The new year is a fantastic time to clear out unwanted things from our lives.
This can be physical space (our over-stuffed cupboards and drawers), habits that no longer serve us, commitments and obligations, and ways that we see ourselves and others.
I have taken this time to clear out my workspace for the new year and new venture. After months of struggling with files, notebooks, bills and assorted “stuff” on my desk, I can now see clearly what I have in front of me: what I have, what I need to do and what makes me happy.
I used three boxes – stuff to keep, stuff to chuck and stuff to consider later. Because that’s the truth. I am neither a natural hoarder or natural minimalist. I sit somewhere in between and so I need a box for ‘’maybe later”. That gives me the safety net of knowing I can go back to something I may have needed (although mostly I don’t and eventually I give or throw it away).
The same can be said for clearing out unwanted habits and obligations. You may not know for sure that an old habit – say biting your nails – was completely unwanted. Maybe it helped to stop you doing something else that would be even more destructive, maybe it allowed you to sit with uncomfortable thoughts or conversations, maybe it signalled to you that something was bothering you and therefore you should do something about that.
We are adaptive creatures and our habits that may seem ‘bad’ or counterproductive had origins somewhere.
So if you are not ready to chuck that habit, spend some time observing it. You don’t need to DO anything, just observe when you do it, what was going on when you did it, and what you thought and felt.
Then consider is this something to keep, chuck or put away (knowing you can come back to it later). If the later that’s fine. Maybe you can experiment with stopping your habit or trying something new. See how it feels. Keep observing. Be patient and kind with yourself.
And in a few months’ time you may be ready to move on.
Let us know how you tackle the great clear outs in your life – be it physical, mental or spiritual. What worked, what didn’t and what would you do again?