Add the Habit of Subtraction!

We are in the midst of a very fun and festive time of year. It is a time to enjoy parties with co-workers and see family and friends that we don’t get to see every day. We get to go shopping to try to find just the right gift for the people we care about. Some very enjoyable things are added to our calendars this time of year, but one thing we rarely consider is subtraction.

Just recently, I spent time talking to an amazing women who’s schedule had become crazy busy. She had a family member who was dealing with some health issues, and therefore, was very dependent on her. She had to add many things to her schedule for a few months and she was starting to feel the stress. We talked about this idea of subtracting something during this time to alleviate some of the pressure she was feeling. When she gave herself permission to subtract, she felt immediate relief.

Life is always demanding more of us, wouldn’t you agree? It is rare that someone says to you “you have done so much, I want to give you a break from doing more.” That statement almost made me laugh out loud! No, the opposite is true. More than likely, if you have been successful in an area of your life, people are more than likely to ask you to do more, and more, and more, not less. While that is a nice complement to your hard work and abilities, there has to be a point where we stop adding. We all want to live a great life, and we have all been in that place where we were so busy that life was far from great.

I want to not only give you permission to start subtracting things out of your schedule, I want to tell you that it is right and healthy. Just as we accept more responsibility when asked, my heart for all of us is to get in the habit of saying “I have agreed to add, now what am I going to subtract?” It would be even better to get into the habit of subtracting before we commit to something new. To say to ourselves “In order for me to take on this new project, what will I need to subtract to allow myself to continue to live a great life?”

During the holidays we do not think twice about adding more, it’s the hustle and bustle of December right? Yes, it is. I encourage you to take a few minutes to look at your calendar and ask yourself where there are a few places you can subtract. Can you take off a half day from work? Can you postpone an evening meeting, giving yourself and everyone else involved a break? Can you block off a “snow day” one of your weekends allowing you and your family to have time together? Whatever it is, an amazing habit to add to your life is to learn how to subtract.

Here’s to trying our best to live a great life, adding amazing things, and subtracting the others!

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