Reinventing Yourself [Monk Mode]
SUPERHUMAN SCORE: 8.63
What if you could ‘disappear’ for 3 to 12 weeks, focus on self-improvement, and return unrecognizable?
That’s the magic of “Monk Mode”—inspired by the focused and disciplined lifestyle of monks.
(The term was initially coined by Ben Orenstein in 2002 and later popularized by YouTuber Iman Gadzhi.)
Think of it as a retreat within your own life, where the distractions of the external world are minimized to facilitate rapid personal growth.
Let’s dive in.
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Monk Mode changed my life in 2021.
I didn’t call it Monk Mode then, but it’s exactly what I followed to build the foundation for the newsletter you’re reading today.
Partly driven by the pandemic, I:
- Moved from NYC to Vermont with my girlfriend
- Avoided alcohol and limited social media
- Prioritized health by exercising and eating clean
- Meditated for 10 minutes daily (via Sam Harris’ Waking Up App)
- Applied myself to practicing writing daily
Thanks to the clarity and skills developed in Monk Mode, I launched System Sunday one year later (in March 2022). And now, we’re 225,000+ readers strong 🎉🙏.
We all have unique life circumstances and obligations.
Today, I’ll share a protocol for nearly everyone to benefit from Monk Mode.
Step 1: Establish a set duration for Monk Mode.
Check your calendar for a time when you’re home and not traveling.
The goal: Get into a routine of self-improvement.
A duration of 21 days to 3 months works best.
Step 2: Set 2-3 intentions for your upcoming Monk Mode.
What would you like to accomplish during this time?
- Learn a new skill, e.g., writing, coding, video editing, cooking
- Get in the best shape of your life
- Work on a startup or passive income idea
Step 3: Identify your daily non-negotiables.
A non-negotiable means something you do every day, no matter what.
Iman Gadzhi recommends the following daily non-negotiables:
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Exercise for 30 minutes
- Eat nutritious foods
- Meditate for 10 minutes or journal
- Limit screen time to 45 minutes (social media, Netflix, etc.)
You’ll detox physically and digitally—so you can enjoy clarity. You’ll also have a boatload of extra free time to work on yourself.
Next, add daily habits to support your other Monk Mode goals from Step 2.
For example, if you want to learn a new skill, engage in deliberate practice for 30 minutes daily. If you want to build a side income, block out the first 2 hours of your day to get into deep work.
Tell friends and family you’re in Monk Mode (and working on your wellness). You’ll manage their expectations and make it easier to decline social events.
Note for introverts: Introverts are often drawn to Monk Mode because time alone is desirable and comes naturally. As such, the lifestyle can become addicting and a crutch for avoiding social interaction (Source: Modern Wisdom Podcast).
Human connection and relationships are crucial for long-term well-being. So hold yourself accountable to your pre-determined Monk Mode duration (Step 1). That way, you can reintegrate into social life and allow others to benefit from your self-improvement.
BRINGING IT HOME
There are exactly 7 weeks left in 2023. Invest 3 of them into your future self. Commit to doing your first Monk Mode, and you’ll thank yourself a year from now.
The journey within awaits.
All systems go,
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