Most people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions by now. This is not because most people are massive failures! It’s just that making big changes on the outside requires inner work and a life set up to support them, not just the white-knuckling willpower junk that we’re all taught to believe is the key to making anything happen. People who accomplish goals that way are cranky! We don’t want to be cranky.
I think on some level, we all know that psychological shifts are necessary to quit our bad habits, that maybe they’re just symptoms of something that needs to be healed on the inside. But ‘healing on the inside’ can sound so daunting and unapproachable! I’m here to tell you, thankfully, this process is not all sobbing on a couch about your childhood, there are simple and direct actions you can take today to create the shifts you’re looking for (though I highly recommend psychotherapy if it’s an option for you and you’re interested; I love therapy and will probably be in and out of it until I die, at which point I will seek out other spirits on the other side to listen to me talk about my feelings).
Stuck energy can be a major block to accomplishing your goals, and a sneaky one too. Without regularly keeping the energy in your life a-moving, you’ll slowly find yourself sucked dry and unmotivated to take action to meet your goals without really knowing why. Have you ever noticed how the moment you stop obsessing over a guy, he calls you? Years ago, after job searching for MONTHS, I finally got an offer not two hours after I broke up with an ex-boyfriend. Those are energy shifts at work, my friends, and they can alter life situations dramatically and magically.
The great thing is that there are so many ways to clear stuck energy that are EASY! Here are a few simple ways you can clear out the garbage and ride that energy train!
Your email inbox
If you’re like most of us, you have a buttload of clarity suckers making a holy wreck of your inbox. It’s so easy to let that happen, isn’t it? Every stinking time you buy something online you wind up on some list or other! People give away really cool stuff for joining their mailing lists! There’s that blogger you signed up for updates from forgetting that you never read blogs in your email! You know how it goes.
The problem is, the action of sorting through all the unnecessary e-clutter takes up brain and energy real estate. Even if you handle your email on autopilot, your time and thoughts are precious! That two seconds it took you to read about and delete a sale from the manufacturer of your coffee machine is two seconds SAVED next week if you just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. More than just a time-saving technique, the emotions that these small actions cause in you are a waste – especially if they annoy you or make you feel bad about yourself.
So delete or archive all that crap! Then unsubscribe from everything that doesn’t serve your highest good, including this blog if it goes unread for more than a day or gets deleted immediately without reading. On a practical level, when you check your email each day there will be a few messages you actually want in there instead of 25 you don’t give a shit about. On an energetic level, you are clearing the psychological space for communication you care about and sending the message to yourself that you deserve more than stuff you feel ‘meh’ about.
President Obama only wears blue or gray suits to save his decision-making energy for more important matters. Make your inbox squeaky clean and your next stop could be the presidency!
Your phone contacts
Thanks to the cloud and that magic machine that transfers them from phone to phone, your phone contacts can turn into a ‘this is your life’ situation without some regular upkeep. I feel this is one of the drawbacks of modern technology… we can easily stay in touch with friends with minimal effort, which is awesome. But that means that most of us still have people hanging around the periphery who would have faded into the ‘whatever happened to her?’ land had you known them 15 years earlier.
These extraneous people in your contact list are just keeping you stuck in the past in some way – especially exes, old co-workers, and friends who you’ve grown apart from and feel awkward about. The flash of emotion and memory as you see their name are just not worth it, nor is the extra time it takes to find the people who are actually relevant to your life today.
Go through those suckers and erase erase erase! Enjoy the symbolic action of saying goodbye to parts of your past without having to burn things and stink up your home. Plus, it’s kind of hilarious to uncover the erasable gems – your old building super? Don’t need him on speed dial. Someone you waited tables with for a summer back in 2005? Something tells me you’ve learned all you need to learn from her. Somebody you did a group project with your junior year of college? What, were you afraid you’d suddenly get a wild hair to contact this person and be all destroyed over the one that got away?
If you have a dire need to reach any of these people someday, you can use one of the zillion and one methods available to contact them. It will feel sooo good when you scroll through your contacts and don’t have to think, “Pete – who is Pete? Oh yeah, that gay guy I went on an internet date with who made me split the bill for two drinks!” Not that I speak from experience or anything. Because the gay guy I went out with was named Paul.
Clothes carry energy big time. They have so much to do with how we feel about our physical appearance, they get all kinds of memories attached to them, their quality and trendiness is all tied up with status. If you often find yourself staring at your closet full of clothes hating everything you see and/or you haven’t done a massive wardrobe clear-out in over a year, it’s time to get crackin’!
By keeping a bunch of of clothes that you don’t feel proud to wear, you jam up your energy gears in a number of ways. You unnecessarily increase the amount of physical clutter in your closets and drawers, giving yourself more crap to deal with when all you want to do is put on a pair of pants. You send yourself the message that you need to change to accept yourself every time you catch a glimpse of those jeans that give you a major muffin top that you’re keeping for your someday weight loss. You subconsciously send yourself the message that you don’t deserve nice things and you need to be afraid that you won’t have enough when you hold onto clothes that aren’t in good condition.
Here are some good rules for keeping your closet and heart happy. Go through your clothes and, one piece at a time, donate or toss it if:
- You have not worn it in a year or more;
- It does not fit you;
- You don’t feel like it looks great on you;
- It’s in crappy condition;
- It has a bad memory associated with it.
The ‘does not fit you’ rule is especially important. If you recently had a baby or were on medication or had something specific that made you gain an uncharacteristic amount of weight that you’ll be losing, sure. But other than that, I find aspirational skinny clothing to be such bullshit! Toss those skinny jeans and find some peace.
The same goes for clothes that have gotten too big! It took me the longest time to throw out my too-big clothes once I lost a lot of weight. I felt like they were my safety so I wouldn’t have to be naked if it all came rushing back. It felt so good when I finally gave them the old heave-ho! It really is okay to believe in yourself and your body.
Now that you’re done, moving forward, “Only buy clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance” (that’s from Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, by Helen Fielding). You deserve to get that toe-tapping urge every time you look in the mirror!
These are really just the beginning – you can hit up your bookshelf, your Facebook friends, your purse, anything! The basic principle is being very selective about what you’ll spend your time and attention on, and not being afraid to say good-bye to the rest.
If it gets too hard, just yell “When in doubt, throw it out!” at top volume. It’s like magic clutter-clearing courage pills!