In my 2016 reflections post, I said I didn’t have any concrete New Year’s resolutions. Most years, I really don’t. While I wake up on January 1 with the same boost of energy that most people have, I’ve never made an executive decision to start or stop doing anything at that moment.
This year, I changed my mind. Surprise!
I didn’t share anything until this point because:
1) It takes 21 days to form a habit and I didn’t want to hype it up for nothing.
2) I usually hate telling people my goals until I accomplish them (see above).
3) For some reason I was overwhelmed reading everyone else’s intentions for 2017. Should I be doing something harder? Better? Faster? Stronger?
Now that we are a month into 2017, I feel comfortable sharing my two resolutions, why I set them and what I’ve learned so far. Ironically, both resolutions had to do with my night-time routine.
Resolution #1: Stop bringing my phone to bed
Let me paint you a picture: it’s 10 p.m. on a Tuesday. I brush my teeth, get in bed and open up Instagram for a “few” minutes. Then I check Twitter…then Facebook…then Snapchat. Before I know it, it’s like 11:15. WHAT THE HELL. That’s 75 minutes of precious sleep that I will never get back—for what? A silly like or comment? Lame.
On January 1, I somewhat randomly decided to move my phone charger to a different outlet—one that put my phone out of arm’s reach from my bed. This would force me to set my alarm on my phone, plug it in to charge and then get into bed, rather than the reverse order. This would also force me to physically get up when my alarm goes off. Side note: I really should have gone one step further and purchased an actual alarm clock. I might still do that.
I’ll admit, breaking this specific habit was easier than most because, come 9:30 – 10 p.m., I’m done. Exhausted. Brushing my teeth is a taxing chore at that point. It had just become routine for me to “catch up” on social media happenings in bed, no matter what time I made it upstairs. The new charging station left me no choice but to close my eyes right away.
To many people this is a silly resolution. It might not even cross your mind as a problem, or maybe you already ditch your phone way before bed! This change was very necessary for me, mentally and physically. One month later and my phone is no longer part of my bedtime routine. More than that, I’ve created a “sleep sanctuary” that promotes relaxation, not mental stimulation. Obviously my own thoughts can keep me up at night, so it’s not a perfect change...
I’m in firm belief that we should all soak up every minute of sleep as humanly possible. Now I’m practicing what I preach.
Resolution #2: Journal every night…about work
Journaling is nothing new to me. All of the more personal posts published on this blog have started in a journal, whether an actual journal or the Notes app on my phone. In November I mentioned starting The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal and while I’m still going strong after three months, the limited space and positive nature of the book wasn’t conducive to the myriad thoughts about my work day. Let’s be honest, this learning curve has resulted in some not-so positive thoughts.
At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to document my work day. The lessons, successes, questions, etc. I replaced my mindless scrolling on my phone with quick, constructive journaling. (Not directly, I suppose, as I write before I get into bed). So far, I have one month’s worth of entries that range from vent sessions and roadblocks to current projects and personal accomplishments (like having a piece of writing published).
As much as I want to be done with this adjustment stage, I know there is value in verbalizing the emotions and actions from this time in life. I made this resolution for the future, not the present, if that makes sense.
Resolve to Evolve
Many aspects of my life could use a little TLC. They are getting addressed, slowly but surely. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, I’m focusing on small changes. Small is good. Small adds up! I can handle small right now.