Back-in-the-day, as they say, we had to manually defrost the freezer of our refrigerator periodically.  I still remember the process of taking everything out of the freezer, temporarily putting it in the refrigerator portion below, and boiling pans of water to place inside the freezer to melt all the frozen build-up.  I also remember how fresh and clean the freezer looked as we placed the frozen goods back in the defrosted compartment.

There is just something about a blank canvas.  A clean slate.  A fresh start.

Over the next month, millions will be “preparing” for a New Year.  Maybe even more-so than ever, with this particular New Year — 2020 – calling out for a greater since of clarity without ever saying it. Yet so often we just fine-tune. We adjust.  More likely, we just pile on more expectations. Most post-event debriefs are thoughtfully executed through a process of STOP, START and CONTINUE.  With all great intentions, many will pick resolutions to stop doing, start doing, or enhance doing.  In the spirt of continuous improvement, it is certainly a reasonable approach.


What if everything had to stop?


Literally. In other words, rather than taking the approach of making fine-tune adjustments to one area or another – or one activity or another – that everything stops. You wipe the slate of your life clean.  Every activity.  Every organization.  Every relationship.

No matter how important, how critical, how long-standing – or how much you were consciously or subconsciously attached – everything comes off your calendar. You are released from any obligations or expectations. At the same time, what if it also eliminated any shame, guilt, or fear?


Left with only a blank canvas.


From there, in the spirit of a beginner’s mind, you can begin to sketch-out a new creation where every single thing has to earn its way back into the picture of your life.

I know it sounds a bit extreme. At the same time, it is extremely intentional. It is thoughtful. And it has the opportunity to be filled with a recognition of gratitude as you add back what belongs on your canvas. Just imagine the impact as you added back — each relationship, each organization, each goal, each activity, each habit — with a refreshed sense of ownership, accountability, and commitment.


It also has the potential to release all that shouldn’t be there.


I have absolutely no research, no experience, nor tangential evidence that could prove this would work — or that it’s even a good idea. However, I am convinced it would disrupt how we think about starting each New Year.  It would make the concept of New Year’s resolutions obsolete.  More importantly, it would enhance how we show-up throughout the year. It would not only change who and what we added to the blank canvas at the beginning of the year, but how we added to the canvas throughout the year.

No question, it sounds a little selfish on the surface.  That is, until you realize you have been eliminated from the canvas of others … wondering if you have earned your way back.

It’s a half-baked idea.  Taken to an extreme for a reason … eliminating the trap of taking anything or anyone for granted.

I will never forget when my mom bought our first self-defrosting refrigerator. It was awesome. If only our life could self-defrost, we simply would not have to worry about the frozen build-up. In the meantime, we may need to boil some water. Or go grab a blank canvas.

As always, I’m so grateful when you share your thoughts below.

In the meantime, may wonderful and surprising moments fill your Holiday Season.  In 2020, wishing you a renewed sense of clarity and a deepened sense of patience and curiosity for all that remains unclear.