Netflix and digital escapism

CS247B Design for Behavior Change: Measuring Me, take 2

To be honest, I think I have a lot of bad habits. It was initially difficult for me to choose one — some bad habits I felt were perhaps “inappropriate” for a classroom setting, and others, truthfully, I didn’t know if I actually wanted to put in the effort to make a change (at least until this pandemic is over, is what I was thinking).

In the end, I chose to track my late-night Netflix consumption — admittedly, largely because I thought it would be a straightforward habit to track + share for this assignment.

Habit models

Connected circle modeling my Netflix-as-escapism habit ecosystem

After constructing this connected circle, I noticed a pretty glaring feedback loop around my Netflix usage:

Reinforcing feedback loop

Reflection + what I’d do differently next time

What I would do differently… I guess the main thing I’m thinking about is — it’s one thing to notice a habit, but it’s another to actually make a concerted effort to change it. Modeling my habit ecosystem was really effective in helping me to recognize and clarify my understanding of how my behavior is interconnected, but the act of tracking my behavior actually did not make me feel compelled to change. Maybe this is just a personal thing, especially since it seems like other people have found the act of tracking to have a profound effect on how they actually behave. But given that I am oh so stubborn, what I would do differently next time is try to incorporate some sort of tangible or realizable incentive (even if the short-term value it provides is actually negligible relative to how much changing this habit could potentially improve my physical and mental health).

stanford econ and hci, we out here just tryna learn!