Why I didn’t made any resolutions this year and feel better than ever

Every January I get swept up in the New year New me hype and consequently end up making some ridiculous resolutions along the lines of cutting back or banning certain things. Last year it was sugar-free and whilst I generally did feel great for the mini detox (especially after a typically unhealthy December), I needlessly turned down a lot of social events. Which was tragically out of pure stubbornness for not deeming myself a failure! Ultimately when I fell off the wagon I fell hard. I ended up bingeing on that much junk food I made myself ill. Funnily enough I never had an issue with sugar (or weight!) beforehand, and totally cringe looking back.

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As you may know, I’m always looking for ways to self-improve so a lot of my resolutions have been in this vein. But in hindsight, resolutions (‘rules‘) are sometimes so overly rigid that they can drive me crazy and dominate my thoughts. I tend to adopt an all in all out attitude and probably still think like a child in the sense that if you tell me NO then I now want whatever it is, x 100. Aside from being healthy, I’m not even sure what I was realistically aiming to achieve by going cold turkey when I could have probably just implemented a few small changes whilst maintaining my sanity. It’s true that small good habits really stack up in the quest for behaviour change.

Like me, I think a lot of people are swept up by the New Year resolution hype. Feeling as though they should be aiming to improve. Why? Because everyone else is.

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Have you made resolutions this year?

The big ones seem to (as usual) be along the health and fitness realm. Whether that is  giving up all aspects of a social life because everyday is #gymday or total elimination like #dryjanuary, or saving so much you turn into full hibernating squirrel. Or perhaps you now feel the sudden need to read a book a week, or become a full on yogi by February,  master meditation, create a 10 piece capsule wardrobe, or throw everything out because you read about #minimalism.

I think we are all guilty of this.

I look around me and see people adopting the same self destroying resolutions as previous me. It doesn’t work because it’s never good to jump straight into the deep end. To create a perfect 10 item wardrobe and become completely minimalist when you previously hoarded everything and the kitchen sink? Or the biggest meat-eater now turning vegan for the month. What it does is make you sick of the very behaviour you’re trying to adopt. Sick of cutting meat & dairy out when in reality you needed to do it slowly, make the small changes into habits and manageable behaviours. This way it becomes easier, meaningful and you become much more mindful over the new behaviour.

This year I proudly said a firm No to resolutions and I honestly feel a sense of relief. Note to self:

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Don’t make resolutions

..and of course rules too. Formulating rigid rules can be detrimental to success. Going cold turkey is hard, and making restrictions or rules so overly rigid will serve as a mental hindrance.

Ban should and shouldn’t language

Stop saying these words. Simple but effective. Psychological research supports this too – when people say they could rather than should do something, they are more likely to follow through with that behaviour.

Don’t jump straight in

I see so many people fall off the wagon because they attempt to go from 0 to 100 (or 100 to 0!) right off the get go.

  • Never been to the gym before? Don’t jump into a 7 day weight lifting program!
  • Struggle to drink water? Then you’ll struggle to drink 2 litres a day at the start. Perhaps incorporate an extra glass before one meal and once you’ve conquered that do it for all meals
  • Find reading hard? Then it seems you are wasting your precious time. You can get the information in so many other forms, audio books, Ted talks, documentaries, TV shows. You sure as hell do not need to pressure yourself into doing something you take no pleasure from!
  • Veganism? At least aim to adapt a vegetarian lifestyle first and foremost
  • Feel overwhelmed about cutting so much out? Whatever it is, make that first step small, then build on

It’s the little things we do daily that amount to who we are. Little by little these small habits stack up and contribute to a bigger change or goal.

I would love to hear if you made resolutions this year & whether you stuck to them 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading and have a great day!

x

 

Do you have phone addiction? My thoughts about a digital detox

On average we check our phones 150 times a day and either swipe, tap or click over 4000 times a day. Since the introduction of smartphones over the last decade research shows that our attention spans have reduced to being no greater than that of a goldfish. 

