This year my New Year's resolution is to give up Instagram.
Not give it up permanently (I don't yet have the full willpower to delete my account) but delete the app for the month of January. Research shows I'm not alone in my digital detox. According to a survey of 1,500 people about their resolutions, more people have said they want to quit social media this year than smoking.
My own decision started with a conversation I had on New Year's Eve with my friend Sarah about trying to spend less time on the app. A few days passed and I did nothing. But yesterday, as I waited anxiously for the wifi signal on the underground to pick up so I could catch up on the latest posts, I had an epiphany. What exactly was I waiting to catch up on? And would my next 'fix' make me feel better or worse? And if the answer isn't better, why don't I just delete the app?
And so I did, I deleted the app and picked up my book instead.
So what led me to this great realisation? Well the answer is in the first part of that word: REALisation. None of it is real.
I had become one of those people who checked Instagram first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I have to be COMPLETELY up to date with everything on there. This means if I've been busy for a day - or worse on holiday and away for a few days - I don't feel completely satisfied until I've scrolled back through to the last post I recognise.
I am addicted. So much so it's ingrained into my muscle memory; since deleting the app every time I turn on my phone my finger automatically drifts over to where it used to be.
The moment I realised that I had a genuine, real life addiction is when I realised it was making me feel bad about myself. There's nothing like looking at people's #cleaneating , fitness posts, travel pictures and engagement pictures to make your whole life feel pretty inadequate. I see these posts and feel like my life isn't as great as it should be. Why was I craving carbs all the time when everyone else was loving life with a detox salad? I haven't been to the gym for over a month yet everyone else seems to be at Barry's Bootcamp. And why am I working in an office when I could be travelling the world?
So maybe I quit Instagram to stop these thoughts. And already I'm realising that in reality I'm actually pretty happy with my life. I have a job I love, recently bought a flat with my boyfriend and have some really great friends (shout out to Sarah who quit Instagram in solidarity with me).
Instead of spending my time focusing on the things I don't have or the things I want to change I have decided to focus on the things I love in my life and want to do more of.
And the past couple of days have made me realise that with the right filters a detox salad can look great on Instagram. But it isn't real life. And it definitely doesn't taste quite as great as people would have you believe. Or as good as freshly baked treats. So after deleting Instagram I went home and made chocolate chip cookies. And I didn't take pictures of the cookies which I then heavily filtered and uploaded alongside wanky hashtags before waiting for 'likes' to roll in. I just sat there and ate them. And let me tell you, I really, really, really 'liked' them.