I am a devout New Year’s resolution maker. I really am. I’m pretty good at keeping them too. This drives my friends and family crazy. I make all the usual ones: go to the gym, quit this or that, spend less, become more organized, etc. I lived far too many years of my youth with habits such as smoking, overeating and being in toxic relationships.
My history with resolutions
Three years ago, I really had had enough. I stuck to my guns and decided to see what a full year of no cheat days and not settling for less might look and feel like. My health radically changed and I felt the kind of peace and serenity in my home I’d never thought possible. No one was more shocked than me to see how that year would end.
Since then, I’ve managed to keep the gym resolution and quit more than a healthy share of negative behaviours and relationships. It’s something I’m quite proud of and consider a sign of dedication and healthy discipline. The biggest change came two years ago when I decided to be okay with being alone for a whole year, just enjoying my own company without dating. Sticking to these resolutions over the years has done more than see me lose weight. The resolutions have helped me become a happier and healthier person and the positive effect has rippled through my entire family. Last year, I made a firm decision to buckle into my studies and treat my education with the same level of seriousness as I had my career, and success followed as a Nursing Unit Clerk student.
This year was going to be no different. I was excited to come up with some great new goals: reduce my phone screen time usage, give up caffeine, do more things outside my home, and go back to the gym. When I had to cut back on spending in the middle of last year, memberships and subscriptions were the first to go. And truth be told, as much as I missed working out, I also missed the social aspect of the gym.
My best-laid plans failed
I have to be honest, I failed miserably all month. Not only did my screen time use not go down but it went up, way up. Cell phone use really is such a huge issue for many of us though. The problem is that while there’s much entertainment value and social value to our devices, they seem to have become a way of escaping and neglecting the real world around us. Realizing this made me uncomfortable.
My phone seemed to have become this thing I ran to instead of living up to my commitments. To keep up with my New Year’s Resolutions I found myself mindlessly scrolling and searching and doing very little of anything important. Instead of using my time to study or go out into the world with my son or socialize, I was at home, trapped in this social media vortex where more often than not. I was keenly aware that most of what I was seeing online wasn’t even real! Fake news, fake lives, fake happiness, fake people. This is what resonates online everywhere nowadays and yet, we’re addicted to watching it all happen.
I couldn’t allow something as mundane as my iPhone or Instagram to continue to play such a large role in my everyday life. I installed the screen use monitor and it shames me to admit. There were days when it reported I used my phone for seven hours! I couldn’t believe it. After that, I installed time limits on all the social media apps. That worked for a few days before I began to crumble under the temptation of the “ignore for the day” option that popped up after my pre-set thirty-minute limit. My usage began to skyrocket again.
I really don’t even know why I scroll so much. There is very little I find interesting anymore. I probably couldn’t even tell you what half the posts were about. I had already unfollowed all the celebrity pages because let’s face it, no one needs that kind of negativity. Yet here I was, still mindlessly wasting my life in cyberspace.
Finding my stride
I found that I wasn’t giving myself a hard time about not getting stuff done. It took a lot of self-discipline to put a stop to this time-waster in my life but I did it. Now into the last week of the month, I feel like I’m finally catching my stride. I found once I stopped the incessant reflex of opening or checking my phone, I got things done. It’s like this huge weight of guilt was lifted. Plus, I made it back to the gym and could not be happier. People I had missed while cooped up in my house were happy to see me and I was happy to be there.
I realized that whether we catch our stride slowly or quickly, as a New Year’s Resolutions or not, we’ll get where we need to go as long as we keep on getting up and never stop trying.