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DaBest

DaBest's Journey For Self-Discipline

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Day 0.

Let me keep this short and sweet. I am a grossly underemployed college graduate (my own fault) suffering from a lack of self-control and self-discipline to do what I need to do to get a job in my major field. I am incredibly averse to working hard on my own, especially now that I’m out of school and that there are no grades I can cram for and get the most amount of credit for the least amount of effort—I coasted really hard in my education and I really regret it. My self-discipline and self-control issues mostly manifest itself in screen addiction, which includes the Internet, TV, sports, political news and video games. Ironically, the video game issue is actually the least of these issues, as I gave up gaming about 5 years ago, and only really suffered a significant relapse this past summer, but one I thankfully got past. I started using screens as a coping mechanism to tune out of abusive home and school environments back when I was a kid, and I never gave it up once things started getting better on both fronts.

For the most of this year, and especially the last 5 months, I have really worked hard to cut out this crap habit from my life, and I have failed over and over again, and I will keep doing so and trying new things until I finally accomplish my goals. I need to improve my attitude, and I feel that public accountability could be a useful tool to help accomplish that. So here are my goals:

1) Develop my self-control, and especially develop my self-discipline.

2) Ditch the screen habit forever.

3) Get a job in my major field and become an all-around kick-ass individual, thanks to my discipline.

4) Document my triumphs and failures here—and PLEASE call me out on my BS!

For right now I just want to do a post a day, minimum of one sentence for the next seven days, similar to the small steps techniques for building habits that I’ve read about from Leo Babauta (but I always ignored it, biting off more than I can chew.)

I know this journal won’t focus on gaming all too heavily (I still get urges, obviously), but I feel my problem is very similar, just manifested slightly different. I hope that anyone who reads this can find value in the rest of the journal.

Wish me luck and thanks for reading!

And for the record, I will beat this.

Edited by DaBest

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Hey! Awesome to see your journal up here. Have you read The Power of Habit by Charlie Duhigg? That would be a good one to start with. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is also good.

I love books to help keep my perspective and attitude focused.

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Hey Cam! Thanks for the suggestion! I really should read Duhigg's book. I see it referenced everywhere--I got to bite the bullet and just get it already.

Also, thanks a bunch for setting up Game Quitters and for your videos. Your work is hugely important and I really hope it reaches everyone out there like myself who needs it!

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Day 1

I had mixed results from yesterday. On the bright side, I turned off the TV at 11 PM, which even on a Sunday I can watch until 1 AM even though I had work in the morning. However, I was doing too much screen stuff throughout the day, and significantly overstepped the boundaries I laid out for myself (I’m charting my screen-time abuses and have tried to give myself a framework for my Internet usage).

Tonight, I will not watch Monday Night Football and instead put my time to things that benefit me, like reading, meditating, or doing job search stuff, and I am publicly announcing this to put pressure on myself to come back tomorrow and not look like a fool. I am a Giants fan and have watched every game this year despite telling myself not to because I can get so emotionally invested into sports and I need a break from it. Those 3 hours are valuable and I don’t want to keep wasting them. I’d rather improve myself and compete against the real world than watch other people compete and live vicariously through them.

See you tomorrow.

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Also, thanks a bunch for setting up Game Quitters and for your videos. Your work is hugely important and I really hope it reaches everyone out there like myself who needs it!

We're all in this together. Thankful for you contributing to the community. :)

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Welcome aboard!  What is your degree in if you don't mind my asking?

Thanks! My degree is in chemical engineering, but the field I'm looking to enter is kind very hard to break into. I know my degree can be used just about anywhere, I'm just being picky (at first...)

---

Day 2.

I am proud to announce I actually did NOT watch the Monday Night Football game last night. I instead took the time to read this really interesting biography I’m in the middle of. I even went to bed early. When I go on the computer, play games, or watch TV I tend to stay up really late, and when I can avoid them I tend to get to bed earlier because I’m usually really tired. The public pressure really helped me get through the hardest urges to even just check the score. The urges were just as bad when I was recovering from my LoL relapse this summer, which I can honestly say were really, really, sucky (but were the impetus for finding Game Quitters :D)

Today I read an article on the science of self-discipline. It talked about how there are competing models of how someone has self-discipline and that there is quite a bit of research that needs to be done to really clarify how self-discipline works in the brain. One of the things researchers have discovered is that merely swishing one’s mouth with sugary water can be enough to boost self-discipline in subsequent tasks. Now, I don’t plan on going that route any time soon, but it makes me wonder how much my current state of health (re: poor) influences my self-discipline. When I consider that I spend at least several days worth of time on the Internet during a given week (especially before I got my current job), I wonder how many workouts I could’ve snuck in. Right now I just want to focus on keeping a consistent journal on self-discipline so I am always thinking about it, and focusing on my job search, but perhaps my health should be the next thing to fix after the first two.

