How to Keep Any (New Year’s) Resolution in 5 Simple Steps

2 Cutting the crapEver made a New Years resolution and didn’t stick to it? (Pssst… I have.)

It’s not that I didn’t want to make that positive shift in my life. Who doesn’t want to lose weight, connect more with loved ones, get ahead in their career, or just have more time for personal growth.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want it… It was how I was trying to create the shift that made it so darn hard to stick to.

You see, most people jump right into adding things in their life. Add a workout, add more healthy foods, add in a date night. Then weeks, days or even hours later, they give up because it’s just all too much with everything else that is still on their plate.

So, that positive shift you were trying to create in your life, just became a major source of stress for you.


So what do you do? You ditch it. Convincing yourself (and telling others) that it’s just not the right time, or you’ll try again later. (Insert excuse here).

But on the inside, you feel guilty (maybe even like a failure) for not being able to make that positive shift happen.

Ugh! Now you’re stressed again. What a vicious cycle!

But little did you realize, in that moment, you actually just discovered the solution to making your shift (any shift) actually happen…

Don’t Add… Subtract

You see, we are taught to focus and balance a lot of things in a world that demands our constant attention. Career, family, health, personal growth, friends, fun time… And society tells us, the more things that you can juggle, the better.

Putting effort into growing these areas of our life is fantastic! But how do you do it without driving yourself crazy?

The truth is you can’t add more to your life until you subtract. You have to cut out the distractions and mental clutter that take you away from what you truly want in order to successfully manage your stress.

Therefore, all the Fires and all the Time Sucks in your life have got to go.

When you exercise simplicity in your life, you can create a space to flourish in that is ripe for your shift to happen. (Remember that New Year’s resolution?)

Cut the Crap

The simplest and best way to practice subtraction is to take inventory of what you have to do and cut all of the crap that is robbing you of your time and energy.

Use this 5 step process for cutting the crap for a month, week, day, or even hour (the principle is still the same). In theory, you go through this process once and don’t let crap back on your plate. But, no one’s perfect, so until you get the habit built (and get good at saying NO), repeat this every 30-90 days.

  1. First look at your monthly calendar. Is there anything that you have overcommitted on? Or something does not match your WHYS?
    Did you say you would put together your neighborhood newsletter because no one else would volunteer? And moreover, you hate writing? Gracefully back out of the event/task now. This second. I promise you will feel better.
  2. Hold a Brain Dump session and list out at everything you have to do and are going to do for today (week, month, etc). Going to surf Facebook today, that goes down on the list!
  3. Now sort your list into 3 categories: Time Sucks, Fires (Your’s or Other People’s), My Zone. Be honest… brutally honest.
    The tasks that land in My Zone are good uses of your time and resonate with your WHYs (and we’ll tackle that list later)
  4. Eliminate the Time Sucks.
    Are you nervous? Having trouble going cold turkey on stopping Facebook? Eliminating our distractions in life can be much like cutting out an addictive substance like caffeine or alcohol (or worse)… Very hard to do. So, cut as many as Time Sucks as you can possibly stand today. Then, each week on Thursday, cut 1 more until they are all gone.
  5. Tick off 1 item off the Fires list each day first thing in the morning until they are all gone.

Summing it up:

This 5 step process for Cutting the Crap… using the law of subtraction to simplify your life… is HIGHLY effective at creating space for you to flourish in . When you cut the crap consistently, you will be amazed at how easy it is to manage stress and kick overwhelm.

So, commit to saying NO to things that don’t pass your WHY filter, swiftly handle the Fires (yours or other people’s) to help manage your stress and free up time, and eliminate the Time Suck activities in your life that keep you distracted from what you really want to do.

Life’s short. So, make shi(f)t happen!

PS. Know someone who could use a little help cutting the crap and creating some much needed space? Send them this post.

About The Author


Whitney, author of the forthcoming book "Making Your Shi(f)t Happen: A 6 week bootcamp to prioritize, organize, and simplify your life", helps professionals get waaaay more done in far less time (with far less stress), so they can get back to the important things in life. She is a wife, mom and lifestyle strategist. Grab her FREE videos here.