Addition or Subtraction?

Jun 7, 2024

Houston… we have a problem.

I’m so busy.  I am stressed. I think I’m sick. I’m depressed. My life is so disorganized. I need to get my weight under control.  I need to get control of my schedule.  My days are all the same.  I am stuck.  I can’t get ahead.  There is just too much on my plate. I don’t know where to go from here. I might be drinking too much.  Where do I go from here?  How do I move forward? At the heart of it all is this truth- we want change.  Check out this article about the things people most want to change.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Or have you said any of these in the last several weeks or months?  It’s true.  We are busy.  We are running thin.  Many of us have way too much on our plates.  Myself included.  I have even raised my hand to several of those problems.   I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like we are on a runaway train and we are getting dangerously close to the end of the tracks.

So what do we do about it?

We always end up at this question in life- then what?  We always get there.  And these questions will get us there.  So what do we do about it when we are stressed, busy, sick, unorganized, out of control, addicted, stuck?

Here’s where I think we may get it wrong…

When something is off, we tend to add something.  I need to read this book, take this pill, add this thing, add more habits, add more people and activities.  And believe me, I have been that person.  Even in a season where my plate has been as full as possible and then some, I have forced reading another book, adding another podcast or online learning to help alleviate some of the angst and get my life back on track.  It usually ends up compounding the problem.  And I get frustrated, burdened, and overloaded.

What if there is another way…

Our minds are programmed to think the solution is in addition.  What if, instead, the answer is what needs to go?  What if the answer is in subtraction instead of addition? Maybe instead of more, we need to be thinking about less? But how would we even do that?

Here’s something to try…

Grab a piece of paper or your favorite journal.  And write down everything on your plate.  I am talking everything.  All the things you do and have going on.  Obviously your job, but include the details of your job and all the things you do at your job in a day. All of the details of your day.  Your morning routine. Social media and phone routine.  Exercise, commute, activities.  Get detailed and get serious about this.  It should be a long list.  Keep going until it is exhausted and you can’t think of anything else.

Then what…

Get ready to cut.  Ask yourself this question- what needs to go.  And when you ask the question, remember this- everything that you have said yes to is a no to something else.  What things in life are getting your best yes? And if they aren’t, is it time to give them the boot?  Do you want to be overloaded forever?  How good would it feel to ditch a few things that are unnecessarily overloading you?  How freeing might that be?

This won’t be easy…

But things that make significant change rarely are!  Let me tell you this- there is freedom waiting on the other side!  It’s ok to subtract a few things.  And if you need some help, shoot me an email.  Let’s have a conversation.  This is what I love to do… helping people design a life they don’t want to wake up from.  There is freedom!  And this exercise is a powerful first step.  I try to do it twice a year.  And lastly… I believe in you.  You can do this!  And hey- you might not need more.  Your mind and body may be crying out for less.  You can do this!


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