You might not have any serious addictions in your life. You might not ever have had any serious addictions. But, like many of us, you might have some well-established micro-addictions.
What are micro-addictions?
These are small habits that don’t cause major disturbances in your life but they have a cumulative negative effect on you. They’re almost un-noticeable if you look at them on a short-term basis but over a few months or years, they can really cause issues for us.
If things aren’t working well for you in certain areas of your life, it might be due to several micro-additions.
What do micro-addictions look like?
Here’s an example of someone with several micro-addictions:
They’re trying to build an online business but they usually agree to meet up with friends or family for socializing during their workday. They have trouble saying “no” because social events are a relaxing distraction from working on their business. They are “addicted” to this pattern of behaviour. The payoff is the avoidance of work and the enjoyment of socializing.
That same person might have a goal to lose 10 pounds but they usually have a couple of beer after work and several times a day, they munch on some chips or snacks. Is this person an addict? Not in a major way, but they are somewhat addicted to those behaviours.
They may also be micro-addicted to certain emotions. We habitually emotionally react in predictable patterns. Someone cuts them off in traffic, they immediately get annoyed. Someone doesn’t reply to their email, they feel offended.
They receive positive news so they’re happy. The positive news later turns out to not be what they expected, so now they’re disappointed. Each external situation provokes an almost-automatic emotional response.
Micro-addictions are all the little behaviours that can be difficult for us to control. It’s hard to spot the damage they’re doing because the negative effects usually happen over a longer period of time.
How to Get Micro-Addictions Under Control
Here are a few ideas to help you minimize or eliminate those pesky micro-addictions:
1. Practice awareness throughout the day
Observe your thoughts and emotions. Get to know how your mind works. Become more aware of how you’re feeling at various moments during the day. As you get better at being aware, you’ll develop the mind strength to control addictive and impulsive behaviour.
2. Catch yourself “in the act”.
“Oh, I was just about to dive in headfirst to that big bag of chips. I think I’ll hold off on that.”
Catch yourself in that moment where you’re about to act on a micro-addiction. Then, purposefully choose to do something else.
After all, you are in control, right?
3. Make micro-changes
Since we’re only dealing with minor but stubborn addictions, one helpful strategy is to make small adjustments. By making small habit changes, you’ll find it a lot easier to make changes, plus you’ll be able to keep your motivation up since you can still enjoy your micro-addiction but in a more moderate way and with more awareness.
4. Practice the “No-Option” protocol
If making micro-changes isn’t working well for you because you find it hard to practice moderation, then you might have to practice the mindset of “No Option”.
This is where you totally eliminate the option of your micro-addiction. You give yourself “no option” to indulge in it.
Sometimes it’s easier to go “No Option” than to practice moderating a negative habit.
“No-Option” can be done as a 15 or 30-day challenge where at the end of the time period, you can reassess if you want to continue. This makes it easier to commit since you’re only dealing with a short period of time and not “forever”.
Do you need to give up your micro-addictions?
Maybe…Maybe not. It depends how problematic they are for you and how much pain or stress they cause you.
If your micro-addictions are part of the reason why your business, health or relationships are suffering, then minimizing these addictive behaviours could pay off for you big-time.
Until next time. : )
PS: Want to reach your goals faster? Check out one of the online accountability coaching programs and book a free Coaching Call.