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Your Best Resolution - What are You Going to Stop Doing?

Jan 02, 2021

I had one of the most important conversations of my career about 10 years ago. I had just taken over a new position, the first leadership role of my career. The first year was going well – depending on who you asked. It was a great year for the company, but less so for other aspects of my life. We enjoyed tremendous growth, and I continued to feed it with my time, working 7-6 daily and coming in most Saturdays. I didn’t mind at first – it was a new job, and it was exciting to create the growth. However, after about a year, I started to break down.

I couldn’t handle the workload anymore. Other parts of my life had already been suffering, and it was finally starting to dawn on me that I was investing way too much time and energy into work. So, I did what most people do, I went to my boss to tell him I needed a break. I needed him to give me some help.

I told him I was working 55-hour weeks and coming in almost every weekend. I told him I was getting tired and didn’t know how much longer I could keep it up. I told him that our team was doing an outstanding job and that our patient volume kept growing as a result, so I was unable to back down even when we brought on more clinicians.

His response:

“Wow. I’m sorry. That does sound really tough. Who’s asking you to do that?”

“Well…uhhhh….I guess just me,” was all I could spit out.

Checkmate.

“Craig, this is a good lesson to learn,” he said. “You can’t do everything. You can’t say ‘yes’ to everything, or this is where it will get you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit down and think about what you are doing that you don’t need to do. Some of it needs to be done but not by you. Some of it needs to be done but not nearly as well as you’re doing it, and some of it doesn’t need to be done at all.”

This remains some of the best business advice I’ve ever received, and what better time to pass it along than the fresh start of a new year.

So, while you are starting to plan for your 2021 or thinking about resolutions…Do yourself a favor. Start with what you are going to STOP doing in the new year. Last year was a rough on everyone. It's best to think about how you can lighten the load before you pack other things in.

For example, if you are going to start getting up at 5:00 AM to workout, don’t start with that as the goal.  We’ve all done it (I’ve done that one like 4 times). It never works. Instead think about why exercise is important to you. Will it help you be a better example for your kids? Will it help you improve your quality of life?

Once you’ve identified why something matters to you, its time to think about the things you’re doing that get in your way. What are the things that you don’t need to do or at least don’t need to do as much or as well?

How can you take meaningless things out of your nighttime routine so that you can be asleep by 10 PM consistently? Because without committing to AT LEAST seven hours of sleep every night, your goal of waking up at 5 AM to work out will not be sustainable.

We are exceptionally good about filling our spare moments with “stuff,” and technology has made this even easier. We get so great at being busy that sometimes it can be difficult to stop, look around, and realize that some of the things we’re doing don’t even matter. It’s not just you, it’s all of us.

Take the first step and figure out what you’re going to STOP doing in 2021.

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