2012 is just around the corner. It’s the time of year when people tend to craft New Year’s resolutions and then gut them out for 12 months. If you’re anything like me, your list of resolutions can read more like a generic to-do list.
- Exercise more (like more cardio)
- Eat better (meaning, eat less potato chips)
- Learn something new (like software code)
- Pay down debt (kill the mortgage faster)
In the past, I’ve attempted to “get better” by “doing more”. As I get older, I realize this doesn’t have to be the case.
If anything, some of the best resolutions can be about doing less.
Here is an outstanding article by Jim Collins about this very topic. You may have read this article before. (By the way, if you don’t know, Collins is the author of numerous best-selling business books like Good to Great.)
In the link above, Collins discusses a critical lesson taught to him by a teacher in his mid-20s. He took a course on creativity and innovation from Rochelle Myers and Michael Ray at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and one day, Rochelle pointed to Jim regarding his “ferocious work pace” and said to him:
“I notice, Jim, that you are a rather undisciplined person.”
After getting over his confused and stunned state Jim realized Rochelle was correct in her observations.
In the article above, Jim recalls the life lesson Rochelle gave him that day:
“She then gave me what I came to call the 20-10 assignment. It goes like this: Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?”
“That assignment became a turning point in my life, and the “stop doing” list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions — a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.”
Jim’s article goes on to provide 3 focused questions to help you consider what is truly valuable to you. Maybe you can consider them as you think about your 2012 resolutions:
- What are you deeply passionate about?
- What are you are genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel just “made to do”?
- What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?
For today’s post, I don’t have any definitive answers to the questions above but as I consider some personal resolutions over the next couple of weeks I’m going to do my best to answer them.
In my book, simple is almost always better. In that spirit, I think doing less in 2012 could be more rewarding.
Life happens fast. Instead of getting caught up in the vortex, I’m going to think a bit harder about what I’m not going to do in 2012.
Whatever you consider for your “stop doing” list next year, I hope it gives you the focus and purpose you are looking for
Have you ever considered a “stop doing” list for your resolutions?
Do you think you can be more successful in 2012 by doing less?
How many resolutions will you have? Take my poll in the margin.
Until my next post in 2012 – a very Happy New Year everyone!