Monday, December 28, 2015

Use Subtraction to Add Happiness to Your Life

As the new year approaches, it's the time when many of us think about making our lives better.

We vow to run a marathon in 2016 (even though our new Nikes have been in the box for six months).

We promise to stop relying so much on social media to make connections, and instead will have more one-on-one conversations (even though we can't put down our phones long enough to do it).

We state emphatically that we will begin online classes (as soon as find the time to sign up).

The problem for many of us is that we're adding to our "to do" list without considering how much this will add to our stress. We know this doesn't make sense, which is why the Nikes look brand new and Facebook is the closest thing we have to a social life.

In Marshall Goldsmith's bestseller, "MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It and How to Get It Back if You Lose It," he talks about the importance of "subtracting" from life.

This may be a difficult pill for some people to swallow, especially since we have all these really cool apps that allow us to do a lot of cool stuff at one time. 

But Goldsmith points out that "the untapped power of subtraction is within your grasp."

"It's as easy as saying to yourself, My life might actually be better if I took away _______," he writes.

The answer is up to you, but don't be a wimp about it. Don't say, "I'm going to cut out carbs," or something like that. Try to think of what would really make a difference in your life. That annoying friend who only takes and never gives; the book club that you never enjoy; the fitness trainer who is a bully.

While we might all like to cut out a bad boss or obnoxious co-workers, that's not always something in our control. But there are many things we can determine about our lives in 2016, and one of them may be learning the power of subtraction.

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