Cool! Mile Markers #5 and #6 I put in a mile each yesterday and today. 2 miles 11:15 each Yesterday I started out too quick and had to slow it down, and today I intentionally slowed it down from the get go. It's a process! In gaming/life news, it's Friday night, and this has been one of my best weeks in a long time. Made a lot of headway in work/studies and just feeling pretty darn good. I should remind myself that not every week is going to be great, but I'm making small and steady progress toward better habits, which will help me when the going gets tough. Really optimistic and happy to be a part of this community.
Mile Marker #4 A quick entry as I'm getting ready for bed. 1 mile 9:45 A sub-10:00 mile. Feels better. No foot pain and felt like I had more energy today. I leveled up a couple of skills today, despite sleeping through my alarm again (!).
Good stuff all around. I nodded along the whole time. Octsober, regarding XCOM 2 on weekends only, I know I would probably end up cramming 30 hours in on the weekend if that's the only time I had to play! Another thought: This is all a weird thing for me. I've had the moderation talk with myself before and it rarely worked. For me, it kind of seems like wishful thinking that I can successfully set limits (again, based on a lifetime of this back and forth with myself). There's also a desire to not have gaming become this big scary monster that I have to run from. I don't really want to have this kind of problem. Why can't I just play a little like everyone else? It's no big deal right? It's this kind of circular reference that probably leads to the binge-purge pattern for me.
Wow—thanks, guys! Getting to know some familiar faces around here. Tom—Will let you know about Mindsight when I'm done! kortheo—Consistency. That's it. And if I had a short list of my biggest weaknesses, that would be on it. Maybe at the top. Working to change that, alongside all you guys. Responding to Cam (and anyone else), I'd definitely like to meet up whenever possible, thought I'm a little ways from the NJ/NY meet up at the moment. Hopefully if this job works out though! I traveled quite a bit in a prior life and always enjoyed visiting NY but not sure how much I'd like to live there. This job in particular is a telecommute job, so it sounds like a visit-like relationship—ideal. I continued working on my application for that this morning and definitely leveled up a related skill in the process. That was nice, because my schedule was off this morning. Despite getting like 12 hours of sleep last night, I managed to barely hear my insanely-loud alarm clock and slept through. I got a late start so had to shift my workout so that I could get working on time. This meant that I ended up on the outdoor basketball court at sunset, which was nice. This also meant when I got to the gym the treadmills were taken! Ah! So I did a four-mile hill climb on the bike for the cause. I won't count it toward the "miles" idea, but I'm feeling good about how I adapted. I find myself spent today as well. It's funny that I could game forever and never really feel any energy drain. Gaming was a total comfort zone for me, and spending most of my waking hours now outside of that comfort zone is a tiring thing at first. I read a book recently (name escaping me) that talked about spending time outside of one's comfort zone and it being an adjustment in an individual's homeostasis (balance of internal processes). The more one spends time in this new zone, the more one's homeostasis adjusts to it. I buy that idea for the most part. Oh, and I definitely had another impulse to game today, but didn't spend much time dwelling on that and it showed itself out.
Mile Marker #3 Today I found an exciting job opportunity. I'd use an exclamation mark there but I'm pretty tired. Really though, excitement... ... ! It's with a seemingly-legit startup based in Brooklyn that produces educational music videos for kids. They're looking for someone to fill a creative role there and I spent the morning chipping away at a little something that I think has some promise. Now I'm tired! I found myself equally-spent at the gym this morning, so after doing some dynamic stretching—a new thing for me—I hopped on the treadmill straight away. Started in a brisk walk and ended in a jog of increasing pace. I lifted some weights (I've been focusing on rehabbing a shoulder injury) and called it a morning. 1 mile 11:27 I focused on studying some this afternoon and hit some roadblocks. It was the first time I got a hint of an impulse to fire up a game. That has seemed to be a pattern for me in the past. When the going gets tough, fire up a game. This time, though, it went away pretty quickly. Tonight is also the kind of night where instead of getting early sleep, I might fire up a game and stay up until at least my normal bedtime. I say "at least" because, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm a binge-gamer. There have been nights like tonight where I'd stay up to all hours in a compulsive session no matter how tired I was. Yuck. Going to set my alarm for a 6:00 a.m. rise, read some of my current book Mindsight, and call it a night!
I'm about half way done with it. The author seems to be the real deal, and the first section lays out a good case for the fact that thought patterns change the physical makeup of the brain. The middle third of the book comprises case studies, and I think it'll eventually discuss practices for mindfulness. Most of it is new to me, but I'm finding it to be good info and easily digestible. Recommended.
Hey Octsober, I read your journal a little while ago and you seemed to indicate that you were a video game designer, but I wasn't 100% sure. It's a really interesting perspective from which to look at this whole thing. I'm shifting gears in my career and signs are pointing to game design for me, so I've been asking myself similar questions like how it can all fit together in the context of my life, if at all. It's a tough one. And I don't know the answer. I suspect everyone has a different opinion of what should be done. I also suspect the real truth is different for each individual. Not to mention that even discussing this is a slippery slope that I could see leading to rationalization, bargaining, and who knows what else. I'm new around here, so I've been wary of bringing this up so as to not be a negative influence on others without first learning the ropes, but I'm glad you did because it's been on my mind. That's my disclaimer. I've spent a few years now in various states of abstaining from games. It's been an interesting ride in many ways, and it's been a mixed bag of positive and negative. I still don't have a definitive answer for myself. I'm working on it. It's probably relevant to know that I'm a binger—I can put games down for a long time with periods of (severe) binging in between. I think different games trigger me in different ways. I'm addicted to multiplayer games. I'm addicted to most games with a high-score mechanism. I'm addicted to games that consist of a difficult challenge. Am I addicted to Braid? I'm almost certain that I'm not. Why is that the case? My guess is that it's very light on all of the things I mentioned in that last paragraph, and has a number of other redeeming qualities. Portal is another favorite of mine that has never triggered addictive behavior in me. I guess I'll call these story-driven games? That's what they are to me. They kind of sit in the same place as TV and movies for me, both of which have never been a behavioral problem. Something else I need to consider is that my wife and I play games together. I'd go so far as to say it's part of the foundation of our relationship. Most games we play are story-driven games. I think this time together is as well-spent as watching TV or movies together. Needless to say that all of this has been on my mind as an aspiring designer, both for myself and for others that might one day play the games I design. A lot of text and no answers, but those are my thoughts right now. Kyle
Thanks, Cam! It's been interesting browsing the forums the last couple of days. A bunch of sharp, decent people with a common goal. Good vibes. And I've seen The Slight Edge mentioned a number of times. Looks like a good one. I think I'll read it once I finish my current book (Mindsight by Daniel Siegel).
