OvertLife Things for Teens

Why You Can’t Stop Binge Watching Your Phone

How to stop falling asleep watching my phone

It’s 10:30pm, you know you should be in bed. You’re tired. You know you’ll thank yourself in the morning when you’ve had a great night’s sleep. So… you jump in bed, open up YouTube and finally fall asleep 3.5 hours later… with your phone in your hand.

You’ve probably wondered why you can’t ever simply do what you know you should. I know I have. I’ve also spent hours upon hours looking into why I can’t stop watching my phone when I’m trying to go to sleep.

And it not just at bedtime. I find myself with my phone in my hand, and I don’t actually know why I picked it up. I’ve reach for my phone in my pocket, only to realize it’s not there and then I remember that I’m washing dishes and don’t want my phone in my hand to begin with.

For years, I’ve been a slave to my phone. Literally. I’ve tried everything. I’ve deleted apps, turned off my app store and had my wife make a screen time password so I couldn’t turn it back on. I’ve taken melatonin so I couldn’t stay awake. I’ve tried reading before bed, working out, practicing hobbies, everything.

No matter what, I always ended up right back in the same place. After falling asleep at midnight or later, I’d be frustrated with myself because I couldn’t put it down then wake up with a foggy mind swearing “never again.”

Why are good habits so hard to form?

All that was true, until now. I’ve turned over a new leaf in my life and it’s been genuinely life-changing for me. I’ve learned a secret that I spent years and years trying to figure out.

The secret is simple. Your habits can never change until your identity changes. This is a simple fact. It is as true as the law of gravity. If you jump, you will come back down. If you try to change a habit without changing your identity, you will never succeed.

The secret to learning new habits

Let’s say you want to learn guitar. You buy a beginner acoustic and sign up for lessons. The next day, you tell a friend, “I’m trying to learn guitar.” Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news. You never will.

BUT, if you tell a friend, “I’m becoming a musician,” now we’re getting somewhere. The reason is simple. In the first example, you’re explaining a new goal that you have, “learning guitar.” In the second example, you’re assuming a new identity, “becoming a musician.”

How to stop bad habits and learn good habits

It is literally this simple, but it took me years and years to finally understand. The reason I couldn’t ever stop binging my phone is because I didn’t believe that I needed to. I actually bought into the insane idea that I could be on my phone constantly and still be a healthy, functioning individual.

I assumed that it was because I wasn’t “good enough” or that there was something wrong with me. Other people seemed perfectly capable of having their lives controlled by their phones, and they still managed to “succeed.”

My breakthrough occurred when I finally internalized reality. It is physically impossible for me to be the man I want to be and be stuck on my phone most of the time. I will never achieve any measurable success so long as I stay up till 1am watching YouTube and TV shows.

My identity needed to change. My habits were just a symptom.

I’m no longer “trying to stop watching my phone in bed.”

Instead, “I’m a healthy person,” “I’m a productive person,” “I’m a good man.”

Healthy people don’t spend hours on their phone when they should be sleeping. Productive people don’t constantly watch YouTube every moment they have a chance. Good men make good choices and set good examples for their family.

Taking control of your life

We all want to reclaim our lives. The lives that have been stolen by our phones. Social media, YouTube, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Apple TV, etc… are all stealing your life from you.

You know it. You hate it. But you can’t stop.

You’ll never stop.

Not until you change the thing that really matters.