Last year, as the busyness of saying yes to too much began to overwhelm me and affect my sleep, my patience, my health, and my relationships, I drew a line in the sand: when a certain project was over and Christmas was behind us and we turned the page to 2015, things would be different.
And it has been different. Stepping over that line into a new year with the commitment that I wouldn’t end up in that place again has been good, and so far I’m maintaining the commitment.
I’m glad I saw the problem, drew the line, and made it happen.
But what I really wish is that I’d taken the time to draw the line in the sand sooner.
The problem was that in the midst of it, I couldn’t even think straight to figure out how to make a change because things were so busy (clear sign that you have a problem #1), so I put it off until I had some breathing room to think and evaluate and plan.
I recently shared on Instagram and Facebook that I love Mondays because they represent a fresh start, with all the days still stretched out in front of them. I’ve always felt this way, but during my busy season, I allowed that busyness to seep into my weekends (clear sign that you have a problem #2), so that Monday marked a fresh page for my to-do list, but without the time to reflect and prioritize and make hard decisions.
Here’s the thing: 2016 is far away. If you think you need to make changes in your life—changes to your schedule or your priorities or your habits or whatever—don’t wait until the new year. Don’t even wait until the new month or the new week. Start today. Use your time in the shower, while driving, or those hours when you can’t sleep because your to-do list is running through your mind (clear sign that you have a problem #3) to think about what needs to change.
Maybe you need to start saying no.
Maybe you need to step down or back from something. It’s okay to quit.
Maybe you need to prioritize sleep even when that means ignoring your to-do list.
Maybe you need to get rid of distractions like Facebook and Instagram.
Maybe you need to turn off the TV or the computer in the evening.
Maybe you need to make time to talk with a friend or mentor.
Maybe you need to journal your thoughts.
Maybe you need to make a realistic schedule.
Maybe you need to lower your food standards.
Maybe you need to choose better meals and snacks.
Maybe you need to set aside a weekend to begin decluttering.
Maybe you need to make time for connecting with your spouse or kids.
Maybe you just need to cut yourself some slack.
There are a million different ways you can simplify your life, and those decisions are going to look different for each of us.
But the important part is to start thinking about those changes and make a plan today. Don’t wait for some arbitrary date on the calendar. Don’t put it at the bottom of the to-do list. Start today!
Have you ever desperately needed a change but put it off because you just couldn’t think about it? What changes could you make to simplify your life today?