About Cam Adair

Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is a community for gamers who want to quit and get their life back on track. You can join the community for free, here.

Visit my website →

use your In my last article I shared about what to do during your summer break instead of gaming, so in this one I wanted to follow-up and shared some insight about how to make your summer break awesome.

How do you do it? Find out:

To make your summer break awesome you need to have the right mindsets, and that involves seeing your summer as a time period to invest in becoming the type of person you want to be instead of just wasting it playing games.

Now mindsets are important but you also need practical steps to take advantage of this time you have, because your summer is a good amount of time, and if you invest it wisely in yourself you can really make incredible progress.

Here are the three practical steps you want to take to make your summer break awesome:

 

  • Schedule your day.

 

 

I’ll be honest, I used to hate scheduling my day, but over the years I’ve found there’s a lot of value in adding a bit of structure to your life that can help you focus and take advantage of the time you have.

It also helps you save mental energy by not having to make so many decisions and instead allow you to get into the flow of your day and take massive action. By scheduling you bypass the feelings of boredom that can trigger a relapse, and help you maintain more consistency.

 

  • Have a morning routine.

 

 

This is just a way to start your day every day, and is a great time to do your keystone habits that are your foundation of success. These are habits like meditation, your gratitude journal, exercise and reading. By having a morning routine you start your day strong and this builds a lot of momentum.

 

  • Plan epic experiences.

 

 

Quickly I want you to write down three epic experiences you’d love to have this summer. These are adventures that you will look back on as the highlights of your summer. A few examples of mine: I’ve gone bungee jumping a few times, cliff jumping with friends, skydiving, road trips or other travel experiences.

Make sure you try those things out, and of course these don’t only apply to your summer but all other parts of the year too.

Now if you’re looking to have the best year yet, take the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.

It’s definitely my best work yet and I know you’ll get a ton of value from it. Take the challenge here.

camsig

With summer here it’s common for us to spend all of our time gaming. But now that we’ve quit we realize we don’t want to continue to live this way, but what do we do during the summer instead of gaming?

Press play and find out:

I totally relate to this because this is exactly what I used to do. During the school year I would go to school and then come home to game at night and on the weekends. But during the summers I would be so excited because now I had all day to game for months.

And I felt totally justified to do this because I had just finished school for the year, so all year I had been told that I had to go to school to fulfill my obligations, so now that I had done that I had full control over my summer. It was my time.

And I think this is a really important insight because this really speaks to why we justify gaming during the summer but gaming in general. And it has to do with specific mindsets we have as they relate to how we see our obligations and how we see our free time.

We all have obligations we have to take care of and these obligations we may not enjoy all that much, we never choose to go to school or choose to have to work a 9-5 job to pay our bills. These are just things we have to do.

So what happens is when we see our life from a lens of our obligations and our free time, we start to feel trapped within our obligations, so we do them from a place of resentment and that causes us to feel that much more freedom and power to do whatever the fuck we want during the free time we have.

And because of this perspective you have, you can easily justify spending your entire summer gaming.

So if you don’t want this to happen you need to have a mindset shift. And the mindset shift you need to have is the value of your time. Your time and energy are your two non-renewable resources, they are things you never get back.

You need to start seeing your life from a lens of how can you invest your time, instead of how you can kill your time.

One of the ways we justify gaming is because it’s a good way to kill our time, but this is a flawed mindset because your time is not something to be killed, it’s something to be lived.

Now when you start thinking about investing your time it’s natural to start thinking about doing something more productive. And that’s totally right, but I bet when I said “do something more productive” it may have triggered you because you associate it with negative experiences.

When I was younger and someone told me to do things that were more productive I found them to be super annoying, and there are two mains reasons why this happened:

 

  • Shaming

 

 

When your parents or friends tell you to do things that are more productive, it’s coming from a place of shame and guilt. They think you’re wasting your time playing games and this just makes you feel bad about yourself. Ironically you use gaming as an escape from these kind of emotions so it only makes you want to play more.

 

  • You don’t even know what you would do.

 

 

You don’t have other hobbies or passions, so even if you wanted to do something more productive, you have no idea what you would do. So you do what you know, you game, especially because it’s something you’re really good at.

