Stop-Start-Continue Exercise

New Year – New Me! We’ve all been here before. Making resolutions and not committing to them. This story is all too familiar and reliably disappointing. In the video below, I discuss the simple Principles behind the Stop-Start-Continue Exercise.

About 2 years ago, I learned about the Stop-Start-Continue Exercise. This is an exercise that can be done on a more regular basis. You don’t have to wait an entire year just to make the necessary changes to keep you moving forward in the direction you want to go.

The idea is to take an honest inventory of things, habits and people in your life and evaluating their impact on you.

1. Stop

Simply put a stop to things that ultimately make little or no contribution to your overall well-being. There are certainly many things that we can easily think of that we would be better off without. Bad habits, bad people, etc. My approach is to always pull the plug on the obvious things that provide absolutely no value or positivity in my life. I do this quickly and harshly – with no apologies.

Other things, however, are a little bit less clear cut and require further reflection and introspection. The beauty of taking the initial inventory of things is that it opens us up to an honest conversation with ourselves regarding the things that are bothering us.

2. Start

Get started with more positive and more productive things. Similar to the above, there are several things that we can think of that we ought to really get started with. Again, keep things simple and just get started. What is important here is to be open-minded with new things and people. Give yourself the opportunity to acquire experience and later decide whether or not these new endeavours work for you.

Note that Starting doesn’t always mean that you have to keep continuing until they eventually crash and burn. Sometimes it is enough to just have the experience. And this leads us to the next part…

3. Continue

Continue with all the things that have made a positive impact on you. There are certainly things that are worth nurturing and cultivating. Starting and Stopping are important but I think Continuing is the key and is probably the most challenging. While we can start or stop things on a whim, continuation requires commitment and dedication. It requires discipline and a long-term vision. I always like to say that people often over-estimate what they can achieve in 3 months, however they severely under-estimate what they can achieve in 3 years.

It is also important to keep an open mind in this step. Sometimes our responsibilities or circumstances don’t allow us to continue with the things we love because there are more critical issues that need our attention. Remember that it is okay to put things on hold until we can improve our situations. We can always pick things back up even if we have failed or even if we feel that we have been left behind. I think this is the real beauty of Continue. It allows us to leave the door open so to speak. We can choose to either get back into things or, as mentioned before, leave it as a memorable and beautiful experience.

My Stop-Start-Continue List

As promised, I will leave you with my short-list of things. Note that I have kept some off the list just for myself. These are the ones I choose to share with you. I review this every 3 months, so this list continually changes and your list should too.

Stop

  • Using idle time as an excuse for wasting time. Idle time can still be used for productive and meaningful pursuits.
  • Having a short-term vision business, relationships and challenges.
  • Putting myself in environments where I feel secure in being just mediocre.

Start

  • Dedicating myself fully into learning problem-solving skills rather than finding hacks around a problem.
  • Cultivating a minimalist mindset when it comes to consumption and material possessions.
  • Sharing my experience and what I know without ever asking for anything in return.

Continue

  • Staying focused and disciplined with critical tasks and long-term goals.
  • Nurturing meaningful relationships especially with family.
  • Cultivating a dedicated work-ethic in business and fitness.
  • Ruthlessly removing negative and toxic people with ZERO apologies.
  • Placing myself in situations where I am the dumbest person in the room or the one with the least experience. This gives me opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Asking meaningful questions.
  • Being a humble student to each person and situation that is teaching me something. I make mistakes too.

Have you got a list you want to share? I’d love to hear about it!

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