Blog Posts

Mindset

The Easiest Way to Change How You Feel About Yourself

change how you feel about yourself

How you feel about yourself affects every single aspect of your life: happiness, life-satisfaction, performance, achievements, and sometimes – even health. Y’all know I stress the importance self-acceptance, but I don’t just preach it – I drink that Kool-Aid too.

I know not everybody is ready for the Kool-Aid. I hear it in the voices of some clients, their uncomfortable hesitation and awkward responses when I give them positive feedback. It’s easy for me to notice good things about them. I like them. I can’t help but notice what’s so great about them.

But at the beginning, they don’t always like themselves. They don’t want self-acceptance; they want to get better. Then they’ll decide whether they like that improved-self.

I have no problem with people trying to get better. Life is all about improvement. There’s always room to grow, no matter how evolved you become. But the notion that you can only accept yourself once you’ve changed is bogus. If you don’t like yourself now, you won’t like any updated version of yourself either.

So how do you change how you feel about yourself?

The first step is simple.

Stop thinking about yourself.

I’m not kidding. If you don’t like yourself, you gotta get your attention on to something else. Have you ever watched a TV show you didn’t like? How much time do you spend thinking about it now? Nadda. You just don’t watch it anymore.

So stop watching yourself.

Here’s why: because of confirmation bias, your negative self-opinion only pays attention to things that prove your viewpoint. Which means you are oblivious to your positive traits, like those clients I mentioned. It also means that you inflate the importance of your negative aspects, further entrenching your self-reproach. You won’t win because you can’t. It’s a trap.

The only way out of that trap is to stop paying attention to yourself.

But you have to pay attention to something. If not yourself, what then?

Here’s what: any positive aspect of life you can conjure in your imagination. The way your first sip of coffee tastes in the morning. The sound of the birds singing in the trees. The snow that is finally melting. The Game of Thrones binge you planned for this weekend. Your love for Trip Hop music. Chocolate cake…chocolate cake, chocolate cake!

Pay attention to anything that makes you feel good when you think about it. Start a book of positive aspects. Grow your ability to notice what feels good. If you want more ideas: check out this post I wrote for Positive Writer, The Superpower of Positive Journaling.

The point is, thinking about things that feel good when you think about them (which, at this point, isn’t yourself), creates a mindset primed to see more good in yourself too. You gotta be ready to see yourself differently, in order to change how you feel about yourself.

By the way, confirmation bias works the other way too. Noticing positive aspects engenders more traits to feel good about.

Before I leave you to start that Positive Aspects journal I just know you’re going to love, there’s a caveat. It’s much harder to do this if you are in the habit of constantly comparing yourself to other people. So, if you must pass (waste) your hours on Facebook, Instagram or the like – stick to cat videos, life hacks, and cool recipes. Avoid – at all costs – anything on your news feed that compels you to compare yourself.  We know those glossy, orchestrated, self-promoting, “look at my life, it’s so wonderful” posts are bullshit anyway. We’re all much messier inside than the images we like to project to the world.

When you can love your messiness just as much as those projections – that’s true self-acceptance.

Mindset

Rumination: Be the Bouncer of Your Own Head

rumination bouncer

Rumination is terrible vice. We get stuck on thoughts that repeat over and over again, trying to find a way out by … thinking even more. It doesn’t work.

ADHD and distractability are synonymous. We see that proverbial squirrel and end up down some weird rabbit hole we can’t get out of. Why did that squirrel go down a rabbit hole, not a squirrel hole? Because squirrels don’t have holes, duh!

Rumination is focused distractability. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Often, we are most distracted by our own internal emotional states. When we are upset about something, it can be next to impossible to get our minds off it. Rumination is nothing more than a negative form of hyper-focus.

So let me ask you … what’s bugging you? What’s got under your skin, squeezing your chest like a Florida orange?

I want to know. Whatever it is, its been driving you crazy, hasn’t it?

