Instead of starting your day by turning on the poop fan of news and social media, replace those activities with something you actually want to do. Stop obsessively scrolling through life and start doing the things you actually want to do. Maybe you want to write a blog post, do some exercise, or start your side hustle. Or maybe you just want to stop feeling so anxious from all the terrible news and just give yourself a break. Yet these apps make it very hard to break away. It’s addicting to check the news, check your feed, and stay up to date. It’s time for you to start your new challenge: can you go a week without instant gratification?
Can't stop checking news... Must consume... Must consume...
The challenge is to stop all instant gratification activities for one week. If you mess up, then you will perform a relapse activity for every minute you spend on the activities you are giving up.
- Make a plan
- Decide on a relapse activity
- Make the plan visible
- Keep yourself accountable with a partner
- Replace the urge to scroll with something productive
Make a plan and write it down
Make a plan
First, you need to plan on what you want to stop and why. Decide specifically what apps and websites you don’t want to visit for the week. Is Google News taking up too much of your time? Maybe you spend all day on Reddit and can’t seem to get yourself to do the things you really want to do. Ask yourself what you would rather be doing with that time and make the challenge meaningful to you.
Also decide some rules around what you want to stop. For example, you could decide to give up on anything that has a feed for you to scroll through. You could decide to give up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, or any other app or website that you obsessively check. You could make exceptions for when it is truly necessary. For example, maybe you decide that it’s okay to use the website as long as you are using it to accomplish a specific task. Just make sure that does not turn into an excuse for you to start mindlessly scrolling again. If you find yourself scrolling, be sure to perform your relapse activity.
For every minute on social media, meditate for a minute.
Decide on a relapse activity
As part of your plan, you need to decide on a relapse activity. You are going to do this activity for every minute you spend on an app or website you are stopping. For example, if you spent 10 minutes on Facebook, you immediately spend 10 minutes meditating right after. Alternatively, for every minute you spend on social media you must send $1 to a candidate of the opposite political party. That might really get you motivated, but it might be hard to commit to. Make your relapse activity something you don’t really want to do, but something you actually would do if you accidentally relapse. Find something that works for you and make sure to make it visible.
Make it hard to miss your plan. Put it everywhere.
Make the plan visible
Write down your personal challenge somewhere you will see it every day. You could put it on a sticky note and attach it to your monitor. You could set an alarm every day to remind yourself about the challenge. If you have a white board nearby, you could write it on the white board. Make sure it is somewhere you will see it every day to remind yourself. Sometimes we get sucked into scrolling and we forget about the challenge. And then once you see the reminder, you’ll remember to do the relapse activity in case you accidentally scrolled without realizing it.
Additionally, uninstall all the apps you have decided to stop for the week. Clear your browsing history and remove the websites from your favorites to make it harder to get to the sites. Sign out of the websites so you have to put a password in to get back. Make it harder for you to relapse and make it easier to remind yourself of this challenge. Turn off all notifications for the apps and websites that distract you. Unsubscribe from all the emails they send you. Make it harder for you to be reached and get sucked back in to scrolling.
"I swear I'm not scrolling, I'm just about to cast an exercise YouTube video."
Get a partner to keep you accountable
Tell your partner, a friend, or just announce to the world that you are starting this challenge. Ask for them to help you stay accountable, and maybe even see if they want to join you in the challenge. Feeling like you belong to a group that is also doing the challenge will help keep you motivated. If you can’t do any of these things, just know that everyone reading this blog post is also with you and supports you. You can complete this challenge.
It's time for me to write that blog post.
Replace the urge to scroll with something productive
You will get strong urges to check your feed and get notifications. When that happens, you need something to do so that you don’t relapse. Try reading a book, going on a walk, or doing some exercise. Remember, it’s okay to use the app or website as long as it’s for something you really want to do and not just because you are addicted and want to scroll. You could look up an exercise YouTube video and follow along to it. Imagine all the good things you could do if you weren’t wasting time consuming social media and news feeds. So instead of closing this article and scrolling, decide that you will not be controlled by the monkey in your head telling you to keep scrolling. Good luck with the challenge and have fun! You can do it!
"Hello world, I am quitting social media and news for a week"
It’s time to announce your challenge
Make a new post, write a comment, or send a message to a friend or a partner. Tell them about the challenge you are starting. What relapse activity did you choose? How did you remind yourself of the challenge? What is your plan to stop checking social media and news all the time? Tell us all about it. Have fun and let’s do this one week instant gratification challenge together! We are with you.