Now that the holiday season is over, we find ourselves at the beginning of a fresh new year. It is an optimal time to evaluate how we are progressing on important goals and changes that we would like to make in our lives.
While this might initially sound like a call to action to add more things into our lives, what we might focus on instead is an examination of what we likely have too much of and not enough of other things that really matter.
Re-Evaluate Your Commitments
Have you been too busy over the last year and missed out on precious time with loved ones? Have you bee stuck in the rat race? Could you start saying “no” to certain commitments so that you can joyfully say “yes” to spending time with the friends and family members who matter most to you and for having the time available for recharging yourself?
Over-commitments can be a major source of stress and exhaustion in our lives as we strive to keep everyone else happy, but in the process, we don’t get the rest and the downtime that we need for our own well-being. The result is that we aren’t who we could be for the commitments that we do choose because we are so burned out.
Re-Evaluate the ‘Stuff’ That You Own
A large part of the reason why our lives are so complicated and stressed out today is because many of us are trying to maintain a lifestyle that society tells us we should be living. We are told that we need to have this car, or that house, go on that vacation, wear those clothes, or own the latest electronic gadget. As a result, many of us are deeply in debt, and working really hard just to pay the bills, barely financially keeping up each month.
Much of this is a result of deriving our self-worth and happiness from what we own rather than from who we are and what we can offer to the world. It is very useful to evaluate what we own and our lifestyles, and to determine what our true values are. Is owning a boat or an expensive home worth all of the high payments and stress that go with them? Could you emotionally let go and sell some of your things to help pay off debt and move closer to a debt-free lifestyle?
Is “stuff” more important to you than free time or time spent with your loved ones? Often, what we believe will bring happiness and freedom actually leads to more debt and servitude to credit card and loan companies.
Are Your Goals in Line With Your True Values?
What are the things that are truly the most important to you? Are you actually pursuing the things that aren’t that important instead of the things that are? Sometimes we must make choices to let go of certain things and activities that aren’t serving our true values. If this is you, then consider what you could focus on instead in the year ahead.
Are You Suffering from Spiritual Anemia?
With all of our striving and doing on a daily basis, are we forgetting to recharge our spirits and souls? For many of us, our true values, how we perceive ourselves, and our relationships with others are all an extension of what we believe spiritually.
Ultimately, if what we are doing isn’t serving our spirits and we suffer from a lack of focus on the things that are greater than ourselves, then we can be out of alignment with our life’s purpose and our need for spiritual connection.
The Bible references how God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. Not only is having a day of rest each week important for us physically, but it is also good for us emotionally as well as spiritually. When we miss out on a day of rest each week, we will likely suffer in one or more of these areas.
Cultivating intentional spiritual practices, such as starting each day with a focus on gratitude, or spending some daily time in prayer or meditation, can help us to realign with our greater purpose and make clearer to us how we should best use the precious time, energy and talents that we have available to us.
By giving up some of the things that are cluttering our lives and by shifting our focus to be more in line with our true values, we can begin to live a simpler life by intention. We will then have the room in our lives for what many of us endlessly strive for in our messy and busy modern lives: balance, rest, joy and the satisfaction that we are focusing on the things that truly matter, such as making investments in the lives of those that we love and in making a difference in the world.
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