Going Full Veg

A Goose Sandwich from a Past Life

A Goose Sandwich from a Past Life

Hello Internet! Why yes, I haven’t been back for a while! To be honest, I find myself defending this project more often than I would like. Maybe that’s why I’ve been posting less. I guess that’s part of the challenge, but I would like to think that OMW has a point and will help me find new perspectives and better myself.

All that said, this month is for veggies! I’m back on Facebook, and I’m definitely not as addicted as I was. It’s easy to remind myself to stop scrolling and log off, hopefully moving on to more productive things.

Veggies, veggies, veggies. April is One Month Without Meat. It’s not too bad so far, especially for the first week, I barely noticed it. However, this weekend I had a little reunion with my roommates from last year. They love burgers. We love burgers. Bacon cheeseburgers. So staring at those made me a bit jealous. A lot jealous. But I made it through meatlessly!

Also, I did something silly. I had an awards dinner on Monday night, and I chose my meal before I chose to be vegetarian, so I was served the salmon. Most of the vegetarians I know eat fish, so it’s not so bad, but I have been trying to go full veg. So I messed up once. Woops.

So far I feel good! It’s been a lot of eggs, cheese, avocados and quinoa. Maybe I’ll post some delicious vegetarian recipes up here…time to get creative!

Sacrificing My Klout Score

Klout

 

Klout is a service that scores your influence across social media avenues. I like the Klout company a lot, they’re doing a great job staying relevant as the way people use social media evolves. I am also quite proud of my Klout score. I’ve seen job applications that require a Klout score about 50 (this is what happens when you apply to social media strategy positions). My Klout score, before I gave up Facebook, was a 60. Now it’s a 56! :(

Ok ok, this really isn’t such a big deal. I do like not having Facebook as a distraction. I think it has helped me to focus on my SNewman Communications work and on my school work. When March is over, I’ll be happy to be able to use it again. The hope is it just won’t be as much. Not having Facebook, or other social media accounts on my phone has also removed the temptation of using it in situations where I should be present, but somehow I still haven’t kicked the urge to grab my phone and check it fairly often. Welp. It’s a work in progress.

We’re getting close to April, and I’m thinking it’s going to be my month to go vegetarian. At the moment I’m starting research on the best practices for the meatless. I live with two vegetarians and a vegan so I think I’ll have some support! Although I’m really going to miss that brisket over Passover. #AprilisforVeggies

A New Love for Twitter

The whole point of giving up Facebook is to increase productivity and stop staring at screens so much. To some degree, I think it’s working. When I find myself on my computer, looking for something to do, I’m more mindful about just closing it and reading a book (currently I’m reading The Interestings, but Meg Wolitzer…it is actually quite interesting). However, since I’m still concerned about having a social media presence, and I have to use social media for work (SNewman Communications), I’ve transferred some of my Facebook energy to Twitter. I’m starting to like the outlet a lot more than I used to, and it’s kind of game-like in how I build my followership, etc. I don’t waste as much time on Twitter as I was on Facebook. I think I tire of looking at it pretty quickly, so it’s not such a bad one to adopt.

I work in a church, singing in the choir, and I thought the sermon was pretty interesting today. It’s Lent right now, and the priest was talking about how when you give something up, you make a space for improvement. He made the point that if you’re full of yourself, and never make any room to get better at something, then you don’t give yourself the chance to improve. By giving something up, you make room for improvement. I think that sums up what he said. I thought it was interesting, and it kind of correlates with OMW. Just a little riff on this I guess.

I’m thinking of giving up meat next month. I was going to give up gluten, but I read an article that going gluten-free with no reason to isn’t actually terribly good for you. Not sure. But I live with two vegetarians and a vegan, so I’ll have a lot of support in giving up meat!

 

FACEBOOK FAIL

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Does Facebook own me? Sure seems like it. I’ve connected so many external accounts to Facebook (the login with Facebook features that make things so easy), that I simply can’t behave day to day as I did without it. I love Spotify. I probably use it every day. I used to spend hours online reading music blogs and searching for the next best artist that no one knew about yet. These days I pretty much use Spotify for all of my music discovery, which is a good and a bad thing. So by logging into my Spotify, my Facebook was reactivated without my knowledge (until I received the above email). PLAN FOILED. Now…to deactivate again and give up Spotify? I don’t see why I should, Spotify isn’t a time waster. I still haven’t logged on to my Facebook…who knows what’s on there at this point…

 

One Month Without: Facebook

I’ve finally decided how I would structure this month: I’m officially giving up Facebook. I installed a plugin that monitors where I spend my time on my computer, and here were my results for the weeks of February 17th and February 23rd:

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4 hours one week and 3 hours the next week. That is FAR too much time. If I average that, say I spend 3.5 hours per week on Facebook, that’s 182 hours per year! Since I’ve had a Facebook, I think I got one in 2007, that’s a total of 1,274 hours, or 53 DAYS. And half of my friends don’t even use their Facebooks anymore, what am I doing on there?!

