Do you always start the new year with the best intentions - only to find yourself slipping back into old habits within just a few days? Although it may seem frustrating, you’re in good company. Only 8% of people actually keep and achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals for yourself. However, it does mean you need to be realistic with yourself and create measurable and attainable plans. With so many of us glued to technology, a digital detox might be the perfect prescription for starting your year off on the right foot. Let’s get into how you can do it successfully.
Why Do A Digital Detox?
Do you reach for your phone the moment you wake up? Do you find yourself scrolling through social media or checking your email dozens of times a day? Is it challenging to feel present in your work, hobbies, or relationships because you’re so distracted by technology?
Technology isn’t the enemy. And while some screen time is unavoidable, many of us have become utterly dependent on our phones, computers, and televisions. Whether you realize it or not, this dependency can wreak havoc on our mental health.
Rather than feel engaged and present with our lives, we’re often detached and distracted. Instead of enjoying our surroundings during a free moment, we pick up our phone. Instead of enjoying a face-to-face interaction with a friend, we send a quick text message. Thus, a digital detox can help shed light on just how much you rely on technology throughout your day.
How To Start a Digital Detox
All-or-nothing resolutions are often doomed to fail. Why? They tend to be rigid and unrealistic. Therefore, unless you plan on living on a remote island, there’s a good chance that you can"t just swear off technology. Instead, it’s better to start by setting yourself up with a few, essential parameters.
Identify What You Want To Achieve
Before you start the detox, you should consider your intentions. Why are you choosing this path? What are you hoping to accomplish?
Do you want to have more quality time with your spouse or family? Have you been prolonging other activities (like meditating, reading, or exercising) because you come home and plop in front of the television or computer? Do you feel like you spend the majority of your day distracted and disconnected from the world around you?
Spend a few moments journaling your intentions. The writing will help remind you of your goals once you actually commit to the detox process.
Purge What You Don’t Need
How many apps are currently on your cell phone? Research shows that the average smartphone user has 80 apps on their phone, but only uses about 40 of them. Take the time to go through all your apps (on both your phone and computer) and delete what you don’t use.
After that, it’s time to start purging your social media accounts. Time to unfriend, delete, and unfollow. How many “friends” are you connected with that you have never met? Do you follow someone that always makes you feel poorly about yourself afterward?
After culling your social media, move to your email account. Do you have thousands of unread messages? Start organizing, deleting, or attending to them. Start the new year with a fresh inbox- it’ll motivate you to keep that slate clean.
Give Yourself Two Hard Limits
Rather than swearing off technology, consider giving yourself two boundaries to follow. These boundaries might feel uncomfortable, but they should be realistic and feasible for you to meet them successfully. Some examples of boundaries include:
Stopping use of all devices after a certain hour
Putting the phone in a new location when you go to sleep (rather than right on your nightstand)
Creating a technology-free zone (i.e., no phones at dinner, leaving your phone in the other room when watching a movie with your partner)
Checking social media for a designated amount of time each day
Turning off push notifications
During the first week, you might break these boundaries accidentally. Don’t beat yourself up if you do. We all have ingrained habits, and it’s crucial to be mindful of your habits during this time.
Why A Digital Detox Is Essential For Your Well-Being
The human life was not meant for stagnation. While technology has become a seamless part of our everyday existence, it’s only hurting you if it’s beginning to dictate the quality of your life.
A digital detox can help set the stage for a healthy new year. It can also help pinpoint other areas where you may be feeling uncertain or unhappy.
Are you finding it hard to feel present in your life? Are you using distractions, like technology, to avoid unpleasant feelings or experiences? Do you feel like life is running you instead of the other way around?
Therapy or coaching can help you sort out some of these confusing thoughts. Connect with me today to learn more about how we can get your life back on track!