Well stop letting it. Stop it right now!

Maybe its not that easy. Then again, maybe it is?

If it’s important, then do something about it. If you don’t know what to do, make an appointment with yourself. Think hard and constructively about the “issue”. Decide what your next step should be. Talk to someone else. Get professional advice.

Do something – anything – but stop ruminating without taking any action. If action must come later, so be it. Until that time, let it go. Why hang on to it when you are not prepared to do anything about it? To make yourself miserable?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with one of my “day job” clients. This fellow was a very intelligent and insightful young man, who happened to suffer horribly with persecutory auditory hallucinations. In other words, he hears voices. Nasty, mean voices that seldom relent.

When I asked him if he had ever told them to “Shut the eff up!”, he was baffled. He had no idea he could do this.

Of course he could – it was his head, after all. He was the landlord of his head – he owned it for crying out loud! He could say whatever he wanted to those voices. They might not listen, but he had every right to tell them off. And use every expletive imaginable.

It was pretty vindicating when he did.

It’s no less-true for you. Own your head. It’s your establishment. In this place – you are the bouncer as well as the landlord. You don’t have to put up with rumination. 

When you own your head, you decide what gets in and what gets kicked out. (Click to tweet)

You decide what to think. And what to stop thinking.

Most of the time, the stuff that circulates around and around in our minds- repeating on us like a bad burrito and making us just as sick – it’s all pointless mental chatter. Tripe. Twaddle even. An adverse reaction to all the conclusions that got jumped to, minds that got read, and half-concocted stories that think they are whole. Negativity… a rebel without a cause, or a clue.

Sure, some things are harder to let go of than others. Some things, we must hang on to because our conscience is trying to talk to us. But for the most part, we hang on to far too many problems that aren’t really problems at all.

Something is like “this” but it should be like “that”…

Drop these ideas. Happiness is begging you. Take your power back – your power that is innate in being the Supreme Ruler in the Kingdom of Your Head. Make a decision to act.  Or to defer action until a better plan is in place. But until then:

Rumination… let it go.

Here’s a post that tells you how. Have an amazing day.

Post-script: In the case of auditory hallucinations, as with the client I mentioned, it is not always possible to make those kind of voices go away just by making a decision to let them go. But there is no reason you can’t tell them where to go anyway. And how to get there, for that matter. They deserve it.

Post-post-script: I don’t think I need to say this, but I will anyway – if you do have these kind of voices, please seek professional help. And know that they are just voices, they are not you. Come to think of it, negative thoughts aren’t you either. Hmmm… that might be a different post.

Productivity

How to Stay Focused When You’re Overwhelmed

Today’s post is a guest post from Sofia Lockett, of Auckland, New Zealand. 

For people with ADHD, who struggle staying focused, performing routine tasks can be challenging. Things that others find simple can be overwhelming and stressful. Medication and therapy can help, but you may be surprised to learn that one of the most effective ways for adults with ADHD to stay focused is exercise. We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but it is also surprisingly good for our brains and our mental functioning.

Exercise can increase the neurotrophic factor. This is a brain-derived protein which people with ADHD have a lower than normal amount of, and which is related to memory and learning. Also, during exercise, our brains release a chemical called dopamine. This is a neurotransmitter which promotes clear thinking, organization and attention – all the things help you stay focused.  The level of dopamine in adults with ADHD is often lower than average, and this contributes to trouble paying attention and staying focused. Many of the stimulant medicines which are prescribed for adults with ADHD increase the availability of dopamine within the brain.  Increasing the level of dopamine naturally in your brain through exercise is a real alternative to medication. 

Regular exercise can help to reduce levels of anxiety and stress and can improve working memory. It is one of the most effective ADHD strategies for adults. Exercise can also help to reduce compulsive behaviour and increase impulse control. A workout routine is one of the best concentration exercises, improving capacity to organize and plan, and the ability to recall details. 

