HeroMode can be used in many different ways. In today's post, I describe how I use HeroMode to break my Reddit habit. These are the steps I took:
- Creating an Adventure called "Bye bye Reddit"
- Within this Adventure, set up a daily repeat quest for "No Reddit today"
- I used to browse Reddit most heavily at night, so I have this repeat quest automatically created at 10pm each day
- Each day, I try to complete the quest of "No Reddit today"
- With Activity Calendar and Streak, I have been able to stay away from Reddit over the last few months!
"Consider the popular site Reddit (I purposefully am not linking to Reddit here, as Reddit is notoriously addictive, and you might never return to this text)."
-- Bayesian Methods for Hackers by C. Davidson-Pilon
How It All Began
I think it was about ten years ago. A well-meaning friend causually said, "Oh, you like memes right? Have you checked out Reddit?"
That turned out to be a very impactful sentence. Since then, hours of my time have been spent scrolling endlessly on this website. I've seen some really cool stuff, read lots of interesting opinions, admired at some amazing human ingenuity, and, of course, found many neat subreddits (for example, r/DataIsBeautiful).
As entertaining as it might be, the hours of passive information consumption also made me feel unproductive. And so, like many others, I have been trying to kick the habit of Reddit.
Take 1: Just Wishing That I'd Stop
A couple years ago, the thought of quitting Reddit started to bubble up in my mind. So I tried the first thing: simply not go on Reddit.
You can probably predict how that went. Each time I internally told myself to stop going on Reddit, it'd last maybe a few days (or even only a few hours). And at some point, muscle memory plus browser memory conveniently brought me back right on Reddit before my willpower could conciously intervene.
Take 2: New Year's Resolution 2021
At that point I realized quitting Reddit would take some planning. So I made it one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2021. Not only that, I made sure to tell people about this resolution, hoping that the potential embarrassment of not being able to keep the resolution would motivate me to stick with the plan.
So I browsed Reddit to my heart's content on Dec. 31, 2020. And then, came Jan. 1, 2021, I just stopped.
That actually worked for a while. I was able to dodge the entire GameStop event. And even though there were frequent tempting moments, I did successfully stay away from Reddit for several weeks.
However, at some point, I started to bargain with myself.
"Is it really that embarrassing if I can't stay off Reddit?"
"Reddit has kept me informed on the happenings of the world, right?"
"I can't believe I missed out on all that GameStop fun..."
"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time... right?"
I don't remember when it happened. But at some point in 2021, I was back on Reddit.
Take 3: HeroMode v1
When HeroMode v1 came out, there were two things I wanted to do with it:
- Retire my hacky Google Docs to-do list
- Quit Reddit
The first goal was successful. The last entry in my Google Docs to-do list was from May 30, 2022. Since then, HeroMode has been quite sufficient for my task management needs. However, I do miss having a browser tab open for my to-do list and being able to manage it on my laptop. So I'm very eager for the arrival of HeroMode v3 on desktop!
The second goal, quitting Reddit, did not go as smoothly.
Use Heromode to Quit a Bad Habit in Two Simple Steps
Here is what I did. Step 1: Create an Adventure dedicated to quitting Reddit. I named this adventure "Bye bye reddit".
Step 2: Create a daily repeat quest for not going on Reddit that day.
That's it! Afterwards, every day, at 10pm, a repeat quest of "No reddit today" is automatically created. And then it's up to me to complete the quest.
Take 4: A More Motivating HeroMode v2
I created the "Bye bye reddit" adventure and set up the daily repeat quests on July 5, 2022. And was I able to stop my Reddit habit? As you can see in my activity calendar below, I was only able to stay off Reddit for one day in the entire month of July. That was pretty bad! On all the other days, even though the repeat quest to stay off Reddit was automatically created, I just deleted them and went on my merry, Reddit way.
As I continue to struggle with quitting Reddit, I provided a lot of feedbacks and ideas to the HeroMode team on how to make HeroMode more motivating for habit management. For example, I tried the original, unreleasted streaks implementation. Right away it didn't feel like it was giving me the boost I needed to quit Reddit. And eventually this implementation was scratched.
And then, in August, I was able to start beta testing activity calendar (which was eventually released in HeroMode v2). And what a difference it made! Ever since I got HeroMode v2, I was able to stay off Reddit each day. Every day when the repeat quest is created, I know I can mark another day in my activity calendar by staying off Reddit. And that gives me the little joy I need.
Streaks: Even More Motivating
After being able to stay away from Reddit for a few months, I sent a feature request to the HeroMode team. While it is very satisfying to look at my activity calendar and see all the days and months marked green, now that I have accumulated so many days, I'd like to know my streak.
So streak was introduced officially in HeroMode v2.3!
As you can imagine, the first thing I did when I downloaded HeroMode v2.3 was to go to my "Bye bye reddit" adventure, and check how long my streak is. I'm happy to say that, as of today, I have stayed away from Reddit for 78 days!
Quitting A Bad Habit with HeroMode
I often think about how my experience this year of quitting Reddit with HeroMode compares with last year.
Last year I made a New Year's resolution and just went cold turkey. I didn't use any habit management tool.
This year I use HeroMode.
Last year, I constantly felt restless. There were many times when I was very tempted to visit Reddit. I had to suppress those thoughts with a lot of mental effort. It felt like there was continuously an internal battle. And as you know, eventually I caved and returned to Reddit.
This year, somehow I feel more at ease. There are still times when I get the itch to check out Reddit. For example, this week we had major elections in the US. I'm particularly curious about people's perspectives and opinions during election time, and I've been wondering what kinds of discussions have been happening on Reddit. But somehow such wondering doesn't feel like an internal battle, but rather just idle curiosity. I feel more peaceful. Each night, I have a nice little ritual of marking the "No reddit today" repeat quest as completed. And I'm content knowing that I'm adding another green square in my activity calendar, and extending my streak by one.
Quitting a bad habit is very, very, very hard. For me, using HeroMode to quit Reddit, especially after v2, has made it easier and, indeed, joyful.