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ThatFrenchGuy's Field Study


ThatFrenchGuy
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Hello guys,

Just joined the forum a few days ago, and I'll be making a journal at least over the course of the next 90 days as I attempt to stop gaming over that period, and develop a healthier lifestyle (Failed the first time).

Just an FYI before I start rambling, it's hard for me to commit to sit down and write something, but usually when I do, I usually write (a bit) too much. So I'll try and make TL:DRs and keep things short (or I might not, who knows what's going to happen in the next 90 days).

Things to expect from this journal if I don't procrastinate:

  • Probably a critical/analytical viewpoint on my situation, think of it as a self study. I have a scientific background, did bioengineering for a while, seen way more psychologists/psychiatrists than I'd care to admit, so I've developped a taste for introspection and human psychology (I have no academic background in psychology, but am willing to learn)
  • A larger emphasis on procrastination. I will probably end up talking a lot on non-gaming related aspects, but I believe that they are important and relevant here because my main issue is procrastination, and gaming has been the main vessel for this in my case. Some other things might replace gaming as my "procrastination tool" and I feel they could be worth mentioning.
  • Insight into social relationships and possibly sexual life. While the former is relevant for obvious reasons, I still believe the latter is striongly linked to my relationship with gaming and is worth mentioning if it's relevant and I feel comfortable sharing it. @Hitaru's nofap challenge (not really looking into that kind of commitment... yet) essential made me think of the role that aspect could play.
  • Life structure and personal health: Again biological science nerve kicking in here. I believe gaming has had a significant impact on.

Things I expect to hurt:

  • Loneliness: I am bound to lose my friendship with mid to long-term friends I've had online. I've had restricted social circles (usually only unviersity friends) and until I can build up and extend real-life circles, a single group of a few friends emanating only from my "work" circle will not be able to satisfy my social needs. 9It hasn't the last time I tried the 90 day challenge).
  • Boredom: Gaming has always been the easiest time-killer, dopamine producer, and relaxation tool for me. Finding equally satisfying alternatives will be a challenge, and committing to them will be just as hard. The hardest (and most important part, I believe) is resetting bodily expectations of excitement. I think the biggest consequence of gaming has been the fact that I always need to be entertained, excited or intellectually involved and that boredom is simply not acceptable. This is also due to the specific psychology behind the whole "gifted children" phenomenon.
  • Self-confidence: Not because I expect it to drop, but because I'll be having to actually face myself rather than shy away from my issues.

So there it is, I guess. I'm looking forwards to contributing to forums, and beyond simply being an archive for myself, I hope this can help someone in some way, and I wholeheartedly agree that journals should be a social endeavour, not simply a personal logsheet. I've gone ahead and follow a few journals myself, and I'll try and force myself to be active there.

Here it goes!

 

Also do you have to enable something to have your flag show up to show where you're from? I litterally just find it cute, and it's always fun to see the variety of orgins people have. (-rep if you didn't figure out where I come from with my username he he).

Also, signatures under posts, how does that work? Cheers

Edited by ThatFrenchGuy
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Alright, I don't mean to be super rude, but I have a few tips. And maybe I'm wrong and what I'm thinking of isn't what you want. Only you know yourself, bud.

Firstly, don't think of it as some sort of new super-cool internet challenge. Those come and go all the time. Just say to yourself, each day, either "I'm not going to play games today" or "I'm going to play video games today". Make it clear to yourself that this is not some sort of fun challenge. It isn't fun. And it never will be. It shouldn't be. While I will admit it is a challenge, I would not use the term "90 days challenge" for a 90 day video gaming detox, whether or not it is challenging. Who knows, maybe it would help you.

Secondly, and again, maybe this is just me, but why did you put "if I don't procrastinate" in bold? The point of self-improvement is not to look at yourself and say "hey, that thing that I do sometimes really sucks. I should fix it." But rather, "I really wish I could do this thing. I'm gonna do it." It helps a lot, and then if you notice that one of your tendencies is getting in the way, then figure out how fix it. You might not even necessarily need to quit doing whatever that thing is, so long as it isn't getting in the way. So, for example, if you're upset that you are procrastinating, figure out what thing you want to do or be that it is getting in the way of, and do or become that thing. For example, with your procrastination goal, perhaps you say to yourself "I want to be a hard-working individual." Then you should become that, and don't even consider procrastinating. And it will get in the way, but you just have to condition your mind to move past it.

Lastly, and this one kinda piggy-backs off of the previous one, but try to talk less negatively than you are. So what if you "ramble" a bit, there are tons of longer journals out there. And if you decide to summarize everything, then just be aware that it will certainly not encapsulate the process of how you got there, if you come upon a revelation in the "ramble". Just, try to use less negative language in regards to yourself, even if it means not describing yourself at all. If you do want to self-deprecate, then just be sure you think of it not as "I'm lazy and need to be less lazy", but rather "I used to be lazy (or lazier, if you prefer) and now I am not lazy (less lazy, if you prefer)."

Those are just my tips, though. I certainly hope that this helps you in some way, and I wish you success in completing your 90 day detox!

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Cheers @Regular Robert!

Your points definately make sense. To be honest, 90 days challenger is just what came out of my head (probably from seeing Cam's video). Absolutely agree with you on the whole "don't think you should do something, just do it". And to be honest, I realise every once in a while, either myself of through someone letting me know, that I speak quite negatively about myself. I attribute that to my excessive use of self-mockery in social situations to get out of tight spots or uncomfortable positions, and it probably carries through to most things I say.

The big problem I have moving forwards, is that I've already gathered a lot of what I need to improve over the years, but I'm simply not lucid enough to keep track of all of it to get long-term change (i.e. healthy sleeping hours, committing to work on something regularly, doing the dishes after eating, etc...). For a lot of things, I try to "just do it", and usually that works. There are obviously things that I don't want to do and end up not doing, but as long as that doesn't become a doctrine, I consider it normal human behaviour; can't be happy all the time. The problem is that I can't "just do it" if I don't even remember or manage to keep track of everything I want to change. I've tried alarms, post-its, etc and nothing really just gets me doing something different long enough to make it a permanent change.

So I guess this is why I'm posting here, and why I'm making kind of a big deal out of it, I suppose it's a way for me to keep track of where I've been, where I'm headed, and if it can help other people out, even better!

Let's be real by the way, we'd notice if tips were somehow rude! I honestly appreciate criticism. And as much as I hate to admit it, it's good for me to take criticism; I'm regularly warned by my mother, and notice myself sometimes that I let my ego get the hang of me.

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And @J(e)RK has a point here. It will be beneficial for you to not distant yourself from this progress

2 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

as I attempt the 90 day detox challenge a second time (Failed the first time).

It is not a challenge. Nobody does it to prove a point, nor are there any other challengers. There is no win, no lose. It is a detox for people who faced that they have a gaming problem. If you call it a challenge, you distance yourself from "having a problem". But the first step to changing a condition is to accept that this condition is real. Thus, I can only suggest to you to view this as a detox. It might also have an influence on your relapse probability.

2 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

Just an FYI before I start rambling, it's hard for me to commit to sit down and write something, but usually when I do, I usually write (a bit) too much. So I'll try and make TL:DRs and keep things short (or I might not, who knows what's going to happen in the next 90 days).

1. You are not rambling. I was the same when I started doing what I like to do: writing. I diminished my own work in order to not having to take it serious. If somebody reads your journal and views your words as rambling, his problem. Or her problem. Screw em. This is your journal and you do this for you. Your thoughts are important to you, or should be.

2. You do not write too much. You write the amount you feel is necessary. You are not writing this stuff to entertain people, nor educate people. This journal will not have to face judges. It is a diary. Your diary. Your thoughts and feelings is what it consists of. You reflect on it. That other people can read it is secondary. You do you. Other people can suggest and comment, but all they are is a community that faces the same "change of lifestyle".

3. Do not make TL;DR. This is not reddit, nor the steam reviews, nor anything else. You don't have an audience here. Try to be completely blind for the fact that other people can read your stuff. You are not here to serve an audience. This is about you.