So here’s the truth:

Up until now, you’ve been living a life designed for you, not something you’ve designed for yourself or had much of a choice in. So you’ve just been going through the motions, going to school, going to work and fulfilling your obligations, and then doing whatever you want during your free time: gaming.

So even though you’ve been living your life based on something someone else has designed for you, it’s only up to you to change that, and start designing your own life.

Games give you a mission and a sense of purpose, so now that you are on your summer break you need to apply the same concept, and a great way to do this is to launch a project, and design it in a way to become the type of person you want to be.

Here are a few good examples:

Say in the future you want to become your own boss, you could use your summer to start developing a skill in making money online or entrepreneurship. An example is from 30 Days to X where he learned how to sell t-shirts online.

Another example is if you wanted to learn a new instrument. You could commit to performing at an open mic night in the next 30 days. Or if you are into programming, what is something you are going to ship in the next 30 days.

The most important thing is to design this project around becoming the type of person you want to be, because it’s not just about launching a project, but about becoming the type of person capable of living the type of life you want to live.

If you want to spend your summer becoming the type of person you want to be, take the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.

It’s definitely my best work yet and I know you’ll get a ton of value from it. Take the challenge here.

camsig

It’s very common when you quit playing video games to experience a relapse at some point. It even happened to me. 11 months after I quit cold turkey I relapsed and played games 16 hours a day for five months straight.

So what do you do if you relapse and start gaming again? Press play:

Relapse doesn’t have to be a bad thing. That doesn’t mean it’s good or that you should just relapse on purpose (#duh), but it doesn’t mean you need to shame yourself for it either.

There’s a lot we can learn from our relapse experience to help us be more successful in the future.

For instance when I relapsed there were a few different factors that led to it. One of them was that at the time I was feeling a bit depressed, and I thought the solution was to move to a new city to get a change of scenery – which really I was just running away from my problems.

So I packed everything up and moved to Victoria, B.C. Within the first week of being in the new city I was overwhelmed not knowing anyone and I decided to start playing video games again.

But looking back I’m actually grateful for it because I learned a lot from it that I used to write my article on How to Quit Playing Video Games FOREVER and that I’m teaching you now.

There are four main reasons why we relapse:

 

  • We’re bored.

 

 

When you quit playing games it’s really important that you choose new activities, and for the first few days you tend to be good at doing that. But over time maybe you lack the consistency, so if you’re not being intentional with how you spend your time, you’ll end up relapsing.

 

  • We’re stressed.

 

 

This can also mean you are anxious. Now this can happen for a variety of reasons, but gaming has always been your escape so you end up relapsing.

 

  • We’re feeling good.

 

 

So you’ve quit gaming and you’re actually doing great! Now of course this is happening because you’re not playing games, but it’s easy to forget that. So you justify playing because obviously gaming didn’t have that big of a pull on you, it’s something you enjoy and you’re passionate about, so you end up playing.

 

  • We use it as a reward.

 

 

Traditionally we’ve used gaming as a way to reward ourselves for the various things we’ve done, and because we haven’t chosen a new way to reward ourselves, we end up going back to what we know, which is gaming.

So what do you do if you do happen to relapse?

When you find yourself in this situation there’s a framework I like to use and it’s actually about turning it into a game. It’s about beating your high score. And this comes in two ways:

 

  • # of days without games.

 

 

You want to create this score to be as big as possible, and you want to do it by tracking your days. To do this you can join us on StopGaming or use an app like Coach.me.

Seeing this number grow is incredible motivating. Make this score as big as possible.

 

  • # of relapse days.

 

 

You want to create this score to be as low as possible. So if you do happen to relapse, how quickly do you get yourself back on track. For me when I relapsed, it took five months before I quit again, so if I relapsed again in the future I’d want to make this score as low as possible.

Relapse happens and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean you should take relapse any less seriously. It just means you want to learn what you can from it and get back on track and focused on moving your life forward once again.

If you find yourself relapsing or you haven’t quit yet, make sure you grab a copy of Respawn and start today.

