Do you say yes to things that don’t matter?

Do you say no to things that do matter?


I’ve been playing around with the ideas of “yes” and “no” a lot lately. I’ve been saying yes a lot to things that don’t help me make progress on my goals, and I’ve had a terrible time saying no.

Saying No to the things that matter, and saying Yes to things that keep us busy. Before I knew it, I was a busy bee, doing … busy-bee things. Pointless things. Things with no direction or purpose.

Without priorities, we can’t build our habits. Without goals, purpose, and direction, we can’t cultivate our daily thinking and actions.

How can we change these habits? By breaking them, slowly. Habits take a long time to form and take an equally long time to unwind.

Before we can know where to go, we have to know what we want.

Before we can know what we want, we have to slow down. And listen.

30 days of less.

And so I’m trying to re-boot. I’m re-formatting my machine.

I’m currently undergoing the worker’s version of a retreat. I can’t take the month-long hiatus from work that I’ve been dreaming of, so instead, I’m doing an experiment: 30 days of less.

My retreat will happen in-house, at-work, in the days that follow.  This month, I’ve given up or significantly reduced several things that seem to be taking up space and time in my life.  In particular, these are things that are cultivating bad habits, or preventing me from achieving the larger goals that I have in my life.

The first 10 days I am taking a digital hiatus to reduce the distractions around me and focus on three things: wrapping up the 2010 year and reflecting, revising my bucket list and life-list of goals, and putting together a calendar and thoughts for the year to come: 2011.  (And perhaps I also spent some time starting my new e-book and dreaming and scheming up new projects!)

If you’d like to join me in a month of less, here’s my commitment:


Less wine. Less alcohol. My original plan is to go 30 days without any at all (and really, that shouldn’t be too hard), but I’ve been cautioned by several wise friends to start small and build up rather than try to tackle anything huge all at once. So the goal is less. And my target goal is 5 non-drinking days and 2 choice days each week (whereby I can continue to choose not to drink if I so desire).

No coffee (good lord). I’ve got the jitters. Luckily, I already started and so the worst is over (good-bye, headaches!)

No car (WHAT?) I’m in the midst of a big debate (with myself, mostly) about whether or not to sell my car. Yes, my new car. So, to test it out, I’m leaving it at work for the next 30 days and taking the bus instead.

Less (or NO) TV. I’m not a big fan of TV – I think it’s a waste of time and sucks you into other people’s stories, rather than creating your own stories – and so I’m going to try to live more carefully and watch less TV (I currently watch about 4 hours of TV per week.)

I’m doing this to stretch, to learn, to grow. To find out what’s a habit and what’s a necessity. And, above all, saying no to some things means that I say yes to the things that matter.

And I’m saying yes.

Yes to writing.
Yes to reading, slowly.
Yes to sleeping and resting.
Yes to being better at my job.
Yes to more yoga, and more reflection.

The journey started a week ago. My patience is already tried, occasionally. But I’m finding a lot of solace in the spaces I now have available. I’m thinking clearer, already, and I absolutely LOVE it.

I have so many notes to share with all of you.  It’s as though the more space I make for writing, the more easily I can do it – and the more I want to do it. Abundance grows when you give it space.

What follows are the Lessons from Less – I’ve broken these lessons into a short post for each, so you (and I) can savor them a bit.