2 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

Things to expect from this journal if I don't procrastinate:

Nobody will expect anything. I know that you are very smart, I read your introduction. But you are not here because you are smart. You are not here to be tested. You came here to change a condition you don't want to have in your life anymore. Treat it like that. Do not try to fulfill anybodies expectations. You will fail time and time again. I guess expectations is one of the topics you should reflect on in this journal. I can only assume that with outstanding intelligence they serve outstanding expectations. Again, I am not trying to bash or criticize you. I am just trying to let you see your approach with my eyes. Do not serve anybody here. This is about you. If you procrastinate, I will not be disappointed in you. Nobody here will be. You will not be treated like a traitor, nor will you be banished. Quitting games is a process. Not an exam.

2 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

Probably a critical/analytical viewpoint on my situation, think of it as a self study.

Don't plan too much. The first couple of days might be horrible, at least in my experience. I felt like going crazy. There will hardly be any chance to analyze what is happening. Go with it in the beginning. Don't focus too much on any scientific result. In fact, free yourself from the idea of making this a self study. It will be a self study, but only if you do not treat it like that. You gotta be honest with yourself and in order to be honest to yourself, you have to be close to yourself. A self study puts you on the other side of the mirrored glass, watching a subject and studying it. Free yourself. Let go. No expectations, nothing to fulfill. Just stick to not gaming, changing your daily structure and live what is there to live.

2 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

that I always need to be entertained, excited or intellectually involved and that boredom is simply not acceptable. This is also due to the specific psychology behind the whole "gifted children" phenomenon.

A little suggestion from my side: Be bored for a while. I mean it. It will most likely drive you crazy, but what happens when you are bored is that you have to face yourself. You will have to face your own feelings, past, present, ways of thinking and so on. Be bored for a while and see what it does to you. Having something to do all the time is extremely distracting from "the self". See what happens when you are bored beyond belief. I would bet my left hand that there will be a point where you will have some moments of truth.

Also, try not to be a gifted child for a moment. Try not to label yourself unless you find a label that you truly want to fulfill.

2 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

So there it is, I guess. I'm looking forwards to contributing to forums, and beyond simply being an archive for myself, I hope this can help someone in some way, and I wholeheartedly agree that journals should be a social endeavour, not simply a personal logsheet. I've gone ahead and follow a few journals myself, and I'll try and force myself to be active there.

Again, no expectations. No helping others in your journal. This place is YOURS. Only yours. You are writing stuff down to reflect on yourself. You will not be able to help anybody if you plan on reflecting on yourself with the purpose of helping others. All of this is secondary. If your journal happens to help somebody, awesome. If not, still awesome, because you wrote it and it will help you on your path. You are not here as the scientist that will fix gaming addiction or procrastination. You are here because you do not like your current condition. If you want to comment on others journals, awesome. But do yourself a favor and be an egoist for a while. Force yourself to face yourself. What you are currently doing is, like I said, creating a distance between you, who are here because of a troubling condition and you, who is here to change this condition. Both are the same person. You are not here to study. This is not your job, nor school. This here is more of a temple where you go to silently meditate and share your story with others who live through the same stuff.  No doctors, no test persons.

And again, not trying to come off too strong here, but one of your issues should be the expectations people have about you. To me, it feels like you grew up fulfilling expectations and if not, you feel like a failure and distance yourself from yourself. You don't always have to be smart. You don't always have to be awesome, especially not in everything. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we have to learn. Even gifted children can fail. Accept yourself the way you are now and love this person. From there, walk down the alley of change, but as one person. Not as one who has a problem and as once who is watching and fixing the other.

Hope that wall of text can be helpful to you in any way. Good luck on this journey. And don't forget, there are a lot of people here that have your back when you need it.

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I honestly came in here asking myself what the point was. I knew posting on this forum would be at least be mildly interesting, but I was wondering to myself: "What can a block of text do that 2 years of efforts haven't yet been capable of doing." And I have to say I'm astonished at @Regular Robert's post here. I appreciate your insight, and your points are absolutely valid. A lot of what I do (and don't do) comes down to my expectations of what I should be: there are so many things I haven't done because I would be "the new guy" or a beginner, or "not one of us". I'll just say it really hit home, and I really appreciate posts like these.

Edit: going to change the wording regarding challenge in the initial post, because I never really saw it the way you guys described it, and I believe it's just a wording issue at this point

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Day 1 - 6:

So I went in with the assumption that, much like the first time I tried Cam's recommendation for 90 days of abstinence, the start would at least be easy. In other words, last time I tried it, I went 3 weeks without issues. "Relapsed" twice this time around, on the second day and yesterday. Each time redownloading steam and a few games I felt an urge to play (damn you fiber internet). Each time usually triggered by watching a stream of something I'd felt like trying. Each time I ended up losing track of time, and ended up being unproductive and/or ruined work I had to do.

Do you guys even put away subscriptions to gaming channels/streams/etc? I hadn't considered it last time around since I didn't really have a problem with it.

Anyhow, I'm finding it very difficult to keep my day structured and get things done. I'm finding it very difficult to simply drag myself through the day. I usually attribute that to how messed up my biological clock has been due to my irregular and lackluster sleeping hours, yet a part of me wonders if I'm not just building excuses. Regardless, it's a fact though, that not much can be done if one doesn't get proper and regular sleep, it's the nature of human limitations.

And yet that's the eternal struggle for me: I have no energy to be proactive and get things done, so I procrastinate and postpone my sleeping hours and/or miss classes to sleep just to avoid being a physical wreck. Gaming would sugar coat that with istant enjoyment and satisfaction, but now the illusion is gone. It's just me and the issues I need to deal with.

Had a friend over in the first few days, and it was an interesting experience. I was hesitating to turn him down at first and find some excuse to cancel the plan (he was crashing at my flat since his so had family over for some personal stuff). I'm fine with a group of friends I know well, but staying alone with a friend I don't know as well or a larger group of people, and I start panicking. The entire time I was stuck in a loop of "Am I being awkward right now?", "Am I being a bad host?", "What's he thinking now". And yet when we chatted later on, apparently he was having a great time. And that's the usual loop: I'm always on the brink of explosion in these social situations, but usual I come off as a pretty sociable guy.

I'm sure there was other stuff I wanted to put down "on paper", but I can't get my mind around it since I haven't posted regularly. @Cam Adair is right, journaling does feel like pulling a weight off my shoulders. I guess it's simply being honest with ourselves and trying to understand what we feel.

I do find it kind of sad that barely a week in, I'm already thinking about wether I should do 90 total or consective days of abstinence, ha ha.

Anyhow, I'll at least try to set a few commitments, any tips on how to commit to remembering them (alarms? post-its?) are welcome:

  • Getting sleep on track: regardless of wether or not better sleep will have a noticeable effect on my motivation and energy, I can't keep missing classes and messing with my physical health. Now I usually sleep late for a reason, as stated above, so I'll implicitly have to work on getting things done too.
  • Fixing meal times: can't have a structured day if I don't have proper/healthy (not necessarily talking about the perfect diet here, just not eating biscuits for dinner for instance...) meal at semi-defined hours. Again, also goes with the whole mantra of getting the critical stuff sorted first
  • Commit to exploring alternative sources of relaxation: I've had badminton and judo clubs in my sights for months, I need to pull the trigger now. My guitar is also collecting dust, time to get that sorted.

So here's my goals for now, and I need to find a way to stay lucid enough to keep them in mind and commit to them.

Also, @Regular Robert, thanks for the awesome jam in your sig, really liking the beat and lyrics!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 7-15

Had an uneventful week. Had the parents over. Relapsed again during the weekend.  I definately attribute that to watching streams of strategy games with excentric strats and it got me pumped. Bad luck for me, I also had an afternoon free due to a professor missing a flight.

Fell sick and had a pretty big argument with my mother, as usual. Procrastinated on a tiny piece of work so hard I went to bed at 4 am, ended up missing an entire day of class as I also spent an afternoon in a doctor’s waiting room.

