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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 18, 2019

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

Critical thinking is the art of filtering through information to reach an unbiased, logical decision that guides better thought and action. It can be learned through powerful techniques listed in this article.

Before you read further, it is important for you to know that critical thinking is a state of mind, not a tool or strategy.

If you are bogged down in the trivial day to day matters of your professional and personal life, learning skills to develop your ability to think critically can help you rise above these issues and focus your energies where they are needed – to solve problems and accomplish objectives.

It stands to reason that the better the learning techniques, the better critical thinking and reasoning will be. My experience in helping people grow means I know exactly what is needed to teach critical thinking (hint: it’s not just pondering over the problem).

There are 5 powerful techniques that form the base of critical thinking:

  1. Analytical thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Creativity
  4. Open-mindedness
  5. Problem-solving

Once you learn the techniques listed and start employing them in your daily life, you’ll quickly start to notice a change in the way you approach problems and consequently, how you resolve them too.

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1. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is the gathering and breaking down of information into small bites that help make sense of it.

To use it for critical thinking:

  • Be very clear on why you need the information. This is to recognize your limitations and employ foresight to overcome them.
  • Gather information from as many sources as you can: peers and experts, podcasts, relevant literature and any other place you can think of.
  • Rephrase questions multiple times to get different perspectives on data available and possibly arrive at different solutions.
  • Break down the data into factual subsets and relate each to the issue at hand.
  • Think on paper to make new connections. Write, doodle, make mind-maps or use spreadsheets. Data presented visually can help you make new connections make sense of emerging patterns.
  • Tidy up the workplace. Once data has been gathered, your workspace and your brain will both be cluttered with excess information. Neaten the physical space and clear your mind with meditation. The change in focus will help you view the information in a new light, potentially helping you reach newer, better conclusions.

Want more information and tips on adopting this powerful technique? What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success has all the information you need.

2. Communication

Communication is a key technique for critical thinking as it gives you access to the thoughts of people around you.

Data can be communicated through audio and visual means and in many cases, through careful observation of body language:

  • Ask for different points of view and seek justification for the same thing. When you invest in the matter, you will be able to explore all options to reach the best solution.
  • Listening without interrupting and only asking questions or voicing concerns once the speaker is done helps you make better connections.
  • Be 100% focused on a verbal or written discussion, you can better hear/read the opinions of the people involved.
  • Paraphrase the speaker/writer’s point of view and ask for affirmation. This enables you to pay full attention and use the input to think critically.
  • In a meeting, subtle communication cues are given by the body language of fellow attendees. An imperceptible frown, a small nod, pencil tapping etc. will all give you clues to what they are really thinking, just in case their actions are not in sync with their words!
  • Active observation, where you are watching and listening intently helps you know what to make of the information that is being passed around. It gives you clues to the general opinion about the topic under discussion and opens up new possibilities.

The information you gather through such communication will be invaluable in thinking critically to arrive at a decision that is holistic and unbiased.

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3. Creativity

Critical thinking is an art, and like any art form, its lifeblood is creativity. To really learn critical thinking, you need to include elements of creativity in the process!

  • Brainstorm with your team in an all-new location or work-shadow an industry expert to step out of your comfort zone. You could be surprised by the ideas that flow at a picnic or a game of billiards!
  • Gather data and tabulate it in the form of colorful, eye-catching charts, graphs and mind maps. The simple exercise makes your mind bring data together in different ways and presents them so multiple unique conclusions can be reached, giving you the flexibility to choose the best one.
  • Play brain games such as Sudoku or chess to appreciate how different factors can be manipulated to reach a preferred outcome. These games help make connections between previously disconnected nerves, giving your brain the power to find multiple pathways to answering problems.
  • In a similar vein, you can forge new neural connections by learning a new skill, a new language or even a new recipe!

I break down creativity in my other article What is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It. If you want to be good at critical thinking, you need to adopt creativity!

4. Open-Mindedness

It’s easy to say you’re open minded but is your mind really open?

To get an idea,

  • Be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and how these will impact the matter at hand.
  • Hear an opinion that conflicts with your own without forming a response before the opinion is fully voiced.
  • Acknowledge that there may be more than one approach to solving a problem and that they may all be right in some way.
  • Consider your true feelings when you will implement any required changes.
  • Disregard your long-held beliefs and assumptions and let go of habits.
  • Imagine the decision-making factors placed on weighing scales. Are they balanced?

Open-mindedness is a powerful technique for critical thinking. New possibilities can be uncovered, helping you resolve personal and professional matters in a manner that doesn’t frustrate you or alienate the other party.

5. Problem-Solving

Critical thinking is heavily dependent on problem-solving. An effective critical thinker will be a problem solver with the foresight to anticipate roadblocks and negative outcomes, and the experience and presence of mind to resolve them quickly and move on.

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One of the most effective problem-solving methodologies is the 5 Whys Analysis. Invented by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motors in the 1950s, it has been used successfully by the automobile giant to get to the root cause of problems.

The idea behind this is simple: start with the end problem and keep asking why until you get to the root cause of it.

The general idea is that asking why 5 times from the effect is enough to get to the cause, hence the name. However, the methodology does not limit the questions to 5, and why can be asked as many times as need to peel away the layers until a satisfactory answer is reached.

To use the 5 Whys Analysis, start off by listing the problem and writing why in front of it. The next point in the list should be answer to the first why with another why in front of it. Continue answering the question asked above followed by a why until you’ve asked the question 5 times and answered it six times. 99% of the time, the last answer will be the root cause of the problem stated in the first point.

For example, consider the a commonly given scenario where a vehicle does not start.

  1. Vehicle will not start. Why?
  2. Battery is dead. Why?
  3. The alternator is not functioning. Why?
  4. The alternator belt has broken. Why?
  5. It was old and worn out. Why?
  6. The car is not maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

By this example, it is clearly demonstrated that 5 whys were asked to reach the root cause of the problem.

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The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

Over the years, the 5 Whys Analysis has been adopted by millions to reach the root cause of their personal and professional problems. Industry giant Six Sigma has also incorporated the 5x Why Analysis in the Analyze phase of their DMAIC methodology.[1]

Final Thoughts

Is critical thinking a new-fangled notion? Not at all. Its history can be traced back to Socrates who questioned commonly held beliefs. This practice was carried forward by leading scholars and thinkers from different times such as Aristotle and Plato, Colet and Moore, Descartes, Galileo and Newton.[2]

Today’s world is dependent on critical thinking to resolve all sorts of issues. It is now indispensable for issues ranging from personal relationships to professional jobs and those involving the global community.

The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly, they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

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Featured photo credit: Mariya Pampova via unsplash.com

Reference

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