A Compassionate Journey to Freedom - Magis Journal


#1

Background: I’ll be a senior in high school in 2 days and I have been addicted to the internet for a while. Over these past years, I have had many attempts to be more disciplined, and it would work… for a week or two before I returned to my regular procrastination habits. I tried working out, morning routines, pomodoro technique, planning every single minute of every hour, and even tried whipping myself with a belt every time I noticed myself slipping (it didn’t last too long because belts hurt!). But it never lasted and I would be disappointed and beat myself up for constantly failing to be more focused and disciplined. However, I am now consistently working out 3 times a week and using social media less… but still I feel like I am not living up to my potential and wasting lots of time on things that don’t matter, resulting in getting little to nothing done. I feel like I keep slipping on this discipline thing.

A New Approach: I realized that me trying to do everything I plan in a day and in the exact amount of time allotted is the equivalent of trying to do 5 muscle-ups when I can barely do 1 pull-up. It’s above my weight class! The hours and hours I spend thinking and planning just paralyzes me because these intense schedules I am creating for myself is currently beyond ability to execute on them all. One insight I got from reading r/getdisciplined post is that programs/schedules/routines REQUIRE discipline, not the other way around and that discipline is like a muscle that gets stronger the more I choose to do uncomfortable/tedious tasks (doing homework, washing dishes, etc.).This is starting to sound like a ramble, but in summary, I will be taking it slowly and focusing on developing one habit/discipline at a time instead of trying to practice 10 habits I’m not used to and completing 5 major tasks all in one day.

I’ve been looking into positive psychology and found that self-compassion & self-forgiveness might be the a better approach then whipping myself every time I mess up. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor talked about how people who are happy perform better and are more productive, resulting in financial, physical, and emotional success. So this time around, instead of aiming for perfection (which is most likely why I kept failing in the past), my metric of success will be happiness that comes from knowing I did my best at the end of the day.

Outcome: I am living life to the fullest and on my own terms. That looks like being able to direct my attention and focus on the things that matter to me the most instead of letting social media and advertising choose that for me. I am no longer using the internet mindlessly and instead using it as a tool to spend more time with the people that matter to me the most and execute on my vision for my life.

Why: If I continue my current ways, I will live a life full of distractions and slothfulness. I will be disappointed in myself everyday because I did not be my best self and maybe even become depressed. I deserve better and the people who I care for deserve better. I can only maximize these relationships by being my most authentic and greater self. Also, I have goals, plans, and things I want to do in the future. I can only achieve and experience them if I live a life that prioritizes them.

Habits I want to build:

  • Have a Morning Routine (Wake-up @ 5AM > clean up room/desk/kitchen > drink glass of water> meditate > work-out)
  • Have an Evening Wind-down Routine (turn off all electronic @ 7PM > drink glass of water > do the Ignatian Examen > Set a 3-to-thrive for tomorrow > sleep)
  • Work-out Calesthenics M, W, Sat
  • Yoga stretching T, Th, Fri, Sun
  • Read at least 25 pages of a book every day
  • Contact an old friend every week

According to research, it takes about 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. I will be taking one habit at a time, meaning it will take me about 396 days to fully ingrain all of these habits into my unconscious. The first habit I will be taking on will be the Evening Wind-Down routine I have created for myself, as it will determine how many hours of sleep I get and what my intentions are for the next day.

Every day, I will log about how the day went on a 1-3 scale (1=wasn’t best self, 2=getting there, but not quite, 3=put my best self out there today). I will describe how I felt, what went well, what could be improved on, and how I can make tomorrow 1% better.

I’m excited to get started, cheers to all!


#2

Consider using a mindfulness journal. When you‘re about to do something you rather didn‘t but nevertheless feel the urge for - be curious. Write down what you feel and think in that moment. Get to know your urges better. This might be a good companion routine to your compassionate quest.


#3

This is actually a psychological phenomenon that affects beginners to any field. I think it’s accelerated by access to unlimited information on the internet and excess choice.

Being a former lifter I know exactly what you’re experiencing. I would sit around make routines always trying to find out what was optimal. I would frequently change routines just a few days or weeks into them.

I wrote a bit more in depth here:

Generally the end result of this phenomen is a long time spent in “Analysis Paralysis” and “Fuckarounditis”. 2 years after someone decides to start learning programming, or gets into lifting, or photography you’ll find that they’ve made very little progress because instead of simplifying, and sticking to one path to acquiring skill they essentially went in a thousand different directions.

I don’t know why this occurs (is it just due to the internet?) or if it’s due to just being a self taught beginner to a field rather than one operating with guidance from a skilled elder.

In general my advice is to seek someone really skilled in your field and strictly adhere to their advice rather than seeking advise from resources scattered throughout the internet.

In the case of calisthenics/body weight fitness I would recommend something like “Convcit Conditioning” or “Overcoming Gravity” (buy the physical books)

And seriously committing to routines/guidelines outlined in the book for a long term period meaning at least 6 months.

In generally optimizing routines “what’s best” isn’t really necessary for beginner’s in any field. The mind and muscles are essentially nowhere near their peak capacity meaning they’ll respond well regardless of training. It does pay to optimize however when your near peak capacity and want to obtain that last measure of performance, think Tom Brady before the Super Bowl.


#4

Another 5AM person! This motivates me. I don’t know anyone in real life who gets up that early, or even gets up early voluntarily, so reading this is so helpful. Feels less alone, more doable and like accountability. :slight_smile:

Your habits sound very healthy and reasonable. I’m sure you can accomplish them! I just started using a habit tracker, which is just a page I made in my journal to check off what of the habits I did each day. Makes seeing the streaks easy :slight_smile:


#5

Thanks for the tip, I think using a mindfulness journal will be invaluable in this process!


#6

I agree completely and I think it is also personality thing as well. Some people are higher in consciousnesses (I don’t think any of them are on this sub LOL), allowing them to easily organize information and stay on routine, while others like me are strong gatherers who are able to consume lots of info and are generally more open-minded, but have a lot of difficulty organizing the information.


#7

I am a person in real life :expressionless: … HAHA, but starting a habit tracker sounds useful and I’ll definitely set one up! Thanks


#8

8/12/18 ~ Day 1 ~ Rating: 2 ~ Evening Routine Streak: I

How I feel: Today went fine. I did not finish the last section of my AP Lang homework because it was so painful just to think about. That led me to procrastinate and mindlessly browse the web, which is something I am not to proud of.
What went well: I successfully completed my evening routine and completed my notes for the first part of the Happiness Advantage.
What could be improved upon: I need to get rid of distractions. I kept mindlessly reading comments on reddit and discord while watching fortnite videos (I dont even play fortnite). I wasted a lot of time, but now I learned.
Making Tomorrow 1% better: I’ll tell my brother to set a password for all the electronics in the house except for my desktop, which has Cold Turkey Blocker on it.This will allow me to get an exact measure of how much time I spend on the computer and also prevent me from easily getting distracted. Also, I have disabled Safari and turned on grayscale mode on my phone.


#9

8/13/18 ~ Day 2 ~ Rating: 2.5 ~ Evening Routine Streak: II ~ Morning Routine Streak: I

How I feel: Even though I did not complete everything I set out to do, I still felt super grateful and focused at the end of the day.
What went well: I slept at around 8PM last night and woke up at 4ish AM. Even though I didn’t have to do my morning routine yet, I still decided to because I had so much time on my hands. I got 2/3 things I set out to do done.
What could be improved upon: Today, I did procrastinate after the morning routine because I had a large Writing assignment I had to complete before school started. I felt overwhelmed and the thought of doing it gave me so much pain that I put it off. I noticed myself making excuses on why I was not ready and how there are still other tasks I should tend to first. I think I found out why I procrastinate. Internet and social media distraction does have a role in this, but I think it is mainly because I find doing homework/big projects overwhelming and painful.

I found that I could not continue this compassionate journey without mentioning my relationships with others, as that also has an significant effects on my well-being and work ethic. I won’t go into too much detail, but the first thing I could improve upon regarding my relationship with my mother and brother is that I could communicate a lot more clearly and effectively towards them without aggression. Today, I did not eat a lot and was really hungry. That really affected my mood and I was being passive aggressive to borderline aggressive towards them. All I wanted to think about was ME, ME, ME and how I deserved to eat something right now! I sounded like a complete child and I felt a lot of guilt by the way I treated them. Afterwards, I did apologize later that day.

Making Tomorrow 1% better: To improve tomorrow, I am going to re-frame doing big tasks from painful tedious obligations to challenges that test my discipline. To make doing these tasks easier to perform, I will lock myself with the assigned paper in a room at the library and will not allow myself to leave until the task is finished.

Regarding my relationship with my brother and mother, every time I notice my temper or ego rising due to a disagreement, I will try to take a step back, breathe, and try communicating with warmth + a lower tone. Or I can just be quiet and actually listen. Either works.


#10

Break big things up into smaller steps that do not feel threatening. Every big achievement is a sum of many small, manageable ones .


#11

8/14/18 ~ Day 3 ~ Rating: 2.5 ~ Evening Routine Streak III

How I feel: Today was the first day of school and it went quite well. I feel good and excited for the school year.
What went well: I did my morning and evening routine! Immediately when I walked onto campus today, I could feel the pressure of competitiveness from teachers and peers to get into a prestigious university. Even though I knew exactly what I wanted to do after high school, I couldn’t help but compare my stats to the other students at school (my stats are quite low compared to them). I started to feel anxious and unbalanced because of this, but two of my friends really helped ground me emotionally.
What could be improved upon: I slept around 9PM, which is about an hour later than when I usually go to bed because I was talking to a friend who was telling me about life after high school. I thought it was important, so I stayed up a bit later. I probably should have scheduled a phone call sometime later in the week instead of jeopardizing my sleep schedule. Also, I did not start homework til around 5PM because I felt super stressed just thinking about college.
Making Tomorrow 1% better: There will always be unexpected things that come up to get me reactive in life. My job is to continue on my path, even when that happens. Meaning, tomorrow I will do everything I plan out on doing right away when I get home.


