A New Beginning

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by -Luke-, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    That is a great quote. I think, this is why it's so valuable to monitor your progress. A friend of mine tracks her hours she invests in learning for university because she always feels like she is not doing enough but the numbers state otherwise. Another example is recording your training sessions when you lift or do any other sport that is measurable. When I was lifting, I would always record my performance of all my sets everytime I went to the gym. Because progress is almost always slow and often times only really visable in hindsight, it was a great tool for me to stay motivated. I saw myself in the mirror every day, so I couldn't see the growth of my stregth and muscles but my lifting diary told me that I got stronger by 10kg in timeframe XYZ. It was awesome to see that and always kept me coming back to the irons. And the irons always tell you the truth but that is another story :D

    I guess, you could transfer this to almost anything you do. If you want improve your shyness for example, say hello to a stranger 3 times per week. Then daily. Then have a smalltalk daily with a stranger, and so on and so forth. It will have an effect on you sooner or later. From my own perspective, just experiencing the self-efficacy on its own is a good feeling. And you can always build from your newly conquered territories.

    Have a nice weekend!
    -Luke- and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  2. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries
    Yep, progress is hard to identify if it's steady but slow. That's why people get discouraged and stop doing positive habits before they can see how much they've changed.

    I also keep a training diary. I did that for years after I read Mark Rippetoe. Unfortunately my old training logs are all gone, because I kept them in Excel-Sheets and they got lost over the years. Now I have an analogue one. It not only helps with tracking progress but also with analyizing if you hit a plateau or something.

    That's also why I use a habit tracker app in my phone (by the way: one day to go and I'll have the second perfect week in a row). To be fair, it doesn't display the quality, but it's a good reminder that I'm heading in the right direction.

    And in the end, like I said before (could almost be my new mantra): Trust the process!
  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    This morning I had a moment where I was able to try it in real life with a real urge. Yesterday I meditated and during the meditation my nose began to itch. I felt the immediate urge to just scratch it away. Then I remembered that passage in the book and I didn't act on the urge. I noticed it and I focussed on the sensation, without judging it. The itching subsided within two minutes or so without me reacting to it. I began focussing on my breath again.

    This morning I was reading some stuff on YBR when, apparently out of nowhere, a name came into my head. It was the name of a girl whose pictures I would often use to PMO, even quite recently during my series of relapses three weeks ago. I immediately had the urge to type her name into google. But before I could act in that urge I remembered the meditation session the day before. So I did the same thing. I noticed the urge and noticed the feelings and the rush. Within not more than a minute the urge subsided. I think for the first time I really realized what people mean when they talk about "urge surfing". I came accross that term years ago and many times ever since. But I never really understood what it meant. I noticed today that I don't have to fight the urge, I don't have to classify it as something nasty and something to be avoided. I can just wait it out and it will subside. The difficult thing is catching the moment when it arises and not only when it's too late.
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    The flu is almost gone now. Maybe at the end of the week I'll resume my normal exercise routine. The night before last I slept way better than usual, almost perfect. Last night I experienced insomnia again and slept for only three hours at the end of the night. Funny how two extremes can happen in such a short amount of time sometimes. While I expected work to be really stressful until the end of the year it was surprisingly smooth so far.

    Tomorrow I'll be three weeks clean again. Usually I don't mention something like that but three weeks ago even five days of sobriety seemed very far away. I'm glad I'm back on the horse. A bad place can always be a starting point for something good.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Great job getting back to thee weeks clean! Glad to hear you are back to some nice stability. Getting back to three weeks after a series of relapses, while having the flu, is a good achievement and something worth proclaiming on here ! ;)
    -Luke- likes this.
  6. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Today was tough. Had a deep sleep last night with only one minor interruption, but after waking up I didn't feel refreshed at all. Had some mild headaches and mild but annoying pressure behind the eyes (I guess sitting in front of a screen for 8+ hours a day isn't helping much). I got really annoyed then because a few weeks ago I stumbled into something at work that some other people in my department where supposed to do, but somehow I ended up doing it. Today I got a call from someone who wanted an addition and had some questions about it. I ended up getting really annoyed by the people whose work I was doing and felt sorry for myself. In order to "cope" with my anger I procrastinated and browsed the internet. The problem is that I always try to avoid any conflict and instead are indulding in self-pity for a while. Need to work an that. Being mindful helps but too often I fall back into old patterns. Some things I just can't control and if that's the case it's not helpful to dwell on it.

    Glad it's weekend now. Haven't anything planned, so it could be a good opportunity to improve my pool billiard skills and watch a movie in the cinema.
    Gil79 and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    These are very familiar feelings for me. And being assertive, especially in the work place, isn't an easy skill to muster so knowing this can help us be a little less angry at ourselves when we aren't as assertive as we wish we could be. For many people, this takes quite some time to develop, and it's very much linked to self esteem. If we work on our self esteem, it slowly goes up. But we need patience.

    I think staying mindful of this pattern is good and kind of mixing acceptance with working on this. In the sense that we recognize this is something to adresse but also accept we can't become perfect in this department over night. This way, when we do have "missteps" in assertiveness, we aren't as hard on ourselves.
    Gil79 and -Luke- like this.
  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    The last few days have been ok. But last night I didn't get a minute of real deep sleep. I was in doze mode for 4 or 5 hours but had no real sleep, even though I felt quite relaxed. Therefore I felt like shit today and thought I could have a calm day at work. It became a very stressful day though. What I realized a moment ago, when I got home and was able to wind down a bit, is that 75% of the time the stress was only in my head. A colleague calls me and has a problem with an excel tool I wrote and I make up a story in my mind about how this is going to last forever while I should do my own work (it didn't). I see some unexpected deviations in a test and feel stressed because I don't recognize the cause in a few seconds.

