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Circadian Rhythm

CR - When do I level up outside?

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PRE-DAY 1

Just the act of putting DAY 1 at the top of a page like that in BLOCK CAPITALS is equal parts gratifying and terrifying don't you think?

Unfortunately as I watched some gaming related content on YouTube earlier today I don't feel like I can truly count this as Day 1. But thems the breaks and will mean I won't have any doubts that I've done this properly by the end of my 90 days. As far as a structure for this goes, I'm going to set out my initial goals in this post and monitor them and my thoughts with each subsequent entry. What I'll do as well is name three things I'm grateful for with each entry as well, as I think this will help keep me in the right mindset as I move forward.

Forewarning for anyone reading that from my own personal diary experience is that I can ramble on about complete nonsense for paragraph after paragraph without shame, so reader discretion is advised. Reader complaints will be snarkily but good-naturedly observed.

 

GOALS (Achievable ones)

A sub 20 minute 5km run

To play on stage as part of a band this year

To take on extra responsibilities at work as part of my ongoing development (including additional training)

To find other hobbies that aren't either escapist, or feel like a massive amount of work like my current ones*

To fix my sleeping routine (proper sleep - 9:30pm - 10pm bedtime + elimination of bad habits)

No gaming for 90 days (duh)

Limit my YouTube time to a maximum of 2 hours. (will review this)

New wardrobe and equipment for running

Take more responsibility for my own resources instead of just going along with what my parents provide

Have made a full/detailed plan of what I want saved up by the end of the year for my house deposit.

* I run and play guitar, don't get me wrong, I love them but they stress me out something fierce.

 

LONG TERM GOALS (Less tangible/will come later)

Write my own music and form my own band

Move into my own place

Take my first solo holiday

Properly learn piano this time

Get a pay raise

Write my first story (likely short)

Make some friends I feel more aligned with

Get into a relationship that doesn't feel like a complete disaster from the get go

Learn to cook properly

Run the London Marathon

Get properly fit

Become a vegetarian

 

Yikes that list ended up a lot longer than I thought it would. They won't all be this long. I may have to break this up a bit more but this looks like a good initial list

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PRE DAY 1 THOUGHTS

Deciding to do this has of course been most of my thinking today and so far so good. I've still got a lot to do now including a run, which will probably have to be on the running machine as it's getting dark here, and I'm running late on some extra work I have to do, but I can do that now just before my run. It's all very well setting this out too but I have to follow it up with finishing my washing and a proper sleeping routine tonight. We'll see where we go from there. I'm optimistic of course but cautious about getting carried away. No doubt some things above will need explaining and context but that will come over the following entries.

I'm grateful for

  • Being in an environment where I can start over/something like this. That's an immense privilege. Not everyone gets the opportunity to go back to their beginnings and get the time to be so introspective.
  • My mother for being so supportive. I run things by her a lot and not once has she complained about me leaning on her, or told me to piss off and move out already.
  • My amazing new year trip to Brighton, which I will be using for stories long into the year.

So entry one complete. Lets see how this goes.

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35 minutes ago, Circadian Rhythm said:

Yikes that list ended up a lot longer than I thought it would.


There is nothing wrong with having a lot of  goals, on the contrary it's a good thing, you have a lot of options to do things with your newfound free time. You will find that free time is the death of progress when it comes to replacing bad habits. You need to be proactive.
 

37 minutes ago, Circadian Rhythm said:

I run and play guitar, don't get me wrong, I love them but they stress me out something fierce.

What stresses you out about them?

 

38 minutes ago, Circadian Rhythm said:

Unfortunately as I watched some gaming related content on YouTube earlier today I don't feel like I can truly count this as Day 1.

Life is, at best, two steps forward and one step back. Perfection is an illusion and mistakes are often part of the process. Set high but achievable goals for your days and be forgiving but not forgetful with yourself when things aren't perfect. Ask yourself if your today was better than your yesterday. See if you are any closer to your goals today than you were yesterday, that should be your compass imho.

Embrace the hardship this change comes with, take responsibility for your actions and their consequences and you'll have it easier than if you didn't! All the best.

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1 hour ago, fawn_xoxo said:

There is nothing wrong with having a lot of  goals, on the contrary it's a good thing, you have a lot of options to do things with your newfound free time. You will find that free time is the death of progress when it comes to replacing bad habits. You need to be proactive.

Oh I agree. I think I was thinking more about how it would be to read. I work in a field where brevity is so so important in writing so I naturally feel a bit apologetic when I have a list like that. I've had experience of the boredom sometimes being difficult to deal with so I do wonder how what will happen when I realise I for once, feel like I have time.

