Rachel Taylor

2019 resolutions: Do more of what counts. And less of what doesn’t.

31st December 2018

My favourite entry from bestselling The Rules of Life is Rule 5 – “Know what counts and what doesn’t”. In other words, focus on what is important in life and avoid doing the stuff that is a waste of time. It’s pretty much the central message of most self-help books, but I love the simplicity of how it’s put.

Another way of thinking about this is where do you find meaning in your life? Finding meaning is a very personal thing. You can be doing something really worthwhile, but for you it doesn’t have meaning.

I think this was true for me when working in management in health organisations. I believed in the work and felt proud to be contributing, but it didn’t feel truly meaningful. This was because I wanted to do work where I was using the very best of myself.

Working as a Life Coach gives me that. Using my training in psychology, coaching and research to help people move forward is hugely rewarding.  And I also have the privilege of learning from my clients. I am inspired by their courage to look deeper, not settle for second best, find their own “what counts” and fully become the person they know they can be.

While I feel lucky to have a good sense of meaning in my life, we all know that life’s busyness gets in the way and sends us off our path (Great read: Busy by Tony Crabbe).

So, as this year draws to a close and looking towards to the next, it’s been good to reflect on what counts and how I can do more of it in 2019.  And, as I need time and energy for what counts, I have also been thinking about how I can make sure the stuff that doesn’t count takes more of a back seat.

Keeping it manageable, I am focusing on just two things that count and two that don’t, and identifying the reasons why. I have put two simple, do-able goals against each. The “what counts” thing won’t change during the year, but each month I’ll review the goals and set a couple more. 

If you would like to do similar, you can adapt this little table for yourself.

Table 1: Know What Counts

Counts Why does it Count? Easy Goal 1 Easy Goal 2
Family and Friends My children, family and friends give me the most meaning in life.

I want to recognise this more deeply in 2019.

Eat together as a family and recognise it as an important daily moment. Write to my nephews and nieces overseas.
Work As a Life Coach I am giving the best of my skills and experience to help others on their journey.

I want to develop my practice and increase my client base in 2019.

Review business plan and identify specific goals for the next 6 months Revamp LinkedIn profile, pay subscription and become an active member.

Table 2: Know What Doesn’t Count

Doesn’t Count Why Doesn’t it Count? Easy Goal 1 Easy Goal 2
Mindless internet surfing and checking my phone.   I use the internet to distract myself when I am stressed and tired, but it makes me more of both.

It stops me from doing what counts.

Buy and use a non-smartphone for close friends and family.


Always have a notepad on me to write down internet things for doing later in one or two daily batches.
Checking finances too often. Recently fully freelance, not having a monthly salary can be a worry.

But over monitoring my bank account and earning projections creates anxiety, wastes time and doesn’t make me wealthier.

Remind myself that I am pursuing what matters. Be patient – these are early days and the business will take time to build up. Do financial plans for 3, 6 and 12 months, and review only once at the beginning of each month.

Wishing us all a 2019 full of meaning.


Books to read on this theme:   

Busy – Tony Crabbe

Happiness by Design – Paul Dolan

Do More Great Work – Michael Bungay Stanier

The Rules of Life – Richard Templar

%d bloggers like this: