Forget About Making Resolutions, Focus on Pulling Your Weeds
During any given year, there are several times when you or I would want to turn over a new leaf, start fresh, resolve to be better, or quit some unhealthy habit.
New Years Day, birthdays, anniversaries, new school year, new jobs, each of these present opportunities to reinvent ourselves and focus on improving ourselves.
But this year, if you're with me, I think we should do something different.
I think we should do something better.
I say we forget making resolutions and start pulling weeds!
When my wife and I first bought our house, I spent countless hours bent over pulling the weeds from our newly sodded yard. The St. Augustine grass was beautiful in early November, but there were certain patches where the weeds were showing up.
Sure, as a kid, I loved searching for four-leaf clovers, but as an adult, I knew these were really just weeds.
The problem with weeds is twofold: they're selfish and they like to deceive.
Weeds are selfish because they pull the resources from areas they shouldn't be pulling them from. They drink the water meant for the trees and the grass. Their roots reach far and wide, strangling the life out of what we actually want in the yard.
Weeds can also be deceitful in their attractiveness. Who hasn't driven by a field of daisies and admired the beauty of the sun come to earth in flower form. But if left untended, these fields can take over, ravaging otherwise good farmland.
The same holds true for our lives.
You and I both have weeds that we need to pull out and destroy.
But we'll get to that in a moment.
As I mentioned before, there are several times during the year, especially here at the very beginning, when we focus on what we'll do differently in the coming days, weeks and months.
We resolve to lose weight, we resolve to eat healthier, work harder, read more books or hang out with friends and family more.
Those are all great things but they're not enough. They're lacking because adding more to our schedule isn't always the right solution.
Just like planting more trees, more roses, and doing more landscaping won't necessarily fix your yard, adding more things to do won't necessarily fix your life.
Sometimes we need to pull the weeds.
Scott defines a weed as,
Any wild plants growing where it is unwanted and in competition with cultivated plants.”
That is to say, a weed is anything unwanted or in competition with the things you do want.
- If sleeping in on Saturday is preventing you from achieving your goals, it's a weed.
- If exercising every day after work is preventing you from spending valuable time with your family, it's a weed.
- If your video game habit is keeping you from writing blog posts or recording your podcast, it's a weed. (Did my wife write that one?)
- If coming home from work, watching four hours of television and going straight to bed is keeping you stuck in a job you don't love, say it with me, it's a weed!
Achieving goals is not only about adding more to your life, it's also about what we need to cut out at the root and destroy.
Just as you wouldn't let weeds overrun your yard, you shouldn't let the weeds in your life overrun your dreams. (Tweet that!)
Scott goes on to say that weeds are relative. He suggests that what we might consider weeds in our yard might actually have a place in someone else's.
Our weeds may be someone else's decoration.
The same thing applies to life.
My video game habit may be the break I need. Your video game habit may be keeping you from going to class, going to work, or spending time with your family. Or vice versa.
Or, worse yet, we've designed our lives around our weeds, telling ourselves they're okay to keep around.
Whether because we don't have a design for our lives or because we've chosen to lie to ourselves, either way, we have to change.
So, as you look to improve your life, your business, your family or something else, I encourage you to focus not only on adding more things to your plate, but cutting back as well.
I talk to so may people who get so defeated and say, “I just don't have enough time.”
I want to smack them and say, “You have the same amount of time as Mozart and Warren Buffett, you're just wasting yours!”
Instead of resolving to add more to your life this year, pull the weeds that are choking your dreams.
If you see something that is sucking the energy that could be used to build the life you want to live, call it what it is, call it a weed, and pull it out.
Question: What weeds do you have in your life you know need to be pulled out?