In other words, the spirit isn’t doing too well and morale is pretty low.

It’s really easy to fall into self pity and do nothing about the problem, and it gets you nowhere.

Yet I’m sick of sitting in the same fucking hole I’ve been in in the past few years. I have the keys to success in my hand and yet I just barely fucking move. Gaming in itself has never been a problem in of itself for me: it’s just most damaging way to procrastinate - as an entertainment medium which requires intense involvement from the player, it’s also the one which overshadows my lucidity and responsibility. I can’t control the time I spend gaming and all other prioritie go out the window.

And Procrastination is the big hurdle here. Once I stop my unhealthy and unsustainable procrastination, I won’t need gaming. Procrastination is the gap between what I am and what I want to be.

I’ve always attempted to explain my lack of motivation and willpower: lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, character... But right now I just feel like I’m lying to myself. Maybe I’m just a weak-willed spoiled brat who won’t get any better. The moderate part of me wants to believe there’s a bit of both.

For now I’ll just procrastinate and let this shitty mood pass. I’ll change. Tomorrow. Or the next day....

“Totally going to be upheld objective of the week”: Finding the secret to commitment and willpower.

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The results you have in life are a direct reflection of your level of commitment. Are you really committed to the detox? Or are you only giving 20% of your effort? Where else does your life reflect this. I believe the way you do one thing is the way you do everything, so if you’re not showing up fully committed here, it’s probanly affecting a lot else too. 

The detox is a powerful way to understand more about yourself. Cutting out games, streams, gaming news, etc is all about you being fully committed. 

Change starts now. 

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Corentin, I would suggest to change your approach. If it is not working the way you currently try, another way might be of more use. I will - real cheeky - just point my finger at some things I noticed:

  • You might want to stop being a good boy. Like I mentioned before, I feel you are trying to fulfill expectations. In fact, I feels like this journals is kind of a burden to  you. The first two posts are summaries of time spans of about a week each. Especially the beginning of the detox is really tough. The changes in ones mood and emotions hits like a train. It will be useful to reflect on a daily basis and to vent some of the stuff that happened.
    Try to journal on a daily basis in the beginning. It is hard to remember day 2 when you are already on day 6. Try to  Visit your journal on a daily basis! I might be wrong, but what you do right now is ... well, you are investing the very least, the mininum of effort. It feels like you actually felt using the journal is just another chore, but to not pass on it completely, you posted at least a little bit of text. Don't get me wrong, if you don't use it, nobody will be mad or sad or whatever. Also, I am not here to judge. Just trying to show my point of view.. You are doing this for you. You promised yourself to try to change and now you are just investing the minimum in effort to do so. This is how you treat yourself. If this detox has any value to you, you need to treat it like it has value to you. If you see a person of value when you look in the mirror; or if you want to see a person you value in the mirror, you gotta start treating yourself like a valuable person. Otherwise, don't invest any effort at all. There is no minimum to fulfill here. You don't get kicked out if you do not use the journal. Stop being a good boy, stop doing things because it is expected of you. If you want to stop procrastinating, stop procrastinating where it matters most. And that is ...
     
  • ... in the little things. You are just starting out. Keep your commitments, your goals and such as small and controllable as possible. Start small, grow larger over time. Small goals can be fulfilled. Fulfilled goals lead to good feelings like, feeling confident, feeling valuable, feeling sovereign, feeling capable of taking care of your own stuff. Set tiny goals. Work on them. Upgrade your goals. Work on them. Witness the growth.
     
  • Admit that you have a problem. Gaming was never a problem for me either. But when I joined this little exclusive club here, gaming had become a major problem for me. You chose the website that is called game quitters. Gaming seems to be an issue for you. It hurts and - which might be very important for you - it is a confession that, no matter how sovereign you are supposed to be, you are unable to control the most basic stuff in your life. You ... have ... a ... problem. You aren't a problem, but you have one. Once you confessed this to yourself, the truth is out and the truth is the only thing you can work with. You wrote it yourself: You feel like you are lying to yourself. Investigate. Are you lying to yourself? And if so, what are you trying to cover from yourself?
     
  • You are not a weak-willed, spoiled brat. That might be the easy solution a part of you wants you to believe, because it is very comfortable. If you are a spoiled brat that can't change, why should you even try? It is your weaker self trying to rationalize more procrastination. "Why try changing if I simply cannot change? It is a waste of time. Might as well hang around the PC ..."
     
  • Ask for help. And ask specific questions. If you face an issue during your detox, ask. People are willing to help. But do not ask a general question, like "how do I get more willpower"? Explain the situation and ask a precise question. "How do I get to bed before midnight? I tried ... and ... but it did not work. Do you have any ideas?". Like that.

 

So, Corentin, try and see if any of this text is useful to you. Remember, I am not you. Only you can really find out what is going on inside of you. But I feel you need a little ... soft pushing somehow. ;) Just a gentle little push forward.

Now, close your browser and do the most remote real life work you can do. Make your bed, do the dishes, prepare a simple meal, enjoy the meal, make a tea and enjoy your tea, anything like that. Remote stuff, easy to fulfill. And go from there. It will help.

:)

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It sounds like feel apathetic towards your life, and gaming is a simple escape for you. I knew this feeling as well, the feeling of being weak, and worthless. That you don't really care about anything anymore, and there's nothing you can do about it. Your emotions are so numbed, and you feel so miserable that you don't really see the point of anything. Gaming is a temporary escape and provides you with a bit of stimulation that you can't find elsewhere. 

It sounds like your sick of all the shit in your life. Let it out. If you feel the need scream that your sick of this shit. Write it down somewhere. But let it out.

You will feel moments of intense insanity, and cravings. You will want to go back to games, but that rational part of your head will tell you not too. And then you'll beat yourself up over going back again, and feel absolutely worthless. This is fucking normal for anyone quitting any type of addiction. Get every little fucking bit of bullshit out of your head.

If your feeling timid, here are some things that might help.

  • Music, something loud, confident, and angry. Close your eyes and just listen to the music. If you're not sure where to start listening to something like the "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme.
  • Screaming or yelling at the top of your lungs. It triggers the fight instinct in your brain, and a surge of confidence rise within you.
  • Exercise won't really unleash your emotions, but you will a bit better, and more alive after you've finished it.
  • Simple things, like standing up straight, looking good in what you wear, and just telling yourself that you're strong and capable of anything. Over time these things will flow into your psyche. If you think yourself a lion you will be a lion. 

 For procrastination, try to find the root causes of why you do it

Is it that you feel like you cannot do an adequate job on the work?

Is it that you do not simply enjoy the work?

Is it because you are distracted by other things around you? 

If you want to get over procrastination, the only real way is to just sit down and do it. There's no other way to get over procrastination than that. But knowing the root of the problem will make it a bit easier to do.

You are under no expectations here. The only true failure is wanting something and not trying.

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Day 16-17

I've cooled down from posting that, and my post was definately a bit over the top, even though I decidedly hadn't had a good time. Managed to get some stuff done, nothing extravagant, failed at making a paella, but oh well. Watched some enjoyable stuff on netflix and got a good night's sleep, so that's good at least.

On 05/02/2018 at 10:31 PM, Cam Adair said:

Are you really committed to the detox? Or are you only giving 20% of your effort? Where else does your life reflect this.

You're right, honestly. I always have a lot of awesome ideas, want to do so many things, but rarely put a foot forward or commit long-term to it. I learnt a little bit of C#. I know how to play the guitar a little. When I commit to work, I work a little then let the satisfaction be my excuse to stop. That is definately the biggest hurdle in terms of my ethic of doing things. Somehow I miss the times when I was younger and I had the pleasure of getting stuff done. I would rip a math exercise I'd worked on for two hours because there was an ink stain and start again, but I enjoyed it - at least the getting something done right part. I feel like I've lost the pleasure - and the capacity - to get things done somewhere. I feel it's still there at times, but it's no longer this everyday motivating force.

