by Ellen Kocher
Every year at this time, my clients come to me with resolutions around unrealistic diets, exercise, sleep routines, and commitments to connect more with people that are important to them. These intentions are wonderful but don’t work. Studies show that only about 46% of people who make New Year’s resolutions are successful.
I believe that by “leaving you to your own devices” to choose from my 10 suggestions below, you can set realistic well-being goals for 2023. We are spending an unprecedented amount of time in front of our devices and our boundaries of home, work, family, and school are all blurred because everything is happening simultaneously. So, what better place to start?
Devices can be defined as either “a thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment” (i.e. your phone or tablet), or “a plan, method, or trick with a particular aim” (i.e. your new year’s resolution).
10 New Devices for 2023
Measure how much time you spend online.
Why? You tend to underestimate it. Recent research shows that, globally, the average time spent on the internet per person was 6 hours and 37 minutes per day. That’s one-quarter of our lives. If we remove sleep, that’s about half of our waking time. To manage anything, we need to measure it. Start by measuring your screen time (check your device settings) to know where you stand. Then, I leave you to your own devices to decide what you do about that.
Communicate how and when you are available to others.
Why? Others will adjust to your boundaries if you are clear. The current abundance of technology in daily life creates opportunities for interruptions in human interactions, called « technoference” or « phubbing ». Recent research suggests that if individuals perceive technology use as phubbing, these perceptions negatively affect their relationships and mood. By communicating clear boundaries, we can manage most interferences. Start by determining how you can communicate your availability (out-of-office messages, a no phone-at-the-table policy, etc.). Then, I leave you to your own devices to do it and observe its benefits.
Keep your phone silent and away when talking to people.
Why? There’s nothing more valuable than your 100% undivided attention. Rather than promising to spend more time with people in 2023, try committing to fewer phone distractions. According to Sherry Turkle, author of the book Reclaiming Conversation, with phone distractions, we lose our ability to have deeper, more spontaneous conversations with others, changing the nature of our social interactions in alarming ways. Silencing and removing your phone are the first steps to deeper relationships. Try it. Then, I leave you to your own devices to observe how it feels.
Create tech-free zones at home or work.
Why? Not seeing devices reduces pressure on willpower and temptation and keeps you less distracted. Whether you are aiming to eat, exercise or sleep better in 2023, undistracted, tech-free zones can influence them all. They can: contribute to healthier social behavior and positive life outcomes for kids, improve cognitive functioning, mental health, and obesity, and give us an opportunity to relax or move our bodies more. We check our phones nearly 300 times a day and creating tech-free zones is a first step to accessing freedom and greater well-being. Try it at home or at work. Then, I leave you to your own devices to decide what you do with your tech-free time.
Incorporate physical breaks into your tech routine.
Why? Even quick exercise can boost blood flow, oxygen, and brain chemicals. Physical breaks can help prevent obesity and health, free up time for more exercise, and improve sleep. Try to a physical break every hour to move your body for at least 5 minutes. Then, I leave you to your own devices to observe how this makes you feel about your food choices, exercise, and sleep.
Take a pause.
Why? Any non-stop behavior puts you at risk for burnout. Breaking your autopilot tech-driven rhythm restores your normal human rhythm. Start by building a few small open stretches of time into your day. Try not eating in front of your computer or with your phone in your hand, or not replying immediately to messages or emails. Observe how these short breaks make a difference. Then, I leave you to your own devices to decide whether you feel the beneficial reset.
Clean up your smartphone and disable notifications.
Why? You become more focused and minimize decision making which helps your brain to perform better. Information overload reduces our capacity to function effectively, which can lead to poor or impossible decision-making, analysis paralysis, and burnout. Try turning off notifications, deleting apps, silencing, or even leaving your phone behind. Then, I leave you to your own devices to observe how your decision-making and brain power change.
Practice staying present, completely undistracted, for 15 minutes each day.
Why? Anything requiring full presence will help build attention and concentration, reduce stress, enhance senses, and strengthen self-control, memory, and decision-making. Try meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, or any undistracted concentration activity. Then, I leave you to your own devices to use a few minutes to observe how you feel – scanning from head to toe.
Go (or look!) outside!
Attention Restoration Theory claims that exposure to natural environments can be associated with mental health benefits and the restoration of human attention. Even a short look at a natural landscape can help your brain recharge, reduce stress and send positive emotions soaring. So, start by observing how much nature you already have in your day, then aim for at least 20 minutes to boost your well-being. Then, I leave you to your own devices to observe and reap the benefits.
Write it down (with a pen).
Why? The act of writing down resolutions can improve one’s success rate in achieving them long-term by 42%. This gives you clarity and a constant reminder. So, maybe your real new device for 2023 is a new pen!
Your New Device?
My job as a coach is to leave you to your own devices and to support you in choosing how you will go from going from knowing what to do to actually doing it. So, which new device have you chosen for 2023? I would love to hear!
Originally posted as personal blog post: https://whealthness.ch/its-a-new-year-whats-your-new-device/
Economist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant (USA & Switzerland), Ellen holds a master’s degree in Health & Wellness Coaching, ICF PCC, NBC-HWC, Health and Mindful Eating Coach, Certified Digital Well-Being Coach. Educated in the USA, she has lived in Switzerland for over 35 years. Following 10 years in the Finance Industry, Ellen understands the challenges of a busy working lifestyle. Through her company, Whealthness, she has dedicated the past 20+ years to nutrition and workplace wellness promoting a holistic approach to eating, physical activity, health, and self-care.