As you already know, I am a strong advocate for simplifying your life at the start of every year. I believe this is more important and effective than the traditional New Year’s Resolutions. One of the greatest hindrances to starting the year off is a mind cluttered with people and things that divide our focus and waste our precious time. The start of your year is as critical a time as the moments right after the athlete leaves the starting block. A bad start can doom the rest of the race. A bad January can jeopardize your momentum for the rest of the year. These 4 questions will help you determine which activities or associations are wasting your time.
How does this benefit me?
Sometimes we keep things or people in our lives long after they have served their purpose. The reasons for this can vary from feeling obligated, to feeling attached to a memory, or being downright afraid to sever ties with the past. You want to invest your time into relationships with people you have a common future with and not just a common past. It’s okay to help someone out. That is, it’s okay to give a benefit when you aren’t getting anything in return. That’s called helping. Only remember to balance the ratio between helping others and helping yourself. If you don’t take responsibility for helping yourself, you won’t be there much longer to help anyone else out. Two suffer when only think of one.
Is this helping me towards any of my goals?
You and I are on a journey. Either towards our goals or away from them. Think of your activities and relationships based on which direction they pull you or push you towards. If something pulls you or pushes you towards any of your goals, then you would do well to keep it. However, if something is pulling or pushing you away from any or all of your established goals, then that is both a distraction and cause of doubt in your life. You have to make a decision. Between where you have been and where you want to go.
Is this enhancing my life in any way?
In case the two previous questions came in a bit heavy (or in case you are secretly fighting for a reason to overlook a flashing red flag in your life) let me give you another measurement to qualify your activities and relationships. Everything in our lives has either an expanding or shrinking effect to it. Has this or that expanded the reach of what I’m able to do? Am I more efficient? Am I more capable? Evaluate whether you have become more or less effective in moving forward in life.
Does this help me to become better?
Are you growing? Are you becoming better or worse? Do they make you feel better or worse? Does it inspire or deflate you? Again, you must make the decision to end a debilitating relationship–before it ends you.