As we rush through life trying desperately to cross things off our ever-growing to-do list, we need to take time to pause, catch our breath, and take stock. We have to realize that we must stop being that man on the horse. Perhaps we could even recognize that to be truly happy, we might have to let go–of things, habits, people.
However, as much as the idea of letting go is appealing, it isn’t easy.
I am happy to welcome Courtney Carver today, to show us three simple steps to help you let go with more ease. I am a long-time subscriber of her fabulous blog “Be More With Less” which is full of gems of wisdom via her posts and ecourses. Her book Soulful Simplicity is launching today and is available on Amazon. It is a great book–do stay tuned for my book review.
Here’s Courtney with…
3 Simple Steps to Help You Let Go with More Ease
Letting go and simplifying life isn’t an overnight process. Big change takes time. I’ve been letting go slowly and consistently for almost 10 years. I started with food, letting go of animal protein and milk to reduce stress and inflammation in my body. Next, I focused on stuff and clutter, letting go of most of my stuff, and then came the debt and all of my beliefs around money. I let go of thinking that owning more was the answer. I let go of thinking that I would always have student loan debt, credit card debt, and a car loan.
All of that letting go set the stage for a happier, healthier life and more letting go.
I enjoyed letting go so much that I kept on going. I let go of a long career in sales and marketing and created my own business. I let go of a 2000 sq. ft. home and most of the furniture inside. I let go of several bedrooms, an office, big kitchen, dining room, living room, family room, garage, attic, shed, and yard, and moved into an apartment less than 1/2 the size with no storage space.
Along with the stuff on the outside, I let go of stuff on the inside too. I let go of the idea that what I owned defined who I was. I let go of measuring my self-worth by my net-worth, and I let go of measuring the success of my day by how much I crossed off my to-do list.
I don’t miss any of the things I let go of, and am happier and healthier than I was when I was holding on to everything. Letting go wasn’t easy at first, but I kept thinking about why I wanted less in my life and staying connected to that why helped me let go with more ease.
Think differently about letting go
Instead of thinking about how hard it is to let go, what if we changed our focus and started thinking about what’s on the other side of letting go?
On the other side of letting go is …
Don’t those things sound better than holding on? If you struggle with letting go, consider that holding on is harder. You have to hold on every day but you only have to let go once.
Here are 3 simple steps to help you let go
Ask good questions.
Before you can let go of your stuff, you’ll need to let go of why you think holding on is a better option. Challenge your beliefs by writing them down. Identify 3 things you are holding on to, and answer the following questions on paper:
- Why is it important for me to keep this?
- What is the worst thing that will happen if I let go?
- Is it making me happy to hold on?
- What’s on the other side of letting go?
Challenge yourself to do things differently. Don’t do things like everyone else, and worry less about what everyone else will think about how different you are.
How do you really want to spend your time? What if you got rid of so much stuff that you could live in a smaller space, spend less on living expenses, and free up time taking care of a bigger home? If you had the freedom to work less or work more doing something you really cared about, how would that impact your health and relationships?
What if instead of working so hard to make ends meet, you could simply have fewer ends?
Be curious and don’t be afraid to ask the questions that start with, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if …”
Instead of letting go of long-held beliefs or sentimental items, start with the easy stuff, and go slowly. This isn’t a competition. There is no rush. Build your letting go muscles by donating clothes that don’t fit, kitchen appliances you don’t use, and stuff you’ve collected for sports or hobbies that don’t interest you anymore. Noticing the benefits of letting go of those easier things will strengthen your muscles to let go of something more challenging.
If after a few weeks, you notice you feel a little lighter and are enjoying more space, or that you don’t miss or remember what you gave up, let go again.
Give these three steps a try, and see for yourself if letting go is as hard as you think. Don’t be surprised if you find out that letting go is much more rewarding than holding on.
Courtney Carver is the founder of Be More With Less and minimalist fashion challenge Project 333.
Courtney changed her life by simplifying it after a devastating diagnosis in 2006. Her new book Soulful Simplicity published by Tarcher/Perigee, a division of Penguin Random House, is being launched today and is available on Amazon.
Carver shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives.
Do you believe that more can be less?
Can you use these tips from Courtney to let go with ease?