A new year sparks excitement for me. I usually set myself a few (too many) goals, make lists of places I’d like to visit and bedrooms I’m itching to redecorate.
This year has been different. I’ve found it difficult to get my butt in gear and I have no goals other than to read a bit more in 2019. But you know what? I feel oddly okay about that.
One thing I have done, is choose my word for 2019. As with most years, the word I’ve chosen is a theme that I felt drawn to towards the end of last year – Gratitude.
In early December, I started using Instagram Stories to share three things that I was grateful for at the end of every day. I know it’s not a new concept and many of you probably do it already, but it’s been such a good discipline for me.
Life has been a bit challenging lately and this exercise has really helped my mindset. The sharing on social media isn’t a necessity of course, but it is bringing a level of accountability that I find valuable. The fact that a few other people have been inspired to join in, has been an added bonus.
When Everything Goes to Pot
You may remember that my ‘one word’/theme for 2018 was Balance. As part of that, I set about trying to address my phone usage. Whilst I managed to do that to a certain degree, partly due to my job (managing other people’s social media accounts) but mostly because phones are highly addictive, things have slightly gone to pot.
In the spirit of honesty, my daily phone usage over the Christmas period, was a little under 6 hours – quite shocking huh?
One of the things that I discovered during my phone analysis exercise last year, is that I largely use it for distraction – when I don’t want to ‘feel all the feels’, my phone comes out. This is a habit that I have slipped back into over the last two months or so and I think that this year’s theme of ‘Gratitude’ will help me make a few changes.
Let me explain…
When was the last time you sat down to drink a cup of tea and just contemplate?
I was listening to a podcast the other day (I think most of my blog posts contain that sentence somewhere!), an interview between the lovely Fearne Cotton and Kirsty Young. These two inspirational ladies, talk at great length about social media – the pros and the cons.
I don’t need to tell you that I’m an advocate for social media. I love what it brings to my life – connection with others, easy access to knowledge and a way to find out what my teenagers are up to! But I am also massively aware of the pitfalls.
Kirsty isn’t on social media at all *gasp* (who in this day and age isn’t on social media?!). What’s more, she doesn’t feel that she’s missing out in any way; in fact she’s positively confident that she has made the right choice.
The part that played on my mind, was when Kirsty talked about ‘the good old days’ and how people would phone a friend simply to tell them about the delicious cup of tea they had just enjoyed. Nowadays, we look for that same ‘buzz’ from scrolling through Instagram or our Facebook feed.
In short, with the arrival of social media, we have somehow lost the art of just sitting in the moment, recognising that ‘this is a good cup of tea’. I very much doubt that I’m the only one who reaches for their phone every time they sit down.
It’s All About the Simple Things
The things I’ve been sharing at the end of every day, are some of the more simple things in life – a hug from a friend, the pink sky on my drive home from work, cuddles with my dog. A bit like that ‘delicious cup of tea’ that Kirsty mentioned.
Whilst there are some big benefits to social media (the accountability I mentioned above and the community aspect), I’ve been reminded once again, how important it is to keep the balance in check.
Putting my phone down is going to feature heavily in my 2019. Constantly looking at what other people are doing can be at best distracting and at worst a source of discontent. I want to focus on the simple things in life, whilst learning to be ‘in the moment’. I’m slowly realising that the combination of these are a springboard for gratitude.
Have you got a ‘word’ for 2019 or a particular goal? If you haven’t, remember that’s okay too!