1 hour ago, fawn_xoxo said:

What stresses you out about them?

Different things for both. With running it's all the organisation that goes into getting to and from running training sessions as I'm part of a club. From work I need to make a real quick turnaround to get there through rush hour traffic in a busy town, more so if I've had to stay late, and doubly so if I haven't packed my kit for the night. I'm a new driver and the route up there is driving hell. Once I'm there, I'm fine really, even if I give myself a bit of a hard time for being a slow runner sometimes! It's also keeping up with the races and travelling and having everything ready and organised there too, including getting up early on Saturdays. I'm hoping the extra disciplines I'm putting in place will finally give me the impetus and organisation to succeed and finally improve. Too often I'll be have gotten to a few in a row and get tired out/distracted by everything else going on. Story of my life.

With guitar I don't feel like I've progressed. It's been too easy to stick with the styles I've learned already and I think it's made me a player that's too safe and too sloppy. Especially after a hard work day. I could do with structuring my practice time a lot more. Or just have some revisit lessons. Also writing my own stuff has been frustrating being something of a perfectionist. The world doesn't need any more E-A-G-D players. I'm pretty reasonable but that's all I'll ever be unless I kick myself up the arse a bit. My buddy and I are forming a band this year and we're meant to be having our first writing session sometime in the next 2 weeks. I don't really feel ready. But I just need give it a go.

1 hour ago, fawn_xoxo said:

Life is, at best, two steps forward and one step back. Perfection is an illusion and mistakes are often part of the process. Set high but achievable goals for your days and be forgiving but not forgetful with yourself when things aren't perfect. Ask yourself if your today was better than your yesterday. See if you are any closer to your goals today than you were yesterday, that should be your compass imho.

Embrace the hardship this change comes with, take responsibility for your actions and their consequences and you'll have it easier than if you didn't! All the best.

It has been. Thanks for the kind words! I don't feel particularly down about it. This morning I wasn't sure whether I was going to join and that's when I was watching the YouTube video. This afternoon I took the step to do something about it. That's the responsibility I'm taking for it and that's a step closer to getting what I want. This morning is gone and I want to concentrate on the now.

My work's done and I just need to do that run. Other than that it's probably dinner and bed. The new sleep routine will be a big part of this so I'll write some more on that next time.

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DAY 1 (Properly this time)

It's only day 1 one and I already feel like I have a lot to talk about. Let's start with my sleeping routine.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For a long time I've had a sleeping routine where I've been going to bed with my devices. Always browsing something fairly mindless, watching YouTube videos, Netflix, gaming content passively, watching porn, just things that have involved having a device with a significant amount of blue light just before bedtime. And I've allowed whatever it is to keep me up until way past appropriate. Almost like a druggie looking for one more fix. It's gone as far as needing the laptop on to play a podcast. Just to have the level of background noise I need to silence the noise in my head to put me to sleep.

Last night was the first time in years that I switched my laptop off by 9pm (after booking a half marathon place on it and using it purposefully - more on that in a future entry), made my sandwiches and set out my clothes for the morning, went to bed by 9:30pm and READ before bedtime, just like I used to do when I was about 10 years old. I really go through periods of falling in and out of love with reading and it was a bit like meeting up with an old friend. I wondered why we'd spent so much time apart in the first place, such was the comfy familiarity. I'm interested to see how many books I might be able to read in this way if I keep this up.

Sleeping itself was much more difficult, I really struggled and was distracted. The novelty of doing this was almost akin to being a kid at Christmas again (weird right?), and I didn't drift off until about 11-11:30pm. Presumably the novelty will wear off and I'll have less energy when I start doing more physical things than just running. I actually dreamt about getting a new job, which felt significant in the context of what I'm doing.

 

For the morning I managed to get up at 6am, half an hour earlier than usual, didn't immediately spend 20 minutes on my phone to distract me from the horror I usual feel at just being alive, and got straight in the shower, was massively grateful for the things I prepared last night, and turned up at work just under an hour earlier than I usually do. I managed to get a big headstart on the day which was a big help.

Work isn't perfect right now and I'm finding it very stressful. I work for a marketing company and at the moment our figures aren't good. One of my goals is to take more control of this and to try and provide some solutions. I'll talk more about this in another post as this one is already going long. But I'm finding it very taxing.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Overall, so far so good! My only real thoughts of gaming are to do with certain triggers I have for them. Music's a big one. I LOVE music and a big part of my initial taste came from gaming. I'm avoiding songs specifically made for games but feel that real songs on game soundtracks are fine. I've not really had any cravings to play yet or watch gaming videos but I've kept busy. I had a gym session as soon as I came home and writing this, eating and socialising has been the rest of my time. Will be interesting to see how I feel when this inevitably starts happening. One thing I have felt that I didn't expect was that my libido has been super high. Like my body is crying out for a serotonin rush of some kind. I'm also still get distracted a lot by certain aspects of drama in my life that I could do with cutting out. But so far so good.

