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Dr. Judith Wright | April 21, 2022

Get Out of a Rut and Into the Life You Want: 5 Tips for Overcoming Timewasting Soft Addictions

Are you wondering how to get out of a rut? Do you feel like you’re stuck in life? Eating too much? Watching too much TV? Shopping? Procrastinating?



Many of us fall into these time-wasting habits, or what we like to call soft addictions. These little activities add up to feeling stuck, bored, unfulfilled, or just plain blah. Wondering if you’re addicted to timewasters? Take this soft addictions quiz.

Is it time to break out of your bad habits? Before you doomscroll through your social media feed again or decide what to binge on Netflix next, consider these 5 tips to get out of a rut and overcome soft addictions!

Why We End Up Addicted to Timewasters

We’ve all turned to soft addictions at one point or another. Soft addictions are habits that seem harmless enough at first. Maybe there’s a little puzzle game you like to play on your phone at night. Maybe you enjoy shopping for items online that you never really intend to buy. Or perhaps you find yourself saying yes to dessert every time you hit the lunch cafeteria.

The truth is, there’s nothing really wrong with these little activities now and again. Watching a good movie is one of life’s great pleasures. Social media can be an easy way to stay connected with far-off family and friends. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying ice cream or chips.

When soft addictions become a problem is when they start to rob us of time, money, energy, and the happiness we long for. We start to spend so much time “escaping” into these seemingly harmless habits that we don’t have time for the activities that really bring us joy, contentment, and connection.

For example, we might go out with friends but find ourselves scrolling through our phones to read up on Twitter instead of engaging and being present with the people around us. Or we might spend time and money that we don’t have shopping online, only to find that the temporary high wears off quickly and we don’t even like what we bought.


Soft addictions become a way to escape and a way to distance ourselves from real life, where the engagement REALLY happens.


It can feel safe to stay in our shell and follow our routine—come home from work, microwave dinner, prop up our feet, and scroll through TV channels, but after a short time, it starts to feel like we’re stuck. We need to get out of a rut and that means training ourselves to engage in new habits.

When we want more time, more excitement, and more fulfillment, it’s time to take a hard look at the activities that are robbing us of those precious moments. Here are 5 tips to help us get out of a rut and back into life.

5 Tips to Overcoming Your Soft Addictions

In the book The Soft Addiction Solution, we explain that our timewasting habits are normal, human, and might even feel really good in the moment. When we engage in many activities, it can almost mask as self-care. We may think, “I’m finally taking a moment to chill and relax,” or, “I work so hard all day that I deserve to come home and do nothing at night.”

But what is that chill time costing you?

1. Tell yourself the truth about your soft addictions.

One of the hardest steps to get out of a rut is making the first move. We have to be honest with ourselves and that means, realizing that we may not feel like our soft addictions are destructive. We may feel like we deserve to indulge. We may feel a little guilty, but we tell ourselves we’re just too tired to deal with it right now. We’ll change tomorrow, or next week, or after the new year.

While most of us minimize, hide, or deceive ourselves about our bad habits, if we want to get out of a rut and start to make changes, we have to get real. We have to be truthful if we want to set ourselves free. We need to take an honest look at our time-sucking activities. What are our soft addictions? Do we overeat? Oversleep? Do we find that we’re addicted to too much internet? Do we spend too much time gossiping about others or fixating on what our coworkers, neighbors, or classmates are doing? Write down those bad habits and above all, be honest.

2. Get Support.

Almost any behavior change requires support. If we’re engaged in harder addictive habits like drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol, we might recognize that we need help and support to change those behaviors. Soft addictions can feel easier to control. We may find ourselves thinking, “I could quit whenever I want, but I don’t want to right now.”


But if we feel stuck in a rut, then it’s time for a change. No matter what the habit is that we want to break, accountability is one of the most important factors. That means, speaking up and telling others about the change—request allies in your fight!


It’s surprising how much support we can receive when we speak up and ask for what we need. We may discover that we aren’t alone in our soft addiction and many other people are struggling with the same less-than-healthy habits.

3. Examine your feelings.

Once we figure out which soft addiction we want to tackle, we need to address the feelings that are leading us to turn to that timewaster. Sometimes when we feel uncomfortable with an emotion—like anger, sadness, fear, or hurt, we might turn to snacks or distractions to help us zone out and avoid those feelings.

Soft addictions give us a temporary boost, but the problem is that the boost doesn’t last and oftentimes, it can compound feelings like shame or disappointment, because we feel worse after. When we think the only thing that will make us feel better is a chocolate chip cookie, we can stop and think about how we’re feeling. Are we really feeling sad? Angry? Hurt? Before we reach for the soft addiction, we can tell someone how we’re feeling and start to express our emotions in a productive way.

4. Celebrate success.

If we want to get out of a rut, we have to celebrate the little steps along the way. Maybe we ate two donuts this week instead of three. Maybe we exercised for the first time after avoiding the gym for six months. Maybe we went for a walk in the fresh air rather than hitting “play” on the next episode on Netflix. Whatever it was, celebrate it!

One of the most powerful tools for successful change is celebrating success in any fashion. We get a little mood boost (that we would get from indulging in our bad habits). Better still, we start making new, better habits at the same time. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up because our accomplishment seems small or insignificant compared to the goal. Celebrate each success along the way, no matter the size!

5. Learn the skills you need.

If we’re stuck in a rut, we might feel unfulfilled, blue, tired, less healthy, or down about ourselves. There’s no quick fix that will instantly give us a meaningful, fulfilling, healthy life. It takes incremental steps and a sustained effort over time. It’s one of the situations where the joy is truly in the journey.

Each step we start to discover and build skills we will need to propel ourselves forward on the path. Look at each moment as a learning experience—what can we take away from this situation? What can we use from this moment to help us again down the road? What did we discover about ourselves?

If you want to overcome your soft addictions, take the steps to recognize what they are, and start making the change today. Explore the Soft Addiction Solution for more tips on how we can kick time wasters and start to fill our lives with juicy, exciting, joyful experiences that help drive our sense of meaning and purpose.

If you’re looking for more ideas on living a life of MORE, visit Wright Now. We offer many different courses and resources to help you get more from your career, your relationships, and your life. Today is the day to get MORE out of your life! Don’t wait!

 


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation’s performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

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