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NEW PODCAST: Why Are New Activities Boring After You Quit Gaming?

James Good

The Next Chapter

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I'll be honest, the only reason I'm starting this journal is because I'm trying so hard to distract myself from gaming that I'm doing whatever I can to stay away.

In the past I've started journals for specific purposes:
- track my 90 day detox
- 30 days of confidence

and more...

But now I think I'm going to just use it to make a note of my thoughts, what's going on in my life, my feelings (especially where gaming is concerned), and whatever else pops into my head.

 

The truth is, last week on the 10th January I relapsed back into gaming. Again.

It lasted about 6 days, in which time I had managed to do the following:

  • Play almost 50 hours of video games across Steam and my phone
    • Majority of time spent on Path of Exile and Faster than Light, some of it on a Pokemon emulator on my phone
  • Watch god knows how many hours of Twitch, perhaps more than 50 hours of content
  • Completely messed up my diet and routine which were near perfect prior to this
  • Only went outside through necessity, before this I was spending 8+ hours outside the flat every day
  • All but wiped out the progress I'd make in my work after what was the most productive few days of my entire life (Mon-Thurs)
  • Destroy any ability to focus or concentrate on things without thinking about something gaming related

 

I know there are some people in the community who see me as a figurehead for Game Quitters, as some guiding bastion of self-improvement that can never make a mistake, especially as I'm in charge of our podcast and 95% of the articles on our website, but that's just not the case. I've been in Game Quitters for around 5 years, and I'm still struggling with gaming. I'm still making mistakes. 

The truth is this shit is hard. Harder than anything I've had to do before. I'm confident that I can beat it, and this time around things feel different. I can't really explain why, it just does.

There's a load of things I could talk about in this post, but I'll probably do it over the course of the next week so that it doesn't go on for 3000 words. Some of these include starting counseling for the first time in my entire life, exploring Buddhism, my incredibly strong cravings, the effect that only 6 days of gaming had on me, and much more.

I've got some big goals for the year, and I want 2020 to be the most transformative year of my life so far, which is also partly the reason as to why I'm creating this journal. To give myself some accountability, and perhaps to look back in a few months time to see how my thoughts, mood, and productivity developed over the period.

 

See you tomorrow!

Peace.

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I think it is a very good idea to use this journal as a method of tracking your thoughts and to give yourself feedback. I really followed quite a bit of your podcast. It is very good stuff, you are talking about. Some of it was part of my process to quit gaming. Just this should tell you, what kind of progress you made and what kind of influence you have on other people. And seriously that is way more important than your actual results. Regardless, whether you failed some 90 day program, relapsed or played for 3 days straight, you are still on this journey, you are fighting and you are not giving up. That is all, what matters. Not having played for 50 days and then having a relapse for 3 days is so much better then having played for 50 days. Yet people seem to look at that as a loss. As a sign of weakness. This is not, what it is. I think you talked about relapse yourself in the podcast, if I remember correctly. And I think you are focusing to much on the whole "I should not game, I should not game..." idea. This creates tension. Instead, just look out again for the things that you like, that excite you, that give you a nice boost. So again: You ARE a figurehead for Game Quitters and a guiding bastion of self-improvement. And you are also a human being that makes mistakes. Just stop looking on the results. They are not important, it is the process that matters. I am very much a beliver of that.

 

Have you considered to delete your Steam and Twitch account? Because if not, chances are that you are still a gamer and still see yourself as a gamer. But your goal is to not be a gamer anymore right? You should prove this to you with your behavior. Non-gamers don't have or don't need steam accounts.

Take care man!

Alex

Ps.: Once again, you are one of the biggest inspirations for me. Without you, I would not be, where I am right now. I would probably play rocket league right now or whatever. ^^ Instead on the 15. of January, my steam account finally was entirely deleted. So thank you!!!

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Thank you so much, genuinely. It means a lot.

Everything you're saying about creating tension and focusing on results is so true. Maybe that's something I can bring up with my therapist and explore it further.

5 hours ago, Alexanderle said:

Have you considered to delete your Steam and Twitch account? Because if not, chances are that you are still a gamer and still see yourself as a gamer. But your goal is to not be a gamer anymore right? You should prove this to you with your behavior. Non-gamers don't have or don't need steam accounts.

Yeah I actually deleted my Steam, Twitch, Reddit and everything else a couple of days ago when the relapse ended, as well as blocking access to all the websites. Its definitely been a lot more difficult this time, I haven't had the same empowering realization that I did a couple months ago in Vietnam when I broke the relapse and was completely done with gaming. Now it feels like being at square one again, with the same incredibly powerful cravings all the time that I had when I first tried to quit.

Nevermind. I just keep telling myself to take it one day at a time. Just make it through the next hour without watching gaming videos or playing a game or watching Twitch.

 

Thanks again for the kind words on the podcast. It's going to improve a lot over the next couple of months so to see that its already made an impact is incredibly heartwarming.

