In a popular viral reddit thread, Canadian Ryan Stroeder (ryans01) shared four rules he devised that helped him land his dream job. Here is our guide to inspire you as you adopt and adapt the No More Zero Days rules to make your own dreams happen.
Before getting to the rules, you might need to work on getting into the proper headspace. Everyone is different, and has their own physical and mental health needs. If you are feeling really down for an extended period of time, or find it extremely difficult to get motivated, or struggle to take care of yourself on a daily basis, it might be time to discuss your symptoms and concerns with a healthcare professional. While anxiety, and depression are buzzwords that can be used to describe a lot of emotions, they are also serious mental health difficulties that may need extra help being addressed. Seeking therapy, trying medication, and ruling out physical ailments could be steps you need to take before you can tackle the rules.
Not everyone is born knowing what they want. Even after extensive education people can struggle with finding direction. Before you attempt to apply the four rules you need to clearly define your goals. What do you truly value? What is your life’s purpose? If you don’t know how to answer these questions, embark on the journey of self-discovery. Look for inspiration in your favourite things. Find guidance in people you admire. Take free online classes. Sign up for career counseling. Keep a journal. Start Where You Are: A Journal of Self-exploration by Meera Lee Patel is a beautifully illustrated book of guided writing exercises. In her introduction she states, “It’s impossible to follow a dream that has no shape or outline.”
Rule Number 1: No More Zero Days
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
After you determine your goals, what can you do on the daily to achieve them? While you can’t wait for motivation to find you, you also need to be aware of how you are wired. People are usually either internally or externally motivated. Very Well describes people that are extrinsically or externally motivated as people who, “perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment,” and intrinsically or internally motivated people engage in behavior because, “it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.”
Everyone is different, there is no shame in your game either way, but knowing more about yourself can help you match objectives with measurable tasks. Do you want to run a marathon? It might be easy for some to jog at 6 am, energized by the beauty of the rising sun and the singing birds. For others they might need to join a running group to stay on track.
Rule Number 2: Be grateful to the present, past, and future you
We are all familiar with the Chinese adage, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What can you do today that you will be happy you did later? Don’t procrastinate and put all the burden on your future self. Do you want to be in top form for the summer? Start doing ab crunches in the winter. Want to write a novel? Turn off Netflix and turn on your laptop. Make a commitment to yourself to write for at least twenty minutes every day and see what happens. Practice self-compassion. Take a moment to be proud and grateful for all the things you’ve accomplished in your life so far. The Bliss app is super helpful in writing a gratitude journey for each day.
Rule Number 3: Forgive yourself
“The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself.” —Confucius
Clear your negativity cache. Our circuitry thrives on positivity. Beating yourself up for wasting time in the past won’t help you in the present. It takes a lot of work and self-discipline, but once you start something, you need to keep on it, and once you set your goals, you need to do the daily maintenance to make them a reality. This important work isn’t possible unless you let go of the sabotaging guilt about what you should have done, or what you didn’t do.
Rule Number 4: Exercise and Read
We all know the benefits of physical activity, but many of us are still guilty of giving up on our resolutions to hit the gym more often. Exercise must be added into our daily routines in a way that meets our individual needs and works into our existing schedules.
Start slow. Commit to only taking the stairs or trying the 7 minute workout for 5 days. Meeting friends on the weekend? Map the route, leave early, and try biking or walking to your destination.
Reading more is a big item on the modern to do list, and many have taken on the 100 book challenge, which amounts to reading about 2 books a week for one year. Observer writer Darius Foroux shared his tips for achieving the momentous task: follow the ABCs: Always be Reading, read only what is relevant to you, read multiple books simultaneously, and develop a system to retain your new knowledge.
If books aren’t your thing, try swapping out music for audio books or delve into the world of podcasts during the morning commute.
We all have a path to follow and our own means of finding it. Don’t focus on how far you have to go. All we need to do is keep moving forward.
Author Bio: Tara Collum
Tara Collum lives in Toronto and grew up in Muskoka. She is the volunteer social media coordinator for the Death Row Support Project @COB_DRSP and co-writes a web serial at splitsvilleblog.wordpress.com. She is all about tea, books, mumblecore, music, long walks, and self-improvement. Follow Tara on twitter @99percentsun