The Phone Habit

The Phone Habit


I recently started a group – one that wasn’t necessarily fitness or nutrition related. It’s a book club of sorts and it’s based on a book I read last summer that changed my life. I wanted to share it with others and see what would happen if we not only read the book but ACTED on it. Would other people find the concepts in this book as life changing as I did?

Well at least one person did and she is my guest blogger today! I try to help others by sharing my own personal experiences but I’m just one person with one perspective – so now here is someone else’s experience for us all to learn from! 

Kelsey Long and I have been working out together for several years now! She has become a wonderful friend and we share a passion for teaching group fitness classes. This post is about how she’s changed her life for the better this past month! Hearing her talk about it inspired me and it’s the habit I plan to focus on next month with my book club – so I asked her if she’d write about it for all of us to benefit from! I hope it inspires you too! Thank you to Kelsey for sharing, I know it’s out of your comfort zone!- Steph

“It all started with a book. A book on how to change habits by embracing who you are and taking a deeper look inside yourself. I never saw myself as a person who would join a book club. I love books. I can read for hours and hours. But a book club? No thanks. I’m not one to just open up and give out my opinions, especially with a group of people. But when my friend and fellow fitness mentor, Stephanie, created a book club around this one idea- I knew it would make me uncomfortable and force me to change my habits. I always preach to my group fitness classes that nothing will change unless you are outside of your comfort zone.

Well, here we go. The book we read was called, “Better Than Before” by Gretchen Rubin. I won’t go too much into it because I do suggest you read it, but basically everyone can be categorized into 4 different tendencies:

Obligers: Meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves (A TON of people are Obligers)

Upholders; Respond readily to outer and inner expectations (This is me!)

Questioners; Question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if it makes sense- essentially they make all expectations into inner expectations.

Rebels; Resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.

I am an upholder. This does not surprise me because I don’t like to let other people down and I won’t let myself down. In our book club, for the month of February, we chose one habit to focus on creating or changing. A lot of people are working on meal prepping, getting up earlier to work out, etc…I decided to go a different direction.

My habit was to put down my phone and be more in the moment. I have always used my phone as a crutch; it’s too easy to take it out if I’m bored, uncomfortable, nervous, excited, and anxious… OK I guess it’s basically any emotion I go through. It’s the perfect distraction. I always knew it was an issue but I really didn’t care. I would go out with friends and we would ALL be on our phones instead of talking to each other.

“OK, OK”, I told myself, “I’m going to take the first step.” I told my husband what I was going to do and how I wanted to start a change for the better in everyone around me. He smiled and told me he was proud of me, but acknowledged that it was a big aspiration for me. With his support, I started the challenge early; once I knew what I wanted to do I’m not one to wait for a “start date”. LET’S DO THIS!!


At first there was that constant urge to just pick up my phone. No reason behind it, it just felt normal – especially in awkward situations. I had to fight that urge and keep myself in the moment. I also told myself unless there was an emergency, I would only check my phone when I was by myself. I found this to be a little ambitious as some nights when I was on call with work (I do have a personal phone AND a work phone, double trouble) I knew I needed to be checking my phone just in case I was needed. So I turned my ringer/alert on and kept the phone in the other room. When out with friends, I kept the phone in my purse.

An amazing thing happened; I started to realize how much OTHER people were on their phones, I saw it everywhere! At the gym – girls and guys taking selfies on each piece of equipment they use, guys would do a few reps then take out their phone, check Facebook, take a selfie, back to 5 reps, sit back up and check in on Facebook… Are you kidding me? I was convinced I was the only one working out.  At restaurants – people would put their phone right in front of them on the table, where their plate should be. I noticed it everywhere. It pissed me off. I would come home and just be mad. I was making a positive change but things still felt negative. I had to do something.

I was quiet about what I was doing at first; I wanted people to notice a change in me but how could they notice when they were constantly looking down? So I sat there when the people I was with took out their phones. It’s kind of like telling them “Hey, I’m here, I want to talk to you, just look up, PLEASE!” Frankly, it’s rude. Try to have a conversation with someone while they are buried in their phone. You might as well be talking to a wall.

I had been no different but now I had become self aware, that’s the difference and that’s the first step to change. A month went by and I was feeling so proud of myself. At times, the people I was with would be engrossed in their phone, like to the point I thought their neck was going to break. Should I take out my phone to fit in and give in to the temptation I have worked so hard to reverse? SCREW THAT! I became more determined to change the views of at least one person. My mountain I had to climb, not only for me but also to help others see what had become so clear to me.

I met one of my best friends for lunch after an intense workout earlier this week. We sat at the bar and had a great conversation for almost 2 hours. When we were leaving I told her I noticed she didn’t take out her phone even once. She told me, “I didn’t because you didn’t.” At this moment, the heavens opened, someone was singing, rainbows appeared and I think a unicorn flew by. I had changed the view of one person. It may have only been for 2 hours but I know she became self aware in those moments and we were both present for each other for those 2 hours. I had her WHOLE attention and she had mine. How cool is that?

I know I am not perfect and I am still battling on putting the phone down. I’m human. I’m young(ish). I’m still climbing my mountain but here are some strategies I found helpful:

  1. Don’t have your phone in arm’s length. Turn on the sound so you can hear it if someone is calling or you receive a message. If you are expecting a call or text, there ya go, otherwise keep it out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind. This works.
  2. Fight the urge to pick up the phone if someone else does first. I found myself grabbing for my phone if someone else did. No reason for it, I just didn’t want to be the only NOT on my phone. Fight that urge and don’t fall into a mindless trance while scrolling.
  3. Tell people what you are doing! Trust me, so many people will applaud you because they want to do it themselves -they just don’t know how to take that first step (Self-awareness is the first step). Once they know, they will be less likely to take out their phone, especially around you.
  4. Have a battery goal; when I was on my phone all the time I would get notifications that I only had 20%, then 10% battery life left. WHAT?!?! IT’S ONLY 4PM! One of the first days I started this, I went to bed and my battery life was at 72% with no charging. I now never let it get below 40%, even when I use my phone to study my choreography or use it for music when I teach my classes.
  5. Take off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram apps… Not saying cancel your profile- Just check it on your computer or when you have time to yourself. When the app is taken off your phone you have less temptation to check it. Did I do this? No, but I also have weird self-control that I wouldn’t let myself check it (Remember – I’m an upholder).
    1. A common problem I hear is, “My business is on Facebook. I have to constantly check it to be there for my clients.” Usually a lot of these businesses are built on the idea of bettering yourself. TELL your clients that you are trying to better YOURSELF by not checking your phone as much. Allot a time where you can sit down on your computer OR your phone and answer any questions your clients have, schedule out posts on your business page, and take the time to plan it out. Also ask yourself – am I really working on my business or am I just perusing though the Internet? Time. Management. This is eye opening if you are honest with yourself. If it’s an emergency and someone needs to get ahold of you, trust me, they will.

This has been my experience for only a month. I can’t wait to see what a year brings of less technology. I hope everyone will take an inner look at decide if your life could be “better than before” by doing what I did. There’s another world out there, and it’s just 12 inches up.”

-Kelsey Long

1 comment on “The Phone Habit”

  • Awesome advice and inspiration! I know how refreshing it is to “not” be checking a phone, and I wonder why/how we let it take us over! I’m not as much of an upholder and I make excuses…..good insight!

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