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Day 2 and 3: 3rd February 2016 at 14:58


Meant to put this up last night, but ended up busy.  Technically, I still am, but I've got a few minutes to sneak in and post an update.  Yesterday was pretty normal, all things considered.  Still just barely got up in time for class, and just kind of breezed through the day.  Not too much happened, really, that's with writing about.  Even work went by in a flash.  On the way home from class last night, I had another realization: if I'm going to make this change, why should I remain static in everything else?  Tried that already - it just led to replacing gaming with Reddit and other mindless activities.  There was no outward change whatsoever between the last time I tried to stop gaming and when I had relapsed - just what processes happened to be running on my computer and sucking up time.


that's a lot of words for "I have a paper due in 24 hours that I've barely started"o.O


Be that as it may, and whatever the rationale I ended up going with, I managed to get myself up and out of bed before 0600 this morning -earliest I've done on purpose in the last three years.  Much longer if we only count the nights I got something close to 8 hours of sleep.  Considering I missed my 11:30 am class one day last week because of sleep issues, this is kind of big.

What the heck do I do with all this time?!  I've got a few ideas of things I want to do, but suddenly having an extra five hours to get ready and do whatever in the morning felt weird.  First thing I discovered is that I'm going to dramatically increase the amount of coffee I go through if this keeps up.  I've never been a morning person.  I also noticed that I still felt like playing a game and even recalled dreaming of being in one of my favorites.  Fortunately, I had already deleted everything, but unfortunately the morning was still not very productive - I just kind of messed around on the web until it was time to head over to campus.  

One step at a time, right?

Between my on campus job and my classes, a lot of time is already filled up, thankfully.  Filling the rest with the things I have in mind that may otherwise feel like "work" will be interesting though...

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Saturday, 6th February 2016 at 15:35


Well, here we are, the first weekend since trying this again.  It's also a weekend that I can kind of catch a breath after the rush of last week.  And there's another blasted Steam sale.  Thanks, universe.  Since when was there one in February anyway?!  Really, last thing I needed.  Been able to resist so far even though gaming news and hype is almost unavoidable.  Just means I get to play with my own projects.  And there are plenty of those.  Woke up later than I wanted to, but still early for a Saturday, and it took me about the usual 2-3 hours to really get into "doing things" beyond browsing the web and having breakfast, getting ready, etc.  

What's one thing you can do right away in the morning that will move you closer to your goals?

Right away?  Probably down all the coffee!  Really though, I wake up with my alarm clocks almost without fail.  It's just a matter of getting myself out of bed and shaking off the grogginess or what have you.  Got to around an hour before I turned my attention toward things that could actually move myself closer to my goals, but was still not particularly productive or poking around at things until another hour or so later.  Better than I have been, but that isn't saying much.

Filling all this time will be interesting.  A large portion of it will come from playing with the technologies that I might want to work with in the future, or even figuring out what I want to possibly work with.  I've got my raspberry pi's terminal open on one monitor, a windows server on another, and this on my main, enough said.  Also yelling at my phone's VPN connection over what I think is a routing issue, but that's technology for ya ^_^  I also want to write my novel, but getting back into that is slow going after all this time.  No idea why, just that I can't seem to muster the same creativity that I used to have when I was working on it before.  I want to finish it, but I'm kind of "meh" about the part I am at now.

And yet, with all these options I still feel kind of bored; nothing is really sparking my interest like firing up a game used to.  It's really weird.  games would fill my time like nothing so I didn't have to really think about what to do.  Now I do and I have all these different things I'm interested in (the above plus about six different books I'd like to read), but I just can't seem to pursue them with the same intensity.  The technology stuff might be a lone exception to that, just because I spend a lot of time thinking about it otherwise.  Of course, figuring this all out is kind of a game in its own way - another challenge to solve, and there's definitely that sense of achievement when it finally does work, but instead of achievements and other things that I might be able to share with the world as easily as Steam broadcasts these things, I'm also learning things in the process that could help my career.  

Funny how that works, isn't it?


...Speaking of all that, I should probably start documenting this technology stuff somewhere...

