In January I made the bold statement that I was committing to living without goals.

Us overachievers can be so melodramatic.

There were a number of warning signs that led me to re-evaluate the goals in my life:

  • I was anxious, even when (or especially when) things were going well
  • No matter how much success I enjoyed, I still didn’t feel I’d done enough
  • I felt so overwhelmed at times it was like I was suffocating

Two months into the experiment, I can say that when I’m successful at letting go of my goals, my stress goes way down.  For example, previously I might have set a goal of working out 3 times a week–a goal I’d rarely live up and when I didn’t, resulted in a lot of internal scolding.

Now, I have an “area of focus” on fitness.  That means I work out when I want to and I make sure it’s fun (no more forcing myself to do “what’s good for me”).  I experimented with different kinds of exercise and ultimately found a Pilates class in my neighborhood that I love.  I go once or twice a week, plus walking with a group of friends once a week.

So at least in that area of my life, giving up goals leaves me feeling great and reduces stress.  If I don’t work out for a week due to projects, that’s ok.  My fitness now flexes more seamlessly with my priorities because there’s no pass/fail criteria.

However, there was one big challenge I underestimated in going goal free: dealing with your previous work commitments.

I’ve found that, much like physical clutter, your previous aspirations and commitments carry a lot of emotional baggage that make them tough to get rid of.  In this short video, I talk about three strategies for cleaning out your mental closet (without losing your mind).

Can’t see the video? Click here.

What do you think? What’s the best way to de-clutter your commitments?


Editor’s note: I’m experimenting with adding more video on Everyday Bright and would love your feedback.  Like these videos?  Prefer just text?  Think I need to hire a videographer to make these worthwhile?  Let me know!