(This post was more so intended to help anyone struggling to say no to apps on their phone, and attempt to give some perspective and insight on how you may going about removing phone games from your life period. However, after writing this I noticed a very obvious not-so-secret secret that everyone I’ve brought it up to never really thought about. I’m not going to say what it is directly because quite frankely I don’t want to help people go down that path, but at the same time enjoy life how you may. The tip is within the text in Tip 1 in the How To section of this post.)
App game addiction isn’t something that I struggle with anymore, but I’d be a lying son-of-a-bitch if I said it didn’t use to.
There was a point where I thought by not spending money on any sort of video game type app that I was somehow gaming the system, when that is simply not the case.
I wanted to write this post for anyone who might struggle with self-control when it comes to their phones, or video games, and offer a solution and motivation to regain focus.
A Short Story
Once upon a time, there was a 19 year old named Zack that lived with his grandparents in the city of Fairhope, Alabama.
Zack had a lot of free time on his hands. His grandparents didn’t make him pay rent, he had a pretty awesome job he walked to everyday, and Fairhope was a really slow city.
In this environment, Zack was really the only person like himself he knew directly (aspiring for greatness, big thinker, action taker, visionary, self-help junkie, you get the picture). Granted, he did have a female mentor who somewhat helped to hold him accountable, but one of the things he struggled with HARDCORE was an addiction to phone-based video games.
He’d download quick and easy games, games like Hearthstone, Skyrim Legends, Pokemon GO, Clash of Clans, etc. Games that are all really REALLY fun! He’d spend hours on hours on them effortlessly engaged and quite frankly CRUSHING at them (because over the years he’s had a lot of experience in that department).
However, what Zack also knew is that he is not the type of person who wants to live a mediocre life. He had goals he wanted to achieve, books he wanted to read, places he wanted to go and people he wanted to do… I mean meet. 😉
He would play THA FUUUCK out of these apps, yet he knew that doing so wasn’t helping him to become a better person. In fact, it caused him to be a lethargic feeling person, who would on and off delete and re-download these apps because of a variety of factors. One of his biggest influences that most likely caused a decent amount of the relapses was his immediate social circle.
There is a very very very very very very very very large community of people in the world that are into video game apps. The thing about it is now there is probably billions of dollars worth of research dumped into these apps put into these apps to keep people’s faces buried in their phones. I sure as fuck know that I was.
Now, at this point in (sorry to switch from 3rd to 1st so quickly) my life I was in a period of deep introspection and self-analysis. I was aware of my habits, my beliefs, my actions, and how I was spending my time and money. I literally got it to the point where I was able to spend only $50 a week on food, as well as stay pretty well fed.
I would play these apps, specifically the card game types like Hearthstone, and keep doing these weekly challenges to get a specific amount of in game currency to either unlock Card Packs or Story Lines within the game. The same parts of the game that someone could have never played before, spent about $100 and pass the fuck out of my progress I probably spent a couple days in in total overall play time. A couple days of my life I am never going to get back…
…I spent on playing a game trying to “earn my way” and “win” and “beat the system” by not paying any money.
I. Sure. Got. Them.
It took me a lot of times relapsing and deleting those apps, even clearing the accounts to lose all of my progress on purpose, to finally end it all, learn my lesson, and cut my addiction.
The How To
To be honest, there’s no real right or wrong way to go about cutting out this addiction, and I am by no means a master of doing so.
But it is important to learn from people who have the results you want in life. The result I’ve achieved is I have zero desire to ever download a game on my phone again. I’ve reached a point where AT LEAST THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM.
That year I read a lot of books on self-control and have implemented much of what they suggest.
Here are some ways I personally went about cutting this addiction that I think may be helpful to those seeking the same result:
1. Realize that your are not “beating the system” by not spending money on an app.
You’re losing time. You may be not spending money, but a lesson I learned after reading books on systems is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes from something in some way. You’re not spending money to progress on the app. Congratulations. You’re going to progress a lot slower than someone who worked to have an access of money and won’t even compete unless you dedicate countless hours of you could’ve used making REAL money and developing yourself as a person.
2. Nuke Your Accounts.
This isn’t even deleting the apps yet. This is where you “burn the bridges” when it comes to your online account and the progress you’ve made. Whether it’s deleting the account or finding a more creative way, the goal is to make it to where you have lost absolutely all of your progress, and make it to where it would be very hard to make the same progress without some sort of monetary value.
This piece in particular is a beautiful process that I can almost guarantee you’re going to fuck up. For example, when I was nuking my Hearthstone account, there is a way you can get rid of cards in order to get stronger cards. I did that, and by removing a lot of cards I didn’t use that much, I had enough points to make a deck that was the strongest one I had yet. I created those specific cards and I ended up continuing to play the game, until I reached a point where I FINALLY made it to where I lost everything.
Make sure there is absolutely 0 to the least amount of progress possible. From there, it’s time for the next phase.
3. Clean Up (Delete the Apps)
This one should go without saying, but to the uninitiated, the harder something is reach, the less likely we’re going to impulsively get it. This pretty much only worked for me after I nuked my accounts as mentioned before.
There are some odd cases like a game called Terraria that I find extremely fun and addicting regardless of your progress, sort of like Minecraft if you’re familiar, but great for phones. For these, I believe these next tips you might find helpful.
4. Before you Force Stop, Indulge More Than You’ve Ever Indulged Before.
This might sound counter intuitive, but I actually pulled this from a Tony Robbins book. Humans are programmed to move toward pleasure and away from pain. If you are a person trying to stop playing, at minimum, phone games, then you may know what it is like to play a game with the intention of a short session and end up playing hours. The point of this is to play that game for so long, staying so engaged, that the thought of you spending any more time playing an app genuinely makes you feel sick.
If you associate the app with a high degree of pain (lethargy, laziness, loss of time), there’s a chance you’ll find enough fuel under that fire to launch you out of the habit completely.
Don’t do this with drugs.
5. Understand Habits
While it may be useful to indulge to remove any desire for that addiction, theoretically speaking, you arguably cannot remove a habit. You can only replace it. For more understanding on this subject I recommend the book The Power of Habit.
6. Know What is Important to You
I’m running short on time, and this won’t be as fresh as it will be later, so I’m just going to write the rest of this list and if you have any questions put them in the Comment Section below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. 🙂
7. Find A Purpose
8. Move To A More Interesting Place To Live
9. Find New Friends
10. If You Relapse, Be Kind To Yourself
I may come back and edit this post to make it mo betta later, but I’m going to The Turning Point Seminar tomorrow and I gotta get some sleep before then.
Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.
You guys are awesome.