“Reading Respawn was the best decision I have made in my life, honestly.” – David

camsig

Today I’m in Bali, Indonesia!! Today’s question is a popular one I’ve been seeing recently and it’s about whether or not it’s normal to have dreams or nightmares about gaming after you quit.

So what do I think? Find out:

I remember when I quit gaming I had this same experience, having dreams or nightmares about me playing video games, and I would feel really silly and wonder if I was going crazy.

So yes, this is totally normal and I haven’t only had this experience with games but also during breakups where I would have dreams or nightmares about my ex-girlfriend and things like that.

What I want to share with you today is an exercise I’ve learned over the years that helps me shift how I physically feel, especially if I’m feeling anxious, to feel better both before I go to bed (which can have an impact on the type of experience you have) and just in general throughout my day.

And that exercise is a gratitude journal.

Now I get it, that sounds like some weird hippy shit and I relate to that, but just hear me out. But what I want you to know is there is a ton of scientific research now that shows practicing gratitude to have incredible benefits. Here are some of them:

  • To feel happier
  • To have a better immune system
  • To feel less stressed
  • To feel less lonely

So if those are any of the types of things you’re interested in than doing a gratitude journal is something worth doing. The best part is that it takes about one minute to do, so it’s not even something that will take up a lot of your time or energy.

The reason it works so well is because it shifts what you’re focusing on, which is the cause of our stress and anxiety in the first place.

For instance, if we have a negative expectation of a future result, no wonder we feel anxious! Our perspective has an affect on how we feel.

How It Works:

It’s really simply: write down 10 things you’re grateful for.

I tend to do this first thing in the morning when I wake up. Don’t overthink it too much, just write down the first 10 things that come to your mind. If you need ideas, just look around you and recognize the amazing things in your life that you do have.

I recommend doing this first thing in the morning, especially if you’ve had a dream or nightmare about gaming. By doing this first thing in the morning you can set the tone for your day – appreciating the things in your life that you do have instead of focusing on the things you don’t.

You can also do this exercise right before bed or at any point in your day you want to shift how you feel for the better.

camsig

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with my good friend Locke Vincent to have a conversation around quitting video games and what does healthy gaming look like?

Locke is a friend who has managed to successfully play in moderation and I know you’ll enjoy the conversation:

One of the big takeaways for me from the conversation was about the importance of self-accountability. Only you know what your situation is and whether or not you can honestly play in moderation.

So it’s only up to you to make these decisions for yourself. I believe I could technically play in moderation now that my life has been sorted out but I still choose to continue not playing games because I have different priorities in my life.

Whereas Locke continues to play and has managed to balance it as a family man, but it comes down to his own accountability to do so.

The choice is always yours.

camsig

So you’ve quit gaming and chosen new activities but compared to gaming you find them to be completely boring. What do you do? Are you just someone who doesn’t enjoy other things like some other people? Are you just meant to be a gamer? Find out:

I love this question because it’s easily one of the biggest struggles you go through when you quit gaming, and it’s common to create a story around it that you are just passionate about gaming and not other things, when this isn’t completely true.

In fact, there are real reasons why you find other activities to be boring that have nothing to do you you at all and have everything to do with the way your brain interacts with gaming.

So there are two main reasons why this is happening and it has to do with your environment and your physiology.

Your Environment

I started playing games when I was 11 years old so other than going to school and playing hockey, gaming was really the only other activity I ever put any focus or energy into. So it’s not that gaming was the only activity I was passionate about, it was simply the only activity I knew.

And passion takes time to develop, it’s not automatic, so with your new activities you need to give the more of a chance and make sure you challenge yourself with them. Apply the seven principles I shared in What If Gaming Is The Only Thing That You’re Good At? and that will help too.

Your Physiology

This comes from research that overexposure to gaming due to the dopamine overload you get causes structural changes to your brain. This is why we recommend the 90 day game quitters detox, to give your brain a chance to rewire back to normal dopamine sensitivity levels.

There are three main changes that happen to your brain from gaming:

  • Numbed Pleasure Response: Every day pleasures no longer satisfy you.
  • Hyper-reactivity to gaming: Gaming is awesome, everything else is boring.
  • Willpower erosion: Due to changes to your prefrontal cortex.