I've been reading Hitaru's journal and he mentioned a brand of planners (good old notebook planners). This one was interesting in the sense that it extended beyond work commitments and was seemingly designed for people who want/need to keep many aspects of their life on track. Thinking about getting something similar myself. My idea is that the problem I've had is that there are so many things not going the way I want them to in my life, and therefore's there's so many things I need to keep track of to fix.

Now @Regular Robert is right that I should aim low at first and work my way up. I guess that's part of who I am, my mind racing in a thousand directions at a thousand miles an hour, never really committing to a single track. So I've thought that if I wrote down everything I needed to do (work wise), what I was passionate about, and each commitment I wanted to begin, all in one place, and simply committed to opening that notebook every single day, I could at least stay lucid about my condition. Might be a gimmick, but we'll know soon enough I guess. The whole point is to have regular commitments I can write down all in one place, i.e. "Go to judo 6pm - 8pm", "Get started on economics presentation 10am - 11:30am", without necessarily reducing my life to a constant timetable. I dunno might be overkill, but I'm really just scouring options at this point.

Hopefully I can get it filled up with things I need/want to do, and thus avoid wasting time in long, empty days where I would usually just sit down and muster what to do instead of actually doing something. I'm tempted to just save some cash and use the calendar app between PC and phone for versatility, but I'm wary of using a computer when I have an alternative. I studied a year while taking notes on PC instead of handwritten ones and the results were awful, I only go for the latter now. But I digress.

On 06/02/2018 at 0:49 AM, Regular Robert said:

But I feel you need a little ... soft pushing somehow. ;) Just a gentle little push forward.

Damn right I do! Ha ha

Moving on however, I do feel like at times my "Just do it" vibes kick in and it feels good to get things done. Got back into the habit of making the best cadet squared again in the morning. I've heard somewhere that change needs to be held around 30 days for it to become a habit. Here's hoping this is one the little things I manage to commit to and move forward.

So here's my question to you guys: how do you manage to keep track of everything that you need to do? Not necessarily in terms of work related aspects, but more generally commitments you want to hold, in all fields of life.

I agree with @MPieterse's advice too, I'm looking into sports to just let it all out honestly. I've been looking into more aggressive combat sports lately, but I guess I'll stick with judo. It really feels good to give everything you have in a sport instead of internally boiling with negative emotions. In regards to my procrastination problem, I don't know... Some times it just feels like I can't be bothered even though I usually enjoy the task (general apathy), and sometimes it's because I hate the work that's needed (i.e. rewriting course notes into revision sheets). I either have to find an alternate method for revising, or suck it up and get used to churning through papers.

Anyhow it's really good to post here, and I don't post as often as I should. Not because there are expectations that I should post, but because I'm missing out on my own opportunity to let things out and focus on more singular events daily. Glad this is a social experience, this wouldn't have the same effect if it was a solitary experience. We all need RegularRobert's gentle nudge every once in a while.

So I'll set realistic commitments tonight, small things:

  • will get my badminton license sorted and start attending classes
  • will look up the times for the next judo sessions and set a date in the planner
  • will finish preparing the notes for the course I'm teaching tomorrow
  • will create the workgroup I should have made ages ago
  • And I will  do the dishes, and put my scattered notes in their folders

Procrastination can go to hell tonight.

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For managing commitments the following things might help.

Focus on creating habits for your day to day activities.

- Start small, do little things, such as taking 10 minutes out of your day to read a book, or meditate.

- Do it every single day (if you mess up and miss one day just make sure to do again tomorrow, missing one day isn't that big of a deal)

- Internalize it, so it's always in the back of your mind. In the beginning, it's good to have a to-do list for the day if it helps you remember.

 

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Day 18

Had a high of motivation which soon died down, and I ended up spending yesterday's evening watching youtube. Did some of the stuff I meant to do, but left most of it away. It was a bit disappointing.

Had a rather enraging day today where rather than teaching the course they were supposed to, everyone in our staff had some sort of excuse to not be there. I had to reorganise the student groups last minute, and had to get some backup, we ended up being two (the other being a great student i pulled from the ranks) to tecah instead of 12. There was an atmosphere of "no shits given" in the staff messenger conversation. Sometimes I feel like it's not me who's not sociable or awkward, but that it's really just a big chunk of the others which are simply jerks or do not care. I guess everyone has responsabilities they fail, but hey. Felt great to feel usefull answering questions and seeing some of the guys we were coaching be motivated as hell.

When I came fome at 7:30pm I would do the old routine and make dinner, and forget about the dishes as I watch an episode of something on netflix, which turns into procrastination on youtube.

Procrastination really is the name of the game to be honest. This forum is about quitting gaming and yet I see a lot of journals derailing onto everyday life issues. It can't just be a coincidence, and honestly gaming is just the coping/avoidance mechanism that we found to deal with our issues. Now youtube is sort of taking up the space gaming used to. A part of me wants to somehow enforce "No Youtube" either, but I feel like blocking all the "guilty pleasures" isn't the way to go either. I think it might actually be harder for me to quit youtube than gaming. I don't know, I'd like to have your thoughts on that if possible.

I'm thinking of either stopping consumption of youtube content entirely, or creating a new account with subscriptions restrained to history documentaries/politics/stuff relevant to my studies/non-gaming topics I'm passionate about. Again, I'd like your thoughts, and your experiences if you extended the scope of your project.

Then again there are so many things which could take up the "effortless relaxation" spot: simply listening to music, reading a book, playing the guitar (when the time of day allows it), revising for my driver's license... I feel like I've lost the way to appreciate the little things in life. Food for thought.

Regardless, I'm happy that I took the time to sit down and write this down, it calmed a little bit of tension that I could feel boiling up. I might not get a ton of stuff done, but writing put me in the mood to want to get something done before I sleep.

@MPieterse I guess I'll extend my question based on your answer. I'm in 100% agreement that small habits breed big change, but I guess my answer is more specifically on "How do you remember to do all these small things every day?" Do you notes somewhere? Alarms? I guess I'm looking for a miracle solution to be honest, because you suggested a to-do-list, but I'm at the point where I need reminders to check my to do list. My mind is always racing and I constantly forget the little changes I need to hold.

Clean bed for 5 days straight, right from the morning, looks like I'm on a winning streak for that though.

Anyhow, I think that's it for today. I just want to take a minute to thank @Cam Adair for setting this whole thing up, because it definately is something special, and something I neither expected to take part in or gain so much from. And also a big thank you to everyone in this forum for making a welcoming and positive place, cheers @Regular Robert @MPieterse @Hitaru @J(e)RK in my case. I think it's important to take a moment every once in a while, to take a breather and be grateful for what we have.

Really looking forward to getting the planner I ordered, I think it's going to be a useful gimmick to get a day structured and not miss a thing.

Looking forward to try new things out, we'll see in the next few weeks.

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There is no real miracle solution that will fix the problem overnight. Unfortunately, the only real way to make daily habits is to just make them "daily habits" and over time, you will start to do them instinctively. Don't beat yourself up thinking that you'll be a superhero tomorrow with 100 healthy daily habits that will be set in stone for the rest of your life. For me personally, I only have a four real daily habits. (Meditate, Read, Draw, Exercise), but I make sure to do them every day.

That said things like a to-do list, and alarms do help. 

Don't stress yourself out trying to change every little bit of yourself overnight. Start small, grow over time.

I've also found the once I quit gaming for a while, and started meditating, I was a lot calmer, and life got a bit slower. Take a breath, and remember your alive, healthy, and that your worries aren't really that bad.  

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Regarding the reminders: I used single pieces of paper, you know those in the size of post-its. Every evening, I would write down the stuff I want to get done the next day. I always start with the easiest, most mundane things. This paper would be placed on my computer keyboard, so that the moment I want to boot up my PC, I would have to pick it up and thus look at it. I still do it this way, although I do not need it on my keyboard anymore and some structural things have changed.

