Self-Discipline and Acceptance, two powerful techniques for a successful declutter journey.

Life happens even if we try to force it. My clients often ask me how this should work, because our rational thinking can’t make sense out of “If I just accept the mess, how will I get anything done”?

Obviously my customers have collected a lot of clutter in the past and are trying to change. If it is a transformation that is driven by cortisol and adrenaline, there will be a different outcome than changing with intentional planning and accepting. Which one do you think is the better way to find lasting change with kindness to yourself?

I have worked with people powered by these stress hormones and even so we cleared their chaos in record time, it only lasted a couple of weeks. They were extremely pressured and the fact of letting go caused them pain. Their intentions were not clear and they had no plan nor an actual goal, besides getting this done quickly. Shortly after all the work was done, they went shopping and started adding again. They rather fell back into their old chaos -even so it caused them stress- than going through the practice of self-discipline and creating the space they really longed for. Many seem to look for the easy way out…

Maybe discipline sounds harsh, because words like: control, authority, rule and strictness come to mind. I am talking about self-discipline which is really a positive and important attribute. Direction and order are beneficial and they manifest as inner strength. You overcome procrastination and laziness, and you follow through with whatever you do, providing an uncluttered mind, that sets you up for more time, space and happiness.

The skill of self discipline is a learned behavior. Sometimes our parents are really good with teaching us and sometimes they are not. How do you become savvy in this technique? It is simple: Daily practice, diligence and repetition.

Accepting reality next to your practice of self -discipline is part of succeeding. It kind of rubs your nose in the fact that your kitchen is a mess, the laundry needs to be done, your floors are dirty and the rest of the family is not getting the hang of putting their stuff away. There is no quick cure for this, therefor simply accept it and work on the change.

In case you are in a family environment, make sure you share responsibilities. If someone does not do them, they will have to deal with the consequences. Be disciplined to do your part and let go of what is not yours. My kids are the greatest procrastinators and let me tell you, they did not get this from me! All I can do is remind them of their duties. I am leading as a good example and I take care of myself. Hopefully they will learn from my illustrations and benefit from it some day.

If you live in a single household, self-discipline might be easier. You certainly can’t blame anybody else for the mess.

When the feeling comes up that there is no end in sight, you do not know where to start and the chaos seems to swallow you, rest assured that with repetition and practice of self-discipline all will fall into place. It is a process that gets better with time!

Here are some of my guidlines that have helped clients during their declutter journey.

Make a weekly schedule and assign the following duties to certain days of the week and stick to them: grocery shopping, laundry, paper work, cleaning. This way you know they get done when their time comes.

Appoint everybody with specific duties. For example: walking the dog, doing their own laundry, cooking, emptying the trash, watering the plants, mowing the lawn…

Start with one room at a time to clear the chaos. Do not move to the next one until you are done.

Stop buying stuff!

Everything should have its place and start putting things where they belong!

Get rid of duplicates, make space and let go!

Get more sleep!

Take breaks, maybe learn to meditate, or find something that soothes your busy mind!

Eat well!

Doing this right you can’t just be self- disciplined in one area, it is an overall gentle practice. My friend Cindy is a “horsewoman” teaching equine and rider how to come to a reliable and lasting relationship. Here is what she said the other day: “It is persistence, not insistence”! Do you see the gentle difference? It is the same as cortisol and adrenaline vs. self-discipline and accepting. Or, let’s put it this way “You can’t make the grass grow any faster by pulling on it”!

Are People Happier in other Countries?

What does happiness have to do with decluttering? In my opinion a lot. Clients usually call me when they are frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed and need help. It has become very common that families have a hard time to function; mainly because there is too much to do and not enough time. What feeds this phenomenon is the consumption of stuff. Many buy things to make them happy, but that feeling does not last. It just adds to the chaos and only declutters the wallets.

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To the question if people are happier in other countries. New data just released in November 2018, by the Centers of Disease Control, shows that US life expectancy dropped again for the 3rd year in a row. With a growing number of opioid overdose deaths and climbing suicide rates in the United States, that trend has reversed over the past three years — against the norm for most developed nations.

 

This may be put a bit harshly and sure is simplified, but happy people do not commit suicide and the blissful are not likely to use drugs.

Still, the number one killer is heart disease and in my opinion this subject is taken too lightly. Stress, working to many hours, not having time to relax and exercise, are left up to the individual in an environment that makes time a luxury and not available to everybody. Fast food places are on every corner and healthy eating habits are easily overcome with a quick stop at the drive through.

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Again, are my friends back home in Europe happier? In my opinion they certainly complain more while the average citizen in the US is just holding their breath. The median there claims six weeks paid vacation on top of their national holidays, separate paid sick leave, health care, maternity leave, free education and a greater job security as well as benefits in case of a personal crisis. Are they happier? Well, they sure have more time to celebrate life with an increased expectancy to live longer and healthier!

Question for you… Did you have a choice in which country you wanted to be born in?

I am asking this, because we seem to forget that many of us are born into circumstances that do not provide for the basics like love, food, shelter and health care – and they had NO choice. It is often said, that it is their own fault and that they are responsible for their own good. To a point, sure, but there are too many that are pushed into suffering by bad fortune, politics, beliefs and war.

I think it is a great practice to think about every purchase and decide if it really serves you. Make your home that place of acceptance where you can have peace of mind, calm and clarity. It is not possible to make sense of the world, because not everything is in reach of the rational mind. Maybe seeing the planet as one country and not assuming that one nationality has more privileges than others could help to spread the happiness!

Take care of your heart,

Karin

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