Relationships: Are You Tending To The Right Ones?

Take a quick mental inventory of the relationships in your life. Go ahead, I will wait. You might even begin to automatically rank them from people you care most about down to people you care least about. If you did not, go ahead and do this too. This doesn’t have to be perfect, a rough estimate will do.

Okay, now think about the time you spend on these relationships in your life. Where does the majority of your time and energy fall? Obviously, those at the top of your ranking are given the most amount of time and effort because you value them the most.

How often do we actually give the people we love and cherish the most the commitment from us that they deserve? They should be getting the best of us, not just what’s left at the end of the day. You may have noticed that you do not live close to a lot of the people you value highly, so how much time do you spend fostering that connection and staying in touch? I would guess that it is not as much time as you wish you were.

We are constantly trying to please others and “look good”, whether that’s in our friend circle or at work. We jump through hoops to impress people we probably do not even like that much. We want to be liked by others, but at what cost? Sometimes, we bend over backwards just to please the people that do not even rank highly on our lists. We give and give and hope that it “pays off for us in the end.” But does it? How often do we fight as hard and do as much for the people we claim to love the most? This discrepancy only causes the relationships we value the most to suffer. Over worked, over stressed, and just over it when we come home to our loved ones at the end of the day.

Some of you have probably made this realization a long time ago and have already changed your life for the better. Others are probably having a light bulb moment here or at the very least a glow of an idea is beginning to form.

I am not saying that you should suddenly start being mean to these people in your life that take up most of your time but you value the least. However, I am saying that you should take a good, hard look at your relationships and honestly figure out if your energy, effort, and time are going to the right people.

This is not a change that will happen overnight. It will be slow and sometimes painful. This is a decision that you need to make and then do the work to make it happen. It may not even be possible to stop using your time with people low on your ranking but you can change how much effort and energy you are putting into that relationship.

My Husband: A Relationship I Deeply Value

Things that may help you transition:

Keep a relationship-time journal and figure out who you are spending all of your time on. Note if this time allotment is what you want or not with these people.

Make a list of the things you wish you were doing in your relationships. Things like date nights, phone conversations, emails, and letters. Whatever it is you want to be doing in the relationships you care about the most.

Start the change of transitioning your time more towards the things you wish you were doing in your relationships and less towards the relationships you do not want to foster so deeply.

Time to re-prioritize your relationships my friends, but for the better. If you have already started doing this in your life, what things helped you make this change the most? What were some of the hardest parts of the transition?

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Hello 2018: Setting New Intentions

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! You may have already set your goals or resolutions for 2018, regardless I encourage you to read on anyway for some food for thought.

Top New Year’s Resolutions

These may sound familiar: to lose weight, save money, enjoy life, spend more time with family and friends, get organized, break a bad habit, eat better, sleep more, travel more, etc. Sometimes we even make the same New Year’s statements year after year after year. What is stopping us from achieving our goals? When we make these stand up announcements, we believe that they will just happen magically without anything else changing. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

I am fairly certain Sammy’s New Year’s Resolutions are always to play with toys and sleep!

The Question Waterfall

Let’s take a closer look. We make some grandiose statement that usually answers the main following question:

What do I want to accomplish?

Then we leave it at that. We boldly claim this as our goal and off we go. In actuality there is a waterfall of underlying questions that also need to be considered if we want to find success.

How would you go about doing that?

How much time would that take?

Where are you willing to take that time that you need from?

How much will it cost, this could be financial or otherwise?

What are you willing to decrease spending on or change to pay for this?

 Common Resolution Example

I want to lose weight! Well, I guess that would mean I need to eat better or eat less and probably exercise more. Wow, that seems like a daily life adjustment when you really think about it. Does this mean no more weekly happy hour drinks and appetizers with my friends? What about Friday Donut Day at work? The list goes on.

Truth be told, you may not have to completely give up your habits and buy a costly gym membership to accomplish this goal, however, it will take some serious consideration and planning on your part. And that my friends is where we tend to go wrong. The follow through. You can still go to happy hour but maybe you change your typical order. To avoid donut Friday at work you could go to the gym at that time. Even small changes like parking further away and using the stairs instead of the elevator will add up over time. No matter what though, there needs to be a plan!

All Hope is Not Lost

I am not saying that you cannot achieve your goals, I just want to outline why I feel that we make these grandiose statements that quickly fade into the night. Clearly the resolution that you came up with is something you care about and would like to happen in your life, but you did not consider the ripple effect it would cause in your life. After careful consideration you may decide the tradeoff is not worth it or that it is SO WORTH IT! The decision is yours alone.

How to Find Freedom

In my life delving deeper and deeper into minimalism, frugality, and mindfulness a lot of space has opened up and it becomes easier and easier to move towards my real goals. That being said, it can still be a difficult transition to peel away all of the excess. Not all of what gets removed is inherently bad. However, it may not be worth it overall in the grand scheme of what you want to really accomplish to keep certain things in your life.

Here are some other ways that I suggest approaching the blank slate of the New Year:

Daily journaling may be a helpful and insightful way to sort through your life and feelings. This alone is a big commitment, yet I have found it to be an indispensable tool in sorting through where I am now and where I would like to be.

Getting rid of the old instead of piling on more new. Schedules tend to be jam packed to the point of exhaustion with no room to breathe, let alone think. Instead of giving yourself more things to accomplish, try getting rid of some of the things in your life that are weighing you down. These could be commitments or tangible things or spending habits.

Choose a word or mantra to live by for the year. Let that be your guide in the New Year. Some that come to mind are: “Health” “Calm” “Well-Being” Self-Care” etc. Everyday use that word or mantra to aid in all of your decisions. For example if you word is health, maybe you order water instead of a sugar beverage for a change.

Frame the year in a different light: What do I want to look back on and have accomplished in 2018? Imagine yourself snuggled up in December 2018 and going through the questions in last week’s post but only answering them about the previous year. What do you want it to look like?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! What intentions are you setting for 2018?

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