Important to know is, I guess:

  • Always begin as small as possible. In my case, #1 on the list always was "Do the dishes". Over the course of time, this changed into "Clean the kitchen" and later, simply into "Kitchen", which meant that I would do the dishes, clean the oven, open the windows, prepare the stuff I need to cook later on and so on. Very basic stuff. #2 on my list was always "Make your bed". Interesting to me was that I always hated cleaning up. My mother always compensated her horrible marriage by cleaning up the whole house, plus forcing me to clean up my room like all of the time. My room looked like nobody lives there. Like a demo room in your local IKEA. So, I naturally hated cleaning up as it was a reminder of my horrible, sterile childhood. But after weeks of repeating the processes, it became natural to me and I developed my own rituals. When I do the dishes, I listen to an audio book or simply a nice radio station. In the beginning, I often sang and danced to the music. The mundane "to-dos", that I hated, turned into all natural, entertaining and somewhat cathartic routines. And in the end, #1 and #2 were combined, since I do both of them right after I get out of bed. This leads to the next point:
     
  • Time is the enemy and your ally. No matter how annoying an event or action is, you gotta do it again and again and again. There will be a point when becomes to horribly annoying that you would rather burn down the bedroom than cleaning it up, but once you managed to pass this point, stuff becomes lighter and lighter until you do not even feel it anymore. When I was gaming, cleaning up took a long time, since I often procrastinated it and since I did not want to do it. But repetition over a certain course of time makes it easier by changing your attitude towards the event or action.
     
  • Find a balance. Like, enthusiasm is awesome and creates energy, but the energy will fade at some point. Whenever I got a good day, I always thought "tomorrow I will improve even more". The result was 10 to-dos on my list, many of them not being basic stuff, but actions that require tons of willpower. Like, teaching my mom how to use her email software using TeamViewer and a telephone, since she lives on the other end of this country. After 3 hours, my head was about to explode and I was done for the day. The result was half of the list left undone and a feeling of "I am still a loser". Balance is the key. Start with easy tasks, do them every day until they become so easy that you could do them in your sleep and than add slightly harder stuff. If you need something real tough to be done, keep your potential amount of energy in mind. You can split it and do it on two days or do it on one day, but do not add too much other stuff. You are learning and learning works best from easy to difficult.

Another aspect if your consumption of YouTube related stuff. My advice would be, switch to another platform if you can. Like, if you listen to music on YouTube, switch to spotify or something else. Just use YouTube for the stuff you really want to consume. Like you said, history stuff. If you are using Chrome, there are plug ins that will make the usage of YouTube easier. I dealt with similar problems and I fixed them with a bunch of tiny tweaks:

  • A plug in that lets you change how YouTube works. I see no comments, no recommendations, no annotations. When I want to watch something, I have to type it into the search bar and I watch exactly what I want to watch. That helps.
     
  • YouTube shortcut, bookmark or favorite. In my browser, I - of course - use bookmarks to quickly go where I want to go. In the beginning, I had the YouTube front page as a bookmark, which was horrible. It is like steam. When you boot it up, it shows the shop until you change this feature. That means, you are immediately fed content that might "interest" you. Most of the stuff does not really interest you, but still catches your eye, since you are in auto-pilot and simply want to consume stuff that is kind of right down your alley. In other words, YouTube is not different from video games. It is designed to take as much time from you as possible. It is even worse than Television, where you would watch one channel and than switch if it does not interest you. While watching stuff on YouTube, it shows you all the other cool stuff you could watch next or meanwhile. Or everything at the same time. YouTube, by design, rips your concentration span into pieces.
    So, back to the bookmark. Set a different bookmark. I set my own channel, so that when I open YouTube, I can see the stuff I already created and get triggered to work on that stuff. It only shows my own stuff, so no crazy recommendations or something. Aside from that, you could also like ... look for a Zen video and bookmark this. From there it will be easier to navigate through this electric circus fully focused.
     
  • Last but not least, this is not for everyone, but I had to cancel my Netflix subscription. Not because it harmed me, since I do not like most of the stuff they have, but it harmed my relationship with my girlfriend. It is cool to lay back and be entertained from time to time, but the time I spent on Netflix watching stuff I do not really want to watch, I do NOT do:
    Talking to others. Interact with my environment. Learn anything about me or my environment. Feed my brain. Connect to my peers. And so on. In short, I found for me, that Netflix turns me, just like video games, into a non-social person. All I do is watch. Often completely isolated in my mind. Just enjoying the stimuli. Especially the less talking was very harmful for my relationship.

So, I know, a huge wall of text. Probably too much text. But may be, some of these points can help you. Just remember, its your progress and your situation. Something that works for me does not necessarily work for you and all I write can be utter and complete bullcrap. ;) You will find out for yourself what works for you and whenever something works, improve it. Your journal entries become more regular, your self-awareness seems to rise and you are making progress regarding your daily structure.That is awesome. Keep on going and witness the great progress you make, Corentin. You got this under control!

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On 2/9/2018 at 3:46 PM, Regular Robert said:

Your journal entries become more regular

Day 19-22

Oh the irony! Jokes aside, I’ve had a stressful last few days, as I’m got a conference in the US wednesday - big university stuff related to Harvard, so stressful enough... Had to get a lot of administrative things sorted - visas, passports, transport, etc... Had to iron shirts, tied and get the suit unwrinkled. Not a ton of stuff individually and not overwhelming if organised correctly. And yet I fucked it up and procrastinated. Courses were uneventful otherwise, although I did get my grades for last semester, which turned out very good - a strong improvement from my earlier plunges.

Day 22, Monday, and I actually got the dishes done, and cleaned the appartment in a way that actually allows me to get things done in it now. Leaving wednesday at 3 am so hopefully I’ll have a productive tuesday. Need to get the ironing done, pack the bags, hand in some papers late...

I do feel at times like Netflix is a bit of an issue in time/usage although I find it to be controllable by the lack of too many good shows for me to latch on, and the episodic format giving me a lucidity spike at each ending - an opportunity to move on to something else.

I am more seriously considering setting up a new distraction free youtube account. I’ll make a list of ideas and add it there, and find a way to get back to it later.

My biggest issues are twofold, if I would have to generalise them: I procrastinate intensely when I have a task in mind because I often exaggerate the effort it takes or panic at the though of how to tackle the issue. When I don’t have a task in mind, I simply gloss over it unintentionally. I think the “centralisation” of tasks through a planner will really help with this: keeps track of things to do, forces me to evaluate realistically how much time it will take, and encourages me to braak down tasks. Secondly, I have developped a bad habit of not cleaning up after myself: i.e. not putting scissors back after using them, not throwing empty bottles in the trash, letting clothes stack... This is a bit harder to tackle and I simply need to be lucid about my actions instead of running with the flow.

On another note, been thinking about asking this girl out for Valentine’s day. We’ve had a somewhat awkward flirtatious relationship over the past year, with a few big hiccups on the way. We are polar opposites in terms of interests but it’s blatantly obvious that she’s madly in love with me, and I know for a fact she’d do anything if I asked her. She’s really caring and fun to be around and is a pretty healthy person to have around - usually. I’m only pretty attracted to her too - usually. She might as well be aphrodite herself, she’s won the natural lottery in that respect, but the things holding me back are that, as stated, we have nearly nothing in common interest wise, and she’s very immature at times, being overattached to her mother (the latter remarried after a first abusive marriage, so there’s family history) and I sometimes see a 14 year old girl stuck in a young adult’s body. I really feel like we could work out - we both have areas we could elevate each other in - and I really miss having someone to love (I’d like to comment that this isn’t neediness, she’s not a pick for the lack of better options). But then again this might not work out, and I don’t think I could handle the fallout, given her tendency for grudges and some  annoying rumours in uni. Tricky situation, but hey, if you guys have any stories I’d be glad to sit down and listen.

Anyhow, next few days are going to be messy and tiring. Today’s journal entry was not really what I wanted it to be, but I still got thoughts on virtual paper. Typing at 1am while waiting for meds to take effect isn’t exactly the smartest idea either.

Incredibly excited and stressed out for the  next few days, will post soon again if I have internet in the states and my schedule allows it. See you soon guys.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back from the US, good stuff and bad stuff in the past week. Now considering it’s 3am, I think I’ll pass on a sleep deprived journal entry fuelled on self-hatred. Spoiler alert: good times followed by a relapse. 