Working up a sweat and getting your heart pumping is probably the best source of free help for adults with ADHD. It can really help to improve your symptoms. Not only that, but it reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. You will lose flab, build muscle, and look and feel better. So, what are you waiting forYou have nothing to lose and lots to gain.  

Sofia Lockett is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand. She is passionate about travel, health and fitness. You can read more of her articles on her Tumblr

Growth

Silver Linings From a Hundred-Dollar Heartbreak

silver linings

My daughter lost a hundred bucks the other day and it might be the best thing that ever happened to her.

She’s been saving money for a while now.  I admit with embarrassment that she’s a much better saver than I am. When her grandparents recently gifted her two fifty dollar bills, she responsibly decided to deposit them into her growing bank account, rather than spend them on a vat of white glue to feed her insatiable slime addiction.  (I’m not entirely sure she’s actually my daughter.)

On our way into the bank from the car, I watched her roll the bills into a small wad and shove them into her jeans’ pocket. A flash of insight whispered to me from the wiser part of my consciousness:“You should take that money from her and put it in your wallet…”

I didn’t listen. I let her be in charge of her own money.

As we joined the queue for the bank teller, she realized that the bills were gone. Completely vanished. Somewhere between the parking lot and the bank, that money made its great escape into the hands of some anonymous treasure finder.

She was distraught and for a brief moment, I felt like a negligent mother. I should have listened to my impulse. I should have kept that money safe for her. She’s only ten after all!

Or should I?

That money certainly would have given her a great feeling of satisfaction as she deposited into her growing account. It may have inspired her to continue saving and find new ways of earning even more money. Maybe.

But the despair she felt from losing it was worth more, in terms of life lessons, than a couple of fifties. I could tell her a million times to take better care of her money (do as I say…). But empty words mean nothing- just more unsolicited and overprotective advice from a mother whose wisdom seems irrelevant when you’re ten and you already know everything.

That feeling of utter disappointment and anger with herself will never be forgotten. That’s not a bad thing. Because the only lessons that stick with us are the ones that felt most potent as they were happening. Point in case: no kid whose ever had the impulse to place his juicy tongue on frozen monkey bars in the winter has ever done it twice.

So yeah, I felt bad for her, but not for long. That hundred dollar loss just may save her thousands one day, silver linings at a cheap rate. I can’t say for sure. But who among us haven’t learned costly lessons that paid for themselves eventually?  Next time you’re kicking your own ass for a huge mistake – stop. Instead, congratulate yourself on learning a hard lesson that will make your life easier in the long run.

Mastery

Avoidance, ADHD Triggers and Letting Go of Shoulds

avoidance

The word “avoidance” vibrates with negative connotation. It refers to an absence of doing something that should be done. But avoidance can actually be a good thing, especially when it comes to “triggers” and “shoulds”.

People with ADHD have often associated avoidance with the first description – “not doing something that they know they should do”. We avoid things that seem too hard, frustratingly boring, or outside our skill set.

Avoidance can be a good thing

Managing ADD “better” is a worthy pursuit. It’s essential if you want to be happier, and if you want important people to be happier with you. While it is helpful to concentrate on things you need to start doing, you shouldn’t neglect the things you need to stop doing too. Let me explain.

On and Off

ADD is a lifelong state-of-being YET it doesn’t show up all of the time, in every situation.

I’m sure there you’ve had times when you haven’t felt very ADD at all. These may be a fleeting moments or for longer periods, but you probably didn’t notice them because “functioning well” doesn’t grab your attention.

The times that ADD wanes is different for everyone, as are the times when it is aggravated. In essence, everyone has their own triggers.

For example, I don’t notice ADD much when I am at the “day job”. It calls upon my ability to be hyper-focused in time-crunches and crises (which is most days).

Triggers (Everybody Get Down!)

