I am convinced that micro-addictions are the #1 enemy to wellness, so writing 2 articles to be written on the topic felt necessary! If you have not had a chance to read my first article on this topic, you can check it out here! To recap, having a well balanced life is crucial if you want to experience life at the highest frequency possible. In today's culture, it is so easy to become distracted and "addicted" to the noise of technology, social media, our busy work life, unhealthy foods, etc. As we begin to grow as a race, we need to become smarter and more conscious of our daily habits. We have the choice to either take control of our own lives, or allow what we created to take control of it for us.
Social media is just one of many micro-addictions that run our day, a few others would include: impulsive purchases of fast-food, the classic "just one more episode" statement after a great episode of Game of Thrones, excessive shower times (although I am convinced that singing in the shower is good for the soul, so sing your heart out), and many more. The list is endless, and everyone has their own list of micro-addictions! I split this article into two separate weeks because it is important to first recognize what our micro-addictions are before we can get rid of them. If you are able to realize what is holding you back from living a naturally high lifestyle, then let's talk about how to defeat those micro-addictions!
How do habits work?
I read an amazing book titled the "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg, and it has forever changed my outlook on habits. One of the major themes in the book (small spoiler) are the 3 stages of a habit: the trigger, the action, and the reward. For example, most people check their phone when they are in an awkward situation. The trigger is the feeling of being uncomfortable, which causes them to perform an action (checking the phone). The reward could be a sense of belonging whenever they see a text from a friend or a notification from Facebook. If you want to defeat your bad habits or micro-addictions, you must rewire your brain to perform a different action whenever you experience the trigger, and reward yourself for doing a good job. Instead of checking your phone in an awkward situation, force yourself to become more social by asking someone a fun fact about themselves. Reward yourself with something sweet, such as a piece of chocolate or a glass of champagne. The reward is by far the most important part!
Write them OUT
As with any goal in life, you must write it OUT. I say this so that you can make it official that you recognize the addiction and intend to eradicate it from your life. It is almost like a contract with yourself. Write down your micro-addictions, and what your new ACTION and REWARD will be after you experience the TRIGGER.
Recognize how much time being is wasted
I am a numbers person, so one of the first things that I realized was how much time I was was wasting from micro-addictions. We only have 168 hours in a week. 1/3 of that time is spent sleeping, which leaves us with 111 hours. 40 of those hours are typically spent at work, which leaves us with 71 hours. In 2015, Americans spent a little over 3 hours per day just commuting to work, which leaves us with 56 hours. On average, we spend 3 hours/day or 21 hours/week cooking and eating food, which leaves 35 hours. This gives us 5 hours (weekends included!) of extra time per day to catch up with friends/family, work out, watch TV, etc.
The micro-addiction that spurred me to write this article was my habit of checking social media right after waking up. I would spend 30-45 MINUTES checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, articles, and more before I even left my bed. For reference, this was about 3 hours per week WASTED from my life. Over time, this would add up to 156 hours per year WASTED. The worst part about this micro-addiction is that my day started out needing a sense of belonging from social media, as opposed to setting myself up for success throughout the rest of the day. You are most aware, creative, and mold-able within the first 30 minutes after waking up. To remedy this micro-addiction, I created an unshakable morning routine, which I am excited to share with you during next weeks article!
It is so important to do WELL in life, and in my opinion, this is not as easy to accomplish as everyone makes it out to seem! The majority of my introductions throughout the day typically follow this pattern:
Me - "Hey man, how are you doing?"
Friend/Co-worker - "Doing well! How about you?"
Me - "Also, doing well! Hey, want to get lunch?"
After repeating this conversation starter day in and day out though, it began to weigh on me that I might not be doing as well as I had been telling everyone. There are so many areas of life that need to be in balance for us to be WELL, and I have decided to focus on 7 of them. I call these "The 7 Wellness Factors."
1. Family life
2. Relational/social/love life
3. Physical Health
4. Mental Health
5. Financial Health
6. Spiritual Health
7. Work Life
As you will notice, there is more than just a "work-life balance" tone to this model. When all of these are equally in harmony, you have mastered the key to life: wellness. You might be thinking to yourself, "Is it impossible to manage ALL of these, when I go to work, come home, eat food, go to bed, and repeat?" I used to get depressed thinking the same thing. Then I DECIDED ONE DAY THAT IT WASN'T IMPOSSIBLE, and created Renner's High to prove it and share it. The important thing to realize about this is that it is not impossible, but it also isn't easy. If you decide that you want to do well in life, there are things that need to be given up: addictions. Addictions exist in different sizes (macro and micro) , and it is important to know the difference between a "macro-addiction" and a "micro-addiction."
Macro-Addiction: anything that can cause a physical withdrawal when there is an absence of this substance or thing. *
Micro-Addiction: anything that can cause a mental trigger that convinces you to perform an action or take a substance that decreases your wellness in life.*
Both of these are crucial wellness killers. Some of us have macro-addictions, and are truly addicted to substances such as alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, that consume our lives and our actions. However, most of us have micro-addictions, and this is what I would like to focus on for this article.
"Renner, I am not addicted to anything, yet I still don't feel well.. why?" you might ask. This is where the distinction between a macro and micro addictions comes in. Maybe you aren't addicted to hard drugs, but do you ever find yourself buying a handful of candy every day at the same time to curb your craving of sugar? Instead of waking up and planning your day, do you find yourself checking Facebook, then Instagram, then Facebook again just in case you missed a notification? These are micro-addictions. They are decreasing your wellness in life. Don't worry, I'm not here to point fingers. I'm speaking from real issues that I noticed were distracting myself from DOING WELL. In today's age of technology, it is so easy to form micro-addictions from things that cause our brains to experience micro-stimulants.