I am grateful for

  • The forum for being so welcoming so far
  • My stepdad for me offering dinner
  • The roads being blissfully clear this morning
Edited by Circadian Rhythm
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DAY 2

Only a quick check in this time. I'm awake much later than usual as I had a leaving drink with a friend who's moving to Canada. I'll miss the guy but he's pursuing his goals, so I'm equally happy for him. He's been planning to move out to Whistler to become a snowboarding instructor and has given up a steady career to do it. I can't help but admire his courage.

Overall a productive day at work, a decent morning routine apart from forgetting my lunch. Still so far so good. Other thoughts will come in another post and I'll no doubt pay for this a bit in the morning. But when else am I gonna see a buddy off like this?

I am grateful for

  • My content meeting at work going about as smoothly as it could do today
  • A mutual friend of mine and Canada guy (who was there tonight) being so chill. To keep it simple we went on a date once. It didn't work out. But it's never been awkward and we're very good friends ourselves now. I'm grateful we've both been mature enough to allow that.
  • My metabolism holding out. Meaning I can occasionally get in at 11pm on a weeknight, and just bung a pizza in the over and not have to worry about my waistline yet.
Edited by Circadian Rhythm
Forgot the gratitude diary
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DAY 3

Right. We're back on a more regular night than last night. So I can write a decent entry and concentrate far more on building new habits.

Morning routine still seems to be going really well and I love the extra time I have in the mornings. I still will surf Reddit in the mornings in something of a mindless way, but it's a least during eating and not stopping me from doing what I need to (mostly anyway). This is perhaps something that I can work on with time if I so choose.

I feel reasonably relaxed at work too and certainly compared to last week. Again gaming isn't really a distraction apart from musical cues or occasionally I'll think of some reference from a 12 year old game. My distractions seem to be my unexpectedly high libido at the moment, and I'm a bit preoccupied about the odd old relationship or friendship at the moment that I've lost or am teasing the idea of getting in touch with them, just to see what happens. I don't really think that's particularly forward looking in the way that maybe I should be.

Some background perhaps, I'm a sucker for an intense relationship or friendship with someone, and if I lose them I get far too pre-occupied with why. It's not a negative feeling per se. I think I'm quite sentimental as a person and think I can always fix something or bring it around. I for some reason like to think about that. I always wonder how people are doing and how they've changed. Even if it's not the best idea for me to contact them as there's usually a reason we'll have grown apart. I miss people freely and easily. That's quite general but it covers a few people. I have plenty of friends now but I'm that guy who wants to try and be friends with everyone. Even if it's a little to his detriment.

This is really the downside of having all this extra energy through clean living and a good routine. I feel like I have a bunch of extra distractions and noise in my head at the moment that I don't think I realised I was silencing so hard. I'm curious to see what happens when I have this at the weekend first time and it's just me finding things to do, and having these new negatives to deal with.

For now though, I got through the work day well, although I'm flagging a bit at the end of each day, came home, went for a run, and have my dinner on now (healthy this time thankfully). I've really gotten back into discovering new music and comedians like I used to so I'll probably do a bit more of that tonight. I'll get to read a new chapter of my book in a bit. This has been an interesting journey so far. And it's only day bloody 3 eh?

I am grateful for

  • My coworker being a laugh sometimes. She gets on my tits often, but actually I've had way worse people to work with and when she's on form she's pretty great for someone you have to spend time with.
  • The mild Winter so far. Last 2 days have been lovely. I haven't had to defrost the car. Perfect. Please continue.
  • Radio 1 for playing Chalice by Donae'o the second I stepped in the car this morning. I might be an indie kid at heart, but I recognise a banger when I hear it.
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DAY 4 and 5

I'm afraid this won't be my most glowing entry. I've lost my way a bit in the last couple of days. No gaming happily. But it is making me wonder whether I need to extend the terms of my 90 days to other things and be stricter, or whether I'm happy to start slow.

It started Thursday morning. I just couldn't sleep. I woke up several times during the night and it got to 3am, I just decided to stay up. Faced with nothing to do and with my libido still silly high, I flicked on my laptop. And was surfing the web until I had to start my routine at 6am. Since then I've just been exhausted and didn't force myself to follow through on my routine the following day. I probably should have been more disciplined about it, but apparently I just found it too difficult on that occasion. The extra energy and new problems I have make me feel like I'm flying too close to the sun and I need to work out how I'm going to deal with that. I can keep this up I just need to find ways of dealing with myself when I get low and things seem impossible like that.

