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Fodder for Thought

Proposing A New, Reductive New Year's Resolution

Instead of setting resolutions for new behaviors in 2014, I plan to eliminate the clutter in my life.


If you are among the millions of Americans who set resolutions for the new year, I have some bad news for you.

Recent statistics from the University of Scranton show about 45% of people who make New Year's resolutions but only 8% actually follow through and are successful at achieving their goals. That's a pretty depressing number when you think of the overall number of people participating in this annual tradition.

A few things I found even more interesting however, were the rate of success by age and length of resolutions. It seems individuals in their twenties achieve far higher success reaching their goals (29%) than their counterparts over 50 (14%). In addition, as time progresses, say from week one of a resolution up until about six months, the likelihood of success declines rapidly from 75% during week one to 46%.

From these observations I ascertain that young people who are proactive and driven have a far higher likelihood at reaching New Year's goals than the majority.

Given this information, I decided I would take a different route than the majority. Instead of setting resolutions, I am seeking to eliminate the clutter in my life, both personally and in business. You could say I'm "cutting the dead wood" a phrase I've lifted from Dave Pratt owner-operator of Ranching for Profit.

Instead of trying to add more to my life, I'm taking a closer look at the things currently there and narrowing them down the ones that I truly enjoy and will lead to a higher quality of life for me. The things that make the cut will stay. To the rest I will say, "Adios!"

The "dead wood" I speak of is anything that puts a drain on your time and money. This philosophy is something I've heard Pratt and many others who have attended his Ranching for Profit schools discuss.

Taking this approach requires we approach both life and business with a survival mindset. Look at your life or your business and consider what is really producing results. Personally this could take the form of the activities you enjoy the most. In business, this could be the enterprises which bring in the most profit with the least effort. To figure out what should stay and what should go will require a discerning eye.

Second, it is important to consider your reputation. Success and prestige along with it will come and go. On the other hand, in good times or bad your reputation is worth everything. Be aware of this and make sure this is at the forefront of the decisions you make going forward, whether for your personal life or business.

Along with reputation, it's vital we find a way to measure our success. Figure out a way to do this that works for you. That way when it comes time to decide what really works and what doesn't you'll be able to easily determine what needs to stay and what can go.

As in any decision-making process, we must recognize we can also make mistakes. Every individual and every business has a "holy grail" or a sacred cow, as I prefer to call them, that they can't let go of. These are things that no one dare question because as the old timers in the business will say, "We've always done it that way" or "We've never had to do things without it and we don't know what will happen when it's gone."

It is exactly these circumstances where a good hard look needs to be taken. If no justification for the thing being considered can be found then let it go.

Last, don't forget you need to stay focused on your long-term goals. While survival should be a priority, keeping your eyes on the prize will give you a leg up when it comes time to capitalize on a good opportunity.

Through it all, remember this: If a thing is not improving the quality of life for you and your family, it's likely not worth keeping around. Too many times, we forget that our own personal happiness is a key element to our future success and profitability. I'm not saying be selfish, but in 2014 we'd all benefit a little if we took more time to consider what it is we really want in life and not just keep running through the motions of daily life.

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