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So one of the best things you can do to have more productive days is to be intentional with how you start your day. There are certain things you can do that will build momentum and create energy, and there's other things you can do that will do the opposite. So for example, if you wake up and exercise, that probably builds energy and momentum, whereas if you wake up and watch YouTube videos, it creates the same in the opposite direction. One is going to inspire you to continue being productive and one is going to keep you on the couch.

The key is to be intentional with what you do each day in the morning and select each thing based on how you want to feel. A good book to read on this is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

For example, if you feel groggy, what can you do to shake that off quickly? Coffee can work, but if it's not working right away, consider a cold (or hot/cold) shower. That will blast you awake right away. ;)

My morning schedule tends to look something like this:

1. Wake up at X time
2. Go to the bathroom
3. Hot/cold shower (hot shower and then the last 30 seconds or so is blasted cold)
4. Get dressed
5. Cook breakfast (usually 4 eggs + an avocado)
6. Write in my journal (I shared the exercise with you)

Then I immediately get OUT of the house and head to a coffee shop to start my workday.

So what does yours look like?

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Tuesday, 9th February 2016 at 19:41


Momentum is a strange thing, and it's interesting that we got on this topic now; today and yesterday are more or less parallel opposites of each other.  Yesterday I had all of it from when I got up - at a good time for once! - and met my folks for breakfast much to everyone's surprise.  This carried over into going to the gym, getting a new laptop, throwing Linux on it... everything up to wanting to work with one of my groups for a project last night after class as we were scheduled to...which ended up not happening.  On my way home it felt like I had the most drive to get things done of anyone in the group.  That thought scared me!

I want it more.  Moreover, I want to be really productive and direct it to things other than just tinkering with my computers.  Channeling that to actual classwork and all would be awesome.

Today, though, was about as opposite as you could get from yesterday.  Alarms went off at the same time as yesterday, but instead of immediately jumping in the shower like yesterday I just went back and laid in bed as usual - albeit with the lights on unlike I usually do.  Doesn't really matter though; ended up falling back into the old routine of just barely getting up and over to campus in time for class.  It isn't an "early" class by any means.

On top of that, I was just kind of lethargic all day and not really "on it".  It's like I never really woke up at all.  Like that one semi-conscious decision at 0700 is influencing my entire day.  Let me tell you, it doesn't feel good at all.  There's a bunch of stuff I wanted and should have been able to do by now.  It's that sinking feeling that I'm not making progress, I'm not changing myself for the better, and I'm letting myself get overwhelmed by what is coming down the pipe at me instead of taking the initiative like I know I want to.


I've got a ton of work to do on myself, and I'm running out of time.

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  • 7 months later...

Days 1-3: I'm Back in Black

Timestamp: 3rd October 2016 at 14:37

Relapse...relapse is a heck of a thing.  At first it just starts off as just a momentary thing where you think "oh one isn't that bad, not at all.  It's been a long however many weeks.  It's a down time and it's raining..." and so on and so forth.  Then the wheels come off.  

To the point where it hit me that I was right back at square one despite being aware of this thing for 18 months.  Let me tell y'all, it's a sheepish feeling to realize you failed - again! - and find yourself back where you started for, what is it, the third or fourth time now?  I've lost count having relapsed so many times.  Weeks at a time are no problem - I can get into the momentum and all that and be fine.  It's when the momentum falls off that I get in trouble.  I get busy and stop checking in here and the Reddit community.  I think I've finally conquered it.  Something happens and I feel I deserve a reward or need a night of escapism... then boom.

Sound familiar?

As I sit here writing this, it certainly seems to echo the common struggle with depression medication - you get to feeling like you don't need it anymore and so you stop taking it.  Except you do, and you find that little fact out the ahem "fun" way.  You have to maintain the practice indefinitely, and well, that's the hard part.


I struggled with the decision as to whether to revive this old thread (does it count as a necro when you're the OP?9_9) or to start a new one.  Obviously, you know which one I chose.  Why?  Well, I can't hide from myself or my past failures.  Instead, I should do as another member did and learn from them.  There are certainly some things in this thread that I can use going forward.  Hopefully, this will have been my last relapse!


"Okay, Charles, talk is easy.  How is this time going to be any different?"