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5 hours ago, Alexanderle said:

I think it is a very good idea to use this journal as a method of tracking your thoughts and to give yourself feedback. I really followed quite a bit of your podcast. It is very good stuff, you are talking about. Some of it was part of my process to quit gaming. Just this should tell you, what kind of progress you made and what kind of influence you have on other people. And seriously that is way more important than your actual results. Regardless, whether you failed some 90 day program, relapsed or played for 3 days straight, you are still on this journey, you are fighting and you are not giving up. That is all, what matters. Not having played for 50 days and then having a relapse for 3 days is so much better then having played for 50 days. Yet people seem to look at that as a loss. As a sign of weakness. This is not, what it is. I think you talked about relapse yourself in the podcast, if I remember correctly. And I think you are focusing to much on the whole "I should not game, I should not game..." idea. This creates tension. Instead, just look out again for the things that you like, that excite you, that give you a nice boost. So again: You ARE a figurehead for Game Quitters and a guiding bastion of self-improvement. And you are also a human being that makes mistakes. Just stop looking on the results. They are not important, it is the process that matters. 

Alexanderle, you have invested time in learning and applying knowledge. I can see it by the quality of the post. I will certainly check your reading list in your journal. In boxing terms, your addiction is hanging on the ropes and you are landing some solid uppercuts.

 

James,

I gather you are doing root cause analysis right now. You are not just seeing the gamin addiction, but trying to see what sort of thing makes you turn back. To start this journal is a good idea, because you need to find those errors.

 

 

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@James Good 

2 hours ago, James Good said:

I actually deleted my Steam, Twitch, Reddit and everything else a couple of days ago when the relapse ended, as well as blocking access to all the websites

all these websites are connected with two things which are internet + smart device . these two things have many benefits of we use them in moderation , but if we can not moderate them well then removing them completely will be the right solution for us . there are always replacements to your smart devices , believe me . anyway I would recommend doing 3 days smart devices free . 

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Sorry you relapsed. I know the pain well. I also know you can succeed. Why have you been relapsing? I'm not trying to be rude when asking. I just see that you've described that you've relapsed, but not said why. Could you outline all of the triggers that have caused you to relapse? I posted a very detailed post about how I've overcome gaming. Everyone's different in their recovery and recover for different reasons, but I was wondering if you have taken the steps to list out why you're relapsing, the triggers that have caused them, and the reasons you want to quit. 

 

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Hey James, it's been a while. 🙂

Relapses can be really hard and it's possible that you are feeling really guilty about it, especially as you know that you are seen as something of a figurehead here. The thing about leadership is, it's often lonely at the top. I think it's good that you feel like you can share your continued struggles, that's a sign of strength and vulnerability. 

With regards to any feelings of guilt or like you should be doing better, just remember, you are human correct? And humans make mistakes. So it's only natural that you will slip and fall sometimes. It's not a reflection on your character, merely a part of being human, and thus fallible. What matters is getting back up again and continuing the fight. Keep it up bro, every day you don't spend gaming is a victory, and you've had plenty more of those than if you had never quit at all. Remember that.

Edited by ElectroNugget
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10 hours ago, Amphibian220 said:

James,

I gather you are doing root cause analysis right now. You are not just seeing the gamin addiction, but trying to see what sort of thing makes you turn back. To start this journal is a good idea, because you need to find those errors.

 

Yeah that's exactly right. It seems like it's most likely linked to underlying fears, and I'm excited to explore it further.

 

7 hours ago, Netzwerker said:

@James Good 

all these websites are connected with two things which are internet + smart device . these two things have many benefits of we use them in moderation , but if we can not moderate them well then removing them completely will be the right solution for us . there are always replacements to your smart devices , believe me . anyway I would recommend doing 3 days smart devices free . 

Funnily enough, my tech use was at an all-time low in the days prior to my relapse. However, while future me envisions a life living in the mountains away from devices, right now it's impossible for me to be away from them due to the nature of my work. I don't use my phone very much anyway, and my laptop has measure in place to prevent me using the worst offenders in terms of apps, which is about all I can do right now. 

Although perhaps in the future I'll do it. I've done 3 weeks of no-tech whatsoever before, during an expedition to Canada, and I felt absolutely incredible. But like I said it's just not feasible at the moment.

 

2 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Sorry you relapsed. I know the pain well. I also know you can succeed. Why have you been relapsing? I'm not trying to be rude when asking. I just see that you've described that you've relapsed, but not said why. Could you outline all of the triggers that have caused you to relapse? I posted a very detailed post about how I've overcome gaming. Everyone's different in their recovery and recover for different reasons, but I was wondering if you have taken the steps to list out why you're relapsing, the triggers that have caused them, and the reasons you want to quit. 