My ADD is at its worst, though, when I am grocery shopping. The noise is intense, the lighting grotesque, aisles are too long and too many idiots, erm… I mean people, inhabit those aisles like they’re touring the louvre. Never mind the shelves with too many choices (but never the one you want). It’s like looking for Waldo after he’s been dead and buried for 10 years.

I fare much better in small stores with less than 15 (very short) aisles. Sometimes, though, the budget dictates a bigger store shop. The moment I step inside, my ADD flares like a Molotov cocktail in a pulp mill. I’m pretty sure smoke seeps from my ears like a Looney Tunes character.

So imagine my melt down every time I attempt that shop with two kids. Kids who wander up and down the aisles, sauntering in front of the cart, talking incessantly, asking all sorts of questions, most starting with: “Can I have…?” Hiroshima pales in comparison to the explosion inside me.

Recently I figured something out: I don’t have to do this anymore! Don’t laugh. This realization was an epiphany. I really thought I HAD to grocery shop with my kids.

Because that’s what normal moms do. “Normal” moms run errands with their children. They go to the bank, they wash the car, they grocery shop. They don’t avoid these things simply because their kids are with them.

But they aren’t like me. They haven’t “checked out” long before reaching the checkout counter. It doesn’t take every brain synapse firing simultaneously just for them to find the mushroom soup.

Just because I am a mom, doesn’t mean I have to do anything (the only exception: I do have to refrain from eating my offspring – I am not a goldfish, after all).

Errands with kids is a “should” not a must. Life is full of shoulds. But they are pointless and they can be ignored. Sometimes, they should be ignored. Even God Himself avoids them. If he didn’t, he would have dictated that 10 Recommendations or the 10 Guidelines, rather than the 10 Commandments.

I have other triggers of course, but grocery shopping (with kids) is the one that never fails to unleash my ADD like a can of whoopass. So now, I don’t do it if I don’t have to. I leave them with the hubby or he goes for me.  I go late at night, on my own. Hell, I’ve even gone at 7 am and done it before work. Yes, it IS THAT BAD that I would get out of bed to avoid the crowds!

And guess who’s a happier mommy? Guess whose kids are no longer subjected to mommy tantrums?

My life, my kids’ lives, are better because I have let go of a should. If my kids get to twenty-years-old with no idea how to behave in a grocery store, I will teach them then. By that time, dementia will have taken over. I will wander the aisles, pestering them for fruit loops and pop tarts. Revenge will be bliss.

Shoulds are the bane of the ADD life. We have fought so hard, all our lives, to feel normal. When we see other people doing things easily, we think we should do it their way too.

Not so. Sometimes the best way to get over a challenge is to go around it. Avoidance, at times, is more functional that giving in to something you think you should do. Learn to let go of shoulds so you can focus on getting things done in the way that works best for you.

Be a pal! Share your triggers and shoulds in the comments below – they might help the rest of us who suddenly realize these things are triggers for us too!

Growth

One Truth to Overcome Insecurity

insecurity

Synopsis: This post is about insecurity. But it is not for the faint-hearted. Read with an open mind. If you’re not prepared to do that, best not read it at all.

Thought you’d have grown out of insecurity by this age, didn’t you? Kind of disappointed that you’re still not confident and self-assured, at your age?

While you sit there feeling like a gawky, spotty-faced teenager inside, hiding behind a “wreck-of-a-human-being” guise – assholes are taking over the world and getting successes they don’t deserve.

Oh, I’m sorry… I thought you liked being talked to that way. You do it to yourself all the time!

Since you seem to enjoy a good-old masochistic mental ass-kicking… move over and let me have a turn.

You are an adult. Adulting doesn’t come with a side-order of confidence. Confidence is like money. If you’re not born with it, you gotta go out there and make it.

Now that I have your attention, let’s soften the tone and abandon the vitriol and derision. Please forgive me for using shock tactics to cut through your mental bullshit. But something had to be done.

