It’s the end of a year and of a decade. Instead of New Year’s resolutions for 2020 - things you tell yourself you will do next year - I’d like to ask you to think instead about what you can let go of. Things that are no longer serving you. Things that you just don’t need in your life anymore. Things that are cluttering your daily routine and your thoughts. This can be spiritual, emotional, physical… anything and everything!
Day 1 of Letting Go:
Let’s start with something tangible, something you can touch and hold. Maybe it’s a shirt hanging in your closet you haven’t worn in a year. Maybe a book on a shelf that you know you will never re-read. Some gadget you bought for your kitchen that’s been sitting in a cupboard and you’ve never taken it out of the box. Clutter in a desk drawer.
Today I ask you to find one thing in your home that is doing nothing more than taking up space, and donate it, recycle it, throw it away. When you do this, think of how getting rid of unneeded things can simplify your life and unclutter your home and your mind. How not having un-needed things all around you can bring a sense of openness and peace. I’m sure you can find at least one item to set free.
Day 2 of Letting Go:
Today I ask you to let go of a HABIT.
Take some time to really observe yourself to find something that you didn’t notice before. Maybe biting your fingernails. Maybe getting angry at people when you’re driving (that would definitely be me). Munching late in the evening without realizing or thinking about it. Or something really big like smoking!
Consciously decide to let go of that habit every time you notice yourself moving toward it today. Stop and think… “Does this habit make me a better person? Does it serve me in a positive way?” Then at the end of the day check in with yourself and celebrate the times you stopped yourself from your bad habit. Give yourself a pat on the back or ask someone to give you a big hug. For the times that you did slip into the habit, tell yourself in a positive way that you can try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
Day 3 of Letting Go:
Let go of WORRY today.
Think of one thing that you tend to worry about. Then realize that worrying actually takes up a lot of energy! There’s nothing productive about it, and it won’t change the outcome of a situation. Worrying won’t change the thing you’re focused on, but it will drain your energy.
If you’re worried about a specific situation, instead of fussing about it, consciously choose to shift your energy in a more positive direction and think about how you can turn that situation into something better. Try to change your mindset and perspective to something positive. Then check in with yourself and see how it feels to let go of worry and not let it steal your positivity!
Day 4 of Letting Go:
Let go of BODY IMAGE today.
Advertising tries to tell us that we should all look perfect… all the time. WRONG! We’re all different, and we’re all human, and thank goodness for that!! Try to turn negative thoughts about your body into something positive.
Example: I don’t particularly like my belly. But I know that it doesn’t “look” perfect because of the fact that I created 2 amazing people at the same time when I had twins! Yes my belly is stretched out and never got back to what it was before. When I look at myself and think “Ugh, yuck!” I turn it around in my mind and instead think of my 2 amazing daughters, and realize that I would much rather have the honor of being their mother than have a nice flat belly. Every. Single. Day.
What negative thought about your body will you let go of today and instead choose to find something positive about?
Day 5 of Letting Go:
Let go of SAYING YES to every single thing.
I’d like to introduce you to 2 of my favorite letters of the alphabet: N and O. Combine them. Practice saying them out loud… NO. To get comfortable with this word you need to take a hard look at setting boundaries for yourself, and that can be uncomfortable sometimes. It means you need to stop being a people-pleaser and instead focus on your own needs.
I see so many people running around frantic every single day because they have committed to doing too many things, and end up doing most of them half-assed because they have so much on their plate. Instead of committing to a dozen different activities, events, newsletters, whatever, how about saying yes to just 1 or 2 of those, and doing those 2 things completely, beautifully, wonderfully. Say it again with me… NO. It’s ok to say it and mean it.
For today, take a look at all the commitments you’ve made, things you’ve said yes to, and let go of the ones that are taking up too much of your time, attention, and energy. Pick just 1 or 2 that make you feel really, really good about yourself and let go of all the other commitments. It’s OK to set boundaries, and learning how to say NO is one of the best ways to do that. Try it.
Day 6 of Letting Go:
Let go of PROCRASTINATION.
Sometimes it’s easier to just say, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” But then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next and the next… Yes, we have a finite amount of time in every day, and we’re not superheroes, so there will always be things that don’t get done every day. We have to prioritize what gets done and what has to wait (see Day 5 Of Letting Go – Say NO to overcommitting!!)
