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?
The way is simple, adhering to it can be difficult. We got into our vices by getting our body and mind used to them. Smoking a cigarette, browsing the internet, eating sweets provide us with instant gratification, and by doing it again and again, we train our body to expect these addictive activities. We can’t let go of them anymore.
However, the same way we got into them, we can get rid of them – by avoiding (e.g. drinking beer) or doing a certain task every day (e.g. always getting up at 5 am) until we do it automatically. How long this process takes, varies – in any case, it is thought to take a couple of weeks. And that is precisely the goal of NoNothingNovember:
We chose three vices that we want to get rid of, and then commit to that for the whole month of November. In addition, to not only base a whole month on avoiding something, we are also installing something. One positive habit that we are doing.
Last year I did NoNothingNovember and avoided: (1.) sweets and snacks; (2.) less than 6 hours of sleep; and (3.) overindulging in Social Media. I was successful, got this blog started, lost 2.4% of body fat and saved a couple $100 in the process.
This year, I have decided to do it again. If you would like to participate as well, you can go here.
These are my habits I will break.
#1 – Not using the internet for distraction.
Currently, I work a lot on my computer. If I need a break though, during this NoNothingNovember challenge, I will go for a walk or read a book instead. Maybe listen to a podcast or music. I will not follow clickbait! If I come upon a potentially interesting website, I’ll click on the link and save the website in my reading list, so I can look at it later. The point is that whatever I do on my computer, I want it to have a purpose. There is a time to learn from online sources, but not “quickly in between”.
#2 – No snacks.
I managed to do that last year, but have since lost control of my eating habits. NoNothingNovember = NoSweetNovember.
#3 – Getting up early.
I will get up at 5 am every day, or at the latest by 7 am. I have already started to implement that since last week – still, doing that consistently for a whole month is not easy. It means I have to consistently fall asleep by 10 – 11 pm. On the flip side, I can already get lots of stuff done very early in the day. I am up and full of energy in the morning, and it feels I can actually have a real impact on my day to work a little more towards my dreams.
So far about the vices I will conquer for NoNothingNovember. What habits will I instill?
#4 – Productivity.
Getting up early will not have much meaning if I spend my time on tasks that do not contribute to my goals very much.
Let’s say, I am writing an article, and while I am writing, I get an idea. So I follow up on that idea and get distracted while I dig for an old document or start dreaming about alternative goals. Instead, I will do the following:
1. I will define the goal of a specific project.
2. I will think about what I have to do to get it done.
3. I will define the action steps I need to take – and execute.
If I get an idea in between, I will write it down so I don’t forget it and continue working on my original action step. Then, after the step is done, I will review the idea I had and see whether it is worth picking up. I was always afraid I’d stifle my creativity with such an approach. I guess it’s time to find out if I am less or indeed more productive with the “new” way.
And one of the products of this new routine will be – this blog. My aim is to have 1 – 2 blog posts per week, so that I can give value more often to everyone.
Let NoNothingNovember 2015 begin!
If you are looking for an overview on how last year went, you can look here.
To get back to the starting page, click here.
(Images have been imported from Wikimedia commons.)