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How to Break Your Cell Phone Obsession

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

That little glowing screen you feel constantly connected to can be causing more harm than good. Maybe your cell phone makes you feel nervous or perhaps even a bit uncomfortable when you’re in situations where you can’t use it. When was the last time you went an hour without looking at your phone? Have you ever gone a full day without paying it any attention? If you’re looking to ease up on your relationship with your mobile gadget, read below for tips on how to make the process a little less painful.


Accept that it is probably impossible for you to maintain a phone-free lifestyle. In this day and age, more and more business and personal opportunities are made possible through the use of mobile devices. With social networks now extending into every niche–from book-lovers to financial planners–you would likely be doing yourself a disservice by detaching yourself from your phone altogether. Much like a successful diet and healthy physical lifestyle, a healthy relationship with your phone will require you to acknowledge its importance in your life and recognize that you’re looking for small, sustainable changes. Going cold turkey and swearing off your phone entirely will likely just set you up for failure.

Download an app designed to reduce your activity on your phone. Yes, it seems counter-intuitive, but do research on apps that can help make you aware of how much time you spend doing activities on your phone. Many of these apps will generate rewarding messages when you can go a certain length of time without checking your phone or scrolling through your apps. Place the app on your home or unlock screen. That way, you’re reminded of your resolution to reduce time spent on your phone every time you click the unlock button.

Read a book or draw a picture. Often, watching television and browsing the internet on a desktop seem too similar to the experience of looking at a glowing screen. Try to put yourself in a different headspace entirely by pursuing hobbies that don’t involve screens or passive browsing. You could also journal or take up sewing. Later, when you feel comfortable with unlocking your phone, you can share your creations on social media apps. You will probably feel much better knowing you have something tangible to share with the world, instead of scrolling through your feed wondering, “Why can’t I do neat things like that?”

Tell your friends to help keep you on track. This could mean texting or messaging a friend and asking them to scold you if they notice you’re online. It can also mean letting any friends you’re interacting with in real life know that you have a goal in mind of not checking your phone while you’re with them. The social element of trying to achieve a goal will guilt you out of checking your phone–how many times has a friend sat across from you in uncomfortable silence while you flipped through your feed?

phone ruining relationship

Reward yourself. For each small victory you accomplish–such as going an entire afternoon without checking your phone, or opting out of texting in favor of making physical plans with a friend–treat yourself to a small reward. Buy a new book or call up a romantic interest and request a date. Try to resist sharing your little reward on social media, and instead journal about it. Over time it will become much easier for you to feel satisfied as an individual, instead of feeling compelled to share it online.

People are obsessed with their phones for all different reasons–though many spend the majority of their time on social media apps. This can quickly spiral into a massive time sink, and takes away from the time you could be spending engaging with the world around you or developing personal skills. What is most important is to make a genuine effort to change your behavior. Be aware of the time you spend on your phone, document it if you have to, and focus on the little changes that will put you on the path to success.