Seven months ago, in the Get Disciplined subreddit, ryans01, an avid Reddit user, wrote a comment that soon went viral and ended up inspiring an entirely new productivity principle called “Non-Zero Days.” A “Non-Zero Day” is when you do anything, no matter how seemingly insignificant, towards the goals you have in your life. Things can range from simply making your bed, to having a meeting with a potential client– as long as you do something, and not nothing.
ryans01 has four simple rules for Non-Zero Days:
1. There are no more zero days
“What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single thing towards whatever dream or goal you’ve got. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out every day, 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. Didn’t do anything all day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. Do one pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is Non-Zero. You feel me? Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON-ZEROS. That’s rule number one. Do not forget.”
2. Be grateful to the three you’s
“News flash, there are three you’s homeslice. There’s the past you, the present you, and the future you. 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. Feeling like shit today? Stop a second, think of a good decision you made yesterday. Salad and tuna instead of Big Mac? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME. Was yesterday a Non-Zero Day because you wrote 200 words? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME.
Second part of the three me’s is you gotta do your future self a favour, just like you would for your best friend (no best friend? You do now. You got 2. It’s future and past you). Tired as hell and can’t get off reddit/videogames/interwebs? I’m gonna rock out p90x Ab Ripper X for 17 minutes. I’m doing this one for future me. Alarm clock goes off and bed is too comfy? This one’s for my best friend, the future me– I’m up and going for a 5 km run (or 25 meter run, it’s gotta be Non-Zero). MAKE SURE YOU THANK YOUR OLD SELF for rocking out at the end of every.single.thing. that makes your life better. 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
“FORGIVE YOURSELF. I mean it. Maybe you got all the know-how, money, ability, strength and talent to do whatever it is you wanna do. But let’s say you still didn’t do it. Now you’re giving yourself shit for not doing what you need to, to be who you want to. Heads up champion, being disappointed in yourself causes you to be less productive. Tried your best to have a Non-Zero day yesterday and failed? So what. I forgive you, previous self. I forgive you. But today? Today is a Non-Zero 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
“Rule number four is the easiest and it’s three words. Exercise and books. That’s it. Pretty standard advice, but when you exercise daily you actually get smarter. When you exercise you get high from endorphins (thanks body). When you exercise you clear your mind. When you exercise you are doing your future self a huge favour. Exercise is a leg on a three legged stool. Feel me?
As for books, almost every thing we’ve all ever thought of, or felt, or gone through, or wanted, or wanted to know how to do, or whatever, has been figured out by someone else. Get some books, man. Read 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Read Emotional Intelligence. Read From Good to Great. Read Thinking Fast and Slow. Read books that will help you understand. Read the bodyweight fitness reddit and incorporate it into your workouts. (How’s them pullups coming?) Reading is the warp whistle from Super Mario 3. It gets you to the next level that much faster. That’s about it man.”
To read ryans01’s original post, just click here.
What about you? Have you incorporated Non-Zero Days into your life? Has it helped you achieve your goals? Let us know in the comments below.