different ideas towards how to live life optimistically and learning the most from your experiences of all types.

I 'deleted' my steam account by going through the steps linked to in Respawn, thank you Cam for putting it together! It was a big decision to make, but I knew I would need to delete my account to fully recover from gaming, as it was the source of my relapses.

My daily routine is working well, I am getting outside to run on time and it keeps me refreshed. Not once have I felt drowsy after running! It really helps by energizing me for the day. I have been feeling unnaturally calm after meditation, which I suppose it is all about.

I have taken advice from Tom, and have started writing my dreams and personal gratitude journal as soon as I wake up. Hopefully I will be able to recall my dreams better as I continue this. Thank you Tom for your suggestions! I couldn't find the app you spoke of on the ios store, but instead I just put my phone on the opposite corner of the room from where I sleep so that I have to get out of bed to turn it off. It works every time!

Joe I'm sure that the slight edge will be able to help me with my thinking and day to day living, I can start eating through its pages now (metaphorically, I don't eat paper and I use a Kindle besides!) since I finished its last book.

Does anybody know if the Bible has worthwhile ideas to read in it? I took it out from school but it seems a bit daunting to read through so many pages...

I'm grateful for:

  • Having a room to myself at home
  • The ability to read
  • The technology that allows me to take photographs as a hobby
  • The cake I had in my lunch today
  • Tom and Joe for being leading supporters of my recovery from game addiction
  • The smiles on others faces for the first day back at school for the term
  • Headspace for making meditation a more engaging experience
  • My school teachers that are willing to help on all sorts of questions
  • I'm grateful for toilet paper, what would I do without it? Oh, use tissues I guess.
  • Being midway through spring right now, #southernHemispherePerks

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Nice! Keep up the good work!

Does anybody know if the Bible has worthwhile ideas to read in it? I took it out from school but it seems a bit daunting to read through so many pages...

?Some billion people will tell you yes, other billion people think otherwise. It's quite subjective. Definitely not an easy book: consider how ancient it is, the effort that went into its recollection and translation, the way it's written and structured. People who want to read it effectively usually go through years of theology.

If you are hungry for spiritual reads I can't suggest Kahlil Gibran enough. His best-known work is called The Prophet.

Edited by Tom
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Day 8 - I'm well on my way to recovery!

Today was a blast! The highlights of my day was having morning tea with the headmaster of my college along with the few others that went to the robotics regionals earlier in the year. Free food is the best tasting food, my wallet is guilt free (not that I buy food often anyway). Continued with school, then left to go on a field trip to the TradeMe with most of the robotics club, where we showed off our robots at the headquarters in Auckland. Trade Me is essentially the biggest first second hand buying and selling business in New Zealand, which can be used by anybody and is a purely online for trade physical items. And guess what I did there? I got free food!

I can finally start studying for end of year exams, not that I've finished my computer science internal work. I have temporary relief for finishing the work, but the pressure to study will build up soon!

Thank you Tom for the suggestion, I really like having a list of 'to read' books rather than the other extreme of being clueless for what to read!

I'm grateful for:

  • 2x free food that was delicious
  • The more frequent smiles I am 'producing'
  • The spacious interiors of some of the rooms I go through at school
  • The opportunity to see a large wall covered with leafy plants, inside the Trade Me building!
  • My high school education
  • The ability to drive
  • The wonderful and wide range of opportunities offered at school
  • That my computer science internals are over
  • Having a welcoming home
  • The trees outside my window
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Hey Alex!

Love reading your updates and really appreciate you contributing to share your thoughts with others. My "to-do" read list is so long. Last I checked it was 247 lol. But I like knowing which books I want to read in the future so I actually get to them. What is your next-book going to be?

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Congrats on deleting your steam account! Try saying goodbye to your games on Tom's goodbye letters. I just did that and it felt good!

