11 New Year's Resolutions For Instagram, Because No One Wants Pixelated Food Porn

It's tradition to make New Year's resolutions to improve our lives, and now that we spend a lot of time living our lives online, it's only fair that we make resolutions for our social media selves as well. To help you be your best self in 2016, in real life and online (and get more likes on the #humblebrags broadcasting your successes), here are 11 New Year's resolutions for Instagram.

We've all tried to practice a few basic Instagram dos and don'ts, and have stumbled along the way. Like, do practice restraint when you go on vacation, and try not to drown your followers' feeds with photos of high-resolution piña coladas. Or, don't get carried away while stalking your ex, and accidentally like a photo from 14 months ago.

As we move into 2016, we should also try to collectively follow more subtle Instagram practices that ensure a more positive Insta-experience for everyone. Some examples to keep in mind are less is more, natural is beautiful, and content is king. With social media driving so much of culture, your Instagram presence has become a window into your personal brand, whether you like it or not. Read on for resolutions you'll want to keep for a successful 2016, because the last thing you want undermining your real world accomplishments is an unbridled collection of pixelated food porn.

1. Understand The Filters

Your photo's first impression is made with its filter, so choose wisely. When Instagram first came on the scene, filters were all the rage, and everyone's coffee shop pics were Earlybird-ed '70s vintage, and all their beach pics an Amaro-fied supernatural aqua blue. Nowadays, the novelty is gone, and an overdone filter is frowned upon, while au naturel filtration is in favor.

Work with the photo — Juno and Ludwig are great for food, while Mayfair and Rise are both better for your face — but also keep your feed consistent. If you're jumping around with high-contrast filters, your feed will look more like a gaudy quilt than anything someone wants to subscribe to. You can now adjust just how much you filter each photo, so try to keep things as natural as possible, and use small adjustments to enhance rather than completely transform.

2. Know When It Is An Instagram Moment...

Before even maneuvering through the arsenal of filters and methods to manipulating your photo, the first step is capturing the shot. Be discerning in your photo taking, whether you're shooting them yourself or curating from the net. If you're unsure, save it for later. Impulsive posts are seldom the ones you're most proud about, so wait it out till after the moment has passed, and you have time to really consider what you're about to do.

3. ... And When It Is Not

Some situations simply should be barred from all Instagram activity. Your self-control in these circumstances should be instinctual, but in case they aren't, use the same judgment you would if you were to consider answering a call on a mobile phone from 1986 while simultaneously whipping out a huge telephoto lens. Just because your phone is small, it doesn't mean it's appropriate to take it out, take a photo, and then become absorbed in running it through a dozen filters so you can publish it right then and there.

4. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

As you should be cognizant to if the situation at hand is OK for some Instagramming action, you should also be mindful of whether your Instagramming is putting you in harm's way. Don't let your quest for the perfect selfie plant you in the pathway of a tidal wave or semi-truck. In addition to New Year's resolution, it should be a life goal to not have your obituary include the words "selfie" or "selfie-stick."

5. Don't Stop Traffic

Adding on to being mindful of your surroundings, don't ever be that person ruining everyone else's lives because they stopped to snap a pic. As a social creature, you should know appropriate times to walk and stop in a crowd, and it's almost always certain that stopping while everyone else is walking is a big no-no. Maybe the sun is hitting the skyline just right, or maybe that defaced subway station ad is side-splitting. Whatever the excuse, you're assigning yourself to the worst category of pedestrian possible if you decide to stop abruptly when there's an on-flow of foot traffic behind you. There's a special place in hell for you if your abrupt stop occurs at the top or bottom of stairs and escalators, or within five feet of a door.

6. Don't Post The Private Stuff

Unless your Instagram account is private and you only have a handful of followers, there's a lot of content you should never publish online. Before posting anything, keep in mind that once it's out there, it's permanent, and even if you choose to delete it later, it never really goes away. All of your followers will see it, and if your account is public, it will be accessible by the whole world. If you're still unsure, think about specific people who are among that umbrella of the whole world: your sixth grade math teacher, the parents of the kids you used to babysit, your company's CEO, your grandmother.

7. Avoid Instagram Quarrels...

If you really want to destroy your personal brand, toss self-respect out the door and engage in back-and-forth Insta-commentary like you're back in middle school. The best advice with negative Instagram dialog is simply to refrain from engaging. Even if someone's trolling or bullying to the next level, acknowledging them will just add fuel to the fire. Let their imbecile comments speak for themselves, standing as signifiers of their own insecurities and lack of better things to do.

8. ... And That Means IRL Quarrels Too

Don't let Instagram, or any other social media account, become a driving force for jealousy in your relationship. Over-analyzing likes or keeping tabs on someone's check-ins is setting yourself up for disaster. If you're in a healthy relationship, your mutual respect for one another should ensure that he's not going on a liking-spree of other girls' provocative selfies, or posting suspicious pics from boys' night of a lipstick-stained Cosmopolitan right next to his beer. You should have reason to trust each other, and not need an app to clue you in about the goings on of your relationship. Otherwise, it's time to put the phones down and have a conversation.

9. Keep It Consistent

If your goal is followers and building a personal brand, keep your Instagram activity consistent. Has taking artistic shots of architecture become your thing? Don't throw off followers by uploading a stream of videos of your sister's new puppy the next time you visit her. Do you specialize in high-res shots of decadent cuisine? Your foodie followers might lose interest when you suddenly decide you want to go in the direction of daily selfies. There's no harm in you being you, but don't expect your handle to take off if you haven't established what you're offering.

10. Ignore The Haters

Whatever your Instagram behavior or ultimate goals with the app, ignore the haters and do your thing (as long as you're not the one stopping to 'gram the moment you exit the subway). I was always 100 percent anti-selfie-stick... until I was given one for my birthday. Now I see the magic. I still refuse to be that person getting in everyone's way to capture the perfect pic of myself in front of a pond, but I am delighted about my panoramic video from the top of Mount Rainier, or that aerial shot of all my best friends smiling skyward.

11. Have A Life Outside Of Instagram

At the end of the day, make sure the life you're living off of Instagram is more fulfilling than what's being published on the app. Don't exhaust your daily routine imagining ways to make your quotidian existence look more glamorous. Go ahead and post those photos of your posh brunch situation, or your particularly phenomenal hair day. Just make sure you actually enjoy your eggs Benedict, and that you didn't slave away for three hours to achieve that #IWokeUpLikeThis shot.

Images: Dacy Knight; Giphy (11)

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