You probably don’t even notice it, but it’s all around you. This stealth energy-drainer may be actually sabotaging your fitness goals. It’s called clutter and each of us has it in our lives in some form. The insidious nature of clutter is this: it establishes itself so gradually and entrenches itself so deeply, that we don’t even consciously know it is there. But it is there, zapping our creativity, our energy, and our productivity, and ultimately our health. Clutter can be physical or mental. Today we’re exploring mental clutter and how to eliminate it.
Mental clutter is clutter in your patterns of thinking and reacting to yourself and others and everyday circumstances. It operates under the radar most of the time, which makes it especially menacing. Mental clutter can be self-defeating ways of thinking about yourself, entrenched patterns of behavior with certain people, habitual ways of reacting to certain situations or just a general approach to life that blindly runs on auto-pilot.
The trouble with living blindly is that you don’t really live: you can’t see options or alternatives. With creativity choked off, you stagnate. And your energy slowly drains away.
So how do you clear out clutter that you can’t see? Whether it is physical clutter on your desk or the mental clutter of responding the same way to that person who always manages to raise your blood pressure, you can get to work on it immediately.
Try these solutions:
- Slow down. In order to identify your mental clutter, you must slow down and really pay attention.
- Ask yourself this key question several times a day: “Do I have other options?” Whether it’s when that ‘someone’ is beginning to push your buttons or whether you are rushing to get to work again, just stop for a moment and try to come up with one or two other scenarios.
- Set a reminder several times a day to remind yourself to stop and take note of what you are doing when the reminder sounds. Are you eating? Checking Instagram for the 10th time? Having the same dead-end conversation with someone?
- Take a look at your routines: bedtime, morning, lunch, late afternoon, etc. What are your habits? Are they productive? Destructive? Time wasters? How can you make them better?
- What are you procrastinating? Leaving a dreaded task undone is a sure road to low energy and low productivity. Make a list of those tasks which you have been putting off and just do them. You’ll be amazed at your energy level afterwards!
Being fit and healthy requires being intentional about your environment, your schedule and your relationships.
Take it one day at a time and start moving toward deliberate living. Later this week we’ll take a look at physical clutter.