There’s a saying that to get what you want in life, you first have to be able to let go of what you don’t.
It’s called making space, and it’s about so much more than just emptying out your spare closet.
When your mind and body and home and social life are filled with nonsense that keeps you small and stuck, it’s no wonder that you aren’t able to accomplish the goals you want. All of your energy is going toward thwarting troubling thoughts and just getting through the day.
If you want 2019 to be the year that you seriously make a change in your life, you’re going to have to take action to back that up. Here’s where you can start.
Day 1: Remove anyone who is influencing your voice on social media.
When people post online, they very often only speaking to one or two people. In fact, many people take and upload photos with the express intent of getting a reaction from someone specific.
This is not an innocuous behavior. This is warping your voice and controlling your life. The first thing you need to do is remove anyone who influences you not to be your authentic self. That might mean blocking, unfollowing, muting, or simply choosing to post while thinking of someone who you aren’t trying to earn love or attention from.
Day 2: Put 100 things in a trash bag and throw it out.
You might not think you have 100 things to throw away, but you most definitely do. Also, when you think you have to throw something away, you’ll be surprised at what you’re more willing to toss.
This will start the decluttering process. Do it again if you still think you have more to throw out. Remember: this is not for donating or recycling, this is simply about items in your home that are genuinely trash and you cannot do anything else with.
Day 3: Pick what’s important.
Play a game with yourself: imagine you have to leave your home for an extended trip — a year or longer — and you can only bring with you the contents of one suitcase or box.
Go to your closet and pick out your most essential clothing pieces, the things you couldn’t live without. Stack in there any electronics you need, your favorite books, paperwork that you need to save or sentimental items you wouldn’t want to leave behind.
These are the things that you actually care about. These are the things you should keep in your life. From here, you can start purging anything you don’t really need.
For example, come up with a capsule wardrobe by pretending your “on vacation” at your home, and use 10 pieces of clothing as creatively as you can. This will ensure that you’re actually using what you have instead of continuing to consume and consume.
Day 4: Make a money move.
Do one of the following:
– Make an advance payment toward a bill.
– Pay off a credit card.
– Look into consolidation loans to refinance larger debts, like student loans, or multiple outstanding credit cards.
– Put $500 in savings.
– Open a new savings account, and put any small amount of money in it.
– Find a side hustle to help you accomplish any one of the above items.
Day 5: Write down your goals.
Write down on a piece of paper exactly what you want to accomplish in 2019. Post it somewhere you can see it every single day.
Day 6: Commit to accepting something about yourself.
Amid all the talk of growth and change, it’s important to remember that sometimes, the most significant thing we can do for ourselves is practice radical acceptance. Decide you will commit to accepting just one thing about who you are or how you look. Just one. If you can commit to this genuinely, over time, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to accept other parts of yourself, too.
Day 7: Clean up your online presence.
Go through your profiles and archive photos you don’t want to be public, unfriend people who are only stressing you out, and remove any stray tweets or posts you wouldn’t want others seeing.
We all make mistakes online, and we all post things that we look back on and cringe about. But it’s our responsibility to make sure that the way we come across is how we want to be known. After all, your digital presence is akin to your résumé now.
Day 8: Get a journal and a water bottle.
In that journal, commit to writing what you are grateful for, and what you are grateful for only.
Writing what you are thankful for increases what you will have to be thankful for. It is like making a commitment with the universe. When all you do is write about your problems and what you’re unhappy about, you’re likewise making a written agreement to perpetuate the issues.
Instead of mulling over what you dislike, write down what the opposite of that would be. Write down what you would like to feel, have and experience, as though it is already happening.
… And drink more water, you’ll feel better.
Day 9: Delete old numbers out of your phone.
There are some people you don’t need to be in contact with, and you know who they are. Keep the contacts of only those you actually want to communicate with in the future.
Day 10: Shred unnecessary paperwork.
Go through your files and shred old leases, bills, or anything that you don’t need. Then make digital backups of anything that is really important, and neatly organize what you want or need to keep. Bonus points if you can invest in a safe, or some other kind of fireproof lock box.
Day 11: Create a new organizational system in your home.
If you can never find your keys, set up a place by the door where you can place your bag, keys, wallet, and shoes every day. If your papers are always a mess, make a physical inbox at your desk in which you can store everything you still have to sort through.
Day 12: Unsubscribe from every email that distracts you.
A dozen promotional emails from your favorite stores each day is doing very little for your productivity and bank account. There are apps you can use to help you unsubscribe to these types of emails en masse.
Day 13: Get to inbox 0.
Go through and delete every single email that you don’t need, and respond to every single one that you do. What happens when your inbox is cluttered is you ultimately end up missing important messages that get pushed to the very bottom of your queue.
