Seriously. Stop doing it.

Some people might tell you Embrace Life! or Say Yes To Your Best You!! or whatever. But I’m telling you, in my wildly professional opinion, to Stop IT.

We are so quick to say yes to new things being added to our life. We just keeping new information onto our poor little overwhelmed brains. Filling our closets with so many yes’s. Our houses and schedules are just packed with agreements and one big, exuberant YES!!

For some reason we think saying yes, having more, agreeing, is better.

Taking on new ideas and acquiring things, talents, hobbies, plans, clothes, nick-nacks, children, friends, diets, whatever, we feel like it’s making us better.

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We could get into why having a crammed schedule is stupid, or how we can’t have it all or do it all, or how no one is perfect, but this isn’t even about scheduling or cleaning out your closet.

This is about the attitude. Of the default reaction YES. Of accepting new and keeping old without question.

When you buy a new shirt, do you go through your closet and get rid of an old one? No, you don’t, becacuse that’s crazy. I think we all wished we did, but come on, let’s be real.

When you take on a new diet or food rule, what do you do with the old one? Do you add them together? What if they conflict? Apparently fat is good for you now?

We just keep adding to the pile of new and improved, never taking time to stop and sort through the old. Creating a overfilled and overwhelmed life.

Do I still need this relationship lingering around? Or do I just keep it because someday it might fit again? WHAT IF instead, you took  mental stock of relationships and said NO to some, and YES to the ones that really mattered. This doesn’t mean you have to walk up to your highschool buddy and say “You’re out. Jason’s in. Sorry. Bye.” But it does mean you clear out the mental space. The guilt for not checking in. The worrying they hate you. You can absolutely say yes again someday, but right now, it’s a no.

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AND THE FANS RUSH THE STAGE SCREAMING “BUT SARAH FRIENDS ARE FOREVER!” And to you I say, stop kidding yourself. You are only one person with limited energy. And by holding onto loose and unhealthy ties, you’re stealing time away from the people who really matter. Maybe I’m just a rebel for feeling this way, but it just seems to make sense to my little brain.

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WHAT IF instead making New Years Resolutions, of things we want to try or start doing, we do New Years Trash List. Things you’re going to trash for 2016.

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Here’s what mine looked like for 2015.

  • No more self-help books. They stress you out.
  • No more saying sorry for how you look.
  • Stop worrying about your career path.
  • Stop worrying about being on time.
  • Just stop being so damn busy
  • And while you’re at it, stop trying so hard to be important.

And an amazing thing happened. When I cleared out all that mental space, new thoughts had to replace them. And because I’m super hesitant to say yes, the new thoughts were only the helpful and fun kind of thoughts.

Granted, a few new ones slipped in the cracks, but they can find a spot on the trash list next year.

I also said no to dieting. And worrying about food. And I said no to a few jobs and a few friendships. No doesn’t have to mean HELL NO GET AWAY FROM ME, but it can be as simple as not spending time participating.

But I also said YES to a deeper understanding of my health and a new husband (the old one was boring me). There wouldn’t have been space in my head for the new things if I didn’t clear out the ol’ noggin.

I’ve also said goodbye to old mindsets. In college, I had to worry about money. Now, that’s not conducive to living a peaceful life. So I’ve switched to financial conservative (eg. cheap skate).

I said goodbye to a full wardrobe. I’ve mentioned wardrobe capsuling before, but just to reiterate. It’s awesome. It makes the saying no so much easier, and allows me time to actually appreciate the clothing I do have.

So you don’t need to wipe out your whole life, closet, or mind, just maybe do some mental cleanup on the weekends. And be careful what you’re saying yes to. Because when you say yes to one thing, you’re automatically saying no to something else.

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Sarah C.

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