Okay, can I just say the whole idea of ‘New Year, New Me’ is really annoying? Just because time ticks over and the planet rotates around the sun again in a movement we can’t feel, we’re not going to magically be able to be a new person. I’m still Hope, I’m not going to change. I’m still going to struggle sleeping well and waking up in the morning, I’m still going to spend more time on my phone than is strictly necessary, and I’m still going to procrastinate on anything that doesn’t have a very specific due date.
The idea of having a fresh start is comforting and special for lots of people, and for good reason. It’s a time to dump the baggage that you don’t want to carry and pick up better things to substitute. Most people, however, will look down at some point on the road of the new year and see that their old baggage is sitting on their feet like a child. And maybe that gym membership doesn’t quite fit into the crook of your arm the way the old habit of sleeping in did. Well, if sleeping in is still sitting on your feet, why not toss out the gym and pick up the old habit?
Like I said before, I spend a decent amount of time on my phone, but not as much as I used to. I know some people that will set app timers on their phones to restrict them from being on specific apps for too long. I did try that, but when the timer runs out and the pop up comes up there’s this little button at the bottom that says ‘adjust timer’, and I end up not putting my phone down.
Maybe your vision for yourself is this hyper-capable, endlessly knowledgeable, superhuman - and while you might not be making the resolution to be that person right away, maybe the step of going to the gym daily is too much effort for too little progress to get there. The trouble with making new resolutions is that so many people make them unrealistic. In my case, it was unrealistic to tell myself that I couldn’t spend time on my phone, or that I had to put it down after only a short while.
Instead, may I offer this advice. Don’t get rid of bad habits, don’t miraculously add any good ones out of the blue, either. Change the bad habits you have into good ones that will support you.
For example, to tackle my phone problem, I downloaded a game that was interesting enough to keep my attention, but was all time based, so once I completed tasks then I had to wait for them to become available again to move on in the game. Something interesting enough to satisfy that need of being on my phone, but also unimportant enough that if someone needs me it’s a lot easier to put down. When I play enough that I need to wait to unlock more content, I have to make a conscious decision - do I have time to spend on another app? If not, then I put my phone down. I changed the automatic behavior of picking my phone up and going to social media that could occupy me for hours, to picking my phone up and going to this game that maybe takes twenty minutes of my time instead.
So this year, when you’re making your resolutions, don’t resolve to do anything that requires a magic wand. If you want to be that superhuman, be that superhuman. It’s totally possible, but it’s a lot easier to become that superhuman than to suddenly be that superhuman.