you know what quitting sugar taught me?
everything is easier in action than in anticipation.
now, that seems antithetical to the statement “easier said than done” but i find it to be absolutely true. the longer we anticipate doing something difficult, the more we build things up in our minds and let fear, anxiety and insecurity attach themselves to it. the actual DOING is so much easier when you remove all that unnecessary emotion.
my friend ashley actually wrote an awesome post about this very topic: to versions of me.
i’ve been sugar free for two weeks! and that means almost no processed food (though i eat little of that, anyway) because when you start to look at labels you realize that most processed foods have added sugar. i also haven’t eaten much fruit, besides a banana here or there. after the first two days, it became easy. i just replaced my old habits with new ones.
so i was inspired to overhaul the other habits in my life that i feel have been holding me back. and instead of anticipating the change and fretting, i just did it. i started today off with new boundaries on my technology use.
let me explain where this is coming from. last year, husein and i shared one iphone that had no internet access on it. we only got internet in wifi zones and that didn’t include our home. so we only used internet at our school or in an internet cafe. we had no tv in our house either. so when we were home, we sometimes borrowed DVDs from friends to watch on our computer and we could send text messages on the phone, but that was the extent of our technology use.
it was awesome.
we did everything we needed to on the internet at school, before or after the work day. or we walked to an internet cafe together and sat on our lap tops, drank tea or coffee, and worked. there were naturally imposed boundaries to our tech use.
this year, we each have our own iPhones that have internet all.the.time. there is wifi in the house. without even realizing it, i have become a slave to the smart phone.
whenever i’m with hafiz, the phone is nearby. i often will read or text when he’s nursing. as soon as it makes a sound, i’m checking it. i realized yesterday when he wouldn’t stop looking at the phone that i was modeling that the phone was a priority in my life. at times, even more of a priority than hafiz, because i’d be playing with him and interrupt that time because of a beep or a vibration on the phone.
i don’t want him to ever prioritize a screen over a person, so why am i doing it to him? how hypocrtical is that? and of course he will grow up transfixed by iPhones and the like if that’s what i do!
so last night i wrote my plan in a notebook (not even my iPhone notepad, ha) and decided i can look at my iPhone 3x a day. if i use it at other times (like to listen to a podcast that i downloaded earlier or take a pic of hafiz) it has to be on airplane mode so i can’t do any social media or texting. i will only use my phone for texts-instagram-social media-news checking when hafiz is asleep or with husein. the iPhone will NOT be the first thing i see in the morning or the last thing i see before bed. so here’s how i think it will go:
look at phone during hafiz’s first nap
once in the late afternoon/before dinner
once after hafiz goes to bed
then, there is the computer, which i am on right now. i actually never use the computer in front of hafiz because i always use it in the kitchen where i rarely bring him. but i also don’t want to spend every nap of his on the computer. now, there is a lot of work to do on the computer, which won’t count (for instance today i did a lot of reservation-making for an upcoming friends wedding, mortgage loan stuff, craigslist post responding, etc). on the computer, i can only do non-work things twice a day when hafiz isn’t around. it can be whatever time of day works. i already went on fb today on the computer so that’s once.
i actually have a feeling i’ll end up doing less overall tech stuff than my plan of 3x phone and 2x computer because the fact that i have a max # i can’t surpass means i’ll keep putting off the usage to “save it for later” and then won’t use it at all. for instance, i haven’t even looked at my iPhone yet today (it’s 12:30pm).
now, the key to making this work is replacing and old habit with a new one. that’s what i did with sugar. i went to trader joe’s and bought new sugar-free snacks and just started eating those instead, which made the transition super easy. so i need to fill my tech time with other habits. for example, this morning i read New Yorker magazine and wrote in Hafiz’s baby journal. Later I will do a yoga class. I am going to put two books on my kindle that a friend just suggested: Americanah and The Goldfinch.
it’s only day 1. so far so good. i think this will prove more difficult than sugar for sure because this habit definitely took up more hours in the day. but i’m excited about it. when i think of things i want to do on fb/blog/etc i will jot them down in my notebook so that i don’t forget when i get on technology later.
actually having hafiz makes implementing things like this easier because he creates a rhythm to the day. he is about to wake up which puts an automatic time limit on my tech use, which is good, because otherwise 3x or 2x a day could just be stretched out to all day, ya know? haha. that’d be tricky of me. anyway! that’s why there’s no picture in this post – gotta go save the crying baby.
any habits you want to replace?