3 Minute Read.
Do you find it difficult staying sober in a world packed full of urges, itches and impulses? Is your sobriety often cut short by the devilish decoys that the world often likes to place in our path?
Let’s be honest, the world is filled with temptations, from fast food, social media and media streaming services, our senses have the potential to be assaulted daily. Platforms such as Facebook or social media often send our dopamine levels skyrocketing, often producing the same effect as a hit of cocaine, or in this instance, a hit of social reward, and studies have confirmed this (Guedes et al., 2016).
Now, of course, the purpose of this article isn’t to vilify social media, it’s actually a great tool if used correctly. What we want to highlight here are some tips we can use to greater reduce our risk of being sucked into the void of temptation. Tactics that essentially improve our self-control, and thus, help us become more resilient against them, and staying sober for good.
Let’s dive in.
Staying Sober by Creating Beneficial Habits
If you haven’t created just some basic habits in your day-to-day routine, this is a great place to start. Habits such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, sleeping consistently and even a routine of meditation can greatly improve our self-control. Studies have actually shown that people who cover the core foundations of healthy eating, exercise and sleep correlate with improved self-control ((Galla & Duckworth, 2015).
The study also noted that creating long-term self-control (which translates into long-term sobriety) can be attained by implementing goal-relevant behaviour, which leads us on to the next tip.
Set Purposeful Goals
We need a purpose in our lives, something we can strive towards, and we often do this by setting goals. Purpose-driven goals keep us focused on the task at hand, they give us a reason to get up in the morning, and it gives our life meaning. When our life is filled with purpose aligned to our values, we greatly reduce the need to rely on temptations and act on our old impulses.
When we improve our self-control, even just through the act of forming good habits, it helps us focus less on the barrage of temptations we encounter daily. This asks the question, what qualify as purposeful goals? Well to begin with, they must be measurable, and as least vague as possible, some examples are:
- I want to write one blog post a week that’s at least 500 words long.
- My goal is to lose 5kg in the next few months.
- By mid-year, I want to start my own website that sells “X”.
Whether it be entrepreneurial or simply personal, these examples are both simple, and easily measured. The act of seeing measurable progress also keeps us motivated to keep going and continue to push away temptations that don’t serve us, keeping us on the path to staying sober.
Disable Push Notifications
They may seem beneficial, but push notifications are the worst if we’re trying to stay away from temptation and keep our lives in a more focused state. Studies have shown push notifications to produce a decline in performance, cognitive function, concentration, and ultimately, pushes us off-task (Kim, Kim, & Kang, 2016).
Push notifications are addictive, and just like Facebook, the buzz or flash of a notification on our phone constantly triggers a surge of dopamine.
One of the best things you can do and greatly reducing the temptations of the digital world is to disable all push notifications, and just check things manually as you need them. The only thing that lights up on my phone are messages that come from family and practically nothing else.
These tips seem fairly straightforward, and sometimes with most things, straightforward is all it needs to be. Creating a life with habitual routine, purposeful goals, and technology thats push notification free, we can vastly improve our self-control, and the result is staying sober long-term.
Galla, B. M., & Duckworth, A. L. (2015). More than resisting temptation: Beneficial habits mediate the relationship between self-control and positive life outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(3), 508-525. doi:10.1037/pspp0000026Guedes, E., Sancassiani, F., Carta, M. G., Campos, C., Machado, S., King, A. L., &
Nardi, A. E. (2016). Internet addiction and excessive social networks use: What about Facebook? Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 12(1), 43-48. doi:10.2174/1745017901612010043Kim, S., Kim, S., & Kang, H. (2016).
An analysis of the effects of smartphone push notifications on task performance with regard to smartphone overuse using ERP. Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, 2016, 1-8. doi:10.1155/2016/5718580
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All the best in health,
Former Drinker & Clinical Nutritionist
Former drinker, Nutritionist, Biohacking enthusiast, self-experimenter, research fanatic, and self-taught writer, Stephen immerses himself deep into the literature of human optimisation and better understand the nature of addiction. His goal is to help people take control of their addiction, reset their cravings, unscramble their broken brain circuitry and use actionable strategies that work ten times better than anything else.