Wisdom//

14 Things to Give Up for a Happier, More Successful 2019

Let go of these things to make time and space for what really matters.

Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images
Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

Every January, we think about what we want to add to our lives: more resolutions, more goals, more physical items to acquire. But all those additions can really stress us out. Whether it’s extraneous habits, physical items, mindsets, obligations, or expectations, there are so many things we can let go of in order to feel better in our daily lives. That’s why we asked the Thrive Global community to weigh in on what they’re letting go of next year to have a happier, more successful 2019.

Ditch self-judgment and shame

“I want to let go of self-judgment and shame about myself in 2019. I’m a perfectionist, so when I don’t get what I want within my ideal timeline, often I punish myself by thinking that I’m not worth it, or stupid. I want to embrace the idea that I’m enough and love myself more. Additionally, I want to show gratitude for who I am, what I have, and what I’m accomplishing right now.”

—Shabrina Koeswologito, writer, New York City, NY


Let go of the mindset that everything has to be perfect all the time

“I’m giving up the mindset that I must wait to move until everything is set in place. I’m a Capricorn, and a planner through and through. After a year of trying to land a job in Arizona while living and working in North Carolina, I’ve finally decided to take a leap of faith and move without a job. I called Arizona home for over 20 years and I miss it dearly, but life is short and things have a way of working out for the best. So I’m finally ‘letting go,’ having faith and really trusting in myself.”

—Becky T., account manager, Charlotte, NC

Eliminate time-wasting habits

“I’m always reminded of the school experiment where you figure out how much a vessel can hold by filling it with a measured cup. At the end of the day, we all have a limit to what we can fit into our lives, and when they reach maximum capacity, there’s no room for anything else. So we need to choose wisely, i.e., spending time playing games versus spending time with friends and family, or obsessing over the next career move versus focusing on loving our kids. Next year, I’m looking to cut out all the trivial items that consume my time in order to have the great joy of filling the space with the things that really matter.”

—Tim Airey, technology principal, Houston, TX


Cut back on screen time

“For a happier year ahead, I’m going to unplug a bit by reducing my use of digital devices — including my TV, cell phone, computer, and social media — in order to reconnect more deeply with my family, friends, and environment. I’ve committed to releasing added external pressures so I can better ground myself and spark more creativity in all that I do. We are building a small new home in a rural area, so I’m planning on planting a garden and raising chickens in the spring as a mindful method of rooting myself to Mother Earth again.”

—Lisa Cypers Kamen, optimal lifestyle management expert, Los Angeles, CA


Stop the self-doubt

“I’ve often heard the expression, ‘Feelings are not facts.’ For instance, I feel fat on a daily basis. But when I look at photos, that’s not the image projected. I’m certainly not Sports Illustrated swimsuit-ready, nor will I ever be at 5’1! But the key is that feelings aren’t facts. So in 2019, I’d really like to let go of believing that how I feel is factual. It rarely is. For example, at work, I often feel like I tanked a presentation, but colleagues tell me that I nailed it afterward. How could that be? So in the new year, I’ll be holding onto the idea that how I feel about something is just that — a feeling. If it’s there, I’ll acknowledge it, but then let it go so that the facts of the situation may be revealed!”

—Mary Billiter, arts education specialist and novelist, Cheyenne, WY


Quit closing yourself off

“I plan to give up feeling closed off in exchange for consciously embracing an openness of mind and heart to possibilities, experiences, and radical change. 2018 has been a year of transition and I am excited for what 2019 will bring!”

—Pamela Bennett, artist and consultant, Phoenix, AZ


Get rid of physical items you don’t need

“2019 will be the year I ‘un-gather’ unneeded items collected over 30 years with my late wife, which will help me start my next chapter.”

—Jerel Wright, administrator, Meriden, KS

Shed workaholic tendencies

“In 2019 I hope to shed my multitasking, workaholic tendencies so that I can be more mindful of my time with my friends and precious family members. I want to be present and truly take time to enjoy the company of people who can enhance my strengths and put me back in touch with my inner self, and I want to relax and be more reflective. In getting rid of the ‘noise,’ I hope to focus on what really matters in life, which is usually lost within my storms of multitasking.”

—Jackie Abramian, PR/social media marketing executive, Kittery, ME


Ditch the idea that you aren’t worth it

“I’m giving up the thought that I can’t charge more money for my services. It’s time to adopt a mindset of abundance and start valuing myself more. I know this stems from deep-rooted feelings of never being enough, but if I want this to be a transformative year, that limiting belief must go! It’s not just impacting my business, but it’s also affecting my health, daily self-care choices, and what I say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to. ‘I am worth it’ is my mantra for this coming year!”

—Lisa Pezik, business strategist and content expert, Ontario, Canada

Break up with conventional dieting

“Dear Diet Culture,

We have to break up. It’s not me, it’s you.

I know that you will tempt me in 2019 with another false promise that attaining health and the perfect body is only the next diet away.

You will try and trick me into another diet by using relevant and hip words like ‘clean’ eating instead of weight loss.

But a diet is still a diet.

To diet is ‘to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules,’ according to Merriam-Webster.

You’ve robbed me of precious time, energy, money and happiness while trying to shrink my body.

This year I am taking my power back by learning Intuitive Eating, which is making food choices by tapping into internal cues which honor hunger, respect fullness and honor my whole health with gentle nutrition.”

—Tanya Mark, mind-body nutritionist, body image activist, Jackson Hole, WY

Let go of rigidity

“I’m planning to be more spontaneous, let go of rigidity, and be totally open to poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s recommendation: ‘And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been…’ I will explore the things that have yet to be.”

—Marlene Caroselli, author, Pittsford, NY


Focus on more quality, less quantity

“I always focus on ‘less is more’ with my coaching clients because it creates more time and positivity in their lives. It’s not about adding things to do in a strategic way, it’s about removing unneeded tasks for strategic time management. In 2018, I reduced the time I was spending on social media and the number of posts I was sharing on my accounts. The result was better engagement from my followers, because let’s face it, we don’t have the time to stay glued to our phones and read updates and notifications! 2019 will continue the trend of more quality, less quantity, and JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), and not only on social media. It declutters your thoughts, your home and your journey to happiness and success.”

—Sabrina Cadini, life-work balance strategist, San Diego, CA


Quit listening to fear

“Giving up fear and deciding to listen to your own inner wisdom is the best way to step into more happiness and success in 2019. Allow your intuition to guide you, and then follow that guidance directly. It’s important to build a strong relationship with your intuition. The more interested you are, the more attuned you become to this inner voice. You will notice that it’s quite different from other voices you hear. The voice of your intuition is a calm, knowing truth. You just have to hear it clearly, rely on it, and apply it.”

—Dr. Sharon Ufberg, senior consultant, Hermosa Beach, CA


Stop working super-long hours

“Over the past couple years, my career has been very subtly sneaking its way into my personal life. This year I have allowed it to win! I have allowed it to fill my every day and night, and often my weekends. I’ve been missing family events, time with my family, and time for myself. I have pledged to myself and my family that I will give up working crazy hours for a happier 2019 — for myself, my husband and my kids — and all years to come! Here’s to a happier me!”

—Carrie McEachran, executive director, Sarnia, Ontario

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