Stop Your Technology from Distracting You

To create something, you need focus. I do my journaling on paper because a sheet of paper will not suddenly interrupt you with an unimportant message. When I am in focus mode, I have notification off on my phone and my computer. When writing on the computer, I use the “focus” mode in Word that removes all the menus and covers everything on my screen but the document.

You need to take a moment to figure out how to bend your technology to your will. If you can’t figure out how to disable notifications and noise, have a friend or family member help you.

You Have to Touch

When you have lived with the same partner for a long time, it can feel like something is missing. One of the most important things you can do for your relationship is to make sure you physically touch several time each day. It does not have to be a bear hug or anything sexual. Any simple touch trigger oxytocin in the body, and that strengthens trust and connection between you. Find a way to touch the shoulder, arm, or hand of your partner every day and feel the difference. 

Use your phone less

How often do you pick up your phone? If you are average, it is 58 times in a day. That is the number of times the average user interacts with the phone, so it does not include just checking the time. If you have an iPhone, activate the Screen Time feature under Settings to get your number. On Android, look under Settings, Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.

When you have found your number, challenge yourself to get it down. We only have so much time in our lives, and we are spending too much of it glued to our phones.

Build Your Exercise Routine Back

Are you out of shape after the pandemic? Many people had exercise routines centered around going to a gym or participating in a team sport. During the pandemic, that kind of exercise was not possible. Few have had the willpower to implement a corresponding solo regime, so we’re out of shape.

But now gym reopenings are beckoning, and you can soon go back to your weekly aerobics or Taekwondo class. To prepare for that, start going a little bit of exercise every day. If you’ve not been training at all, start with ridiculously small amounts of exercise, but add a little every day. Write down in your journal what you did and make sure you do just a little more each day. If you jogged for 100 yards yesterday, jog 150 yards today. If you did 3 jumping jacks yesterday, do 4 today.

Movement is important for both your physical and mental health. Start building your exercise routine back.

Numbers Optional

Do you run your life by the numbers? Some people meticulously record their steps, their time, and their diet, and the media and the internet is full of well-meaning advice from these people. And there is of course a gadget or an app to track and register everything.

This approach works for a specific kind of people. However, if you are not a numbers person, there is no need to feel guilty because other people say you should be tracking steps, calories or anything else.

If you want to improve your life, you do need to take time to reflect on what you are doing with the days you have been given. But tracking exact numbers is purely optional.

Read Books

What book are you reading right now? Books are a great way to relax, immerse yourself in another world, and learn something. And paper books don’t affect your sleep like reading on a screen does.

People have announced the death of physical books for a long time, but 2020 saw more paper books sold than ever before. If you’re not reading a book right now, find one on your bookshelf that you have meant to get around to, and get started tonight.

E-mail Self Defense

Be careful when you check email. Lots of emails contain things you need to do and meetings you will have to attend. Everybody starts thinking about the potential problems with the tasks or the possible unpleasant things that might happen at the meetings. Especially if you suffer from anxiety, you need to practice some email self-defense.

Here in Denmark, there is a citizen’s initiative aimed at forbidding government agencies, counties, and municipalities from sending out messages outside of normal working hours. It was started by a person who sometimes got anxiety attacks when receiving officiel mail, and getting a message on a Saturday morning when his therapist as closed for the weekend was a major problem for him.

In Germany, there is a law that forbids companies to send email to employees in the evening and weekend. The boss can send it, but the company email system holds it until the morning of the next working day.

Even if you are not protected by national regulations, you can help yourself by setting an email-checking schedule. Also consider removing your email accounts from your phone. In that way, you will have to open up your laptop to check mail. That extra work will give you the chance to reconsider if you really need to check email right now.

Make a Change

When you want to make changes to your life, it is a good idea to connect them to something else that changes. That’s why we make New Year’s resolutions, and why we decide on our birthdays to establish new habits.

If you live in American and got a new president yesterday, you can also use that as a trigger for a change in your life. If you have a goal or a change you want to implement, today is a good day to start.

Build a Health Habit

A lot of people have a health goal among their New Year’s resolutions. Goals focus your attention, but health goals tend to be “I should” goals set with your mind instead of your heart. Ideally, you would work on finding your true “why” and set a heart goal that will be much easier to achieve. But the next best thing is to build a habit instead. If you can create a habit of exercising, or a habit of eating home-cooked food instead of takeaway, your health will improve.

In Denmark where I live, we have costal climate. That means it doesn’t really get cold in winter, and snow is a rare occurrence. But we just had snow and we’ll have freezing temperatures this weekend. I’ll be taking some long walks this weekend. What will you do to support your new health habit this weekend?

Habit Tracking

If there is a habit you wold like to start, re-start or strengthen, maybe a physical calendar will help remind you to do it every day. Print out a calendar of the entire year and make a checkmark every day you did the action you are trying to turn into a habit. Reddit user Propelissa helpfully created one to print out for your 2021 checkmarks: https://i.imgur.com/7JQNGs9.jpg. Ready, set, go!