How To Break-Up With Social Media To Achieve Your Goals

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Shorter Version

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Let me set the scene:

It’s 2018, I am living in Cape Town, SA and I am doing a summer season as a male model.

My days consisted of exercising in the sunshine, grabbing healthy smoothies with friends, popping my head into a couple of castings, then hitting the beach.

Pretty awesome right?

Well it was, on the surface. However, there was a sad underlying truth that I didn’t want to admit.

It wasn’t real.

I was doing all these things in part because I enjoyed them, however, the reality was it was giving me great content for the ‘gram.’

I found myself taking way too many pictures, of stuff that was NOT interesting or valuable to anyone (including me). Then I was spending another hour or so figuring out what filter to use, when I should post, what caption would suit it best, or if I could tag anyone else that would maybe share it.

In truth, I was just looking for another opportunity that would give me that ‘oh so precious’ dopamine hit.

Instagram was not only my social media platform of choice, it was also my portfolio, my contact card, my identity, and my LIFE.

It consumed me.

To the point where I had to go through my phone to find pictures of what I did on certain days because I wasn’t actually present in the moment to remember. Not to mention the constant checking of who had liked my post literally minutes after it went live, then subsequently comparing myself to my ‘friends’ who took essentially the same picture but used a different Gandhi quote.

(face palm)

Hindsight 20/20

Now, this is all easy to say in hindsight.

At the time however I was blissfully unaware of the damage this app was doing to my mental health.

The turning point actually came when I was back in London. Having recently had some coaching around my direction in life, I was more aware of my focus and where I was spending my energy.

I was on a bus that was being taken around the houses on multiple diversions at rush hour on a Friday afternoon, cursing under my breath that I should have got the tube (Londoners will know what I mean). That’s when I decided to check out my never-ending to-do list and crack on while I had the time. However, as my conditioned mind did almost 50 times a day, I thought…”I will just check the ‘gram.”

Yep…you guessed it. 1 hour and 20 mins later I found myself looking up, nearing my stop.

Words can not describe the feeling of utter shame and annoyance I had for myself.

So I did what most people would call sacrilege.

I deleted Instagram.

At first, it was liberating then slightly weird when I opened my phone to try and find it which then led to panic and anxiety…”Oh god, this is going to be harder than I thought.”

Redirecting attention

One of my lifetime goals was to learn Spanish. I always put it off because I didn’t like my teacher at school and deep down I had a fixed mindset of my capabilities.

I decided to replace the square where Instagram lived for many years with the language learning app ‘Duolinguo’ so at least my conditioned brain would be tricked into doing something useful for a change.

This also kept me accountable. I managed a 500-day streak.

500 days of non-stop Spanish.

The constant checking took a week or so to calm down, once I realized I wasn’t connected, it was a simple case of ‘out of sight out of mind’

This continued for a month, then 2, then 6, and then before I knew it I was approaching 450 days of social detoxing.

Looking back on that time, this is what I learned:

  • My mental health improved dramatically
  • I was 10x more productive
  • When on IG,I wasn’t using the platform for the right reasons
  • I was totally consumed by the vapid and vain dopamine hits
  • People give you the same look when you say you don’t drink as when you say you don’t have Instagram
  • I learned ALOT more about people
  • Other peoples’ company was more enjoyable
  • I found a new sense of freedom
  • While I took 10x less pictures, I took pictures I actually look at when I did take them
  • I enjoyed a moment for what it was
  • I was present
  • One thing I learned is that it’s okay to be different and not follow the ‘Norm’
  • It was nice to not have preconceived opinions of people based on their Instagram profile
  • I began to understand why I used social media
  • 20 hours a week that I never knew I had appeared
  • I read 30 books compared to 3 the year before
  • Also, I became more confident
  • I became more interesting to others as they have NO idea what I had been up to (this was brilliant)
  • Could tell a story without anyone butting in with — “Oh yes I saw that on your Insta, I also went there and did that.”
  • I became aware of how addicted we all are to our screens
  • My phone battery lasted a full day on one charge — True story
  • People don’t actually care what is going on in your life
  • Your brain doesn’t take long to be reconditioned
  • I had superhuman concentration and focus
  • Additionaly, I become more confident in who I WAS by not comparing myself to others all the time
  • I found conversations flow a lot better
  • I learnt to be comfortable doing nothing
  • People watching, which by the way is underrated, became my new love
  • I gained my privacy back
  • I gained a decent understanding of Spanish
  • It forced me to be more curious as I couldn’t secretly stalk someone
  • It taught me that we are all slaves to our devices and it’s an addiction

I am now back on Instagram but with a new perspective. I understand my limits and feel in control of how I use it.

If you are interested in my ‘Heya, I am back’ post then you can find it here:

If you are interested in learning how you could take a digital detox then drop me an email —

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Actionable Steps


Do some personal reflection

What app are you spending your free time on? Is using this app making you feel better or worse? Is using it standing in the way of how you experience the world or if you can accomplish your goals? Think about your answers to these questions and prioritize your goals and what you find important.


Get expert help

If you or a loved one is looking for help with dealing with emotions, please do not hesitate to book a consultation.

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About the Author

Jack Revell

Jack Revell

Life Coach

Hi, I’m Jack Revell. In the last 10 years, I had 2 businesses – Events and Street Food – unfortunately, it didn’t work out simply because I didn’t love them enough to continue. In 2017 I had some coaching, and I found it super helpful for giving me clarity in life.

I’d tell everyone I knew about it, and how fantastic coaching was for me. I noticed that people started to tell me that I should become a coach myself. Now, I help you get REALLY clear on what you REALLY want. Let’s talk.

Facebook | 1:1 Coaching | Instagram

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