**This piece is a guest post from Katrina Gleason, the founder of Katrina Gleason Coaching.**
Think of your life as a garden.
For a garden to survive, plants need the basic necessities, such as water, sunlight, and solid rooting. But for each plant to thrive, it needs space and an abundance of nutrients. If you prepare a small garden and pack it full of seeds, none of the plants grow very well. They compete for resources and tear each other down. The same concept applies to your life. When you have too many ‘plants’ in your ‘garden’, they rival each other for your precious time and energy. You end up with unhealthy plants and depleted soil. However, if you were to select specific plants and spread them out in your garden, they will all thrive! Examine the three areas of your life below. You get to choose which plants should stay and which plants aren’t the right fit for your garden.
We all have toxic people in our lives. Forcing yourself to interact with those who make you constantly unhappy is a waste of your time and theirs. You could be investing that time into so many different endeavors. Why spend special moments with a person or group that makes you miserable?
If you’re feeling guilty about distancing yourself from someone, please consider this. Do you add more value to the world by being around them? If not, there’s a good chance you’re far more irritable and negative after spending time together. It isn’t fair to the people closest to you when you take this negative energy out on them.
Human connection is powerful and it should never be taken lightly. Find the friends that mean the most to you and invest in them with your time and energy. There is always a give and take in friendship, but when someone is only taking and never giving, you need to examine your relationship.
We all have commitments. Whether these commitments are to people, companies, or organizations, everyone is constantly taking on MORE. The best way I can illustrate this is with my own story.
For years I had been a teacher at my church’s Wednesday night program. My schedule was already packed with work and courses I was taking, but I signed up anyway because I had done so in the past. I felt obligated, even though no one was making me do it. The first evening, I had no time to prepare and I was so frazzled that something enjoyable became a very stressful night. At the end of my lesson, I decided I couldn’t teach on Wednesday nights anymore.
I felt like a failure for not being able to uphold my commitment, but when I really thought it through, the problem wasn’t letting go; the problem was saying yes in the first place. My initial reaction was that this would just be another plate to spin. If I’d just listened to myself from the start, it would have saved everyone involved a lot of stress.
If your commitments are draining you then do what you have to do to let them go. Have those tough conversations, I promise it will all be worth it. And next time someone asks you to make a commitment, big or small, go with your gut on accepting. You don’t owe anyone a yes.
We all have bad habits. Most of us are 100% aware of unhealthy habits, yet choose to do nothing about them. Look at your habits and pinpoint the ones that don’t serve you well. Maybe your bad habits are drinking too much, overeating, sleeping in late, binge watching Netflix, or playing mindless games on your phone; these habits have consequences! They STEAL your time and energy. It’s easy to view these as no big deal, but they are the weeds of your garden. You can never get back the hours wasted on silly endeavors, but you can change your habits so that you make the most of the time you have left.
I recommend replacing these bad habits with new, better, and healthier ones. Maybe you start getting out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off. Maybe you strive to do at least 5 minutes of exercise every day. A small step in the right direction is all it takes to get your positive momentum going.
Removing weeds from your garden will leave you with so much extra time and energy. Now, the key is to say NO to the things that you don’t want in your life. Take that free time and start doing the things you’ve been wanting to do for yourself! Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or just have some nice alone time.