According to a recent study, we engage with our phone in 76 complete different sessions per day. Unfortunately, that's the average – with heavy users turning to their phones for up to 132 daily sessions. And I'd reckon based on our ages, and the kinds of jobs we have, and the dominance of staying connected through social media, that many of us here would fall into the heavy user category.
The good news? There's a simple, built-in feature in every phone on the market that we can use to help us achieve our goals and become the men we want to be.
The lock screen wallpaper.
The hardest part about sticking to goals or starting new habits or curtailing destructive behavior is being centered enough in any given moment to make the decisions that take you from where you are to where you want to be. Essential to being able to do this are macro investments like therapy, regular exercise, meditation, eating well and sleeping enough. But sometimes it's the little things that can have the biggest impact in those moments, and that's why I proudly introduce the first in a new series of free motivational phone wallpapers.
If the hard part is remembering in the moment your real goals, what better way to remind you than by putting it right on the thing you look at 132 times per day?
And in some cases, right on the thing you might be using to make the less-than-optimal decisions like texting an ex, drowning in social media, checking work when you should be with current company, or asking friends to go drinking as an excuse to skipping the gym.
This first wallpaper is a simple reminder to Make Stronger Decisions. Why stronger? Why not better? As Dr. David Burns, MD points out in his seminal book Feeling Good, a tome considered essential to cognitive behavior therapy, the words we use to speak to ourselves have a huge impact on our mood, motivation, productivity, and depression and anxiety.
For example, telling yourself, “I should work out more,” says a lot of things. It suggests that you're already resigned to the fact that exercising would be productive for your life, but you already know that you likely won't stick to it. It can result in guilt or feeling defeated by thinking there are things to be done that you know you should do but probably won't. Instead, saying to yourself, “I choose to work out more,” or “I will work out more,” is not an act of lying to yourself or trying to trick yourself, it is actually building a foundation in your thinking that will help you work out more.
Likewise, constantly reminding yourself 132 times per day that you need to make better decisions can lead to similar feelings of guilt, especially during the process when you are still doing the habits you're working to change. It also suggests that there is something wrong with you – there isn't. There's nothing wrong with you, you've found yourself doing something destructive or not doing something productive, and are consciously choosing to work toward making the stronger decision in the real moments that determine whether or not you pick the direction of your goals.
Like a muscle, our ability to overcome negative habits or take on productive ones is exponential. Starting the snowball effect of a new diet requires you to “say no” just once in a time that you would have indulged prior. Ultimately having yourself removed from a toxic relationship requires you to not text your ex just once in a time that you previously would have.
From there, the second time is geometrically easier. It's not the 100th time going to the gym that's the hardest to get you there – it's times 1-20 that takes the most mental strength – and the 20th time is significantly easier than the 5th time.
So commit to becoming the man you want to be. Download this wallpaper to your phone and use it as productive, re-centering: I will make stronger decisions.