Non-Zero November – Day 1 – “What is a Non-Zero Day?”

As you can tell, the last post didn’t really give me the longer term oomph I was looking for. I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m not angry (which is always worse, even when aimed at yourself). I’ve seen a few posts on Reddit about overcoming procrastination and lack of motivation, and I’m going to attempt one of them. I am challenging myself to have a non-zero day, every day for a month.

Welcome to Day 1 of Non-Zero November.
Image by Jack Standbridge

“What is a non-zero day?” I hear you asking. Well, a ‘non-zero day’ is when you do something, even if it’s not a lot. The creator of the non-zero day concept is the Reddit user ryans01, and has a very straightforward term for a zero day:

A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on.

He also has a very straightforward term for a non-zero day:

Didnt’ do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero.

The idea started on the ‘getdisciplined’ subreddit on Reddit when someone put out a plea for help, and the thread can be found here.

On the face of it, it looks to be super simple to follow – “One sentence a day? That’s nothing!” But actually, it is quite difficult. Take a look at this scenario:

  • You’ve just got in from a long, crappy day at work, and it was cold outside.
  • You have to cook tea or wash the dishes.
  • The bin is full and needs emptying.
  • You have to call a relative.
  • You’re in a bad mood and just want to veg out to some awful TV show or play a game.
  • It’s now pretty late and you should go and have a shower.
  • The shower made you sleepy, and you don’t want to wake yourself back up by staring at a laptop screen right now.
  • You’re asleep.

Seem familiar? A lot of people have a thought process like this, myself included, and it’s severely hindering our paths to where we actually want to be in life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to not have to worry about the above stuff and just magically be doing what we really want to be doing, where we want to do it? Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen without a bit of input from us, and this is where the non-zero day method can hopefully help.

Look at all of the list above and tell me there isn’t a single excuse in there. Seriously. Now remember the point of the non-zero day method and take a look at what I have written below:

  • You may have had a shitty time at work, but you’re home now, so smile!
  • Cooking can be fun – try something new! Also, washing the dishes takes like… 10 minutes max if you keep on top of it.
  • Empty the bin now and go and put it in the wheelie bin (and recycling). Its too cold and dark? Leave it by the front door and do it tomorrow morning.
  • Call your family member – if you really don’t have a lot of time, say it’s just a quick hello and that you don’t have a really long time to talk. If you have some spare time, talk to them for a bit longer and you might enjoy it more than you thought you would.
  • Watch one episode of your TV show of choice. One. Play two matches of your game, or 30 mins. That’s it.
  • You should have some spare time, even if it is just 30 minutes. Now is your time to do something towards your goal. My “something” would be write a blog entry. What is yours?
  • Plan your bed time for around 30 mins to 1 hour before you plan on being asleep, and have your shower before. Once clean, don’t use any technology, don’t use any harsh lighting and don’t sit in your bedroom. Read a book or listen to some music until you feel sleepy, then go to bed.
  • You’re asleep and you had a non-zero day.

I plan on starting my non-zero day challenge today – November 1st. This will be a challenging month for me, as I’m travelling to visit family this week and Fallout 4 is out next week, but I’m going to try my hardest to stick to it. I will try to write in my blog every day in November, even if it is one sentence.

If you would like to research more into the non-zero day method, there is now a Reddit community dedicated to it, with a whole support system, helping each other to keep up their non-zero challenge.

I’ve got my challenge set and will be working towards my goal of writing more, but now I want to know what your challenge and end goal is. Leave a comment – I’m curious.



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