 

That's a good idea for me to cover in my next post, I'll get it done today. But off the top of my head feel like I a relapse always follows periods where I'm doing really well and convince myself that I can reintroduce gaming. Also, in the days prior to a relapse I find myself removing some website blocks and spending more time on Reddit + Twitch + YouTube. This inevitably leads to areas where gaming is rife, and before long I'm back on the subreddits or communities of my old favourite games. My therapist has mentioned that it could be related to underlying fears, these repeated patterns every few months of self-sabotaging behaviour, so when I know more about it I'll discuss it here.

 

1 hour ago, ElectroNugget said:

Hey James, it's been a while. 🙂

Relapses can be really hard and it's possible that you are feeling really guilty about it, especially as you know that you are seen as something of a figurehead here. The thing about leadership is, it's often lonely at the top. I think it's good that you feel like you can share your continued struggles, that's a sign of strength and vulnerability. 

With regards to any feelings of guilt or like you should be doing better, just remember, you are human correct? And humans make mistakes. So it's only natural that you will slip and fall sometimes. It's not a reflection on your character, merely a part of being human, and thus fallible. What matters is getting back up again and continuing the fight. Keep it up bro, every day you don't spend gaming is a victory, and you've had plenty more of those than if you had never quit at all. Remember that.

Hey man!

I'm pretty sure I'm human, but you're right. It's often difficult to see anything past that guilt and failure that becomes all consuming. Instead I should look at my successes, my victories, the things I've accomplished, the people I've helped.

Maybe that's an exercise for today.

Thanks for the inspiration! Hope you're doing well. Didn't realise you've been journaling again (notifications don't seem to work on this site) so I'll be sure to go through that when I get some time today 😊

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@Amphibian220 thanks for the kind words man. Means a lot. Yeah I am trying to land some uppercuts to finish my opponents. And at this point, really feel that it has no power over me for now. And I have no intentions to change that.

@James Good Once again, it may feel like you are at square one again. But if you were at square 4 a couple of days back, now you are at square 3. I have a very interesting article that you could read regarding, why the process is important and why you are on the right track, even though it does not seem like it right now. https://medium.com/@anthony_moore/the-process-is-more-important-than-the-goal-158d86ff708d 

It is just another dude basically saying similar stuff like I do. 😄 But @Amphibian220 was right in the sense that I have been reading a lot the last couple of months to really understand, why I did certain things, why I was craving and more especially that is the biggest thing I am still trying to figure out, why I have no craving whatsoever. The biggest theory I have right now is based around the idea of identity based habits by James Clear https://jamesclear.com/identity-based-habits
It really fits, what I have experienced the last year. But I feel there is so much more to explore, even more individually.

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4 hours ago, Alexanderle said:

@James Good Once again, it may feel like you are at square one again. But if you were at square 4 a couple of days back, now you are at square 3. I have a very interesting article that you could read regarding, why the process is important and why you are on the right track, even though it does not seem like it right now. https://medium.com/@anthony_moore/the-process-is-more-important-than-the-goal-158d86ff708d 

It is just another dude basically saying similar stuff like I do. 😄 But @Amphibian220 was right in the sense that I have been reading a lot the last couple of months to really understand, why I did certain things, why I was craving and more especially that is the biggest thing I am still trying to figure out, why I have no craving whatsoever. The biggest theory I have right now is based around the idea of identity based habits by James Clear https://jamesclear.com/identity-based-habits
It really fits, what I have experienced the last year. But I feel there is so much more to explore, even more individually.

Nah it definitely doesn't feel like square one, I just see it as a setback that I'll eventually bounce back from. 

That James Clear article is great, and the Atomic Habits book is by far one of my favourite books I've read, but I think similarly to you I need to do a lot of exploration in order to understand why I do certain things.

I mean, for the 8 months I was gaming free last year between February and November I had no cravings whatsoever. I was so convinced that I was done with video games it was a laughable idea for me to return to them. Then, within 2 months I'd lapsed back into gaming twice.

I don't want to sound like I'm jumping the gun, but this time does feel different in a way to the other times I've quit. Despite feeling more motivated in previous times, compared to my lackluster passion for life and constant despondence most of the time, it still feels like it's going to be different. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I guess we'll see as time goes on!

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Taking inspiration from @Alexanderle's article about identity-based habits, I thought I'd write a list of the kind of person I want to be and the current habits I have in my life.

I'm realizing that in order to beat this gaming shit once and for all I'm going to have to make a real and concerted effort to understand improve as much as I can about myself as possible, and be unrelenting in my desire to become better. 

 

SO let's take a look at my current habits:

  • Hitting the gym every morning at 7AM - I accomplish this maybe an average of 4 days a week.
  • I have a tendency to look at my phone in the morning as soon as I wake up, causing me to be late for the gym and fall behind on my day. Sometimes it's better than others.
  • Spending wayyyy too much time mindlessly browsing on my phone. I tried to make an effort to reduce my screentime last week, to great success. However, within a week it was back up to an average of 5+ hours a day. Yeesh.
  • I'm not spending any time on my hobbies, such as photography, music, writing, meditation, reading, or whatever else. Choosing instead to watching movies, YouTube videos, or scroll on my phone.
  • My sleeping habits have improved a lot, but still not consistent enough. Struggle to ensure a solid night time routine.
  • Not planning my day the night before.