I hear you.  This time I'm going to make a structural change in my life.  It's no longer about quitting gaming.  That's only just one part of it.  A fairly large part, to be sure, but only one part.  Here is an excerpt from what I wrote on my blog this weekend when pulling together the broad contours of my new life, as it were:


  1. No more video games.  Full stop.  It's hard to think of any one thing that is a bigger waste of time than this.  What could I have been by now had I devoted all those thousands of hours (yes, thousands if not tens of thousands) over the years to, say, programming?  Writing?  Exercise?  Cooking?  You get the point.  There are far better things in life than mindlessly sitting at this computer attempting to be ever so slightly faster on the uptick, placing my set of pixels over a more precise set of pixels in real-time to cause someone somewhere else in the great expanse of the internet to have a 30 second waiting period before he (or she, I ain't judging) can do the same to me?  Instead of spending hours figuring out the best combination of digital cards to get progressively better rewards for in turn more digital cards, why not do it with real cards in Magic: the Gathering?  At least the latter has some social value to it.
  2. How can I rise today?  A great almost hymn-esque song in the My Little Pony fandom contains the line "day for rising, night for sleep; as in Heaven, so below."  Everything I do should be toward this singular goal: be the best me I can be.  If there's something that I can do toward that end in a given moment, do it.  This doesn't necessarily have to be work - it can be screwing around with the homelab, writing a chapter in the next great novel I'll never publish (until that one day I find an editor crazy enough), or something else.  Every moment should have meaning and purpose.  Only when the day's rising is done should I even consider picking up one of the select few games that are intellectually engaging (Kerbal Space Program, Factorio, and the like), or firing up Netflix, or screwing around on Reddit...
  3. Be Present in Life.  Take time to notice the little things going on around me.  Engage with the world around me.  If something can be done outside on campus or at a coffee shop or elsewhere that is around others, favor those locations over doing it at home in the relative darkness of my workstation.  There's nothing wrong with doing things at home of course, but they don't exactly write songs about the beauty of the carpet or the fresh breeze of the central air, now do they.  I mean, it's possible someone might, music is weird these days.  But it's not that inspiring now is it?
  4. Up and out of bed at 0800 (or earlier) every day.  No exceptions.  Even weekends.  Or earlier, as the case may be once I'm out in the real world and actually working like a "normal person".  Seriously, I got up at noon on this Saturday and it's now 18:17.  Guess what, I'm still freaking tired as if I just woke up!  If I'm going to be this tired, might as well get the extra hours of rising in.  I've never been a morning person, but wasting all that time just laying in bed doesn't make any sense, now does it?  Having a dog would help, but it's possible to do it without one.  Or it should be.
  5. Dale Carnegie gives you advice on anxiety.  Use it.  Pretty self-explanatory there.
  6. Dare to Try.  I had this in the back of my mind as I was writing the post the other day, but didn't really know how to put it.  Now I do.  I will not be afraid to try to do <whatever>, whether it be as simple as eating an onion or as complex as reverse engineering APT-1.  Okay, that might be a bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea.  (and I do hope that one day I'll know enough to even know where to begin such a project!)

I'm sure I'll keep adding to this over time as the dream becomes more realized.  What about the over time aspect above?  Eventually I'll drift away and not post or slip up or what have you.  It's happened before.  Well, where the human mind can fail a script can pick up the slack.  I'm not sure what shape it'll look like, but my first project in this "new life" outside of gaming is to code some way to gently remind me to check in.  Perhaps via email or something.  And if I don't heed the gentle warning?  Perhaps I'll have it email a friend, family member, or other accountability buddy to make sure I get back on track.  The one bright spot of this summer is that living with my folks for a temporary job reminded me about how strict they can be...

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Quitting games is similar to quitting smoking. There is no moderation! you can't smoke fewer and fewer until you eventually stop, this will only agravate your nicotine cravings. Same with games: no games! no streams! no gaming articles! no posters and cds reminding you of games! Its like quitting porn, but having your room full of " Hustler " magazines and your computer's desktop " Barely Legal " touchable..

