Welcome to The Path to Digital Wellness!
I’m excited to explore the topic of digital health and wellness with you over the next 20 weeks. Thank you for deciding to join me!
Before we dive in, it may be helpful to grab a notebook, notepad, or journal to record goals, reflections, and exercises each week during this course. (If paper isn’t your thing, it’s totally okay to use digital tools for this purpose.)
The Big Picture
If this course sparked an interest for you, it’s likely because something currently feels “off” about your relationship with technology. So I want to start by digging into that feeling.
If you want to determine if technology is getting in the way of achieving what you want out of life it’s important to ask yourself a really obvious question first: “What exactly do you want out of life?”
This is a critical question to answer, (and sadly a step that often gets skipped in favor of just making rules for daily digital habits), but we need to start here. Because it’s only by knowing where you want to go that you can decide which road to take to get there — and, for the purposes of this course, what “roadside attractions” (i.e. technology) you should avoid or seek out along the way.
As you already know, technology is a double-edged sword. It can be a tool to both get what you want out of life AND significantly distract you from achieving that same task. Unless you are clear about your intention when using technology, (both in the moment and big picture, in your life) it can be very easy to slide from one task into another and accidentally sabotage your plans.
Further complicating matters, while technology isn’t inherently bad, it’s not inherently neutral either. Every technological device, every platform you interact with each day has been designed to command as much of your time and attention as possible. It’s been designed so the maker of that platform/device’s goal comes first. Unless you have your own goals for how you want to invest that time and attention, you’ll likely default to the one Facebook, Google, Netflix, etc. has for you.
You may have already established some resolutions for 2020. That’s a great place to start with goal-setting. However, it’s important to make sure those resolutions have some “teeth” — that they’re not so vague they can’t actually guide you anywhere.
If they are vague, make like a pre-schooler and ask yourself some “why” questions. For example…
- My New Year’s resolution is to lose 10 pounds.
- So I’m healthier
- So I can do more things that I enjoy.
- Um…because now I mostly spent time doing stuff I don’t enjoy
- Err…because I…I dunno. *stares off into space, eating chips*
After spending some time with your inner pre-schooler you can usually drill down to a real goal — one that may be a wee bit harder to articulate or harder to achieve. That’s okay. Meaty, messy goals are the best ones to work on — the ones that give you the best shot of making some real changes in your life.
(Incidentally, meaty, messy goals are also the ones we most often avoid by instead staring into screens for hours at a time. The fact that the goal is so uncomfortable it makes us seek out distractions can be a clue that it’s an important thing to work on.)
This Week’s Exercise
For this week, spend some time thinking about your meaty, messy goals — for your life, for this course. No need to do a big life plan here, just jot down a few general ideas. (Ideally these should be goals that you suspect you might be using technology to run away from.) To start…
- Write down 1–3 goals for this year, (drill down on your “whys” as far as you can until the goal feels right/a bit uncomfortable in your gut.)
- Then, pick a few things/projects you’d like to work on specifically in the month of January to start achieving those 1–3 goals.
- Then, write down a few tasks for the coming week you could do to start working on each project. (For instance, actually doing this week’s exercise instead of skimming it and thinking, “Yeah, I get the gist of this.”)
Next week we’ll talk about how technology can help and hinder your ability to reach the goals you’ve identified.
Obviously goal-setting can be challenging. Lucky for you, the world is full of resources to help you with this process. Here are just a few to get you started…
- This post of mine about How to Get Your Act Together might be helpful for organizing your thoughts.
- You may want to check out Brian Solis’ book LifeScale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life, which has great exercises on helping you identify your values and purpose (as well as this topic as a whole.) Holes in some of those areas can lead to insights about what you might like to work on.
- This video is an excellent primer in the basics of goal setting…
Thank you again for stopping by. I look forward to seeing you again next week!
I’d love to hear your thought on this course as we go. Feel free to leave comments on any of the posts or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share something privately.)