Make a Fresh Start – Day 11

Seana crossing her fingers is an "x" pattern, as if to say "no"

Today begins another week, and another chance to “Make A Fresh Start.” Today I am continuing to share ideas for tweaking your lifestyle.

When we think of change, we typically envision new activities that we want to add to regime. These can be exciting, and if we carry through, can produce terrific results.

Equally important, however, is removing activities, commitments, and responsibilities from our plate that are keeping us from focusing our time and energy where we most desire. Just as we need to declutter our physical belongings, it is also important to declutter our time commitments. Momentum and habit often keep us involved in things that no longer serve us or our goals.

Today’s thought is to ask yourself, “What is one activity/responsibility that I don’t enjoy, requires valuable time, or isn’t necessary?” It might be small, but it could also be significant. If you can identify an activity you wish to shed, begin by listing the steps you would need to take in order to withdraw from the situation. In some cases, it might be as simple as making a phone call. Other times, it might require a period of weeks or months to transition the responsibility to someone else.

We may think we can’t get out of a situation, and there are times when this is true. For instance, you may be the primary caregiver for an ailing relative. If this is your reality, Nonetheless, brainstorm options for at least lightening the burden. Perhaps you can hire someone to give you a break once a week, or maybe you can reach out to a group, friends, and/or family to offload some of your daily pressures.

Life is too short to spend our valuable time locked into pursuits that hinder us from pursuing our true passions and sharing our gifts.

Are you spending your time doing things that you would rather not? Are you willing to consider initiating steps to withdraw?

22 thoughts on “Make a Fresh Start – Day 11”

    1. Making that discovery can be kind of shocking I think. We believe our participation is necessary when it often is not. Momentum carries us, rather than intentionality. It’s worth at least considering what you might be able to change to improve your life, and maybe even free up space for someone else to move into a role.

  1. I just recently did this when I took the time off at Christmas-time and I realized that I am not a fan of being online much on the weekends when I want to spend more time with my family and just relaxing. So, I have cut out spending time online as much as possible now on Saturdays and Sundays. But I do need to think more for everyday now. So, thanks for that gentle reminder here.

    1. Sometimes it is these moments of “stepping away” that bring revelation. I’m glad you are getting more screen-free time on the weekends to be with your family. The computer – and readers – will always be there, so it is important to make choices that serve you, your desires and your goals. Have a great week Janine!

  2. When my father was sick, I would take care of him during the week because I worked from home most of the time at that point. And, then, on weekends, my brother and his wife would take care of him. While it was a stressful time, I found that this assistance each week helped me stay focused on what needed to be done. It also helped me focus on myself during the weekends, and my father got the attention he needed.

    The first step to making a fresh start is to have the time to think about other options. When you are under enormous amounts of stress, it is hard to stop and say, “what can I do to help me more?” The adrenaline is heightened, and you are on autopilot. However, when there is some downtime, making a note to revisit what you can do differently to ease your burden will help you in the long run.

    1. Sounds like a stressful time, Sabrina. You honored your father and family greatly! I completely agree with how we “just keep going” when in the midst of a crisis or challenging time. It is so worthwhile to stop and think what we can remove from our plate when we have a few minutes to think. Often, we can turn a task over to someone else who may be more excited, have more energy, bring new ideas, and the like. We don’t have to be the only one doing things, and sometimes, walking away can be better for everyone involved. We all need downtime to refresh and restore ourselves.

  3. Seana- It is essential to ask questions like those you posted here about the commitments we have. So often, we struggle with saying “no” when asked to do something. We say “yes” before weighing it with the other commitments we have. And when that happens, we end up with calendar clutter, being overcommitted, resentful, and stressed. You made an important point that just because you might find yourself in this “too much” situation, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it. I love the suggestions you shared for asking the questions and then shifting your responsibilities. Also, your reminder that you have a choice is vital.

    1. Isn’t it funny how we forget that we do have choices, even with commitments that are already on our calendar? Often it doesn’t occur to us to design an exit strategy until someone else suggests it. Items need to be circulated off the calendar, as well as out of our drawers and closets:)

    1. Great timing! You mention another great way to be mindful about our commitments. Offer what we can, perhaps a one or two time contribution, as opposed to an ongoing commitment. Wonderful option:)

  4. I think about this often. I’ve recently limited unnecessary phone calls and correspondence during the day, so I can work. I have more time in the evenings to relax and chat.
    There are times we have to do some things that we just don’t want to but for the long-haul, it’s important to be cognizant of how we spend our time, and what we enjoy doing.

    1. I love this comment because it offers yet another option. Perhaps we don’t need to eliminate things, but simply move things around. Maybe we want to be more focused on work during the day so we can give ourselves permission to “end the workday” and relax with friends and family in the evening. Perfect example!

  5. I always love your tips! This one is particularly meaningful. We often think of decluttering our spaces but not our lives – both are important for feeling in control and limiting stress.

  6. The almost year of COVID sheltering at home has taught me that I can slow down and say no to obligations and still be OK. I can stop trying to be productive every minute of the day. It’s making me rethink my obligations. Thanks.

    1. Me too, Janet. Everything suddenly became “up for reevaluation.” It has been an interesting year. Difficult in so many ways, but with a few silver linings like this one.

  7. Setting boundaries and saying no has always been difficult for me. It’s a large part of why I started my own business. I’ve always valued hard work and I’ve often been taken advantage of for that. I’m still working on the art of no in my business. Great reminders!!!

    1. I think most entrepreneurs are the same, Melanie. We all are willing to work hard and take on challenges. Still, sometimes we accumulate responsibilities that are better off passed on to someone else. This may actually free us for a new and exciting opportunity on the horizon!

  8. Food for thought, Seana and I like how you framed this as a choice – in most situations we csn usually find another approach if we want to. It’s easy to get stuck in feeling like we have no options but there’s usually some change we can make to free things up.
    Lucy Kelly recently posted…Paperwork Challenge Q & AsMy Profile

    1. I love this comment, Lucy. We have more power to make a change than we often realize. It is empowering to consider how we might choose to redirect our course, even if only in a small way!

  9. You mentioned making phone calls. I don’t like doing that but is often necessary. I also don’t like writing notes and letters but I do it when necessary. Otherwise I pretty much don’t mind the things I do no matter how mundane. I find the best thing to do when I have to do something I don’t like is to do it as soon as possible and get it off my mind.

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