Tracey, a 40-year-old Medium writer from Palm Beach, told me she isn’t used to the cold.
That’s why I thought the cold water treatment might cure me of my stat-checking habit. I’m shocked every time the chilly water hits me.
It’s my mission to look at interesting and odd ways people change unwanted behaviors, and Tracey’s way of stopping herself from constantly looking at her Medium statistics is unique.
I asked her when she first noted a problem with looking at her progress on the famous read and write website.
It started on day one. After publishing my initial story, I was so excited. I saw I had attracted a reader and was overjoyed. No one had ever read anything I’d written before, unless you count my husband going through my shopping lists.
I checked my stats a few more times, and was horrified to see that, although my story had more readers, they weren’t actually staying on the page. The bounce rate was high, and I lay in bed that night worrying about the problem.
I asked Tracey what the story was about, and she explained.
It’s my grandmother’s recipe for alphabet pie. It goes back generations. I decided everyone could benefit from knowing how to put those little spaghetti letters into shortcrust, the way my family do. So I shared how it’s done.
I can’t understand why readers are clicking off to other stories that aren’t mine. It takes a few minutes to print the recipe or write it in a notebook. Surely, they must want to record it?
I reminded Tracey I was there to find out what drove her to become a consistent stat-checker, and not to get bogged down in her issues.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my other stories attract plenty of readers who do stay on the page. But that doesn’t stop me looking at my stats. In fact, I look often because I’m really excited to see my popularity grow.
I like to check, and then re-check, my earnings too, because you can do that now. They go up every day. Soon, I’m going to put another down payment on a latte at the local coffee shop. I’m a regular there now, every month.
I asked how she got the cold water treatment idea, and why she thinks it’s a suitable deterrent.
I remember I once got caught in the chilly rain, and I didn’t like getting wet. If you want to put yourself off a bad habit, you’ve got to make doing it unpleasant.
I wondered how her husband manages to get the procedure right.
He doesn’t. Sometimes his timings off, and I’m not checking my stats after all. I’m just shopping online for a new computer. It’s possible my cold water treatment might splash on the keyboard or screen, you see. And that could be bad news. I am nothing if not prepared.
At the moment, before he throws the water, my husband shouts ‘step away from the screen,’ and I do. But he does get overenthusiastic at times and tips the bucket before I’m ready.
I questioned Tracey about how long she thought it might take for the cold water treatment to be effective.
Oh, it’s starting to work now, really. Already, when I get the urge to stat-check, I hesitate. I have to consider whether seeing my stats is more important to me than staying dry and warm. In the winter, it probably won’t be long before I’m totally cured.
I have high hopes for Tracey’s habit changing method, but must caution readers not to try it themselves at home. Electronics and water don’t mix well. Plus, you could catch a cold if you’re not careful.
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