A 7 Step Program For Breaking Your Social Media Addiction in 2014
We've all been there. Incessantly checking Twitter. Constantly on Facebook. Obsessed with Pinterest. Instagramming our lives away. And, with the eve of a new year upon us, we have to stop. Seriously. Our social media addiction may be getting in the way of real, social connections. It's time for all of us to cut the cord (and by cord, I mean USB cable).
Step 1: Admit You Have A Problem
As AA/NA/anger management can tell us, the first step is always, ALWAYS admitting that you have an issue in the first place. Accept that you are attached to your phone/laptop/tablet. Accept that a world without Internet access is your own personal hell. Accept that you can (and will) get a handle on this.
Step 2: Remember Why You Have a "Insert Social Media Account of Choice Here" in the First Place
Was it to stalk old high school acquaintances? To make near-constant inside jokes? To try and create FOMO in others? To stare at pretty things? To read whatever pearls of wisdom Melissa Harris Perry will drop today? Whatever it is, root into the deepest reaches of your psyche and discover it. Nothing is too embarrassing. Seriously. Nothing.
Step 3: Own That Reason
This is why you are on your phone constantly. This is why you keep hitting "refresh". This is who you are, and that's okay. Accept the things you cannot change about yourself. Be zen. Realize that this is a much better addiction than heroin or food or being mean to your significant other. On a scale of 1 to Dangerous you're like a 4.5, and that means you can accept the fact that there are things you like, nay, love, about your social media of choice.
Step 4: Set A Limit
Take whatever reason you have for being constantly on social media. Now think about how much time that reason should, reasonably, take you to look into. Now approximate how many times per day you actually need to check said social media in order to fulfill that reason. Now make an estimate of how many times you will allow yourself to check, based on the above information. Now forgive yourself for not sticking to it. Rome wasn't built in a day. Twitter will not be forsaken in one either.
Step 5: Two Words — Time Management
Think of all the things you could be doing if you weren't checking whatever it is you check. Think of the languages you could possibly learn, the new skills you could acquire, the unbelievable amounts of time you would have to read, listen to Beyonce's new album, or go to the gym. Remember those things when times get tough. Perhaps even try to do some of them.
Step 6: Treat Yo' Self
I'm a firm believer in self-bribery as motivation. Only went on FB once today? You deserve that cookie. Only saw four cappuccinos on Instagram? That's a) amazing, b) says good things about the people you follow, and c) means you get a prize.
Step 7: Stick To Your Guns
You have a plan. Now comes the hard part. Actually doing it. And you totally can. That said, if all else fails and your willpower proves impossible in the face of your NEED to see photos from last weekend or stalk pin-boards dedicated to navy, suede, fringed purses, you can get help going cold turkey. Seriously. Cold Turkey is an app that you can download that lets you block certain sites on your computer or phone and/or set time limits on them. It's magical.