Eliminate the messes in life

One of the biggest messes people do not realize they have is simply having too much stuff.

by Carol Holm — 

A mess is anything that drains your energy and distracts you from what is truly important in life. It could include having an excessive amount of clutter in your home or on your property, a relationship that does not work, problems you have worked on repeatedly but never seem to solve, or projects you started and never finished.

One of the biggest messes people do not realize they have is simply having too much stuff. Having a lot of stuff requires storage, maintenance and baby sitting. Think about your life for a minute; do any of your belongings need repair? Are you in a broken relationship that should be ended gracefully? Do you have financial problems that are eating you up inside? Whatever it may be, most people have unresolved problems that they fight, instead of working toward their ideal future.

Start getting rid of the alligators by making a list of each mess you want to clear out. Then simply fix it, finish it, clean it up or get rid of it.

Clean up your surroundings

Do your spring cleaning and get rid of everything you do not use. This unnecessary stuff takes a lot of energy to store, as well as uses up a lot of precious space. Go through your drawers, closets and particularly your basement and storage units. If you have not used something in the past 12 months, consider getting rid of it. You can throw it away, have a garage sale or give it to charity.

From there, make a list of all necessary repairs around your home and yard. If you cannot fix them, hire someone. Finally, look at the projects you have started but have not completed. It could be the photo album that will house your family pictures or the unfinished basement that could give your family more usable space. Whatever the project is, make the decision either to scrap it so you do not feel guilty every time you look at it or finish it so you can enjoy its benefits.

Clean up your finances

Out-of-control finances are one of the most common causes for sleepless nights. If this is one of your messes, you need to find a way to get on top of it. Start by keeping track of how you spend your money. For one month, write down every cent you spend, including the cup of coffee at Starbucks® and the pack of gum at the convenience store. This will help you get a handle on where your money is going. Next, set a budget and stick to it.

If you have debts, make a list of each one, along with the payment and payoff amount. Pay off the smallest debt first and then use that monthly payment to double up on the next debt; keep doing this until you are debt-free. Finally, create a savings account for emergencies and smaller purchases so that you can remain debt-free.

Clean up your relationships

Relationships are complex, and it is easy to offend or be offended. If a relationship is broken and it is not worth keeping, then end it gracefully. If it is worth keeping, do what it takes to mend it. That may require allowing people to be who they are and changing your expectations of them.

It is also good to remember that people need to solve their own problems. When you take over someone else’s problems, you are basically saying that you do not think they are capable of handling it themselves. For their sake and yours, do not allow other people to give their messes to you.

Remember, anything that drains your energy and keeps you from achieving your goals is a mess. Figure out what your messes are and put them on a list of things to clean up. Life tends to create messes — it is practically inevitable — so I recommend making it a habit to add the new messes to your list and deal with them right away. This way you will not let the alligators pile up while you are trying to drain the swamp.


Carol Holm is a financial advisor for Carol Holm Financial, and author of Take the Lid Off: Unleashing Your Unlimited Potential. www.takethelidoffbook.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 3, June/July 2012.

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