I've heard of more and more people moving away from resolutions and instead, starting their new year focusing on a single word that would sum up their intentions for the coming year.
I love the idea and for 2018 my word is LESS.
I was tempted to participate in a study for Cal Newport for the month of January where I would attempt to "take a break from optional digital technologies" and then report back my findings. I really wanted to do this, but it didn't feel right. Coming off the holidays I didn't trust I had adequate time to prepare for HOW I would do this--considering how I use technology as a writer and in my writing community. But the concept of LESS online distractions resonated with me. So, for the year I'm going to actively be looking for ways that I can scale back the online static and only participate in what serves my writing the best. To some degree I've done this already, but I think I have a clear view of where I need to go and I'm excited to give it a try.
I was again reminded that I was finding the word LESS intriguing when a friend of mine posted about how she added up the hours of her life, that she lost to politics this past year, and was horrified. It was significant. That felt all too familiar. Part of my problem is that I have a tendency to equate my silence with apathy. I want to have a voice and I desperately want to be brave enough to speak up. But--I think I would rather talk to someone face-to-face than post about them. I'm not sure how effective my social media is in unraveling the damage in our country and I fear we are losing the skill of personal interaction. Additionally, I'm not sure I want to continue to give up all those hours of my life to the follow-up discussions that come with speaking up on social media. But it's a puzzle, because I still believe that sharing information is important. So, for now, my goal is to talk less on social media in general. And to keep my more political posts restricted to things that feel very important to share rather than important to debate. It's not a perfect goal--but I will consider it a work in progress.
I could probably write a list of ten more things that I intend to do LESS of in order to get more, but I think these two are the trunk of the tree and the other issues are smaller branches off the main idea. And besides--now might be a good time to begin doing LESS.
If you could do LESS of any one thing in 2018, what would it be?