What makes breaking bad habits so difficult is the void that it creates. For instance, I want to stop looking at my phone, but then what?
It’s not like I don’t have a gazillion other things to do. What makes it a bad habit for me is that I think I’m going to jump on for a second, but then I’m on it longer than I should be. I know that because afterwards, I feel like I just ate a lot of junk food for the soul, and I wish I could get that time back. Sometimes that time is 45 minutes, and sometimes it’s 10. But I know when it’s time wasted.
When I get on this cycle of being out of control with my phone, I catch myself flipping my screen open, then wondering why. There was absolutely no purpose.
It’s a stimulant. It gives me instant gratification a small percentage of the time. Mostly, it drains me of energy, I feel less fulfilled, more needy, and more externally oriented.
Still, it comes from a need to find joy through connection. And also a desire not to get involved in anything on my to-do list for a moment.
I identified a bad habit, how it affects me, and what I’m actually seeking.
I looked for other things that would fulfill my desire to find joy through connection while staying off my to-do list. It wouldn’t work for me to just say, go back to my to-do list. The point is, I’m wanting something off my to-do list.
What’s working for me: to call someone that isn’t prone to gossip or putting everything down, to read a book (I have a pile of them that I’ve been wanting to read, and books make me feel connected), or to do something for someone.
We tend to replace a bad habit with another bad habit. That’s because we don’t have a plan for that moment when we feel void.
Without identifying the better replacements, I’d probably just go from phone abuse to a new 9 season Netflix series with 50 minute long episodes. Or chocolate.