“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
― Joshua Becker
I love that quote because it really doesn’t just apply to our possessions. It really applies to the whole of our lives.
I’d been wanting to take some old ski equipment to consignment for a while and I finally did it yesterday, along with some ice skates. When I went to collect them from a corner in the basement, I can’t say I didn’t feel a pang of nostalgia or thoughts of “What if I need them again?” or “Suppose someone comes to visit and wants to go ice skating?” The truth is those ski boots never fit well no matter how many times I had them refitted, and the last time I was ice skating was, well, a while ago. Quite a while ago.
Everything was still in really good condition, and why not let someone else have them and enjoy them for a super reduced price? I cannot begin to tell you how good it felt to let go of these things. I’ve used them, enjoyed them, and have good memories of good times but the truth is that those times are what I want to hold on to, not the items themselves.
I was having a conversation the other day with my son who informed me that he would prefer to keep the “stuff” he accumulates in life to a minimum, at least at this point in time. This seems to be a prevalent attitude these days among younger people, which I think is great. They don’t have the same emotional connection to things that I was raised with. Having spent the first half of my life accumulating possessions, I realize my goal now is to divest myself of them. I want less – less stuff, less clutter, less to take care of, less to concern myself with. I want more, too – more free time, more energy, more peace and more orderliness.
So one of my major goals for the year is to downsize my stuff. I’m starting – don’t laugh – with 5 minutes a day. My goal is 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week. (I get two days off.) I’ll set a timer and declutter for those 5 minutes. If I’m motivated to continue I will, but I don’t have to. (I’ve gotten a lot of big projects done this way!) I’ve zeroed in on my home office as the place to start. I’ve got a box to donate what I no longer need, and a shredder to get rid of old papers and files.
In coaching, we encourage our clients to discover their Big Why – the compelling reason for why they want to achieve their goal. It’s the motivation that keeps you going when you want to give up. When I boil it down to that, my Big Why is having less stuff so that I can have more life – more time for people, creative work, experiences, reading, fun!
Is there something you want to achieve this year? Start a new career, maybe, or start a plant-based diet? Reduce debt, get your finances in order? It could be anything. Maybe you want to spend more time with your family, volunteer, take a class, or take up a new sport. Before you get started, take some time to think about your Big Why. Write it down. Keep it somewhere you can see it regularly. It may be just the thing that takes you to the finish line.
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