I know people who are considering small shifts, creating new habits and/or are on the brink of a big transformation. While some of this stuff happens organically, most of it requires a framework. Understanding where you are makes it much easier to go where you want to be.
If you want to change your diet, work, relationships or other areas of your life, get your notebook out because it’s time to make a list. Choosing what you want less, more or none of will help you create an environment for the change you desire.
As I’ve been making cuts, to make room for things that matter to me, I’ve noticed a pattern. What doesn’t stay the same falls into 3 categories; less, more, or none. It sounds obvious, but until you see it on paper, it’s hard to identify what needs to go where.
Making this list will help you clearly see what’s in your life that is not adding to, or even stealing:
The list will also help you see what’s missing.
Less, more or none
Make 3 lists on one piece of paper and immediately file things into three categories; less, more or none. Once you do that, keep the list close by for the next few days and observe what’s going on. Do you want to shift anything from one category to the next? Anything new to add that you didn’t think about on the first round? Use your list to create the environment necessary for transformation.
Following is my list. Like all of my experiments, I’ll be watching closely to see what’s working, what’s not, and what requires adjustments.
In this article Gretchen Rubin says, “You’re a moderator if you find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure–and strengthens your resolve or you get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something. You’re an abstainer if you have trouble stopping something once you’ve started and aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits.
I’m an abstainer because I’d much prefer to eliminate the temptation. I think a sleeve of thin mints is a single serving so I didn’t order Girl Scout cookies this year. I’m happier than I would have been if they were in the freezer calling my name all day. I’d rather have none than one.
on my none list:
- alcohol: I enjoy wine and fun cocktails, but I can’t overlook the fact that while alcohol makes me feel fun and relaxed, it also makes me feel tired and fuzzy. I want clarity right now and wine doesn’t contribute to that.
- snacking: I can easily graze my way from one meal to the next, but I feel better when I stick to eating during meals only. Then I don’t have to focus on what I should or shouldn’t eat between meals and I am more aware about what I actually eat over the course of a day.
- extra inboxes: It can be a struggle to keep up with email alone, so I’m putting a stop to the inflow from other directions like Facebook messages. Some people say you have to be everywhere to be successful, but I am beginning to see that you compromise connection when you are everywhere. Reacting isn’t connecting.
As an abstainer, I know that there are certain foods, like Girl Scout cookies, and other sweets that are pretty much off-limits, but I can manage less of some things.
on my less list:
- chips and salsa: This has been my go to salty indulgence lately. I can enjoy them occasionally, but not daily.
- social media: I did a 10 day social media fast earlier this year, and realized I can be more present in my work if I am less present on social media.
- stuff: I’ll admit, there isn’t much more to get rid of, but I’ll continue to pare down. There is nothing I’ve let go of that I wish I had kept.
The purpose of cutting out things that don’t contribute to health, wellness, love, purpose, good work and creativity (whatever that looks like to you) is to make time and space for everything that does. I’m not missing the irony here that I want more more, instead of more less right now, but that is part of the path I’m on. You can see the path I was on yesterday in the photo above.
on my more list:
- greens: Smoothies, salads, and soups will be the core of my daily diet and there will be greens at every meal.
- hikes and walks: Spring has sprung and I’m looking for 5 miles or more every day of my feet on the dirt or pavement.
- writing: There is always more writing.
- laughter: More funny things that aren’t on You Tube.
- meditating: It’s time to go deep.
- cuts: There are always more cuts.
- not doing: When I realized how challenging this was, I knew I needed more.
- gratitude. There is always room to be more grateful.
Your list will probably look different from mine, and my list in a month or so might look different from this. For today though, this is where I am.
Identifying what I want less, more or none of helps me commit to change and growth. It removes the guess-work, the “well maybe just one” and any confusion about what I want to do with my time and energy.