Is This Your Year to Fertilize or Prune?

Those of you who know me well know that gardening isn’t my thing. In fact, my thumb is so brown that you wouldn’t want me near your plants! I’m not sure why, but I think I overdo it with watering and fertilizer. More is better, so they say.

And, so it often goes with our early planning for a new year. I, for one, habitually fall into that trap. It might look something like this:

  • A five new goals list, complete with a fancy new planner to keep me on task
  • A listing of a dozen new podcasts or TED talks to listen to
  • A membership to that new health club in town
  • Two new magazine subscriptions and a plan to tackle my book backlog
  • Cut 15 minutes off of my sleep time so I can do more

Compelling new additions to my already full plate, right? Or, back to the gardening analogy, more water and fertilizer applied to a plant that’s already stressed. Here is where more doesn’t necessarily fix the problem—especially when the first word we use to describe our life is, “busy.”

Or, could this be a year where less may be more? Where we do some judicious pruning in order to bear more fruit? I heard this in a sermon the other day and it really resonated. As an example, grass that is to tall may not be very healthy on the soil and looks just plain ugly. You can take care of it using the Cub Cadet 25cc gas string trimmer or you can wait for fungi to thrive and become a problem. So, when I returned home, I did what any non-arborist would do, and googled, “Benefits of pruning.” Here were some of the takeaways:

  1. Stimulates a strong network of healthy new growth
  2. Improves fruit quality
  3. Improves root formation
  4. Removes those unsightly sucker branches that stunt growth and nutrition

I rather like these! Instead of always adding, perhaps a trim here and a trim there will stimulate even greater abundance—in our plants and in our lives. Here, a pruning candidate list might look like:

  • Spending less time on social media and devices
  • Cutting back or eliminating time spent on reading, listening, and watching programs/content that brings us down or stresses us out
  • Reducing our consumption of addicting, unhealthy substances
  • Eliminating toxic elements and relationships from our lives
  • Trimming anything that wastes our time or resources
  • Addressing regrets and busyness that’s interfering with our relationships
  • Reducing spending on non-essentials to improve our financial peace of mind

So, what about you? Could your life use a little more fertilizer or pruning? I think I’m going to try some pruning for once and see how it goes.

About the Author

Dennis Trittin is the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead and Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Through his books, blog, and nationwide speaking engagements, Dennis prepares students for life success and equips parents and educators in their vital training role. You can find him here on Facebook.

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