Often, New Year’s resolutions are about what you’re going to do. I will go to the gym. I will get my house organized. But just as important are the resolutions where you decide to stop doing something. It’s a way to edit your life.
Here are seven strategies for turning 2017 into a year of “no.” (But in a positive way!)
1. Say no to jealousy.
Comparing yourself to others is a fast track to frustration. Sure, you may not have what others have or be as talented in some areas. And you know what? You might never be, and that’s A-OK. Find the skills and aspects of yourself that are unique—or at the very least, ones that work for you. Focus on building those up so that you shine in your best areas. Forget everyone else… they’re probably just trying to keep up with others as well, and who has time for that kind of endless loop?
2. Say no to self-doubt.
If you find yourself holding back from speaking up in a meeting because you’re worried about how it will be received or what others will think of you, push past it and speak up. Your perspective is valid. And your ideas could lead to greater things for you or your company. Self-doubt keeps progress from happening.
3. Say no to being a lone wolf.
If we didn’t need others to be successful, every company would be one person big. You’re part of a team because all of the members’ roles and skills complement each other on the way to getting things done. Ask for help when you need it, and make an effort to bond with your colleagues.
4. Say no to inertia.
"Later, I’ll do it later." "The time isn’t right." "There’s too much going on." Do any of those sound familiar? The timing will likely never be perfect to start that project or implement your idea. So stop waiting around, and take steps to get started. Even if they’re tiny ones, the first steps can be the hardest—so once you’ve gotten those out of the way, it’ll be that much easier to keep moving.
5. Say no to oversharing.
Do you post everything you eat on Instagram? Let the world know the status of your date while you’re still on it? Social media creates an environment that encourages us to share our minutiae with the world, but should we? This year, make an effort to hold some things back, and start being more choosy about what you put out there. A little mystery never hurt, right? If your coworker really needs to know what you binged on Netflix last weekend, she can ask.
6. Just say no.
If you find yourself saying yes to everything because you feel obligated, it’s time to take a choosier approach. Your cousin’s friend’s roommate will be able to find someone else to help him move. Your colleague shouldn’t be depending on you to cover for her every day while she sneaks out for a smoothie. It’s okay to be selective about what you agree to do. Having the power to say no empowers you to set and keep your own priorities, instead of letting everyone else set them for you.
7. Say no to standing in your own way.
It’s easy to confuse fear and hesitance with instincts. When you feel yourself resisting something in your head, ask why. If you can’t come up with a valid reason why you’re avoiding it or otherwise not moving forward, then say no to that little voice and move forward. You are your own resistance, and you are the only one who can get around that.
Try the Year of No, and see what happens. This is not an excuse to say no to everything (you’re gonna have to suck it up and do some things you don’t want to do; sorry and welcome to life!), but rather to say no to the things holding you back. You might be amazed at how many yeses you start to get once you start saying no more often!
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