It's the first month of the year, and your energy is most likely still high. The New Year represents a clean slate for many people.

Those stubborn ten pounds will get burned off, the often-spoken-about business is going to get off the ground, the elusive promotion will happen, and the business will scale this year.

Achieving any of these goals is more than feasible with a clear, practical, and aggressive strategy. Unfortunately, what holds people back is not what they do--it's not being clear on what they're not going to do.

No matter how detailed and clear your strategy is on paper, success boils down to your everyday actions. What's on paper doesn't always match up with your daily habits and routines.

Therefore, it's important to ruthlessly assess your everyday actions. Crafting an elimination list ensures that only the actions and routines that provide oxygen to your goals stick around.

Here are three simple reasons why creating an elimination list is pivotal to your success this year.

1. More focus

Information is bountiful, and is now on an even playing field. However, what you do with that information makes the biggest difference. Specifically, focusing on the essentials while blocking out everything else.

Information overload is a real thing and can lead to you being a consumer who produces very little of your own material. One area I looked to simplify was my email and subscriptions. I now have three people who I follow and listen to for my business and development. I unsubscribed from hundreds of emails to keep my inbox manageable.

A cluttered inbox costs mental and emotional energy that can be better spent elsewhere. A challenge for you is to unsubscribe from newsletters and pick out a few people to learn from. Let everyone else go.

2. Better mental health

In the Internet space these days, it's easy to fall into the comparison trap. Everyone on Instagram seems like they're making millions while traveling the world stress-free. Falling into this illusion and taking everything on the Internet at face value can have you questioning yourself (and your capabilities).

One simple solution is to clean up your social-media feed, along with reducing your time on those platforms. One hour a day is the goal I set for myself, and I spend that time mostly promoting my content and connecting with people, rather than mindlessly browsing my feed when I should be working.

Be intentional and strategic. To help keep yourself accountable, look into using the iPhone's Screen Time feature, and set curfews for social media.

3. Speed and precision

Implementing quickly and taking decisive action are considered positive traits. Precision, however, is an important piece to the success equation that is often left out. Taking fast action means very little if you're scattered and full of randomness.

However, by creating an elimination list of things not to do, you will unclutter your mental real estate and everyday habits. This increased focus will allow you to not only take fast action, but action that is more targeted toward your goal. 

By combining speed and precision, you'll reach your goals with efficiency and effectiveness.

We live in a "do, do, and do some more" society. But as the information and hustle-at-all-cost circles continually grow, the secret to success isn't what you're doing--it's what you're not doing. As you review your goals each day, make a declaration of things you will not do.

Published on: Jan 29, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.