CLEAR THE CLUTTER - Body Mind LifestyleJan 13, 2024
With the holidays officially wrapped up for another year, many of us are likely feeling the urge to box up and put away the last of the decorations, unplug those outdoor lights (let's face it, nobody is removing them in this deep freeze!) and generally de-clutter for a fresh start to the year.
Just because that urge is there however, doesn't mean it's going to get done anytime soon. My husband once worked with someone who left their Christmas tree up and decorated year round, covered with a sheet in the off season, so they didn't have to get it out or box it up each December. An extreme example of letting clutter collect, but you get the point.
There are two types of clutter, physical and mental. Physical clutter is the obvious stuff you can see at home, in your office office or workspace, etc., as well as what you can feel in your body. Things like low energy, poor digestion, inflammation, bloat are all cluttering up your insides.
Mental clutter is all the self talk that comes with the physical clutter. How many times have you said “I know what to do but I'm just not doing it.”, and that triggers the negative voices to start up in your head?
I do a weekly coaching call every Wednesday and this past week we tackled how to clear the clutter, physically and mentally, in order to move into 2024 energized and set up to thrive. Here's the lesson we did.
Let's start with physical clutter. Grab a notebook and pen and write “physical - environment” at the top. Think of the space around you, where you spend the most time each day and where the clutter is that you've been meaning to get to. It might not be out in the open, it might be squirreled away in a closet, garage, drawers or a room you avoid like the plague because it triggers such stress just looking at it. Write them down on the list.
Now make a second heading, “physical – body” and give yourself a little once over. Now you've heard me say before I don't advocate making resolutions as they lead to diets which leads to unhealthy relationships with food and your body. That being said, that doesn't mean you shouldn't take care of the things that aren't serving your health goals. Maybe you're not getting enough sleep, or drinking enough water. Maybe you're feeling bloated and puffy after the holidays. Maybe you've had some red flags when it comes to health. Whatever they are, write them down.
Ok, now let's move on to the mind and all the mental clutter taking up space in your brain. Add the last heading, “mental”, to your page. What are you telling yourself when you know what to do but aren't doing it? “It's ok you're busy, it can wait another month.” “You can't do it by yourself, that's never going to work” “Don't waste your time you're going to fail just like last time you tried” “This is what happens when you get older, just accept it.” Whatever it is that comes to mind whenever you start to feel motivated to try and tackle something.
FYI, it's good to be able to visualize tasks because often times the negative self talk, those voices that come in, the mental clutter often makes it seem like there are way more tasks/items and they're far more difficult to accomplish than they really are. Think, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You're going to break yours down into bite-sized pieces.
From both parts of your “physical” list, go ahead and highlight, star or mark in some way, the top three from each that you would benefit you most to complete. And now from those groups of three, choose one from each that you feel you can get started on in the next 24-48 hours and circle them. Now you have just those two things on your clutter-clearing list. Must less overwhelming and more doable.
From your “mental” list, circle the phrase that stops you in your tracks and often brings with it feelings of guilt, depression, failure, etc., all things that keep you from being productive, achieving your goals and feeling that sense of accomplishment we all need to thrive.
Whatever phrase you circled you're now going to rewrite it in the positive. For example, “Don't waste your time, you're going to fail again” becomes “Health is never a waste of time. I will focus on small steps each day so I can be consistent and reach my goals”. Say it out loud. Write it down and post it where you will see it first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Make it a screen saver on your phone. Have it available so that when the clutter tries to creep back in – and it will – you have a rebuttal ready.
Talk to positively to yourself, read, watch and listen to things that encourage, break down tasks into small, bite-sized pieces, and give yourself grace. You'll find yourself naturally shift to doing and accomplishing more of the things you know you should be.