Give Yourself 6 Easy Gifts for Strength & Success in 2019

Last Updated:  December 10, 2018

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Here are six rewarding gifts to give yourself this holiday season, ordered from quick and easy to only slightly more taxing. You don’t have to wrap any of them and they’ll all pay dividends in 2019. Most importantly, your favorite people will love you all the more for having shown the courage and wisdom to shower some attention on your better self.

Gifts for Peace and Calm in 2019

Prepare yourself for a strong 2019.

1. Switch Your Mobile Phone Screen to Grayscale

This one’s a gimme and you can knock it out in thirty seconds flat. Why would you want to? Because it’s the splashy colors that trick your brain into believing that spending more time with your apps will make you happy.

Switching to grayscale makes the sight of your screen far easier to resist. You’ll soon find yourself using apps with intention to accomplish specific tasks instead of mindlessly opening them because the little rounded squares look so juicy and delicious.

If you have an iPhone or other iOS device…
Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters (on) > Grayscale (select)

If you have an Android device…
Settings > Accessibility > Vision > Grayscale (on)

Warning: It will appear as if you’re taking photos in black and white too. Trust us, your new photos will still be stored in full brilliant color for whenever you need them.


2. Turn Your Texting Autocorrect Off

We’ll readily admit that when it comes to texting, autocorrect can sometimes be helpful, especially for people who text as fast as they talk. But the feature’s tendency to nudge everyone towards the same word choices and to routinely change the very meaning of what you’re trying to say, makes it a dicey proposition on the whole. More importantly, your text messages (typos, misspellings, and all) are the perfect place to start being more accepting of your less than perfect self, friends, and family.

If you have an iPhone or other iOS device…
Settings > General > Keyboard > Auto-Correction (off)

If you have an Android device…
Settings > General > Language & Input > Keyboards > Predictive Text (off)


3. Don’t Let Google Tell You What to Say

The not-so-wise sages at Google recently decided to try their hand at writing people’s emails for them. By default, Gmail now enables “Smart Compose” when you’re drafting new emails. Not only is this insulting to your own intelligence, it’s obnoxious to think that someone else might be sending you an email that they are in fact too lazy to write themselves. Personally, if I wanted to read messages written by bots, I’d hang out on Twitter!

Here’s how to leave your brain on and turn intelligent finish off in Gmail…
Settings > General > Smart Compose > Writing suggestions off > Save


4. Live by New Rules on Instagram

Create and post all you like.
But don’t plan events or arrange things just so, solely for the purpose of capturing it in your perfectly curated Instagram feed. Just snap a few shots here and there and quickly post the ones you like. Move on and let the next interesting experience unfold naturally. Don’t share the best moments with anyone but yourself.

Don’t follow anyone else.
Remember when you were a kid and you made up your mind to be a follower? No? Well, I never had that conversation with myself either.  Following is easy. Leading is hard. Take the hard road because it actually leads somewhere.

Don’t check your stats.
Artists don’t care what people think of their work. That’s how they create the psychic space to challenge convention and surprise the world. You don’t have to be an artist to see the wisdom of this approach. Try it on for size in other areas of your life too.


5. Bend Facebook to Your Will

If you were able to write your own algorithm for how you’d prefer to interact with Facebook, what would it look like? How often would you log in? How far down would you scroll? How many “Likes” would you dole out? How frequently would you add a comment?

Fortunately, you don’t need a computer-science degree to write your own algorithm. You just need pen and pencil and a calendar.

Here’s one possible algorithm…

I’ll set aside twenty minutes to log into Facebook on the 1st and 15th of every month. For each session, I’ll spend the first five minutes scrolling and catching up on my feed. I’ll spend the next five minutes sprinkling “Likes,” cheeky emoticons, and pithy comments over my ten favorite posts. Finally, I’ll spend the last ten minutes posting about a maximum of three topics that were important to me during the last two weeks.

Obviously, write your version of this algorithm based on your own idea of what your perfectly calm and balanced Facebook-interacting self looks like. Then block out the recurring time on your calendar and don’t look back!


6. Read A Good Work of Fiction (on Paper)

If you’re someone that spends a lot of time trying to solve problems while drenched in blue light, a work of fiction printed on real paper is like a warm bath for your brain. While non-fiction often keeps those same problem-solving gears turning in your head, a made up story does just the opposite.

Here are some of our all-time favorite works of fiction. Rediscover them in 2019:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

• • •

Here’s to a calm, strong, and successful you in 2019!