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Just kidding....

You did a great job whatever your grades are! It would have been awesome if I had not relapsed.... But there's no point looking back. Anyway, keep it up! I wish your days go well after 90 days!

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Damn proud of you man! I'm seriously stoked that you finished that first almighty step that we're all shootin for! :D I hope it feels like a victory, because making it that long when you're in the gaming funk so deep as we all were is nothing short of amazing! 

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14 July 17

Game Free: 90 (17 Apr)



I did it! Pumped. I had a bit of a skip in my step today knowing today was the day. I left it quite late to write my post (about to go to bed rather than right after waking up) which put me out of sorts a little but here I am. I need to fix my weekend routine as I am generally unhappy with what I achieve (it is not enough) so I need to structure it similar to my weekdays and force myself to follow some kind of schedule. I'll think about it during the week.

But wow. Did I think I would make it this far? No until I think I was in the mid 30s range. I relapsed initially on 22 days, and had similar struggle in the 20s again the second time round, but once I hit the 30s it was almost too easy from there. I think there was a number of reasons that played into why I managed to stick it out.

1) My relapse. When I embarked on the first attempt I did it with just one aim - to break the cycle of needing to game at the sacrifice of my study and my son. I didn't really have any tools or ways that I was going to keep me on track. I found out quite quickly that I could easily replace a time wasting activity with another time wasting activity. Before I knew it, I found myself with too much time and a whole lot of nothing to do (well, in hindsight I had study or chores to do, but my brain didn't see it that way), and I relapsed. I don't think I initially felt the ramifications of my relapse or reflected too much on it until I was working through my habit tracker and came up to my journal entry task, and looking at my journal I just felt so hollow, like I had taken a big step backwards. From there I learnt that the underlying reason that I really wanted to quit was because I wanted to live life to the fullest. Since that realisation, I have been knocking down productivity goal after productivity goal. The more things I can achieve the more I feel like I am living life, so I win. I think this was the best learning tool out of everything in the 90 days.

2) Meeting @Cam in Vegas. It turned out to be the highlight of the trip, taking over the main reason I was there (bachelor party all the way from Sydney). The statistics in his talk was mind blowing, the other people at the function/meeting/shindig were really great and very curious about the whole thing. When they knew I was in the mid 40s of my detox at the time, they asked some questions and told me to keep going. Having a very open and honest conversation with Cam after the presentation was good too. I found it easy to talk to him and a lot of the tools and things we talked about is what I had been researching in other areas, or similar to what my old psychologist was telling me on how to control my anxiety and how to basically be in the moment. That's when I knew he was 110% legit, and ultimately what I was trying to achieve was completely legit and worthwhile. I think at this point I really stopped looking at the detox as a path to give up gaming, but more of a personal development path, and giving up gaming was just a part of that. Side note - since the meeting in Vegas, I have not watching television at all. Not even streaming a show. Cam, and the support of this community, is changing lives; including mine.

3) That I am still capable of studying and producing tertiary-level writing. I felt like the joy I used to have from studying back when I was in school or when I had left school was returning. I felt motivated to study again instead of feeling like it was a chore. The last time I felt like that was before I made my first WoW character. I think this became the psuedo-feedback loop that substitued what gaming gave me, and my urges as a result became rarer and rarer. I began to study every day of 3+ hours, and even if I don't pass the subject in the end (still waiting!!!) I am glad I did it and I definitely learnt a lot, especially about minimising distractions and flow states, which I have also used at work.

4) My son growing exponentially. He has got more and more fun over the last 90 days, the last month in particular, and now he is not so much of a chore to be around. No more just a crying needing pooping blob, now he is full of life, laughter, adventurous and building his own personality. Maybe part of this is I have noticed it more and more rather than seeing him as a distraction from multiplayer games, or maybe it's column a & b. Subsequently a lot of the time I couldn't be bothered sitting at my desk at all let alone gaming as I would rather be chasing him around the house or doing something for him, such as making him a little box car to be pushed around in, or gluing toys that he loves back together.