Ever since I decided to focus on this topic of micro-addictions, I have noticed that so many of my daily habits either contribute to or distract from, my wellness. For now, I just want to put an emphasis on recognizing all of the micro-addictions that are causing you to miss out on a well-balanced life. Next week, I will write part 2, which will focus on ways to defeat your addictions! I hope that this article has helped you learn to experience a better, more naturally high, lifestyle.
*Keep in mind, no scientific proof, just my honest observation on the topic!
Message from the founder
Sometimes, it is easy to lose faith in our goals if we are not consistently experiencing "small wins." Recently, I have been facing setback after setback in multiple areas of life, and needed just ONE small win to prove to myself that I was on the right path. I began to lose faith after not seeing a direct impact, and somehow convinced myself that I was wasting time and energy. After taking a step back to reflect, I can confidently say that I had won way more than expected, in areas that I had not anticipated. I have learned more through these past few months than I ever have in a college course or classroom. The direct result of hard work and passion might not have been what I was aiming to create, but there was most definitely something created out of it. Let's dive deeper into what was learned.
Some call it the law of the universe, the law of success, the law of attraction, the law of conservation of energy - some just call it hard work. The point of it is this: nothing has been or ever will be created from sitting still, but something will ALWAYS happen when you decide to focus your efforts consistently and passionately. It takes one form of energy to create another form of energy. If you decide to focus 1 hour every single day to a task that is aimed at reaching your goals, it is impossible to not create an impact. You are taking energy away from your normal routine to redirect it into something else that you deem necessary. Over time, those short yet consistent chunks of time add up to be much more than just hours on the clock. You are not creating energy, you are just redirecting it into something more productive.
The Tidal Wave Effect
Sometimes, we have a grand vision for where we want to be, what our future life will look like, and we will stop at nothing to achieve it. Sometimes, we do not end up exactly where we are aiming and allow ourselves be crushed by the outcome. Just because you put in countless hours, passion, and persistence into a goal, does not automatically promise you the desired outcome. Nonetheless, it does promise AN OUTCOME. You might not even see a direct result from it for years, but someone else might see it immediately. Someone might witness your vision and hard work, and decide to create their own vision and passion from it. You might not ever comprehend it, but you have changed the world in one way or another. Many of us look at the term "change the world" and expect an immediate tidal wave effect; it takes many small decisions to create a tidal wave, and you might just be the catalyst without ever even knowing it. Do not focus on changing the world with tidal waves, but focus on changing the immediate world around you and the rest will follow in time.
I want to leave you with this quote to ponder throughout the next week:
"The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action."
'Last October, I took a memorable trip over to Oktoberfest in Germany with my old college roommate. We survived off of the Germans' three main food groups: bread (from the pretzels), protein (from the pork knuckles), and alcohol (from the liter steins of bier). I'm sure you could image how my body responded to that infamous trip... Not very well! I decided to counter the seemingly endless hangover with a diet called Whole30, and now I'm doing it again as a grand entrance into the new year. Outside of the obvious health benefits, here is what I learned from my last Whole30 endeavor:
1. We are habitual grocery shoppers
Next time you go to the grocery store, take note of what you purchase and compare those items with your last trip's items. If you are anything like me (and the rest of America), you probably had a similar list of items in your grocery cart.. and always have. It is much easier to aimlessly wander the store and grab familiar items than it is to consciously choose a healthy diet. How often do you cook the same easy meal? There is nothing wrong with it, but it is also beneficial to try out a new lifestyle every once in a while. When I decided to attempt the Whole30 diet, it forced me to look up new recipes, change my unknown shopping habits, and simply eat healthier.
2. "Discipline Equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink
The more that you can learn to say "NO" to the every day temptations of life, the more you will reap the benefits of a quality lifestyle. This is true to everything in life, but since food is our 3rd most vital resource to survival (behind air and water), the results tend to show up much faster. It might feel good to "go with the wind" and eat whatever looks good, but you will eventually begin to feel bloated, lose quality sleep, and gain weight. By learning to say no to sugar, dairy, and alcohol for one month, I was able to learn the power of "no" in other areas of my life as well. I might have thought I needed to have a drink when I was out with friends, but I survived and had a good time anyway. I might have thought I needed that funny Trump piñata on Amazon, but I survived and had a good time without it anyway. (although it is still on my wishlist).
3. Mental Clarity
Our bodies are not accustomed to eating processed foods, even if they are FDA approved. With the growing demand to feed larger civilizations, the best solution is to mass-manufacture food and invent chemicals to preserve their lifetime. When we eat natural and whole foods, we are eating what our ancestors have always eaten. When we eat unnatural and processed foods, our bodies become confused and try to adapt to this foreign matter. This results in sluggishness, lack of clarity, and many other unknown effects. After eating only whole foods for 30 days straight, I noticed that not only did my eyesight improve, but my vision on LIFE became clearer as well.
As much as I would like to claim that I'm a professional on this topic, I am way better at running than I am at ripping on the FDA.
4. You're Not Going Crazy
As crazy as it sounds to cut out sugar, dairy, alcohol, and everything else in the Whole30 diet, I guarantee you will see a difference in your quality of life. You will see improvements in your health, relationships, finances, sleep-schedule, and many other areas. Here is a link to their website; they have a ton of recipes, tips, and motivational blogs to learn how to thrive on the diet. Also, I don't recommend doing it alone. Find an accountability partner to smack those chocolate pretzels out of your hand when the withdrawals kick in on week 2!
"This company and website was created to help share my dream of living 'naturally high' to the world. I currently reside in Chicago and love nothing more than a good competition on race day. You can either find me going for a run on Lake Shore Trail, at a Purdue football game, or at a local coffee shop writing these articles. I want to thank you for checking out the website and helping this movement grow!"