Now, I will say that a lot of these habits will improve A LOT in the next couple of weeks. At the start of February I'm going to be beginning my 1 year Thai language course, I'm moving into my new flat, I'm living with my girlfriend, and I'm right next to a gym.

I'll be able to have consistent sleep, diet, routines, work, and so on much more easily. Mostly because my GF will be there to make me not want to look like a lazy bastard and waste my time. External accountability is a big key in helping me hold myself to higher standards.

 

With that out of the way, let's look at the kind of identity I want to create for myself. I'm going to do it on the basis of the next 5+ years:

  • I want to become the kind of person that can inspire and move through my music, my writing, my photography , and public speaking.
  • I want to be the type of person that doesn't have to worry about expenses and can give back to those who have helped me the most.
  • I want to be the kind of person that doesn't miss a workout, that's in shape and athletic and strong.
  • I want to be able to fight someone (and win) if I have to.
  • I want to be the kind of person with a large, varied, and personal friendship group full of people I can trust, rely on, and grow with.
  • I want to be knowledgeable about a huge array of subjects such as history, geography, art, culture, music, language, science

 

So, what are some actions that I can start taking to get started? I need to make sure they're small so that I can do them consistently. I need to make sure I don't focus on too many to begin with, so I don't get burnt out. But, I think the most important ones for me this year revolve around fitness, writing, and music.

I'm pretty pleased with my current progress in the gym I'll be honest, although I could definitely be a lot more consistent.

I write for Game Quitters, but I want to explore more of my own stuff. Perhaps I can write 250 words in the morning while I'm having coffee, or in the evening. I want to release a book this year so I could start writing about that, or I could write about fantasy. I've also had some pretty whacky ideas about taking real world events and turning them into a story and subsequently creating a podcast series for each one. But we'll see!

Music is a bit trickier, but I think just having a few hours a week of dedicated practice will add up over time.

 

Small Action #1: Get to the gym before 7:30AM every day.

Small Action #2: Write 250 words each day this week.

Small Action  #3: Practice the guitar and singing for 1 hour three times a week.

 

That's it for today, I'll let y'all know how I get on with my habits. Starting with the gym tomorrow! Never miss leg day people 😉 

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1 hour ago, James Good said:

Hitting the gym every morning at 7AM - I accomplish this maybe an average of 4 days a week.

I'm on 17 days out of last 20 of working out. To start working out consistently and more (though not daily) was my resolution for 2020. It's been surprisingly easy to step it up, since I already had a basis of about 2 days a week. Good choice!

1 hour ago, James Good said:

I'll be able to have consistent sleep, diet, routines, work, and so on much more easily. Mostly because my GF will be there to make me not want to look like a lazy bastard and waste my time. External accountability is a big key in helping me hold myself to higher standards.

Use whatever you got at your disposal. Doing the things you want in a group is a powerful motivator!

1 hour ago, James Good said:

Small Action #1: Get to the gym before 7:30AM every day.

Small Action #2: Write 250 words each day this week.

Small Action  #3: Practice the guitar and singing for 1 hour three times a week.

Remember that if you only nail one of these this week, and the next one and all the others afterwards, you will have succeeded. Good luck and get after it!

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Wow @James Good that is a very great list you set up there. Your approach is so in depth and detailed. I have never done it like that. So this is already a great start. However, I have some few remarks. It is more something to think about than some recommendation or advice. Well maybe a little bit. xD Maybe some of the stuff is contradictory. I don't know.

 

- You said: 'I want to become the kind of person that can inspire and move through my music, my writing, my photography , and public speaking.' 

You are already a person who inspires with your writing. You inspired me. 😉  The rest I don't know, but public speaking is also in a certain way public speaking. Don't try to delay your new identity. You can start being it today. Like right now! Maybe you will be quite bad at it. But you still are someone else. There should really be no delay. 

 

- You said: ' Now, I will say that a lot of these habits will improve A LOT in the next couple of weeks.'

I guess you are right, a switch in your environment always has an influence. But don't rely on it. At some point you will get used to certain things and the magic you felt the first couple of weeks will decline. Speaking about this decline, I focus on this in my next point. But the real work and grind happens, when you are alone. Not your surroundings can prove your new identity to you. You have to do it yourself! Like writing in the morning or playing the guitar.

