FOMO. Short for Fear of Missing Out, a phenomenon so strong it was officially accepted into the Oxford Dictionary back in 2013 — and is still very much prevalent amongst us today (for as long as social media is commonplace!).

As a busy individual, FOMO might look something like this. You feel compelled to join a lunch with colleagues at an expensive burger joint, even though you’ve brought healthy food from home, or are living by a lunch budget as part of a savings plan. You are completely drained from a day’s work, but still drag yourself to after-work drinks with friends that never is “just one drink”. You have a looming deadline, yet that new movie or episode on Netflix seems just as important because you don’t want to be left out when your friends and colleagues discuss it in person or in the multiple whatsapp or facebook group chats...

A healthy level of FOMO can do us good. All work and no play makes you dull. On other occasions, FOMO can help you overcome the inertia to try something new and step out of our comfort zones, or equip you with adequate social activities that can benefit your well-being.

The danger comes when you feel an irrational need to participate in social activities, despite having other priorities. Or when you have outgrown clubbing and do not particularly enjoy the hangover next day. In those cases, FOMO and going against your will time and time again would only leave you tired, unhappy, sometimes guilty, and even stressed and resentful.

fomo frustration

“Hi, I’m Tiffany and I’m a recovering FOMO sufferer.”

I am currently going through self-imposed rehab. My rehab programme includes rewiring my brain to focus and invest in myself and things I want more of in my lifestyle, instead of what others are doing. What I have and what I want, instead of what others have and what they want. Because at the root of it all, if we are certain of our purpose, our self, and determined to live life according to our own clear terms, we simply can’t afford to give time and energy to things that distract us or worse, drain us. Our eyes and mind start wandering off to snoop on what others are doing... mostly when we don’t have a meaningful goal to set our heart on.

So that’s a start. To acknowledge and be conscious of your thoughts, and first set your heart on a goal that serves you.

leading life on own terms

In the process, I realised that I was never short of goals. There were a million things I wanted to happen in my life, but just not many that I set my heart on. This meant I never put my foot down (with myself) to make these things happen. I allowed things… or life as we call it, to get in the way and I wasn’t even conscious of it.

I want and need to stay active to regulate my energy levels. Yoga or after-work drinks? I’m sure my friends will still remember me if I skipped a night out - if they are my true friends.

I want to own an apartment by 30 but I wasn’t saving enough and investing to hit that goal. So… fancy biz lunches with colleagues, or meal prep from home? I can probably replicate the lunch menu myself for half the price, and will just catch up on the lunch gossips later.

I want to get a promotion this year. Finish a project ahead of the deadline or start hanging out at the pantry from 4pm every day? I actually enjoy feeling productive, if I don’t let FOMO get the better of me.

start today set goals determination journal

Not going to lie - breaking away from FOMO requires immense mental will and utter discipline. If you’re used to packing your calendar with activities, temptations are always abound to keep doing that. You have to reflect on what is important to you, continuously learn to set and reset your boundaries. And even, find new supportive people who get your goals.

This can be really helpful: to surround yourself with other people who have their shit together and remain focused on their own goals (and lives), despite the plenty of distractions from their peers, etc. It works because whenever you get restless and bored, and start feeling FOMO, you realise that those people around you are building on their own personal goals too - and then, you re-focus. It works because these are the people who will understand and support to take you a step closer to your priorities, goals and truth.

You can find your accountability buddy to support you on your health goals on BrocnBells.com.

accountability partner

To rid of FOMO is not to ban yourself from having any fun at all. We’re talking about the times you showed up to a social event out of a sense of some strange obligation you felt, when all you wanted was to do something else. Such as, simply, to just get in some me-time and rest.

To tame that FOMO is a practice of self-love, knowing your goals, good time management and finding your right tribe for accountability. It’s a reformation of your life to reclaim control of your energy and your time. Because much as we hate for it to be true, time and energy are not infinite. Let’s have the courage to turn that fear into freedom of choice to miss out.

Hello JOMO - Joy Of Missing Out.

Your freedom to say no. Your freedom to disconnect from technology from time to time. Your freedom to be OK just where you are. Your freedom to pursue your goals and lifestyle you want; not succumb to peer pressure.


Article contributed by community member Tiffany Lau, Regional Community at Entrepreneur First.

Questions? Email: [email protected]