NoNothingNovember 2015: What Can You Learn From One Vice-Free Week?

First week done.

As I mentioned in my introduction to NoNothingNovember 2015, I was going to let go of three vices: online distractions, sleeping in and eating sweets and snacks. I also vowed to work at least an hour on this blog per day and publish one blog post per week.

Unlike last year, where I updated my progress daily on this blog, I chose to write those posts on Reddit and then only use my blog to provide weekly updates.

Several of the habits that I am following for NoNothingNovember are also part of Victor Pride’s “30 Days of Discipline”.

NoNothingNovember Purple Rain

No online distractions

Continue reading “NoNothingNovember 2015: What Can You Learn From One Vice-Free Week?”

NoNothingNovember, 2015 Edition

Welcome back.

Last year in November, I took part in a challenge called NoNothingNovember. You let go of three of your vices for a whole month. Why that? Aren’t those vices not part of why we enjoy life? Drugs, alcohol, sweets, sleeping in… watching TV, funny YouTube videos, video games, even pornography – and don’t forget staying in the loop on Social Media and being updated on our friends’ progress.

At one point all these distractions change from enriching our lives to controlling our lives. We are not living our life because we have a purpose. The distractions, our vices, provide that purpose. We don’t live a self-determined life anymore.

How do we gain that control back?

Continue reading “NoNothingNovember, 2015 Edition”

A Look Back at NoNothingNovember

I recently had an eMail exchange with the author of Goldmund Unleashed. He had some good points and primers to ask of the NoNothingNovember challenge – here are the questions and my answers.

It’s a bit early to see whether NoNothingNovember has had a long-term impact on my life (even though it has changed my life like few things before), but with a couple of days gone by, I can take a first review.

#1 – What were my biggest takeaways?

a) It took me 3 weeks to get all my vices out of my system.

While I did reward myself with some Christmas candy for completing the challenge, I am getting back into my NoNothingNovember schedule.

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NoNothingNovember, Day 30

The Grand Finale!

What a great month it has been.

Some days were hard. Especially in the beginning.

But overall, I gained so many good experiences – and confidence in myself that I can handle any change in my behavior.

The biggest takeaway for me: It is possible to live a life that is true and honest to what I REALLY want.

I have many vices I want to change. I chose the ones for NoNothingNovember for a specific reason.

To stop reacting and start ACTING.

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NoNothingNovember, Day 29

Fearing what I write…

… once again, I have written an article I was afraid to write.

I needed a long time to get going.

Talking to your friends about something is one thing.

Speaking up to people that might be offended by what you write and leave is different.

That was a new experience for me. But reason enough to do it. Because that’s me.

For my homework assignment in Science Writing class, I chose to write about “Shirt Storm”.

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NoNothingNovember, Day 27


 Time flies by!

November is almost over.

It has been pretty interesting so far:

#1 – It seems true that you need 3 weeks to ingrain a habit – since day 22/23, I don’t feel a big urge to take part in my vices anymore.

#2 – I have started to build up this blog.

#3 – I have even admitted something I feared (


I feel I have definitely grown this month, and NoNothingNovember was a great thing to do.

Continue reading “NoNothingNovember, Day 27”

NoNothingNovember, Day 26

Either be proud of or afraid of what you post.

An article from Mike at struck very much home with me.

So what did I learn today?

Since I have started this blog,  I realize that I sometimes worry too much about not offending anyone – and/or embarrassing myself! I should accept who I am and stand up for myself.

Ok, so let me correct that right here.

When I wrote my review of “The Slight Edge” (, I said that this book has helped me overcome a lot of my addictions.

That’s true. What I still left out was the one addiction that I felt the most devastated and embarrassed about:

Continue reading “NoNothingNovember, Day 26”

NoNothingNovember, Day 25

Making the NoNothingNovember journal more useful.

I decided to change the format of my diary a little bit – to make it easier to learn from.

I will still write down what happened in each category, but now it will be preceded by:

What did I learn today?

and then structure the posts into

(1.) What went well?

(2.) What do I want to improve?

(3.) How will I improve?

That way, I can track my progress better and give myself some “love” while still working on improving my life. Especially (3.) forces me to come up with a little plan on HOW to improve.

Once a week I review these points and thus see (a) what I have accomplished and (b) where I still need to correct my path.

Continue reading “NoNothingNovember, Day 25”

NoNothingNovember, Day 24

NoNothingNovember, my sweet tooth enters the big sleep.

Three weeks seem to be a valid time to train yourself new habits.

I am a bit surprised by it myself, but most of the vices I wanted to abandon this month are simply gone from my mind.