I'll keep this short as it's late now but ideally I get up tomorrow for my morning run and build from there.

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I reduced my internet time to absolutely minimum. Checking gamequitters, email, spotify and viber. Sometimes reddit very quick. It's worth it. My brain is not raped with this dopamine trap anymore. 

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Yes, try to clarify more goals. No gaming is good but mindless surfing gives you also those good feelings which you dont want to lose. Thats why you keep grinding in front of the display. I also recommend to put this time to a minimum. Maybe not could turkey, because you need alternatives. Things you can do instead of doing that. Otherwise this will definetely not work. Wish you the best

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DAY 6

Little entry for yesterday as I didn't get round to it. I think as my colleague suggested the other day that I'm not 100% at the moment as my sleeping has been out of wack. I slept 13 hours straight through Saturday morning which I completely didn't expect after deciding I was way too exhausted to do my 7am run. I'm struggling to decide whether it was that or whether the changes I'm making are just throwing me off or whether I've just felt a bit depressed in the last few days (which always just kills my energy). Obviously not happy with that but I suppose I have to be patient.

Positives of yesterday are at least that I got a lot of guitar practice in considering I have that first band practice on Wednesday. Spent plenty of time with the family and got to cook a decent meal. I've also been looking at starting some new projects to do with either writing or photography. I haven't decided yet.

Negatives include too much time on my phone. Far too much. I'm not sure how to deal with this yet as I listen to a lot of music on my phone, use it for plenty of positive things like measuring my running progress, guitar tabs, managing social occasions, and every podcast I listen too (which is a lot). I'm wondering whether the next step is perhaps to do things like delete the Reddit app for example and anything that doesn't serve a positive purpose to take more control over this. I wasn't strict about my night routine either but it was much better than Friday. I'll be ready to resume it tonight.

On 1/12/2019 at 9:44 AM, Samon said:

Yes, try to clarify more goals. No gaming is good but mindless surfing gives you also those good feelings which you dont want to lose. Thats why you keep grinding in front of the display. I also recommend to put this time to a minimum. Maybe not could turkey, because you need alternatives. Things you can do instead of doing that. Otherwise this will definetely not work. Wish you the best

I completely agree as otherwise what's the point in doing this right? I'm not sure what they are yet. And I don't quite know what the alternatives are as a relaxing hobby really. But I have to keep trying things (meditation, writing, reading, playing guitar) until something sticks. And make some more restrictions in terms of what I access when online to stop me from 'grinding' in front of the the monitor as you put it.

I'll be back later with another update for today but it's been a very positive one so far!

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DAY 7

Quick update but it feels like it's been an excellent day! I managed a 17.5km run in 1:37:31 which is the furthest I've ever gone in a decent time. Needed some time to recover after that. But spent the day with more time on the guitar and trying to build up to gigging standard, a lot of tidying up for the week and chores. I've started sorting through my wardrobe and finally sorted out backing up the rest of my computer and my phone. Which has been one of those annoying long term jobs I've needed to do for a while. I'd have like to have done more. But it's a Sunday and I'm happy to take it slightly easier. Discovered a bunch of new music whilst working on my chores and added it to my growing lists.

Only thing that may have been a bit of a time waster today was I did about 30-45 minutes of political reading online. Whilst it's good to be informed, with the absolute mess that British politics is in at the moment, and my reading consisting of me shaking my head and still struggling to get my head around the scale of which everything is royally fucked, probably isn't the best use of my time. It just doesn't feel productive. It's not like I'm reading to become an activist or do something with the information. So it probably could do with a rest for now.

Right, best put into place the last parts of my night's routine and now bed.

Edited by Circadian Rhythm
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FAILURE

To put it simply. I made it up to 14 or so days and failed. I had a big entry I forgot to post as an update but it doesn't really matter now I'm afraid. The release of the latest Mortal Kombat broke me as I watched a couple of videos on it. Since then I've been much more lax on my routine and not enforced things for the last 5 or so days. It just got harder and harder to keep up and I've been dreading writing this since. I've failed and deserve some criticism. 

Not everything has been bad. I've still found time to start the band I've been mentioning and initial rehearsals and material sounds excellent. Actually looking forward to the gig we have booked instead of dreading it and am likely to go over my guitar parts again now. I've been running a lot (less this week unfortunately) and am still training for the half marathon with another 11 miler ahead tomorrow. I'm confident of more good progress and some decent running times.

