Life has a way of taking over. We start running on auto-pilot especially when we are overwhelmed, in over our heads, or simply worn out from all that life is throwing our way. And this year, life is throwing more than ever our way.
After a while of trying to keep all the balls in the air, we stop paying attention and simply start reacting. Amidst all the chaos, we know something has to change, but we don’t know what or how.
Author Elaine St. James has said, “One of the reasons we keep our lives so complicated is so we won’t have to listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to do to make our lives work better.”
Choose one of these 10 essential edits to help make your life better. Pick the one you are curious about, or the one you think would make you smile or reduce the most amount of stress.
10 Essential Edits to Help You get your Life Back
Simplicity begins the moment you stop believing everything you think. Consider editing your thoughts and decluttering your mind. When your thoughts are building up and standing in the way of clarity, write them all down and let go of what’s not true or important.
In many cases, our closets are a reflection of our chaotic lives. Become more intentional with the choices hanging in your closet, and you’ll become inspired to do the same in other areas of your home and life. Consider a 3 month experiment to test the power of dressing with less.
Edit out the stress of debt, even if it takes years. If debt isn’t an issue but overspending is, try a purchase pause or trade shopping for self-care. When money isn’t the driving force behind every decision you make, you can begin to create a life around what you love instead of what you owe.
Spend more time with people who lift you up, support you, and love you for you, and less time with people who don’t. This doesn’t require confrontation, or even a conversation in most cases. A subtle shift on your part will be enough for you to experience the benefit of making edits in your relationships.
Much of the worry, stress, overreacting, gossiping, and complaining we add to our day is unnecessary drama. Identify one of these dramatic elements in your life and behavior and eliminate it. If you can’t remove drama, here’s how to remove yourself from it.
6. Digital Engagement
Edit your digital engagement by establishing boundaries for yourself. Our phones and other digital devices have become more and more distracting and seem to demand our attention. Really though, it’s our demand, our need for more connection, more work, more information, more in-the-know. Unfortunately with our constant connection, we end up with less focus and attention, less accomplished, and fewer opportunities for meaningful connection. Disconnect so you can better connect with what matters most to you.
Experiment and slowly edit out the digital distractions:
- Turn off all phone notifications. All of them.
- Unplug during certain hours of the day, and for 24 hours a week.
- Challenge yourself with no email before exercise or screen-free evenings.
If you don’t have time for what matters in your life, stop doing things that don’t. A jam-packed calendar might, on some level make you feel important or needed and wanted by others, but it doesn’t take long before over scheduling yourself becomes a bad habit. Break the yes habit because a jam-packed calendar usually results in burn-out and depletion. Edit your calendar by removing things that don’t matter, and by protecting the white space.
8. Heart & Soul
Why do we neglect our hearts and souls? Usually they don’t even make the list of things to take care of during the day. If you prioritize the nurturing of your heart and soul, by taking time to listen to what they want, by engaging in soul-soothing activities and by using them to guide your actions, you will get your life back. You’ll remember who you are, and begin to attract people and projects that are a perfect fit for the real you. As a result of tending to your heart and soul, you will treat yourself better, and therefore treat everyone around you better too.
9. To-do list
If your to-do list is a constant reminder that you can’t keep up, and you have too much to do, edit the way you do to-dos. I’ve tried no lists, and small lists, but now make weekly lists. I’m much more realistic about how much I can get done in a week.
No matter how you track your to-do’s, don’t let the list run your life. (see #8 for how to run your life)
If your mornings are chaos, your day will be chaos. I highly recommend a morning routine to edit out some of the craziness of your day. You can start one with just 5 or 10 minutes. I started mine while I was working full-time, driving my daughter to school, and not wanting to wake up before the sun. Today my morning routine gets more time, but it started small.
Even though I’ve made some big changes over the years, I’m always editing.
Many of the things that happen in our lives are beyond our control, but we can move through those things with more ease and resilience when we simplify and edit the things we can.