“A bad day can tell you more about yourself than a good day.” — Andy Ogle [British mixed martial artist].
Let’s start off by saying, don’t despair if you can’t always keep to your screen time routine. We learn more about ourselves on the bad days than we do on the good days.
The trick – as Jack Nicklaus once said – is “playing badly well”.
The same is true with your screen time routine. It’s one thing to stick to screen time rules when everything is going smoothly. It’s something else entirely when everything seems to be going to hell in a handcart. Therefore, we need to master the art of having good bad days.
We get it, Phil. So how do we master the art of bad days and make great decisions under pressure?
With screen time routines, expect some rough days, some arguments and some slip-ups.
In fact, you should anticipate X hiccups along the way (X is up to you)! That way, when something goes wrong you can say “there’s one hiccup!” without losing sight of your goal. What you don’t want to do is get stressed out when things don’t go to plan, say something like “no screens for the week!” or revert to old habits. We know how hard that can be.
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The habit of perseverance
Perseverance: “Steadfastness in doing despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. It’s that jackpot feeling when you achieve a personal goal. And it’s fuelled by dopamine. (That’s the stuff that helps keeps people motivated to persevere towards achieving their end goal).
Scientists have long understood that high levels of dopamine are linked to long-term habit formation, for example, perseverance. But not everyone produces dopamine – the ‘reward module’ – in equal measure. Thankfully, it’s possible to increase your dopamine production – and thus your motivation and willpower – by using the power of your mind.
Writing for Psychology Today, Christoper Bergland explains 7 ways we can harness the power of our minds to increase dopamine production, thereby naturally increasing our perseverance and chance of achieving our end goal (screen time routine in this instance).
Perseverance and screen time routine
You don’t have to ‘reset’ your screen time routine when things don’t go as planned. In fact, there will no doubt be a number of tweaks you can make to your screen time routine along the way. Go on, write a list of all the obstacles you can expect from your kids when introducing and implementing a screen time routine for the first time.
Then it’s simply a matter of:
- Following the screen time routine you’ve chosen
- Ticking off the hiccups as they happen
- Get back on track, and reward yourself when you do!
- Keep at it.
That’s it. That’s the number 1 secret to screen time success — knowing the obstacles that stand in your way. When you know what they are, you can prepare how you’ll mitigate them. That way they can’t derail you from your intended goal – screen time sanity at home.
Expect the hiccups. Use your momentum to plough through them without looking back. For screen time nirvana is just around the corner!
RELATED: Want to motivate your kids to treat screen time as a privilege?
Need more advice on starting a screen time routine at home? Get in touch with our experts in the comments below!