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Day 4: Embracing the Void

Timestamp: Tuesday, 4th October 2016 at 18:13

Reread Respawn last night, just to refamiliarize myself with what I’m doing here. It’s been a while, after all, since I really put my all into quitting gaming. Y’know, throughout this whole time I never really stopped to consider just how pervasive gaming has been in my life. I mean, I knew on some level, sure, but it went far deeper than I had imagined. Even just wiping clean my “gaming” PC (aided by the mess of a Windows 10 update last weekend…) wasn’t enough. I had to clean games off of my phone and even this laptop I’m using now as I discovered this evening - and this thing can’t even run 80% of what’s out there these days!

More than that, though, updating my cohort of phone apps reminds me just how out there and in front of me gaming can be. I know iOS 10 was just released (never mind I’m probably the only one on the planet who wants this), but can we get a command-line way of updating things on iPhones? Would make it a lot easier to resist… Gaming is nearly unavoidable in my daily life - as a student at a large university and in IT no less, it’s often the prevailing topic of conversation. The extracurricular group I have fallen into since coming here as a grad student almost two years ago was the eSports team, even! It’s so easy to slip up. Might I have to adapt a sort of monastic lifestyle?

No, or at least I hope not.

Structural changes are necessary, as I’ve said previously, but look out at those who I look up to. Do they spend all this time gaming? Probably not. It is possible to fill the time otherwise - the trick is finding those things to fill the time as Cam suggests. All this has been hashed out numerous times, of course. This time around, it’s writing, coding, and messing around with my home lab for the mentally-stimulating bit, and Magic the Gathering for the social part. Still trying to figure out the resting activity that isn’t just mindless browsing. I listen to various streams of classical music all the time normally, but I’m usually doing something during it - it’s not quite a resting activity as relaxing as it is. The temptation to game in this void is still proving itself difficult to push aside. Idle time is going to be the end of me. Fortunately, as a grad student I don’t have too much of it, but it’s still a factor.

But more than that, another wrinkle to this whole thing is the rush of these new activities spiraling seemingly out of control as the programming project seemed to yesterday. I was laughing at myself on Slack about the fact that it had already gone way, way beyond what I originally had in mind, but really it was kind of overwhelming and all. How to best deal with that until I get used to programming again? The obvious idea is to reduce the project scope, but I fear I’m far too ambitious to do that - simple programming exercises may not be enough to engage my mind at this point.

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My thought exactly.  Open your newspaper or magazine of choice. (I'm partial to the Atlantic).  Is insert noteworthy person here an obsessive gamer?


Probably not.


Whose life would I rather mine look like?  Exactly.  Trick is finding those like-minded and driven people to hang around, a task I'm finding difficult now.  Never mind once I graduate...

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Timestamp: Wednesday, 5th October at 23:01

Wednesdays are my short days at work, so I have an absolute ton of free time.  And yet, not enough to really do much.  As soon as I get into working on a real project for class or for myself, it's time to go to grab dinner or go to class or what have you.  Guess how I've been filling this time up to this week...

If you said games, you get a cookie!  I must admit I would even play Hearthstone during the weekly CSA meeting as I listened because it often times was just talking about stuff I already knew thanks to hearing the talk last year (and practicing this stuff in my spare time).  The fact that I never did so in class despite years of having a computer at my fingertips (even in high school) is a rather sickening point of pride now that I look back on it.

Hi I'm Charles and gaming consumed my life.

Obviously, that means I was extra on guard this afternoon and evening.  No way in Hell am I letting myself slip up when I see it a mile coming.  And yet... I almost did.  I've got to level with y'all - the craving was there in full force today.  I'm not proud of it, but every time I had a quiet moment today I was tempted to give in.  I am, however, very proud to say that I didn't give in!

For those of y'all who consider this as just another thing, shove it.  I read an article this evening in the Washington Post about the problem gaming is having on the US economy.  I'd love to see that get tackled in one of the debates, but that's just me.

How did I do it?  Simple - I didn't let myself have many quiet moments at all!

I started writing creatively again and trying to have some sort of structure to it rather than this stream of consciousness stuff I toss up on here.  (Hint: this is me when I'm not particularly caring about the mechanics of my writing!)  And let me tell you, the words don't flow as easily when you're thinking about all that stuff.  As a result, all of what I wrote earlier as writing exercises is fairly terrible and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  Apparently my body isn't the only thing that needs to get back in shape...

