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Day 2: Your Life is What You Pay Attention To

Welcome back to the Phone Breakup Challenge, a free, mini-taste of the plan outlined in How to Break Up With Your Phone.

So here’s something most people don’t know: relying on your willpower is a terrible way to try to change a habit.

Instead, just paying attention to what you’re doing in any given moment—and how it makes you feel—is a much more powerful tool for behavior change.

It makes sense if think about it: you can’t change a habit if you don’t realize you even have the habit to begin with. And if you realize that your habits are making you feel bad, then you’ll be able to change them because you WANT to.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Throughout this challenge (and beyond!), try to notice when—and why—you reach for your phone. The goal isn’t to judge yourself; you’re just trying to make sure that when you spend your attention on your phone, it’s the result of a conscious choice.To make this easier, try changing your lock screen images to this lock screen image  that I created for participants in this challenge. It can also be helpful to put a rubber band or hair tie around your phone; every time you reach for your phone and ask yourself why the heck there’s a rubber band on your phone, you’ve given yourself a chance to notice what you’re doing.The point isn’t necessarily to stop yourself from checking your phone; you’re just training yourself to notice when you’re on it (or are about to reach for it).

    I call these „speed bumps“ — small obstacles that force you to slow down and decide whether or not you want to continue.

    When you catch yourself on your phone—or about to reach for it—ask yourself if whatever you’re doing is necessary and/or if it’s making you feel good. If the answer is „no,“ you’ve just given yourself the chance to put your phone down and do something else.

    You’ve got this!

    PS: For a first-hand account of how breaking up with your phone can change your life, check out Kevin Roose’s viral piece from the New York Times called „Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain,“ for which I coached him through a full 30-day breakup.

NOTE: You will receive access to Day 3 tomorrow and we’ll email you a reminder – be sure to whitelist challenges@screenlifebalance.com and look in your spam if you’re unable to find it!