Let's look at the same process we use to clean out a closet to help us clean up our act -
Think about the piles you might make as you pull your stuff out of that closet:
Get Rid of It
Did you find that jacket that never fit? The orange set of towels you keep thinking you'll use at Halloween? How about that fondu pot from 1980? When you start with the resolve to get that closet cleaned up, you pull these out, take a good look, maybe have a good laugh and then put them in the Get Rid Of It pile.
Same goes for a habit or behavior that you don't need - look directly at that behavior like it's that fondu pot staring back at you. Don't flinch and don't distract yourself. If you know you don't need to eat that bag of chips at 10pm, Get Rid of That Behavior! Give those chips to your neighbor with ten 10-year olds at her house for a birthday party. Are you hanging on to an old behavior that you no longer need or can afford? Give it away with the cassette deck.
I don't need to hit the snooze alarm three times. I found that I don't need to use it at all. That behavior is now in the Got Rid of It pile so I can afford to give away my alarm clock too.
Sometimes we find something useful in the closet that we forgot about. If you find an umbrella that still works, well you don't need it everyday so that goes in the (sometimes) Something Useful pile. The trick here is to not only save it, but to put it in a place where you'll remember it and use it!
When it comes to our habits, this might look like paying our bills (on time), putting out the garbage, cleaning behind the appliances or buying a card (for our favorite relative that's not on Facebook).
Wow - This is Cool!
The Wow - This is Cool pile includes stuff you forgot you had but are so glad you found again; so glad, in fact that you'll start using it again right away. This stuff is useful and meaningful and you can't even remember why you tucked it away - so hooray! It's found and back in circulation.
How does this look in our habitual life? Well it might be discovering the joy of talking to a friend that you lost track of or realizing that you were happier when you jogged four times a week. It could be resurrecting a long-forgotten yoga routine or a recipe that makes you feel good and is good for you too. "Wow - that's cool" and I even have the ingredients!
Don't Need it and No One Else Does Either
This covers the stuff we find that has no value to anyone - the don't put it in a yard sale, don't give it to a charity, don't put it on the curb with a 'Free' sign on it pile . . . it's junk and belongs in the garbage.
This includes stuff that's broken and unrepairable, is so old that there are no replacement parts, or is dangerous.
Ok, so here goes - when we have behaviors that are not worth repairing (as in a habit that has no redeeming value to our life) or that comes from long, long ago with zero benefit, or - drum roll here - is DANGEROUS, these behaviors belong in the chuck it pile. Rationalizing any of these is a con game waged against ourselves. Be brave, be honest, hold yourself to the standard you know you deserve, hire a coach or if it's an addiction or therapeutic issue, get proper help.
We all know the obvious, illegal and addictive ones, but don't forget the less obvious like chronic blaming, shaming, yelling, tantrums, manipulative pouting, gossiping, being chronically late or making others guess when our nasty stuff will show up. It's up to each of us, to look at our own stuff and want to clean it up.
So do you want to do some tossing? Let's clean up our act and a nasty closet too while we're at it!
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