Original Link : https://medium.com/swlh/replacing-my-instagram-addiction-with-books-4037dee3b731

Ilove storytelling — don’t ask me why!— hence the storytelling concept of this blog. This time I want to share how I got back to my long lost reading habit. No, it’s not because I have been busy, it’s because of my addiction to social media! Here’s how it’s wrapped.

  1. I admitted 100% that I was addicted to Instagram, and how it had ruined my daily activities.
  2. I deleted my Instagram app, but still keep opening it on the web.
  3. I stock up many books on my phone.
  4. Learn how to use Instagram correctly.

Iam going to be honest. Growing up as a kid I used to read many books. Not the most intelligent ones, but I always had at least one book under my pillow. I read Enid Blyton, Stefan Wolf, Hilda Stahl, and many other translated children’s books. I know they were “only” fictional books, but they helped me create my dream of exploring the world and learn about cultures outside my country. In the age where Netflix didn’t exist to show you how people in different countries live, how else did I know that you eat smoked beef and apricot jam in the west — what are smoked beef and apricot jam by the way? — my 10-year old self would wonder.

I realised that the more sophisticated our mobile phones have become, the faster the internet has turned, and the more abundant mobile applications have been released, the less I have turned my nose into books. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter (Path used to be one of them but I uninstalled them years ago) are the silent killers of my reading habit and Instagram is the greatest of them all. Well, Instagram is great and helps me reconnect with my friends. However, I found it would completely absorb my life when I keep scrolling my feed or swiping stories. I even talked about this with the interns at my office — about how after we got home, we did nothing else other than scrolling endlessly until it was time for bed. Unfortunately, that’s how the conversation ended. We just talked about how bad Instagram was without any solutions on how to stop it!

| People complain a lot about how bad Instagram is for them without any intention on how to stop their bad habit |

The thing with my Instagram habit is that I would only scroll some people’s lives and I wouldn’t gain anything back. You see people eat sushi or start their Monday and that’s it. It is different from YouTube. I access YouTube for more purposeful content, such as recipes, fashion tips, language tips, and maybe some vlogs. Yes, I do watch a few vlogs, some are ok to watch — but on Instagram… you are redirected to the next stories and next stories and you are trapped watching something you didn’t intend to watch.

One fine day, I was scrolling on my Instagram, and my husband asked me, “Do you think you are addicted to social media?” It was not a serious question, he even giggled while asking it. Even though it didn’t have any intention to offend me, that question haunted me that night. That very night, I admitted to myself that I had social media addiction, and how it prevented me from being fully committed to my obligations as a housewife, being productive, and even achieving bigger dreams. This might sound like an exaggeration but I believe that “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

Because it haunted me, I left my bedroom while my husband was already asleep, and opened my laptop to search on Google about social media addiction. One article was pretty good; it was also on Medium, but I wish I could remember so I could link it here. It pretty much helped me take some action, but believe me, if you admit that you have this problem, any type of article about social media will help you.

The only action I could remember after reading it was I deleted my Instagram application*. I knew I couldn’t live 100% without Instagram, though. All my friends are there! But thank goodness Instagram exists on the web. I still can write a comment on a friend’s post there and see what they’re up to. On the brighter side, this helps me become more selective on whose stories to open instead of being trapped in infinite story posts. I know it is completely awkward when someone posts a story and you want to reply, but you can’t. But isn’t that why WhatsApp exists?

| Instagram is to get yourself updated about who or what you really care about. If you want to chat with them, use WhatsApp |

Then how does this contribute to my reading habit?

I notice that oftentimes I check on my phone (and Instagram) out of habit. It’s because I have to look busy in an awkward situation, or I am waiting for a tram, or I am sitting in a cafe. Some habit-related books that I read mentioned that you can’t completely get rid of a bad habit unless you replace it with a good habit. Well, I hadn’t read these books by the time I was getting rid of my Instagram app — I just did it unconsciously. So I decided to buy e-books, the very interesting ones, and that’s how I started replacing the endless Instagram scroll with something more meaningful to me.

You might not be big when it comes to reading an e-book, you might still be in love with the smell of a book. However, this is what has proven to work for me because the cue of Instagram scrolling turns up when I reach my phone without a purpose. This way, e-books may come in handy. I just find that e-books are amazing intervention, apart from what it might do to my eyes (I should invest in Kindle!). If you don’t like the idea of doing e-book, you can stick to your physical books, or this, which recommends you to change your habits into the usage of healthier apps.

| Replacing Instagram scrolling habits with an e-book helps me respond to the cue with a new good habit |

Am I saying that Instagram is bad that I had to remove it? Well of course not. I just haven’t been doing it right! Here she is showing you how to do it right. I am not there yet, I am still in the process, but I will let you know once I find the balance!

Despite so, I hope you find what you’re looking for here!