Today is the first day of the rest of your life!… a.k.a. day #1 of your New Year’s resolution. This is the time the majority of us will discard our bad habits, magically replacing them with good ones like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and tofu. At least that’s our plan.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is as follows (source: www.StatisticBrain.com):
- 58% of us will make New Year’s resolutions
- 73% of us will stick to them for one week
- 68% will make it two weeks
- Only 9% will report success on their resolutions twelve months later
But don’t despair – I have a “resolution solution” for you that I’ll share with you momentarily.
It’s interesting to note that the majority of the New Year’s resolutions we make are focused on self-improvement or education – we want to be better so we can behave better. Behavioral change is the desire of our heart, but the weakness of our flesh.
In my role as an executive coach and business consultant, I work with individuals who want to improve their professional and personal lives. I can boil it down to two questions those I serve are asking – “Bill, can you help me be more productive and help me lower my stress level?”
Yes I can.
But first it’s important to note a fact or two; we Americans live in a consumer driven economy – we are driven to consume. We consume stuff and our stuff consumes us. It eats all of our discretionary money and it devours our precious time with the same insatiable appetite. If you think about it, our only non-replenishable asset is time. We can replenish our balance sheets with more money and even reconcile years of a bad relationship with a heartfelt apology, but we can never regain time that’s been spent. Time spent is non-replenishable.
What my clients are really asking me to do for them is to help them find more time so they can be more productive, have more margin in their life, and do it with less stress.
So, here’s the secret…
A couple of years ago I heard two guys who call themselves “The Minimalists“, share two questions we should all ask ourselves when we are about to take on additional stuff or trying to shed ourselves of stuff – either with our money, possessions, or our time:
- Will this add value to my life?
- Will this bring me joy?
If the answer to either one of these questions is “no”, don’t do it. If it’s “yes” to either question, then do it.
Allow me to illustrate.
Suppose you say, “I need a new car.” Question #1: Will this add value to my life? If you don’t already have a car the answer could very well be “yes”. You’re done, now. Go buy the car. But suppose you own a car with 100,000 miles that’s paid for, works fine, and is not held together by duck tape. You say, “I need a new car.” Question #1: “Will this add value to my life?” Answer: “No, I already have a car that gets me from point A to point B.” Now move on to question #2: “Will this bring me joy?” Answer: “Initially maybe, but after a week or two, no, it won’t bring me joy.”
You just avoided a new monthly payment, higher insurance costs, a larger property tax bill, buyer’s remorse, etc., all by answering only two questions. These two simple questions have the power to cut through the noise that whispers to your psyche such things as: “The neighbors bought a new car, I think we need one; my business will grow if people see my success in my new ride; I’m going to have to get a new car someday, it might as well be now; wow, 0% financing for 24 months!”
You just simplified your life and reduced your stress level by answering only two questions. Yes, only two questions! You can use this for purchases you are considering, items you’re thinking about discarding, and most importantly, every demand on your time that puts you in the “overwhelmed” category.
So forget the resolutions you’ve made and simply resolve to run every important decision (what to eat, whether to exercise, what to buy, how to spend time, etc.) through this 2 step process. Your “no’s” will keep your “nose” pointed toward your North Star and the results you desire for 2018!
Bill Edmonds is an “Outside-Insighter” who works with CEOs, Business Owners, and Financial Advisors to help them grow their business while having fun doing it. If you are successful, yet feeling a bit of “smoldering discontent” in your current role and not quite sure where your North Star is pointed, don’t despair. Reach out to us to discuss how we might be able to help you get you back on track to take your business to the next level: firstname.lastname@example.org.