One of my New Year’s goals (notice goals and NOT resolution? Read about that here) was to lighten my load in 2012. This originally was just to get rid of all the “stuff” that I had in life. I am a bit of a pack rat (overcompensation from having nothing at one point in my life) and know that I have way to much stuff. So my goal this year was to go through my “stuff” and realize what items I needed and what items were excess. I quickly realized that this needs to span more areas of my life that just my “stuff”. So I took a step back and looked at my life from an outsider. This made me realize that I have a whole bunch of excess baggage in my life, outside of just the “stuff”, that could use some purging. So I started going through my entire life, every aspect I could think of, and started making a list of things that need to be crossed off and dropped due to being excess baggage. The result has been amazing.

remove junk from your life

How To Lighten The Load In Your Life

I did this throughout every single aspect of my life. The result had such an impact, I wanted to share with everyone. Here are a few key areas that you need to look at deeply and start cutting the load.

Friends – This to me was one of the most liberating ones. I looked at the people around me and reflected on those who truly had my back through thick and thin, and those who are associated with me for alternate motives than to truly be friends. I bet you if you thought about it, you could easily figure out the people in your life like this. You have one set that will do anything for you and you would do anything for them. You text/call just say “what’s up – how ya been?”. The kind of person who will drop everything to help out, whether you just need to talk, need a tank of gas, or need a ride home after drinking to much. They are there and you can count on them. There are other friends that you have that you like hanging out with, but you don’t really trust. That do things that bug you. That don’t text you unless they need something. Friends that constantly one up you. Everyone has people like this in their life and for the most part, people don’t do anything about it. But when you consider that fact that you are the average of those who you associate with, you make think twice about even associating with those who you don’t really need. You can focus on building those relationships that mean the most, which only drives up the quality of life for yourself. You don’t need to even tell them. Just separate yourself from those who aren’t really friends and watch your life soar!

Physical Appearance – I hold a high degree in health and fitness, as well as quite a few specialty certifications. Health and Fitness is a huge aspect of my life. With that said, I have always focused on learning how to help OTHERS live a healthy and long life, mine health was never fully in check. I was never obese, but there was a point I had more than a few pounds extra. Recently, I always seem to carry 10-15 pounds more than I think I would want. My cholesterol has always been higher than normal thanks to my lovely genetics (thanks pops), and my eating habits have always been below par due to my love of the happy hour. This has all disappeared so far. I am down about 10 lbs in weight, but more importantly for me, I have cut my body fat percentage about 7 percent. I haven’t had my cholesterol check this year, but I would have to imagine it would be lower due to my adjust in diet (eating cleaner) and my drop in alcohol consumption (the toughest part of the diet for me). I have more energy that I ever had and for once, I am eating the dog food that I always tell people to eat.

Clothes -This was of the original reasons I started this quest to cut the extra baggage in my life. Like probably most people, I am not exactly a minimalist when it comes to my wardrobe. I have way to many shirts, pants, shorts, sweat pants, hats and everything else you can think of. I wear about a quarter of the clothes that I own. I realized I needed to drop this down. So I went through every single item that I had and if I hadn’t put it on in the past 2 weeks, it was gone. This left me with less clothes that I actually need. So I had to go shopping for new clothes. Before you dig on my for being counter productive, the shopping trip was NOT to refill my closet. It was meant to get me back to having the bare minimum. I had to pick item that I needed, rather than I wanted. It did exactly what I wanted to do, except now my wife feels the need to fill the empty space. : )

Work Hours – If I had a job that would let me work 24/7 and get paid for it, I would have no issues doing that. I have a tendency to throw myself into my work and work and work and work until I have to tear myself away. As an hourly employee, most people cut you off after 8 hrs. As a salary employee, the more hours you work, the less you make hourly. I know how much my time is worth, and as a salary employee, working long hours means a low value overall. So I started planning my time, finding ways to be more productive, and started getting more done in less time. This allowed me to start working a legit 8 hour day and earn my true value as an employee. Of course, there are days/deadlines that require longer hours, but simply applying my time better allowed me to cut my work hours overall.

Projects – At any given time, I have about 5-6 personal projects that I am working on. And that is on top of the 2-3 PAID projects that I have pending for my freelance web work that I do. Needless to say, my personal projects usually get started with quite a bit of momentum, then quickly die for the paid projects I have (because I make real money on those). Then I get another idea and start rolling with that. I literally have about 20 of the best half finished projects just sitting around the web. I know this had to change. So I invested in a moleskin notebook to write down all my ideas, and I was going to do them, ONE by ONE. Not half of one, by half of one, by half of one. I was going to take one, implement it till it was COMPLETE, then move onto the next one. To my surprise, by doing this, my productivity on my projects has skyrocketed simply because I no longer am running around like a mad man trying to finish 300 projects. And even more to my surprise, because I can focus on my paid projects better, that aspect of my little side business has actually increased as well (I actually am turning people down because I simply don’t have the bandwidth to get all the projects done).

Everyone has a tendency to carry some sort of baggage around in their life. I don’t care who you are, you know this is true, and if you think it isn’t, you are lying to yourself. Sit and reflect on your life and what you have, what you need, and what you can cut. There is always room to cut a few items, people, or whatever else is bogging you down. Remove the junk and watch your live soar!

Here is to cutting the fat in your life…

Zach