Oh God... NaNoWriMo is just over three weeks away.;

Strap yourselves in y'all!


Now for the eternal question: which of the four or five story ideas I came up with this year to roll with...?

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Timestamp: Thursday 6th October 2016 at 23:19


Building better habits is the core of what I'm doing here.  Even though I'm beyond tired and have been that way all day to where absolutely no amount of coffee could help (I tried), plus this stupid headache is being a literal pain, I need to post something.  If I let it slide one day because of <insert excuse here>, what's to stop me from letting myself slide on picking up a game again?  It's not because anything happened today that I have to post (in fact, I've had lazy Sundays that were more eventful), but that I have to post to ensure an off day doesn't cost me any of the progress I've started making or will make in the future.  


Also because if I miss a day the robot I'm building to keep me on track will get mad at me.  We don't want any angry robots, now do we?

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Timestamp: Saturday 8th October 2016 at 23:56

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!  ...Uh oh, the robot is angry with me.  Or at least, it would be if I had finished coding it.  Hey, it's been a week since I dedicated myself to this project.  Here's a real end-of-week retrospective now that I've gone for a run and gotten those feels out.  But really, cam I go back in time, bottle that feeling up, and relive it any time I'm feeling down about something?

Anyway, wow, it's been a week already.  Time flies when you're a grad student, I guess.  But really, I remember how it was the first time I tried to quit - the cravings to game just wouldn't go away.  It was almost to the point where I felt I needed to lock myself out of everything.  It was bad to put it lightly.  This time around?  The cravings are still there.  Hell, I nearly gave in tonight.  I would've played one of those more intellectually useful games that I said I'd allow myself, sure, but it might just as easily have gotten me off track.  Fortunately, it's Saturday night and the internet bar of sorts was showing the newest episode of My Little Pony just after I got done with my fantasy hockey draft.  Yeah, that place is something interesting even if I'm not drinking (and indeed, I more often eat popcorn instead of drink beer during the games).  It's probably the closest I've otherwise come to the sort of place I was all emotional about in the previous post.

Yet, I wouldn't exactly call it something productive or otherwise useful to my future.  I need to move beyond mere escapism as a thing.  I just do.

But how?  I've mentioned before - if not on here than to some folks privately - that as useful and engaging and challenging as programming and tinkering with my lab are, they aren't exactly relaxing activities.  If anything, I was a bit anxious Monday when I was programming and the scope kind of blew itself way out of the water.  Writing is a good candidate, but NaNoWriMo's rules are quite clear: I'm supposed to start during the month of November, aside from any planning I might do.

There's also the matter of how to be social without being a hardcore gamer that's still an open item.  I was never all that into League of Legends, yet talk of Worlds is impossible to avoid.  That's just a symptom of a larger problem: everyone I know except perhaps for you, dear reader, is just as much of an obsessive gamer as I was.  This I'm sure will remain open for a while, if only because of the midterms that'll consume my focus for much of this coming week, but if anyone out there in the æther has any suggestions I'm all ears.

As I write this, yourclassical.org decided to play a movement from the absolutely stunning Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms.  If only finding equally amazing social groups were as easy as pretending I'm one of the world's great conductors...

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Timestamp: Sunday 9th October at 23:38.  Day 8

It's a funny thing, motivation.  I spent at least a decade of my life (absolute number of hours almost undoubtedly, never mind real time) chasing completely arbitrary and ultimately meaningless goals in search of that next hit of dopamine or whatever it is.  Ultimately, that stuff doesn't even matter.  I couldn't even tell you what many of those bullshit "achievements" were for actually doing.  I do remember that there were a large number of such achievements just for exploring the entirety of certain areas in World of Warcraft all those years ago.

Who gives a f**k?

