Also known as, How to De-clutter Your Mind and Your Life.

I was talking with a really good friend of mine the other day when I noticed an odd look on her face. She looked almost war-worn. Like some fight had been raging on in her mind until it finally broke free of it’s mental constraints, leaked into her eyes and etched a thin lipped smile across her mouth. She continued on with her story as flamboyant as ever, but it didn’t hold the same appeal to me, because I knew the truth; something was horribly wrong.

For the sake of the story I will give her a name, but for her sake it will not be her true name; I will call her, Amber.

“Amber,” I said, “What’s wrong?”
“Sweetie, I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Please, it is written on your face. What gives?”

And that is when she broke down, confessing to me all of her woes. I resolved that moment to take matters into my own hands and to put the resolution into hers: a simple list.

“Look at me.” I said. “Tell me, in one word answers, general, but not vague, what has been bothering you.”
And she did.
This is what we came up with (in no particular order).

1. Health

2. Money

3. Relationship

4. Discipline Skills

5. Cleaning

6. Anxiety

7. Depression

8. Weight

After that we sat down for a good hour discussing smaller, more specific things that fell into each category and how to resolve those issues.

For Health some of the ideas were: Take at least a multivitamin a day, drink more water, drink less soda, healthier snack options, and so on.

For Money some things we came up with were: Coupons, Less junk food, buy less purses and shoes, price shopping/sales, set aside fun money-money for food-money for clothes, and so on.

We just kept breaking things down until each item on the list had at least three resolutions to it.

Amber took a step back and looked at the list and automatically I could see tears welling up in her eyes.

“I felt overwhelmed as it is and now this! Look at all of those things to do! I will never be able to finish all of them. There are just too many!”

“Amber, the purpose of this list was not to stress you out. Look at this. This list, these words are the answers to all of your problems. You can’t tackle it all at once. So, stop looking at it as if you have to! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Think of the Great Wall of China. Think of how vast that structure is. They didn’t accomplish all of that in one day, one week or ever one year. They built it brick by brick, one piece at a time. That is how you will solve your problems. One piece of this list, one suggestion at a time. Don’t think about the future. Just focus on this moment and what you are doing now to solve things.”

After that we put the list aside and watched a little TV to relax. When her Fiancée came back from his walk she smiled at me and went out on the porch to greet him. What I didn’t know at the time was that she was giving him the list. That night they cuddled and smiled all night. It was the greatest thanks I could have ever gotten.

To sum things up here is a summarized explanation of how to de-clutter your life and your mind.

Things you will need: A pen or pencil and paper (or a computer, or laptop)

To start off make a numbered list of what is bothering you (in general terms), leaving some space between each one.
Next, Look at the first item on your list and come up with at least three resolutions to solve this issue.

Ex) Overweight: Drink more water and less soda/juice, walk around neighborhood for at least half an hour (add ankle weights later), and snack on apples or other fresh fruit instead of chips.

Continue doing the same action for each number on the list.
After that hang up your list and pick one resolution (doesn’t matter if it is from the beginning, middle or end) and tackle it.

Ex) “This week I am going to skip soda and juice and drink water instead”

And that is it! Don’t be upset if results don’t come your way right away. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were you. Stay positive, stay active and always, ALWAYS remember, the only thing stopping you…is you.

-Bodhi

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