Awesome job on 51 days! (I nodded when I read your bit about healthcare. I'm due to have a fight with healthcare.gov this week. No exaggeration that they've been as bad as cable companies in my experience!) Keep up the good work!
Mile Marker #2 It's Sunday. Had a really good time with family friends last night; they're some of my favorite people to socialize with. Things wrapped around midnight, which is usually much past my healthy bedtime, but I managed it pretty well—I set up my alarm contraption way ahead of time so that it was ready to go without any late-night fumbling (more on my wake-up method later; I tend to "snooze" too much). I did forget to take some medication, but that's extremely rare for me, definitely unintentional, and nothing to beat myself up about. Woke up at 6:00 as planned and hit the gym after going through my early morning routine. Another good workout, and another bonus mile on the treadmill for the cause. Less foot pain this time. 1 mile 12:00 For context, I'd say 10-minute miles are respectable for me, so I've got a little bit to do to get back into shape. I'll get back with a little time. Introduction I guess before I get too deep in these entries, I should provide a little information about myself. I'm 28 years old. Married. Born, raised, and living in rural/suburban northeast U.S. Have had a reasonably-healthy mix of life experience to date, both good and bad, for better or worse. Have battled depression at various points, including recently, with games being a part of that picture. That's why I'm here. I'm looking forward to seeing what life looks like when I push back on some personal demons. I've got ideas of where I'd like to end up, but I'm giving this whole thing a little time to breathe and setting myself up for long-term success. My belief is that a reasonable, sustainable, positive effort and process is the key to it all. It took me a long time to realize that a brute-force, overnight-success approach doesn't work for me in the long-term. Yep. That's a pretty okay introduction.
Bryan, Has music felt like a problem for you in the past? Is there an addiction aspect in your case? I'm not an addiction expert (yet!), but in my own experience there's a certain feeling in the back of my mind when I know something's got an addictive hold on me. Sometimes it's hard to tell depending on my clarity of thought, or maybe I choose not to be honest with myself, but a pattern emerges over time. In addition, I feel like games are a net negative for me from a time/enrichment standpoint—in other words games hurt my ability to meet the goals I set for myself while providing very little meaningful enrichment in return. That's games. I'm also a music lover. In my case, music has never had those addictive qualities for me and it's never caused a problem. I don't abuse music like I do games and other things. Plus, I've never really felt guilty about music. Again, that's only my case. My reason for saying all this is that you should probably consider finding something to provide yourself with some enjoyment, while being careful not to pick up some replacement habit that is as bad or worse than the habits you're trying to change. If music is threatening for you in that way, I can understand your caution there. Overall, I'll echo the comments here by saying I'm a little worried that your methods here seem like they could be difficult to sustain in the medium- to long-term. Oh, and I say all this as someone who can relate to your impulse for pushing so hard with all this. I nodded my head in understanding when I saw your calendar—can you believe I had the same schedule packed to the brim, but mine was color-coded? Is that made with Apple's Calendar app? Honest to god I felt like you grabbed that file off my computer! (Last thing. I won't get into this at length right now, but have you considered talking to someone IRL? There have been a few times in my life when I felt like I needed help, so I sought someone to listen. Like a professional. I'm doing it right now, tbh. Just a thought, and the only reason I bring it up is the physical symptoms you mentioned. Again, that's only my perspective and people have different thoughts on that kind of thing. EDIT: Rereading your OP, I can see that you have. Sorry for overlooking! I can relate. I had to try a few different professionals before I found the right fit for me. It's a process.)
I started getting serious about physical activity and strength training almost two years ago and relied quite a bit on a workout routine app called FitStar. It's exclusively bodyweight stuff, and easy stuff at first. It really helped me as it gave me structure, wasn't overwhelming, and tailored a good challenge for me. I've let my subscription lapse and moved on, but I still go back to those fundamentals from time to time. Anyway, count me in as a believer in the bodyweight thing!
Mile Marker #1 I hit the gym late this morning and got a solid workout in. Lately I've been hitting the stationary bike more and lifting weights, but I decided that I'll log at least one mile on the treadmill every day to support this game quitter cause. I started off running but had some nagging foot pain, so I slowed it down to a brisk walk. I considered pushing through the foot pain and continuing to run, but I've learned in the past that a big part of consistent physical activity is injury avoidance. Really critical in my opinion. The pain did subside once I got warmed up, so I was able to finish in a jog. #LittleVictory 1 mile 13:40 I've been net positive in my fitness over the last couple of years, with some lulls in between. Through trial and error I've developed a pretty good schedule that I think I'll be able to keep up, so I'm looking forward to sticking with it. And it's Saturday, so I'll be spending time with some good family friends this evening. Nice. This probably concludes my first daily log. Milestone!