According to billionaire Richard Branson, the secret to making and keeping your New Year’s resolutions is a pen and piece of paper.
“It’s time to get your New Year’s resolutions down on paper,” he recently wrote. “The simple act of writing it down will help you stick to it. Share your goals with your family and friends but ultimately it’s down to you to make your resolution happen in 2018.”
Goal-setting can be very effective, but as we head off into an uncharted new year, I want to ask you a related question, but with a twist:
What if you made a commitment this year to STOP doing so many things?
I recently read a story about Alli. She likes to-do lists. In fact, her entire life is built around them. She likes to get a lot done and to get it done efficiently. Writing down her tasks helped – for a while.
Soon, her efficiency started working against her. Sure, it cleared up space in her calendar, but she turned around and filled it with something else. She agreed to every request that came her way. She enrolled her kids in nightly after-school activities. She involved herself at work, at church, at her kids’ schools, and in her community. She was trying to be a supermom.
It worked for a while, but her cape started to tatter. Her to-do lists started taking from her family, instead of serving them.
To get control of her overloaded schedule, Alli created a “stop-doing” list. She put her entire daily routine under a microscope and asked herself two questions:
- “What activities are sucking the life out of me right now?”
- “Does this activity benefit my spouse and kids or detract from them?”
Her answers helped her to say “yes” and “no” with purpose. By refusing to say yes to everything, she freed herself up to say yes to other, better choices for her family.
So, if your “to-do” lists are making life harder instead of easier, maybe it’s time to consider a New Year’s resolution to make a “stop-doing” list. By doing so, you’ll break the busyness in your life before the busyness breaks you.
What’s on your “stop-doing” list? Does anything immediately come to mind? Your candidness might just help someone else.
Happy New Year!