11 New Year's Resolutions for a Healthier Online Life

11 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Online Life

Don’t ignore your online life when you are thinking about some fresh New Year’s resolutions this year. Now is the time to tweet more positively, get information from reputable sources, quit obsessing over Instagram, and message your friends and family one-to-one.

These days, the rabbit hole of the internet can leave you confused about what is really important. So to help you deal with the endless content and enjoy the digital world again, here are some effective New Year’s resolutions for a better online life.


1. Build More Direct Relationships

If you often post images to the internet just to receive a few likes or one-word compliments, it can feel like nobody really cares. Instead of doing that again this year, send your holiday pics and cute cat photos in a private message to the people you know would appreciate them.

Installing a stand-alone instant messaging app will help you to untangle your public profile from your private communications. It feels undeniably good, and as a bonus, you’ll have stronger relationships by the end of the year.

2. Say No to Headlines That Make You Hate

It’s time to stop giving in to headlines that make you angry. Instead, try this the next time you feel yourself reacting to a headline:

MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY

  1. Stop.
  2. Take a moment to notice that the headline is tempting you to click further.
  3. Breathe.
  4. Instead of clicking, let it pass you by.

Headlines are designed to make you want to click, share, and comment to all your friends, often before you’ve read all or any of the piece. They beg for thoughtless reactions.

Once you know this, though, it’s much easier to avoid falling for their cheap tricks.

3. Delete the Old Versions of You


Three people sitting side by side using their phones

Deleting your Facebook profile might feel like cutting off an extra limb, but in reality, it’s more like getting a haircut.

How many online profiles do you have floating around that you haven’t used for years now? You might want to save your Tumblr page for posterity, but it’s time to deactivate your long-forgotten MySpace account.

Download your Facebook data and get off the platform this year so you can work on building one (or two) current online profiles that you regularly care for.

4. Put Your Apps in a Drawer and Forget About Them

If you need to spend less time on your phone, clear the home screen of all your apps. Store them in a drawer, folder, or an Android launcher, instead.

That way you won’t notice app badges or remember social media apps you haven’t checked in five minutes every time you unlock your phone to answer a text message or look something up.

By removing the candy-colored Instagram icon from your immediate reach, it gives you just enough pause for you to realize what you are doing: clicking on an app because you are bored.

5. Collect Your Favorite Websites in One Place

To simplify your blog reading and see fewer distractions as you browse the web, take your favorite websites and put them in one place with an app like Feedly.

You can use this app to view all the latest articles from across your favorite websites in one simple list. This trick will shave off countless hours of passive scrolling time so you can get back to those projects you’ve been meaning to work on.

If you need to do a lot of research for work, this can also supercharge your productivity, organizing your most-used sources in a single app and making it easy to search for keywords.

6. Read Articles and News Before Reposting

As the internet matures and and it becomes more important to be a good online citizen, it’s more vital than ever to read content before you repost it.

If you see a headline that you’re itching to repost, open it up and read it first so you know exactly what it’s all about. You’ll gain the respect of your followers as you start sharing higher quality content that you have vetted yourself.

You’ll also learn a lot by taking the time to pay attention to details you might’ve missed skimming just the first paragraph.

7. Go Direct to the News Source


A close up shot of a digital news headline on an tablet next to a paper news paper

With mountains of questionable content on the internet, reposting news without knowing where it comes from is risky business that’s all too common. If you want to get more involved in the stories that matter this year, start by downloading an app from a reputable news source.


By sharing content firsthand from your own source, you can cultivate a more trustworthy online presence. As a bonus, you’ll stand out from the crowd of retweets and chain posts by contributing an original perspective.

8. Draw Digital Boundaries

When you aren’t at work, you might still be checking your work email frequently. And while you’re at home with your family, it’s likely you’re often interrupted by notifications from social media.

Carve out time for what you really want to do this year by setting some digital boundaries.

Schedule do not disturb on Slack and other work messaging apps. Then, set your email notifications to mute in the evening and use the do not disturb feature on your phone to mute other apps.

This will help you to be more present in each moment and let go of work stress during your time off.

9. Purge Your Email Inbox

Another year and another dozen or more email subscriptions have filled your inbox. It’s time to cull the marketing emails and newsletters that you haven’t touched in months. Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe!

While it might take time to sort through all your email subscriptions, your mind will feel satisfyingly content afterward. With a clean inbox, you’ll have a good starting point to stay clutter-free during the year ahead.

10. Expand Your Attention Span


Over the shoulder shot of a woman reading a boox on her tablet

Fight back against micro-content and boldly go where long-form content resides! That’s easy enough with the reading website Longform.

On Longform, you’ll find some of the best and most fascinating long articles from across the internet (short stories, essays, profiles, deep-dives). You can use Pocket or another read-it-later app to quickly save them to any device so you can read them when you have some downtime.

Opting for quality over quantity will help you gain new knowledge this year. No matter how many 280-character tweets you read, you just won’t gain the same insights as you will reading a thoughtful, well-constructed article.

11. Be Kind to Your Body

Your body takes a toll during all those hours dedicated to being online. But you can start to change that by installing a break reminder app that will automatically remind you when you should stand up, stretch, and look away from the screen.

Take 15 minutes to set up your time-out app once, and then forget about it for the year. You’ll notice yourself giving your eyes, neck muscles, and joints more breaks throughout the day.

This small change will help you stay in good physical shape and may even help you become more productive online.

Care For Your Online Self

Many people spend as many hours in their online lives as they do in the physical world. And that’s okay, as long as you remember to take care of yourself on the internet too.

With a wealth of great tools out there for a better online life, you can cut through the infinite digital possibilities and hone in on what matters the most.


An athletic woman in a sports top.
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