Tonight I am going to draft a cover letter for a generic position (i.e.: for cold-call connections, resume boards, etc.). If I don’t, call me out on it tomorrow, but I’m not going to let you guys get a chance to anyway ;)

See you tomorrow.

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Day 3

I followed through! I drafted the letter last night. Tonight I was busy with other stuff, but tomorrow I will edit it to the point where I have the final product.

One of the things that have been on my mind a lot recently is forgetting what my goals and dreams are, like getting an engineering job for one. I don’t totally forget about it, but there are times where it’s not sitting in the forefront of my mind, like when I get home from my current job and my first instinct is to relax. I need to make sure I start reminding myself before I take a break about what my goals are in an attempt to stay focused and not overdo the break itself. I want to become a great engineer and a great man, so I really need to keep on task much better than I am.

In terms of screen time today, I logged a 4 on my screen time abuses (maybe I’ll break down how I track that later), which is not a bad score relative to the past. I was scoring an average 9 a day back in July Today was nearly my third consecutive 0 in a row and I almost did it so that bothers me. However, I need to be very vigilant tomorrow as I have off work and will be doing computer-based work all day, and I know I can rack a 12 with ease if I’m not careful (which is really bad for me). 

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A good way to remember your goals is to see them more often. I would encourage you to do any of the following:

1. Get a whiteboard for your room ($10ish) and write your goals on them. That way you see them every morning.
2. Create a note on your phone with your goals.
3. Create a vision board. You can do this by going through the sample of the Game Quitters Challenge (free download, midway down the page.)

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Thanks for the ideas Cam! Tomorrow I'm going to spend some time fleshing out a new habit to do that, and I'll make sure to check the download out before I do so.

Ironically, the article on self-discipline I read about today really got me thinking about the vision problem deeper than I have than in the past. 

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Day 4

Yesterday (well, today’s) mission has been successful! I edited the letter and I am able to send that to someone with some minor tweaks depending on who the letter is being presented to.

Kind of along the lines of yesterday’s post, I read a great piece on discipline by Basil William Maturin on The Art of Manliness. It resonated with me, despite the fact that I am still working on developing my self-discipline. There were a couple of good points from the article.

1) Self-discipline is a means to an end.

Here is the first paragraph:

            “We do not endure [self-discipline] merely for its own sake, but for what lies beyond it. And we bear those acts of self-denial and self-restraint because we feel and know full well that through such acts alone can we regain the mastery over all our misused powers and learn to use them with a vigour and a joy such as we have never known before…”

Self-discipline can be a real pain at times—like at this very moment—but I know if I am feeling pain, it’s probably in an area where I could grow if I just leaned into the pain a bit. This makes total sense when I write this down, but in the moment my reptile brain can take over. Currently I am feeling an intense urge to resume my leisure Internet usage when I’m done with this post, but I know I’ve already used up all but 5 minutes of my allotment today so once I’m done I can only do work on the Internet. Instead, I can work—another thing I am avoiding right now—on the job search and improve my chances of getting a job and overcoming the pain. Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain…a constant theme in the areas where I NEED to grow most.

2) Self-discipline kills bad-action-self and gives birth to bad-ass-self.

My habits and thought processes are not really conducive to my goals and functioning as a productive member of society. An honest assessment of my work habits are that I’m lazy, lack direction, easily distracted, would rather not do something out of fear of rejection or fear of missing out on other stuff, and not always focused at the goal. In particular, the part about not being focused on the goal bothers me as I’m struck that many of the great figures I’ve learned about this year all had a very strong focus on their vision and goals. Video games and Youtube will not get me where I want to be, only hard work can. I need to develop that strong focus.

3) “Without such an inspiring motive [discipline] is meaningless, it is cruel self-torture.”

Preach.

