Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Make an Inventory of What Matters to You

Cover of January, 1915 National Geographic Mag...National Geographic Magazine from 1915 - Image via WikipediaBy Tim O'Brien

As time passes, we humans tend to hoard everything. Hands up, if your garage no longer holds a car. Smile if you've ever added on a room to your home that now is simply more storage. Do you have every National Geographic you've ever received? Do you, like my mother, have a suitcase full of photos that didn't make the cut into an album?

It's easy to laugh and see the impact of hoarding when it regards physical objects. It isn't as easy to look at when we expand hoarding to include habits and activities that no longer serve a constructive purpose. So what really matters to you?

And why does it matter? What parts of your life should you keep? Which should you disregard? This article will focus on the non tangibles. You and your garage can work out your differences later.

Schedule a two hour quiet block of time. Get a notebook or pad and a pen. Have a small snack and something you like to drink with you. Maybe turn on some soothing instrumental music.

For the first few minutes of your session with yourself, take a couple of deep breaths. Allow yourself to relax. You've given yourself two hours, plenty of time for this exercise. You don't have to feel rushed or guilty.

At the top of six consecutive pages (more if you think of other groups) place a word. On the first place: spiritual, the second: mental, then: emotional, physical, financial and social on the remaining four pages.

Now, beginning with the first page, spiritual, write down your thoughts and feelings about what spiritual means to you. List what you think and feel. No one else will see these pages unless you show them, so write to and for yourself, not someone else. Follow this procedure for each of the six words, on their respective pages.

Next, go back to each page and write down any habits, routines, activities or hard core beliefs you have about each topic. For spiritual, consider your concept of the reality and existence of God (or non existence, too). For mental, include your thought process, how you make decisions, and how logical you feel you are.

Emotional can include your ideas on feelings, sensitivity, caring, self concept. Physical topics are overall health, diet, exercise, heredity. Financial would cover anything that includes money considerations: bills, savings, donations, salary and investments. Social involves interactions with others: family, friends, co-workers and humanity in general.

Finally, for each idea and item you've listed on each page ask yourself the following questions. Why do I continue to believe or do this? Is it functional? Does it reflect what I actually believe or is it the result of my unquestioned acceptance of something my parents, teachers, or others have told me?

Is it a good habit or belief by my definition? Is it fair to everyone it could affect? Is it healthy and growth oriented and expansive? Or, is it small minded and exclusionary? Should I continue to believe and act this way? What would happen if I no longer did this activity or held this belief?

After you have completed this exercise, you should discover at least a few notions and habits that no longer serve a valid purpose for you. Consider dropping them from your life immediately. For those that you might have forgotten about or gotten out of the positive habit of having in your life, commit to reintroducing those back into your routine.

Repeat this process twice per year. If you are a healthy growing person, you will need to revise and refine what you believe and do. This process will help.

More FREE articles at http://www.hyperstress.com that will help you improve your performance and regain control of your life. By Timothy J. O'Brien M.S. co-author of the Amazon Best Seller, "If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book."

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