The Concept of No More Zero Days and why Motivation is fleeting

It’s the middle of the year now, and most of us started the year genuinely trying to change something about ourselves. That old smoking habit you’ve always wanted to quit, but never got to doing or that book you’ve always wanted to write, or even losing the 20 pounds you put on over the past year.

Most of us genuinely try to change our habits. Then life starts to get in the way, and we find ourselves waiting for that one spark of motivation to kick in, and we end up blaming our lack of progress on not having enough hours in a day to do what we’ve always wanted, wishing for more time. In most cases, that doesn’t happen and we get increasingly frustrated at ourselves. We run out of willpower to do what we set out to do, and find ourselves doing absolutely nothing towards our goals in life.

Motivation isn’t the key — action is. You need action to get motivated, not the other way around. Sitting around and waiting for something to happen never got me anywhere in life, but it’s something I’ve always found myself doing. So how do I solve this problem? What is it that keeps me from maintaining a change for the better? We all have something that we can change to make us better people, we all want to change so why is it so difficult to do this?

I recently stumbled upon a concept called ‘No more Zero Days’ by Reddit user ryan01

A zero day is a day in which you have done absolutely nothing towards your goal or dream. I like to think of life as binary, either you’re right (1) or you’re wrong (0), you’re doing something (1) or you’re not (0). The idea of a non-zero day is to do something every single day to move towards your goal. To build a string of 1’s instead of 0’s.

Didn't’ do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One push up. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero.

In a lot of cases, when something happens in our day and we can’t make it to the gym, or we’re too tired to code or write that essay, we tend to just give up. Once we accumulate two to three days of doing nothing, it’s so much easier to just give up entirely, and soon we begin to get caught up in other things and begin to rationalize quitting to ourselves. “Well there’s no point going to the gym if I can’t go every day” or “What’s the point in writing for just 5 minutes? I’m never going to finish my book this way”. All of us are guilty of this in one way or the other.

The way to make real lasting change is to ensure you never have a zero day. Strive for a string of non-zeros, read one page, do one push up, write one sentence and go from there. If you don’t have the time to read a book, find an audio-book or a podcast you can listen to on the way to work each day. Anything to ensure you’re still making even the smallest progress towards your goal or dream. Because little progress is better than no progress at all, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may be.

Find a way to have consistent non-zero days, and you will find your motivation increases as you go.

You may not be able to make a big leap towards your goal today, but you can take a tiny little step. It may not be much, but hey it’s a 1 and not a 0. It’s progress. Because a 1 is much much better than a 0.

The truth is what you do matters, what you do today matters. What you do every day matters. No matter how insignificant it may seem.

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Artist, Software Engineer, Writer — I really don’t know who I am. Maybe just a creator, trying to feel his way around life.