5) My massive anxiety attack in the late 30s I think it was. It made me realise that the reason I got so hooked on games in the last 3 years again after a massive stint away from playing them was to try and avoid the anxiety symptoms or to escape them when life had become too much. But it was just masking the issue instead of dealing with it directly. There was no point me spending all this money on psychologists when I was not ready or not implementing the tools that he was giving me. I think the best thing that came out of my meetings with him was finally knowing what was wrong with me, rather than just thinking I was broken and irrepairable. I got a lot of self awareness out of this as well, which has only grown since then, and is one of my best tools I have now to try and control my emotions, particularly at work.

6) Reigniting old passions or hobbies. For me, this was my fascination with electronics that I never fulfilled even back when I was still in school. In hindsight I should have tried to get into electronics for a career, I think I would of loved it immensely, but I would not have been able to do the cool and crazy things I have in the last decade. I probably wouldn't be on this personal development path either. I did have a bit of a crisis with what I was trying to achieve out of my fiddling around with electronics, my intention for the activity, but I have it in the correct frame now. As a result I have barely touched my electronics for a few weeks, but that's ok, I have had other things that needed dealing with that I shouldn't be trying to escape from.

7) This journal. It was a great way to get my mind untangled and set for the day, as I wrote it as soon as I woke up every day. To me it didn't matter what I was talking about or if anybody bothered to read it, it was for myself. I realised this in the low 20s or high 10s days, when I was thinking about giving it up as I was struggling to see the point. Again, it's the intent piece. I really think a journal is great for anyone's personal development, it gets a lot of things off your brain that you might have otherwise been stressing about all day and impeding your productivity, because you couldn't focus. I also loved reading other peoples journals and learning how they were managing with their situations, especially @Tom2, @Mettermrck, @Mhyrion and ole @Moe Smith.

8) Running. It helped that I had already started training for a marathon, but I used running as a way to "reset" if I was having strong urges or I felt like I had a lot of free time with nothing to do (hello crazy brain again). After Vegas, I have been using it as a tool to get into my flow state, and I have been religiously running at lunch time ever since. The reason I chose lunch time is because I always struggle to pay attention in the afternoons, tending to just stare out the window or surfing twitter etc on my phone. By running at lunch time I was able to smash out another solid 3 hours of valuable work. I ran so religiously that when I was wiped out for weeks at a time due to sickness I think I was borderline depressed! Here's to staying healthy and keeping my momentum into the marathon.

9) Last but not least, my  boy @Moe Smith. Though he has been my accountability partner for only a portion of the path (so far!), it has been great to talk to someone else in an almost mirrored situation, even if the majority of it was not about gaming. It kept my mind busy and made me flashback to the great memories of having a penpal for about 9 years, even if this one is a Utah Jazz fan. One day we will have a beer in person mate.

So what have I learnt so far? So much yet so little. I still do not know what I do not know, but I do know that this is but the first step. I have so much unfinished business and so much personal development to go, that this day will just be a blip in the rear view mirror.

Master Gibs, signing off, proud as punch :x

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That is wonderful, giblets. There were a lot of life lessons in the post. I can relate to the reigniting old passions, the exercise, the self-awareness. Even though I was only around for part of your journey, I am happy to see you at one milestone in your personal development and moving on to your next one. I hope that you keep in touch about your journey.

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Farewell, I'm so happy to be one of 4 hobbits(Just kidding :) )

Plz live happily ever after, to the end of your days! God bless your days.

(I don't know why your last journal reminds me of the lord of the rings... lol)

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16 July 17

Game Free: 91 (17 Apr)

I am on the other side of the 90 hill, though it is not downhill, there is just another hill!

I have a lot of new challenges today as the euphoria of finishing the detox vanishes. I am growing frustrated with people not being as productive or focused on minimising as much as I am. I need to come up with a new strategy of how to deal with this. Has anyone else had this same problem? Is there some podcasts or books or blogs that would help me guide me through it? I have a feeling that if I don't put some new control measures in place soon I will start torching relationships. I am not going to change how focused I am on being productive, personal development and minimising, but I need to understand that it's ok for other people to not share those same philosophies. It is going to be harder the closer they are to me.

