A Different Lifestyle For The New Year

Plot Twist: It’s Not About Going To The Gym

Full length of young men and women holding cellphone
Image Credit: Beyond The Dream

The new year is upon us, giving us a clean slate to improve ourselves. Every year, people all around the world make various New Year Resolutions. These resolutions are almost always a change in personal lifestyle. Not surprisingly, the most common resolution worldwide is losing weight. Sounds cliché, right?

Now don’t get me wrong, losing weight and exercising more are part of my resolutions, but I have an additional lifestyle resolution that I’m making just as important: not being so dependent on my smartphone.

As of June 2013, Nielsen reports that 61% of United States citizens own a smartphone. Like regular cellular phones, smartphones can send text messages, which is used as a form of communication. In addition, smartphones can connect to the internet, allowing for communication through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram to name a few. Texting and social media networks can serve as a platform of communication from one person to another, but could these be impacting our interpersonal friendships?

While I was at many social gatherings last year, I noticed one common theme that happened frequently: people were surrounded with a group of friends having a good time, but they were also frequently checking their phones and communicating with people who weren’t in attendance.  Granted, with winter break in session, people are separated from their college buds and want to check-in on friends. Nevertheless, these people seemed distracted from what is going on in the present; instead, they are focusing on an external conversation with someone that others may not have even met before.

One of the primary examples that I have noticed is when people are texting their significant others from hundreds of miles away. Rather than enjoying friends’ company physically, these separated lovebirds seem to be 90% focused on their conversations, and only 10% focused on what is going on around them. One time, a friend asked me, “Is [he/she] going to ever text me back? What do I do?” at a holiday decoration contest. It seemed as if my friend (who was on my team) forgot that there was a contest going on – a contest that involves teamwork. The point is this: while it is important to maintain communication with friends that may be miles away, it is also essential to focus on personal friendships in the moment.

I am guilty of pulling out the phone every once in a while sporadically when I am disinterested or not-entertained, and I never realized how that could impact someone negatively until I experienced the feeling myself. It is to the point where it has become a habit. Because I hold multiple leadership positions on campus, I tend to receive many messages and emails that require action on my behalf, and based on my work ethic, I address those concerns almost immediately. I lose focus in what is going on around me.

This year, my true resolution is to cut down on my usage of my phone when I am around other people and enjoy life without interacting with the touch screen. Breaking the addiction to the phone and social media can be a key step into improving your outlook on life. If you consider this as part of your resolution, I am sure that it can make a positive change to your life too.

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