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12 Ways To Stop Your Addiction to ‘The Next Thing’

12 Ways To Stop Your Addiction to ‘The Next Thing’

Addiction is one of the most common issues of the average person these days, but few realize they are struggling with it, admit having a problem with something, and rarely anyone takes action to get back on track and take control of their life.

In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right , aquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else.

That doesn’t need to be you. You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today. And yes, there will always be this next thing if you don’t take a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.

So, let’s see what the steps are to overcoming your biggest weakness and to finally live freely and happily:

1. Define where you are in your life right now

Sit down today or tomorrow and start thinking about your current lifestyle and the person you are at this stage.

That may sound like an easy exercise, but truly admitting what you aren’t satisfied with in yourself and around you might be difficult.

Honestly and mindfulness are stepping stones to understanding addiction, and eventually not just overcoming it, but making sure you’ll never get addicted to anything else again.

2. Decide that you want to change, and clearly state why

Clear reasons why you want to do something about your addictive nature will help you out a lot in the future.

The decision you take should happen without letting any outer factor affect it. It’s just you and your mind and soul and you want to free these.

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The ‘whys’ behind your desire to deal with the addiction may be many and different—from finally reaching a goal you’ve always had, to improving your relationship with a loved one or becoming a better version of yourself so that you can meet nice people and form deeper connections.

3. Set realistic goals

Now’s the time to go back to the past for a while and think about previous attempts to deal with getting addicted to something, be it a bad habit, overeating, another person, material objects, or even something so harmful that your life was in danger.

What ways did you try? What in your environment helped you make a change, and which factors only made it worse to do something about it?

Write down all these. Then, set goals that are more realistic this time.

You’ll want to start small and give this transformation time. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up too soon.

4. Be present

It’s important to practice mindfulness during the whole process of stopping the addiction to ‘the next thing.’

That’s because once you start doing things unconsciously, you might end up going back to old habits, and triggering bad behaviours or mental patterns you thought you had overcome.

To fight addiction, you should be mindful of what’s going on around you, but also in your head, at any moment of the day. This way you’ll firmly say ‘no’ to negative thoughts and influences, and choose peace and change instead.

5. Optimize your environment

Your environment can make or break the success of your mission.

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Spending time with people who indulge in unhealthy behaviors, for instance, will surely make you weak in the face of temptations and give in easily.

You don’t want that. Instead, either directly tell these people you’re trying to overcome addiction and can’t spend as much time with them anymore, or simply ignore them for a while.

To have the opposite effect, find the ones that are mentally strong, who inspire you, who’ve already fought addiction and now live a happy, fulfilling life.

Just seeing their successful recovery will let you keep hope alive.

What’s more, you’re more likely to take action and stay strong and consistent when you’re around them.

Plus, feedback always comes in handy. Ask them for advice, listen to their words of encouragement, and make sure you don’t repeat their mistakes.

6. Be accountable

Here’s the time to include another person in your journey that will make sure you’re always doing the right thing and not showing any signs of addiction.

It might be a parent, partner, friend, mentor, or even someone you hire for that kind of a job.

Either have daily calls in the beginning, or just keep in touch all the time and share your results, ask for support when you feel weak, etc.

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7. Understand addiction

Do your research and even keep reading about addiction, what causes it, how others have overcome it (meaning success stories on the web of people who are now over that), and how the mind works when it’s addicted to something (and other basic psychology principles).

Understanding something is half the battle.

8. Keep yourself busy

If you have too much time on your hands, and get bored often, your mind will eventually start indulging in old habits again. So engage it in something different and interesting.

Start a new hobby. Learn a new skill. Take up a sport. Begin researching and brainstorming an online business idea.

There are many things you can be doing with your time when you’re not working or doing anything else. Be productive. This will increase your self-esteem too and you’ll feel good about yourself.

9. Prepare for failure

Another useful thing to do in advance is to plan the potential times of the day, or situations in daily life, which might make you do what you’re not supposed to be doing.

Write these down and watch out for them.

10. Enjoy life without addiction

Stop every day for a while to appreciate the clear mind you have now, the change you’re going through that makes you stronger each new day, and the opportunities that lie in store if you keep staying on the right path.

That will encourage you to keep going and will make you happier.

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11. Write it out

Have a journal. Write down anything related to the addiction there, be it one from the past you want to completely overcome, or a potential one you want to stop.

For instance, have the habit of putting pen to paper each morning and saying why today you’ll stay strong. Then, track things throughout the day. And in the evening, review your day, how you did, and what you can do better the next one.

When going back to old journal entries you’ll be able to actually see and feel your progress as every step of the way will be there.

12. Challenge yourself often

Why not make the whole ‘no more addiction’ thing a game? Set milestones, small and realistic ones, give each a deadline, and go accomplish it.

Then, feel good about your achievements, motivated to get even further, and also reward yourself each time you get to the next level.

Even if you haven’t been addicted to anything before, you’re as much likely to experience that in the future as anyone else.

Following the tips above will prevent you from ever losing control over your life, and is a sure way to only move forward and improve yourself and your lifestyle.

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Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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