It has been about a month since I posted Damn you iPhone; not enough time to form completely new habits but ample time to gain new insights on old habits.
Initially, I set three goals for myself to help curb my smartphone impulses: 1. check email at specific times, 2. set “do not disturb” work hours, and 3. shut off all devices one hour before bedtime. How’s it going, you ask? At the moment, I’m steadily practicing the first two goals.
Not surprisingly, the first two goals have been easier to practice when I start my day off right. No, I don’t mean eat a good breakfast. Although that helps. I begin my day by emptying my bladder then sitting in meditation for 20 minutes. And no, I don’t mean I meditate on the toilet. Come on people!
I find that if I meditate in the morning, I don’t start my day by mindlessly checking email and social media. If I don’t meditate, I go straight for my phone. It’s really that frighteningly simple. Sometimes I have my morning tea first. And sometimes that’s a slippery slope. I can’t just sit there and drink my tea. Can I?
I will admit, I meditated consistently for a few weeks, then I stopped. Recently, my dad came to visit and I found myself going into holiday mode. Which apparently doesn’t include meditation. I’m sharing this because it’s important to note that cultivating any kind of mindfulness practice takes time and self compassion. There will be days/weeks when your practice will be steady and awesome, followed by times when you will just revert to your old habits. Then one day you realize, hey, wait a minute, I feel really good and more like myself when I meditate. And, you come back home.
When I meditate daily, I am better able to “check myself” when I’m tempted by my smartphone. As in, “Chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self”. Ice Cube probably used this in a different context but you get what I’m saying. Through meditation, I practice the ability to come back and actively choose what I want to focus my attention on. I work on this everyday both on and off the meditation cushion: mind wanders, I gently bring it back. Repeat.
My third goal, shutting off all devices one hour before bedtime, is the one I struggled with the most. A good night’s sleep is super important to me, hence, I honestly thought this would be the easiest one to carry out. However, Netflix seems to have other plans for me. Watch the next episode of House of Cards now! Oh no Claire didn’t! Oh yes she did!
Although, I have given thought to what I want to my mornings to look and feel like, I neglected to do the same about my pre-bedtime hour(s). If I don’t watch videos or check FB, what else is there? Hmm…reading? As in reading actual books printed on paper! Whaaat!
To be determined.
In the meantime, tell me about you! How is your relationship with your smartie pants phone coming along? What strategies do you use to “check yourself”? Let me know in the comments below.
Peace & Love,
P.S. As I wrote this post, a guy sat in front of me and laid out a notebook, a pen, a textbook, and… his phone. You need your phone to study, right?! I’m sending lots of kind compassionate vibes his way.