How To Stick To Your 2015 New Year's Resolutions
So many of us start the year with good intentions: to be healthier, to save more money, to take more holidays or spend less time online. But how many of our resolutions survive the month?
What you need is a plan, man. Guardian Australia found people who have succeeded at keeping their resolutions. Here is their advice.How to quit Facebook: Adam Brereton
Just over three years ago, when I was feeling low, I deactivated my Facebook profile. The relationship between social media and anxiety is slowly being fleshed out by academics, but I knew it intimately: Facebook made me miserable.This seems to be the story for more and more people: the quality of their time on Facebook has vastly diminished since they first started using the service. Many feel trapped. But giving it up? “No way,” everyone tells me, “I hate Facebook and I want to quit, but ... ”
“I use it to keep in touch with friends overseas”
Do you use Instagram or Twitter? Do you have an iPhone and can you use iMessage? Are you familiar with Whatsapp, Skype, Dropbox, and ... the telephone? Think about it: you don’t need Facebook to keep in touch. What’s more, getting rid of it actually improves your interactions with your overseas friends because you’re not constantly smothered in their photos and status updates.
“Don’t you miss out on stuff?”
Repeat after me: I am not a slave to “Fomo”. You already miss out on plenty of events: all the Facebook invitations you click “maybe” on and then don’t attend. So abandon your fear.
After quitting Facebook, what you will miss out on is the sense of anxiety that accompanies endless invitations to parties at which you’d rather not make an appearance. And if your friends want you to be somewhere, they’ll tell you. The invitations won’t dry up – your friends actually do like you.
“What about Facebook-stalking/perving on crushes/my unhealthy obsession with other peoples’ lives?”
This is the reason you wanted to quit Facebook in the first place! The constant “passive” communication of status updates and photos is what gives you “Facebook anxiety” because you’re viewing a curated version of other people’s lives.
And think of the flipside: chance encounters with people you’d rather keep at arms’ length become locked in once they fire off a friend request. How many chance acquaintances are stalking your profile right now?First thing to do ... delete the Facebook app from your phone. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/REUTERS
“I need it for work/to use Tinder”
Create a separate profile and don’t add your friends on it. If they try to add you, reject ruthlessly. Put in your bio that you are only using it for administration.
“Mum and Dad love it and my family uses it to share photos”
Youth of the world: you are stronger than your baby-boomer relatives. Teach them how to use a different photo-sharing service and wrestle your family interactions back on to your terms. Plus: no more chime-ins from the parentals.
“I can’t seem to stop using it, it’s a habit I can’t break”
To break your compulsive Facebook usage, take a lesson from the best. The Catholic sect Opus Dei encourages its members to start the day with an “heroic minute”, getting out of bed immediately upon waking and declaring “Serviam!” (I will serve).
According to one social media website, 50% of young Facebook users habitually check their profile first thing in the morning, so distracting yourself with your real life could be a good move. If the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, you could try an app like Mac Freedom, which blocks access to websites on your desktop computer. And delete the app from your phone – that should go without saying.
The benefits of being Facebook-free are great: no more racist status updates from school friends, a bit more headspace, an improvement in your real-life interactions with your real-life friends (you’ll actually have news to talk about!) and best of all, more time to spend on things that matter, like Twitter.
Adam’s resolution for 2015: to quit smoking for the umpteenth time.How to declutter your home: Michael Safi
Decluttering is one of the simpler new year’s goals to execute. Weight can come back, fitness can fade; once you’ve binned your old trainers, encyclopaedias and that souvenir obelisk you picked up in Cairo, they’re not coming back, ever.
First, the cleanse. Clothes are easy. You fought the establishment during your commerce-law degree at university and your surplus military green army jacket proves it. Now it makes you look like a pipe bomber. Bin it.
It’s an old rule, but worth heeding: if you can’t picture wearing something in a social setting in the next 12 months, get rid of it. The initial trepidation will fade, I promise. The clutter you’re really clearing is mental.
Ask the same hard questions about your sentimental objects. The saturated beer mat your dropkick mates pinched during a first-year pub crawl once took pride of place. Now the memories are stale – and so is the smell. Replace it with something fresh and meaningful.
If you can’t chuck it out, find a way to shrink it. Does that framed picture of your late 90s trip to Bali still stoke warm memories? Ditch the frame and file away the photograph in an accordion envelope.
That’s part two: the system. Accordion envelopes are cheap and come with alphabetical stickers you can spend your Saturday evening putting in place. Anything important to which you might later need to refer – leases, contracts, forms – can be filed away. A is for applications. B is for blueprints. C is for congratulations: now you’re an adult.
Have a place on your desk for bills. Chuck them when they’re paid or store them in a manila folder you can throw out once enough time passes. Buy a little box for chargers or wrap them around a bulldog clip attached to the end of your desk. Hang your shirts facing the same direction (and the coat hangers all pointing inwards). The line between organised and obsessive-compulsive is a fine one. Don’t be afraid to push it.
The point is that the few, quality things you own should have a place. Remember: what you’re really organising is your head.
Michael’s resolution for 2015: have no more than nine tabs open in Chrome.How to save for a housing deposit: Johanna Leggatt
Buying your first property is no easy task.
There are auctions to contend with, real estate agents to be courted by, other eager first-home buyers to square off with at open for inspections. But perhaps the hardest part of the process is saving enough money for a deposit. Let’s be clear: this is not going to happen with a bit of belt-tightening and fewer takeaway meals each week.Want to buy a house in 2015? Start saving NOW. Photograph: David R. Frazier Photolibrary, I/Alamy
The sixth annual Bankwest First Time Buyer Deposit Report, released in December, revealed it will take 6.7 years for first-time buyers in Sydney to save a 20% home deposit of $165,100 for a median-priced property of around $800,000.
This is not to suggest it is impossible; in fact, if you are buying a cheaper one-bedroom unit or are looking to buy in the regions, things suddenly get a whole lot easier. Nevertheless, you will need to be disciplined and self-motivated and, more often than not, give up a few luxuries you enjoy (week after week, month after month).
The first step is to work out exactly how much money you will need for a deposit, which is usually 20% of the purchase price. It is possible to enter the market with a 10 or even a 5% deposit but it will mean you have to pay mortgage lender’s insurance. You will also need to factor in other costs, such as stamp duty prices, conveyancing and legal costs, as well as pest and building inspections.
Next you should open a high-interest savings account and direct debit part of your pay to the account each week until your deposit figure is reached. Set six-monthly savings milestones and when you hit that figure treat yourself to something indulgent and expensive.
If you are keen to get on the property ladder sooner, you could move back into the family home or swap your rental for a share house. If all else fails, you could ask your family to go guarantor in place of an actual deposit. But word to the wise: saving for a deposit is the perfect test for how disciplined you will be when it comes to making mortgage repayments. If you struggle at that point, then perhaps the rigidity of the 30-year mortgage isn’t for you.
Johanna’s resolution for 2015: to spend more time travelling.
Tomorrow we advise on: how to get fit, cycling to work and how to be a more present parent