- In my first couple of weeks, I did so many things at once, which were new to me. LIke completely new. To give you an idea, how I changed my morning routine literally over night: Opening the windows, drinking a glass of water, making my bed, making coffee, a grooming routine, shaving, actually working, waking up at 5 to 6.30... the list goes on. People always say that you only should make small changes. I tend to disagree. You can do, whatever you want. The amount of new behaviors, I integrated in my life really proved to myself my identity of a morning person and a hard worker, who takes care of himself. However you want to phrase it. But here is this thing: I see a decline in some of those areas -> I have problems to wake up early right now and some aspects of my grooming routine are gone right since a couple of days. Not drastically, but it shows me something: It is like hanging on ropes, the more ropes you have the higher the chances to stay on top of the mountain. I am still this person, because there are so many habits that are proving this to me. Regardless when I wake up. Waking up at 10, I still do the rest of my routine and start rolling. ^^

 

- Speaking about habits: They are mirroring your identity and vice versa. Let's think about this for a second. Just by doing something, even badly over a short period of time is a prove of something. Therefore, James Clear came up with the 2 minute rule: You start your new behavior by doing something for ONLY 2 minutes. After two minutes, you just stop. For instance, you go to the gym for only 2 minutes. You warm up a bit and then you go. You play the guitar for 2 minutes. Then you stop. I write for two minutes. Then you do something else.  May sound stupid, but it could work. The idea is that at some point, you WANT to do more than 2 minutes. 2 minutes are just not enough. At some point, when your identity is based around those habits and you ultimately want success with it, you WILL do it longer than 2 minutes. I never used this technique, but it could be helpful.

However, what I am quite sure about: You will not go to the gym at 7.30 every morning, you will not write 250 words each week, you will not practice the guitar for 1 hour three times this week. Actually, you are missing the point of identity based habits. James Clear had this 3 layered model of identity, process and results. It is in the article.

Right now, you are focusing too much on the process and results thing. Like, I need to write this many words, I want to have this and this done. It is good to do it, actually inevitable. But you have to come back to the idea that your habits only are here to mirror your identity -> It doesn't matter, how long you are practicing the guitar or whether you are singing three times a week, the amount of words you write is meaningless. So is your gym time. What happens is that people start relapsing the moment, they don't reach their own set goals, which are most often arbitrary numbers. When you only write a 100 words once per week that is totally OK. If you do that consistently for many weeks, it will stick.

I have not consistently worked out with my barbells at home the last month. But I did other stuff instead. Sometimes, when I would use them, I only did a little bit of training with it. But I know that I am still an athletic person. Now of course my results (my body) are also proving me this. But that was not always the case. I have to say: Right now at this very moment, I have an epiphany and really understand it. 😮 We tend to use our results as prove of our identity. But that is of course not possible at first. Because, when we look in the mirror, we are still overweight, we still not good at writing or playing the guitar or painting or social behaviour. Are you understanding that point? Don't you see, how ridiculous it is to focus on your results as a prove of your identity? So focus on your habit instead.

Even if you only sing once per week for 20 minutes that is OK. So is going to the gym at 12 am once per week or writing 50 words per day. Stop looking at your numbers. I would like to use a little gym analogy: What is more important: Hitting 12 reps for your exercise or doing 6 very nice in depth reps, where you feel completely exhausted afterwards. The magical number 12 is only there, because it is the expected average, where most people have trained long enough to really putting pressure on their muscles. Actually those 6 very good reps are then better then 12 wrong reps, where you made 5 reps very basic and poor just to reach the number 12. The whole idea of this detox program of gamequitters is the perfect example of that. The point is, to not have played long enough for an expanded amound of time and with this to prove yourself that you are not a gamer anymore. I know there are also biological changes to that. But I am not focusing on that. The number may not be entirely arbitrary, but it is still meaningless imo. 50 days without gaming is good. 100 days without gaming is good. 3 days without gaming, 1 day of gaming and then 20 days without gaming is good. Even five years without gaming and then a very bad week with excessive gaming is ok. You can always continue to go back in line.

Do it for maybe two minutes and then stop, or do it very badly. That is the way to go. Of course your results can only become really really good, when you start doing things in a good way. But that is not your goal right now. You are only focusing on your identity! Results can come later. And they wil come for sure, once your identity is set in place.

- One last remark: I was playing mario cart with my date on saturday. Should I get depressed now and feel like a failure, because somehow my "streak" is over?

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@Alexanderle That's a lot to process, haha! I appreciate the effort though, some of the things you talk about are very true.

I'll be honest, I haven't written every day, but I do disagree about the gym thing. It's incredibly easy for me to get to the gym by 7:30am, and the only thing stopping me doing it every day this week is me travelling to Vietnam in a couple of days. But like you said, 5/7 isn't bad haha.

I'm definitely experiencing a shift in my mindset and focus, and I'm going through some great stuff with my therapist so I'm excited to really put in the effort and work through my difficulties.

I'm regaining a lot of clarity about what I want to do and who I want to be, which is definitely welcome after so long spent being distracted by gaming. I'm also noticing how much of a role technology is playing in being distracted. I made a conscious effort to reduce my phone time a couple weeks ago, but that got derailed by my lapse back into playing. Getting better at that now though.

