It’s a New Year, and not just any New Year; I’ve made it through 2020 into the land of 2021! I don’t have to go on about why 2020 was such a bad year, because it was straight-up horrible for everyone on the planet. Something about crossing the finish line made 2021’s New Year Resolutions seem like they deserved more than the passing consideration.
I spent the first hour of 2021 in the google store, scrolling through habit tracking apps. Let’s not spend too much time on the fact that I had tried pretty much all of them, at one time or another. Yes, I am a chronic habit quitter. While some people can’t kick their habits, I fall on the other end of the spectrum amongst those who get easily distracted and can’t be bothered to develop any.
Regardless of my past track record, I booted up an app, which I may or may not have tried in the past, and set about creating a 2021 worthy list of habit hopefuls.
- Exercise – Pretty basic, sure, but I really need to exercise!
- Writing – I started writing at age three and have always felt at home with a blank page. That’s the problem; I’m way too comfortable with blank pages. I’ve always wanted to write a book. How many great books are full of blank pages?
- Music – This started as guitar. I told my husband that I had better find a guitar under the Christmas tree, and he got me one! Do you know how much practice it takes to learn to play the guitar? Apparently, it takes a lot! Somewhere around not quite a lot, I decided that I was tired of broken guitar strings and I generalized my goal to include any kind of music.
- Equestrianism – I’ve been fortunate to own an amazing horse for the past six years. My life has changed a lot since then. Being a mommy and working full time hasn’t always left much time for me to enjoy being a horse owner. We’re out of shape and out of practice, but we’re still here and we can still get better.
That was it; just four items on my list. I reread them and started to wonder how much time I had wasted sitting on the couch, watching tv and playing computer games. If I could wrap my head around making even the teensiest bit of progress each day, how much could I accomplish in one year?
That’s when I remembered reading about Non Zero Days.
- Nonzero days as much as you can.
- The three you’s, gratitude and favors.
- Exercise and books (which is a sneaky way of saying self-improvement, both physical, emotional, and mental)
For the full get up and do it speech, you really should head over to his post. (Just be sure to come back when you are done!)
Since his words of wisdom have taken over the internet, many others have expounded on his original points. Fayadh Ahmed’s take on Non-Zero Days, in his article titled The Concept of No More Zero Days and why Motivation is fleeting, really sums up the spirit of this digital movement.
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.
Reddit has remained ground zero (no pun intended) for the Non-Zero lifestyle. The subreddit r/NonZeroDay holds strong at over 96,100 members at the time of this post, which is seven years after Ryan’s original reply.
Just like that, I put Non-Zero Days and New Years Resolutions together and came up with the No Zero Year plan. Out of my measly checklist of four goals, all I have to do is give one of them an honest effort in every twenty-four-hour period for three hundred and sixty-five days. Hopefully, I’ll even manage to check more than one box a day!
As the days ticked by, and I actually did start checking off two to four categories, I became amazed and inspired by the progress I could make with one baby step at a time. It reminded me of phases that I’ve gone through in the past, where sticking with something on a consistent basis yielded amazing results. What could explain all that progress that I had made and systematically discarded?
The No Zero Year plan needed a platform where I could both hold myself accountable to, and keep track of my progress towards, my simply massive resolution. A blog to check off my boxes. Somewhere to record and celebrate my successes. A place for Rule #3, Forgiveness; because some days I might miss all of the boxes altogether.
Lastly, a blog is a place to connect with and inspire others. Everyone has something they want to learn to do or get better at doing. Everyone needs a little inspiration. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could give myself a boost and help a couple other people find their motivation along the way?
Thanks for hanging out! Let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas. I really appreciate you reading my No Zero Year journey!