Decluttering Negative Thoughts


I ran a 10 mile run for the first time this year, the Broad Street Run. For some, this would not be a big deal - 10 miles might be an easy weekend run for them.

That would not be me.

Back in the years of high school gym when they had us run one mile, I was the student struggling to complete it - lungs burning and finishing last. It's not that I wasn't active. I played volleyball and tennis in high school - but I told myself that I wasn't a runner.

If you told me 10 years ago that I would sign up and train for the Broad Street Run, I would have laughed loudly and said, "I could never do that."


It's so easy to put ourselves in a box:

I do this - I don't do that.

I can do this - I could never do that.

I'm finding that decluttering is not only happening in my physical space but I am decluttering negative self talk as well.


Running still isn't easy for me. I did my first 5K in October of 2013. I used the Couch to 5K app where they start you off nice and easy with intervals of walking and running. It's an 8 week program. It took me a year to complete.

It felt great to train and complete something that I had never done before. I am learning to say "yes" to challenges that interest and intimidate me. As I complete them, I'm learning that my body and my mind can handle more than I think it can.


While training my body to run long distances, I am also training my mind:

As I hear myself doubting whether I can run 10 miles straight without stopping - I tell myself to focus on the next step - not all 10 miles at once.

As I run and the first mile is still hard, I focus on running the next quarter mile or the duration of the next song. I tell myself to slow down, put one foot in front of the other - I can do this.

As I cramp up and want to stop, I push into my side and slow down but don't stop. The cramp passess, it is only temporary.


I use many of these same tactics while decluttering our home. In the past I have unconsciously believed statements such as, we can never have a "tidied home" while we have young children, or feeling defeated because we have so much stuff.

In order to counter these negative beliefs, I have to take it one area at a time or I would feel overwhelmed and want to quit. There are times when I want to just ignore the piles, but I push through and slowly work through them. I don't stop.

Decluttering has been a way for me to continually ask myself what is important to me in the present. Do the items that I choose to keep reflect those priorities and bring me joy?

Decluttering has been an empowering process for me. I'm learning I can change my environment. Things don't have to stay the way they are just because that's the way it's been for so long. I don't need to hold onto things because I've held onto them up to this point. I'm learning to be intentional, proactive, and in the present.

As I turn 43 years old, I am realizing that it's never too late to try new things, to say yes to things that interest and intimidate me. I am finding that it is precisely those "beyond my reach" challenges that show me "I could do it" after all.


Are there things you have tried that you "never would have done" before? If not, what's holding you back? What is one thing that you would like to try but haven't because "you could never do that"?

This post originally posted on Setting My Intention