By Karen Amos

Did you set any goals or resolutions for new year? One of mine was to change my habits around my mobile and social media use. I was spending way too long on my phone, which had several negative effects, including having terrible sleep habits.

I’d also stopped doing lots of constructive and positive things that were either good for my health (e.g. just moving about more), or my mental wellbeing, such as reading.

First step was admitting to myself that this issue was having a negative impact on me.  I then built in some leverage by thinking about all the things I could do with my time, but also how embarrassed I was to admit to anyone how much I actually used my phone.  Frequently the painful things are the most effective!)

I decided my strategy would be not taking my phone into my bedroom. That way, I couldn’t be tempted into any late night scrolling. (Yes I know, really living the high life here!) I resisted the urge to make huge sweeping changes that would seem unattainable.  Instead, I kept this simple and achievable, with a view that I could roll out further changes later.  As a practical step, I decided to charge my phone on the landing, which means if I do want to check it on an evening, I don’t hang around too long.

So… the result so far? I’m amazed at the difference changing one small habit has made.  The best part is that there has been a much wider change to my habits as I experienced the positive effects of my changes.  These included:

  • My sleep is so much better – I fall asleep quicker and have more hours sleep that before.
  • Physically things are so much better – my eyesight has improved, I move around more, my posture is better, I’m back in my training/exercise regime.
  •  I’m much less stressed – I don’t allow myself to be exposed to, or seek out things that I find distasteful, or annoying.  I wouldn’t invite many of the people posting stuff into my home, but that’s exactly what I was doing with social media.
  • My mindset is much more positive – I seek out positive things to do instead of scrolling the phone, including reading more and listening to audio books and podcasts.

As a coach I frequently remind my clients about the power of our habits.  Habits are small things we do regularly – for good or bad. Obviously, none of us are perfect (even coaches!), so it’s an ongoing task, if we want to shape our life the way we’d choose. 

One great little tool to help you change a habit is the ‘If/then’ statement.  An example of how this worked for me was, ‘If I charge my phone on the landing… then, it won’t be in the bedroom on a night, so I won’t keep scrolling on social media.’  Try it, it really does work.

The amazing thing is that once we start to change one small thing, we unleash a positive knock-on effect that brings unforeseen benefits in other areas.  This is the power of coaching, where we support someone to identify something they want to change and set out practical ways to achieve this.

Karen Amos is an Executive Coach and owner of BrightBird Coaching and Training.

If you’d like to find out more about how coaching can help you and your team, get in touch for a no-obligation chat.  (Tel: 07714 855757/ Email: karen@bright-bird.co.uk)