Friday, 23 May 2014

Twenty-one days to create a new neural pathway - giving up computer games

Day 1,2,3 (3rd - 5th May) - This has been an easy start to giving up the addictive computer games as I was on a retreat and whilst I had my computer with me for work purposes I wasn't tempted to go on the games. It also helped that the wifi connection was a bit rubbish (being up on the moors in Lancashire) and took ages to load so unless I wanted something really important I didn't bother.
Day 4 - this will be the test, back home and working on the computer but trying to resist. It's lunchtime and I haven't been on them yet but I don't want to congratulate myself too early as I know the pull of them is strong at times.
I must say the games I play are very mild and inoffensive, there are only two I play, Spider Solitaire and Taipei (I know they are lame) but nonetheless they are addictive.
This will be helped again by another retreat on days 6-9.
Day 5 - I am on the computer but finished checking emails and Facebook and the blogs and anything else I need to do, and that this the time I would normally play a few games. So my hands feel twitchy and I have to walk away from the computer and find something else to do. Pleased that I didn't succumb to playing the games today. Each day is a fresh start.
Day 6 - Not going to be on the computer much today or the next few days as I'm off on a retreat this afternoon so that makes it much easier to resist the temptation.
Day 7-9 (Barmoor retreat) No internet signal and no computer anyway so not a problem on these days. It's when I'm on the computer that it will be more difficult.
Day 10 - It's good to acknowledge that I have already reached ten days without playing the games, I hadn't realised it had been as long as that.
Day 11 & 12 - mostly it has been fairly easy but there are times when I'm on the computer and I start to get twitchy and want to play. It's those times when I would have turned to the games before, so recognising that habit energy and knowing I don't have to choice that path this time. It's a step-by-step, moment-by-moment approach. This time I chose to put the laptop down and do something else. So it also relates to the time I'm spending on the computer. Haven't played a game yet but there were times over these two days when the mind would say, 'oh go on, why not. It's harmless' but I have managed to resist.
Day 13-16 - I have managed not to play a game yet but as above there are times when the habit energy would kick in. At those times I've had to put the laptop down and walk away. Not a bad thing of course. Perhaps the worst part of the habit is doing something else on the computer instead of walking away from it.
Day 17 - still haven't played a game but tempted a couple of times when the Ph.D work gets hard and I need a break from thinking.
Day 18 - not feeling so good today, really tired and not much energy. Today it would be easy to just have a couple of 'harmless' games. But I'm writing this instead to remind me of what I have resolved to do and hoping it will help. Nearly there as well so it would be a shame to break it now!
Day 19-21 - Well I've got to the last day without playing any games, and I'm really pleased to have managed it. The last few days have been the hardest, especially when I'm using the computer for other things, I have to make a conscious decision each time to put the computer down and do something else. I'm not saying I'll never play a computer game again as I think it's still a moment-by-moment, day-by-day decision, but I do feel as if I've broken the stickiness of the habit energy that meant I automatically played a few games as part of the checking emails etc. routine.
I'm celebrating 21 days without playing computer games! :)

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