We’re a month into the second half of 2017 and I can’t help but wonder, how are your goals going? What’s the status of everything you set yourself out to accomplish this year? Be 100% honest with yourself, are you satisfied with where you’re at today?
Wonderful friend, this is your mid-year checkup.
Regardless of where you’re at in your journey, there’s always room for improvement. I remember starting off the year saying, “screw you, New Year’s resolutions!” and opted for crafting a DIY vision board instead. My favorite thing about having done a vision board has been the opportunity to look at my goals, reevaluate where I stand, and reassess on where I’m headed for the remainder of the year.
The vision board has been a great tool but you could’ve also written your goals on a notebook, a piece of paper, a napkin, or even thought out a mental checklist! If you didn’t outline a set of goals in the first place, it’s never too late to have a sit down with yourself and get to it. If you did, I believe it’s important to hold periodic check-ins with yourself and touch base on your roadmap to attaining (or even adjusting) them.
Here’s the deal, we can write, jot down, outline, and think about our goals all we want, but what are we doing to achieve them? Has there been anything you’ve been struggling with lately? Any goals, tasks, or activities you’ve been finding difficult to prioritize? I know it all too well, and hey, it’s ok – some days are certainly better than others. What I would love to share with you is a strategy I was introduced to a little while back and to this day, I live and swear by it.
What is a Non-Zero Day?
The ‘Non-Zero Day’ or ‘No More Zero Days’ movement started in 2013 with a comment left by redditor ryans01, in response to someone who posted about going through a rough time. Ryan offered some great advice, which I felt I already exercised to a certain extent, but Ryan’s post gave me a completely new perspective on the idea of doing something every day (no matter how big or small) to get you closer to your goals.
“Rule numero uno - There are no more zero days. What's 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. No more zeros. I'm not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that's not the point. The point I'm trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. 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. You feel me?”
If you can take a 10-minute break today, I highly encourage you to read Ryan’s full post. It’s raw, truthful, and incredibly inspiring. I’ll be forever grateful to the person who shared it with me, as it caused a great impact in my life, and now it’s my turn to share it with you.
The Four Rules of Non-Zero Days
Ryan’s philosophy of a Non-Zero Day revolves around a set of four basic rules. Before taking a deep dive into these, keep in mind, motivation isn’t the key here — action is. Action and willingness to change are required to get motivated, it doesn’t work the other way around.
1. There Are No More Zero Days:
Commit to doing one thing (at a minimum) every day, which will get you one step closer to your goal(s). No excuses.
2. Be Grateful to the Three “You’s”
Past Self: Thank your past self for the good things you’ve done
Present Self: Do things in the present moment which will benefit future You
Future Self: Your best friend and the person you’ll be working immensely hard to do great things for
Like Ryan explains:
“Be GRATEFUL to the past you for the positive things you've done. And do favours for the future you like you would for your best bro.”
“The cycle of doing something for someone else (future you) and thanking someone for the good in your life (past you) is key to building gratitude and productivity. Do not doubt me. Over time you should spread the gratitude to others who help you on your path.”
3. Forgive Yourself
Screwing up happens, mistakes happen, not acting like your best self happens. Learn and grow from it. Forgive your past self and aim to be a better version of yourself today.
“Tried your best to have a nonzero day yesterday and it failed? so what. I forgive you previous self. I forgive you. But today? Today is a nonzero masterpiece to the best of my ability for future self. This one's for you future homes. Forgiveness man, use it. I forgive you. Say it out loud.”
4. Exercise and Books
When you exercise and read you’re doing your future self a huge favor. These are great ways to keep a healthy mind and body. Also, allocating time to these on your daily routine is another great way to avoid having a Zero Day!
Before wrapping this up, I want to add an extra rule which I derived from reading Ryan’s edits to his original post and from personal experience:
5. Keep a Positive Mindset
As I’ve previously mentioned, compulsive negative thought patterns get us absolutely nowhere. It’s up to us to treat our minds like gardens and weed out any and all self-destructive thoughts and negativity.
“You become what you think: It means that the WAY you think, the THINGS you think of, and the IDEAS YOU HOLD IN YOUR MIND defines the sum total that is you.”
The way towards achieving real and tangible change in your life is to ensure you’re never having a Zero Day again. You can start small, do one thing every day, two, even three if possible, then take it from there. Do everything within your power to ensure you’re making even the smallest progress; because little progress is better than no progress at all.