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What the Heck is a No Zero Day?
No Zero Days is a great 2-part concept that originated within a comment on Reddit, that has now gone viral.
A No Zero Day is a day when you commit to doing at least one thing, no matter how small, towards a particular goal. I have discovered that it’s not only motivation that will get you to your goals, its also commitment. And it’s easier to act on a commitment that’s so simple, it’s virtually impossible to give up.
The original No More Zero Day philosophy, aka The Gospel of /u/ryans01 - Helpful Advice For Anyone Who Wants to be More Productive has 4 rules or guidelines. TO simplify for averwhelmed ADHDers, I adapted it into a 2-part approach for achieving your goals, the ADHD way.
Part 1 - There Are No More Zero Days
The days when you did nothing towards achieving your goals are gone. You are starting a new chapter in your life, one in which you adopt a no-zero mindset.
Want to write a book? Start with one sentence.
Want to eat healthy? Start with one vegetable.
Want to be fit? Start with one pushup.
Whatever you want to achieve, start with one step.
Ok, that's all well and good, but its only Part 1. I can hear you asking how to turn nonzero days into hugely nonzero days? Where do I go from one pushup a day? Here’s my adaptation of the rest of the philosophy from the original Reddit post:
Part 2 – Consider the 3 “You’s”
Huh? No, I don’t mean develop a split personality. The other Yous are the past You and the future You.
Part 2a - Consider the Past You
To recap - Part 1was doing a number of no-zero days in a row (you can decide on your streak- when you are ready to bump it up a level and move on to part 2). Now you are ready for Part 2a: Thank that past You for everything it’s done to make your past no-zero days. It’s also important to forgive the past You for the things it didn’t do, should have done, could have done...
Part 2b - Consider the Future You
This is the crucial step in making no zero days into hugely no zero days. Behave in a way that the future you would be grateful to the present you ... by then it would be the past you! I know, a bit mindboggling, isn’t it?
Lets say you start with one pushup. After a month of one pushup a day, ask yourself: "Would the future me be grateful to it’s past, if I just continued with one pushup a day forever?" No, s/he’d probably be disappointed. How can I act in a way that would make the future me proud? Add another pushup next month.
No Zero Day and the 3 Yous - Why it Works for ADHD Brains
1. Baby Steps
With all it’s accompanying overwhelm and difficulty acting on our motivations, baby steps (one more than zero) work well for people with ADHD.
2. Beat Negative Bias
Experts estimate that by age 12, children who have ADHD receive 20,000 more negative messages from parents, teachers, and other adults, than their friends and siblings who do not have ADHD. And that's only until age 12! It’s no wonder that ADHD adults are often so entrenched in negative thinking. Being grateful to the past you for all the small stuff helps balance the negative feelings we often have towards ourselves.
3. Beat Future Blindness
Difficulty with long term focus and follow through, a symptom of ADHD, has been referred to as "future blindness" – it’s harder for us to act towards goals when the reward for achieving it comes in far the future. Kind of like paying into a pension fund. It's hard now to connect to that image of us one day retired and benefiting from the savings. When you keep in mind to act in a way that the future You would feel good and be grateful, it makes that future a little more clear and salient for the present You.
Had a zero day? No big deal! Forgive the past You (that’s another of the original guidelines) and start focusing on being a better present You so your future You can thank you.
Act now and start implementing the “No Zero Days” approach in your life today.