10 promises to keep in 2017

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10 promises to keep in 2017

It’s a new year and with that comes the attendant resolutions. Knowing that none of us will ever lose those pounds/kilos and we probably won’t read Moby Dick so here are some promises we can keep for the New Year that will make us healthier, happier, and safer online and off.


Learn a little code

The more you know the better you work. We can all do to learn a little code or even something completely odd and unique like modern web frameworks. I’m learning Django with this but you can easily pick up PHP in a few days and understand just why software development is kind of hard.


Turn off social media for a few days a week

Unless you’re a Kardashian there is no material, social, or economic benefit to social media usage. In fact, social media makes us dumber, grumpier, and more prone to making sweeping generalizations about social media. It’s hard, but can we all try to slow the creeping feeling that social media is quickly becoming the only way humans can socialize?


Encrypt all the things

Make a PGP signature. Encrypt your drives. Use encrypted tools. Add two-factor authentication. Don’t type your password into any screen without first reading everything, including the URL at the top of the screen. Be smart because hackers are usually smarter or at least love it when they get lucky.


Put down your damn phone

We know the itch. Every few minutes we feel the need to complete the prayer circle of email, Twitter, Facebook, text and we know it’s hurting our necks, backs, and brains. A friend pointed out that we receive fear from our phones and comfort at the same time. We are jarred out of our heads by incoming notifications and then, when we “deal” with them we fall in love with the little glass slab. This routine is dangerous and damaging. Let’s promise to slow it down.


Go outside

We improve our lives by leaving our rooms. We spend hours a day in our cars, commuting back and forth, and hours in front of screens.

Remember when we found Pokemon Go? And when we went outside all summer? Let’s do that, but all the time. It revitalizes us, our communities, and our cities.

Image by Flo Karr.


Get political in the real world

Saying the word “cuck” on Facebook is fun but you know what’s funner? Actually taking part in the political process. Don’t like what’s happening? Go to a local government meeting or join a group of like-minded people and actually leave the house. You can win minds for a second through Twitter by you win hearts forever through one-on-one contact. Help your political candidate or become one.

Photo by Joan Marcus


Read old paper

While I’m not in favor of picking up new paperbacks and hardbacks – we don’t need more new paper – I do love an indie used bookstore. First indie bookstores usually sell titles for far cheaper than even ebooks and you get the benefit of hanging out in a place where hundreds before you have discovered new things. Plus you don’t get any “urgent” notifications in the middle of a paperback.


Make time for things you want to do

Want to be a better writer? Write 1,000 words a day. Want to be a better runner? Run almost every day. Want to be a happier person? Make time for the things that will help you achieve that. This means playing less Xbox. This means reading your phone less. This means actually getting off the couch. But it can be done. Make a promise and follow through. We owe it to our better selves.

Image by Veri Ivanova.


Maybe we can eat a little less meat?

I mean just a little? I’ll try if you try. Even Arnold wants us to.


Seriously: back your stuff up

Just set up something that you can connect and forget. Again, Windows and MacOS have great solutions for this. All you need is a cheap hard drive and the ability to put a jack into a port. Easy.

Happy New Year!