Here’s the Problem:

Insecurity Makes You Feel…

  • Weak
  • Unsure of yourself
  • Embarrassed
  • Less than everyone else
  • Vulnerable

Insecurity Stops You From...

  • Speaking your mind
  • Being at ease in social situations
  • Taking chances
  • Being an active participant of life
  • Being yourself

 

Recognize the True Nature of Insecurity

You know when you buy a $30 stereo from an electronics store and the cashier generously offers to sell you an additional 10-year warranty for only $15? She makes it sound like you’ll be a regretful idiot if you don’t get the warranty. But you don’t really care if this stereo lasts ten years. You only want it for a beach picnic. Its long-term destiny is your hall closet, or maybe a garage sale or charity shop, where one day it can spread its electronic wings and move across town to someone else’s closet.

Plus $15 is kind of expensive for a gadget that only costs $30 in the first place, don’t you think?

That’s what insecurity is. A really expensive insurance policy designed to protect you from the psychological dangers of rejection, failure and humiliation. You get to protect your fragile little psyche by making sure it’s never exposed to anything that could make it even fragile-er. Like protecting a china doll from grubby little kiddie hands. Put that china doll back in the cupboard where it belongs, bubs.

But there’s something else about that over-priced warranty: It doesn’t cover everything. That $30 stereo is covered if its wiring catches on fire through a manufacturing error. It’s not covered if your stereo goes car-surfing and hits the ditch at 40 mph. Let’s be honest… how often do stereos succumb to spontaneous combustion (when they’re not Samsungs)?

Take the risk. Spend that $15 on a book, movie ticket or a cheap box of wine.

 

What about Your Insecurity, Though?

Not speaking your mind, not putting yourself out there, not being yourself… they don’t make you more confident or secure. They just feed insecurity, making you spin in circles like this pointless pursuit.

Feel insecure. Don’t speak up. Don’t speak up. Feel more insecure.

You get it?

But wait, there’s more!

No matter how hard you try to avoid embarrassment/humiliation/rejection/____ (insert your psychological phobia here)… shit will still happen to you. You’ll still find things to feel bad about. That’s the way your brain has been wired – to look for threats and weaknesses.

 

In-Security Instead of Insecurity

Brace yourself, you’re not going to like what I have to say. But shut up and listen because I’m doing the ass-kicking today.

When you feel anxious and uptight around other people because you don’t feel good enough, smart enough, or whatever enough, remember this:

Three-quarters of the people around you feel exactly the same way, whether they show it or not.

We human beings are delicate, fragile little souls, who walk around this planet uncertain of our worthiness to even be present and alive.

We didn’t make ourselves. We are an expression of life. Call it God or the universe or life force or whatever you choose – you are worthy because you are alive. Being alive means bumping into things and tripping over words. It means stuttering and stammering, hiccupping and falling over. Looking stupid, having brain farts and verbal diarrhea – yep, they’re part of being alive too.

Nobody said being polished and perfect was the only way to win this game. Going out there and living authentically – that’s the way you really score. Showing up as you are, and being okay with how you are (otherwise known as being authentic) – is the only path to feeling secure. And when you allow yourself to be okay as you are, you give those other insecure people the freedom to accept themselves too.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

So really, when it comes to insecurity, there is only one thing you should fear: everything you’ll lose because of a useless, overpriced insurance policy that doesn’t cover everything anyway.

Mindset

Radical Mindset Shifts to Upgrade Your Life

mindset shifts

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it’s not your challenges that cause problems in your life, but the way that you’re thinking about those things?

It might be all in your head. I guess that’s what I’m saying.

I struggled with low self-esteem, anxiety and all the typical challenges of ADHD for most of my life – until I made a shift in my mindset, as I articulated in this post and in this one. I know what it’s like to fight against myself, to feel like I’ll never get caught up let alone get ahead, and to feel like there’s something wrong with me right down to the core.

It doesn’t matter if I had good reasons for feeling that way. I just did. Until I didn’t anymore.

