- Take inventory. What parts of your life are you dissatisfied with? What parts of it make you happy? What parts do you feel neutral about? Sometimes my list is short when I do this. Other times it’s long.
- Pick the smallest thing that annoys you. Maybe you hate how messy your car is getting or you’re really not looking forward to volunteering at that annual charity event again this year. The possibilities are endless.
- Clean it. Resign from it. Sell it. Donate it. Unsubscribe from it. Send your regrets with the RSVP.
- Do not take no for an answer. This is not a time to feel guilty. Everyone needs to purge certain things from their lives occasionally.
- You have a little wiggle room in your life now. What do you want to replace this old pattern with? Do you want to do nothing while you relish your extra time, money, and/or emotional energy for a while? Is there something new you’d like to try? You might have the answer for this right away, or you might not. I often don’t have a clue what I’d rather do until I’ve had some time to breathe.
- Repeat these steps with a few other minor things that are easy to change. The reason why I recommend doing it this way is because I need a lot of instant gratification when I’m unhappy in order to stay motivated. Big payoffs can come later, but there’s something to be said for seeing small, positive changes right away.
Many big problems can also be broken down into little steps like these. You could send out X resumes a week or start taking a class to train for a different profession if you hate your current job.
If it’s an interpersonal problem, you could start making small changes in how you interact with the other person. Maybe you’ll decide to see them less often or for shorter amounts of time. Maybe you’ll frame your interactions in a way that gives you a more peaceful approach to those conversations.
With longterm issues like these, there are no quick fixes. There are many ways to make things just a little better than they were last week or last month, though, and that’s all you really need to do.