So that leaves me with what I do about this really. I simply haven't found another relaxing hobby that's stuck and don't know what to do there really. I like reading but for some reason it really often feels like a chore. Like another task I have to complete instead of relaxing. The same goes for (believe it or not) meditation. It feels like a task to schedule in and get through and isn't something I actively look forward to. Without replacing the pull of gaming, web surfing, and YouTube with something equally satisfying or relaxing. I don't think I'm ever going to manage this. I really need to have a proper think about this before starting again and am open to suggestions. Even if that suggestion is "Just be more disciplined you colossal bellend."

We can't know success without our failures. And I'll think on this whilst working out how I'm going to start over.

I am grateful for

  • The safety net I have. I always have a chance to start over like this and to reflect on my mistakes to try and improve. Some people aren't so lucky, and would suffer serious consequences for having a problem like this.
  • The lovely day I had in London with I friend of mine I don't see often enough. It really helped me take my mind off things today.
  • The Doves for recording this amazing acoustic version of Kingdom Of Rust (attached). I'm just thrilled to live in a world where people can create art that makes me feel like I'm flying

 

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I feel you. My willpower started eroding over the last few days when I was checking streams on releases I was looking forward to. Fortunately I was intercepted before fully relapsing. "White knuckling it" is a hard, hard thing. 

GOOD JOB AT GETTING BACK HERE!! That's a difficult thing to do... not letting shame run away with behaviors. That belief that you deserve some criticism is partly some of that shame. Breathe. Relax into the fact that a relapse happened and that you're taking steps to recover from it. You also noticed that your routine was starting to become lax... THAT'S GOOD!! When you notice your routine dropping away in the future that's a warning sign for greater relapses to come. It's an opportunity to shore up your plan. 

I feel like an 'Atomic Habits' salesperson because I've written about it so much here, but I strongly recommend it. This isn't about having enough willpower to overcome video game addiction, it's about habits, psychology, routines, and the desire to change. James Clear has some great advice and insight related to dropping 'bad' habits and creating 'good' ones. @Cam Adair's 'Respawn' also works along very similar lines. Pick them both up if you haven't already and start establishing routines for success. 

Lastly, I strongly recommend that you continue trying mindfulness meditation. (Is that the form of meditation you were trying?) Mindfulness meditation will help increase your awareness of thoughts, emotions, and sensations... all of which is SUPER HELPFUL in preventing future relapses. It increases your distress tolerance too, which is helpful in not running to the thing that gives guaranteed relief from difficult emotions. (:cough: video games :cough:)

I hope some of this is helpful! Keep at it, keep coming back, and keep at the self-love!

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11 hours ago, Circadian Rhythm said:

So that leaves me with what I do about this really. I simply haven't found another relaxing hobby that's stuck and don't know what to do there really. I like reading but for some reason it really often feels like a chore. Like another task I have to complete instead of relaxing. The same goes for (believe it or not) meditation. It feels like a task to schedule in and get through and isn't something I actively look forward to.

This is normal, you know. Don't expect things to feel satisfactory right now, it's too early. Nothing will compare to the highs of gaming, and that's normal. When I started, I did my new hobbies like chores, and that's okay. It's better than gaming, no? If you read what happens to our brains with the constant stimulation from internet content, you will realize expecting things to feel good so soon is unrealistic. Stick with the chores so, and continue coming up with new hobbies to try. You won't feel like doing them if you're like me, and that's okay. It doesn't matter what you feel like doing at this point, the only thing that matters is that you slowly loosen the grip games and maybe internet content have on your brain and how it expects dopamine to come to it.

A lot of people's brains stop producing dopamine at the same rate when people offer the brain free dopamine from outside sources all the time. That means when they take the sources away, people can even feel depressed until the brain starts producing more and more dopamine again. I have accepted this is something I caused myself, and I have accepted that I have to go through this process first in order to feel good afterwards. I am at around two months free from gaming and things still feel like chores from time to time. It's okay though, it's better than how it started. The more time passes, the more my brain will forget the games and adapt to my current lifestyle.

I hope this realization won't discourage you, only inform you as to why you feel this way and that it's not that important in the long run when it comes to you getting your life together the way you want it to be. Time helps tremendously, your brain gets healed little by little. 

Atomic habits really helped me with this process too, I recommend it!

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I appreciate you guys. Both of you @Brian @fawn_xoxo. I'm doing a lot of soul searching at the moment as to what's realistic and what isn't in terms of this challenge. It is hard, very hard.

