Module Plan: Month of Letting Go
Post written by Leo Babauta.
Are we ready to start the Month of Letting Go module? Great! Here’s the plan:
- Each day, pick something small to let go of. I have some suggestions below. Make it something easy, that you can do in 5 minutes.
- Pick a trigger. Something you do every day, where you’ll do your letting go right after. Your trigger should be something you already do every day, even if the time might vary a little — it’s part of your routine. Some ideas might include: waking up, using the bathroom in the morning, eating breakfast, drinking coffee or tea, going to work, brushing your teeth, arriving at work, eating lunch, dropping off the kids, leaving work, arriving home, eating dinner, going to bed. While your routine may vary, all of us have at least one of those things that we do each day.
- Create a reminder. The best reminders are something that will let you remember right when your trigger happens — a note posted at your breakfast table, if your trigger is eating breakfast, or on your coffee cup if that’s your trigger, or on your bathroom mirror if your trigger is showering or brushing your teeth. Computer or mobile device reminders can work too. Just make sure that when the trigger happens, you’ll remember.
- Make a commitment. Tell at least one person you’re going to do this challenge for each day of this month. Two people is better. Even better: 5, 10 or 20 people. Or post it on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or your blog. This helps you remain accountable. Note: If you like, you can find an accountability partner on this thread.
- Do the habit each day after the trigger. When your trigger happens, be very conscious of fulfilling your commitment — spending 5 minutes letting go.
- Report your success. After you do the habit, report your success on the day’s daily accountability thread in the Challenge Forum. If there’s already a thread for that day, just reply to it, otherwise create a new thread (be sure there isn’t already one for today’s date!). If you didn’t do the habit. Alternatively, or in addition, you can report to your accountability partner (find an accountability partner on this thread).
- If you skip a day: don’t feel guilty. Feeling guilty is the enemy of habits. Just let it go. That’s your habit for the day — letting go of the guilt. Go on the forum, reply to the day’s thread, fess up, and maybe ask for encouragement. That’s what the forum is for. Just start again the next day.
That’s the plan. Each step is very simple, and really each day you just need to do steps 5 & 6. On Day 1, do steps 1-4.
At the end of each week, report on how you did that week — see the survey below.
Suggestions for Daily Letting Go
You can choose whatever you like to let go, as long as it takes 5 minutes or less, but here are some suggestions.
Week 1 – Possessions
Put in a box to donate, drop off at a charity on the weekend:
- A few shirts you don’t need
- A pair of pants you don’t wear much
- Something you’ve been holding onto for sentimental reasons only
- 5 books you really aren’t going to read
- Some cookingware or dishes you don’t ever use
- A device or appliance you don’t need
Week 2 – Needs
Try going one day without something you think you “need”. For example:
- Your car
- The Internet
- Your mobile device
- Wine or beer
Week 3: Fantasies
We all have little fantasies of what our lives could be like. Try letting go of the idea, just temporarily. Some examples:
- Having six-pack abs
- Having a better job
- Having the perfect spouse
- Having a nice car
- Traveling the world
- Having bigger muscles
- Having a clean, uncluttered house
- Having the perfect productivity day
Examine what fantasies you might have, and choose some for your daily letting go.
Week 4: Wishing Things Would Be
We often wish things were different than they actually are, and that wishing causes pain. Try letting go of one of them when you notice it. Some examples:
- Wishing your spouse put things away
- Wishing your kids behaved a certain way
- Wishing your co-worker wouldn’t talk so much
- Wishing the person in traffic didn’t cut you off
- Wishing someone hadn’t interrupted you
- Wishing you were slimmer
Last 3 Days of the Month
Four weeks brings us to Dec. 28. The last 3 days are a bonus. You can choose one of the above things to let go of, or just take those three days off to rest.
At the end of each week, we will ask you to fill out this survey:
Please fill it out after Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28. Thank you!