I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I think making a yearlong commitment to something that you may or may not enjoy isn’t productive. There is too much guilt and bad feelings that come from not meeting your goal and while that fear can propel some people to work hard to avoid such unpleasant feelings for the rest of us it is just a pending punishment that hangs over whatever goal we’ve decided to take on. I don’t like living my life in fear, so I don’t see much benefit in undertaking such a long commitment where the odds are not in my favor. 365 days is a lot to commit to anything.
I do, however, enjoy small goals. I like the feeling of success when accomplishing small goals and I feel like those little successes can compound quickly and not only is this good for your mental health, but also for your achievement of goals.
So, when I looked at things I wanted to change in 2021, I struggled to find balance in what I wanted to undertake. There are lots of little improvements I want to make and not one huge goal (i.e., lose weight). After some deliberation, I decided that I would break down all these things I wanted to experiment with into seven day goals. These tiny, attainable goals would be reasonable in length and long enough to hopefully allow me to experience any benefit from them. It would also give me a chance to experiment with a lot of things in my life to see whether or not I enjoyed it and/or whether I thought it was something I could realistically stick to.
One of my goals for 2021 is to stop reading the news. I’ve been quite good about avoiding the news over the years, but sometimes big events occur that draw me in. Last year it was a mixture of COVID and the election. By the end of the year, I found myself scrolling the news while at work. I also found myself on r/all on reddit while at home. I could physically feel myself become anxious while doom scrolling and I realized that what I was doing was no better than anyone scrolling Facebook for triggering information. It needed to stop, so my first seven day experiment for 2021 was to not read the news.
Every day that I skipped the news, I tracked it in a Habit app I found on F-Droid. It’s simple and no frills and exactly what I need. Here is a quick assessment.
Seven Day Goal: Stop Reading the News
Dates: Jan 1 – Jan 7
Thoughts: I have felt less anxiety and the state of the world have not been on my mind nearly as much. I found more enjoyment when browsing the web.
Will I Continue this Goal: Yes
I plan on tracking each goal and reporting the results back like this. I don’t have any expectations to continue this for all of 2021, but I want to experiment when I have the capacity and see where things go from there.