As for the Bible, that question is going to elicit some very strong opinions in both directions. It's good to not think of it as 1 book but as many. They all read very differently and convey their own messages. For me, it's impossible to construct a coherent mental image of God based on the book as a whole. There are most certainly worthwhile ideas in the Bible, but you must be very careful to be critical of every part to make sure you don't end up championing the wrong parts. As a whole, it's a mixed bag. There are many other books with a higher concentration of worthwhile ideas. When read in a more anthropological context, it's very interesting view of the world. It's especially interesting to see what was included in the Bible and how it was decided.

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Days 9, 10, 11

Friday today, I now have some time on my hands! School has been very hectic with end of year exams coming up in less than a month, so sorry to those who read my journals, I'll try to make them more frequent.

I had a dream... About games. Tom I'm sure you could relate to this. I was running a factory that produced muskets for use in armies, and in the dream I knew that I needed to try make it as efficient as possible (like in a game). Strangely enough, my thoughts towards gaming were reflected in the dream, it didn't feel right and I felt like I was becoming a slave to the goal of efficiency, when I didn't benefit from the outcome. Likewise any effort I put into games to become better at it or do better in the game is lost and I obtain no outcome that will help me in any way in the real world.

I think the dream diary is working already Tom! More memorable dreams must be a product of recording them on paper.

Hey Alex!

Love reading your updates and really appreciate you contributing to share your thoughts with others. My "to-do" read list is so long. Last I checked it was 247 lol. But I like knowing which books I want to read in the future so I actually get to them. What is your next-book going to be?

?You really are on the extreme Cam! It is amazing to think that having a to-read list in the hundreds is possible in this age, all of which we have the means to obtain! Thank you for the continued encouragement, it really helps! Oh and with the patron fund I find that it seems a great way to keep a consistent flow of income to support the community, but just needs more easily available facts to help convince people. I'll add more about this in the suggestions forum.

Thank you Joe for your input on my steam account and the bible, I'll make sure to read the most important parts of the bible... after I read more interesting books of course! :P I'll add it to my growing to-read list. Deleting my steam account wasn't hard, but it required a lot of thought.

I suppose I could make a thread for letter to games, I need to put my thoughts on my favourites to rest.

I will write my gratefulness fully for each entry so it properly sinks in.

  • I am grateful for dreams that help me realise and understand my thoughts
  • I am grateful for my maths teacher taking his time to explain new concepts to me
  • I am grateful for the privilege/ability to make my own lunch
  • I am grateful that my guitar is still in good condition and has been waiting patiently for me to continue playing it
  • I am grateful for socks that keep my feet warm
  • I am grateful for the bus service that drives me so far towards home
  • I am grateful for my favourite hoodie I am wearing
  • I am grateful for the consistent chirping of birds outside
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to learn at high school
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Day 12 - The number seems small now, but the future reward will be life changing!

Saturday, a restful day. I got some work done, played my guitar for a while, it rather uneventful..

I am thinking of trying to make one friend per day like Cam is, it'll sure boost my social skills! I can't drive around by myself yet though, so I may only make friends at school or just by wandering around for now.

For the first time in a while I willingly didn't do a morning run. This was an important learning experience for me because I felt far less productive during the day, and so I know to keep on going with building up good habits.

I found I really lacked engagement throughout the day, which was when playing guitar really came in handy! It gave me a challenge that I needed to think and act fast to excel in, especially since I haven't played it for a few months.

Planning ahead, I am going to maintain my habits until I consistently do them, then I will add more.

My gratefulness list is in my personal diary.

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Days 13 - 18

Have not had much time to post I'm afraid. Scratch that, I didn't make the time to post. With end of year exams in less than a couple of weeks and 15 x 1 hour exams to study for I'm bound to be busy.

Have had to get up at 6 each morning this week, so was not in rhythm with my daily meditation, dream catching, and gratitude journal. I will try my best for this week.

I made a new friend today on the bus, its amazing how open people can be when you open up yourself. I think most people like conversation but just don't like to start them, especially with strangers. Please remind me to stick to my one new friend per day challenge if I don't mention making a new friend in a daily journal.