Positive note however, newfound hatred and commitment against gaming. (And myself in my current mood). 

Proper entry to come soon.

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Day 22-32

Was in the US for an MUN conference, chances are Hitaru knows what it is since he's in political science too. It's basically a conference split into different committees modelling the United Nations, debating several topics and producing resolutions. Think of it as the closest thing you get to actually working at the UN for a political science student. Noiw at Harvard, the level was way up there, and I got trashed in debate in the first day or two. It was a really humbling experience, it was rocking my world to not be on top of the food chain anymore. Nevertheless it turned out to be an incredible experience even with the initial difficulties, as I got myself together and ended up doing very well by the end of the conference. I guess that's a testament to commitment and perseverance, I could easily have sat on the sidelines instead of pushing out directives and propositions, regardless of how inadequate I felt in the debate. So all in all, an incredible experience that swept away any thoughts making me wonder if I'd chosen the wrong career/studies path.

I was watching a movie called 93 days on the plane on the way home. It was about how nigeria delt with the ebola outbreak in Lagos at the time. Now at some point, some guy in quarantine mentions that he's scared of ending up like all the bodies the staff picks up every once in a while to dispose of by incineration: barely treated as people, and doomed to be forgotten. And I don't know why, but it really hit home. "Man imagine if I were to die in the next few days, what will I have achieved?" Nothing would be the answer. And I just sat there and thought of how easily I could make the world a better place, which is all down to motivation and commitment when you have the resources and context of a middle-class western european student in a good university.

I get these highs of ambition and ideas every once in a while, but rarely follow up on them. It's quite a saddening experience, one which I want to change moving forward. There's so much I can do if I just commit to it.

I got home jetlagged, sick, exhausted, but in a good mood. However, after that incredible experience, the physical wreck that I was decided I would just sleep in instead of going to class. Seems fair right? I'm an adult, attendance isn't required, it'll be my responsibility to catch up on lessons, but at least I'll rest. I was just coming off the high of that conference and classes just didn't motivate me in comparison. Sounded good. Except I also thought "Eh, fuck it, what can go wrong?" and reinstalled steam.

End result is I spent 4 days gaming, missing most of my classes, missing any sleep that could have gotten back up and ready. Now quite a few classes were boring and a genuine physical strain to attend (6 straight hours of economic theory should be a violation of human rights...), and failing to attend them would have been my own problem. What really saddened me is the following:

I not only take part in MUN conferences, I'm also currently the secretary general of the MUN association at our University. I'm the guy in charge of setting up the timetables of around 100 people, preparing several aspects of our own conference in March, where we expect over 300 people in all, and the mayor of Lille amongst other things. In other words, hundreds of people's work depends on me getting stuff done on time. Which I didn't. I also hastily remember that Friday morning I was supposed to train the staff of our conference. I hastily gathered some half-baked thoughts at 2 am (while I was supposed to teach at 8), and I went to sleep expecting a rough morning - but at least accompanied by the satisfaction of getting that done and taking part in something I'm passionate about. Expect I was so incredibly tired that I slept over both alarms, and missed the course  was supposed to teach.

I was met with a sarcastic snap posted on the news feed of the workgroup page when I woke up at 12:20, realising what had just happened. I promptly explained myself honestly, saying I had fucked up and slept in. The people I were supposed to teach this morning were obviously disappointed, but seemingly without hard feelings when I talked to them individually later on. But I still felt like shit, and the shame was immense.

For the first time in my entire life, I had let my gaming addicition and my procrastination cuse problems for someone other than myself.

That was the line I would never cross. I would let myself go through hell, but it didn't matter, because I could deal with it over time and was still doing fine in the eyes of others. I would always end up scraping something at the last minute to not let others down. And this time it didn't work out, and I ate shit for it. Now the ESPOMUN (our association) president, who I get along nicely with and was at Harvard with, told me to take it easy and spread out the workload with some other staff members. I think she meant that nicely, but a part of me can't help but think that it's because I've become less reliable in here eyes. Needless to say, I was hoping to get the presidency this year (which I didn't get since I was a wreck because of - again - procrastination and gaming during the previous elections, even though I am by far the most experienced member of the staff), and this just jeopardised my chances of getting it next year.

I have all the experience, knowledge and capability to rank up in something I'm passionate about, and my issues got in the way again.

So I feel like shit. I've crossed two lines:

  • I've wasted people's time and disappointed them
  • I've let my demons invade the previously immaculate area of things I was passionate about and usually needed no push to get done

 

Running out of time to type, so I'll end it here. I'm feeling like trash at the moment, but the shame and anger I'm feeling right now is making sure I don't touch gamin with a ten foot pole anymore. Thinking of selling/deleting my steam account and my gaming PC.

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Hey. I didn’t read through the whole journal (planning to do it in the future though) so I don’t know if this got mentioned already, but it looks to me that you treat procrastination as the real problem instead of a symptom of something bigger. That something might be your gaming addiction, but again, gaming addiction is often just a symptom as well. I remember that when I suffered from depression I used to procrastinate a lot. It’s easy to avoid doing what you are supposed to do when you wake up and you feel that your life is meaningless, when you open your eyes and you would prefer a thousand times going back to sleeping instead of living another crappy day. How’s your mental health? Are you sure you’re addressing the real problems? Hope this applies and helps

 

edit: read the whole journal and my first impression got confirmed.

also, if I may ask out of curiosity, how comes that a 19yo undergraduate teaches courses?

Edited by info-gatherer
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Corentin, I honestly think you are slowly on your way to rock bottom. I don't mean that in any offensive way, but let us be honest for a moment here: If you are afraid that the ESPOMUN thinks you are unreliable, ... do you think she would be wrong? You overslept due to binging. You are in fact unreliable. Like I said multiple times before, I am not trying to diminish you or what you do, in fact, I believe you are a great guy with tons of potential, but in order to be able to work on your problems, you have to face them.

To me, it looks like you are about to break down in the near future. Every addict has this point in his life. When nothing works anymore. You are trying to make it work. But everybody can see that you are not capable of making it work anymore. Just lay back and rethink for a moment. You prepared your tour to the US in the last possible moment, because you procrastinated. When you were back, you instantly procrastinated again. May be, because of the old high you had at the conference or may be, because you felt overloaded and overburdened. This caused you to - again - prepare your stuff for your class in the last possible moment, which resulted in you oversleeping and missing the class entirely. Your journal entries happen extremely sporadic. I am not saying that you are lazy, not at all. I believe, the opposite is the case: You are trying to somehow keeping it all together, which costs so much mental and physical energy, that your mind begs you to procrastinate. In my opinion, you need a break. A serious break. Let somebody else help you with your workload. Step back a little, lay back a little. You have an addiction problem and in order to adress it, you need energy, time and mental capacities. In other words: You need help. I know you think that you are extremely capable and it is true, you are. But not right now. Right now, you are a freaking mess. And in order to unfuck your own life, you gotta accept that right now, you are completely fucked up.

Like @info-gatherer said, you treat procrastination as your main source of trouble. But it isn't. It is a mere symptom. It is the pain, but the actual splinter that causes the pain is deep down under your skin. You gotta find out WHY you procrastinate and WHY you binge game. But in order to do so, you need rest, peace, ease, silence, quietness. A place and a time to concentrate on what is going on inside. Than you will find answers. Depression, anxiety, trauma, there is so much that can make a human stray from his or her path.

I am real sure that you will make it and find your way, but it will take time, it will hurt and it will be a lot of effort. And again: This is only my opinion. All can be wrong that I say and write, but may be, some of these words can help you in any way. May be, there is some kind of benefit you can get from them.

Wish you the best, mate.

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Day 33

@info-gatherer I can say with confidence that procrastination is definately the major issue, with the gaming addiction stemming as a side effect (since gaming is the most rewarding and stimulating way to procrastinate in my case). Although when I was younger your theory might have proven true: my grades were fine, I have no recollection of unhealthy procrastination, this is when my love for gaming (then addiction to gaming) developped. The passage from hobby to addiciton came as a side effect of my unhealthy procrastination which grew when my academic skills were starting to struggle.

