I always say I don't do new years resolutions, but it's not true. I make tiny promises to myself. Not full fat resolutions - just wafer thin thoughts that linger at the edges of my daily routine.
Last year's promise was a success. I decided to back off from internet arguments. Increasingly, I find my energy levels to be a finite resource - particularly after a year of higher-profile performances. So why waste that energy on the fallout from oversharing, or from repeats of that famous 'someone on the internet is wrong' XKCD cartoon?
The promise came as a little mantra:
> my internet is an echo chamber;
> if in doubt, stay positive - or silly;
> if my first reaction is annoyance then back off;
> always ask "is this my battle?"
Wow, the comments I have deleted mid-draft as a result of that... This has been quite cleansing; for me, the web has become manageable.
It also led to me writing a letter to my MP for the first time in a long time.
I wanted to tweet about Syria, but the internet was echo-chambering like crazy. What was the point of yet another parroted tweet of outrage?
So I decided on a real-world action. Social media was part of this, but it was at the start and end of the process. In this case, I read about the topic, I wrote and sent the letter, and then - and only then - I tweeted about it.
I don't think I've ever written to my MP before. Who'd have thought that Syria would be the subject to break my duck.— Fat Roland (@FatRoland) December 1, 2015
There were many more tiny promises, but I think the internet thing was the most successful one.
Not that my record is spotless. For example, I had an eye-wateringly passive aggressive argument with a Ukipper. The ensuing conversation went nowhere. (I was the passive aggressive one, I think, but hey at least we maintained a veneer of politeness.)
My tiny promises for 2016? Not telling. The promises are to myself, so I won't tell you until the next twelve months have been consigned to the wheelie bin of history.@SimonMrshll Absolutely. The more minor parties get a fair share, the more light can be shed on farty old racists like Ukip! #ProRep #farty— Fat Roland (@FatRoland) May 9, 2015
And now you.
Try a tiny promise yourself. Rather than a full-on detox or writing routine or whatever it is, construct a promise that is tiny, wafer thin and, yes, sometimes breakable.
Further Fats: From a poke to a shove: Facebook has chucked me off their site (2015)