I’m giving it up for the month of March. I haven’t deactivated it yet, partially because I’m afraid I’ll click on it and fall down a rabbit hole of notifications, and partially because I need people to access the link to my Quirky idea (it is, unfortunately, the easiest way to drum up votes). BUT. I haven’t looked at my Facebook since March began, which is a nice start. Another big issue I have by spending so much time on Facebook is that I’m enticed to click through every BuzzFeed, Elite Daily, Huff Post, Refinery29, etc., etc., etc. link that I see posted. They’re just so captivating! The content on those sites is built for viral sharing, and that stuff really works on me. So I’m giving up those 4 sites, and if I find myself on other ones to take their places, I need to keep that in check as well.

I can’t give up social media totally; for one thing, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. I see a problem that I have with Facebook, so I’m cutting it out for a while to break the habit of automatically checking it. I don’t have that problem with my other outlets; Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Second, my venture, SNewman Communications, provides social media planning and content creation for startups. To some extent I need to be present on networks personally to keep up with my venture.

That all said, I’m deleting the social media apps from my phone; Facebook (obviously), Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn. There’s no need for me to be scrolling through pinterest before bed instead of reading a book (just finished a good one, Night Film, check it out). The goal of this month is to work on my productivity and spend less time staring at screens. Suggestions for how to take this further are welcome!

21 Days to Break a Habit?

I didn’t think about it this way until I was emailing with my Grandma, who offered encouragement to me on my OMW endeavor saying “You’ll have kicked the habit by now!” I didn’t even realize I was breaking a habit. Or perhaps making a habit. Either way I’m changing an automatic behavior – to grab for sweets when they are available – and creating a new one – to say no to sweets when they are offered.

In doing a little research on habit formation and habit breaking, I found out that habits have a structure. They have a cue; a situation, time, person, or activity that triggers a behavior (I can think of an example cue here; growing up we didn’t have too much junk food in the house, but my next door neighbors always had Oreos in their cabinet. To this day when I go to their house I crave Oreos). Then there is the routine, which is the actual behavior, like reaching for the cookie. Last is the reward, which is something that your brain likes that helps it remember the habit loop in the future.

To break a habit, Charles Duhigg, the author of How to Break a Habit, suggests identifying the cue, replacing the routine with a more constructive behavior (drink a cup of tea instead of grabbing a cookie), asking yourself whether you feel satisfied (since often the habit is an automatic response and may not answer what you are actually craving) and repeating that routine. Sounds like a bummer, but definitely a step towards self betterment.

However, the whole doing this sort of thing for 21 days and you’re magically habit free-thing is a myth. Studies have shown that a behavior can begin to feel automatic after as little as 18 days and as many as 254 days, depending on the person and the habit. What is important to note is that it’s easier to make a new habit than break an old one, so the replacing your routine with something constructive method can be effective.

I’m not sure I’ve broken my sweets habit, if that’s what it is. I’m seriously craving chocolate these days and I’m totally going to have some come March. But thinking about habit breaking might be really helpful for my March challenge of giving up what is basically internet junk food. When I open my browser I automatically click on my Facebook shortcut. I don’t even think about it. Same for when there’s a lull in whatever I’m working on. I think that a month without using Facebook unless I need to (I need it for work) might actually break that habit. Or I’ll have to figure out a constructive way to replace it. Maybe every time I feel the urge to click on it I’ll close my computer…

OMW Feature: One Month Without Cursing

Cursing

 

As I continue with OMW I’ve encouraged friends to do their own challenges, picking something they want to remove from their lives. My friend and classmate, David, chose to go One Month Without Cursing, a particularly difficult challenge for him. Within our class, we’ve all accepted his colorful language as a part of the classroom vernacular, it’s part of how our class interacts and communicates. But David decided it would be a reasonable and beneficial challenge to give it up for a month, so here’s a mini interview with him on how it’s going:

OMW: Why did you decide to give up cursing for your One Month Without?

D: It’s something that is inherently part of my speech. More than once I’ve had people point out that I do it more than most.

OMW: Is it ok to write curses (i.e. via text)?