In regards to your point on mental health, i honestly don't know what to think at this point. I've been on antidepressants for a year and a half when I was 16. I didn't notice any real positive evolution, while negative side effects hit me hard. The pscyhologist I'm seeing on a regular basis on the demand of my mother believes I have no health issue (in medical terms) and that I'm simply a teenager with expectations set way too high and a bad tendency to guilt trip myself. So I'm kind of lost between your comments (and what I observe myself - how can there possibly not be something wrong since I've spent the last three years searching for the cause of my issues, to no avail, and yet end up in crazy situations all the time) and the opinion of psychologists and the like who seem to indicate that there's nothing really wrong.

I guess I just don't want to fall into hypochondria, seems to be a family trait, heh.

As for the whole teaching thing, it's not as much an undergraduate course as it is simply teaching UN parliamentary procedure and basic international relations so younger students can participate in MUN debates and conferences. It's a purely associative endeavour, I'm not a teacher in any way, just an older student sharing knowledge.

 

@Regular Robert My relpases are definately due to how I view my relationship to gaming in these moments of boredom. I gloss over the fact that I am indeed dealign with an addiction which has fucked my life up in more ways than one, and instead view it as a simple unhealthy habit I can indulge in. That view usually changes to disgust and despair a few hours later, but the damage is already done by then.

You are probably right. I've currently got a week of holidays, but if I hadn't pulled the plug on the PC tonight, I would have binged again this week and missed the one opportunity I had to catch up on all the courses I've missed and started fresh. More generally, my behaviour this semester is leading me to a brick wall if I don't change course. As for lightening the workload, the ESPOMUN president has stated more than once that she believed I should delegate a lot of what I do to others, but I guess that to me, that would be admitting defeat and confirming my friends' assumptions: that something is wrong with me, and that I can't be trusted to get stuff done.

I've tried to adress that inner pain for years. And I'm still not any closer to udnerstadngin what caused me to act the way I do, most notably in terms of procrastination and social anxiety to a lesser degree. I've gone through the classic causes of procrastination (totally just googled them again):

  • Fear of failure: I strike that one away because even on the most serious of exams, people notice that I don't stress out too much. But it's just that I have a desultory attitude to most things people worry to death for. That's both a good and a bad thing: I usually don't fuss about a huge exam or insurance papers or whatever. But then I'm generally apathetic to things I should really be worrying about. (Like that driver's license I really need for those internships).
  • Excessive perfectionism: I've had excellent grades up until a few years ago, but I'm still good and on top of most charts. Yet a part of me would die if I muddled in with "The average student" in terms of performance. Also, as I'm definately a reserved, solitary kind of guy (my biggest problem being the lack of initiative, my social interaction is often reactive), a big deal of social interaction I get outside of a few close-ish friends is because of my reputation. I'm "That guy who speaks awesome English", "That guy who lived in China for 13 years and speaks with an accent from Shanghai", or "That guy who's so good at MUN". I guess perfectionism is a way for me to guarantee I won't be seen as a hoax.
  • Low energy levels: This one's a no brainer. My sleep schedule is fucked up, I don't exactly have a healthy diet, I don't have much external motivation (friends/events/passions/etc), so I can't expect to magically be a productive and functional adult.
  • A lack of focus: On a broad scale, I have no real idea of where I want to end up, what I want to achieve. I also don't care enough for my degree to see it as the shining light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the whole "life goal" or "long term goal" concept is just a joke, but my goals are definately sporadic and all over the place. On a more practical level, I simply can't sit down and do one thing at a time. When I get things done, it's usually through some insane multitasking: I start thing B in the middle of thing A, while thinking of doing thing C.

So just as I was initially about to explain that none of the "classic causes of procrastination according to the first google result" apply to me, I realise that a lot of them do in fact apply to me. Heh. That's why I enjoy writing here, it's a burst of lucidity on otherwise muddled thoughts and assumptions. So let me update my thoughts:

All of the above do apply to me, yet these issues are so vague and structural that I have no idea what to do about it. So to answer your question "Why do I procrastinate?", here's my answer:

I have no clear, defined goals to which I wish to commit and use as a driving force. I have an unhealthy way of life which does not set the basis for productivity and success. I have poor organisation, meaning I rarely have time I can truly call "relaxing" - there is no time where I can sit back and relax knowing I've done what I had to do. Thus my time is spent procrastinating and postponing work in a fear of not havign any time to relax whatsoever. I have lost/never had a work ethic of simply getting things done because I have to (regardless of wether it pleases me or not). I have a lack of focus which means any work I do is usually not time efficient, and surges of productivity rarely hold in the long term. I rarely see a personal interest in most things (usually studies) - yet this point is void since I procrastinate on things I'm passionate about. And finally, I have a bad tendency to exaggerate tasks and panic about the workload, rather than sitting down to estimate what I truly have to do, and attempt to find ways to tackle and divide things into manageable chunks.

These are the reasons I can currently come up with as to why I procrastinate. I however also know that I have issues turnign thoughts into long-term action.

So after sitting down and putting these vague thoughts down I guess I can come up with these conclusions and possible commitments:

  • Stated before in previous posts, but Nothing can be achieved without a healthy lifestyle. I've got to have proper and regular sleep, and I've got to eat regular and balanced meals. Also structures the day, as stated before, nice bonus. 
  • I've got to Organise myself in a manner which will allow me to clearly and emprically understand what I have to do. Therefore I will be able to rationally assess an issue rather than emotionally reacting to it, and scheduling my time will allow me to define moments of work and relaxation. It should moreover allow me to focus on one task at a time. I hate to have to depend on a scheduler (especially when I compare myself to how others simply remember and get things done) but it's what I've come up with to deal with my issue of emotionally reacting to workloads and pressure, rather than rationally assesing issues.
  • I have to determine Clear goals which I want to achieve, detailing the reasons why I believe they're important to me, and what I could benefit from completing them. As well as the steps/actions needed to reach them.
  • I have to Reward myself for respecting the above points. I should make a list of things I can do to relax that aren't the usual "Sit on the couch and scour youtube for content". i.e. read a book, actually play the damn guitar, go out and watch a movie at a cinema instead of renting it on itunes (might as well grab friends while you're at it),etc. Cam's list of alternate activities might come in handy.

I need to find a way to synthethise this into "4 commandments" or something so I can abide to it long-term.

So that's it for tongiht I guess. Feeling slightly better, although how I manage the coming days will determine the mood of these holidays. I really do have a problem, and this is the only place where I not only feel comfortable talking about it, but also feel like I am understood - by like-minded people. I always feel like I'm missing some stuff at the end of these posts, but I'm usually always happy I put down on "paper" what I managed to think of.

Did you guys also have issues with procrastination/apathy/lack of motivation while quitting gaming? What caused that? And how did you get over it (if at all)?

Take care guys, more to come soon.

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15 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

I guess perfectionism is a way for me to guarantee I won't be seen as a hoax.

Important. What other people see in you is not really in the radius of your local control, but... you will not be a hoax unless you see yourself as a hoax. So the next question should be, why does a part of you see you as a hoax? Or, why do you have to come across as the perfect guy to feel ... valid? Meditate about these questions. I mean it, sit in a quite room, in front of a blank wall and simply ask yourself this question. Than, wait. If you feel the need to distract yourself, if you feel that your mind wanders off, ask again. The answer might not come to you as one phrase, but your subconscious will deliver an answer over time.

15 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

So just as I was initially about to explain that none of the "classic causes of procrastination according to the first google result" apply to me, I realise that a lot of them do in fact apply to me. Heh. That's why I enjoy writing here, it's a burst of lucidity on otherwise muddled thoughts and assumptions.

That is why I keep harassing you to use your damn journal. ;) I mean it, write your thoughts out. Things will clear up and you will understand why you do what you do. You simply need to write it out or talk about it, but since you said, that this is the place where you feel secure discussing the addiction issues, wriiiiiite. (No pressure though :D)

15 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

I've got to Organise myself in a manner which will allow me to clearly and emprically understand what I have to do.

