Every year you’re probably adding more and more to your plate. You keep setting new challenges for yourself, determined to take over the world. Learning new skills, signing up to more lists, filling every bit of white space on your calendar. Because busy = successful, right?
I treat my schedule similar to the way I treat my inbox. Always subscribing for more things in the hopes they get me closer to my goals, but never unsubscribing from the old ones, no matter how cluttered my inbox gets. (Or how little attention I’m paying to most of those newsletters).
The 1 for 2 rule
My dad used to have a rule. (Well, he tried to make it a rule. As dads do.) The “rule” was that every time we went shopping and bought a new piece of clothing, we were supposed to come home and find two things to remove from out wardrobes [permanently] to make space for our purchase. Of course, if we followed that rule, we’d eventually be left with no clothes, so I’m not saying this is the answer, but I do think he was onto something.
Lately I’ve been looking at all the new additions to my schedule and goals list and I’m realizing that I’m trying to do too much. And that the only way I’m ever going to be able to achieve these things is to start clearing out some of the old “stuff” (be it commitments, goals, subscriptions etc) that no longer applies.
If I’ve got a new goal for a business I want to start, the reality is that my existing business is going to suffer in some way.
If I’m going to start learning how to snowboard, I can’t hang onto my goal of going to the gym 5 days a week. There simply aren’t enough days in the week (or stamina in my body!)
If I want my acting career to take off in a way it never has before, I have to dedicate a lot more hours to it than I ever have. And those hours have to come from somewhere.
In short, I need to start removing anything that isn’t essential to achieving these goals (or maintaining my mental & physical health).
For instance, I recently cancelled my Amazon Prime and Netflix subscriptions because my watching (ok, bingeing) habits had me glued to the TV at least 8 hours per week. 8 hours? That’s an entire business day per week I was spending on a mindless activity that only brought me a small amount of payoff.
Now I’m not saying you should eliminate fun and chill activities completely, but 1 episode is plenty if you need to unwind… 6 is a different ballgame altogether. And while this so called “balanced lifestyle” is something we’re supposed to be aiming for, I think what it really comes down to is the size of your goals.
The normal vs the extraordinary
While “normal” people (you know, the ones that aren’t trying to create an empire, pursue a creative career or generally take over the world) may be able to spend 8 hours a week watching Netflix with no issues because they’re week is mostly compromised of a day job and social life. But for someone who is juggling a job and a side-hustle, pursuing a creative career, trying to achieve a weightless goal, and/or looking after a family, all that chill time will likely mean they can’t achieve what they want in a timely manner (or to the level of excellence they’re aiming for).
And I guess that’s the real question here. How quickly do you want to achieve greatness? Because on one hand, you can continue trying to do all the things and slowly chip away at that wish list. Or if you’re someone who is hungry to achieve success as quickly as possible, you’ll throw all of that excess luggage off the helicopter so you find the speed and focus you need to make it happen.
Is your hunger for success strong enough that it’ll override those cravings for the junk that’s cluttering your life? Are you prepared to give up those empty calories for something that might take longer to chew (and be a little too healthy for your liking) in order to cross the finish line?
As they say, anything worth having is worth fighting for.
And waiting for. And sacrificing for. And sweating for. The list goes on.
What are you prepared to let go of in 2019 to get closer to the life of your dreams?