The more I deal with the Internet problem, the more I see value in having a constant focus on my vision as a tool to deal with actually WORKING TO MY VISION and overcoming this bad habit. I want to work hard but I’m not a masochist—I wouldn’t work hard at something if I didn’t see it as a means to an end for something else like a goal, or safety, or notoriety, etc. To be honest, when I’m on the Internet and I feel bad for being on for the 10th or 12th hour straight on my Saturday, the thought of doing something more fulfilling just doesn’t cross my mind. I only just feel shitty, and that feeling drives me further into the Internet in order to drown the pain. If I can break that loop with work or going out as being a positive thought, maybe I can break the habit.

So tonight after I log off Game Quitters I’m going to:

1) Not watch TV, or use the Internet for leisure as my time for that is gone for the day. (Pain)

2) Spend an hour searching for new job postings. (Very painful)

3) Deal with a current situation at my job that I need to address by tomorrow morning. (Worst pain, but will be fruitful.)

[wall of text over]

 http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/02/26/manvotional-discipline-the-means-to-an-end/

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So tonight after I log off Game Quitters I’m going to:

1) Not watch TV, or use the Internet for leisure as my time for that is gone for the day. (Pain)

2) Spend an hour searching for new job postings. (Very painful)

3) Deal with a current situation at my job that I need to address by tomorrow morning. (Worst pain, but will be fruitful.)

Great list. How can you reframe the pain to pleasure? What you focus on is what you feel, and we always have the power of reframe at our disposal.

For example: Spend an hour searching for new job postings. (This will help me make money, which will allow me to have the opportunity to do XYZ.)

Always reframe negatives to positives. 

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So tonight after I log off Game Quitters I’m going to:

1) Not watch TV, or use the Internet for leisure as my time for that is gone for the day. (Pain)

2) Spend an hour searching for new job postings. (Very painful)

3) Deal with a current situation at my job that I need to address by tomorrow morning. (Worst pain, but will be fruitful.)

Great list. How can you reframe the pain to pleasure? What you focus on is what you feel, and we always have the power of reframe at our disposal.

For example: Spend an hour searching for new job postings. (This will help me make money, which will allow me to have the opportunity to do XYZ.)

Always reframe negatives to positives. 

I never thought about reframing like that before. My brain does go negative quite a bit, and I've been working on focusing more on positives rather than what I might've failed at. There was a great Art of Charm podcast a while ago with Rick Hanson that talked about how the brain is like "velcro for the bad and teflon for the good" and that it's worth it to enjoy the positive moments more for one's sanity. I'll give it a try.

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Day 5

Did all 3 of my list! I finished my day off with a 0 for my screen time abuses which I don't think I've ever done before on a day off. Today I wasn't as successful in that department as I was just really mad today about...things,  and I kind of just let go. Tomorrow will be better.

I'm going to keep this post short. I didn't plan my new habit yet. 

Goals for tomorrow (which I'll do without fail):

1) Apply to job I found (draft, edit, and apply...the whole thing)

2) Plan habit.

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Reframing is the name of the game! 

Good job on Day 5. Remember, progress happens one day at a time. Just keep focusing on being your best each day and let time take its course. If you focus on the small things every day, success over time is guaranteed. :)

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Thanks Cam! I keep trudging along. I'll get there eventually.

---

Day 6 

I'm in a weird spot right now to be honest. 

To follow up on yesterdays post.

1) I have planned my habit. I will reiterate my goal (getting a job in my field) 3 times every day after my morning routine, every time after I eat (I graze all day), and 3 times before I go to bed. I will also put a sign up with my goal on my laptop, phone, and bed. I will also make a separate movable "vision bookmark" for my written journal.

2) I have not started on the application. However, in spirit of keeping the promise, I will stay up until it is finished. But will send it out in the morning tomorrow so I don't look like a crazy person sending it at 3 AM. I've been very avoidant today, not necessarily on screens either. I need to just get it done now. 

Must go now, don't want to be up all night.

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Day 8

Just checking in. 

I need to come clean. 

I can't even keep my promises for a week.

I did not send the application.

I did not edit the letter.

I did not draft the letter.

All I have done, was write the header and footer of the letter just before starting this post, just so I wouldn't feel so crappy.

I admit I have no integrity, no personal accountability, no interpersonal accountability.

I bit off more than I could chew.

I am really broken. I like to feel numb.