D: I’m not letting myself write curses either. It’s actually much easier to cut it out of things like texts because you see it right in front of you. It’s much harder to monitor speech.

OMW: How are you doing so far on the challenge?

D: I’ve flubbed up a couple times; it’s so ingrained into how I speak so sometimes I don’t notice it.

OMW: How do you feel when you mess up?

D: I don’t think it’s constructive to feel bad about myself when I mess up. I’m more likely to think of alternative words.

OMW: What do you hope to get out of this challenge? Where will it take you when the month is over?

D: Cursing often has a negative connotation, even if I don’t intend it to be insulting. I think after this month I will be more likely and able to limit my language when the situation calls for it.

OMW: Do you think you’ll go back to cursing when February is over?

D: I probably will a little more, but hopefully I’ll be more aware of it.

A little while after this interview David mentioned to me that he’s feeling a bit angrier than he normally does. I studied Psych in undergrad and I remember a few studies supporting the idea that profanity is a socially sanctioned outlet for aggression. I hope that doesn’t cloud David’s month and that ultimately he’ll feel accomplished for finishing it!

I mentioned David’s challenge to my Mom, who decided right then and there she would take on the same one as well. Her personal punishment for cursing would be 50 push ups each time. How’s it going Mom? Any push ups yet?

 

Going Without: Artificial Sweeteners

Sweeteners

One thing I’ve almost completely given up, even before OMW, is artificial sweeteners. I’ve read a lot of varying information about them, but a specific article I read over Winter break really stuck with me. The New York Times Magazine did a long form piece about the food industry’s quest for a natural sugar substitute. This ever evasive product is in high demand to align with consumers’ diet obsessiveness as well as an increased interest in where their food comes from. The article didn’t take a position for or against consuming artificial sweeteners but rather explained their evolution and how they make the big money from being added to diet drinks. However, one thing that was mentioned resonated with me;

“Sweet’N Low comes from a derivative of coal; Equal is made from methanol and converts to formaldehyde when digested; Splenda is a chlorinated sugar.”

Gross. I was discussing this with a friend who studies bioengineering, a while after I decided to start cutting artificial sweeteners out of my diet, and he mentioned that the only reason I’m grossed out by the formaldehyde thing is because I know what it is; there are plenty of other foods that turn to weird chemicals in our bodies. Very true, but it can’t be a bad thing to cut out sweeteners right? There’s also tons of info out there about how they change our taste preferences so that we need the sweet things we eat to be even sweeter, which means they actually work against our dieting endeavors.

Something I’ve definitely noticed this month are my sweetness preferences. I’m no longer putting sugar in my coffee and honey in my tea. I still like it that way, but I feel like I don’t need it as much, and why not go a step further since I have given up sweets already? I still have a diet soda once in a while, but it’s all about the baby steps.

March is Internet Addiction Awareness Month on OMW

Internet Addiction

10:00 AM – I turn on my computer, ready to get some work done. Yea! I’m going to be super productive today!

10:02 AM – Well…maybe I should check Facebook first, just see what people are up to. Scroll…scroll…scroll

10:07 AM – OMG “16 Pictures of Puppies Making Friends with Kittens” on Buzzfeed! Click. AWWWWWW

10:11 AM – Alright, I should really get cracking on this project, time to focus. I could just check Twitter once more…I should really tweet more for OMW, gotta keep up the momentum. Hootsuite…

10:17 AM – Nice, just scheduled a bunch of tweets for OMW, but I wonder what’s happening on my homefeed. Ooo Huffington Post Olympics

10:20 AM – Wow! Russia won’t give the athletes Chobani yogurt?! I love Chobani! I should tweet at them…

10:24 AM – Chobani has the best Pinterest, I wonder if that have any recipes for muffins made with greek yogurt (you know, for when I’m eating sweets again in March)

10:25 AM – Pinterest.

11:15 AM – Shit. I was supposed to start this project an hour ago. Well if I check my email now that will definitely be a productive step…

And so it goes. Obviously a change needs to be made. Internet Addiction is a very real thing, but its prevalence makes it generally acceptable. As of 2013, it has been proposed for listing in the DSM (the official text of all diagnosable mental health disorders) but has not yet been accepted. Pennsylvania has just opened its first treatment center for internet addiction.

Most millennials, like myself, have some level of over connectedness, but I’m definitely able to tear myself away. I think it might be really interesting to make giving up internet and phone use as much as I can (I need it for school work and blogging of course) to highlight how many struggle with this issue. I need to set rules and goals for March so I can tell when I’m messing up. I know if there are any cat videos in my browsing history I’ve totally failed. Join me?