I Am An Addict

posted in: Goals and Plans, Habits, Reflections | 0

Most movies don’t take more than two hours. In those two hours, the writers manage to shove in a person’s story, from introduction, to conflict and solution, resulting in a happy (or sad) ending. I have watched more movies than I have read books. In fact, I have watched so many that I don’t even remember the names of half the movies I’ve watched until I see their covers/posters!

You would say, so what does this have to do with the title of the post? Well, let me explain a bit. When I watch a movie, the fact that time passes between the events in it can be ignored very easily, as compared to time passing between events in books. Subconsciously, a message is being flashed that you can reach the ending quite quickly, just as how quickly you get to it in the movies. Let me elaborate.

In movies where the plot involves the character doing hard work and achieving their goals, the part where the hard work is shown is usually a series of short clips or pictures of the work being carried out, with a musical soundtrack to accompany it. Time flies when you’re doing hard work, and it’s fun. But it’s not always like that in the real world. Yes, it’s fun to learn new things, and it’s fun when you look up in the middle of some work and find that the past two hours have passed by without your acknowledging it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works. Learning gets boring sometimes, and you can’t wait for a study session to end.

When I realized this, I knew what my problem with everything in life is. I am addicted to instant gratification. I want the short clips or pictures of my hard work with the musical soundtrack to play at 2x speed, so I can get to the part where I reap all the benefits. I want to have instant conversations with people I care about, so I can figure out what they’re thinking/doing at the moment. I wait anxiously for my Facebook notifications as soon as I post something, so I can count the number of likes I get. I check my Site Stats every few hours after publishing a blog post, so I can tell whether it was a success or a failure. I want to hear a ‘Thank you!’ the second I finish doing something for someone. In fact, if I can get it while doing that thing, I get even more happier. And on and on the list goes. I need something, I find a way to get it ASAP. Instant gratification.

Obviously, at this critical moment in my life, with my upcoming exams, I have no time to indulge my needs for instant gratification. So I have come up with a plan to conquer my addiction once and for all, while at the same time cultivating more productive habits. It isn’t complete or perfect, but I have a skeleton to build upon. During 2014, I will be doing a Happiness Project, and some of the things I’ll incorporate in it will help with my addiction.

However, in my case, January is quite a long way off, and I can’t wait until New Year’s to start implementing changes in my life. So I formulated a plan for the next couple of weeks, and its focus is mainly on my weight loss goals, but I’ll try to incorporate a few other things too.

Over the course of the next 15 – 20 days, I’m going to induce ketosis, with the goal of losing weight. My plan is to drink only water and eat nothing, so that I can ensure that I’m not consuming any hidden carbs, which is what tended to happen every time I attempted the Paleolithic/Ketogenic diet. This will prevent me from using food as a means of instant gratification.

I’m also initiating a ban on all forms of entertainment, except for books. With regards to social networks, I’m going to reduce my presence on them to only about 1.5 hours daily, and I’m going to try emailing my friends for a change. I’m going to use the StayFocusd Chrome extension to block certain websites and pages, and my Site Stats is going to be one of those.

When I do a practice test, I’m not going to check my answers until I have completed another task that is completely unrelated to the subject. When I do something for someone, I’m not going to do it for the thanks, I’m going to do it because I’m a nice person and I do nice things to other people.

I am sure my plan is full of flaws, because the only way I know to combat an addiction is to stay away from what I’m addicted to, which is what I did to overcome my addiction to soda a couple of years ago. However, I’m open to evidence/experience-backed suggestions for modification. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.

Your thoughts on this will be appreciated!