Why do i check facebook over and over

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do i keep checking things over and over?

Why do you check your Facebook every few minutes?
Why do you check your mail, Instagram or twitter account many times a day?
Didn't you just check them and found nothing few minutes ago?
Why are you checking them again then?

The answer to this question lies in understanding the way rewards motivate us to take actions. According to motivation theories people become motivated the most when the reward is variable.

In my article Why being nice to women doesn't work i explained how nice guys turn women off because they are predictable. Once you can predict exactly the kind of reward you are going to get after doing something you will become less motivated.

This is also one of the reasons why candy crush became so popular. Its because one single move can bring you too many unexpected rewards that you didn't plan for.

Why do i check facebook over and over

So what does all this has to do with checking Facebook?
Each time you check Facebook or any other social network you are actually going after that unexpected reward.

Who is going to send me a message today?
Who might send me a friend request?
Who might comment on my status today?

Because all of these questions can never be predicted you become eager to check your Facebook more and more.

But why do unexpected rewards motivate us? Why is not knowing who is going to contact you today that exciting?

Its because when the reward is unexpected you start to hope that it will satisfy your important needs. In other words if you need to contact someone badly then the possibility of getting a message from that person might be the reason you check Facebook every now and then.

This means that unexpected rewards motivate us because they play on our hopes, needs and even dreams.

How to stop compulsive checking?

Now that you understand the mechanism of motivation it shouldn't be hard to guess how you can break this habit. You just need to make sure your important needs are fulfilled through a written plan instead of depending on chances to get what you want.

When your mind finds out that you already have a good plan to meet your needs it won't let you look elsewhere to meet those needs.

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