Still haven't sorted out selling my Xbox. Not really sure of the market so I need to look into it some more. I really want it to be relatively easy because I don't want to sink a lot of time right now into it, but I don't see how putting it on eBay will work as I don't think it would fare very well in the mail. I think I need to go down the pickup route. My experience with game shops etc is the price they give isn't that great, I may as well just give it to someone who will get some value out of it if it comes to that.

Listened to a great podcast today during my run. It was a TED talk by Adam Alter - "Why our screens make us less happy." So much truth and so many statistics that make me wonder why people still deny what our devices/gaming are doing to us. I guess some people don't want to believe, and there are groups that have a vested interest in keeping them as non-believers.

Hopefully a good night sleep and some reflecting will help me iron out some of these mind pretzels.

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17 July 17

Game Free: 92

I am contemplating whether I still want my game free counter going or not. Whether it just becomes my daily journal of the "bullshit on my brain" (thanks Stone Cold) or if I need the counter to keep reminding me of the path. I have a countdown (or countup in this case) on my phone that achieves the same purpose. I will do some more reflecting on this mind pretzel too, right after I sort out how do deal with yesterday's problems! Maybe that is going to be the big shift for me post-90 days, is increasing the amount of meditating/reflecting I am doing to solve mind pretzels. That and I have started to call my issues 'mind pretzels' lol. Every time I say it I get a bit hungry though, if only we had an Auntie Annies here....

I am somewhat pleased about the cleaning out of the house I did yesterday. I threw out a bunch of stuff by taking the minimalists approach to it - just choose a specific area and focus on that and then let that spread to the rest of your house. I chose the bench in the kitchen which was covered in useless stuff, then moved to the office area. It's surprising how much it works and how easy it is - and with those two small areas I feel less frustrated and more comfortable in my house, rather than being embarrassed to the point where I hate being here, even if I am by myself.

So what is my focus this week? Going to make a video blog of what I have learnt in the detox. Then I am going to keep on this cleaning kick, starting with my desk tonight in order to get my file server set up. That's another 'to do' item that I never got around to because gaming was so much more fun. I have forgotten how many times my wife has said she wanted a cloud/backup plan for her phone and I said I would do it with a RPi. I am beginning to be surprised that she has put up with all the excuses for so long!

No soldering or electronics done on the weekend, prioritised friends and decluttering. I really only have this weekend left to work on it completely before it's study time with the new semester. I am not upset about that, because the intent has changed, it is a reward not a distraction.

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18 July 17

Days to go: 272

Very productive day yesterday, to the point where when I go back to work tomorrow I will struggle to find something to do! I will help out on some other projects I am coordinating I think so it will be good to get back and work on material rather than just being the manager. A nice change of pace. I gave myself 3 stars for productivity, the first time I have done that, so progress!

Today though I get to hang out with my son for the day, which will be a blast. No thinking or stressing about other tasks, no wanting to escape to my computer, just him and I cruising around doing whatever we feel like. Going to head to an electronics shop for some LED lights to put on his toy car - I think it will be hilarious.

Started talking to an old pen pal again, having the conversations with Moe and writing this journal has made me realise how enjoyable it was to write all my thoughts down, and they seem open to writing again. See how long it will last before they give up and move on, but it's good for now.

Still haven't re-established my Duolingo habit. This is annoying me at the moment, so I need to find a suitable day to do the lessons and stick to it so it becomes muscle memory just like this journal. I have tried in the morning but my brain usually isn't firing on all cylinders yet, lunch time I run, and after work I usually am either too grumpy or too tired to do it, or I am spending time with my son. A lot of excuses here. Maybe I will do some research on the best time of the day to maximise my learning potential.

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19 July 17

Days to go: 271

Been a very hectic day, my post is very late! Exhausted, but I have accomplished a lot today, I'd say it was between 2 and 3 stars of productivity... if I can only find where I put my notebook sheets. I'll sort them out tomorrow. The biggest achievement for me I think was getting my average time per km down to 5:23 today, which is the fastest I've run in like ever. It was the average across 6km, so the distance wasn't that great but there was so much roadworks going on all my usual paths had been closed so after a few side streets I gave up and came back. I need to try and work that out a bit better and identify a route I can do until the footpaths and steps are re-opened.

