At the start of each New Year, many people like to load up on resolutions. The idea is to fill one’s self with possibilities and inspiration by making positive affirmations: “I resolve to lose weight this year.” I resolve to begin an exercise program this year.” “I resolve to get a new job this year.” And so we set ourselves up for failure by over-committing and under performing.

As humans, we have limited intellectual, emotional and social bandwidths. Like stripping off the resource-draining, vestigial applications and files on our PCs to enhance performance, we need to check what’s stored on our hard drives and identify those things that no longer serve us well. To increase our ability to commit to those resolutions that are mission critical, below are my suggestions for the Top Ten Things to Kick to the Curb in 2016.

  1. Energy Vampires: These are emotionally immature people who suck the life out of you by requiring ultra high maintenance. Though many are well intentioned, they believe the world revolves around them and you are merely a supporting cast member. If a trip to the dumpster is not feasible because this is your boss or a close family member, then limiting exposure and boosting your immune system through mindful exercise or meditation are the keys to reducing blood loss.
  1. Over Committing: Saying “yes” to everything and everybody is a surefire way to reduce your ability to live a healthier lifestyle. The keys to avoiding too many commitments are to recognize that you’re not responsible for solving everybody’s problems and that your time is finite. Decide which people and causes you really need to be a hero for, then go for it. Everything else…trash gets put out on Wednesday night for Thursday pick up.
  1. Bad Habits: Do you have any bad habits, addictions or obsessions that act as headwinds, buffeting your development as a complete person? Try to replace time spent chasing Jack Daniels, Candy Crush, Mickey D’s, the White Dragon and Porn Stars with outdoor exercise and the companionship of people who love you the most. If you think you need the help of a professional intervention, you probably do. Check out local resources to find the right people who can help you haul this junk to the dumpster.
  1. Other People’s Approval: Constantly looking for validation by other people is like sipping a great wine and asking what someone else thinks about it. Be secure enough in who you are to give yourself a pat on the back, especially when no one else will. Try a two handed hug for bringing your A Game in a pressure situation. If you’re generous with sincere praise to those around you, and they do not reciprocate, it’s time to visit the compost heap to make a deposit.
  1. Poor self image: When you look in the mirror, whom do you see? The Mr. Hyde with failed relationships, health issues, emotional baggage and unfinished projects? Or do you see the accomplishments of Dr. Jekyll with the family you are a part of, the home you live in, the job you work at and the life you strive for? Toss that funhouse mirror in the trash right now.

I don’t know about you, but I feel ten pounds lighter and my home just got bigger. It’s amazing how much extra space we can gain from a good catharsis. Next month, I’ll explore the Next Five Things to Kick to the Curb. Since I haven’t written my blog yet, I’m open to your suggestions.

What would you like to see sitting in this pile of trash?