What is on top of your mind as you round up the year?

  • Upcoming Holidays
  • Reflections about 2022
  • Goals and aspirations for 2023

Let me add an item to your list. I urge you to reflect on what you will not do in the coming year. Being careful with how you spend your time and energy means you can make time for what matters to you and set yourself up for success. As a result, you are more confident and relaxed and have more peace of mind. 

I propose that you say ‘no’ to the following three things –

Saying yes when you want to say no. We are social creatures. We want to fit in, be liked, and be helpful. So we put the happiness of others above our own. We choose to do things that make others happy. We are told that raising our hand for additional assignments will accelerate our career, and we say yes to extra hours, optional meetings, and organizing team events. We stretch to support the random requests that come our way.

If done intentionally, putting the satisfaction of other people above yours may serve us. However, when we fail to set healthy boundaries, we end up being over-committed, tired, stressed, and resentful. We have lesser time, energy, and peace of mind for things we want to do.

Whether it is an invitation to a party or an extra project at work, you can say no while being friendly and respectful. Next time you find that you are struggling to say no, ask yourself the following –

  • Do I really want to do this?
  • Why am I saying yes?
  • What are my priorities?
  • By saying yes to this, what am I saying no to?

Remember, when you say no, you show that you respect your time and understand your priorities. You come across as assertive and balanced, and you give yourself the chance to navigate your life better.

Worrying about things you do not control. Whether you like it or not, events that are out of your control will happen in the world. Most of the time, you can only control your outlook, attitude, and actions. Ruminating, catastrophizing, or being a control freak will not regulate every outcome. It will drain your mental strength instead.

Next time you find yourself in a loop of worrying and unhelpful thoughts, ask yourself –

  • What is the worst that can happen?
  • What is in my control?
  • How can I put my time and energy where it can make a difference?
  • What can I do to feel better now?

Hiding behind excuses. We have all been here. We blame our circumstances, the people around us, and even our fate when we do not keep our promises to ourselves, and we do not achieve our goals. We abdicate our responsibility and explain away our actions or inactions because we are afraid, lazy, unwilling, or not confident.

Eventually, we buy into our excuses and stop looking for solutions.

How about taking responsibility for the outcome? Be aware of when you make excuses, double-click on them, and figure out what you are really trying to avoid. Ask yourself –

  • Why is this goal important to me?
  • Why do I really want it?
  • What have I done to achieve my goal?
  • How am I getting in my own way?
  • If the excuse was real, how would I overcome it?

We usually focus on getting stuff done but clearing our mindscape and time from what is not serving us is how we find the energy and space to pursue our goals. What else would you stop doing?