You mention not expecting things to change when I move into my new place but again I disagree. There's so much moving around right now that it's hard to stick to a routine, and there are a lot of little improvements I can make that'll make a big difference. For example I'll actually be able to cook my own breakfast when I finish in the gym and make my own coffee, instead of having to go out somewhere and wasting a bunch of time and money on it. This will free up a lot of time in my morning and allow me to dedicate some more of my day to meditating, journalling and so on. Also, I'll be much closer to a gym in my new flat, and I'll have language lessons 2x a week which will help to act as a routine marker.

But yeah, I'm definitely going to rethink how I'm creating my habits and directing my focus, and with a revelation I had this morning about the direction I want to take it's going to be much easier for me to come up with some stuff. 

I'll do an update post later today, going out for breakfast now with the girlfriend! Thanks again for your comments!

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I experienced it several times. You get all hyped up about the environmental change and the future, but once you are getting used to your environment it is still a struggle and hard. It all starts within I think. Just say ing that you cannot rely on the future or your surroundings. 

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Sat in the airport waiting for my flight to Vietnam and thought I'd do a quick update post.

After talking to Cam about what I/we do at Game Quitters, he helped me realize something that had a pretty big impact on my mindset towards work:

Quote

This work changes peoples lives. It removes pain. Solves a massive issue in the world. It matters a lot. And we’re not only very lucky to be able to do cool work like that, but also if we do a shitty job it has an impact on others who need help.

When I've felt lazy in the past and not wanted to do the work I'm supposed to, I've never really stopped to think about how my action, or inaction, is affecting other people.

Thousands of people each month rely on us stepping up and putting the work in. Whether it's with the podcast, articles, social media, e-mails, forums or whatever else. People rely on Game Quitters for help, and if we're not there to help them, who is?

I can't wait to get back to Chiang Mai and get everything set up to work. I've got plans for a home podcast/YouTube studio, which will allow me to deliver even better content to you guys, and regularly release videos on the YouTube channel.

I'll be in better control of my diet and my routine.

I've got so much clarity, and I'm going to use these 9 days in Vietnam to work my ass off and get everything prepped for when I come back.

It's going to be an exciting month.

 

I'll post again when I'm in my AirBnb tonight in Ho Chi Minh, but until then. Peace out!

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Meaning/purpose is everything in life. When I'm struggling, I am often reminded of this quote from Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning, where he recounts how he survived the concentration camps of WW2. This despite one of the camp leaders pegging him as the first of his batch to die when he arrived.

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” 

Viktor survived because he wanted to see his wife again, even though he knew she was probably dead. He describes that when other camp members lost hope or purpose, one could quite literally watch them wither and die within 24 hours. The stories of how they were treated in the camps are absolutely harrowing and I've often wondered if I would have had the mental fortitude or purpose to push through myself, or if I'd have become one of those withered ghosts.

The 'why' is a very powerful thing to have. As Cam pointed out, yours has potential to change the world, and the lives of many, many others. Hold on to it in your darkest moments and it will see you through.

Edited by ElectroNugget
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1 hour ago, ElectroNugget said:

The 'why' is a very powerful thing to have. As Cam pointed out, yours has potential to change the world, and the lives of many, many others. Hold on to it in your darkest moments and it will see you through.

I recently finished the magnum opus Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. He made observation that while we are primarily responsible for our individual selves, by the same token we are responsible for each other, because we create the environment for one another. Everything we do matters, for better or for worse.

5 hours ago, James Good said:

I've got plans for a home podcast/YouTube studio, which will allow me to deliver even better content to you guys, and regularly release videos on the YouTube channel.

I'll be in better control of my diet and my routine.

I've got so much clarity, and I'm going to use these 9 days in Vietnam to work my ass off and get everything prepped for when I come back.

It's going to be an exciting month.

Crush it!

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On 1/25/2020 at 6:56 PM, ElectroNugget said:

Meaning/purpose is everything in life. When I'm struggling, I am often reminded of this quote from Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning, where he recounts how he survived the concentration camps of WW2. This despite one of the camp leaders pegging him as the first of his batch to die when he arrived.

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” 

Viktor survived because he wanted to see his wife again, even though he knew she was probably dead. He describes that when other camp members lost hope or purpose, one could quite literally watch them wither and die within 24 hours. The stories of how they were treated in the camps are absolutely harrowing and I've often wondered if I would have had the mental fortitude or purpose to push through myself, or if I'd have become one of those withered ghosts.

The 'why' is a very powerful thing to have. As Cam pointed out, yours has potential to change the world, and the lives of many, many others. Hold on to it in your darkest moments and it will see you through.

This is extremely powerful, I'll have to read his book. It sounds incredible!

I guess I was so focused on what I wasn't doing that I was letting it flood my mind, instead of focusing what I am doing. Making a big difference to my productivity, clarity, and direction. Although, the biggest hurdle right now is my media consumption, which I know is something you're dealing with too. My YouTube + social media use is taking place of gaming, and I've even started getting back on Twitch by working my way around the blockers. 

