On Sabbatical: Nothing Says 'Happy New Year' Like Ditching Facebook

A mini-break from Facebook is quite possibly the perfect way to ring in 2012.

When I was younger, I used to watch the ball drop every New Year's Eve with my parents and their close friend Peter. Peter's career traveling the country as a rep for designer menswear labels had led him to cultivate passions for prime rib, Marlboros, and high-end accessories. One December 31, he got serious about altering his lifestyle. His resolutions? Lose 10 pounds. Quit smoking. And buy a handmade Swiss watch.

A month later, I ran into Peter at a family function and asked him how it went. He proffered me his wrist, girdled with a gleaming new timepiece. "Got the watch, Zak" he replied. "Beauteeeful."

He didn't have to tell me that the behavioral resolutions had fallen by the wayside. Giving up is usually harder than acquiring. Our yearly quest to become better, faster, stronger humans is beset by huge fails, especially if there's no significant external change to do the work of resetting daily routines for us. So perhaps an easy way to get a jumpstart on resolutions this year is to take a break from something that's seeped into every facet of daily life, sucking up huge chunks of time that could be dedicated to living life differently: Facebook.

A new web project by designer Ivan Cash called Facebook Sabbatical 2012 poses the idea of a mini-Facebook vacation as a 2012 resolution. The website calls Facebook a "facet of our lives...that undoubtedly stands against any hope of slowing down and finding inner peace" and advocates a day-, week-, or monthlong break as a way to get perspective about the impact of social networking on daily life. The site provides alternative profile pics (see above) so your grandmother doesn't get upset about why you never accepted her friend request, and a stock status explaining your absence.

Whether searching for a 2012 resolution or just a device to help accomplish the goals that have been set already, transferring Facebook time to gym time, reading time, or family time could be the perfect way to kick off a new year.

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