Remember that good old busy signal? That frustrating beep, beep, beep, beep that would happen when you called someone and they were preoccupied on another line? Of course you don’t, because new technology lets you bypass any barrier to constant connection. Your friend isn’t picking up your call? That’s fine – send a text. Oh, they didn’t respond quick enough? Hit them up with a direct message on Instagram. Still no reply? Fire up WhatsApp and try them there. It’s exhausting and pathetic. It seems like we can't possibly get a break, and the reality is: We ARE addicted to it, and it’s destroying our brains.
Back in the '80s, my mom fasted and meditated for 30 days STRAIGHT. She sat in her room, quiet, and just zoned out – or zoned in, as the case may be. She came out of the experience more cognizant of what she wanted, more concise in her values, and more confident in her ability to do anything she dreamed of doing. We could all use more of this. We are losing the art of quiet in today's world. Our constant need for stimulation is making us less focused, less productive, and far less prepared to start – and dominate – each day.
Are You Up for the No Phone Challenge?
So here’s my challenge. I understand that 30 days is a lot to ask, and many of you have jobs that “require” — I put that in quotes intentionally because I think it’s bulls*** — that you have access to work outside of work. So let's do this:
1. No Phone for 3 Days
Store it in a drawer. Put it in the freezer. Flush it, for all I care. Just get it out of your sight.
2. Every Day, Do 30 Burpees
A day – or maybe even a few hours – in, you’re probably going to claim boredom. So I’m throwing burpees in there to get your mind off the darn thing. And because we’re Spartans. Spartans do burpees.
3. Take 3 Cold Showers – One Per Day
Cold showers are known to activate systems in your body that keep you alive. You’ll feel more clear and calm after a nice frigid shower.
The Science of What Cell Phones Are Doing to You
So you want the science? Well here it is:
The light from your phone is wreaking havoc on your sleep. Blue light exposure can disrupt melatonin production, so you’re left with a poor night’s sleep. And sure, I know that certain phones now come with a feature that can minimize this type of light. But then you’ve got the issue of keeping yourself up past your bedtime because you just want to check who's commented on your latest Instagram post one more time. Here's a question: Why do you care so much about that? Because these applications were literally designed to engage you through the dopamine feedback loop. Checkmarks, dings, likes, and heart emojis were all created to activate that part of your brain that says, "Yes, this feels good!" It’s practically a slot machine in your hand.
Increased use of your phone has also now been linked to higher reports of depression, stress, and loneliness. To me the "why" here is obvious: If you’re on your phone nonstop, then you’re not outside moving, doing burpees, or connecting with actual human beings. These activities not only give you a dopamine hit, but oxytocin and endorphin rushes as well. Put the phone down and let the highs of life feed your natural need to feel good.
Lastly — and this one is the highest on my list — people who use their phone more are far less likely to engage in regular forms of physical activity. We are cashing in workouts for wasted time on our phones. I hear from people all the time who say, "I don’t have enough time to work out." Bulls***. If you’ve got four hours to spend on your phone each day, then you’ve got time to do the burpees we laid out in this challenge. We have to get off the couch and start moving if we want to have any chance at a more healthy, robust life.
So You Accept the Challenge. Here's What You'll Gain:
It's simple: Three days, no phone, 30 burpees, three cold showers. Here’s what I can guarantee:
1. You’ll feel better, period.
Get ready to be more focused, less foggy, more fit, and more productive. All wins in my book.
2. Your values will become more clear.
What you really want out of each day will present itself. Do you want to be someone who scrolls and scans all day? Or do you want to be someone who really makes s*** happen?
3. You’ll be more connected to the people that matter most to you.
Without your phone at the dinner table or on your desk at work, you’ll be more interested and in tune when interacting with the people right in front of you. Eye contact will come back into play, and that oxytocin rush? You’ll get it. Big time.
4. Your body will thank you.
That crick in your neck will start to dissipate, the cramp in your hand will subside, and your full-body burpee workout will leave you feeling more awesome and less burnt out.
Let’s do this.