No Complaining

At the beginning of NOCNOM (No complaining, no masturbating for one month), I wrote about how difficult it is to avoid complaining. Until last week, I didn’t know how much I complained.

As I turned my attention towards complaining, I started to notice how much others complain. When someone says “it’s too hot out today”, it’s easy to agree or add to it. It’s even a way to relate to other. If you know that the person you’re with dislikes the cold, you can bring it up because you know it will facilitate conversation.

While this sounds a little ridiculous, I had no idea how often I complained. It even surprised me how much others complain. When you abstain from something, you get an outsider’s view of a situation. If you’re fasting, you can pay special attention to how you eat. If you’re a shopaholic, abstaining from shopping may show you how much time you spend in stores.

It doesn’t take much, only a bit of motivation, to start a goal like NOCNOM. It brings greater understanding to a situation and can help you make better decisions in the future. Maybe you don’t realize how late you stay up at night, abstaining may teach you how a good night’s rest can change your mood. It could even be simpler like abstaining from eating junk food at breakfast.

Anyways, I encourage you to abstaining from a habit for the next 7 days. Below are a few examples of things you can try out. Remember that none of them are bad but taking a break can give you insight about each of them.

-Multitasking

This one’s tough because we don’t realize how often we do it! No using your cell phone while you eat or brushing your teeth in the shower. Take each task individually so that you can put your full attention on it. I know it’s not exciting to eat without looking on your phone, but you could abstain for just one week!

-Shopping more than one day a week

For some people this is easy because they already do it. Unfortunately when I walk by a store, I like to look around and explore. This leads to my wallet shrinking and my room filling up with extra knicknacs. Just one week of no shopping can show you how much you mindless shop.

-Listening to music

Again I want to reiterate, there is nothing wrong with putting on some jams. However, I think that sometimes we fill our lives with static because we can’t stand silence. Now I’m learning to sit in the quiet more often. I love listening to house music because it’s motivating but somedays it’s better to just sit with your thoughts. Try taking a 7 day break and jam out on the 8th.

No matter what you abstain from, I’m sure you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for it. Living without teaches us to appreciate living with. Whether it be complaining, multitasking, or NOCNOM, there’s always insight to be gained.

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8/31 Blogtober

Resetting Goals

So unfortunately a few of the goals I made earlier this week didn’t stick around. If you didn’t read that post, I wrote about 3 goals; regular exercise, daily meditation, and NOCNOM. To read more about them, go to this post.

Each day this week I meditated for at least 15 minutes or, for most of them, more. Sometimes I would wake up and meditate, others I’d do it after lunch, but I did keep that goal. By having a short required time (you can sit down for 5 minutes at any given moment), I was able to meditate on my own schedule. It was convenient and that’s why it stuck.

Exercise, on the other hand, requires more time. Most of the training I’ve done in the past focuses on cardio, which usually requires a shower afterward. If I want to exercise in the morning, I have to get up earlier rather than just fitting it into my schedule. However, I want to start the goal again with modifications.

Simple exercises like pushups, planks, crunches, and mountain climbers, require very little time. This makes them convenient because, like meditation, I can sprinkle them throughout the day. With the help of the Lift app, for the next 30 days I’m going to do pushups (varying), 1-minute planks, and 1-minute of flutter-kicks each day. As the days progress I’ll do more sets and at different times during the day.

NOCNOM (No Complaining, No Masturbating) is a totally different story. I’m blushing a little bit inside because I may or may not have broken it and it’s not from complaining. While I’ve been mostly successful, I can’t say I’m pure. Even though it’s been 5ish days, I have to admit, I do feel more energetic and I have a greater sex drive… as one would imagine. Nonetheless, it’s a great measure of discipline and I’m going to reattempt it starting tonight.

I mentioned it yesterday but you should really check out the “Lift” app for iPhone and Android. It’s a fantastic way to start building habits and interact with a new community. While I’ve only been on it a week, I’ve had a great experience with it and I encourage you to check it out!

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No Complaints

I never realized how difficult it would be to give up complaining. While it’s been an imperfect process, day 1 of NOCNOM has went on without a hitch. Only 29 more days of no complaining! It’s going great and I’m really enjoying it so far!

Giving up complaining has been unusual because I normally speak freely without paying any attention to what I’m saying. I don’t think about whether I’m complaining, complimenting, or anything. I just don’t spend time thinking about what I’m going to say. While that sounds bad, I think it makes me honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mean but I share my thoughts freely.

If you’ve seen the movie “What Women Want”, remember the scene where he’s getting tired of hearing everyone’s thoughts at work. He walks into an office with two of his coworkers, who are women, and there is silence. He doesn’t hear their thoughts because they openly share them. There isn’t any extra. It’s quiet because they speak their mind and they don’t have thoughts trapped inside. I think I’m somewhat like that.

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Super-Boost (Fitness Goals)

After a weekend of sulking, I decided that I needed to make goals for myself. The center of these goals is to improve cognition, mood, and overall fitness. Each of these three goals are tasks that I’ve done in the past and I know to work for me. While they may not work for everyone, I encourage you to make goals and work towards improving yourself. When you’re living life passively, it’s easy to get in a depressive funk. This was a solution to my downward spiral.

