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Dive into Your Life

If you've spent considerable time and energy on must do's, hunkered down in your little boat of obligations, it's time to take a plunge into the waters of letting go.

It's easy to become stuck, marooned in your routine, in your role at work, in the place you hold for others and for yourself in your personal life. It's especially easy to become stuck if you pride yourself on being responsible, if duty is a sacred word in your vocabulary.

Time for a reset.

During my coaching training and starting my practice, my eyes were opened to how much energy I was spending on overthinking my obligations. My training and subsequent experience as a coach have helped me to move to a place of less doing and more being.

Here's a list of what changed for me and could potentially change for you, too:

Differentiating a salubrious schedule from a bogged down routine

I'm a schedule and list person, which is probably what led to me becoming so anchored to my obligations. There is a fitting place, however, for a schedule in my life. As a matter of fact, the lack of a comprehensive, makes-sense schedule likely contributed to my becoming stuck in the past. I allowed myself to be tugged to whatever seemed most pressing instead of rowing to what would make me most productive and fulfilled. Does this sound familiar?

I'm now setting aside specific times for all the tasks that come with running a startup, tasks that I need to do for my extended family, tasks that are required to keep up my household. This allows me to time box the tasks, so they don't overrun my day. I'm also able to use the newfound time for creative work and healthy activities.

Clearing space for warmth

Because I had so much to do regarding what I viewed as my have-to-do's, I was beginning to feel isolated on a chilly island. A world that consists almost solely of obligations is a cold place.

Now I seek out the sun. I have some amazingly giving, kind friends whose smiles, affection, and good humor banish the chill winds. I've become more mindful about connecting with those friends and with friendly acquaintances for walks, coffee, and chats. A happy result of this mindful allocation of time also means that I'm spending less time with the people who sap the warmth.

Focusing on activities that energize

While it is satisfying to check items off your to-do list, it's really draining for that list to be never-ending. It can feel as though you're always battling against waves of chores. I found it nearly impossible to keep up my customary energy levels in that onslaught.

I've learned to pare down my list to what truly has to be done. Yes, there are loads of items that would be good to do, but are they all really necessary? And do they all have to be done right away? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding, "No."

I'm making time for play, for creative pursuits, and for people with positive energy. I'm also limiting my exposure to those who drain my energy by regulating the time spent with them and by setting better emotional boundaries.

Making time for me

During my childhood, I was encouraged to exhibit, and I was praised for what I now recognize as people pleasing qualities. As an adult, this translated to my putting everyone in my life before myself. My family, my friends, my team members, my colleagues, were all able to jump the line in my to-do list and push whatever I was planning to do for myself down in priority order. This, predictably, led to some serious burnout, resentment, and draining of my emotional and mental reserves.

You probably already know that you need to keep your own reserves full in order to be helpful to others. I've internalized this message and realized that time for myself is an investment in my own future. I make time to exercise, cook, read, and sometimes just turn off my brain. As a result, my ideas are flowing more naturally and I'm learning something new every day.

May the water be warm for you as you take your plunge into becoming unstuck.

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