the time of suffering is nigh
Suffertember VII is just a few days away. Here’s a quick recap of how to make it the best month of your year1 + my own personal goals.
What is Suffertember?
Suffertember is a month of doing hard things with friends.
The most common question we get is: “does it have to be extremely suffery/painful?” It does not! While we recommend doing a few very hard things, which would normally be aversive for you, and then attempting to reframe them as experiences to be enjoyed or at least embraced, it’s definitely not a requirement.
You should choose anything that’s a growth edge. Things that are normally hard for you to stick to, but where being surrounded by a community of awesome people doing similarly hard things in a high energy, time-bounded container will be motivating. One friend’s goal this year is to “party more”!
I like to think of Suffertember as a month-long playground for trying new ways of being. It’s also a misogi—a spiritual journey so challenging that it stretches your conception of what you are capable of merely through attempting it.
A big part of Suffertember is building self-integrity: doing what you say you’ll do. Impeccable agreements are integral to this. Defining clearly what you’ll do and by when, and in the rare cases where you don’t meet this, cleaning it up quickly to restore broken (self-)trust.
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned while doing CLG is how integrity breaks like this negatively affect energy levels. Broken agreements to yourself or others, even if normalized by culture or convention, are energy leaks. They’re a constant source of tension in your mental overhead that slowly sap your energy and vitality. Try this on some time if you’re skeptical.
Warren Buffet Prioritization
“A majority of life’s errors are caused by forgetting what one is really trying to do.”
"Focusing is about saying no. And the result of that focus is gonna be some really products where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts."
One of the most common mistakes new Sufferpeeps make is over-commitment. To combat that, especially if this is your first time, I recommend2 you doing a version of the Warren Buffet productivity method:
list out the top 25 most important things you want to work on
rank order them by importance
fully commit to the top five
anti-commit to the bottom twenty—this doesn’t mean don’t do them necessarily, but don’t put any effort or attach any importance to achieving them
or for added focus, try actively avoiding doing these things at all costs
Giving What We Can explains this better than I ever could, so I’ll just leave this post here: Nobody is perfect, everything is commensurable.
tl;dr: I challenge you to donate 10% of your income for the month to a worthy cause.
In previous years, as a way to make sure I was actually pushing my limits, my metric for setting goals was that they should be hard enough that I’d fail at least half of them, even with maximum effort. Now that I’ve done that six years in a row, I feel reasonably comfortable with my expanded sense of what’s possible, and instead want to focus on execution this year—doing a few important things extremely well.
Goals (~in progress)
no warm showers3
no news, social media, TV, movies
no sweets, fried food, or coffee4
30 minutes of meditation/day
set/abide by a daily end-time for work
one joke a day (stand-up thing I’m doing with some friends)
1500 pull-ups, 2 hours of planking, treadmill mile PR, lift 3x/week
get a monthly average sleep score of 90+ by hitting my sleep routine every day
donate 10% of my income for the month to charity
Most of my goals are either keystone habits or different types of mild ascetism. This is usually the key to a good Suffer for me: getting the simple things right, and then when the fundamentals are met and the energy leaks are gone, letting myself be more fully me.
Happy Suffering ✌️
This is unironically the case for me. I look forward to the peace and clarity I feel during Suffertember all year long
I’ve clearly failed to do this.
This is always the hardest one for me, and the one that feels most clearly like “deliberate suffering”.
I have an exception for this which is any day I do 2+ hours of exercise this rule no longer applies. Incentives!