I did at the time of course.  Looking back, I couldn't tell you a blasted thing about any of those areas I've explored (and not just because I've heard that Blizzard has since literally brought down an apocalypse on them, changing them forever) - I have no photos of my character in wherever it was, or any particularly unique experiences.  This is where if I were still writing these on Reddit some pedant would come out of the woodwork and point out that absolutely everything is unique in one way or another, on some sort of micro-level.  Looking back, how unique could it possibly be?  It's all, fundamentally, the same stuff that millions of other people are experiencing.  Sociologically I'm sure one could make the argument that there's value in such broad shared experiences, but at what cost?  What benefits to my own life - never mind society as a whole - came from this period of way too much time?  If there's one thing that this period of self-reflection is letting me do, it's to see just how absurd all of this actually was.  Sorry I've been a little rant-y in the last few posts, y'all.  It's just so amazing when I look at my life with the same critical eye that I might evaluate something in class or my readings or what have you.

Actually, you know what?  I'm not sorry.  Not at all.  For God's sake, there is an entire industry of people out there who make a living from people watching them play video games!  Just how ridiculous is that?!  All the more power to the people who've made that work out for them, fair enough.  Maybe I'm just getting older (and was when this first became a thing), but I just don't get the appeal at all.

What started this all tonight?  Well, I got something of a much more worthwhile achievement.  Apple even helpfully gave me a badge for it, just like in a game!


Despite doing almost nothing today aside from watch football (or what my sorry excuse of a professional team calls football), I still managed to get out and hit my move goal.  350 Active Calories burned today is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things - I was even averaging closer to 500 during the week - but the fact that I was able to stick with it is a promise I'm making to this "new me" that I'm slowly building toward.

No matter what, I will rise.

Even on an off day, there is something I can do to make myself better.  And to do this, I will dare to try.  Sometimes that's all I'll be able to show for my efforts - the old college try, if you will - and that's okay!  It's the fact that I'm trying to be better that matters.

After all, it's only a matter of time until I succeed.

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Timestamp: Monday, 10th October 2016, at 23:32.


Today has been tough.  Work was absolutely silent, to the point where I really wasn't needed at all.  Follow that up with a tough midterm that I and potentially a third of my class did terribly on, and the temptation to crack open a game is more than it's been since I've started this.  And yet, as I sit here with 15 minutes to go in the day, about to climb into bed, I stayed strong.  Not quite sure how, but I think having the sacred classical music stream close at hand is a large factor in that.  I've never been really "religious" per se, but I am a believer in Christ and all that.  I'd be happy to go into it more, but now's not the time or the place - after all, I still have another midterm tomorrow!

Suffice it to say, I'll need whatever help I can get going forward, as I've decided to amend my 6 principles of a new me again.  This time, I'm adding mindless browsing to the StopGaming component.  Already done as another user suggested and set up a browser extension on my primary laptop to enforce this.  God help me, especially if this week at work continues to be completely dead.  So dead it's been that today I had to periodically trigger the motion sensors to keep the lights on...  I love days like that, but what am I going to do in the meantime?!   I have no idea how I’m going to do it.  I really don’t.  What do y’all do to fill the time?  On paper I feel like I should push myself to program, or to write, or to do something else productive, but sometimes that drive just isn't there...

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Wait...it's been two weeks?!

Timestamp: Friday 14th October 2016 at 13:01.

Wow, so it has been two weeks since I started on this journey of self-revitalization.  That's two weeks without launching a video game, two weeks of refocusing on who I am and what it means to be who I am and where I am today...and two weeks of rising to be better than I was.  It's tempting as hell to sit back and rest on my laurels today.  After all, it's Friday - the strongest commitment I have is waiting for a weekly phone call that should be coming in any minute as I write this.  Midterms are done, there are a couple finishing touches I need to put on a group project before Monday night, but other than that there's really not that much I need to do today.

It's all but idle time.  And what do I typically do with idle time?

I would game.  The urge to do so is literally right before my eyes.  I mean, I've got friends I talk to exclusively through Steam ,for God's sake.  I wish I could change that fact, but it's the reality I must live with.  And yet, I've mentioned the slippery slope that caused me to slide all the way back to square goddamned zero two or three times now.

That.  Won't. Happen. Again.

