What does 2018 hold for you? For me? It holds twists & turns, and a heck of a lot of exploration on how to be comfortable with that.

Throughout January and February, I have been taking a lot of my own medicine. (My own advice). I have had blog posts, newsletters and challenges planned for weeks, but I have hesitated in sending them out, or starting them. I had these grandiose ideas for New Years Resolutions like; count every item in our home, go “Zero Waste” or “plastic free” over the course of the year, do a “No-Spend” month.

However, I decided to pause and consider these during a short un-plugged holiday I took with my family – before I wrote & shared about them. As you may know from my previous newsletters, I’ve been on a journey to reduce my consumption of social media and the impact it has on my life for a few months now. I didn’t make any big announcement – because I don’t think that other people really notice or care, but I took five glorious days completely away from my personal social media (and binge/twitch inducing internet addictions) including Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Netflix, Pinterest, Gmail to name a few.

A photograph from our 5 days away…lots of sunsets were enjoyed!

This was the longest time since my adolescence that I have unplugged for. I think I’ve had email from the age of 12, and MSN messenger became really popular at the same time, when I was in highschool, with MySpace and Facebook joining the scene in my first years of University. I was shocked when I tried to pinpoint the last time I had disconnected from technology for more than 24 hours. I couldn’t remember a single instance in my adult life. For context I’m 29, so that would be 17 years of always being connected & sharing every. single. day.

This short time away from social media made me aware that these resolutions or goals would not have really served myself, or my family and would have been more about sharing on social media, than for actually improving our lives. Yes, I am still on a journey towards many of the resolutions anyway, but I recognised that they did not dominate my thoughts or dreams of what 2018 could be during my 5 days away. They simply weren’t important when I was disconnected from outside stimuli and the people I was following on social media.

Which got me thinking three things.

1. What was important during this disconnected time? How can I focus more on these things?
2. How much of my day is run in response to outside stimulus?
3. How can I recreate the feelings of my “holiday tech retreat” in my every day life?

When we came home from our holidays rather than jump head-long into the pursuit of New Years Resolutions, I waited.

I waited to see what the effect of re-introducing social media was. I waited to see how much time it would take up in my day. I waited to see how this year would play out for my family. Every day it is just a little question, and a little step closer towards living a life that I’m happy to call my own.

“How could I simplify this?”
“What is essential for me to get done today?”
“Could I go without this?”
“What is the long term effect of using this/buying this/consuming this?”

Just those 5 days made me so aware of which areas I was lacking in and what I’ve been missing while my attention has been consumed by social media, and the internet at large.

About to drop a shell from the jetty

These questions above are gradually helping me refine my life for this season that I am in. Mother of two, my eldest starting school, in my third trimester with bubba no. 3, and going through big transitions in my work life. I am still so far from perfect that it is almost laughable, and perfect isn’t even what I’m striving for anymore – but happiness? Time with my children? Mindfulness? Progress towards long term goals? These are what I’m working towards now – and it is a lot easier without my phone in hand (as much).

I’m currently neck deep in writing my first non-fiction book and surprisingly the book has taken me in twisty-turning directions that I never expected when I set out to write it. And every day I realise that I have more to learn, but more importantly, I have more to take action on.

If you are interested at looking at the effect of social media on your work, social life and attention span, I highly recommend checking out Cal Newport and his body of work; his Ted Talk, his blog and his book – Deep Work.  This article is a great starting point; http://calnewport.com/blog/2016/09/21/quit-social-media/

I would love to hear your thoughts around social media & New Year’s resolutions.
How is your social media & internet use? Do you find it a lot more addictive with apps on your phone, rather than logging in on your computer? Do you have New Year’s resolutions this year? Email me thedecadentminimalist@gmail.com

I am having fun experimenting with these different technologies – deleting them, noticing my reactions and my thought patterns and researching these topics more. I want to share this journey with you – my year of simplicity.  If you found this email interesting, or helpful, please share it with your friends and family, or alternatively they can subscribe to my newsletter too, right on this website!

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