I hate new year’s resolutions. I secretly feel as though the act of making a resolution is almost like jinxing yourself and that when I declare, “oh this year will be better! I’m going to become a morning person, eat salad every day, and read 100 books by June,” I’ll be great at it for a few weeks then fall back into my old routine…which was never really that bad, except now (as I have pizza and wine for dinner) I’m reminded of how horribly I’ve failed. Thus my contempt for new year’s resolutions remains alive and well for next January…
This year I’m going with a different approach. I’m not going to start doing anything new. I’m not going to start going to the gym, or start going to more networking events. What I will do is STOP.
I’m going to stop doing the things I know are robbing me of my mental peace, ruining my relationships, and stalling my career. I came up with 5 ways I could challenge myself to remove the things that are hindering my growth instead of trying to add new things to cover up my shortcomings. I challenge you to join me in removing these 5 things from your life in 2017 and see just how much better your mind, relationships, and career can be in the new year and years to come.
#LeaveItIn2016: Things to Stop Doing in the New Year
1. Stop consuming “junk” information
When we were young, our parents would tell us things like, “You are what you eat.” While that saying is usually in reference to the food we put in our bodies, I also believe the saying applies to the information we allow into our minds.
Is the information you consume on a daily basis essential for your growth and well being? If not, it may be time for a purging. In his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris introduces the concept of a “Low-Information Diet” …and while I don’t plan on getting rid of my phone or unplugging completely anytime soon, I’m definitely taking a much closer look at the information I consume on a daily basis.
Interested in trying out a “Low-Information Diet?” Start with getting rid of the email subscriptions that don’t bring value to your life. Consider a social media detox. Most importantly, avoid consuming negative news or information that doesn’t directly concern you — all it does is ruin your day or waste your time.
Quit taking in all the junk and watch your mind become healthier and happier in 2017.
2. Stop living for the weekend
Do you find yourself complaining about how much you hate your job? How much you can’t wait until Friday? How much you’d rather be doing anything but go to work? If not, I’m sending you a virtual high-five because that’s pretty rare and amazing. But if so, please read on.
Living for the weekend is no way to live a meaningful life — I know because I’ve done it for years and I’m never ever doing it again. Don’t you think it’s a shame that most people spend the majority of their waking hours doing a job they hate? You don’t have to be one of those people.
Ask yourself why you continue to subject yourself to 52 weeks of unfulfilled drudgery. If you hate the work, either make a change in the work…or make a change in your mindset and look for meaning in what you do. Mondays can be fun too when you decide not to settle.
3. Stop complaining about how busy you are
We seem to have bought into this collective lie that there isn’t enough time to finish the things we need to do. We don’t have time to call our parents. We don’t have time to read. We don’t have time to exercise…but as soon as a crisis appears, like when a frozen pipe bursts causing a nasty flood in the kitchen, or the boss calls needing help with a last minute presentation for a potential client, we suddenly have enough time to take care of it.
Everyone has 168 hours in each week — and only 40–60 of those are for work for most people. I know it’s a bit cliché to say, but you and I have the same time as Elon Musk, Beyonce, President Obama (I’m still holding on for these last few days), or any other smart, successful person out there. At one point I thought I was “too busy” and did an honest audit of how I was using my time. I discovered I’d been spending almost a quarter of my waking hours surfing the web and watching television. I couldn’t believe how much time I actually had — and how my “being busy” was a pretty lousy excuse for poor time management.
You have the time. You just need to be a better steward of it.
4. Stop pretending like you care
We all know that you’re not going to your friends big recital, or your colleague’s presentation when you click “maybe attending” on Facebook. Why pretend like you care?
No one likes a flaky person. Unfortunately there are a lot of them. But on the bright side, this means that when you make a real effort to show up for others, follow up, and hold fast to your word, you’ll join a very small group of people who are loved, trusted, and have meaningful relationships and successful careers — because they give a damn.
Let’s make a resolution to be more intentional this year and to STOP pretending. Let your “no” mean NO and your “yes” mean YES in 2017.
5. Stop apologizing
While I was working as an agency contractor for Procter & Gamble, one of my client brands, Pantene, produced a commercial that still resonates with me to this day.
I often find myself apologizing for things that don’t even warrant an apology. How often do you find yourself saying “I’m sorry” for something as simple as asking a question?
This new year, make a conscious effort to stop apologizing for things that require no apology. It will make you seem more like the confident badass you really are and allow people to associate you with positivity instead of having it seem like you’re constantly doing something wrong.
Instead of saying “sorry I’m late,” try saying, “Thank you so much for waiting for me.” Instead of saying “sorry for calling this meeting on such short notice,” say, “Wow, I really appreciate how quickly everyone gathered for this meeting.” This accomplishes two things: it helps you avoid seeming like you’re always doing something wrong, and at the same time allows you to share a moment of gratitude and positivity with the people you interact with every day.
As much as I hate to say it for fear of sounding cliché, 2017 is going to be a great year — if you decide for it to be. I truly believe that this year will be one of growth, innovation, and positive change. I’m so excited for what is to come…and for all of the not-so-good stuff? I’ll just #LeaveItIn2016
Go Forth. Be Brilliant.