I Don’t Do Things I Don’t Want To Anymore

Years ago, I hired a life coach to help me work through some life and career decisions.

We worked together over a period of several months, via phone and email. 

This was over a decade ago and the truth is that that I barely remember what we talked about or focused on during our sessions.

There is, however, one thing that she said to me that’s stuck with me through the years.

Based on the title of this post, I’m sure you can guess what it was.

I don’t do things I don’t want to anymore.

I don’t remember what prompted her to say that to me, only that it hit me like a bolt of lightening. And that it’s something I continue to think about years after the fact.

Now, she did go on to clarify that she still had to do basic life tasks like washing the laundry. Of course. There are some things that are hard to eliminate from our lives without having negative consequences.

I think her point though was this: she had eliminated things from her life that no longer served her, that no longer fit with who she was and who she wanted to be.

I think this is a lesson that most of us can benefit from.

And yet, many of us spend much of our one precious life doing things that we really don’t want to do.

We do them out of fear of change or fear of how other people will react.

We do them out of obligation because we feel that we have no choice.

We do them out of habit and repetition, caught in unhealthy patterns.

We do them for all sorts of reasons that ultimately make little sense.

And then someday we look back on our lives and wonder where the time went, wonder what happened to all those dreams that we had.

Spending your one precious life doing things you don’t want to do is no way to live your life.

If you do, then I guarantee that someday you’ll look back on your life with regret. I certainly don’t want that for you and I hope you don’t want that for yourself!

So here is my challenge to you…start eliminating things from your life that no longer serve you, things that simply don’t fit for you.

Start with some easy things and then continue to eliminate things from your life one by one.

By doing so, you’ll open up space, time, and energy in your life for the things that you really DO want.

Here’s a simple exercise to get you started:

Three Step Exercise For Eliminating Things From Your Life

Make a list of things to eliminate.
For one week, carry around a small journal wherever you go. Make a note in your journal every time you feel medium to heavy resistance to doing an activity or spending time with a person. Resistance is a clue that you should consider eliminating something (or someone) from your life.

Also note any sort of mindless habits that take up a considerable amount of your time. Mindless internet surfing or playing games on your smartphone might be examples that fit this category.

Categorize your list.
Now that you have a list of things to potentially eliminate from your life, sit down and put them in three categories: easy to eliminate, hard to eliminate and in-between.

Don’t worry about getting your list exactly right…you’re just aiming for a general sense of how easy or difficult the items are to eliminate from your life.

Start with the easiest.
Even though the harder items likely have a bigger influence on your life, you’re best off by starting to eliminate the easier items first. This will help you build momentum and confidence as you go about eliminating things you don’t want to do from your life!

Pick one item from the easy category and make a plan for eliminating that item from your list. Once you’ve finished one item, keep moving through your list.

Some items will obviously be harder and take more time than others but my hope is that someday you’ll be able to say the same thing as my former coach:

I don’t do things I don’t want to anymore.

And by the way….remember that you don’t have to completely eliminate an activity or a person from your life. Even reducing your contact with the activity or person can be a positive step in the direction towards building the type of life that you desire!

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