How to succeed with the New Year's resolution - maybe!
Now is that time of year when those New Year's resolutions are to be proclaimed! We should start a healthier life with better eating habits, abstain or at least drink less alcohol or stop using social media if not completely, so just log in there once a day and exercise and meditate more. The first weeks of January goes well, but by February most of us are usually back where we were before. So why can't we just make up our minds and then manage to keep our New Year's resolutions?
Let's take a closer look at this social media reduction as a New Year's resolution.
Social media is often used in an attempt to escape stress or feel unpleasant emotions, probably to a much greater extent than we are aware of. Thinking that it is enough to just decide to change these often ingrained habits easily leads to disappointment and negative thoughts about ourselves. Instead, see if you can bring in some thoughts of compassion for trying to hold your life together, and how you're probably also afraid of missing out, or as it's also called - FOMO (fear of missing out).
Another piece of advice is to choose a small New Year's resolution! Almost think the smaller the better. Success breeds success, if you can handle a small change for a longer period of time, it's easier to take another step. If you decide to log out of all your accounts and only check them once a week, by February you're back to your old habits and feel disappointed in yourself. Instead, start small and maybe make a New Year's resolution to log out of all social media for an hour or so every night.
But before you completely decide what your New Year's resolution will be, take a look at what happens to your body if you think about logging out of all social media for a certain period (say an hour) every night. How strong is your anxiety? What do you feel in your stomach? If the anxiety feels manageable, you can sit and breathe through it, then you have found your New Year's resolution! If the anxiety feels too strong, you are trying to bite off too much and your New Year's resolution needs to be smaller.
Other tricks are to consciously give yourself a minute or so after you log out of social media every night and see what happens for you. What kind of feelings and thoughts come up? Increasing your awareness of what's behind our less healthy habits can give us the insight we need to make more far-reaching changes in our lives.
Last, but not least - don't forget the renegotiation! Give yourself a month with your New Year's resolution. If it doesn't go well, it probably means you made too big a New Year's resolution, try a smaller one and see how it goes. If it has gone well, you can think about whether you are ready for another small step!
Remember! You can start your New Year's resolution any day of the year. Just because you're reading this blog in May doesn't mean you can't start your New Year's resolution tomorrow!
And yes, the irony of posting a blog on decreasing your social media use on social media is not lost on me!
(This blog is intended as a little food for thought and is not to be confused with personal support from a therapist to help you explore more deeply what makes these things particularly difficult for you.)