When you take the first two it’s easy to see how this would affect how much you enjoy other activities, and potentially find them to be boring.

So what you need to do is commit to the 90 day game quitters challenge, which is simply not playing games for the next 90 days.

Next, you want to take the new activities you’ve chosen and start being more mindful about what you do enjoy about them. This is about bringing more awareness to what you value in things. What you focus on, expands.

So when I first started DJing I would ask myself what is it about DJing that I enjoy? Or when I go hiking, what is it about hiking that I enjoy?

Next, now that you’ve chosen new activities and started paying attention to what you enjoy about them, what you want to do is create more of a sense of purpose around each of them, and the easiest way I’ve found to do this is by creating a project around it.

When I started DJing I launched a podcast and this gave me a reason to be developing this skill, I had a reason to put effort into it each month, and this gave me much more motivation.

Finally, you can’t give up. You might find activities to be boring but commit to your 90 day detox and remember that passion is developed over time, so keep going.

camsig

After you quit playing video games you start to realize that most of your friends are gamers, and that’s actually kind of scary. What will happen if you quit? Will you lose all of your friends?

What I want you to know is that you don’t necessarily have to lose all of your friends, so check out the video:

Now what I want you to know is that there are two different strategies you want to implement in order to deal with this situation.

The first is how to stay friends with your gamer friends, and to do this what you want to do is find a new way to interact with them that is outside of games.

So you want to create more distance and that doesn’t mean disappearing it just means interacting with them on Facebook or Skype or something other than on Steam or in voice chat, where you can still maintain the friendships but they don’t trigger you.

You also want to have a conversation with them and let them know that you’re taking a break from games and to not invite you to play.

Now when you tell them this some of them will be triggered and get really defensive. This happens because gaming is something that means so much to them (and meant so much to you), that for you to quit that can cause them to feel threatened about why they play themselves.

Of course this isn’t fair, nor does your decision to quit have anything to do with them playing, but I just want you to be prepared for this because it’s very common. Unfortunately.

With the friends that get defensive and more or less aren’t very supportive of your decision to quit, you want to create a boundary. You can reiterate that you have decided to quit and you are asking them not to invite you to play.

Now not all of your friends will honor this, and I had this too, so just make sure you have a default answer anytime someone asks you to play. I would just say: “No, thank you and please don’t ask me to play.”

Again, some won’t honor this and for those you need to recognize that if they really were your friends they would be more supportive – who are they to tell you what to do? – so you want to create a stronger boundary and I would cut off contact with these friends.

Remember, you are deciding to quit because you are deciding to quit, and regardless of why you want to quit you are allowed to make that decision for yourself. Don’t ever let anybody else take that away from you.

Throughout life, your friends are going to come and go. That’s ok, it’s called the impermanence of life.

The second is starting to learn how to make new friends who aren’t gamers. If you just stay friends with your gamer friends eventually you’ll be tempted more and more to play because that is how you can connect with them.

To do this, you want to recognize that with gaming you found a sense of community, and you did this by exploring new games, getting involved in the areas people hung out (forums, streams, etc) and then you started to connect more with people.

So now that you’ve quit gaming you want to follow a similar path. Find some new activities and go hang out in areas where people who do those activities hang out. Watch this video for more on that.

By implementing both of these strategies, finding new ways to interact with your current gamer friends and being intentional to make new friends that aren’t gamers, you’ll be able to rebuild and grow your social circle and you won’t even notice the friends you have lost that weren’t supportive of you anyways.

camsig

When you go to quit it’s scary because you realize that you’re going to lose out on the one thing in your life that you’re really good at: gaming. And from gaming you get a lot of your confidence and self-esteem, so this presents an interesting challenge.

So what do you do? Press play:

One of these advantages is that you’ve gotten good at gaming. I mean, let’s be honest, the chance of you being a really good gamer if you’re reading this is pretty high.

Even if it’s simply because as someone who’s recognized that you’re spending more time gaming than you’d like… that gives you a better chance of being good at each game — you’re putting a lot of time into it.

So what I want to share with you is that gaming is a skill — and because it’s something you’ve gotten good at, there’s a lot you can learn from in how you achieved that and in doing so, then apply the same methods to become good at any other skill. Here’s the best part: Most everything in life is a skill. In fact Life is even a skill. It’s something you can get better at if you learn how the game works.

