As I sit here drinking my second cup of Green Tea and reading what is possibly the best book I’ve ever read, I thought it would be a good idea to share some details on my 6 week challenge which has started today.
The challenge, quite simply, is to cut all of the bullshit (I can’t think of a better word) out of my life for the next 6 weeks. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you may see this is pretty much an extended version of my 7 day challenge which I can’t recommend highly enough.
What you define as bullshit of course, is completely different to what I think of it as. In the sense I use it here, it is unproductive activities which take up my time. For me, these are:
- IM – Skype + MSN
- Online Games
- Idle Internet Surfing / Internet Socialising
And, because I have defined them as pointless or not useful to me in any way, my 6 week challenge is all about eliminating them from my life. Now, two questions you may have about this could be:
“Why six weeks?”
“Why do this in the first place?”
To answer the first, six weeks is going to be much harder than my one week challenge which was a struggle but not too challenging. Six weeks is also the time frame used in a program known as Release Technique which is similar to my favourite personal development program of all time, The Sedona Method.
By the time the challenge is over I will only have around 2-3 weeks before I arrive in Amsterdam, so my business should be thriving and I will be ready to live like a rockstar. As for the second question, the following section should answer why I’m putting myself through this.
Learning About Myself
For some of you, this challenge might seem easy. You may already live an active outdoor lifestyle, not watch much TV and not spend time with unproductive online activities. However, for me, and many others, this is a tough challenge. In fact, if I think about it, I probably spend up to 8 hours (on my worst days) doing all of the things that I want to cut out. Therefore, I’m aiming to change around half of my awake hours every single day.
For the last few weeks now I have been lying in bed at night and thinking “Wow, I actually did nothing useful today.” Even if I wrote an article for a site or answered a lot of emails, I still know I could do more. This challenge isn’t about becoming a workaholic though; the aim is to learn more about myself.
You see, from the experience of one person who has gone through this challenge, they said they had a lot of personal issues come up in their consciousness. Through all the spare time they had gained, there arose a lot of mind chatter they had to face head on and either deal with or let go (using the release technique or the Sedona Method).
I’m going to fill the spare time with as many productive activities as I can (writing articles, reading, working on websites, meditating, socialising offline, going to the gym) and see how things work out. I have a feeling that I’m going to want to slip-up on an almost daily basis but it is this resistance which should help me learn more about myself and allow me to push through mental barriers.
Just in case any of you are wondering how I’m cutting certain things out and how you can do the same, here’s a quick rundown:
Facebook – When I did my 7 day challenge I deactivated my account so that nobody could message me or get in touch. I also removed email during this challenge and returned to multiple messages from people asking what had happened to me. This time, I have changed my profile picture (shown right) to explain my departure and also turned off all notifications from the site.
Skype + MSN – These are probably the worst distractants which take up my time each day, and the time spent on them is rarely anything other than socialising. I speak to some good friends regularly, and even some people I like talking to but will probably never meet. If I need to speak with friends I can’t meet in person, they can call me or I’ll call them.
Also, having MSN friends I’m unlikely to ever meet is quite sad in my opinion and completely pointless. If they need me for anything important, they know how to get in touch. I will continue to use Twitter as I feel it is a healthy form of communication for me and my business, but I will not use it as an avenue of procrastination.
Online Games- I’m not a ‘gamer’ in the sense of playing things like Diablo or World of Warcraft. In fact, the only game I play is an online version of Pictionary which is fun and very addictive. For the last 2 weeks I’ve played at least an hour per day so cutting this out should give me quite a bit of free time.
I also found the game brought out quite a nasty side of me which I don’t like but found quite interesting.
Idle Internet Surfing / Socialising – As I’m trying to bulk up and build muscle, I spend a bit of time hanging out at the bodybuilding.com forums. However, I mostly lurk the off topic section which has nothing to do with improving health and is just basically guys messing around online.
Forums are probably the only idle internet surfing I do, and I think this will be easy to cut out.
Television – If I am 100% honest with you guys, I will not be able to eliminate television completely during the six weeks. Sometimes when I eat I like to watch Scrubs (my favourite TV show) and when we eat food as a family it’s always around the box.
However, just like with Twitter, I will not use television as an outlet to procrastinate and will limit my viewing to no more than one hour per day, if at all. In South Africa I spent over one year without turning on a TV channel so I know the benefits of this practice all too well.
Alcohol – I don’t drink that much, but it is the normal thing to do when I’m hanging out with my buddies. I had 10 beers last night to make up for what I was going to miss, which probably wasn’t a very good idea. I generally only drink around 2 nights per week (if at all) so this shouldn’t be a problem.
No More Escapes
The whole point to this challenge if I haven’t made it clear enough yet is simply this: to eliminate all of the mental escapes I have in my life and learn to live with myself in the most mundane and bland situations. I will use my spare time to be as active as possible, as I know I will go insane if I just stare at a calendar and hope the days pass as quickly as possible.
I’ve had enough of feeling unfulfilled at the end of each day, so it’s time for a change. As with all experiments or challenges that I undertake, I will let you all know how it goes with regular updates. If you like the sound of a challenge like this, only start it if you are completely sure it is what you want to do.
I know I will struggle with this, but hopefully come out of it in a far better position than before.