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The New Year’s Resolution You Didn’t Know You Needed

Best New Year's Resolution

It’s resolution season again and if you’re like most, you probably made a few resolutions that look like the ones below.  These are the top 2018 New Year’s resolutions for U.S. adults (18+) based on a survey conducted by YouGov.

Top 2018 New Year's Resolutions

Source: YouGov  n=1170 U.S. Adults (18+).  Conducted online 8th – 11th December 2017. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

According to one study, only 9% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions  – a statistic that likely doesn’t surprise many.

Why? Because when it comes to creating a more productive and fulfilled life – most of us go about it the wrong way. We think that in order to be successful, happy, and healthy, we need to do more, add more, or be more.

The problem with this way of thinking is that, unfortunately, our resources are limited – our time, energy, motivation, and self-control are all finite resources that eventually run out or get depleted.

So in order to create meaningful change this year, first you have to identify and understand where you’re currently spending your time and where you’re wasting it.

So where do you spend your time?

When it comes to spending our time well, most of us know that we spend too much time on social media, browsing the web, or streaming shows. For many of us, the introduction of these technologies into our lives was an organic process that happened gradually over time. So much so, that many of us don’t realize how much our daily routines have changed to revolve around these technologies.

Many studies have shown a continued growth in daily screen time over the last few years, but do we really realize just how much time we’re spending in front of screens?

According to a Statista report, the average US adult spends 135 minutes (2.25 hours) on social media per day in 2017, a number that has increased from 90 minutes in only 5 years (2012).

An increase that might be attributed to the widespread dissemination of smartphones over the last few years. A recent analysis of multiple studies on smartphone usage found that on average people spent over 4 hours a day on their smartphones in 2017.

Not only that, the Nielsen Total Audience Report Q2 2017 showed that the average U.S. adult spends about 10 hours 48 minutes a day in front of a screen, a number that is up from 10 hours and 39 minutes in 2016.

So when it comes to where the average American adult is spending most of their free time, it’s a safe bet that it’s going toward digital distractions and online media.

Some perspective:

So if we’re spending this much time online and in front of screens, what time do we have left for friends and family, hobbies, volunteering, reading, learning, exercising, and house maintenance, etc?

In a week there are 168 hours. If you sleep about 7 hours a night, that takes 49 of those hours. If you work 8 hours a day, work will take another 40. If we assume that personal care such as eating, bathing, dressing, and preparing food takes about 3 hours a day – that leaves us with 58 hours a week for everything else.

Unfortunately however, the average American is spending about 50 hours a week on their devices for entertainment.

What you spend your time on in an average week

It’s time to take a look in the (black) mirror

A quick quiz – try to be as honest as possible with yourself:

  • How much time do you spend on social media each day?
  • How much time do you spend on your phone?
  • How much time in front of screens?
  • How much time do you spend on Netflix? Instagram? Facebook?

Now type some of those numbers in the calculator below to see how much time that adds up to over a lifetime.

How much time do you spend on _________ over a lifetime?

Calculator assumes that you started at age 18 and you will live to average U.S. life expectancy of 78 years.

For many of us, the proportion of time we spend on things like Netflix and social media over a lifetime can be astounding. What’s worse is when you compare this time to total time spent in a lifetime on eating, grooming, and doing laundry

Looking to 2018

If we learned one thing from 2017, it’s that we are spending more of our free time in front of screens than ever before. A fact, that for many of us, creates a disconnect between the things (and/or resolutions) we value most and what we actually spend our time doing.

If we really want change and improvement in 2018, it’s time to acknowledge that most of us are wasting countless hours online and in front of screens. Hours that could be dedicated to family and friends, hobbies, exercise, reading, learning, exploring and growing – the things that ultimately make us happy.

It’s time to reclaim our minutes, hours, days, and years from digital distractions. It’s time to focus on what matters.

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