Updated: Jun 27
Happy New Year! We are officially starting a new decade. Most people focus on starting new things with the start of a new year. After spending some time reflecting on 2019 and planning for 2020 I came to the conclusion that if I want to live my best life in 2020 I need to stop doing certain things in the New Year.
If you had a chance to check out the tools and resources I referenced in a previous article and podcast episode you might have already seen the "I’ll do more of and less off" template that I used to came up with these twelve things to stop doing in 2020.
When you look at the template you'll think it's a very simple template and you might be tempted to skip it or overlooked it. Please don't! I've learned so much about myself by doing this simple exercise. I've learned what makes me happy, what are the things that most excite me, the things that I enjoy but I have put to a side and the things that are holding me back from pursuing my dreams, being myself and ultimately living my best life.
Here are the twelve things to stop doing in 2020:
1. Stop complaining you don't have enough time to pursue your dreams and passions.
As I have mentioned in past articles and podcast episodes, we've never going to have the time, we need to make the time. If your dreams and passions are that important for you, you'll find the time to work and pursue them. Listen to episode 11 of the Leading Yourself podcast to get my tips on how to make the time even when you think is not possible to fit any of these things in your busy schedule.
2. Stop comparing yourself with others.
Rather start comparing yourself with yourself. Focus on how you can be better than you were yesterday, a week ago, a month or a year ago. We are all different, so it's not fair to compare ourselves with others. When you compare yourself with others you are not seeing the full picture, you are not seeing what is behind the scenes, what is other person struggling with, what challenges he/she is facing, or what other parts of his/her life are suffering, especially in today's world where we are so influenced by social media. People post in social media what they want others to see and not the full reality of their successes and struggles.
3. Stop caring about what others think about you.
We tend to base our actions and decisions on how we anticipate others will perceived us. As a result, we don't always do the things we really want to do, because we are afraid of that others might think. While is beneficial to have and know the opinion of a few people we trust to help us calibrate ourselves or get the support and encouragement we need to take a risk, we should always stay true to who we are and what we value and believe.
4. Stop putting things off that you really want to try.
Have you been wanting to try something for a while? Have you ever stop to think why you haven’t try it yet? Let me guess, lack of time. Let me tell you right now, that is just an excuse. Often what is really behind it is not the lack of time but rather fear. Yes, fear. Fear of failure, fear of success or fear of criticism. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Really, what is the worst that can happen if you try it? I am sure it's probably not that bad, so stop making excuses and make the time in 2020 to try one thing you have been wanting to try but you have been putting off for a while.
5. Stop saying yes to the things you really don't want to do.
Wonder why you don't have the time to do the things you really want to do? Well, if you keep saying yes to the things you really don't want to do, you are spending your time on the wrong things. In 2020 try to say no to one thing you keep saying yes to even if is something you really don't want to do and spend that time doing the things that really matter to you. I promise, it will be addictive.
6. Stop making excuses to not take care of yourself.
Let me clarify something, putting yourself first, taking care of yourself is not selfish; just in case that thought ever crossed your mind. I used to think that way and overtime learned that I can't pour out of an empty cup. If I am not my best self I can't be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, leader, boss, coach, etc. I know you are busy and it feels like there are not enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do, let alone to exercise, eat healthy, think water, get a good night sleep and in general to take good care of yourself. Just do it anyways. Make the time and invest in yourself.
7. Stop holding yourself back.
Sometimes we can be our worse enemy. The number one thing holding us back is ourselves, our own internal voice and perceptions. The best way to shut that voice down is to get over ourselves and turn those questions into positive affirmations. Learn more about this by listening to episode 11 of the Leading Yourself podcast.
8. Stop overthinking things.
Thinking things through is important but when we get into analysis paralysis that is not healthy or productive. Overthinking things consumes our energy and limits our ability to make decisions and take action. When we start overthinking we fall into an endless loop that ultimately palatalizes us and leaves us frustrated. I know I do this sometimes. In my case it goes back to self-doubt, questioning my capabilities, the fear of what others might think and my perfectionist coming out and wanting everything to be perfect before taking any action. That is the reason why all of these things made it to my list of things to stop in 2020.
9. Stop ignoring people in your life because you are too busy.
Connecting with others, especially those that are important for us, and investing in those relationships is essential. I know for me sometimes the days go by without calling someone I really want to call or connect with, because I am too busy. Like everything else we need to make the time to connect with others and nourish those relationships. So this year I made a list of all the people I want to connect, reconnect or stay in touch with and I am setting up reminders to make sure I'm more mindful about setting the time to connect with them.
10. Stop being afraid of change.
Let's be realist, the only thing constant in life is change. The world is moving and changing faster than it ever has. The reason why we fear change is because most times we are not in control, we can't anticipate the outcome, and ultimately because it pushes us outside of our comfort zone. We tend to look at change as risky, but the truth is many times is more risky not to change and stay where we are. Embrace change in 2020 by accepting uncertainty, and the fact that uncertainty is just part of life.Learn more about how to embrace change in 2020 on episode 11 of the Leading Yourself podcast.
11. Stop talking and start doing.
Have you been thinking, dreaming and / or talking about something you want to do, learn, experience, achieve or become? Maybe is time to stop dreaming, thinking and talking about it and start taking concrete steps to make it a reality. In 2020 take the first step towards achieving that dream or goal. This was my biggest lesson learned in 2019, and my podcast was the perfect example. I had dreamed, think and talked about starting a podcast for almost a year and one day just decided to lock myself up in my daughter's room and start recording the first episode with my iPhone. I still continue to record it with my phone and when I listed to those first episodes I feel embarrassed and to be completely hones with you I have been tempted to delete them, but I haven't. I haven't because it reminds me of the progress I've been and of my biggest lesson learned: start before you are ready, stop dreaming, thinking and talking about the things you want to do and start doing them.
12. Stop living today as if tomorrow is guaranteed.
A few weeks ago a colleague at work pass away unexpectedly. One day she was at the office, working as any other day and the next day she was gone. Everyone at the office was in shock and so was I. This got me thinking about all the things we take for granted and to ask myself what if I'm gone tomorrow? Would I be proud and satisfied with the life I've lived? I was reading to a book called "The top 5 regrets of the dying" where a nurse shares the top five regrets people experience when facing death. Here are those 5 things:
· I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected me to live.
· I wish I hadn't worked so hard
· I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings
· I wish I had stayed on touch with my friends
· I wish that I had let myself be happier
I'm sure you, like me, were not surprised when reading these. We all know these things deep inside but we take them for granted because we believe there is plenty of time. The truth is tomorrow is not guaranteed. We all want to live a long, healthy and happy lives but there are many things out of our control and influence. So in 2020 I invite you to live fully, to stop holding yourself back, stop comparing yourself to others, and letting other's opinions of you limit you. I invite you to stop pushing off the things you really want to do and the people and relationships that matter most to you. I invite you to think less and do more. Live your best life, life as if tomorrow was not guaranteed, because the truth is, it's not.