2013 looks to be a year when a lot of people are pulling back and reëvaluating what they really need. I’ve seen lots of people resolve to quit Facebook, Instagram and other online services. I’ve seen people resolve to replace their smartphone with a feature phone. I’m sure there are more than a few people ready to follow The Verge’s Paul Miller and disconnect from the Internet entirely.
I’m not doing that.
But I am, as I reflect on 2012 and what I want to be different in 2013, keenly aware of something I want to change. I need to quit chasing the new shiny. And not just devices, though if I manage to keep my current loadout (iPhone 5, iPad 4 with ZAGG keyboard, home and work Windows laptops, old Kindle Keyboard for Kindle Lending Library) I have no plans to buy any new hardware in 2013. (The iPad w/ keyboard and one of the laptops are company property, so if I lose my job I’d need a tablet of my own, maybe.) (Yes, I plan for such things.)
But more importantly, I need to quit buying shit. Even good shit. Frankly, I have too much shit as it is.
I have hundreds of books in my Kindle library that I haven’t yet read. I have dozens of movies and TV shows in my Amazon video watch list that I haven’t seen. My App Store account is full of apps I not only don’t use, but don’t even have installed.
So here’s my resolution. In 2013, I will not buy any new apps, books or movies. I will make do with what I have, and put that money to other, better purposes, like savings, or burritos.
There are a few exceptions, of course. The book (just one) that I’ve already preordered will show up as scheduled. All of my music will be via my exising Rdio account, which I will not cancel. Likewise my Amazon Prime membership, which gives me access to movies and TV. These are sunk costs, money that I’ve not only already committed to spending, but am okay with spending.
But other than that, no new distractions. I’ll read books I already have and use apps I’ve already purchased. Books, apps and movies/TV shows that look irresistible in 2013 will go on a list in Simplenote, and in 2014 I’ll revisit that list and see how many of them I actually still want.