Stop Adding New Goals to Your Life
Release yourself from the trap of adding new priorities to your life — instead enrich your days by assessing and triaging what works and what doesn’t
We all hit periods in our lives that leave us with a sense of ennui, ‘stuckness’ or boredom. At times, these are passing phases in an otherwise happy life — brief moments of considering if the path we are on remains congruent with our overall goals and concluding it is — while other times, these periods drag on and on (AND ON!), and all attempts to shift out of neutral leave us spinning our wheels.
Then there is the tendency many of us have (definitely me at times!) to add new projects, goals and practices to an already over-designed, over-scheduled life that can leave the most motivated of us paralyzed and unable to move forward with anything, as picking one project means leaving another to die on the vine.
Of all the tools and exercises I have used over the years to either advance my goals or embody traits that loosen anxiety and bring peace, the one I keep coming back to is not only the most useful, it is also the simplest. It’s an exercise in inventorying just about anything going on in your life — be it relationships, activities, habits or practices — and considering if you want to stop, start or continue whatever it is.
Let’s take a closer look at what this entails, with the following sample list:
- Twice-weekly visits to an ailing relative
- Poor quality of sleep
- Weekly yoga practice
- Procrastination on a writing project
- Not returning phone calls or emails promptly
- Haphazard reading habits
Using the lens of stop, start, continue, this list may shake out in the following ways:
STOP: having big dinners/alcohol before sleep (and set a regular bedtime)
STOP: using free time to scroll social media (and replace with reading)
START: returning calls and messages (to avoid lingering feelings of dread)
START: setting aside small chunks of time (and not whole days) to write
CONTINUE: making time for important family relationships