With the new year just hours away, most of us are pretty much scrambling to figure out what goals to set as we transition into 2019. I've put together 7 things that I'll be cleansing from my life so that I can get into the new year feeling lighter and more effective for the new year ahead:
1. Keeping up with the Joneses
Let's be honest. We've all been there; whether we care to admit it or not. But let's get to the heart of the matter; who are the Joneses and why are we trying to keep up with them? As it turns out, the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses" comes from a cartoon strip of that name that launched in 1913 and ran for 26 years. In the strip, creator "Pop" Momand poked fun at our need to do things in order to impress other people. I'd love to say that need died when the last episode of that comic strip ran, but alas, it seems to have only gotten worse. It seems like we are always striving for something. To be bigger, better than who we are. We're never content with what we have. But why? Where did this sense of not being enough come from? Brene Brown (who's also on my list of favourite authors in 2018) puts it best when she says, "I see the cultural messaging everywhere that says that an ordinary life is a meaningless life." (Daring Greatly, p. 23). She calls this the "never enough" problem and attributes it, for most of us, to a singular early childhood event that perpetuated our need to be a people-pleaser -- at least, until someone tells us we can stop. So how do we stop? I'm working on not buying into the message that I'm not good enough. That things will "improve" who I am. Because ultimately, no product is going to make me a "better" version of me. Only I can do that; by staying in my lane and getting to the finish line in my own time.
2. Depending on my gadgets for entertainment
Very few of us know how to truly embrace the aspect of the unknown. We become very antsy in the quiet spaces of our minds. We have so much stimulation on a daily basis; and when that stimulation is removed, music, T.V, social media, etc we panic. I'm working on managing this; because the results, if unmanaged, can have serious effects on our daily lives. If you're still not convinced, take a look at Jim Kwik's interview on how we give away our power and sovereignty by checking our phones first thing in the morning; which leads me to my next point...
3. Time wasting websites
As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes a day, up from 126 minutes daily minutes in the previous year*. If I'm being completely honest; there's so many other things I could be doing with that time. I've downloaded an easy to use online Pomodoro technique timer called Tomato Timer which has helped me save myself from the problem. When you set it, it blocks you from all those sites like Instagram, Reddit, Twitter or whatever is eating up your time. So far so good!
4. Entertaining mediocre relationships
Ever signed up to a service for a one month trial and forgotten to cancel the subscription? I've signed up to a couple of relationships like that in the past; family, friends and otherwise in which I'm sinking a lot of my time, energy and effort and not getting much back. I think it's time I canceled my subscription. I've started out by combing through my messages and looking at relationships where I've sent 10 messages for every 1 they've responded to. Or where I'm the one who's always initiating contact or suggesting outings together. I'm working on keeping my circle tight; with little room for air. Energy is very important.
'Anything that feels forced or harder than it should be or causes you pain and distress is not meant for you.' Raina Naim
5. Not being ok with 'not knowing' things
More and more, I'm learning to be ok with not knowing things; and it's very liberating. One of the most nefarious elements of social media platforms, especially ones like Twitter, is how much it encourages us to form hard opinions on things we don't know or even care that much about. When everyone is sharing 'their take' on any given news story or pop culture event, it can feel like you're missing out on a huge conversation by not jumping in. This behaviour is so established that its even a phenomenon within journalism and the term 'hot take' even has its own entry on Wikipedia.
I'm choosing to tune out that social media pressure to weigh in on everything on no matter how ill informed I am. In this time when everyone seems to be shouting with less and less information, there's something powerful about choosing to be honest when I really don't know enough about something to form an opinion. I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of really informing myself before jumping into a conversation or even deciding something is out of my expertise altogether. This is also a great way to avoid saying something I may end up regretting.
6. Things I'm keeping in my closet 'just in case'
I feel like I regularly go through my wardrobe to purge the things that I'm not really getting much use out of or the ones that never fit me anymore. But somehow, I'm always left over with way more stuff than I should have 'just in case'. The simple reason is I attach a lot of sentimental value to these items and assume that at some later date, I will eventually wear them; but I never wear them. From here on, when cleaning out my closet, I'll take it to the next level and get rid of items I've been keeping in my closet 'just in case' so that I can only keep the ones I need and want.
7. Self defeating emails
For women, the tendency to be over apologetic, self deprecating or way too accomodating especially on email is overwhelming. We are conditioned to justify ourselves and pepper our communication with way too many exclamation points, emojis so we don't seem impolite. We even apologetically ask for things that we already should have gotten. 'Sorry, just following up here' probably sounds familiar, right? I think it's important that we catch ourselves in these gratuitous 'sorry's' , justifications or overused exclamation points. I'm challenging myself to write more clear and unapologetic emails (of course, still within the reason of politeness) so that I can improve the way I communicate with my colleagues.
Are there things you're leaving in 2018 as you gear up for the new year? Share your thoughts and any additions in the comment section below :)
Love and Light,