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Hopes for 2018

I hope that 2018 is off to a positive start for you and those you are closest to. I love the rollover to a new calendar year for the feelings of hope and energy that it tends to bring out in many of us.

For the past few years, we've made it a ritual to write letters to ourselves, to be opened on January 1st of the next year. I posted a photo of the sealed envelope that housed our letters from January 1st of 2017 and that we excitedly opened yesterday at my Instagram account:

It's become a cherished tradition, an annual opening of a time capsule of sorts that gives us a look at how we are evolving from year to year. If you happen to adopt a similar tradition, might I suggest that you keep these letters as long as you can - reading through letters from years past is a lovely reminder of how lucky we are to exist in this world.

Another personal new year's tradition that I enjoy is creating a list of goals. The five that made my list for 2018 are as follows:

1. Keep an uncluttered workspace.

2. Begin each day with prayer and mobility exercises.

3. Create a daily task list.

4. Only send out what I produce with my heart.

5. Play guitar every day.

It's early - only day 2 - but I'm grateful to write that I have fulfilled these goals so far. 363 days and then some to go.

Regarding prayer, for me, this involves giving thanks for everything in my life that I would not want to be without tomorrow. Living with a spirit of gratitude and progressing in some area of life through steady effort are, for me, the two essential needs for lasting personal fulfillment.

Another hope for the months ahead is that we can collectively move towards being more mindful of frequency of cell phone usage. I'm aware that some may be reading this post from a cell phone, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunities for learning and connecting with others that cell phones allow. My cell phone lets me live without a landline, calculator, fax machine, scanner, flashlight, GPS device, camera, personal planner, voice recorder, desktop computer, and an enormous library of heavy books, just to name a few ways in which cell phones have simplified the physical side of living.

But I am seeing real negative consequences to being tethered to a smartphone and not establishing a healthy pattern of usage. In early 2014, I shared a case study of a teacher in California whose health issues were ultimately being caused by sleep deprivation that was the result of regular check-ins with her phone in the middle of the night. The write-up can be found in our archives here:

Within a health care system that puts most of its diagnostic weight on blood work, urine testing, and imaging studies, often times, the most simple root causes of disease are overlooked. Put another way, I don't expect that advising people to completely unplug from online activity during sleep time will become a standard of care that physicians will be required to follow any time soon.

If you have any family members or friends who sleep with a smartphone or laptop within reach and have been known to do some browsing in the middle of the night, I hope you will consider encouraging them to try a 30-day period of keeping all electronics that allow online access far away from their sleeping zone.

I have shared this suggestion with many clients over the past few years and have yet to encounter someone who hasn't found this simple practice of good sleep hygiene to be immensely helpful to their sense of well-being. The take-home point here is to never underestimate the impact that your quality of sleep has on every area of your life, especially your health.

One suggestion to encourage complete unplugging at night is to have a docking station in the kitchen or laundry room where every member of the household leaves their devices to sleep overnight.

If you have any tips that you can share with our readers, family, and friends on how to encourage more mindful frequency of cell phone use and better sleep hygiene, please consider posting via the comments section below.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and healthy new year!

Ben Kim


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A daughter of ours lives overseas from us so often sends texts etc in what is the middle of the night for us. To ensure an uninterrupted night’s sleep I put my cell phone on “do not disturb “ during my normal sleep hours. If she had an emergency she can still contact us by ringing twice in quick succession.