You might think you have a lot of good reasons to feel like a piece of shit. It doesn’t matter because there are no good reasons. There are just feelings. Feelings can be changed.

Now, I’m not going to sermonize the nitty-gritty details of how I managed to break free from those struggles. But I am going to share with you a few curious and absolutely far-out-there mindset shifts I made – shifts that accelerated my growth because I learned to embrace radical self-acceptance. And that, as they say, is what made all the difference.

 

1. Nothing is As It Seems

I walk around this world with an over-talkative roommate in my head, who feels the need to comment about everything. She never shuts up. And she’s sooooo annoying. She’s like that guy who’s been to Cancun once and thinks he knows everything there is to know about Mexico and the people who live there.

I’ve learned to disregard half of what she says. I accept that my verbose roommate might not be the most accurate narrator.

As Michael Singer says (in Untethered Soul):

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”

 

2. You Don’t Have a Right Not to Have Challenges

Why me? Why can’t I just be normal?

I wondered that endlessly too. Until I thought… why not me? Why should anyone else have these struggles instead of me? And … God-forbid… what if I had someone else’s struggles instead of my own? Life could be a whole lot worse.

I have a right to live. That’s it. I don’t have a right to be stress-free, wealthy, fit, or any other condition I might covet. Those are things I have to work for. Read more about this in Mark Manson’s counter-intuitive book on living a good life – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F!*$. It’s in my top 5 favourite non-fiction books. In fact, its tied for the number one spot.

 

3. Normal Does Not Equal Correct

ADDers struggle with this a lot. They think there’s something wrong with doing things differently than other people.

Normal isn’t the same as good. It’s quite normal to waste a lot of your work-day chatting to colleagues, responding to never-ending email threads or watching Youtube. Millions of white collar workers get up to that tomfoolery every day. That doesn’t mean it’s effective.

If your way is weird but effective, so be it.

 

4. You Have Very Little Control over What Happens

Bad things happen to good people. And vice versa. Some people work hard and get nowhere while other people have their fortune handed to them in a silver sippy cup. It’s not what happens to you that matters most – it’s how you deal with. So deal with it.

More on this… read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way. It’s also in my top 5 favs, tied at number one. (I read it 5 times – back to back!)

 

5. Things Will Get Worse, but Then They’ll Get Better

You know when you walk into the bathroom of a nightclub to preen yourself and suddenly the bright lights illuminate just how horrid your skin looks and yellow your teeth appear? (Maybe you don’t look as fugly as I do when you’re intoxicated. Lucky you!)

When you shine a spotlight on your challenges, they will look worse. A lot worse. Before – you didn’t notice your ADD getting in your way. Now you’re noticing it all the time, and it looks like a freaking mess. That’s okay. You gotta see it first before you can begin to clean it up.

“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

Nathaniel Branden

 

6. It Aint about Happiness

We all want to be happy. But happiness isn’t a place. It’s not even a situation or a condition. It’s a feeling. One that comes and goes. So collect as many happy moments you can before you die. You can cultivate a happy moment from watching your dog fetch a stick out of the lake or from sitting alone with a good book and a cup of chai. You don’t get happy, you make happy. So enjoy it when you make it.

On the other hand, happiness isn’t really the point of life. Growth is. You can’t be happy every single moment of your life, but you can grow – continuously and endlessly – if you choose to.

 

7. Success is Measured in Moments not Miles

If you tally your life and see that you have done more good than bad, you are a success. End of discussion.

Success, however you define it, is impermanent. Quite simply because one day – you’ll die and it’ll all be over. Your legacy is not what you leave your children, or the world for that matter, it is the culmination of moments – whether you were washing dishes or starting a multi-billion dollar company. So put some effort into each moment.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

I won’t pretend that I invented these mindset shifts. But I slowly imbibed and adopted them as part of my paradigm, making them my own. Through doing that I saw radical shifts in my life. Not in what I was able to achieve, or how well I did in my endeavors, but in how felt about (and enjoyed) the simple experience of being alive.

