Releasing bad habits, social media addiction

My worst bad habit: Overusing Instagram.

Instagram is the bane of my existence. I delete and reinstall the app more times than I like to admit.

In 2018, I tried to remediate my addiction by opting out every other month. One day I’m posting like mad and I’m gone the next (The password changed by a loved one because my self control is nonexistent). When I detox, especially after the first week, I experience several the positive benefits: better focus, calmer and positive mind, closer connections with my loved ones, etc. However, when I reinstall the next month, my itch to scroll and all the negative effects that come with it return. Of course.

It will be 2019 tomorrow, and I ask myself again, why do I use Instagram? 1) I use Stories to practice take photos, 2) to show people what I’m working on, and 3) to see what my favorite people are doing. Since my detox was in November, I’m opting from Instagram this January, however I am wondering if I can forgo using it the entire year. Maybe I can start taking photos on an actual camera or simply save them on my phone. Maybe I can savor showing people my work until after it’s done. Maybe I can regularly text my loved ones to see how they’re doing.

I read this quote yesterday in Tony Robbin’s Unlimited Power:

“If you can find enough reasons to do something, you can get yourself to do anything.”

If I say no to Instagram, what do I say yes to?

  • Yes to better focus on my goals
  • Yes to a healthier headspace, both calmer and more positive
  • Yes to more time to do what is most important
  • Yes to better connections with my loved ones
  • Yes to being more present, living for today
  • Yes to nurturing my creative passions
  • Yes to thinking space

I challenge you to think about your goals and list all the reasons why you want to achieve it. Think long and hard, create an action plan, and motivate yourself to succeed.

We need more commitment and less complaining.

“Reasons are the difference between being interested versus being committed to accomplish something. […] Why you do something is much more important than how to do it. If you get a big-enough why, you can always figure out the how. If you have enough reasons, you can do virtually anything in this world.” – Tony Robbins

The best stories happen between caution and courage. Be open. Say YES.

The world has a funny way of telling us what we need to hear. It speaks to us through our gut feelings, dreams, and serendipity. However, are you open enough to hear the whispers?

Similar to many others, I was raised to be fearful of strangers. I held this fear until my last year of college, knowing from my own experiences that not all strangers are dangerous. To overcome this pervasive trepidation, I embarked on a solo trip to the quaint town of Ojai. There, I encountered several strangers, however there were three particular ones that resonated with me: Nancy the AirBnb host, Brett from the local bookstore, and Rich Tell from the city bench. I had the chance to engage in long conversations with the Ojaians, ranging from 20 minutes to almost 3 hours. After the trip, I was much less afraid to strike conversations with every day people.

I used this newfound courage to strike conversations in every setting I could: coffeeshops, the park, Ubers… (Amongst my friends, I was notorious for digging deep into the Uber driver’s life, asking question after question. This was amplified when I was intoxicated.) This helped me connect with people from all walks of life in my trips to San Francisco, which led me to opportunities and invaluable, wild adventures down the line. My friends know best about the countless shenanigans I’ve gotten into since I’ve moved to the Bay.

I’ll name the most recent one. Yesterday, I went to the Bay Street shopping plaza for the first time to read at Barnes and Nobles. Before B&N, I explored a Canadian furniture store called EQ3. Think quality mid-century modern at an affordable price. I spoke to a female employee, telling her it was my first time in the story and that I had just moved to Oakland, so she proceeded to give me a grand tour, starting with a grand view of the city. The designer in me was freaking out. Iconic Eames chairs. Collaborations with Marrimekko. Beautiful variety of wood. I had connected with the woman on a deeper level. A 26-year old Bay Area native who just moved to Oakland and had a marketing background (Sound familiar?). She had to carry on with work, so I wandered the store. Before leaving, I said goodbye, telling her that I felt like we could be great friends. Immediately she asked if I was free at 7 PM, 30 minutes from then, to go grab drinks in Walnut Creek. I obliged and had an unbelievable experience.

Turns out, this woman runs a LLC, very knowledgable about people, and is a bona fide “boss ass bitch”. I was in need of more strong women in my life. The universe answered, presented the opportunity, and I said yes.

How do I regularly have these spontaneous experiences?

By being open. (Often times vulnerable.) By placing my trust in the universe. By both cautious and courageous. The best stories unfold when you dance between the two.