Really wanted to get my blood test done today so I can find out if there is anything wrong with me that is causing me to get sick so often, but I forgot I should of been fasting, and I had already had breakfast. I need to see a new doctor about if I am gluten intolerant, because I am starting to have troubles with my stomach again. The last doctor said I wasn't gluten intolerant but I was gluten "sensitive". I stupidly not ask about it any further because I thought I could manage it without eating bread, but its back to being really bad.

Sold my gaming laptop for a nice chunk of change! I feel really happy about that. I was going to use the money to buy a tiny portable linux laptop but now I am not so sure, as I don't really need it, it's more of something I want. I'll sit on it for a while and see how I feel about it after some more research. On the Minimalist podcast they talk about having a "freeze" period when you're thinking of shopping, whether that be 7-30 days, in which you wait and see if you still feel like you want the product after that period. I have been waiting 4 weeks already so another one or two won't hurt.

Still need to get that Xbox up on  sale!

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On the gluten intolerance side, definitely ask, but also know most doctors are not trained in nutrition and they will have varying abilities to truly recognize whether it's an issue or not. I don't eat gluten because when I do, I clearly feel worse and experience symptoms. It doesn't matter whether I'm officially "diagnosed" with a gluten intolerance or not, I can tell based on my body and my experience. So go off gluten for a week or two, see how you feel, and then try eating a bunch of it one day, and see how you feel. No better test than that.

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21 July 17

Days to go: 269

I missed yesterday's post because it was a very hectic day. I didn't forget about it and I didn't want to break my daily streak but I prioritised family time over sitting in front of the computer in the end, some members of my family are going through some stressful times and I am doing my best to help out, whether that be just relaxing with them or doing some chores for them. To me that had a higher value than anything else I had planned to do.

@Cam I think you're right, I need to just try a period without gluten. Last year I tried "No Bread November" and I felt a lot better throughout, so maybe I need to have a go at "No Gluten August". I have already talked to my wife about it and she is willing to help with our food choices so I need to sit down and come up with a plan. I'll add it to the list to work on this weekend.

@Mettermrck Not at all in the end! At the start I didn't want to bring myself to get rid of them like recommended in the Respawn program, so I just put them all in my shed. Now though I would like the money to work on other projects so I finally started organised selling them. It felt great walking away from them! That Xbox days are numbered, and I think it shivers when I walk past.

So the good news for the day is I finally got my uni results back! I got a Credit, which I am over the moon about. Not only is it a step up from my usual barely-passed, but when it was on a subject I have never studied before and had never done a research essay before either, I am very proud. I am certain I would not have achieved it if I was still trying to game at the same time. You can bet the house on that. Now the next step is to try and get a Distinction next semester to really hammer it home.

Hoping for a really productive day today so I can feel like I am starting to make some headway on my to do list.

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22 July 17

Days to go: 268

Starting to get a bit down with how little I am achieving in my personal life at the moment while I have family staying with me. I love them to bits and I really enjoy having them around but when I wander around the house or sit down and reflect for the day I realise my personal jobs/targets/chores have stagnated a lot lately. I start study again on Monday as well so the window to do a lot of this stuff has closed. I will do my best to try and get some things done today and maybe some soldering done as well to cheer me up. I will attempt to use my notebook for the first time on the weekend to help set some goals and track how much I achieve during the weekend which I haven't done before.

Filled with regret again for how much time I have wasted yesterday from end of the week drinks with colleagues.  I don't regret drinking itself or anything I have said or done as I stay in control, but I regret the loss of time itself. I guess thats the same reason I am a bit down with my personal goals, while I enjoy spending times with friends and family I don't see it as progressing towards anything - maybe thats the answer. I need to work out the intent for the time with them, and identify what it is working towards, that will get me back on track. Yes that's it. Now to work out what the end state is.

Hopefully I will have a more upbeat post tomorrow!

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