Train it. Take any situation possible. Especially those that cause the urge to procrastinate. If the workload seems to be huge in your head, put it on a piece of paper. A folded, simple blank sheet and a pen is all you need. Split the workload into simple goals. "Need to iron my pants" and "need to do the dishes". Take 5 or 10 minutes to prepare your list. Than rewrite it and put it into order. That might sound dumb, but it is useful in different kinds of ways:
The workload in your head will grow. Take your last trip to the US for example. You thought about having to iron your suite. Than you thought of something else, than again, something else, something else aaaand than about having to iron your suite again. You keep reminding yourself of what you have not done yet and it stacks every time. The more often you think about it, the more important it will become. And at some point, a simple thing like ironing your suite will be a fucking huge thing to do. With such an amount of importance, that it will scare you. If you put it on paper however, you can totally forget about it, as long as you remember that there is stuff on your piece of paper. Thus, it will stay the easy task it is.

Also, after putting up this list, try to fulfill the tasks as soon as possible. No pressure, but asap. When you have the time to do it and nothing better to do, do it. No thinking about how you feel about it. You got the time, you do it. The more you act like this, the more confident you will become in getting stuff done. The more you procrastinate, the lesser the chance you actually do it.
And of course: Keep doing it this way to create a habit. Start with easy stuff. After eating, do your dishes. If you got the time, do it.

I really like this last entry of yours. It shows that the journal can do its magic and it shows, that you grow. And you do grow. I like it.

 

 

One last thing ... it might be a bit ... direct but ... is there some unresolved issue with your dad?

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Day 34

Slept in until very late, ended up being a decent night's sleep. Pretty much did nothing the entire afternoon (Going to pull up the "hey it's sunday" on this one), which in itself isn't an issue. It only bothers me that it was because I binge watched irrelevant youtube videos. It was clearly filling in time instead of appreciating it. I did pull back a habit I had back when I was in engineering: in Canada, the cinema was super cheap and the people were always heartwarming. So I thought, what the heck, might as well go out, get some cold fresh air and watch a movie. So for the first time in the two years I've studied at Lille, I've gone to watch a movie at the cinema. I think that says a lot about how I handle recreation and my free time, because I'm an avid movie watcher and considered going into film studies a while back.

It was a refreshing experience, both figuratively and litteraly. It feels good to get a bowl of sub-zero fresh air every once in a while, and just sit back and enjoy something - something you know is time well spent relaxing. I think that's a difference I need to start making: I need to cut the fat between activties that are simple time-consumers and which really don't serve their purpose of being enjoyable and relaxing (anything which involves passively consuming content from the couch at this point - looking at you, youtube) from healthier, dynamic, and genuinely enjoyable activties.

I'll make a sidenote on youtube. Maybe not tonight, but I will definately look into making a new youtube account void of gaming related content, or other irrelevant and time consuming subjects. I mostly watch youtube on TV through an app, so no plugins for me. As I've stated before I believe, youtube has seemingly somewhat filled the void which gaming left in my habits. I've got to keep challenging these bad habits with new activties, and in essence learning to not only recognise when I'm becoming passive to my own content (i.e. going from watching a single video to binge watching irrelevant stuff), but more importantly to act upon it and do something else.

I think this "skill" can extend to other areas as well. As stated before, I have issues focusing on a single task. Recognising and acting upon lack of focus to recenter my efforts can definately help. In other words, being more lucid about myself, and acting  upon it.

 

7 hours ago, Regular Robert said:

Or, why do you have to come across as the perfect guy to feel ... valid?

That's a point I've mentioned multiple times to psychologists I've seen, without being able to make any conclusions. I restrict myself from meeting new people, engaging in new activities, going places I haven't been to before because I have this need deep down to appear as a "veteran" or a "guy who's been there before". I have this innate fear of being "the new guy" for some reason, one which I haven't been able to determine as of yet. And therefore, even though I hate show-offs, even though I've been educated to be modest and event though I believe myself to be mostly modest, I've been repeatedly told that I come off as proud and show-off, coincidentally always in situations where there would be a need for me to do so: meeting friends of friends whom I've never met before, joining some random sports club, talking to new people in a sports club I've been at for a while, even the damn hairdresser. I guess putting a finger on why I behave like this and what caused that behaviour originally could be an interesting development.

 

6 hours ago, Regular Robert said:

you will not be a hoax unless you see yourself as a hoax

In terms of my opinion of myself, I would say it's more an issue of wasted potential than anything else. I fail to meet the standards of what I want others to see me as, but more importantly there's this huge gap between what I am and what I want to be - which is often what I can be. Except usually procrastination stands in the way.

I was about to move to another thought and leave that previous point as it was, but my mind drifted for a second and I ended up looking at the pictures from the conference we shared with each other. There's this picture of me looking sharp as hell, but my hair is doing its usual thing going AWOL, it's become a bit of a running joke among us (celtic genes oblige - I have a clusterfuck of a bird's nest on my head at times). I've had a bit of a history of being unsatisfied with my hair when I needed to look sharp for whetever reason (internships, dates, events, etc), and it got me thinking. I think the issue is that I attribute everything that is not going to optimal way in my life to me failing to meet what I want.

In other words, everything that goes wrong in my life is - in my head at least - because my performance in some area was subpar and needs to be improved. I think that's what I could define as perfectionism in my own case. I just do not leave any space for "it's life - shit happens" moments or "it's not the end of the world" or "well that guy just made a shit joke too": everything is a failure on my end that can and needs to be fixed.

Then again, is it not natural and healthy (to an extent) for someone to try and improve himself and seek out what's going wrong? I don't know, I've thought over too much over these last few paragraphs and my opinion is getting muddled at this point. I'll leave it at that.

 

In regards to organisation, I just thought of a fun way to handle tasks. I'm going to try and find a way to blu-tak post-it staks to the wall in some walls of my appartment, and get in the habit of grabbing one and making quick-disposable to-do-lists if my mind gets overcrowded. Hopefully I get around to actually doing it instead of blabbering about it.

 

7 hours ago, Regular Robert said:

One last thing ... it might be a bit ... direct but ... is there some unresolved issue with your dad?

I'm actually curious as to what made you think that? I have had pretty extreme issues with my mother (when I mentionned the police in my intro post - it had to do with her) and our relationship is still tense and full of misunderstandings at times. However my father has always been the patient kind and usually tries to be a non-aligned force of calm. I have been irritated and frustrated to see him side with my mother on multiple occasions in the past few years. A part of me believes that it is his way of admitting that my mother is also at fault (either due to character or the effects of old age coming in), and that I'm the easier variable to work on. It has however had the effect of making me feel as the heart of the issue, when clearly my mother behaves in unacceptable and provocative ways (to which no one could possibly not escalate).

 

Closing that big sidenote, I did feel quite sad this evening when I went out for a movie. Going through the cold of Lille on a Sunday evening just made me realise how lonely I felt. I definately have a couple of core, reliable friends, but as I've stated previously, I lack initiative. Sometimes because I'm afraid, sometimes because it's simply not what I'm used to. That leads to me rarely proposing to do anything, and I don't have other people's habits of spontaneously and genuinely keeping touch with people. And that scares me a bit to be honest. Several times I've attempted to commit to keeping in touch with friends I don't regularly see, but it always felt fake and unnatural, and I never manged to keep it up for long. My last relationship died out due to a mix of gaming addiction and long distance relationship issues - and as I alluded to just now, I have a hard time maintaining relationships with people I don't see physically on a regular basis. So yeah, it hit pretty hard in an otherwise enjoyable moment. Loneliness is both a blessing and a curse I guess: it definately contributes to keeping my mind calm, giving me time to "socially relax", yet it also contributes to the void I often feel in my life.

 

Anyways I'll sign off here. I've procrastinated after dinner, and I really just want to go to sleep (it's 2a.m). But I also don't want to pass the things I said I would do.

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