I for one am not suprised by these statistics. Unfortunately the times that I feel I truly have somebody’s undivided attention seem too few and far between these days. Social events can somewhat be the opposite sometimes when people are attached to their screens, frantically responding to notifications (or pops of ‘’pseudo-pleasure’’?) or anxious about curating the right picture to highlight the night. It’s a bit of a paradox when social situations become more antisocial than being on your own and following the night through updates. Instead of being spoken to you’re forced to engage with a sea of blue foreheads who are probably and ironically checking in/posting about having such a good time with you/uploading that perfect photo of your evening (because if they didn’t Instagram/Facebook it, it didn’t happen, right?). Sound common?

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But is it really our fault? Companies and scientists use powerful behavioural and psychological techniques to make their apps addictive. With these techniques becoming more subtler and sophisticated. Why? Currency. Time on their platform equals revenue.

On a more sombre note, the phone addiction epidemic is damaging us at all angles. It has shown to be damaging to brain power, reducing attention span, eliminating capacity to think deep or creatively and affecting mental health. These platforms are creating an environment that predicates on vulnerable people, breeding a generation of unhappiness or eating into sleep. I cannot stress the  importance of quality sleep enough.

Low and behold even ex Facebook/Google (etc) employees who help to design and develop these addictive like qualities are pushing back and recognising the problems. I mean, the very person who designed the ‘like’ button has removed Facebook althogether now. I absolutely love Tristan Harris’ Time well spent movement. As an ex google designer that used to work on products that aimed to keep your attention he now advocates spending time well as opposed to merely wasting spending time. He is essentially aiming to establish a new ethical community that realigns technology and our best interests.

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So do you feel addicted to your phone?

I can hand up say I was probably addicted (on some level) to my phone. I spent a lot of filler time scrolling and subsequently reading about the lives of others, especially people I would never come into contact with nor did I care about. There is a lot of research that demonstrates links between absentmindedly scrolling and feeling worse about yourself, and on a more signficant level between heavy social media use and mental health issues. I certaintly felt the negative effects, making undue comparisons and eroding my self worth but on reflection the issue I am most annoyed about is the time wasted that I am unable to get back. Just 25 minutes of Facebook a day is worth 2 years of your life!

Digital detox?

All those hours wasted following others’ lives yet not truly living my own? I understand I am not totally culpable because these apps designed to do this to me, but no more. About 6 months ago I felt it was time for a detox. I deleted Snapchat, I switched my notifications off and I did a cull of Facebook and Instagram *friends*.

Committing to culling my digital life has given me back time I did not realise I had. Don’t get me wrong, I found it difficult because my muscle memory would put me on autopilot to check my phone first thing in the morning, automatically open my social media apps when stuck in a queue, or feel a sense of urgency/anxiety when my phone buzzed with a notification. Remember the days when we didn’t have the two blue ticks to say your message had been read, people left voicemails and actually waited patiently for a response? Or being out to dinner without a screen in sight?

Bring those times back.

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Fast forward 6 months …

I rarely check social media because I don’t need to

I switched my notifications off (this is bliss)

I don’t feel an urgency to respond to messages right away, nor am I apologetic for responding to a message *late*

I don’t check my phone first thing in the morning or late at night

And what have I noticed?

It’s been somewhat of a process for me but changing a bad habit is a slow endeavour. Totally worth it though. After my first post back in September about wanting to take a step back, I spoke about the changes I wanted to make and part of that was this digtially cutting back. What a huge difference a few months have made. I am now back to living on my own agenda and fill my time with things I want to do. I am rightly putting my brain back into proactive, productive and creative mode. I don’t feel as though I am spending time at the demands of others. am starting to notice the time gained enables me a greater capacity to think more creatively and freely, and I for one have increased my productivity and I now operate more effectively. I also enjoy real conversation much more now and prefer phone calls to texts.

🙂