So far in this series we've talked about decluttering your inbox, the joy we can find when we are more conscious of our choices, and today we're chatting about decluttering our minds.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of what is on your self-improvement list? This time of year, those things might look like resolutions. If you're the introspective or ambitious sort, your lists might be quite long - and consequently overwhelming - which often translates to paralysis.
I'm convinced that most New Year's Resolutions could be kept if we could just master one question. Does keeping only one concept as your focus for a week sound like a welcome way to declutter your mind (and still have your resolutions keep themselves by proxy) sound good?
Ok, here's the magic.
Ask yourself before any decision/action “What would my future-self be glad that I did?”
I'll share a recent scenario in my life to explain what that might look like: I was headed out on my morning walk - running behind - anxious to get out the door, but I hadn't yet made the bed. The easy thing to do would be to ignore it and continue out on my walk. But I asked myself the magic question, and my future-self (i.e. me, when I got back home) would be super glad that I made the bed because the last thing I want when exhausted is to be faced with un-done morning chores. So, I took the time to make it, and post-walk me was truly delighted that I had!
Another scenario: I'm prepping for dinner mid-day. The easy thing would be to toss my used dishes in the sink, throw the ingredients haphazardly back in the fridge and cabinets, and rush back to my loaded to-do list. But when I ask what my future-self (i.e. me, later in the evening) would appreciate, I take the time to place the ingredients carefully back in their places and wash up the dishes so that in the evening I can enjoy my crockpot meal and a clean kitchen with nothing to do but eat and relax.
I ask myself this question probably 100x per day - for things as small as taking 5 extra seconds to place a box where it actually goes in the attic instead of just leaving it at the top of the ladder to deal with later, to as big as wrestling with a major home improvement decision. From reshaping the toothpaste tube so the next person to use it doesn't have to struggle, to choosing how to automate an investment plan.
This little question can bring clarity to almost any situation and help empower you to focus more on the big picture instead of drowning in a million different resolutions and the resulting discouragement of an unattainable list of ways to create better habits.
Is this a question you use as a tool in your life? If not, will you give it a try?