Making a New Year’s resolution is as easy as keeping it for the entire year is difficult. You start with determination to become a better, stronger version of your past year self. You stick to your resolution for the first week, maybe even the first month. But you don’t make it through the year.
A good rule of thumb is to make a resolution that is not too dramatic or absurd. It is much easier to follow resolutions with small changes to your lifestyle rather than try huge leaps. So, here are seven online resolutions (habits) that you too can try one small step at a time.
1. Don’t Get Sucked Into Online Arguments
Remember that time that guy on Twitter/Facebook/Reddit said something snarky about your favorite book/movie/political stance, and you spent hours arguing with him over it? Do you remember actually winning that argument? Do you remember looking back and feeling good about spending all that time over that one argument?
The main thing to remember about social media is that it encourages emotional instead of logical conversations. When a person expresses a view in opposition to yours, that opinion is a matter of personal choice. They will most likely not be swayed by your well-reasoned counter-argument.
Also don’t forget about the online trolls, who will deliberately goad you into starting online shouting matches just for fun. Knowing how to respond to fallacious arguments won’t help if the other person is just trying to get a rise out of you.
There are many spaces online to engage in reasoned, thoughtful debate, like r/Debate, Debate.org, and Procon.org. Stick to these spaces, and, no matter how strongly you feel about it, avoid starting flame wars on Reddit about how Jared Leto’s Joker was a more faithful comic book adaptation than Heath Ledger’s.
2. Keep Track of Time Wasted on Social Media
We all probably spend more time on social media than is good for us. You click that one facebook profile of your favorite celebrity and then spend hours stalking their photos. Time seems to really fly at such times. Before you know it, you’ve wasted another couple of hours snooping.
Even Facebook was forced recently to warn users against becoming addicted to its site. There are apps, like Social Fever and OFFTIME that you can use to keep track of the time you spend on social media. You can use these apps to:
- Set a limit to how long you use a particular social media app
- Get weekly reports on your app usage with accompanying analytics
- Set custom auto-replies so you don’t have to spend unnecessary time online
- Block unwanted calls, texts, and notifications
Download: Social Fever for Android (Free)
Download: OFFTIME for Android (Free)
3. Spend Time on Self Improvement
Commit yourself to spend at least an hour or two every week online dedicated to self-improvement. Go to a site that teaches you a skill you always wanted to learn. Or watch an interview with a professional you admire talking about their work.
Read inspirational articles or watch some of the best YouTube channels for self-improvement. The point is to use the internet to improve yourself.
There is a wealth of information, even on social media, geared toward bettering your mind. There are groups and forums on Facebook, Reddit and every other platform where members meet to share their passion for a subject. Join these groups and learn from them.
4. Keep Your Online Bio Updated
Most people remember to create a profile on LinkedIn and other job sites. But few remember to keep their profiles updated. A year has passed, and in that year you have gained more experience at your job while reaching new professional milestones.
Take some time to add these achievements to your profile on job sites. If you have worked recently with a new client, ask them to write a few lines of recommendation on your profile page. With more and more professionals finding work online, you cannot afford to neglect your virtual presence in your field of work.
5. Set Up a Social Media Page to Explore Your Passions
Start a page. Any kind of page. A YouTube channel. A WhatsApp or Telegram group. A Facebook social learning group. The only rule is that the page should be about exploring an activity that you feel passionately about. You can even turn your page into a learning group and volunteer training.
Forget about trying to make money off the page. The aim isn’t to create a new source of income, but a new source of interest to enrich yourself spiritually and mentally.
6. Start Networking with Professionals
How many times do you respond to LinkedIn connection notifications? While the internet economy is a thriving ecosystem, most of us are content to simply check out job sites from time to time for new vacancies.
This is only a small part of what the internet can do for you professionally. It is important to interact online not only with your friends but also with your professional contacts.
Sites like LinkedIn and Reddit have thriving communities for professionals to interact and help each other. Some ways to grow your online professional network are:
- Interact with new contact requests. Actively seek out people on sites like LinkedIn that you would like to work with.
- Attend professional networking events. Even local ones are announced on social media like Twitter and hyperlocal Facebook groups.
- Do favors for your contacts when possible. This shows you are someone who likes to collaborate in your field of work.
- Create your own forum. Reddit and Facebook groups are good candidates when you want to work with other professionals on passion projects together.
7. Keep Track with Time Management Apps
The internet is not the only place for wasting time. You do it all the time in the real world as well. The most common reason for time wastage is the absence of a schedule.
You spend more time on one particular project than you should have. Then you take a break after all the extra work. Before you know it, you’re falling behind on your work.
Time management apps are a great way to make sure you spend fixed amounts of time on projects. Apps like Mind42, MyLifeOrganized, and Toggl help you schedule your day in advance, offering features like:
- Tracking how much time is spent on different projects
- Teaching you productivity techniques like mind mapping and focus gathering.
- Managing your to-do lists and organizing your goals.
Resolve to Become More Productive
Modern life is busier than ever, and it is a constant struggle to find time for everything you want to accomplish in a single day. These habits can help ensure that your time online becomes a meaningful part of your life instead of time black holes.
Maybe, you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed. So why not narrow your horizon and take on any challenge as a 30-day learning project this year!