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Things to give up, Things to take up

March 11, 2019

In some social circles, it’s the time of year where people are talking about “giving something up”.  While I haven’t always personally “given something up” (for Lent), this is an idea I can get behind.  In my mind it fits with stopping something and quit something Thursdays (ideas I have written about in the past).  I also fully believe that as people we can’t do it all and need to make choices about how and where we spend out time, money, and energy.

But I think perhaps I have sometimes failed to clearly articulate that when I talk about giving something up, or quitting something, or making intentional choices; there are a couple of deeper values behind those ideas.

One of the deeper values and purposes behind giving something up is to create more space and time to “be” vs “do”.  Our current culture and social media can send the messages to keep adding, to do more, to have more.  And so when I encourage people to quit something or stop doing something, part of my intention is to remind people that there are different ways to approach life.

The other deeper value and purposes behind giving something up, is to create space and time to “take something up” or to start something.  I think this is the message I haven’t always been clear about.  In order to say “yes” to something new; in many cases we need to say “no” to something we already do.  Again we can’t do it all.  And sometimes we need to give something up to create space for something different.  Behaviour change theories and research shows that you are much more effective at eliminating a behaviour (that you want to eliminate) if you replace it with a different behaviour.

Sometimes the only action needed is to give something up.  Sometimes there are two actions needed; giving something up AND taking something up.   Which of these scenarios do you most need to do to get closer to living the life you want to be living?

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