Day 14: Check your credit card statement and see what you’re subscribed to.
If you only use one TV streaming service, unsubscribe from another. Make sure you’re not mindlessly receiving automated deodorant, makeup boxes, shaving kits and god-knows-what-else that you don’t even want or need. You’ll end up saving a good bit of money that way.
Day 15: Turn off your push notifications.
Do you know who doesn’t need to receive a notification every single time someone “likes” one of your Instagram photos? You. That’s who. And nobody else does, either.
Turn off any notifications that aren’t absolutely essential. You can check your email manually a few times a day if you must… but being alerted every single time something hits your inbox is a huge time-killer.
Day 16: Mute the group text during the day.
Yes, you want to stay in touch with your friends. No, you don’t need to be responding to them 24/7. Don’t be afraid to use the temporary silencing feature, and then get back to them on your break.
Day 17: Automate your savings.
If putting away large sums of money at a time isn’t feasible for you (or you just don’t like it) download an app like Qapital, which rounds up everything you purchase from your checking account up to the next dollar and transfers the cents to a separate savings account. You end up saving a lot of money without really ever feeling it.
Day 18: Paint a wall.
If you’re able, put a fresh coat of paint on a wall you see often. Maybe apply wallpaper, or make it a color that makes you feel really good. It’s a small task, but it will make you feel a lot better.
Day 19: Get new sheets.
Make sure your bed is somewhere clean and safe, somewhere you want to retreat to each night to kick up your feet and totally relax.
Day 20: Replace one toxic item from your home or hygiene routine.
There are harmful chemicals in pretty much everything you use to clean your home or yourself, so commit to shifting one thing at a time. Maybe invest in a safer dish detergent, or shop for a lotion that’s organic and vegan.
Day 21: Get a points credit card.
If you do use a credit card (and trust yourself to make sure you pay it off in full every single month) definitely invest in one that will help you in the long-run. If you like to travel, get an airline credit card, and process all of your bills and expenses through it each month. It could very well mean you take your next vacation for free.
Day 22: Do a deep clean of one room in your space or your car.
Vacuum, scrub and make at least one space that you regularly spend time in as clean as possible. It will make you feel better already.
Day 23: Decide what you value and won’t skimp on.
In all the talk of purging and saving and spending less, it can often feel like you’re only figuring out ways to do less and be less. The truth is that you have to figure out what you value, and what you want to invest in.
The first financial advice you often hear are things like: “Stop buying coffee every morning!” but if your morning coffee is a true source of joy and contentment for you (and you’re not really going to stop buying it anyway) decide instead another area of your life — maybe fast fashion, maybe throw pillows you don’t really like — that you’re willing to do without, and limit that budget instead.
Day 24: Sort through your knick-knacks.
If you have an item from a trip that you love and don’t want to live without, it should be on your shelf. If you have a dozen things from HomeGoods that you don’t really care about and only end up cluttering your space, let them go.
Day 25: Delete old text message threads.
It will free up space on your phone… and it’s cathartic if nothing else. (Curve your itch to scroll through anything that would be triggering, though.)
Day 26: Clean out your music library.
If your Spotify library is filled with random songs you don’t listen to, remove them and start following new playlists and utilizing the explore feature. Give yourself a chance to find new things you didn’t even know you liked.
Day 27: Make peace with one person in your life.
Choose one person who you have a heavy resentment toward, one that at least somewhat impacts you on a day-to-day basis (this applies even if you’ve cut off contact with them).
Every time you think of them, say the following to yourself (or out loud, if possible): “I thank them, and I wish them joy and health.”
By wishing them well over and over again, you actually free yourself of all the negative attachments you had. If they hurt you, seeking revenge will not ease your pain. Wishing them well and committing to living without resentment or heaviness will.
Day 28: Stop doing one thing you do only because other people say you should.
Maybe it’s the book club you don’t like and never want to go to. Maybe it’s coloring your hair. Either way, pick one thing that you don’t really like to do but engage in only because you are afraid of what others would say if you didn’t.
Day 29: Take ownership of a flaw.
Instead of trying to minimize your flaws and shortcomings (which isn’t a bad practice) instead try to embrace one. Lean into how you look or that one quirk or preference you can’t get past. Take a photo and share it and explain why you’re choosing to love this part of you, even if you think nobody else does or would.
Day 30: Have a burning ceremony.
If you have an outdoor space in which you can make a fire, write down on pieces of paper what you’re choosing to let go of from this year. Drop it into the fire (or rip it up, if you aren’t able to burn it) and release it forever. It’s better if you do this with friends, and then you can share with one another what you’re ready to let go of. When you’re done, write down what feelings and experiences are going to take the place of what you’ve released.