Have you ever finished all the tasks on a To-Do list and crossed everything off? Do you remember how good that felt? I bet you slept better too, not having all of those unfinished things bouncing around in your head. Procrastination makes you feel like you’re always trying to catch up and you never actually finish the race, and it takes up a lot of energy.
Some suggestions for helping with procrastination:
1. Write a list. Write things down so you can have the satisfaction of crossing things off.
2. Set your phone down. Seriously - just put it in a drawer out of sight for a while every day while you tackle your to-do list.
3. Prioritize what must be done today. Then just do it and notice how good it feels to cross things off your list J
4. Instead of multitasking, do one thing at a time from start to finish.
5. Break things down into smaller pieces.
6. Think of a reward for getting the big things done every day. Maybe a hot bath, or curling up on the couch with a cuppa hot tea and a good book at the end of the day.
Day 7 of Letting Go:
Today I ask you to let go of GRUDGES.
Like other emotional baggage we tend to hold onto, holding onto a grudge takes up a huge amount of emotional energy. Keeping that anger and resentment in your mind will keep your thoughts in a negative pattern that doesn’t serve you in a healthy way.
This usually has to do with holding on to something from the past that is best let go of: Maybe someone broke your trust, didn’t follow through on an important commitment, criticized you, or has a different viewpoint than you do on a sensitive subject.
You can’t change what has happened in the past, but you CAN choose how you react to it now and in the future. Consciously choose to let go of judgement and grudges. Make space in your mind for positive thoughts instead of the negativity of holding onto a grudge. Let it go…..
Day 8 of Letting Go:
I’m going to be bold and just come out and say it… LET GO of your cell phone!!
Not permanently, but at least for a little while every day. We’ve all seen it, sitting in a restaurant and everyone at a table is staring at their phone instead of having real face-to-face human interactions.
When I’m at a yoga class or teaching a yoga class, it’s an hour or more of completely cell-phone-free time, and it’s amazing!! Nobody is checking texts or emails, or on social media. In a yoga class everyone is **completely present** in the current moment, and it’s a beautiful thing!
People think I’m crazy, but when I hike or backpack, my goal is to get somewhere that is out of cell phone range. There’s something incredibly liberating about not being able to check email for a little while. It forces you to, again, be completely present in the current moment and pay attention to what’s going on around you, instead of on a little screen.
As a society we’ve become so completely reliant on technology that sometimes we’ve forgotten how to be human. Try this… for an hour a day, turn off your cell phone and put it in a drawer, and then walk away. Work out, or clean your house, or go for a walk, or sit down and have a cuppa tea with a friend and chat – without your cell phone. LET GO of that ridiculous bond that we have to a little metal and plastic device that has completely changed the way we interact with other people. See how good it feels :)
Day 9 of Letting Go:
Today, consciously LET GO of taking care of everyone but yourself.
Self-care is not selfish! It’s vitally important, and something many people don’t realize. If you’re any kind of caregiver, whether a parent or as part of your job or helping with elderly parents, you MUST take time to take care of yourself as well. Taking care of YOU means that you then have energy and the right mindset to help take care of others.
This self-care is different for everyone. Maybe it’s allowing yourself to indulge in a hot bath every night, or spending time on your yoga mat, or going for a walk and listening to music, or baking something you’ve always wanted to try but never thought you had the time.
This is about mindset – YOU are important, and you cannot constantly give to others without taking care of yourself as well. Get into the mindset that you are important and valuable and worth taking care of. Consciously tell yourself that you deserve to take time to do something you love, something that will recharge your batteries and allow you to take care of your body and mind and soul. You are worth it.
Day 10 of Letting Go:
I’m going to ask you to LET GO of COMPARING yourself to others. We are all incredibly unique and wonderful people – short, tall, thin, not thin, loud, quiet, mellow, bouncy, insert any one of a thousand adjectives here.
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it… it just blooms.” - Zen Shin
Instead of wasting time and energy wishing you were like someone else, think of how amazing it would be to put that energy into celebrating who you are, just the way you are, and accepting that. If you’d like to work on something about yourself, certainly aim toward those goals, but do it because you want to it for YOU, not to be like someone else.
Bloom like the flowers, as your own beautiful self!!!