Most of my clients fall into one of two camps: 1) The first ask the question, How can I change myself? 2) The second ask, How can I change others?
Needless to say, those that fall into the first group tend to have a lot more success.
This may seem obvious. Those that are willing to take responsibility are more willing to change their behaviors, environment, and beliefs. But how does that willingness turn into action? In other words, how do they actually do it?
Let’s look at some examples of things I’ve recently said to clients and friends:
- “So you want to have more alone time, but you fill all your time doing things for others?
- “You want to save more money, but you’re spending it on things that don’t make you happy?”
- “You want to stop comparing yourself to others, but you just spent an hour social media stalking your ex’s new girlfriend?”
You don’t need to be a professional to see that most of us engage in self-sabotaging behaviors. We create negative circumstances and then act surprised when things play out according to our actions.
Most people don’t see their actions as a cause and effect. They see it as “I want more alone time AND I’m doing things for others,” “I want to save money AND I’m spending it on things that aren’t satisfying." Being able to see the “but” between these thoughts is the key to the simple math of happiness ... also known as "addition by subtraction." That is, you have to let go of certain things to allow space for others.
Here’s the simple truth we like to ignore: A crowded life doesn’t create a fulfilling life. We need to stop glorifying busyness. Most of us are busy with things that either:
- Don’t make us happy
- Prevent us from doing things that will make us happy
And it’s not just the things we do. It’s also our relationships and our physical space. Are your friends draining? Is your bedroom floor so covered in clothes that you can’t remember the color of your rug?
Well, if you want to create space for your dreams, goals and passions to come true, you need to:
- Get honest, proactive, and selective about how you spend your time. Take a hard look at how you spend your time and decide, ‘How do I want to live? What do I want in my life?’”
- Be willing to address the things that prevent you from getting there. “Is how I’m spending my time aligned with my values?”
- Clear out some space for the magic to happen!
Here’s my challenge to you: Create a "To NOT Do List."
- Grab a sheet of paper. In Column 1, write out all the things you that you’d like to add more of.
- In Column 2 write out the activities you currently spend time on.
- Look at where you’ve been saying “AND” instead of “BUT,” by drawing lines between each column where conflict might exist. Some items may intersect with multiple items in the other column. For example, spending excessive time on Netflix may impact your sleep, the time you spend reading, and your ability to connect with more like-minded people.
- Look at what changes can be made. What can you scale back on from Column 2? How can you add more of Column 1? What are the creative compromises you can make?
And don’t worry! You don’t have to change things drastically. Not everything needs to be cut. You can find small hacks to create space:
- Want more time to read, but you spend 45 min. driving to work? Take the train and read or try books on tape.
- Want time in nature, but you’re constantly out running errands? Use Amazon prime.
Finding the “BUT” hidden in your “AND” will help you to master the art of addition by subtraction. From there, you can schedule your priorities instead of prioritizing your schedule, wondering how life passed you by.
And when in doubt: Prioritize what you truly want. Cut out what you don’t. Find creative compromises.
Want to learn the keys to taking action? Click here to learn how to Triage Your To Do List, Conquer Fear & Take Action, and Create More Space for What You Love!
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