Module: A Month of Letting Go

Post written by Leo Babauta.

This month I’m asking you to let go.

What the hell does that mean, and why should you?

Letting go is about not holding onto things that we think we need. It’s about developing the ability to cope with change, to be flexible, to simplify.

When we learn to let go, we have fewer limitations, fewer complications. We are freer.

An example: You think you need all the stuff around you, the possessions, because they are necessary, or give you security, or have emotional value. But they also clutter up your life, require maintenance and cleaning and expensive space. Letting go means you can free up space, have a less cluttered life, and are no longer burdened by so many things.

Another example: You think you need to eat meat, because you love it and maybe you think you need it for nutrition. But eating meat might be contributing to health problems (it’s been linked to cancer, heart disease and more), and is expensive. You could let go of the “need” to eat meat, and try some vegetarian dishes, and find out that you’re perfectly fine without the thing you thought you needed. And you might learn that you can get all the nutrients you need (including protein) from plant foods, with a little reading.

One more example: You think you really want six-pack abs, and so you go on a crazy diet and do high-intensity exercises to get them. But you have a lot of trouble sticking to the diet, and the high-intensity stuff keeps getting you injured, and you’re feeling horrible about yourself. But the truth is, six-pack abs are not important — and you can let go of that fantasy if you want. And then just focus on health — eating healthy food most of the time, getting active to keep your body and mind healthy.

What Letting Go Develops

Letting go isn’t about developing a monk-like lifestyle, or having nothing. It’s about developing flexibility and openness. If you have these skills, you can do anything, and are prepared for anything.

Think about it: if there’s a major disruption in your life, it’s only a bad thing because you’re holding onto the way you wish things could be, what you’re comfortable with. If you let go of that wish, the change isn’t bad. It’s just different, and in fact it could be good if you embrace it and see the opportunity.

In the Month of Letting Go module, we’ll learn to be flexible and open to change. We’ll learn that rigidity brings pain and limitations, while flexibility releases us from the pain and frees us, allows us to flow with life, to be happier and calmer and more at peace.

How We’ll Do It

I’ll be emailing all of you your plan for the month. It will ask you to explore letting go of something different each week.

We’ll focus on letting go of possessions in the first week. In the second week, we’ll let go of needs. Then we’ll let go of fantasies. Then we’ll let go of the way we wish things would be.

It’ll be a great month. You’ll log your habit in the challenge forum daily threads (and possibly using another tool — more soon). I’ll hold a webinar and write a couple articles to help you learn these new skills. I’ll send out reminders every 2-3 days or so.