Start, Stop & Change: complicated

Have you ever said, It’s complicated as a reason for not making the changes you say you want in your life?

  • Your work situation is complicated.
  • Or your marriage.
  • Your financial situation is complicated.
  • Or your relationship with your parents or kids.

One of the reasons we keep our lives so complicated is so we won’t have to listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to do to make our lives work better. —Elaine St. James

While it may be true that life is complicated—and even your life in particular—that’s not the end of the story.

In fact, it’s just the beginning. And what comes next doesn’t need to be a grand sweeping gesture to uncomplicate your life.

How about a single, small step instead? Here are 4 to choose from:

  1. De-commit from something.  One obligation that drains you or that you dread every time you see it on your calendar or To Do list. I’m not suggesting you stop acting like a grown-up and ditch all your responsibilities. But I am suggesting some of those draining and dreaded obligations are self-imposed. Enough already.
  2. Stop saving stuff just in case you need it “someday”. Physical clutter (or digital clutter, for that matter) causes the stress hormone cortisol to spike. So the fact is: Your stuff is stressing you out. Here’s an idea: Rather than trying to organize your clutter, get rid of it. You’ll not only save the time you would have spent organizing, but also the money to buy new storage bins.
  3. Let go of one belief about who you need to be. Lean into the words of this Chinese proverb: Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are. For instance, I used to think I needed to be someone who loves to entertain. I’m just not. Letting go of that belief and all that goes with it instantly uncomplicated my life.
  4. Don’t be a drama queen. Is your life a series of melodramatic reactions? Blowing everything out of proportion is sure to complicate things. It turns the smallest slight or misstep (like the barista at Starbucks getting your favorite beverage wrong) into an injustice—to be relived and retold, over and over again. Wean yourself from acting like your life is a soap opera. The opposite of drama isn’t boring. It’s serenity.

Which of these 4 steps toward an uncomplicated life will you take today?