By Fred Kusch  

As we move forward into 2019, I am going to attempt a new approach to New Year’s resolutions. Throughout the year, with a month-by-month strategy, I am committing to a personal challenge and experiment to change my behaviors. I’m calling it My Resolution to Make Room for Life.

It’s my way of searching and seeking out what’s truly necessary, of making my life simpler. I am going to try to make room for other things. I hope to test the personal boundaries I proclaim to have in my life. What are the boundaries of what I really need and want?

So, what’s the strategy of change, you might ask? Well, as I get older I am more confident than ever that “simpler is better,” so with that in mind I will experiment on a month-to-month basis with challenging myself to eliminate one behavior I currently practice daily—something I really don’t want to give up for myriad reasons, real or imagined.

When the month is over, I will take the time to evaluate what happened. Did I enjoy the experience? Did I miss it? Was it worth leaving out of my life? Or, do I want to put it back in my life after the month’s over? Each month I will try living without something else. Listed here are the things I settled on for my yearlong experiment.

The 12 Things I’ll Live Without

Each month, I’ll try a different experiment.

1. January: Coffee

I drink about four to five cups each morning. I’ve quit coffee a couple of times in the past but was never very successful in breaking the addiction. I’m going to give it another try. Replacement habit: tea. 

 2. February: Sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time

After surgery last summer I have become a “lump.” I spend too much time online. I’ve found that I have become a poster child for the typical overweight, lethargic American. So, a new boundary is set, and I’m going to ban myself from sitting for too long—after 30 minutes, I have to get up for 15 minutes and do something else. Sitting too long is killing us. Replacement habit: a short
walk, yoga.

3. March: Sugar

I love desserts and sweet treats, but I will choose not to eat them at all. Replacement habit: veggies, fruit.

4. April: Technology in morning (except to write)

I use the computer for just about everything these days. I won’t be on the computer, iPad or Android to do any of that before noon (except to check email three times per day—a.m., noon and p.m.). Replacement habit: write, read or do noncomputer stuff; write letters; write a book.

5. May: Refined carbs

To be truthful, I don’t do many refined carbs anymore, but I do “cheat” with the kids now and then. For this month, I’m going to ban them completely. I probably should do this during the holidays!
Replacement habit: veggies.

6. June: Video entertainment

It is time to give up cable TV. Janet and I will watch shows on Prime/Netflix/YouTube for about two hours or so at night (without commercials). Replacement habit: read books.

7. July: Using internet all day (except to post writing)

Similar to April, except it will be all day long (including evenings). I probably will need to notify folks of my plan for the month. Replacement habit: write or read a book, exercise.

8. August: Alcohol

I drink 5-6 glasses of red wine or a cocktail a week, and on occasion I’ll have a beer. Not this month. Replacement habit: tea,
sparkling water.

9. September: Cellphone

For a long time, I had only a “dumb” phone. It was completely good enough for my needs. Then I bought an Android with all the bells and whistles that I use fairly regularly (not addicted). But I’m going to go a month without using my cellphone other than to answer calls. (Note that we don’t have a landline.) Replacement habit: drawing, reading, writing and exercising.

10. October: Shopping for new things

As a retired person on a fixed income, this month I’ll buy nothing new. Replacement habit: creating, borrowing, sharing.

11. November: Restaurants

I frequent restaurants too often because I am too lazy to cook or I do poor meal planning. This month, no restaurants! Replacement habit: cooking meals for people, create a monthly
meal plan.

12. December: Computer

No computer at all this month. I will turn off the Christmas Machine and make a real attempt to enjoy the true meaning of the special holiday season. Replacement habit: organize photo albums, stretching, writing, drawing.

This list might change as the year progresses and I find other things I’d rather give up, but this is what I’m planning for now. I’ll do at least one post each month about what I’ve learned.

At the end of each month, I’ll decide whether I want to keep doing without that month’s “living without” item. It will really depend on how the experiment went. Wish me luck!

Fred Kusch, president and CEO of JFK Associates, is a well-known speaker, author, consultant and business coach. For more information, visit