I've ordered Atomic Habits by the way. I have to be honest and say I'm always a little suspicious of a lot of the self improvement community. I feel like there's a lot of snake oil salesmen out there and also people who's goals don't align with mine. I'm not looking to get up at 4am and own 3 bitcoin businesses. I like the simpler things and want to reconcile my dreams with the weaknesses of my own mind instead. My point is that this looks a lot more practical and realistic. And I have to take a chance on something sometime. So thanks! The book gets delivered to me in about a week.

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LIFE DOESN'T CARE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT

There was a post I read midweek on Reddit with this as the title. It's something I've thought about a lot. It's the grim reality that we all have to face. That the way you feel about something is mostly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Do or die as they say. It's never a realisation that's sat well with me. That there are no breaks if you really want to get what you want. That life is about the momentum you achieve when you don't rest and just do. This is something I'm instinctually going to want to resist tooth and nail but I feel it's something I'm probably going to have to better come to terms with.

This leads me back to where I left this journal and why I failed. I allowed myself to slip because I just needed that distraction. The peace from the mundanity of the life and the person that I clearly hate. I think too much. I care too much about how I feel at any given time that it's a distraction. I don't have control. I allow my negativity to dictate my life and I do this alone.

So I have to start again with this in mind. There might be a lot that I find negative in my life. But I can control it if I just try a little harder, and I draw my line in the sand again. I'm already doing a lot of positive things this year that I'm quite proud of, and I just need be more open and build to put the final pieces in place. And to give myself some damn credit every now and then.

Tomorrow is DAY 1 (Attempt 2)

Edited by Circadian Rhythm
I accidentally a word

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7 hours ago, Circadian Rhythm said:

 There was a post I read midweek on Reddit with this as the title. It's something I've thought about a lot. It's the grim reality that we all have to face. That the way you feel about something is mostly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Do or die as they say. It's never a realisation that's sat well with me. That there are no breaks if you really want to get what you want. That life is about the momentum you achieve when you don't rest and just do. This is something I'm instinctually going to want to resist tooth and nail but I feel it's something I'm probably going to have to better come to terms with.

I feel you on this. Life has a way of saying, "Well, here you go!" and dumping a bunch of shit in front of us. I'm a firm believer (now, I wasn't as much before) in it's what we MAKE of our life circumstances that makes life either hellish or bearable. We can say to ourselves, "Why is this happening to me?!" or some variation of externalizing control. OR we can decide to meet life's shit with gritted teeth and a spark of defiance: "So you want to bury me? WATCH THIS." 

Have you considered that your mindset is one of the things that is creating distress in your life? When you label life events as "negative" it's easier to get bummed out, depressed, angry, etc. If you can try shifting to a growth mindset, like trying to view life events as opportunities to grow or rise to, that may help. And fuck yes, give yourself some credit for what you're doing RIGHT!! It's easy to fixate on what's going wrong. Beware of that trap because it sounds like a lot is going right!

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17 hours ago, Brian said:

I feel you on this. Life has a way of saying, "Well, here you go!" and dumping a bunch of shit in front of us. I'm a firm believer (now, I wasn't as much before) in it's what we MAKE of our life circumstances that makes life either hellish or bearable. We can say to ourselves, "Why is this happening to me?!" or some variation of externalizing control. OR we can decide to meet life's shit with gritted teeth and a spark of defiance: "So you want to bury me? WATCH THIS." 

Have you considered that your mindset is one of the things that is creating distress in your life? When you label life events as "negative" it's easier to get bummed out, depressed, angry, etc. If you can try shifting to a growth mindset, like trying to view life events as opportunities to grow or rise to, that may help. And fuck yes, give yourself some credit for what you're doing RIGHT!! It's easy to fixate on what's going wrong. Beware of that trap because it sounds like a lot is going right!

Pretty much. You can't control what happens to you sometimes but you can control your reaction to it. And this is a mark of the person you choose to be.

I do consider it. But this is something I find very difficult. So one step at a time really. I'm naturally a very negative person prone to worry and panic. It's taken a lot of counselling and mental health treatment to get to the point where I can say anything like the above. To set myself a challenge and to try to see it through. I do my best to challenge that negative mindset and to see things in that growth mindset. I just find it very very challenging having suffered from mental health difficulties for most of my life. So one step at a time. One negative belief at the time. And the truth is sometimes the rest of the world won't always your negative qualities in that growth mindset. Which is something I try to remain aware of.

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DAY 1

Probably a short entry today. My sleep routine sucked. I just couldn't sleep and ended up reading until 2am. Really not ideal. But my day's been pretty good! Got a lot done at work and am optimistic of getting lots done this week. Home meant my recovery run after my 11 mile run yesterday (1:33:40 which I'm bloody delighted with by the way), dinner, some chores and spending time with the family. Even got in some extra guitar practice during my lunch break. My playing's really picking up again now I've been practicing so much for the band and I once again feel inspired by picking it up. I'm trying to get in at least an hour a day.