1. Regular Exercise

The first goal is the most physical. When I noticed that I was being a Debby Downer to myself, I thought about taking 5-HTP again. Last year it temporarily relieved my depression but left me feeling horrible after a couple months. Immediately I deterred myself and decided to go for a run.

It worked. The depressive funk cleared and I was able to focus on other things. While running I thought about my relationship to exercise. Earlier this year I wrote about being skinny (short story – I was tired of other people commenting on my diet and my body). While I am physically healthy, I had an unhealthy view of myself.

The way other people talked sounded like they wanted me to gain muscle or that my body wasn’t good enough. My way of rebelling was to neglect my body. Internally I wanted to prove to others that I was healthy, even without weight lifting. It was mostly ego, centered on displaying the image “I can be healthy like this”.

While that view hasn’t changed, I’ve decided that I don’t care what other people think anymore. I want to build my body for me. It doesn’t matter if they see me as skinny, muscly, or anywhere in-between. I’ve always been a health junkie, so it’s never been a question of health. I just want to see how I can maximize my body.

Plus, exercise has always helped manage my mood swings. That was the original goal from this weekend; I want to improve my life in as many ways as possible. If I can do that through exercise, then that’s a good place to start.

Haha, oh look at me. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to smile in this sort of picture so I made a serious face.

A few of the ways that cardiovascular exercise improves your mind/body are through growth factors. In the book “Spark“, John J. Ratey discusses BDNF, VEGF, IGF-1, FGF-2, and other ways that your body changes through exercise. The next day after a good run, I feel mentally sharp, clear, and fit. I want to maximize that.

In this first picture I look bigger than in real life. I want to focus on my arms and my chest. People have bothered me over the last few years to start going to the gym. As an act of defiance, I always said I’d just do bodyweight exercises. I never liked gyms or the gym-rat mentality, so I read books on exercise.

Unfortunately I never picked it up. I have a few bodyweight books next to my bed now but I’m going to start a routine for this week and change it over the next month. My goal is to run 2 1/2 miles on Mon, Wed, Fri and to do bodyweight exercises on Tues and Thurs. I’m working next weekend so I don’t have anything planned for those days.

Afterwards I’m going to swap and do running on Tues and Thurs. I’m already great at running, so after a week my body should be used to movement again. At that time I’ll focus on bodyweight exercises Mon, Wed, Fri. Each session will be approx. 30 minutes.

Later on I’ll develop a plan that involves Pilates or yoga to improve flexibility.

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Another aspect I struggle with is diet. I’m a Pescatarian, which means that I’m a vegetarian that eats fish and other seafood. This means my base protein intake is lower than average. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are quick to to be burned off. Over the next month I will integrate more fish and proteins into my diet.

In the past I’ve raved about how great cold showers are. They increase circulation, help with breathing, and, of course, they wake you up like nobody’s business. Since I wrote that post in December, I stopped taking cold showers. I don’t know why but it just happened over time. Everyday I will take at least one cold shower.

2. Daily Meditation

Moving onto other goals, mediation is another great activity that boosts happiness. Personally, I feel more alert through the day, my mind is quieter, and I’m better able to concentrate after a good meditation. For the last year, I’ve supplemented sessions as necessary, usually 5-10 minutes in the middle of a rough day.

Now I want to make it a regular thing. For this goal to be reasonable, and to blend with this 365 project, I’m aiming for at least 15 minutes a day of sitting meditation. This will continue on for the next two weeks or until I decide to change it.

Other people I know that meditate have qualities that I want to find in myself. Easy traits to notice are presence, clarity, and peacefulness. When you’re having a conversation, they’re participating in it. They aren’t waiting to respond and their mind isn’t wandering. It’s just another wellness boost.

3. NOCNOM (No Complaining, No Masturbating)

The original name for this goal is NOBNOM (No Booze, No Masturbating), and the goal is to increase average testosterone. Rather than taking supplements to increase testosterone, removing alcohol and masturbation naturally levels it back out. Since I’m underage and already choose to be sober, I’ve adopted the alternate challenge to eliminate complaining.

I know it sounds silly but Tim Ferriss talked about his success with it. He listed increased focus, productivity, and sex drive on his blog. It’s just something to try over the next month. Hopefully I’ll free up some extra time, keep more protein in my body 😉 and become more focused. Who knows?

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The reason I’m focusing on exercise, meditation, and NOCNOM (that acronym won’t get any better) is to improve my life. Each of them are simple things that I can implement into my daily life.

The point is, life is not a movie playing out in front of you. If you choose to sit back, it can seem that way. Life is happening inside of you and you’re the one who’s feeling it. This weekend, I felt helpless. I knew there were things I wanted to accomplish but I felt that I was going into a downward plummet. Even in creating these goals, I feel better. Instead of watching life pass by, make a few goals, accomplish them, and take part in your life.

I’ll keep you all up to date on how everything is going!

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