Not sure why I do this to myself, as I know it's leading to cravings, but I can only do my best to work through it and trust in the process.

On 1/25/2020 at 8:42 PM, Ikar said:

I recently finished the magnum opus Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. He made observation that while we are primarily responsible for our individual selves, by the same token we are responsible for each other, because we create the environment for one another. Everything we do matters, for better or for worse.

Crush it!

Another book to add to the reading list, I've been looking for things like this to read so thanks for bringing it to my attention. It looks really interesting!

That's a great observation to have, and something I need to remind myself more often. I tend to think too much about myself, instead of thinking of the value I'm providing to others, and it's something I'm definitely trying to work on.

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My original plan to come to Ho Chi Minh to get my Thai education has been put on hold for a bit. As it turns out there's a Vietnamese New Year celebration going on and the embassy is closed until the 30th.

I guess its helped to simplify my travel plans, I can book my flights now as I know I'll be staying in HCM instead of heading up to the beach at Da Nang for the last week before I go back to Chiang Mai, but oh well.

On the upside, I don't have to travel and can get settled here. 

The downsides are that literally every shop is closed and HCM is a pretty boring city in general with not a lot to do or see.

Oh well, it gives me time to catch up with work without distractions, which is something I've needed since having my lapse back into gaming and losing an entire week earlier this month.

 

I'm going to book a call with my therapist this week to try and work through some of the self-sabotaging behaviours we've been working through, and it's been a great exercise for me to really pinpoint what I need to avoid.

For example, late night leads to tired in the morning leads to procrastination and late workout, this leads to me feeling lazy and watching YouTube instead of working, which then affects my work ethic for the entire day. Over a long enough period of time this devolves into Twitch + Reddit, which is happening right now, so I need to snap out of this media consumption before the cravings to play video games takes hold and I can't escape from it.

It's difficult right now. I went back to my old favourite streamer, and I keep convincing myself I can watch his videos while I do work alongside. But the kind of things I'm trying to do, such as video editing, writing, and stuff that requires deep focus, is impossible when you've got a dude constantly talking to you. I don't follow Twitch chat, and turn it off completely - no one should be reading Twitch chat - but it still causes me to keep myself occupied with busy work and not getting the meaningful tasks I want to get done until later in the day.

General media consumption I'm going to be working on, and I'm going to do a video for the GQ channel next month about my experience with doing a digital detox - or at least some form of detox. 

Social media, instant gratification, and media consumption is destroying my ability to be creative and to think and focus and it's having such a huge effect on every aspect of my life.

So right now my biggest focuses are:

- Exercising every single day
- Regular meditation
- Drastically reduced tech use and media consumption
- Providing as much value as I can to Game Quitters

I'll keep you posted.

Peace.

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Well, it happened again. What started with watching Twitch ended with me going to sleep at 7:30am after playing a game.

I could see it happening a mile away. During the day while watching live-streams + YouTube videos I'd already told myself that I was going to download these games that I used to play. 

Man...

I don't really know what I'm feeling at the moment. I'm not annoyed at myself. I think I'm still trying to process what's going on. Its been so easy in the past for me to get back to normality after gaming, but these past couple of weeks I can't seem to accept the fact that I can't play video games again.

I can't tell if giving up alcohol completely has had an effect, I'd regularly have some beers a few times a week and so the empty evenings haven't helped.

On the other hand, when I'm back in Chiang Mai I'll be living with my girlfriend. I know I won't be gaming then, I can't let her see that version of myself. She knows that gaming is a problem for me, although due to the language barrier it's difficult to get across how much of a problem it is.

But even with a perfect routine, diet, sleep, and so on. I can't see myself actually wanting to quit gaming.

That's the biggest problem I have right now. I can't see that there's a problem. I don't have the desire to go through with it. I just want to play games. I just want to watch Twitch and play games and go back to being a Twitch streamer.

Even though I know, in my heart and my mind, that I don't *actually* want that for myself, I seem powerless to stop myself.

I've been ignoring my therapist for days, despite the fact that this cycle of self-sabotage is exactly what we're supposed to be working on, I just can't be bothered.

I know that I need to take action, I need to delete my games and block the damaging websites and just do work. I know that I can't expect things to change on their own. I'm not doing this post to get advice, I'm just trying to get my thoughts into writing. 

 

In other news, I've been working on a super exciting GQ project which I'm genuinely looking forward to working on. Which is something, I guess.

 

I'll post an update later this week, and maybe talk about my experience in Ho Chi Minh (every single thing is still closed due to their new year so I'm having a great time).

Peace.

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I will quote what I talked over with another forum member on exactly this point:

Did you ask yourself why you choose to play rather than do something else? This question holds the key to recovery.

I responded to this question when I was 16 years old in the following way: “because gaming is just like any other task, be it sport, socializing, cleaning the household etc”. This answer had very important repercussions. It was like trying to say: there is a clever way to game and escape any bad consequences in your life.