I have some minor concerns at the moment. But overall I'm lot less worried than I was last week. I'm not gonna lie. I've been a bit lonely at the moment. This focus on self improvement is something of a lonely journey that no one around me shares. As my choices have changed I've grown apart from people I once loved. But as I talked about above with @Brian, focusing on that would be focusing on the negative and it'll turn around if I keep working on myself. Become so irresistible they can't ignore you and all that. And my happiness will become more focused on me and less on my relationships with others.

I am grateful for

  • The peace I get at work sometimes. Headphones in, no distractions, and I'm very productive.
  • Guitar. I've fallen back in love with playing thanks to the band and every song I hear I want to learn to play.
  • My stepdad for cooking me dinner tonight. Granted I did it in return for giving my brother a lift instead of him but I still appreciate it.

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DAY 2, 3 and 4

I suspect this might be a real low point of my 90 days. And really I only have myself to blame.

I've set myself certain rules to stick to when it comes to how I'm completing this challenge. And because I break rules and get distracted bad things inevitably happen. I managed my goals Tuesday and yesterday. But last night when my band practice was done I stayed up for another hour and a bit on the internet even though I got home super late anyway. This led to me being late for work.

Another rule I have is that because I should be focused I shouldn't be asking anyone out. I'm terrible for just taking women out on dates because it might be fun and they're attractive, but not necessarily because our personalities mesh well. I'm usually quite confident but I think it's made me a bit of a sleaze. Of course I broke it to ask someone whether they were free tonight who works on the business park for another company (we'd talked about it before but it didn't work out). No response of course. Cue me mithering over it, not eating, and now having to skip a running session because I feel like I literally might faint with hunger. Just not good enough CR.

This week otherwise has just been an uphill slog of bad news, having clients have a go at me, having my badmates cancel rehearsals at the last minute when we have just 3 weeks until our first gig they haven't even written their parts yet, and just generally feeling massively alone and fighting a metric fucktonne of personal demons just to stay the course. Even with this I would have been fine if I'd just hit all my marks. I only hit some, and I'm suffering the consequences.

Sorry word vomit and I don't know how much of it makes sense. I'm just fucked off.

I'm grateful for

  • My work for allowing my to not ruminate on my stupidity too long
  • One of my buddies at running club - he gave me some awesome tips I'm looking forward to using
  • My bandmate - the one person that shares my frustrations with my other bandmates. We've written pretty much the whole set together now and without him I'd have been fucked.

 

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Just now, Circadian Rhythm said:

I'm grateful for

  • My work for allowing my to not ruminate on my stupidity too long
  • One of my buddies at running club - he gave me some awesome tips I'm looking forward to using
  • My bandmate - the one person that shares my frustrations with my other bandmates. We've written pretty much the whole set together now and without him I'd have been fucked.

 

Bonus graditude. I'm grateful I've got this as an outlet for a rant. Man did that feel good to get off my chest.

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DAY 5

I've had another very difficult day. I'm massively grateful for the early cut today at work as it gave me time to come home and take a long hard look at myself after yesterday's problems. And it wasn't easy. I've spent most of this afternoon very upset and trying to do as much reading as possible to really reaffirm my values, to wonder whether going back to therapy might be of some help to me or whether I simply need to rip up what I'm doing and start again. In the end, I came back to similar conclusions I always do.

1. I'm being way way too hard on myself for today and yesterday's behaviour. Setbacks like this are a part of the process and when you make mistakes it's all part of learning, and sometimes you need a little time to grieve and get over them.

2. So long as I view the weekend as an opportunity to do some positive things for myself I can probably put myself back on the right path. 

3. I probably don't need therapy so much as I need a good support group and to reaffirm what I'm doing. I consistently need to fight my negative self talk if I'm ever going to succeed and have any kind of quality of life. Though I'm happy to consider therapy if I keep feeling bad.

I'll leave with this which was one of the things I watched as part of my "reaffirming" earlier. It's a wonderful video from a former Formula 1 mechanic called Mark Priestley. I'm a big F1 fan and being in a sport right on the bleeding edge of innovation and competitiveness requires a certain mindset to be able to deal with failure. To see even the most bleak and negative situations and to see the positive opportunities you can find within them, that you otherwise might not have had. It's a brilliant video and I hope if you watch it you get as much out of it as I did.

