How to Make Lasting New Year's Resolutions: Consider What to Say “NO” to.
“You can do anything, once you accept that you can't do everything.”
We women often look at what we are capable of the same way we pack a suitcase. When there’s one more thing we want to fit in, we look for ways to rearrange items more efficiently, find one more outside pocket to fill, or push the lid closed with a little more strength so we can just barely get that zipper closed. Could we consider taking something out to fit something else we want more in? Maybe, but why bother if we can just work a little harder and fit in a little more?
Do you find yourself saying yes to things you probably shouldn’t, and then trying to juggle your schedule to fit it in? Do you find yourself with too much on your plate and not enough time to make it all happen?
Then its time you re-evaluate the way you pack your suitcase. Not the literal one though – the figurative one – that represents your time and priorities.
When you add something new to the suitcase, every time you consider saying yes to something, you need to stop and look at what you already are committed to, and determine what you can take out before putting something new in.
After all, how do you think all those things in your suitcase feel being crammed in? In the figurative sense, what do those items represent? Your spouse? Your exercise routine? Your career goals? Quality time with your kids? Are all of your priorities constantly battling for attention? Fitting too much into an already packed schedule will never allow you time to focus on what truly matters.
The secret of being selective
If you’ve got too much in your figurative suitcase, a good way to start unpacking the baggage is to practice being more selective. Start realizing that the way to achieve what you want is to take things out of the suitcase every time before putting something in.
Otherwise, I can only guess what is happening to you… because its happened to me and probably every other woman out there. You're over committed, and the things that actually get done may not be what you want to prioritize.
Perhaps you've let others' priorities – your neighbor, friend, boss, children’s school, family member – come before your own. Because, like many women, you don't want to let people down. But choosing what you say no to and allowing yourself to fit in only what your suitcase can hold allows you to set your boundaries and others' expectations before you've made unrealistic commitments that don't leave you time for yourself.
What about those women who seem to “do it all”?
When we talk about what we’d really like, or hold up other people we know as achieving so many amazing things it seems impossible, we ignore the fact that we’ve set ourselves up for failure. We think that some people are able to “do it all” by ignoring that we each can only achieve what we really want by being selective with our time.
We add so many things to our plate, it’s not possible to make them all happen, and we leave ourselves and our goals last in the line of who gets served. We think that there's some secret that other women have to “doing it all” when the reality is that we all must be selective with what we can fit in.
The only way to prioritize our own goals is to make space for them. And to do that, we need to stop trying to pack in more.
Commit to heart the secret of successful women everywhere.
It is possible to do anything, but only when you let go of trying to do everything.
The reality is that the most successful women give up a lot to achieve their success. Think of someone you know who seems to “have it all” – in reality, is there something they’ve given up along the way? It may seem like they have everything, but they’ve made choices in their lives, based on their priorities, to determine what they really want and what they were willing to let go of. It’s the secret of true life success.
In a great article on DailyWorth.com, A day in the Life of 7 Highly Successful Women, examples of this ring true as you read exactly what each of the profiled woman regularly fits in a day. Some have sacrificed being the most active volunteer at their children’s school to instead have quality time for dinner with the family. Some sacrifice getting to the office early to instead be part of their kid’s morning routine. It is clear that these successful women have made tough choices that allow for great achievement but not without sacrifice. What's important for them – and all of us – is that the sacrifice and gain is in balance with our priorities in life.
First make room
If you want to prioritize something new in your life, create space for it first. What you say no to is just as important, if not more, as what you say yes to.
Not sure what you can say no to? It's likely your goals are different than mine, but perhaps a few examples of things I've given up recently to make room for new goals will help get you thinking:
- Time on Facebook in favor of a more productive work day
- Short term business in favor of long term potential for more fulfilling business
- Smaller, labor-intensive work projects in favor of fewer, larger projects
- Having all the laundry folded in favor of creative time for me
- Morning routines with my kids in favor of more time in the afternoons with the kids
- Certain home improvements in favor of a large amount of quality vacation time with the famil
How to get started
Pick one thing. Just one thing you REALLY want to get done in the next month but are afraid you won’t fit in. Now determine what you are going to give up to allow yourself to get this one thing done.
Figure out how you will remove the item you care less about to fit in the thing you care more about. Then, set aside time on your calendar – write it in so it’s as important as a doctor appointment or child’s play date – and commit to it. Put a star on your calendar one month from today and plan to celebrate that you’ve completed this important goal.
Fill in the blanks of this statement and write it down somewhere you will see it regularly:
What do I really want to get done in the next month? _________.
What am I willing to give up? _________.
I will therefore _________ for the next month.
I'd love to hear how you are going to make room for new things by clearing out your suitcase.
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