I feel like an abject failure, and because work makes me focus on my flaws, I don't work, and because I don't work, I feel like more of a failure. 

It's a dumb self-perpetuating cycle. I know it. I understand it. It's my own damn fault. It's stupid. 

You know, I picked the name "DaBest" because that's always been a goal of mine. I'm not that cocky to think that's what I am right now. I have always wanted to do something great. I've always felt like I've been on the path to do something great. Now, I realize I never hit the path hard enough to make that happen even though at one point I arguably was, and once I've lost my first chance to do that, I just wallow. I made these public proclamations as an idea to snap out of my funk, put the pressure on externally (because internally I have done myself a massive disservice), kind of like how Conor McGregor did recently, because once you've done that you can't f up. I get now that external pressure like that does not develop discipline; it's pure will, vision, and practice that does so. That kind of pressure can be a tool if the discipline to follow through with it already in place. 

Right now I'm just a grown man-child. In all honesty, I have not exhibited the basic personal responsibility to call myself an adult man. 

I did not want to write this last night because of that lack of responsibility and integrity. 

This is going to be a lot messier than I thought. 

I apologize for lying to the community. Spare your pity. I don't want it. This post is for me to come with grips with shit I've been avoiding for so so long. 

But this is not over. I will probably fail like this more times, but I will improve because I want to. 

...

On the bright side, I didn't post this right away. It's 4 AM and I finished drafting and editing the letter and resume in about an hour and a half after I stopped living in my head/beating myself up/feeling sorry for myself. I will send it before I leave for work. 

Writing things out tends to wisen me up a bit. 

I need to go to bed.

 

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Ah mate don't feel ashamed about yourself. Forgive your older self and take it slowly. Things will get better mate. 

When I was turning around myself I literally said to myself "I have the character and accomplishments of a 4 year old, I will become great"

It's okay if you can't just do things on command. Slow down.

That's all my thoughts and shite, take it easy

 

 

 

download.gif

Edited by SegaCity

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Day 8 (because yesterday was day 7 and I can't count, and yes this is posted on the same day)

I actually sent the application out this morning. I was happy with how it turned out. I need to keep pushing. 

I still feel pretty ashamed about yesterday. But I took a small amount of pride in the fact I actually pulled through and journaled in this forum each day for a week, which is what I said I'd do. This is a rare occurrence, me saying I will take up a project for a week and stick with it. Usually I get all fired up, and peter out after a few days. I know journaling, meditation, and sleep are very important for my mental health (which is obviously kinda bad right now, but trust me this is a significant improvement from where I was 2 years ago), but I'm never consistent with either of the three. When I started my self-improvement journey a few years ago--and yes, progress has been slow--my primary focus was my mental health because I knew it was so bad at the time. Self-discipline is just one facet of that. 

Despite the small victory, I need to cool it on my screen time. I am approaching my screen time abuse score from last month and I still have a week and a half to go in the month. I'm pretty much going to have to hit straight zeros in order to make my fifth straight month-over-month improvement. A big issue I've had this month has been dealing with reading frivolous news articles. Once I start I just go for information overload. 

So in addition to the vision habit, which I want to be a longer term thing, I'm going to try another short term habit for the time being to deal with the news, just for a week to try it out. I will (and I know my promises mean nothing at this point, but I am  going to keep trying until I make it) push back my news window to 9-10 PM. In the past, I've made it a habit to avoid the Internet and TV before I have gone through my basic morning hygiene, and it is a significant mood improver (as the first thing I do in the morning isn't numbing myself) and screentime limiter, especially as when my mood is better, I am less likely to binge. To replace the habit, when I come home and when I finish my morning hygiene, I will read 1 page from the new book I got yesterday (another biography :D). Those times are big Internet triggers for me. With the extra time and with a little extra focus, I can then focus more on improving myself and doing cool stuff. 

Here's hoping to a better week.

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Ah mate don't feel ashamed about yourself. Forgive your older self and take it slowly. Things will get better mate. 

When I was turning around myself I literally said to myself "I have the character and accomplishments of a 4 year old, I will become great"

It's okay if you can't just do things on command. Slow down.

That's all my thoughts and shite, take it easy

 

 

 

download.gif

Hey SegaCity,

Thanks a bunch man. Your words mean a lot to me--it's reassurance I hardly ever hear.

