Sarah had a problem.

Each night, she ended up browsing on her phone, late into the night, waking late and exhausted.

"What to do?" she asked herself.

Sarah decided to plan restrictions - "I won't browse after 10pm"... and "I will restrict myself to 20 minutes total browsing after dinner"

Confidently, she said "case closed".

And it was... for 2 days.

On the third, that latest influencer scandal sucked her in and she ended up browsing and watching videos til 2am.

So she amped it up and configured a time limit on her phone for the social apps, and also enabled screen dimming at night to remind her to go to sleep.

That lasted a week, before she got sucked into the "just 1 episode" trap, disabled the phone restrictions and ended up watching 4 episodes (ugh)

Tired and frustrated at herself for lack of control, the next morning she decided to get serious.

No more phone in the bedroom at all!


Sarah switched to an old fashioned alarm clock by her side, and put her phone in the other side of her apartment, next to the window in the home office.

That seemed to finally do it!

What Sarah did was get smart and engage a "forcing function".

Forcing functions, as you can tell from the name, force you down a healthier path, with very high obstacles to deviate from it.

When you use a forcing function to remove a temptation from your environment, you're radically increasing the chance you won't indulge in that bad behavior. The bigger the barrier to do that bad thing, the better!

And because it's out of sight, out of mind, you don't get drained by having to engage willpower to keep resisting... which improves many other things by side effect.

If you're struggling with a new habit, and keep falling back into the "bad ol" routines, consider what forcing function you can use to really shake things up!

ps - one night a few weeks later, Sarah couldn't sleep and went to kitchen for some water.
On the way she spotted the glow of the phone being charged and said to herself "just 5 minutes"... and that didn't go so well.
So she went for the ultimate forcing function by getting a device that would lock her phone through the night, with no key or way to open it. Only unlocking at her wake up time! She slept happily ever after!

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