The following couple of years illustrated to me my mistaken belief. Success is “hard coded”. What this means is that you will hit a certain barrier as a gamer after which no amount of mental reframing will make you feel that you’re okay spending days playing. Mentally it will be very taxing.

If the president of the country and his ministers would have told you that you’re okay as a gamer, you still wouldn’t be able to reframe it. Same goes for alcoholism and gambling.

This realization made me cautious and I haven’t reverted.

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I had my first ever session with a therapist this morning, and although I'm still gaming while I'm in Vietnam, is was a really interesting conversation.

 

In the last 3 months I've gone back to gaming 3 times:

- The first time, in November, was when I went to Vietnam for 10 days.
- The second, in January, was when my girlfriends went to China + Bangkok for a week.
- The third time, now, is when I'm in Vietnam again.

 

What do all of these have in common? Pressure + Loneliness.

 

Pressure

When I find myself in these situations where I have an uninterrupted period, I give myself a list of things to accomplish which always ends up being far, far too long.

I tell myself it's okay, because I can just work all day and night and be super productive and get everything done. Surprisingly, that isn't the case.

Sure, the first day or two are usually pretty great, but then I realise that the tasks I've set will take a lot longer than or they're much more difficult than I realised. This results in me getting annoyed with myself and stressed, and confused as to why I'm so stupid that I can't do a few simple tasks.

This then leads to, surprise surprise, gaming. 

I think it acts as a defense mechanism. It's my safety net. Inside the games I'm powerful and in control and I can go off into another world. Even if the only things I play are short single player Indie games, there's still that sense of accomplishment, challenge, and escape.

The negative beliefs I have for myself then start stacking up, and it almost becomes a cycle.

More work = more gaming = work piles up = more gaming = work pil... You get the idea.

 

Loneliness

The other similarity between these periods is that I don't see many people.

When I gamed that first time in Vietnam, and quit after a 14 hour day binge, the next day I had found some local people on Tinder to show me around cool places and explore the mountains with.

When my girlfriend left for China, it was as if I had the thought "finally, I'm free, I can do whatever I want and no one can judge me for it!". Despite being one of the most productive periods of my life before re-downloading the games. Since then, I never really broke up with games. I stopped playing them when my girlfriend came back, but in my heart I knew I wanted to play again, and was just looking for the right time.

It turns out that right time was this trip to Vietnam.

I had it all planned out. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh, get my Visa, go up to Da Nang, chill with Cam, then go home.

Well the whole issue with EVERYTHING being closed due to Vietnamese new year fucked up my plans. On top of that I'd created a task-list that'd only be possible if I worked 16 hours a day for 10 days, and most importantly - I was by myself.

I haven't actually spoken to anyone else in the last 7 days, except for the odd conversation with someone at the embassy or at a coffee shop.

It's not really an excuse but since I quit drinking alcohol in January I've found it much harder to go out an be social. It's  terrible excuse, but it's how my brain is thinking right now.

 

So, what can I do about all this?

Well, I have 2 more days in Vietnam. Then, after I return to Chiang Mai I'll have a whole year of uninterrupted time. No travel outside of Thailand without my girlfriend, I'll have a routine, I'll have structure, I'll have a kitchen so I can eat healthily, and I know in my heart that shit will be awesome.

That's 365 days to get things done.

These 2 days, in the grand scheme of things, aren't going to make a difference.

I'm going to allow myself to play games this weekend, and not beat myself up about it. I genuinely do want to play them, I want to catch up with my old YouTubers and Twitch streamers, but I'm still going to make sure I get to sleep at a normal time.

I managed to turn off the games at about 11:15pm last night, which is great. Although, after a call with my girlfriend and reading my book I ended up getting to sleep abotu 00:30am, whatever. It's better than 7:30am!

 

I have a strange calmness over me at the moment. It's possibly the first time I've really allowed myself to be truly okay with what's going on.

I'm excited about the future again.

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James,

If you are going to play them, try to consciously drive down mental stimulation while you are playing. Pay attention at the actual buttons you are pressing at certain moments, the colours that flash up on screen and resemble images. Sense the quietness of the room. Basically have an “outside-in” experience of this bad habit.

It happened to me a couple of times when someone walked into my room and started talking to me. I was embarassed of the game and had to follow both the game and the person talking to me. He was asking me questions of the sort: “What do you do in this game?”. On the one hand it drove my mental stimulation down to a healthier level and I could have an “outside-in” experience.

-Suddenly I was not in excitement trance anymore.

-I was objectively seeing what the game experience is without the emotional hype by the aid of the this person whom I respected.

-I was understanding some things about  the rules of life by intuition. “I am here settling for scraps because they are cheap, but there are men out there who understand that mistakes aren’t anything to fear and conquer great meaning”. Your intuition will give you your insights that may not be just what I listed.

Hope my post will be of great help to you.

Edited by Amphibian220
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