Simplify Your Life: Delete Unwanted Commitments


August 7, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Restrained Life
Doing what you love is the most common sense way to enjoy life more, we all know that. Removing unwanted commitments and quitting things we hate, however, isn’t as obvious.

There are lot of things that we would rather not do that we perceive as required and unavoidable, but in reality, are optional.

Just as we hold onto emotional baggage from past relationships, we also hold onto a lot of baggage from previous commitments and unwanted so-called “obligations” that are no longer relevant.

In reality, you don’t really have to:

  • Stay on the job-related committee that makes you feel important.
  • Accept every “extra project” from your boss and co-workers that makes you feel more responsible.
  • Be on the PTA or be the neighborhood block party organizer (unless you want to).
  • Hang out with the friend you only “kind of like.”

Think of how many other promises you make to people, or yourself, that you don’t really want to do, but you didn’t know how to say no. Think about all the projects and times you’ve helped other people when you really didn’t have the time and it was probably detrimental to your health to accept.

Much of this conditioning of accepting unwanted commitments comes not only from not knowing how to say no, but from living your life based on a template. If other people are doing it, that means I should too right? Well, if you just want to be another cog in the machine, be my guest.

Removing all the things from your life that you don’t want, is just as powerful as adding to it the things you love doing.

Here are 4 simple ways to find out if it’s something worth keeping:

    1. Can you remove it without becoming homeless?
      If something you’d like to take off your to-do list is quitting your dead end job, you’ll probably have to find a replacement first. There’s obviously some things we have to do to avoid serious consequences. Like paying the electricity bill. 
  • Does it make sense?
    This is one of the most important questions, but people always leave the “me” part out. They think it makes sense from a societal point of view, from the point of view of their friends, family or some institution. But if it doesn’t make sense to you, quit. Have the courage to trust your own common sense. 
  • How important is it… really.
    A lot of people justify doing things that make them unhappy because they label it as important. The fact is, keeping all your underwear and socks color coded isn’t very important if you almost have a seizure when the blue is mixed in with the pink. Seriously. 
  • Does it make you feel alive?
    Our negative responses are there for a reasons: to tell us somethings wrong. But how often do we stifle that little voice that says “why the hell do you keep doing this?” In order to create a beautiful life, we have to be honest with ourselves. Ask yourself “is this something that I really want to do?” and actually listen to the answer.

By removing all the unwanted things from our lives, we create room for new, authentic endeavors. If you feel your life becoming stale, monotonous and everything seems like a chore, you probably need to shed all the unwanted musts clinging on to you.

There are a lot of other ways we can use shedding to improve our lives. De-cluttering and organizing our workspace. Removing all old, unused and irrelevant things from our space. Shedding emotional baggage and mental clutter can be extremely liberating.

Have you ever noticed that when you clean your workspace or your home, but you don’t change your habits, in a few days or weeks it’s right back to the way it was? It’s important that we remember to fill what we left behind with joyful pursuits, otherwise the clutter and garbage will start to seep back in (just give it time, trust me).

The purpose of removing all the unwanted baggage from our life is not to create a vacuum, but to make room for things that make us feel alive.

Just think about what else you could do with all that free time.



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