I have experience cravings to play the Dark Souls 2 video game recently, mainly because I watched my brother play it, and I confess I played it for a few minutes as well. It corrupted my mind a little but I know that the cravings are also derived from the lack of time we spend together, so i just need to find more ways to fill this gap.

I feel I am able to walk out of my comfort zone more often now, by changing my thoughts to "what is the worst that could happen?" when thinking whether or not to do something out of my comfort zone rather thank fearing rejection or embarrassment.

Thanks community for keeping me on track.

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Yes, you are right! When you are willing to be a leader to start the conversation and then open up yourself, people are more than happy to join you. You just have to take the first step. Imagine if everyone was waiting around for others to invite them to gatherings, or to start conversations. Nobody would ever hang out or talk with each other! Even though they may all want to. :)

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Days 19-26

No excuses. I've relapsed. On the last day of school I felt I needed a ‘reward’ and having been bored for weeks without games; and just started playing games when I saw my brother on Dark Souls 2. I had played about 2 hours a day since Wednesday and the guilt has crept in and my family are disappointed with my lack of commitment.

I have questioned why I am quitting gaming recently, it hasn’t actually harmed me and I have enjoyed playing them, I still get good grades so why torment myself? I then come back to the idea that I can do much more with my time and can improve myself with the time I would be spending on games. Please post your thoughts on this logic.

I am keeping up my morning running habits at least, but the other new ones I have started such as daily journaling have evaporated.

I’ll keep posted, hopefully daily, on how I’m doing so I don’t get off track again.

To whoever reads, should I reset my day counter? (I am currently on my 26th since officially quitting games). Also I would love some ideas to help motivate me to do my study; last year I was motivated to get a particular academic award, but since I am likely to receive it again this year I don’t have the motivation to improve.

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Hey Alex! Thanks for sharing, it's important in moments like this when we may be feeling guilt or shame to be honest about our situation.

Remember that relapse can teach us more about how to be successful in the future, so one thing you can take away from this is that gaming has been the way you've rewarded yourself in the past... so if you want to move on successfully you need to find new ways to reward yourself in the future. Also, having been bored for two weeks contributed so moving forward you need to be more intentional with your activities.

Questioning why you are quitting is always good, because it allows you to get more clear on what you really want out of life. The thing is, this isn't about gaming being good or bad, it's about what you truly want in life. Gaming is truly just a way for us to kill time, which is what most people do. Eventually they stop gaming and then just kill time with TV and other silly things like that.

But what are your ambitions?

If you have bigger ambitions in life, your actions need to reflect that. Starting with your morning habits is good and you want to build on that momentum each day. Set bigger goals, that will help with your motivation.

From my perspective, you should reset your counter and complete the 90 days (no gaming), but again the counter is just one small aspect of all of this... it's more important that you keep going forward. For studying, use the Pomodoro Technique, study for 25 mins, take a 5-10 min (non-digital) break, then study again for 25 mins. You can focus for 25 mins. Get out of the house and study at a library or cafe (Starbucks?) where you aren't so distracted by the potential to game.

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Thank you so much Cam! You gave some good things to consider and provided a thorough overview.

I really do need to find some more things I enjoy to make sure I can keep this up in the long run, and different rewards that are not detrimental in any way.

I will look into setting bigger goals that I will be able to invest my time into, according to each activity I do. 

Thanks again, I will do my best to make sure I complete the 90 days.

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I have questioned why I am quitting gaming recently, it hasn’t actually harmed me and I have enjoyed playing them, I still get good grades so why torment myself? I then come back to the idea that I can do much more with my time and can improve myself with the time I would be spending on games. Please post your thoughts on this logic.

I also found myself questioning my decision to quit gaming. And with your exact same thoughts! Last time? Yesterday afternoon.

My trick is doing something that 1) feels like a distraction, 2) I like doing, and 3) has benefits in real life. So far it's been participating in this community, strength training, reading good books, studying on Duolingo, listening to great music. I can't yet say I completely reprogrammed my gaming cravings though.

Today I came across this article: Find Out What to Focus on Next with This Motivation Matrix. It looks like you will find it useful too.

Edited by Tom
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