Amplitude problem fo' real. I have been my own worst critic for a long time now. Sometimes I just need to chill the fuck out and do rather than think. Thinking gets me in trouble.I know I'll get better at time with that, and with everything else. 

And that is some awesome artwork btw :)

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Good job getting your application out! A big change happened in my life when I started to celebrate the small wins instead of constantly shaming myself for not doing things. You did get the application done so make sure you say good job to yourself. You can also break this up into small ways. For instance, I have 3 main tasks I need to do today and I just finished 1 of them, so I'm going to take a minute and say good job to myself. That inspires me to do more because it creates good emotions. Whereas shame and guilt discourage me.

Encouragement > Discouragement imo.

Also, the work of Brene Brown helped me immensely when it comes to guilt/shame/etc. 

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Good job getting your application out! A big change happened in my life when I started to celebrate the small wins instead of constantly shaming myself for not doing things. You did get the application done so make sure you say good job to yourself. You can also break this up into small ways. For instance, I have 3 main tasks I need to do today and I just finished 1 of them, so I'm going to take a minute and say good job to myself. That inspires me to do more because it creates good emotions. Whereas shame and guilt discourage me.

Encouragement > Discouragement imo.

Also, the work of Brene Brown helped me immensely when it comes to guilt/shame/etc. 

Thanks Cam. Yeah, in retrospect, shame has definitely been a big part of my life, especially recently. It's really hard to want to do anything when I feel worthless and powerless to manufacture any change. I watched Brene Brown's TED talk on shame just now and I must say that after watching it, I feel that my cognizance of my own shame has been a big blind spot in my life. I'm going to rewatch that tomorrow and take some notes. Good recommendation!

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Day 9 (note: I wrote this a little bit before posting)

I’m writing this post early just so I can clear my mind a bit.

It’s 7:30 right now and I have not read any news today and I’m getting very antsy and uncomfortable. Pretty much all I can do right now is work on my job search and improve myself in some way, shape, or form.

I recognize that I am still fearing the possibility of rejection or making a mistake and that is why I feel antsy; the news is just a coping mechanism. I need to take positive steps forward and be okay with the possibility that I might fail because there is still the possibility I might succeed.

On a side note, reading my book when I got home was a big plus. I did not go on the Internet for entertainment when I got home because of it. Sometimes I need to forcibly remind myself that I can do other things instead of vegging out in front of a screen! :D

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If you liked her TED talk, her book would probably be really helpful for you.  It was for me!

Thanks wookieshark and Cam. Small question though, which one of her books were you referring to, wookieshark? 

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Day 10

Quick update because it's a little late and I'm tired.

Followed through on the book habit again today and it definitely deflects the strong urge I get when I come home. I can't say how well it works in the mornings as I pretty much left for work straight after getting ready. Tomorrow I'm off so I'll try that part then, and likely change the habit to include mornings only if I know I have downtime where I'll be prone to going on the Internet.

Putting the news within it's hour window saves me so much time! I am admittedly a bit too giddy when that time rolls around, but I like the change. Yesterday I went over slightly and today I actually stopped at 10 like I'm supposed to and switched to personal development work. With that time I rewatched the TED talk and took some notes and let it sink in a bit more, and I'm glad I did so. I'm going to start shifting my thinking more to "I'm doing bad" vs. "I am bad." The first mindset implies change, and the second doesn't. I don't want to start pretending I'm perfect, because I'm not, but shifting my mind set to the guilt-based mindset vs. the shame-based mindset should help me increase my drive and well-being. 

I also posted to a resume board today and did other job application stuff and I honestly did not waste time after getting home from work today. It was not the most productive day, but it's been far better than how I've been doing recently and I feel SO MUCH BETTER for it. I was also I a lot less fearful of approaching the work which was very nice.

If I can keep stringing days like these together I will be a very happy camper :)

(And no plans for tomorrow, because Christmas)

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I agree with Cam that her Tim Ferriss podcast is excellent.  I read Daring Greatly and loved it.  Her other two books are on my list.  She really reinforced the idea that being a badass is tough, but worth it.  You'll be knocked down, beat up, and ridiculed.  The thing is that you'll be alive and life will be a great adventure.  That's what I want for myself.  I'd rather aim for greatness and have an adventure trying to get there than just sit on the sidelines and snicker at those who are actually living.

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