    When I have a difficult day after a bad night I shouldn't make it even harder by blowing things out of proportion and adding extra (perceived) stress. I hope my mediation practice helps me to be more mindful in recognizing situations like this while they are happening and not hours later. I think I'll get better with more practice. Trust the process.

    For the last three weeks or so I also didn't continue with my yoga practice. It helps a lot after a hard day and it's a form of self-care.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  9. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Lately I’ve noticed some negative tendencies with my mindset. Instead of a proactive recovery mindset I fell back into a passive abstaining mindset at times. It was hard to get out of bed in the morning, sleep wasn’t good and I’m in a state of low energy most of the day. I do my positive everyday habits consistently but it felt more like an obligation than an act of self-care recently. I didn’t meditate because it helps but because I didn’t want to ruin my streak in the habit app. I didn’t ask myself the question “How can I make something good out of this day” but rather “How can I push through the day without making something bad happen”. I delay my goals until tomorrow.

    It’s not as bad as it sounds but it is a tendency I noticed and I want to do something about it before I’m back at a low point. Just a quick reminder for myself.

    Porn urges are non-existent. I don’t really mind them anymore, just found it curious that there’s nothing at all.

    I hope you guys have a great weekend and I hope you enjoyed thanksgiving (if you live in a country where it is celebrated).
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  10. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    On the one hand I would not worry about this too much. A proces like this will always have periods where you make better progress than others. Also because you can't always give it your best. Sometimes these less proactive periods occur simply because we need a little bit of rest. On the other hand at a certain point you ofcourse do want to get going again. I know the feeling of meditating just because you want to keep your streak going. During periods like these my meditations stick to a minimum and often I'm not really aware at all. When that's the only reason you meditate it probably won't do you a whole lot of good. I don't think it's that strange that after a while you drift away from your innitial drive to do these things, but at a certain point you have to get back to understanding why you are doing these things. I can't say I have always found this easy. Things are easy when you have your drive, but when that drive is far away from you. What works best for me is getting back to the core: write down what you want out of life and what things can help you with that. Get back in touch with that drive:) Hope this helps you!
    Thelongwayhome27 and -Luke- like this.
  11. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for dropping by. You’re right, it’s not a linear process and changing one’s mindset isn’t done within a few days.

    I’ve accepted that I cannot change everything at once. I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning and stayed in bed longer than planned almost every morning. 6 AM is my perfect time because then I have enough time for myself before work. But for now I allow myself to stay in bed longer (until 7AM). Willpower isn’t an infinite resource and it’s unrealistic for me right now to change everything with good results. I focus on other things in my life and getting up earlier and taking up a consistent training regime again have to wait for now. I accept that I’m not perfect and I’ll deal with these things later, when my priorities change again.
  12. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Day 37 today, not much to report. I focus on on work a lot because I have a lot to do. The last two weeks have been quite successful in that regard. In my leisure time I read a lot and that's it most of the time, I'm not very motivated. But not necessarily in a bad way, I don't stress about it. I haven't exercised the last four weeks, partly because of illness, partly because I don't want to exercise. I don't put myself under pressure though. Reading a lot is fine, too. Especially now that it's dark and cold and rainy outside. There is a natural rhythm to life and in the wintertime it seems to slow down.

    Last wednesday our department had a christmas party and I didn't sense my social anxiety almost the whole evening (without any alcohol). Quite the contrary, I was making a lot of jokes and people had a good time. On other days I feel my social anxiety a lot, but when I'm at work I can't isolate myself completely and that's a good thing.

    Regarding the addiction there's not much to report. I had a little (or big?) mindset shift when it comes to triggers and urges. I don't see this as a fight or a willpower challenge anymore. If I get an urge that's fine. I don't fight it, instead I observe it and after a few minutes (sometimes just a few seconds) the urge is gone. Whatever is there can be there. I also try to apply this mindfulness approach to other aspects of my life, like negative emotions. But that's a long way to go until I really get that right. It's a life-long practice and there is no quick fix.
  13. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I really liked the mindset in your last post. It seems you are broadcasting live from stoic & warrior land. Do, yet don't expect too much. Is there a better way to go about one's existence ?

    Especially in that first paragraph, it seems to me like you are your own man.

    Maybe I should go on a regimen of only work(=make money), sleep(=dream) and READ.

    Though not working out will eventually catch up to us. Yet ... I also like what you say about life's natural rhythms ...
    -Luke- likes this.
  14. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Thanks man. I feel more in line with myself lately, less self-criticism. I try to work on my weaknesses, but at the same time I have to accept the weaknesses as a part of me (temporary). Perfectionism isn't good for me. I think it helps to compare yourself with the person you where before instead of the person you want to be in a perfect world. If you compare yourself with the latter you can only be disappointed (with that I do not mean you shouldn't move towards the person you want to be).

    Yesterday I had a weak day though. I looked up some pictures. Some people would call that "peeking" but I learned a long time ago that when I say "peaking" I only rationalize that behavior to myself. It was a conscious decision and it was for too long. So I call it a relapse. I tried the "urge surfing" again and was successful for some time, but after a while I looked something up and after I made that decision the urge surfing didn't help anymore. I was too far gone. Since I don't focus on the number of days anymore (even though I'm aware of it) I'm not disappointed. But I can learn something from it. The urge surfing worked so good so far that I became overconfident and I put myself into riskier situations because of that. I have to remember that when I feel the overconfidence again. "I'm strong enough, so I can take something like that" is seldom a helpful thought when it comes to addiction.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.

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