What do you need to STOP for the New Year?
Instead of Starting Resolutions – How about knowing what to stop?
Ten days into the new year and people are rushing around starting their New Year’s Resolutions. Friends are eating healthier, the gyms are packed, people with their Fitbits™ are speedwalking past my office as I write this. Is it always about starting? Or is there genius in knowing what to stop?
It’s a heady time, those first weeks of any new year. Everyone is intent upon doing better and being better than last year.
It’s an arbitrary thing, isn’t it? Like I said last post, you can make any day of the year your “New Year.” People going through AA and NarcAnon do it all the time.
How about approaching the rest of the year with a little different focus?
Instead of listing dozens of things you’re resolved to do, focus on three to five things you’ll stop doing. Look with objective eyes at the obstacles in your life. Maybe stop getting in your own way. Maybe stop worrying what others think. You may find a diet is hard, but choosing to stop eating sugar for a month is easier. (I discovered when I stopped sugar and salt for a month I no longer craved them and it was easy to keep that habit going.)
My colleague Marshall Goldsmith did a retrospective several years ago on this idea. If you’re a leader or manager, it’s worth looking at what he has to say. Here’s a short YouTube™ video from him. The essence is quoted above.
Aristotle reminded us more than 2,300 years ago that habits are the most effective pathway to success:
“We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, it’s a habit.”
As you pursue your New Year of excellence and success, what habits will you develop? What can you stop? What can you start? Be gentle with yourself. Don’t make a list of 50 things. Small bites work. Challenge yourself a little at a time. You didn’t develop bad habits all at once. You won’t rid yourself of them all at once.
Pull out that list of things to do and see if you can change the wording ~
- I will lose 10 pounds by April 15. I will stop eating sugar for one month.
- I will get more exercise and walk more. I will stop sitting on the couch watching TV for 3 hours a night and start dancing more.
- I will spend 3 hours each morning making calls. I will stop relentlessly checking the news and my emails as a way to avoid making those calls.
- I will work with my team to increase productivity this year. I will stop micromanaging my team and trust them to do the work I hired them to do.
- I will get into the office one hour earlier this year to get my day started before the others arrive. I will stop making a Starbucks run every morning and wasting my time and money in lines for over-sugared bad coffee. (sorry, Starbucks fans! <grin>)
See how this works? Instead of some flowery resolution that means nothing, you are actively attacking the real problem. It’s not that your people are underproductive, it may be that you are overly involved in the details. It’s not that you need to lose weight, it’s that you might want to rethink your sugar intake.
These are mine… what are yours? Let me know your New “New Year’s Resolutions!”
And have a wonderful, productive, happy, healthy, prosperous 2019!
PS – I have openings for three more speech coaching/mentoring clients! Call now! 602-743-9296!
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