Posts tagged: Habits

How I broke my phone addiction


Do any of these three, very sad scenarios sound familiar?

1. It was a perfect day outside and I planned to go for a walk.

2. I needed baby spinach and avocado and had two hours to get them before the grocery store closed.

3. I got invited to a party where friends I never get to see would all be hanging out.

Well, in my case, I never went for my walk, I missed the window to buy ingredients for dinner and ordered something unhealthy instead, and I never made it out to the party. (I didn’t even shower and try to get ready!) And all because I stayed on my couch hooked to my phone. Thankfully, these three episodes didn’t all happen in the course of one weekend, but they easily could have because…well…I am addicted to my phone.

How phone addiction happens

For some of us, it’s the lure of social media
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How to cultivate the habits that matter to you


A few years ago I made a dramatic move from Brooklyn to Maine. I didn’t pack my bags and leave because living in the city was a burden or too rough; quite the opposite, actually. Living in the city was fun. (A lot of fun!) 

But the day-to-day events of my life eventually overtook over my ambitions. Life was great, but it wasn’t exactly conducive to cultivating the kind of habits I needed to achieve my long-term goals. And make no mistake: To achieve your goals you have to cultivate the right habits. It isn’t easy, but it is essential. 

First envision what you really want

Picking the habits that work for you entails imagining the kind of life you want to live. It’s just impossible to transform habits into accomplished goals if you don’t even know what you want in the first place. Something that Barbara Sher suggests in her book Wishcraft is
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Why learning new habits is better than perfecting old ones


I was pretty proud of myself after learning how to make chicken scallopini.

I had boldly decided that I wanted to learn how to do more in the kitchen than reheat frozen waffles and so when I came across a recipe that seemed like a challenge I decided to go for it. (It certainly helped that the recipe happened to involve delicious things like pasta, white wine, and lightly breaded chicken.)

I wrote out the instructions on a notecard and followed them closely, relishing the recipe’s technical steps like wrapping a chicken breast in parchment paper, flattening it with a wine bottle, and then dredging it in flour. As I watched the white wine sauce reduce in a hot pan, my mouth started watering with anticipation. The dish was an unequivocal hit, even earning praise from my neighbor who refuses to eat anything that isn’t deep fried.

I was so encouraged by my
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Why are we afraid of change? Examining the allure of habit


This is part three in our series exploring our fear of change.

“Lizards don’t learn very much,” writes neuroscientist Marc Lewis in his book, “The Biology of Desire.” “Their repertoire of skills is innate.”

By contrast, mammals have brains that “are designed for learning — they are designed to change — in sync with their environments.” We humans have evolved to adapt to cold weather, to fashion new tools, to adventure to new lands.

So why is change so hard for us, when we are, apparently, so used to it?
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I want to stop checking social media, but I can’t


Stop checking social media

It’s 11 p.m., and I can’t stop scrolling through Facebook on my iPhone.

My bedroom is dark. I know better than this. I should be reading, or meditating, or stretching — something relaxing and screen-free before bed.

Instead, I’m scrolling. My thumbs are sore from typing. I want to stop, but I can’t.

Eventually, I snap out of the trance. It takes a lot of willpower, but I force myself to put down my phone. I start to tune in to how tired I am, and as my head touches the pillow, I wonder at the power of a little device to get between me and the rest that I so sorely need.

I’m not alone. And it’s no accident: social media is engineered to be addictive. Some therapists are even offering treatment for social media addiction — and as journalist Sarah Kessler found, our issues with social media are often a
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