3 things I learned
It is one week since I broke up with technology and stopped watching any videos or play any video games. I tried to be mindful of the influences this change had on my day, and I already learned a lot about my relationship with technology and the digital world's role in my life. So here are the three most important things I have noticed so far:
- I don't miss consuming content
After I sat down to watch my last YouTube video, I knew that it was over, that YouTube was not an option anymore. With this knowledge, I started my first week without any YouTube and was surprised at how easy it was not to consume any content anymore. Filling my time by watching videos became a habit, and I had the strange feeling of missing out on something when I was not interacting with YouTube. That is why I kind of suspected to show some signs of withdrawal from this sudden stop - but they didn't come (yet?). I guess this be because of my conscious breakup. I didn't try to reduce my YouTube time but cut it out completely, and because watching videos was not an option, I didn't feel like missing out on anything.
- I do miss filling the empty time - and there is a lot of it
A day is long, and while I wasn't missing consuming content, I was missing an easy opportunity to fill empty time. I didn't realise how much time I spent (wasted) on YouTube, and suddenly there were moments in which I didn't know what to do. For the first time in years, I experienced boredom. I am used to numbing my mind with the passive consumption of content or video games, and the lack of this option left a prominent empty place - and I realised that this is something good. I suddenly have an abundance of time I can use to reach my goals.
- I have to make healthy alternatives available
Naturally, I tried to fill this empty time, and I quickly found some things to do: reading magazines and newspapers. While these activities are subjectively better than watching YouTube, they still don't bring me closer to my goals. When thinking about this, I realised a problem: I don't have enough "good" things to do when I have free time. So I decided to prime my environment to utilise free moments by always having my gym bag ready and a backlog of manageable tasks. If I don't have good things to do, I am tempted to exchange one time-consuming habit with the next.
I know that I am on the right path, and I know that this path will lead me to the life of my dreams. But I have to be careful - this is just the beginning of a long journey, and I have to stay mindful to stay on the path. I tried to quit watching Youtube and play games in the past, and while the first week or two were always successful, it just takes one weak day, and I am 100% back in the loop. Weeks without any consumption turned into weekends of binging videos. The key to success, in my eyes, is to stay mindful, to keep my goal in mind and pay attention to my actions.
Thank you for following my journey! I am excited to see and share where this breakup will lead me to.