It simply can't.  My life literally depends on it.  And yet, my motivation to actually do productive things is still, to put it very lightly, a work in progress.  I must admit that doing away with time wasting sites isn't going so well.  Sure, I've got the blocker in place on my productive laptop that's almost more of a joy to use (aside from the lovely feeling of this mechanical keyboard at home...) than my full-power desktop, but I'm still not actually doing anything with that time.  I mean, work this week was busy enough to keep me off it without much of a concern, but this morning I just derped around on reddit for four hours instead of doing interesting things (though I have to admit that one dog was adorable as hell).  I've got programs and a novel to write!  WHY, BRAIN?  WHY?!  Seriously, this whole motivation thing is starting to annoy me.  How do I get myself to do things, awesome things that will give me that feeling of accomplishment I want?!

Edited by bassitone
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Welcome back, mate!

One thing that Cam says often and that I 100% agree is that motivation comes with action and not otherwise. Do something and the motivation will come.

If you're having trouble starting something, try breaking it down in to easier, simpler tasks. For instance, if you want to go running, you can break it down to 'put on your running shoes' and 'walk to the park'.

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Day 18, apparently.  Timestamp Monday 17th October at 22:46

You know, I've heard that advice twice in the last few days, albeit stated differently.  Trick is figuring out what the steps are and then going after them.  I will say, though, that the brief trial run I did at work today had very promising results.  Just taking that first step is better than nothing, and soon 1 step becomes two, two becomes four, and so on.  

...Same as that sort of slippery slope I've written about before with my relapses.  

That literally just hit me.  Right now, as I write this.  Everything I write is more or less stream of consciousness, and that idea literally came into my mind at that very moment.  How can I harness this idea, almost to hack my brain to take those urges to spend time gaming and instead spend them doing <insert productive thing here>?!  The default is kind of an idle state, and all I seem to need is a push one way or another.

The push to game was coming hard this past weekend.  Truthfully, I had a bad day Saturday for reasons that are neither here nor there, and y'all know how handy escapism can be on days like that...  Fortunately, I am proud to report that the streak is still going strong and it is Day 18.  Funny how much inertia can be created just by sheer willpower to not slip up again.

How to turn that back on itself and focus it on a positive direction, rather than keeping my head above water?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bene awhile since your last update. How's it going?

It's going pretty well actually.  We're at a month down as of today (or a couple days ago according to the bot on Reddit).  I've mostly been putting them up on my personal blog since some friends were curious.


Timestamp: 31st October 2016 at 16:24


It's been a month since I started this journey.  Interesting.  It has gone so much smoother than it has in the past.  I thank grad school for keeping me busy.  Really, I do.  Get me out of the apartment and on campus with something that can't really play games, and, well, there's not much of a choice in the matter.  I've been focused on this one thing as a goal, and it seems to be working so far.

Now we come to the hard part.  A full month, yay!  If the past tells me anything, I'll get complacent in about a week or so and start slipping.  A few minutes here and there getting hyped over the next one to come out.  Midterms and projects are hard, I need to blow off some steam.  What's a game or two for an hour going to harm?  I can control myself for a full month after all!  Suddenly, back right where I was a month ago.  Great.

Yeah, no.  Can we please not do this again?

NaNoWriMo starts up tomorrow, so that'll keep me busy enough, for sure.  Ultimately though, we'll probably have this conversation again next month.  Actually filling the void, starting to move myself from a mentality of "must resist the urge to game" to one where I've got so many better things that I want and love to do that I don't even need to actively (or passively, for that matter) resist.  I think coding is trying to push into that space, and maybe writing once again will too, but it's early yet.  I won't be in grad school forever (thank God), so I need to figure this out sooner rather than later.

On top of that, the gaming aspect is the only area I've really made progress in this past month.  I'm still spending far more time on the internet than I'd necessarily like to spend.  There's that idle time I don't quite feel like being productive or rising or otherwise doing something useful that is still open.  I am a fair bit more present in life, but I did just lose this past weekend to trying to set things up at home to where I could still do things there.  Daring to Try is probably the thing I want to get into the mindset of most, but possibly the hardest piece of it.  It's funny - we get stuck in our daily rituals and suddenly it's a month later and you've forgotten all about pushing the envelope.

Some progress has been made in the past month, but there's a lot more to go.

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