We only have so much time and energy to go around.... And so many things we want to experience and achieve.
At the start of 2016, whilst on holidays and feeling absolutely shattered after a huge year, I undertook what I can only describe as an "energy audit". I was completely spent, too exhausted to have the active holiday my husband and I had planned, and honestly had no idea how I was going to muster the energy I needed to make it through January let alone the rest of the year.
I realised that something needed to change, so I pulled out my journal and started writing. I listed all of the things that had contributed to my current state of exhaustion. It had been a big year, with house moves, large scale renovations, my Masters studies, late nights, early mornings and overloaded schedules.
But that wasn't the whole story....
As I listed everything I could recall about how I spent my time during the preceding year and what had absorbed my energy, it became clear that only a handful of situations and people were responsible for the great majority of the stress, drama and exhaustion of the preceeding year. I made a solemn promise to give myself a peaceful year ahead (and adopted it as my theme for the year!), created (and then enforced!) some much-needed personal boundaries and invoked a strict "no drama" policy for people outside my inner circle.
And it was a game-changer, baby! It created so much mental and emotional SPACE, and felt like a ten tonne weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
And it spurred me to shine a light on all areas of my life where I was allowing the unimportant, unnecessary and downright toxic to occupy unnecessary space.
By clearing out the small number of situations, personal habits and people that drained my energy and stood in the way of my goals, I had soooo much more emotional bandwidth and physical energy. More time for myself, my own thoughts and goals, my husband and loved ones, clearing space and giving me the time and energy to devote to interests, activities and friendships that, until the great "clear the deck" exercise of 2016 I was too busy and distracted to invest in. My life is so so SO much richer as a result and I ticked off a LOT of my goals along the way!
So these days I highly recommend taking a look at the unhelpful, unproductive and unnecessary things that are absorbing our time, energy and emotional bandwidth. These are the things that divert, delay or downright stop us from expanding our lives in joyous ways, and can delay or even stop us from reaching our dreams.
If your life is filled up with bad habits, toxic friendships etc it doesn't leave much space for trying new things, meeting new people, learning new skills and chasing your dreams right?
So block out some time and ask yourself: "What am I doing that's unnecessary, wasting my time, no longer bringing me joy, or purpose? What (and who) is draining me? What/who is causing me stress (or distress)?"
Ask these questions for all facets of your life: work, family, relationships etc. It's never pleasant to re-live the not-so-wonderful times, but I have found that this exercise is invaluable if you truly want to have a better year than the one before it.
Some of the things that drain us or cause us distress are necessary, and can even be a part of our growth.
The most important part of this exercise is identifying the time-wasters, drains and stressors that are unnecessary and have no meaningful place in our lives. And then committing to reducing, controlling or eliminating them.
What I'm encouraging you to eliminate is the stuff that really doesn't serve you on any level. Stuff like constant mindless internet surfing, that habitual glass of wine (or two) with dinner, discussing the negatives and finding fault instead of looking for opportunities and moments of joy, sitting on the cough instead of a walk or bike ride.
Decide that you are ready to let these habits/thoughts/people/memories/grudges etc go. And make a pledge to decisively step away from all that you can.
Create a Not to Do List to help stop the unnecessary or destructive stuff from creeping back into your life. Having a Not-to-Do List can be just as effective as a To Do List. I wrote about it here and I highly recommend it!
And it's not just situations that drain us. Sometimes certain people in our lives can absorb too much time, cause too much stress and drain too much energy.
If this is the case, take a step back and evaluate whether you need to create some healthy boundaries, or take a decisive step back. I wrote about this too, and you can find it here.
Whatever the source, take a step back and evaluate what is draining you, whether you REALLY need to be spending time and energy on it, and ways you can reduce or eliminate its impact on your time and energy.
Is it a friend and their constant dramas? Set some boundaries, answer your phone less, change the subject or just let them go as gently and graciously as you can.
Is it your job? Then blow the dust off your resume, call a few head hunters, assess your financial situation and start formulating an intelligent and advantageous exit strategy.
Your relationship? Work on it! Get to know yourself better, understand your relationship dynamic and how you communicate. Get professional help if you need it.
Your habits? Get a coach, enlist a friend for some accountability (or HIRE ME!!!)
There are definitely people and situations in our life that are very much worth the day-to-day stresses, dramas and ups and downs.
But others aren't.
And investing some time to make the distinction is time very well spent!
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There is a FREE Energy Audit Worksheet and a FREE Not-To-Do List waiting for you in the Members Resource Library I created for my email list members
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