Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media? Hours pass by and you don't know where all that time went?
This was a habit I wanted to break a few weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media! When used intentionally, social media can lead to genuine connection. In fact, I’ve met some of my best friends and business partners through social media! At the same time, it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of mindless scrolling. Not really cultivating genuine connection, but scrolling to pass the time. Well, with Covid quarantine, I realized that I was going through a phase of aimless scrolling. I knew that I wanted to spend less time scrolling and more time doing something else that nourished my soul. But, it had become such a habit to touch those little icons on my phone and check in! That's when I realized that in order to change my habit, I had to change my focus...
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You see, I kept saying to myself, "I need to spend less time scrolling." This wasn’t very motivating. If anything, it made me feel more guilty about my scrolling habit than anything else! I realized that I needed to focus on what I want, instead of what I don't want. Instead of repeating the mantra, "I need to spend less time scrolling," I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to do instead:
Let me give you another example:
I love coffee! At the same time, I know I get anxious if I drink too much coffee and it affects my sleep. So, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to cut back on my brew. Instead of saying, "I need to cut back on coffee," I started writing in my weekly planner "Drink more herbal teas." I decided to focus on what I wanted (the warmth and comfort of herbal tea), not on what I want less of (the jitters of drinking too much coffee!).
So, here's the life hack: Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.
Start with the habit you're trying to break. Why are you trying to break that habit? What's the "pain" it's causing you? Is it draining you? Does it make you upset, irritable, anxious, or frustrated? Get clear on why you want to make the change in the first place.
Then, think about the opposite. How do you want to feel instead, and what can get you there? For me, aimlessly scrolling on my phone left me feeling drained. I wanted to feel nourished and energized. I know that reading, playing music, and dancing all make me feel energized and happy. So, I decided to focus on those activities instead. I wrote those down so I can see it everyday. I know that too much coffee makes me anxious. I also know that herbal teas help me feel balanced. So, I wrote down "drink herbal tea" on my weekly planner, focusing on what I want, not on what I don't want.
So, make a list now of 1-3 things that you can do instead. What are those 1-3 things you want to do more of in your life? That make you feel good, happy, strong, and energetic. Write those on a sheet of paper or index card and put it somewhere that you'll see it daily. And then, practice self-compassion. As you begin to integrate some of these new activities into your life, you may have some setbacks and that's ok. The fact is if you're doing more of these new activities, even for a few minutes a day, that's progress and you'll notice a change in how you feel. Celebrate it! And, come back here to leave a comment with your wins, so I can help you celebrate too!!