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5 Things to STOP Doing – to be more Successful in 2014

January 16, 2014

Sometimes it’s a relief to find out you don’t have to do stuff, especially when it’s tied into how to be more successful in 2014.  Sometimes it’s clarifying to see that there’s stuff you actually need to avoid, which is another way to say you don’t have to do it.  Either way it’s freeing and if you’re like me, can sometimes makes you laugh as well.  I pulled these 5 from a couple of different sources, hope you are as entertained as I was in considering them, and the reverse-ness of it all as applied to your career and business in 2014.

#1 –  Don’t set Goals, just commit to a winning process

James Clear in the article Forget Setting Goals, Focus on This Instead”  suggests that goals aren’t all they are cracked up to be.  Something to bear in mind as you start 2014.  He points out that:

 1. Goals reduce your current happiness, or at least postpone it… until that goal achievement date.
2. Goals are at odd with long term progress or thinking; e.g. we tend to stop doing (good) things after reaching a goal.
3. Goals suggest that you have (more) control over your life, your future, than you really do.

His alternative for you and me to think about, is to instead of focusing on goals, commit to a system, a habit, a consistent practice of doing today what is consistent with the long term.  It’s a great thought; a switch in focus, as well as something not to do or get hooked into.  Either way, consider what it would be like to stop emphasizing goals in 2014, and instead focus on doing what works, the things you have control over that create an environment for long term success.

Stay with me. #2 – #5 are shorter and also good brain food.   I picked this up from an email promoting a presentation by Chris McChesney and his book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

First of all, enjoy his headline: 4 Ways to Ensure Poor Execution Next Year.
His subtitle is written even better.  “Despite people’s best efforts, great plans fail every day. Here are four things you can do to ensure that your plan flops too.

From our perspective today in this blog, this turns out to be the next four things you don’t have to do in 2014.  You don’t have to:

#2 Dilute your focus by saying yes to all good ideas.

#3 Fixate on (after-the-fact) lag measures, rather than (predictive) lead measures.

#4 Keep complex “Coach” scoreboards rather than simple “Players” scoreboards.

#5 Fail to create consistent accountability.

Aren’t those good?  But here’s the thing.  You want to take these, all 5 of them, with you.. not just leave them on the screen.  So one suggestion is you write out your version of each of the five, and stick it on your monitor until you get it successfully logged into your long term memory.

Here’s some examples I came up with, write in yours in the comments, I’d love to see them:

1. Take myself off the hook for any achievement goals I haven’t accomplished yet and just commit to working strategically and being my best today.

2. My pockets aren’t that big, I only have to focus on 2-3 good ideas at any one time… the rest will have to wait.

3. Stop focusing on the money and focus on the funnel for anything I’m building.

4. Keep the metrics simple, life is complex enough as it is, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

5. Deal with stuff as it comes up, keep the backlog to a minimum, I’ll sleep better that way.

So what does it sound like, look like, when you frame it for yourself?  Hope you have as much fun with this as I did… and enjoy the freedom all year of not “having to do” these five things that it’s so easy to subconsciously sign up for.

Bottom Line:  There’s lots of evidence to indicate part of being successful is not doing things.  The whole concept of “you get more done by doing less, focusing on less”, etc.  In this blog, I’ve pulled five “Don’t do this” suggestions that are actually freeing (“oh, great, I don’t have to do that?”) and will also set you up to have a more successful year in 2014.  Enjoy.

4 Comments. Leave new

1. Do something worthwhile TODAY. Decide what I care about and get involved.
2. Spread myself thin in many “good” activities and ignore those that are important to me.
3. Put my energy into “why did that happen?’ and not into “what will help me accomplish something I’m pround of today?”
4. Overanalyze everything to the point of being overwhelmed and afraid to do anything.
5. Keep myself honest by not accepting excuses or procrastinating.


Linda, I like it! Looks like you are really going to leverage your focus on items #2-#4, I’m betting the impact you experience is going to be substantial.


I totally agree with #1 – Don’t set Goals, just commit to a winning process. Love it!!
For me, goal setting means thinking that I know what is going to happen, rather than being in the moment, accepting what is, and working where I’m inspired to serve and create. The best part of not setting goals is being open to receiving something even better than I could have dreamed up for myself! I’m excited to see what 2014 brings.


Lauren, I like your point about “something better.” Sometimes goal setting limits our visual scan, not to mention options. Funny how goal setting and that whole process of putting a destination out in front of your self has both beneficial outcomes and potentially limiting ones when you get too far ahead of yourself or stop listening and looking at what’s coming along that isn’t in your “goal plan.” Thanks for the comment.


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