Needing to Focus

As I review the first couple weeks of my Level 10 Life, I’m noticing some disturbing trends. It seems that certain habits aren’t getting done at all and others are done every day. Writing this blog is an exercise designed to improve the career segment of life and it has been going well. I’m enjoying the writing process and hopefully you’re enjoying being along on this journey with me. Reading 30 minutes every day is designed to improve my personal development sector and something I generally don’t have a problem accomplishing. But there are other categories, especially 3 of them, where I’ve given myself the simplest habits and still can’t seem to accomplish them.

In the family and friends category, I find myself avoiding my “call or meet a friend once a week” habit despite it’s apparent simplicity. Only, it isn’t simple. You see, as I reflect on why I’m not making those calls, I’m realizing that many of my friends are in very negative places right now and I’m struggling to not feel drained. I am usually the one who reaches out and then I feel emotionally drained after the conversation from being supportive of all the stuff they’re going through and never getting reciprocal support for the things I’m struggling with. While I do want to continue to be there for those friends, I’m considering an amendment to the SMART goal. I’m thinking my goal needs to be to find additional friends who can be mutually supportive to balance out my time with the other friends. On the surface, this feels selfish, but as I look closer, I think it’s probably better for all of us. No one deserves to have a friend who is resentful of the time they give you, and I’ve become that; I’ve become resentful of one-sided relationships that take away all of my energy. In order to be a better friend, I need to stop relying on those relationships for something they aren’t giving and expecting to get something our of them that I’m not. I am not really sire if changing goals is “technically” allowed, but I think this is a good call.

Which brings us to the Health and Fitness category. I’m struggling with 2 of the 3 goals in this category and doing pretty well at the third. The problem is, that this category is one I feel really needs a lot of work right now. I quit smoking 5 years ago, when I started school, and have doubled in size since then. I get out of breath easily, ache all over, and feel like if my body & health don’t get the attention, I might not live long enough to accomplish the things on my bucket list. I’m just now starting to have grandchildren and I want to be around, and actively able, to participate in their lives for quite some time. So for the remainder of this week, I’ll be heavily focused on the 3 SMART goals for that category. I will be getting on the treadmill for at least 10 minutes, 5 days each week. I will be getting to sleep (or at least laying in bed in the quiet dark trying to sleep) by midnight each night. I will continue to restrict my calorie window to no more than 10 hours. The 10-hour calorie window has been going well, but neither of the other 2 have happened a single time in the last 3 weeks and that just cannot go on. For the next couple weeks, these will be my priority and I will “Eat the Frog” by trying to accomplish the treadmill first thing in the morning. We’ll see how it goes.

The third area I’m currently struggling with is the Physical Environment category. This was going quite well initially. You might remember reading about emptying out my storage unit and letting most of it go. The only problem is, I brought home some of the more valuable and unique items with the intention of selling them and they are now cluttering my daily personal space. I need to spend a day photographing and posting these items for sale so they can move on to new homes where they will be useful or bring their new owners joy. Their presence (this overwhelming clutter) has also alerted me to the added items I have laying around the house that are not useful, or beautiful and don’t bring me joy. So after everything is photographed and posted for sale, I need to go through every corner of the house again and purge the clutter. I think once the physical clutter is gone, I will feel much happier in my physical space and hopefully be able to focus better on the other habits I need to work on.

So those are my 3 struggles and how I plan to tackle them in the next few weeks. I hope you will stick around to hold me accountable here and maybe find a couple things you need to work on as well. If you are looking for someone to be accountable to, feel free to share in the comments and I’ll check in periodically to see how you are coming along. I hope we can all help one another get closer to lives we want and deserve!

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Learning to Let it All Go.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been working this month on emptying a storage unit. This might not seem like a daunting task to those of you have a small unit somewhere, however, mine was the size of a semi-truck trailer and packed wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. I’ve had it since we moved here from another state, 7 years ago. There was no room in my then-boyfriend’s house to bring all of the furnishings of another house in. So, the kids and I chose the items that were most important at the time and we boxed up the rest and stuffed it into a giant locker to deal with later.

Now is later and we have had to go through each and every one of those boxes and choose how to deal with all of the furniture, most of which I still don’t want. It’s been quite the process. At least 80% of the unit consisted of items we either threw away, burned, or drove directly to the nearest Goodwill. I have a small pile of several Rubbermaid totes in the corner of the dining room now that contain items I need to get on eBay. The kids have their memory books from elementary school, Irreplaceable photos and other precious mementos. I have my great-grandmother’s cedar-lined chest.

However, most of the items we thought we “needed” 7 years ago, were completely outdated to fit into our current life. One of my daughters was still a student when we moved and is now married and a mother of two adorable boys. Her needs and even wants are drastically different than they were before. The same was true for all of us. At the time of the move, I was a size 10. Now, after quitting smoking and sitting an architecture drafting desk 12-15 hours a day for 5 years, I am somewhere around a size 20. It’s definitely going to be a while before I’m back in that size 10 and the clothes are out of style and/or not appropriate professional attire anyway. There were at least 15 boxes of stuffed animals. When we moved, my kids were… well, still kids; now they’re all young adults and have moved beyond their old toys. There just wasn’t much left for us in the unit.

It was an important lesson for me. By locking the things of our life (things we thought were meaningful enough to carefully box up then pay someone to move and store) up for 7 years, most of them weren’t important of even useful anymore. We develop such an attachment to things in our life. We worry about them, dust them, display them, move them around, insure them, and then constantly worry about them. Once they’re tucked into the drawers and corners of our life, we stop noticing the drain that caring for them has on our life. It’s easy to forget that there’s a drawer somewhere full of things you haven’t used in years, but might need someday. These things seem harmless, out of sight and out of mind, but they weigh us down, much the same way as my storage unit was weighing me down. when I saw it finally empty, I didn’t feel sad, I felt relieved that it was finally done. But I’m not stopping there. I’m starting the process of doing the same thing to every drawer and corner of the house. I’ve gotten through a few already.

I’ve set a goal in my Level 10 life plan (Physical Environment sector) to go through 5 drawer or cabinets a week and eliminate everything that isn’t useful, or beautiful or doesn’t bring me joy. I may end up getting rid of 80% of my clothes during this process, because many things I once loved don’t fit right now or don’t make me feel beautiful. I once had the mentality that if I loved it once, I would love it again someday. This process I went through today clearly illustrated that that is not likely to be the case and now I feel better about letting it all go to make room for the things that are meant to be in my life now. I’m not suggesting the mementos need to go, I’m definitely keeping my great-grandma’s chest; but I’m feeling better about letting go of what is no longer meant for me.

I will now have room, and a little extra cash, (that storage unit was expensive every month)in my life for all the things I intend to bring into it. I will no longer hold onto the things that have come to me by default, simply because they were helpful or useful at the time I acquired them. Freeing myself up for the future I’m designing feels amazing and I hope some of you will join me in finally getting rid of all the excess draining your life’s energy.

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