With everyone focusing on forming good habits at the start of a new year, I figured it was a great time to begin a personal experiment I’ve wanted to try for a while: go without social media for a year. It sounds crazy, I know, and I’ve had my doubts if I could even pull it off, but here are 8 reasons why I’m turning off social media for 2015.
#1 I want to invest in meaningful relationships
Social media has slowly become my primary form of human interaction outside of the small circle of people I see everyday. I log on daily and see what improvements my friend in Washington has made to his home, or what my family in West Virginia is having for dinner, or how much my buddy in town is bench pressing at the gym. I can keep up with hundreds, if not thousands, of people all at once. It’s an amazing technological and societal advancement with many great benefits, but I wonder how many of us stop and think about the negative effects of spreading ourselves so thin socially.
What I’ve noticed is that just because I feel connected to people doesn’t mean I’m really engaging with them in a meaningful way. I think the reason for this is I’ve mistaken knowing about them with actually knowing them. I haven’t been digging past the surface of status updates and really investing time and energy in these relationships. And it’s not okay that I had become content with that. Maintaining relationships is hard work (and it can get messy), so it’s easy for me to slip into this passive relationship funk. I’m hoping this will be the kick in the arse I need to change my behavior and start investing myself in the things that matter most.
#2 I want to have more time
Rather, I want to make the most of the time that I have. When I want to disengage and relax, my default is to hop on social media and start scrolling. Next thing I know I’ve killed an hour of my time, with nothing to show for it. I’d be better off using this time to read or spend time with my wife or even just sit and think. I want to reclaim those hours in my day.
#3 I want to hone my conversation skills
I’ve never been particularly great at verbal communication, especially when it’s extemporaneous. I like to take my time to think through what I want to say and choose my words carefully, which makes it easier for me to debate from the safety of my screen. From there, I can pick only the topics that won’t make me look like a complete moron (there aren’t a lot of those) and no one will notice when I start to get all flustered and tongue-tied from fear of saying something ignorant.
I’m hoping a social media blackout will help motivate me to improve my verbal communication and force me out of my comfort zone. I need to be okay with sounding like an idiot if it means there’s an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
#4 I want to be content where I am
I have some serious wanderlust, and Instagram just fans that flame. As I browse through my feed of snow-capped mountains, gorgeous beaches, and exotic locations, I become increasingly discontent with where I am. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing bad about having travel goals (Amy and I are already planning multiple trips this year). But, there’s something to be said for being content with where you are when that’s where you need to be. I don’t want to be distracted by the places where I’m not; I just want to be where I am.
#5 I want to be more positive
“I hate Comcast.”
“I’m gluten-free, so I have to pay a bajillionty times more for everything.”
Sadly, I think my updates consist of more of these sentiments than I’d like to admit. For some reason, my first instinct when I’m frustrated is to pick up my phone and complain about it. What’s up with that? It’s healthy to vent, but why ruin everyone else’s day? Once it’s out there you can’t really take it back, and it usually just brings about more negativity (or at the very least annoyance). I don’t want to add to this cycle anymore. I want to find a more constructive way to deal with my negative thoughts and frustrations.
#6 I want to defeat my phone anxiety
Talking on the phone makes me super anxious. I hate it. With the exception of very few people, I often hang up with full on body sweats when I have to talk longer than 3 minutes. I don’t know what’s up with this (probably has a lot to do with #3), but I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.
By forcing myself to interact with people outside of social media, I’m anticipating that I will have to start using my phone as an actual phone and figure out a way to get over this weird phobia. So, friends, expect to start hearing from me more often.
#7 I want to cut out the noise
I used to sit and think all the time. I could seriously just sit and process things for hours. I loved letting my mind wander and really delve deep into big ideas. I hardly do this at all any more. Life has become rushed and noisy. I certainly can’t blame social media entirely for this, but I think shutting it off for a year is just what I need to start cutting out the barrage of things fighting for my attention.
I’ve also set goals to journal every day and to publish one blog post every week this year. I’m hoping this will help me slow down and let life soak in a little.
#8 I want to see what happens
Honestly, I’m just curious to see what it’s like to live without social media for a year. I’ve read articles about it, and I’ve even known someone who has done it, but I want to know how it will affect me. Whatever the outcome, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself, and that requires some experimentation.
What about you?
Ever thought about turning off social media for a while? Or is there something else you’ve thought about giving up to improve your life? Leave a comment below and let me know.
PS. If you want to stay up to date with how I’m doing, sign up to receive my posts by email below in the footer.