I’ll go more into this later but first I want to share with you the seven ways I got better at games, and I imagine you’ve used some if not all of these to do the same:

  1. Quantity of time — you played a lot.
  2. Quality of time — you played with a focus on how you could improve.
  3. Mentors — you sought out other people who were good to learn from.
  4. Community — you found likeminded peers to play with.
  5. Education — you joined forums, watched streams and tutorials.
  6. Review — you went over your replays.
  7. Perseverance — you didn’t give up, you kept learning to improve.

Do any of those seem familiar? I bet they do, because they are just the different ways you can engage in gaming to improve your skill, and in doing so you do better at the game you’re playing. So now it’s a simple formula, follow the same steps we used to get good at gaming to get good at anything else we choose.

So now what are your new goals? What’s the new thing you want to get good at? Remember that passion is developed over time and it’s developed through challenge. Apply the same principles that you used to get good at gaming to get good at anything else you want.

camsig

Everything is going well, you’ve quit gaming and you’re starting to feel better about yourself.. but now you’re new favorite game is coming out. What do you do? Do you play?

Here’s how to deal with FOMO, the fear of missing out: Press play:

The fear of missing out is definitely something I personally related to. Growing up one of the games I played the most was Starcraft, and after a decade of waiting for Starcraft 2 it was finally coming out!

… two months after I decided to quit playing for good.

So that kind of sucked but I never ended up playing Starcraft 2 and the reason is because I had committed to quitting because I wanted to quit and to play SC2 would be to miss the entire point of why I was moving on in the first place.

The reason I was quitting games was because I wanted to close a chapter in my life and start a new one. I had new goals and dreams, so continuing to game, even if it was my new favorite game wasn’t really serving that mission.

Your new favorite game coming out is one of the triggers that can cause you to go back and game, so you need to be aware of how you will respond if this happens.

Remember, just because you’re quitting games doesn’t take away what they meant to you. They meant something to you and that’s ok. But you’re also allowed to move forward in your life to something new too.

camsig

One of the most popular questions I get is about whether you should quit playing video games cold turkey or whether you should just slowly reduce your time?

Find out what I think here:

So in my experience I quit playing games cold turkey and was successful for over 11 months before I relapsed, and ended up playing 16 hours a day for five months straight before I quit cold turkey once again for good.

The reason cold turkey worked so well for me was because I knew I wanted to move on from games, so continuing to play or reduce my time was merely a way for me to procrastinate what I really wanted to do.

If this is the case for you, sometimes you just need to step up and rip the bandaid off. Games for me were a crutch so it wasn’t going to benefit me at all to continue playing them when I already knew what I really wanted to do.

Since I knew I wanted to quit and move on, it made the most sense for me to give myself the best shot possible to be successful, and I took this notion of setting myself up for success seriously.

I chose new activities, I scheduled your day and I stayed out of the house as much as possible.

Now I know that’s not the case for everybody, so here’s what I recommend:

1. If you are someone who wants to quit, then you need to recognize that what you’re really debating isn’t whether you should quit cold turkey or not, and instead you’re debating whether you’re ready to commit to moving forward in your life.

In my experience, the moment you’re ready is the moment you just say fuck it and go for it. There’s no real way around it.

2. If you are someone who doesn’t want to quit but wants to reduce your time, I think it’s valuable to go through the 90 day game quitters detox, where you take 90 days off games and then re-evaluate whether you want to play again or not.

The reason for this is because games cause structural changes to your brain, and by giving yourself the 90 day detox you allow your brain the time it needs to re-calibrate and for your “gaming fog” to lessen.

Now that your gaming fog has lessened you will have more clarity to make the decision you genuinely want to make.

The other benefit of doing the 90 day detox is that it gives you a chance to experience what life looks like without games, which is something you may or may not have experienced in a long time (if ever.)

During this time you will learn a lot more about yourself and your relationship to gaming. Plus, if you can’t go 90 days without games you probably shouldn’t be playing anyways.

So those are some things to think about, hope that helps!

camsig