So, you want to take on the task of quitting social media as your 2017 New Year's resolution, eh?
Maybe you're starting to get headaches from staring at screens all day. Maybe you had a dream about scrolling through your Instagram feed.
Maybe you shed a genuine tear when your crush didn't like your new profile picture and have started to suspect your relying on little red notifications for your happiness miiiight be a tiny problem.
Or maybe you heard Gigi Hadid was doing it, and thought,
Hey, that rich and famous model seems to be doing pretty well for herself. Maybe I should try to do everything she pretends she's doing, too!
Quitting social media — or even just cutting back — won't be easy. So many people around you will be tempting you to go back to your various profiles every day.
It's just too ingrained in our culture now to ignore.
But with perseverance, realistic expectations and these concrete steps, it can be done. And you'll find yourself feeling so much lighter once you do it.
Take Gigi Hadid — a few weeks ago she announced she's taking a month off social media starting on January 1, 2017.
A month might not sound that long, but keep in mind social media is part of Gigi Hadid's job.
She's being realistic about what she can achieve, and you should be, too. The following steps are merely suggestions, and I encourage all of you to adapt them to fit what you can realistically accomplish, while still pushing yourself.
1. Delete the apps.
Have you ever ended up scrolling through Instagram with no memory of even taking your phone out of your pocket?
Your hand is so trained to whip out your phone and click on those icons in a spare moment that if you don't at least delete the apps, you'll be back on social media without even realizing what you're doing.
Plus, think of all that cleared up storage you'll get.
2. Get SelfControl for your computer.
SelfControl is a great app that got me through my college finals every year.
All you do is add the websites you want blocked to a blacklist, set how long you want them blocked for and then enjoy (or suffer) a few hours of productive computer time where you can't check your Facebook no matter how hard you try.
Be careful, though: It can't be undone until the time you set is up.
3. Delete the accounts.
If you really want to quit cold turkey, or if you think you might just be too tempted otherwise, it might not be a bad idea to actually deactivate your accounts.
You can usually find this option under settings or security for most platforms.
4. Text — or call — your friends.
One of the hardest things about being off social media is feeling like you're missing out on what your friends are doing.
I get it, but you have to remember not even a decade ago, we were all maintaining perfectly healthy friendships without Facebook. In fact, they were maybe a little more healthy.
So text your friends! See what they're up to! Have a conversation with them! I promise they won't think it's weird.
Or, if you're feeling really bold, you could call them. (I know this one is scary, so don't put too much pressure on yourself. All about those baby steps.)
5. Carry a book.
After socializing, the next biggest reason you might find yourself missing your Snapchat is just that urge to have something to look at during those lulls in life.
If, like me, you're not really one to chat with your fellow waiting room patrons, or you feel weird being the first of your friends at the bar or you don't like to be alone with your thoughts on the bus, I have a solution for you: Take a book with you.
Start carrying a book around everywhere you go, and when you feel the urge to check your phone, read instead.
If you're not a big reader, substitute in podcasts or music or knitting — all of these things will leave you feeling more satisfied than checking Twitter, I promise.
OK, that's all I got!
Good luck to you all, and don't be too hard on yourselves.
Remember, not everything about social media is bad.
So once you feel like you've got a handle on your life again, you can start periodically checking your Facebook here and there. Everything in moderation.