Today’s post is the feature article  from the December 2004 issue of  The Front Porch Newsletter.  If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

blumbergface1New Year’s Day, in terms of the whole universe, is just another day. But by the way we keep count, it makes for a nice turning point. It puts a stake in the ground to begin anew. Many people will start to think about what they need to do differently. The majority will think about what they need to start doing. Most people I know need to think about what they will stop doing. They need to think about letting go of some things. We accumulate along the way, often living a life of compilation rather than facilitation of our duties and contributions.

This summer, at our National Speaker Association Convention, speaker Joe Calloway gave a powerful plenary keynote around one simple theme — LET IT GO. He distributed a list of over 100 ideas upon which you could think about letting go. The entire keynote had ONE message — think about what you need to let go of. It hit a chord. It was the common buzz-talk in the hallways for the rest of the convention.

There is a line to an old popular song — ’cause breaking up is hard to do. So is letting go. We unbundled this idea of “letting go” in our Front Porch survey last month. Here is what our readers had to say. Maybe these questions and their responses will get you thinking about your own habits of letting go.

1. What do you see that you most need to let go of in your life? (checking all that apply):
Certain Habits – 65%
Some of my “stuff” – 48%
Grudges – 35%
General “obligations” – 26%
Activities – 17%
Relationships – 4%

2. Do you have an intentional routine of “house- cleaning” your life on a regular basis?
NO – 70%
YES – 30%

3. Do you experience “creep” in your life — unproductive chores, duties — filling up your schedule?
YES – 74%
NO – 26%

4. How much impact do you see a habit of “letting go” would have on the effectiveness and efficiency of your work and life?
VERY effective – 52%
SOMEWHAT effective – 48%
NOT effective – 0%

5. If unproductive things or people clutter your life, what most prevents you from “letting go”?
Being a victim of bad habit – 57%
Just don’t think about it – 16%
Decision controlled by others – 16%
Too much change already – 11%
I just love tradition – 0%
Others listed their own obstacles including, time to deal with it, not wanting to let others down, a perfectionist personality — and one even mentioned good old Catholic guilt!

I could go on and on and on about why this concept is so important, but in pouring through all the research I just decided to let it go — and get right to this month’s action idea!

ACTION IDEA: Make a list of possibilities for letting go. Boldly brainstorm and then get creative and realistic about starting the New Year with less … so you leave room for being committed to what is most important.