#12

Please, focus on effort, not outcomes. Apply yourself, work hard and have the humility to accept what comes your way. Please do not stress out about things you have no control over, as hard as it may be.


#13

Day 4 ~ 815/18 ~ Day 4 ~ Rating: 2 ~ Evening Routine Streak: …(streak broken)

How I feel: I felt really good today. A friend from college came to visit me in class, which made me feel a little special. Also I felt very productive even though I did not get to everything I wanted.
What went well: I spent 3.5 hours in the library trying to wrap my head around the concepts learned in my AP Lang class today for the first test tomorrow (3rd day and there’s already a test lol). It took a while, but I was able to understand what I was doing.
What could be improved on: It took me about 2.5 hours to actually get started on my tasks when I got home from school. I noticed that I felt very sleepy when I took out my homework, which halted me from actually starting. Also, I broke my evening routine streak because my parents made me go to church (it was a mass of obligation) from 7:30PM to 8:30PM (which was past my bed time) and I still had tasks to attend to.
Making Tomorrow 1% better: When class is over, head to library A.S.A.P. I need to reduce the start-up time for starting major tasks/projects of the day. Also, I gotta head to bed at 7PM. My goal this time is a 5-day streak!


#14

Day 5 ~ 8/16/18 ~ Day 5 ~ Rating: 1 ~ Evening Routine Streak: I

How I feel: I felt unfocused and a bit lazy today.
What went well: I finished and sent in my application for this program I want to participate in. I also successfully did my morning routine.
What could be improved on: It took me about an hour after I came to the library to actually start my project…
Making Tomorrow 1% better: After school, I am going to eat, work-out, and then head straight to the library. I will get everything I want to get done.


#15

Day 6 ~ 8/17/18 ~ Day 6 ~ Rating 1 ~ Evening Routine Streak: II

(totally forgot to update)
How I felt: Unfocused
What went well: I read a book!
What could be improved: I should have dropped that book because I lost interest in it.
Making Tomorrow 1% better: Use pomodoro technique


#16

Day 7 ~ 8/18/18 ~ Day 7 ~ Rating: 3 ~ Evening Routine Streak: III

How I felt: I had fun with friends, but when I got home, I felt unfocused.
What went well: I got almost everything I set out to do done.
What could be improved: I noticed that during my pomodoro sessions, I would still get distracted not by the internet, but by my surrounding or my body. Sometimes, I’d just start clipping my nail or peel off my calluses I got from calisthenics.
Making Tomorrow 1% better: Start the harder tasks earlier and try to completely FOCUS when pomodoro timer is on


#17

Day 8 ~ 8/19/18 ~ Day 8 ~ Rating: 3 ~ Evening Routine Streak: IIII

How I felt: I felt frustrated in the afternoon because I was unfocused, my desk was messy, and I still had to study for a giant test tmrw. Then, I realized that feeling this way was not going to serve me, so I took a step back, took deep breathes, turned on the Rich Roll podcast, and began cleaning up my desk and closet. I felt really good after that and sat down to study. I slept late, but I was content with my day.
What went well: I cleaned up my environment and committed myself to living a more productive lifestyle. I installed google extensions that blocked the youtube home page, subscription, and recommended videos. Now when I go onto youtube, I just see a search bar. I also showed gratitude to a friend and that felt really good. I’ve noticed that my relationship with my family has gotten so much better.
What could be improved: Be more strategic and have specific outcomes I want to complete by the end of the day.
Making tomorrow 1% better: Read a book.


#18

Just curious, what books have you been reading so far?


#19

Becoming Myself by Irvin Yalom


#20

Day 15 ~ 8/26/18

So I took a break from posting for a week because I began to spiral. A lot of it had to do with stress from my AP Lang class when my teacher gave us tests 3 days in a row. For some reason, I imagined my nosurf journey to be a snap of a finger and BAM!, I’m automatically disciplined because I decided so. But after this week of reflection, I realized that this is going to be a long hellish and frustrating battle. When I wake up, I have the impulsion to listen to music or podcast and check my social media in the afternoon. My brain has been super conditioned to receive LOTS of stimulus at once, which makes this process soo hard to keep consistent. But I’m trying to stay focused and meditation (I’m on a 5 days streak :slight_smile:) has helped a bit with that. However, every day I feel like I’m selling myself short because I have not gotten everything I wanted to get done in day for a while.I feel disappointed, and as a result, more stressed.

Anyways, I’ve finally internalized the fact that my nosurf journey will take a while. There is no magic pill or one technique that will immediately change me. I’m going to keep moving forward and on bad days, I’ll try to fall on my back, cuz if I can look up, I can get up :blush:

Current Routine update:
Morning Routine:
stretch > meditate> Drink 1cup of water > clean room, kitchen, table > set daily outcomes > strength or mobility wkot (https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/move/phase4)

Afternoon Routine (when I get home):
stretch > meditate > read (1hr)

ER:
update on discuss.nosurf journal > clean table > drink water > floss > examen of conscious > meditate