I’m more curious about your radical mindset shifts  – tell me how you’ve changed your thinking (or plan to) and what effect it is had on your life in the comments below!

Focus

An Uncommon, Life-Enhancing Benefit of Diets

diets

I hate the thought of diets. Pretty much everyone knows diets don’t work.

Nonetheless, I’ve been following a new (shall we call it …) “eating plan” for the last 3 weeks. (Yeah it’s a diet I guess. Though I don’t really intend it to be.)

Of course I want to lose weight. But I’ve wanted to lose weight for the last 5 years and haven’t done a thing about it. So that’s not the real reason for changing how I eat now.

Truthfully, what I wanted was simplicity. I hate everything to do with food. I hate purchasing it. I hate thinking of what to make. I hate making it. I hate having to stop what I’m doing to make and eat it. I certainly hate cleaning up after making and eating it.

That’s a lot of hate.

So I thought:

If the need to feed myself, and all its associated hassles, fill me with such contempt, what’s the point in hanging on to my bad eating habits?

I won’t share my eating plan with you, lest you think I am giving dietary advice, which I am wholly unqualified to do. But I will share with you the process:

  • It’s simple.
  • It’s effective.
  • And I never have to think about it.

Yep, I pretty much eat a selection of food from only a handful of options. But then – I only have to shop for those handful of options. They are carefully selected to make sure my body gets all it needs. But I’ll admit, it’s boring. And that’s okay, because I’d rather be bored with my food than pissed off at it.

Now – how to incorporate diets into the rest of life…

Food isn’t the only area of my life that needs to go on a diet. There are many areas that are far-too-complicated that piss me off on a regular basis. So, for the next few months, the rest of my life is going on the dreaded “diet”.

Here’s how I’m paring down and shedding excess “weight”:

1. Stuff

I’m no pack rat. But like most people these days, I still have too much stuff. My house is nowhere near a setting in Hoarders, but my stuff still weighs me down. I’ve cleared out cupboards and closets full of one-day-I-might-need-this rubbish, and given it away or sold it. I feel lighter already.

2. Email

I get way too much email. Join the club right? I’ve un-subscribed to every email list I don’t actually open and read on a regular basis. So go ahead and un-subscribe to The Art of ADD if you don’t read it routinely. (I can safely say this, knowing that those who don’t read this regularly won’t actually see this message, ha ha!)

3. Social Courtesies

We all have them. Some of them are fulfilling, and some of them sap our energy and our souls. So I’ll give you a few examples of how I’m paring down in this area:

No more playdates for the kids several times a week. If they are having their friends over, they are both having friends over. Get it done – in one shot. In fact, once a month we may even have a big sleep over and they can both have a couple of friends over. One night of chaos is worth many days of bliss.

Screw potlucks. Everyone at work enjoys a big potluck gathering to celebrate someone’s birthday or to send off someone who’s leaving for a new job. I HATE POTLUCKS. Are you kidding? I don’t even like making food for my own family, why would I want to make it for my colleagues? So now, I’m the girl that brings the bag of buns. I’m good with that. I just won’t eat the buns myself, on account of the fact that they’re not at part of my new diet.

Facebook messenger. I won’t reply, so don’t bother. If you really need to reach me, pick up the phone. The same might go for texts, but I haven’t figured out how to tactfully incorporate this one in to my life yet.

The whole point of life diets

I’ve listed some things I’m getting rid of to make my life easier. They might not be your things though. The whole point of a diet is not to deprive yourself, but to make things better – whether it’s your body or your life.

If you love playdates, potlucks and messaging – keep them! But figure out what you are doing “just because you should” and see if you can weed it out for a while, or at least make it simpler. A life diet is about shedding the excess that brings you nothing but grief, so that you can make more room for the things that feed your soul.

For more, check out Tim Ferriss’ post on de-loading.