08/30/2012 07:40 am ET Updated Oct 30, 2012

Addicted to Facebook? NLP Tips for Cutting Back on Social Media

Recently I got a message from a student asking what techniques I would suggest for helping people limit their time on Facebook. Specifically, this student requested suggestions for NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques that could help.

I have to admit, when it first came along, I wasn't a big fan of Facebook. Then I started to see it works. I was holding an NLP workshop in San Jose and a woman told me, "I am so glad you posted on your updates you were coming to San Jose -- that's how I knew to come."

Around the same time, I received an email from a student saying she was having trouble with marketing and attracting people to come to her trainings. I was pondering what I could do to assist her when I got a private message from her through Facebook. She sent me a "golden potato" from the online game FarmVille.

I turned to one of our trainers and asked her, "What is this FarmVille thing?" She told me how it works. You sit there on Facebook and press the space bar over and over again, like one of those rats in a maze that hits a button and a little pellet comes out. "What does this do for you?" I asked. She responded, "Nothing. You can become a grand master farmer and have golden radishes and whatnot."

I felt a little frustration. I was wondering, "Why is this student emailing me saying she is having trouble with her marketing when she is sitting there -- tap, tap, tap -- trying to make a radish turn from red to gold?" I mean, who cares if you are a grand master farmer in FarmVille? Who cares if you win at Mafia Wars? Who cares how many friends you have on Facebook?

There are more important questions you should be asking yourself, like what is your purpose for being here? Have you let go of the baggage that is preventing you from doing what you are meant to be doing so you can have what you want to have?

From a psychological perspective, some people use things like Facebook to escape from reality -- the reality of having to deal with their stuff. Maybe they fear they might fail. So rather than even trying, they spend their energy to become a grand master so they feel like they have accomplished something.

If you feel like you are spending too much time on Facebook or other social media, try changing your perspective. You have to look at social media for what it is meant to be. Facebook is for social networking, to keep in contact with your friends, and to post what you are doing. If it is taking away from some other area of your life, you have several options.

First, you can make a change. Let go of the baggage -- let go of the anger, the sadness, the fear, the guilt that is holding you back. Get in touch with your purpose. Why you are here? What are you meant to be doing? Who are you meant to be? And begin to do the things that fulfill your purpose.

Second, you can use specific NLP techniques, such as the chain of anchors, procrastination to motivation, or a submodality belief change in what you do with your time.

Finally, consider this: If you are living your purpose, you have been practicing these techniques, and you are able to get the results you want, maybe you just have to choose to do something different with your time rather than spending it harvesting digital potatoes.

You may be saying, "How do I do that?" Maybe you have already done a lot of change work. Maybe the answer is not another technique you do or another thing you release. Maybe it is just time for you to remember who you are, what you are meant to be doing, and get up and do that, plain and simple.

Here's an example from my life: I don't always want to work out every day. There are some days when I would rather just stay in bed, being lazy. But usually I get up and work out. Maybe "get up and work out" is an anchor I use. Maybe I have just done it so many times it has become an anchor. Who knows?

I do know this: We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not a chance. Excellence is a habit that you form. Begin to make a shift on the physical level, because an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.


Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is president of Kona University and its training and seminar division The Empowerment Partnership, where he serves as a master trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a practical behavioral technology for helping people achieve their desired results in life. His book, The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, details forgiveness and meditation techniques used in Hawaii for hundreds of years. He carries on the lineage of one of the last practicing kahuna of mental health and wellbeing. To reach Dr. James, please contact him via his Facebook fan page or his blog.

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