What would it be like if you were free of the old stuff from 2015 that is holding you back? You know — that laundry list of “I shoulds,” the lead generation you should be doing, the unfinished projects, the old files that need to be cleared out and the email subscriptions you no longer read.

  • Tolerations are those little nagging to-dos that pull your focus from other productive tasks -- eliminate them.
  • Learn to say no and mean it.
  • Start paying off your credit card debt, and put the money you would have spent on interest toward your retirement fund.

What would it be like if you were free of the old stuff from 2015 that’s holding you back? You know what I mean — that laundry list of “I shoulds,” the lead generation you should be doing, the unfinished projects, the old files that need to be cleared out and the email subscriptions you no longer read.

One of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself this holiday season is to remove all that old 2015 stuff and start 2016 with the cleanest slate possible.

Eliminate tolerations

Begin by eliminating “tolerations.” A toleration can be something as simple as a missing button from a shirt, your floor mats that need cleaning or any of the hundreds of other little things that pull your focus away in the course of your day.

Tolerations are like paper cuts. They are often minor, but the cumulative effect of not dealing with them results in serious pain and loss of productivity.

The first step in ridding yourself of tolerations is to make a list. Most people can list about 20 tolerations and then hit a wall. If they persist, they discover there’s easily another 80 or more.

Remember tolerations can be something small, such a magazine subscription you’ve been meaning to cancel or replacing a light bulb.

The point is that every time you encounter the toleration, it interrupts your thoughts with, “That’s bugging me,” or “I need to take care of that.” Each time you notice it, you’re experiencing the equivalent of another paper cut.

Once you have made your list, the next step is to eliminate one toleration per day. It makes no difference where you start or which toleration you choose. The idea is to reduce the cumulative effect of these energy drainers.

Learn to say “no”

Tolerations often result from the inability to say “no.” How many times have you agreed to do a showing when you had previously scheduled family time, and you ended up resenting the decision?

The simplest way to handle this is simply to say “no.” Also, keep in mind that no is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain or justify your reasoning. If the client presses, you simply say, “I have a conflicting appointment,” and give the client two other times you could do the showings.

Clean up your home and office

Keeping your work areas clutter free takes energy, but working in a cluttered space generally takes even more energy. The best way to experience the impact of having a clean office is to monitor what it’s like to work in your cluttered office for one month.

Next, clean your office or at least collect your papers, and put all nonessential paperwork into boxes that are stored outside your work area. Keep your office clutter-free for one month.

At the end of the two months, compare notes and see which approach best supported your concentration and productivity.

Finish, delegate or declare old projects complete

Any old project or task that has been hanging over you since Jan. 1, 2015, is something you probably will not finish in 2016. The best course of action is to dump it or delegate it.

If you got by a year without doing it, chances are it wasn’t that important to you in the first place. Declare it complete and take it off your to-do list.

Eliminate debt now

Credit card debt is a major toleration that cuts you over and over each month because you pay not only for your purchase but also interest on top of interest. If you have the ability to clean up any of your credit card debt, do it as soon as possible.

Rather than paying that interest to the credit card companies, put it toward your retirement. Get in the habit of paying off purchases each month.

If you don’t have the money to pay for an item at the end of the month, don’t buy it unless it’s an absolute necessity, such as medicine, or a business-related expense, such as car repair or gasoline.

Credit card debt limits your opportunity for a better life in the future. CreditKarma.com is an excellent tool to help you see how your debt is influencing your credit rating.

Get clear on your values and priorities in life

A ship without a rudder is at the mercy of the sea and winds. Your values are the rudder in your life that will help you to steer the course that best supports you.

Identifying your values will help you to clarify exactly which priorities are most important.

Let these values be your guide as you begin 2016, handle a toleration a day whenever possible and watch what shows up. If you do so, 2016 might very well be your best year ever. Happy New Year!

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent

Email Bernice Ross.

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