A new series.
I want to start sharing how coaching is transforming my life and I want to do this real time so I can take you all along for the ride. I'll let you know the history, why I want to change, what I've tried in the past to solve for this, where I am now, and what I'm doing going forward to reach a specific goal. My hope is that you'll see that I'm not unique and that you can absolutely do this work and reach your goals, too. It's just a matter of setting a goal, putting in the work, staying committed to doing the work, even when you fail over and over again, managing your mind, and taking action until you achieve the result. That's it. Please hear me. The ONLY difference between someone who reaches their goals and someone who doesn't is persistence. That's it. Not giving up. Getting up and trying again. And again. And learning from your mistakes and trying something new.
Let's get started. The goal that I will be talking about today is my goal of using social media in a purposeful way. Now, this is not a measurable goal the way it's written, which I do think is a part of why I haven't achieved this goal yet. I have this vague idea of what it would look like but I haven't clearly outlined what that would look like today. I'm going to back up and let you know why I want to work on this particular goal.
Awareness. Awareness is always the first step to making a change. So, when did I become aware that I might want to consider changing the time spent on my phone? Last May, so a little over a year ago. I had joined a group coaching program and one of the concepts taught was the idea of buffering. Buffering is using something external like social media, TV, Netflix, food, or alcohol to avoid feeling emotions/to feel better. I think most of us aren't even aware that's why we turn to those things. I certainly wasn't.
Why I want to change:
I first wanted to change because my teacher told me it was important, if I'm being honest. Of course this didn't lead to permanent change, changing only because someone else thinks it's a good idea never leads to lasting transformation. Only because if you don't believe in the change 100%, you're always going to be fighting against yourself to make the change. When it's you vs. you, you lose every time.
I legitimately just got to the point - today - where I 100% to change for me. Not because someone I respect thinks it's a good idea to eliminate all buffering. I realize I was using her beliefs against myself - anytime I'd buffer with my phone I'd tell myself I was a failure, that I'll never be a successful coach, and I'll never make it in my business. Those are not helpful thoughts when wanting to make a change. You cannot beat yourself into positive change. I know this, and yet, there are areas of my life where I think this rule doesn't apply.
What I've tried in the past:
I initially just went cold turkey when I first learned about buffering. I left my phone upstairs and wouldn't touch it all day. I wrote a schedule for what I wanted to get done in a day, and I pretended like my phone didn't exsist. I would complete each activity at the scheduled time and spend a lot of time feeling really uncomfortable, restless, and bored. Wondering what I was supposed to be doing with my time. I did gain a lot of mental clarity during those days but this new behavior only lasted for a few days before I returned to my excessive phone use. Except this time, I layered guilt and shame on top of my phone use. So fun. That cycle lasted from June 2019 - February 2020, or so. Then, I tried to change my thoughts around my buffering. I also tried various times to make it inconvenient to access my phone by leaving my phone upstairs, setting screen time limits, and most recently (about a month ago) creating a phone protocol by scheduling what I'll use my phone for and at what times by scheduling this into my calendar.
I also spent countless hours judging myself and telling myself that I should be better, I should be able to solve for this, I'm a coach. I've told myself that I'm wasting time and that's bad.
Where I am now:
Honestly, the breakthrough came last night and this morning. I had set yet another phone protocol, except this time it was with my coach. I'm a recovering people pleaser, so in the past, setting this up with my coach and having to be accountable to her would have been more than enough for me to muscle through and follow my protocol. I would have been afraid of disappointing her so I would have followed through only to avoid that conversation and the shame that I would cause for myself. Now, this is a breakthrough in and of itself. I realized this morning that holy cow, I didn't follow my protocol and I'm not scared at all about telling my coach. That's a huge win that I'm celebrating!
So what was the breakthrough? Last night I put on my calendar social media time from 6:30am - 10:15pm. Straight. When I woke up this morning, instead of feeling resistance to my phone schedule and protocol and having my mind filled with, "I can't check my phone. I shouldn't check my phone. I want to check my phone. You can't do it. Stop it. Ugh, why can't you just not want this. You shouldn't want to check it, it's such a waste of time."
I told myself, go ahead! You can check it. It's fine. No big deal. You absolutely can check anything you want.
Why did this work? Because, it allowed me to quiet all of the negative chatter around my phone long enough to gain insight into why I was wanting to reach for it all. of. the. time. in the first place. Bingo. More awareness. It's the key to the next step and the next breakthrough. I thought I knew why by my resistance chatter was so loud I couldn't really hear my thoughts and feel my feelings.
What I'm doing moving forward:
I'm going to write two specific goals for myself:
1. I will spend an hour on Instagram, per day.
2. At the end of the day, my screen time will be 2 hours or less.
The thought that I will practice believing in order to make this change will be:
I like when my screen time is less than 2 hours per day.
I will keep you all posted on my stories on Instagram! I'll post screenshots of my screen time each night so you can keep up with my progress! I'll be sure to check in here next Wednesday as well and share how things are going.
In the meantime, if there is a goal you would like help with, schedule a free consultation and let's get started on creating permanent, lasting change!