Welcoming in the New Year normally comes with wishful resolutions that are slightly unrealistic. I came up with mine quickly last year after feeling like I was in constant motion. I felt like my life was passing me by doing things that I really didn’t enjoy. At the time, I was rounding out my 10th year in finance but felt it was the soul crushing corporate work that people cringe over. Ironically, I didn’t realize that the world would also come to a standstill during 2020, as if the universe was coming together to say, “slow down”. This year, I encourage you all to the resolution that I had fun with last year, which actually stuck until the end, Quit the things you don’t want to do.
I challenge you to quit the things you don’t want to do anymore to free up your life for only what you love. It’s like the KonMari Philosophy, but for yourself. If it sparks joy for you, than keep it. The plan was to create space and time to do things that I want to be doing. So as a travel lover, it made sense that I take a trip to start off the new year.
The first week of January 2020, I visited family in Mendocino, California with my mom to mentally prepare for a year I felt needed to be a year of change. The whole week on vacation I tried to get back in touch with me. I started being creative again by making jewelry. I was playing with puzzles, going to yoga every day and eating fresh food from the garden. I have always wished I learned how to play golf and used that as a time to be coached on my swing. It was during this time that it reemphasized that if I wanted to be able to do the things that I loved in life, what was most important was time.
I implemented the resolution first by quitting the CFA exam. I had chased it halfheartedly for years. Never fully dedicating myself to it cost me thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. It even contributed to my termination from my second employer because they felt I should be taking the CFP exam, as a good financial sales person should. I started studying the CFA material because the curriculum interested me and it was a challenge, but I realized I was no longer enjoying it. Although I managed to pass part of it, I decided to quit. This also meant I could quit a committee I was on at work that promoted the CFA to employees. Goodbye.
I soon started realizing the value of automation at work. I wanted to get rid of all the tasks we were doing that were meaningless and manually risk prone. This idea ultimately drove me to create this company to help small businesses be efficient in what they do, so that time can be spent on where it is most important.
At home, I felt the majority of my spare time during the nights and weekends involved cooking and cleaning. I felt like I was doing the majority of the housework and my time spent on it was going unrecognized. Part of me doesn’t mind doing some mundane household chores like washing dishes or doing laundry, but it was too much. I couldn’t do it all. I proposed the idea of hiring a cleaning service to my partner and was ecstatic when he understood why I needed this and easily agreed. I didn’t quit cleaning fully, but this was a good start!
Then it was grocery shopping. Another time-consuming task that took up time planning the trips and going to the store. I switched to Wegman’s online delivery and that was the end of that time suck.
At this point, I was on a roll. When the pandemic hit in March, it added another load of quitting things that had just become excessive. I quit eating out 2 times a day and I quit ordering frivolously online. I quit wearing clothes that were uncomfortable. I made it a goal to be more self-aware and do my best to quit making purchases from company’s like Amazon, Walmart, and chain restaurants. This would leave room for companies with sustainable missions, looking to make positive community impact. Some of my favorite small businesses to support are Fringe and Clay, the Junior League Thift Store, and Spatola’s for their Trenton pie.
As the end of summer loomed, I could not stand the thought of continuing to do a job that should have been taken over by computers 10 years ago. My time was valuable, even if my employer didn’t think so. I went into finance chasing the six figure Wall Street salary, but reality was I started my career at 32K/year and ten years later I was still not making the money I had hoped for when I started. Regardless, I realized that quite frankly, no salary could keep me any longer to sell my life away for work I did not care about. Life is short and it became time to reclaim it. In the middle of a global pandemic, I quit my job.
So here I challenge you to quit things that make no sense in your life. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you quit as long as its something that no longer serves you. Freeing up space makes room for new things and new challenges. It won’t always be easy to make or stick with the decision, but the result will be that you are able to use the time to do things that you want to be doing. 2020 was a reminder of what is truly important. Free up your time to do the things you actually want to do this year.