For example, yesterday, I went to get a sandwich for lunch, and there were all those sweets and snacks lined up – I did not even think for a second about buying any of those.

NoNothingNovember goals


Slept fine, albeit sometimes, I am a bit tired over the day. Maybe I should up my sleep time to 6.5 hours.

Sweets and snacks

As I mentioned above: no desire for sweets. Not even for a replacement, like oatmeal with honey. My sweet tooth lies dormant. Did not think it would be that easy.

Social media

I still only check twitter and Facebook when there is an eMail waiting for me, or when I post my “three things to be grateful for”.

The only times when I have to restrain myself is when someone posts something sounding spectacular. And indeed, there might be a webpage that is truly informative and good to know.

What I do then is I click on the link and bookmark it for later, then close it again.

That helps me indeed not getting distracted.

What have I achieved?


We had a bit of a setback, an experiment that was crucial to our research did not pan out the way we expected it to.

These things happen when you work in science. You gotta look ahead and come up with a new idea.

However, the fact that I make my bed every morning, follow the Happiness Habit and NoNothingNovember helps me here:

it has freed my mind from all BS, so I can focus on what is important to me.

That’s basically it for today!

NoNothingNovember continues: Day 25 tomorrow.

(a description of my #NoNothingNovember challenge:

NoNothingNovember, Day 22

Growth occurs by fits and starts.

Some days are very slow, others are really extremely efficient. Day 22 was the most productive day in November, if not in 2014, for me.

I wrote several articles for this blog, plus finished my “homework” assignment for the Science Writing class I am attending and still managed to get ahead at work.

That being said, with day 22 I can also review my complete progress in November so far.

NoNothingNovember goals


Without an alarm clock – I did not need to be at work on time – I slept close to 7 hours. I sometimes wake up after 5 hours and make myself sleep longer until I have a minimum of 6 – 6.5 hours. I really want to get my body used to a regular sleep time.

I don’t want to ever think I could sacrifice work for sleep, that just makes me fall back into old patterns of behavior. Instead of urgently needing to finish my work, I could lose my discipline and postpone it, regarding sleep as an optional resource.

Enough with that BS.

Since the beginning of november, I have slept an average of 6 hours 20 minutes each day.

Sweets and snacks

Once again, it was a saturday, so I indulged into oatmeal with blackberries and apples, sweetened with honey. Fantastic. Even after freezing and warming it up in the microwave.

So, of course, no sweets and snacks that contain refined sugar.

I am down from 227.6 lbs at the beginning of november to 216 lbs three weeks later. That is a loss of 11.6 lbs or 5.3 kg.

My body fat went from 25.3% to 23.4%. Almost 2% lost, which amounts to 7.9 lbs (3.6 kg) pure fat.

In other words: by removing sweets and snacks from my diet, 68% of the weight I lost consisted of fat.

Social media

When I open Facebook or twitter to post about things that I am grateful for or answer an eMail, I have almost no interest anymore following the stories people post. In the cases where I do find it interesting after all, I click on the link and bookmark the site that has opened for later, thus eliminating all potential distractions.

Social Media don’t distract me anymore.

What have I achieved?


I spent a lot of time with searching for a way to handle a software error. The other day, I was recording pictures with a high-resolution microscope, and now the software does not display the data properly. The problem is absolutely solvable, but needs some additional work.

That is one of the exciting or “sucky” things about science. You spend a lot of time trouble shooting.

And what did I achieve since the beginning of november?

I am not as far as I thought I’d be with assembling the figures for the manuscript. On the other hand, I have managed to get most of the experiments done that were still missing.

Now I have to finish the experiments completely, then focus exclusively on putting the figures together. Thanksgiving will give me a bit of time to do that.


I planned on writing three articles for this blog on the weekend, and I finished them all. So that was productive.

Since the beginning of November, I have revamped the design of my blog and published around 25 blog posts.

That is pretty much the pace I wanted to have. Now I feel I can even amp it up and publish more unique, non-dairy style articles.


I have still managed to finish a homework assignment for my Science Writing class. How? I worked the whole week at it and NOT started in the “last moment”.

That is something writing this blog has shown me.

You can’t finish an article within two hours after starting and hope it will always be as good as you want it to be. 

What the Science writing class has taught me in addition:

There are a lot of style elements in a text that you can improve upon, and it is absolutely worth taking your time to extensively edit your texts.

That being said, of course: it is better to have a draft that you can improve upon rather than not getting started.

NoNothingNovember continues: Day 21 tomorrow.

(a description of my goals for the #NoNothingNovember challenge can be found here: