Tweak Your Resolutions. Pick What You’re Going to Say “NO” to in 2018

Forget setting some weak resolutions, that you spend half your time tracking progress on and kick yourself over when they fall apart. A slight tweak in how you’re thinking about this upcoming year could make a big difference. What if instead of a resolution you draft a list of what you will say “NO” to in 2018, and conversely, what you will decidedly say “YES” to. Cut some anxiety and mental baggage for this upcoming year by laying those things out now. Then you just need to foster the discipline to stick to your word.

My past year has been about creating discipline, bettering my relationships and preparing mentally for my next leap forward.

I’m craving a year of improvement. After a sabbatical from my job in China, I’m ready to inhabit Struggle City again. It wasn’t a year doing nothing, but with a fairly relaxed schedule this is what I’ve managed to pull off in 2017:

  • gained 15 pounds of muscle
  • studied to an amateur conversational ability in Mandarin Chinese
  • completed an Orlando to Toronto cross-country drive with my Dad
  • a full renovation on my parents summer kitchen

Time to step it up.

Last year I gave up my apartment in Beijing and cut my possessions down to only a computer, some luggage and a few of my favorite outfits. When Christmas rolled around it seemed like I might all the sudden have a bunch of stuff incoming that I wasn’t in need of. I wanted to say NO to spending any money on gifts. So I sent around a message to close friends and family and let them know that I would really prefer them not to buy me anything. Then I set about making gifts for everyone that I could. With a few hours work to compile recipes from every corner of the fam, it was easy to publish an online cookbook through a free site.

Doing this felt amazing. And it turned into the gift that keeps giving because people love the website, and now it’s there forever. It will even branch out into a FB community and Instagram page that will share recipes among my family, and get us all talking more. Total expenditure = $0

This got me thinking that rather than making resolutions if I wanted to step my game up, I should chop my path through the jungle now. Meaning make a list of things I’m prepared to say NO to all year, freeing me up to chase after whatever I really want to say YES. Execution is key. Discipline is required.

How To Setup A YES/NO List:

  1. You must select some things you’re willing to say NO to that will actually be hard to give up, and force change.
  2. Then there have to be some NO’s that are easy give up. But knowing now that these are off-limits will free up some serious horsepower down the road.
  3. Finally, list out the things you are hungry to say YES to, so that when you encounter them there is no hesitation – you just pursue.

Here’s a short list of my own (about 1/3 of my running total)

Yes No Pic

To start your list, here are some categories to think on:

  • Diet
  • Relationships
  • Travel
  • Creative Work
  • Learning
  • Generative Work
  • Influences
  • Spending
  • Sports
  • Entertainment


One thought on “Tweak Your Resolutions. Pick What You’re Going to Say “NO” to in 2018

  1. Being of advanced age, I see real possibilities here. Make gusto yes and no lists, then follow the path of least resistance and say to myself, “Ah, drat! That thing I just did, ate, or bought was a No. And I haven’t done any Yes things. I guess I just keep getting them mixed up. Ah well, better luck next year!”

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