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What Will You Give Up This Year?

Checklist Written on a Book Page

How do you go about planning for a new goal? If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably start with all the amazing and important reasons for accomplishing your goal. You’ll make the decision that you’re going to be disciplined and carry out the actions needed to be successful. And, you might even share your intentions with a few close friends for some encouragement and accountability.

So, now you’re ready to go forth and conquer. But you’d be forgetting one crucial part of the equation. To acquire anything worthwhile, something of equal or greater value must be given up. So, what are you willing to give up?

It’s easy to think about the excitement of addition but often subtracting what no longer serves us is the only way to accomplish new goals. The truth is that we won’t get more time, energy or willpower simply because we have a stimulating goal to pursue. With that said, we still want to tackle new and challenging opportunities, so here are some additional factors to consider when pursuing a new goal.


Clock on an Old Desk

The good thing about time is that it’s set. There are no surprises. It’s the same amount every, single day. The bad thing that it’s set. You’re not going to be able to get any more than what’s already there. Finding the time to do more by definition means you’re going to have to spend less time on things that are already in your daily schedule.

Map out your typical day. Look at where you’re spending your time.

  • Where will your new goal fit?

  • What will you need to remove or decrease to make room?

The cool thing is that there’s plenty of time in the day to accomplish your priorities. The question now is whether or not your goal is a big enough priority to fit into your day.


Light Bulb Plugging Itself In

We have all heard the advice to do your hardest task first thing in the morning. Why? Because, difficult things take energy to execute well, even when we love what we are doing.

Our days are littered with activities that take up a considerable amount of energy - work, gym, competitive knitting. We all already have robust and often exhausting lives. So, where will the extra energy come from to tackle new goals and endeavors? That energy lies within you. It’s less about finding a way to be more energized and a lot more about using the energy you already have, wisely.

Look at the schedule you listed before and highlight your priorities for the day, the things that are non-negotiable, that has to get done. See how your new goal stacks up against your current priorities. Try not to have more than 3 in one day. If you have more, try to cut them down to only what truly matters.


Half Math, Half Art Brain Diagram

If energy is the physical fuel that we need to get work done, then willpower is the metal fuel we need to drive ourselves. Willpower will inevitably decrease over time even with new endeavors. That initial excitement and enthusiasm won’t be as strong two months down the road and might not be there at all by the time summer rolls around.

We also won’t suddenly develop more willpower to drive the extra goals that we are adding to the plate, just because we want it to be that way. As much as we might not like to admit it, willpower - much like energy - is finite, and we only have so much in a day.

So, here is what you should consider when you are incorporating a new goal into your routine -

  • Adding a new routine earlier in your schedule will make it more likely to become a habit since it will be easier to complete

  • Avoid placing new and difficult activities after physically and mentally strenuous tasks, where you already feel drained

  • Try to create novelty and breaks between activities - reading all day at work, then coming home to ready a book may feel tedious, but reading after the gym may feel stimulating

  • Audit your schedule to see what items require a significant amount of activation energy, you only have so much

The key takeaway when starting down any new path or journey is to assess your current state and ensure that you are willing and able to prioritize your endeavor. Begin with the end in mind. If you don’t assess your current commitments and make room for new ones, you’re setting yourself up to burn out and give up. So, be mindful of everything you have on your very busy plate and prioritize in order to accomplish your most exceptional results.

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