You are faced with endless decisions to make each day. You are blessed with the power of choice and often cursed with too many options. Just think about a trip to the grocery store without a list. You could be lost in the cereal aisle for hours.
You can have everything you want and more, and if you don’t have the money for it, someone will lend it to you. Excessive options don’t just apply to stuff, but also to how we spend our time, what we eat, where we go, how we go there and who goes with us.
I understand that there are places and people without choice, and we are lucky to have it, but know that self-imposed limitation actually expands quality of life.
The purpose of limits is not deprivation or suffering, but a way to decide what you really need, what you really want, and how you want to live your life. When you free up your space and time, you can …
- love more deeply
- discover what is most important
- learn something new
- visit new places
- spend less
- save more
Self imposed limits invite you to examine how you are living today. With the following suggestions, you can see if more really is better, or if by having fewer choices, you feel more settled and focused. The latter has certainly been my experience.
The fine art of limitation is about finding what works best for you. Don’t confuse setting limits with controlling the world. This isn’t an exercise in being obsessive, succeeding or failing. It’s simply an observation and a chance to purposefully redirect your attention.
How to impose limits
There is a saying that goes something like, “I can only please one person a day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good either.” It’s hard to say no, but your honesty will be appreciated. If you say “no thank you”, you are honest and human and protecting your time. If you say yes and fall short, you are unreliable. You want to please everyone, but start by prioritizing who you want to please first. You can learn more about why you should say no in this video interview.
Start with your closet and commit to dress with 33 items for 3 months. That includes clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. When you are comfortable with that, Try the The 100 Thing Challenge. Test your boundaries and dare to be uncomfortable. There are answers in that discomfort. Remember that these experiments are temporary. You can gather information to help you live your best life.
Quit something you love. Fasting generally applies to food, but you can fast from anything, food or otherwise. If you drink coffee everyday, take a week-long coffee fast. If you check your email first thing in the morning, declare an email fast. Look for the excess in your life and impose a fast.