I am grateful for

  • The aforementioned early cut
  • Marc Priestley's above video for inspiring me to pick myself up and see tomorrow as another day
  • My parents for doing a bunch of shopping earlier in the week, meaning I could have a whole afternoon of resting and uninterrupted thinking time.
Edited by Circadian Rhythm
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DAY 6

A bit of a quiet day. I did a lot of reading again. Some guitar practice and some quick exercise. Visited my Nan as I know she wanted me to pop by which was nice. I think otherwise I'm in bad need of shaking things up really. I have my long run to start tomorrow with and need to work out some other new hobbies to add to what I'm doing. I may need to wait until March to really get them underway though with my gig on the 10th and the Half Marathon on the 24th.

I was also looking at that trip I wanted to take to do the Inca trail and worked out the costs. It's going to be at least 2 grand. Which is a lot of money for someone who's saving up for his deposit. I've got to decide what's important. A potentially fantastic and memorable trip or doing something cheaper now, and prioritising securing my future and independence.

I'm still feeling massively lonely but the positive of that is I have plenty of time to work my own head out,and  be ready plenty in advance for my challenges during the week.

I took delivery of "Atomic Habits" today so I'm going to read that now before bed. It's not often I go to bed before 10:30pm on a Saturday night but here we are I suppose. I feel like I'm calming down from my emotional state this week and hope I can keep that up.

I am grateful for

  • My Nan being in good humour in spirits as ever. Not everyone gets their Nan or even parents around at 26 so I'm lucky.
  • The ability to live in a time where a naive twat such as me can plan for a hiking trip to Peru solo and not have to worry about being murdered.
  • Stumbling across a really interesting radio show in the background by accident surrounding the way history is told in popular culture on radio 4, and it focused heavily on Monty Python - always fantastic.

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DAY 7

Ups and downs. Too slow a start to the morning and was feeling very unhappy about not challenging my bad habits enough this morning. I've somewhat pulled it back this afternoon. I'm trying to take the advice I gave someone on here yesterday and not be too hard on myself. I've had a hard week and tomorrow is the start of a new one. I spent the afternoon running errands for my brother who made me dinner in return, meaning I had time to fit in a quick run on my old circuit. Beat my old PB from last year by over 30 seconds on a short 2.5 mile course for an 18:17. Pretty delighted with that. Shows my efforts are paying off even if I don't see it sometimes.

I'm writing my entry early tonight as I want to experiment with storing my laptop and phone in another part of the house that isn't my bedroom for when I'm sleeping. Hopefully it means I have more incentive to make the right decisions in the morning and before I go to bed, as I've found it really hard to keep up my night routine so far. What it'll mean doing is trying to get an old analogue alarm clock to work which could be interesting. I'm a little nervous about it. I'd argue that nailing this routine is an even more important part of my journey than not gaming. I get this right, I set the stall out for a productive day and I make myself a much happier person in the long run too.

I've got Atomic Habits to read before bed, and I'm expecting a lot of the content in there to relate to making it easier to get into the habits you want to do. Like making a point of having your running gear ready if you have a class the following day until it just becomes second nature. Let's see how right I am.

I am grateful for

  • My brother making dinner. It was bloody lovely. Kid is the like the damn food whisperer.
  • My new found capacity for self forgiveness. C'mon lets reinforce this one a bit. I'm on the right path.
  • The support I get on Strava when I post a run, however minor. It's sometimes the little things that keep you going.
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DAY 8

Sweet. Week 2. New territory in journaling terms at least. Today has been very positive. I feel like picking up Atomic Habits has been a big pick me up as it's taken concepts I know to be true and open up my mind to a way of thinking that I hadn't otherwise thought of into one rather happy bundle. I'm obviously only 2 chapters in but I had a real light bulb moment when it came to the phrasing of identity. For example considering yourself a musician so you'll keep the habit as opposed to thinking your just trying some music but it's not really you. It shows how powerful that element of self talk and the way you view yourself really comes into play, and how that's been something that's been holding me back. It was honestly a complete light bulb moment. I've always been so so hard on myself and by being kinder in a practical way (which is very much my preference), I can make a noticeable difference.

On that note I got something done that I've been dreading at work for a few days. Which was a nice thing to have out of the way. And the rest of the day went really smoothly. I got some extra guitar practice in. It's always the next few days where the real work is anyway. But it's nice to have a good start to the week.

I am grateful for

  • My boss being away from work this week so it'll be a bit less stressful. Not that he's a hard taskmaster anyway but y'know.
  • My friend still texting me sports results to talk about despite being away at uni. It's great to have a bit of him still around.
  • Just having my parents back around this week and it not being an empty house. I didn't like that last week.

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