16 Things I Am Letting Go Of

Enjoy my list and may it inspire you.

1: The need to control everything. I’m going to be honest. I like control. I like to drive and don’t really like sitting in the car (especially if it is snowy) when someone else is driving. I like to have the boxes checked and markers sorted and my ducks all in a row. But life isn’t about control. Clinging to too much control erodes trust in others. So this year, I’m going to work to see the good first. To let go of all the minutia and worries that kept me trapped.

2: Regrets about the past. There were so many things I wish I had done with my kids. So many times when I wish I had responded differently. But holding onto regrets keeps us stuck in a now that is defined by the past. So, instead, let’s learn from those moments but not use them to dictate our present and future.

3: Lack of spontanity. It’s super easy for me to say “no” first to my kids. Can we go outside? No. Can we have a friend over? No. Can we play this game? Not now. And on and on and on. I’m determined to start saying yes some more and just like I’m giving up control to have moments where I surprise them (and me) with just super fun spontaneous moments. In fact, I’m drove across the country with my boys the day after Christmas and have worked on saying “yes” and not “no” as much.


4: Being serious all the time. Sometimes, and especially in the last couple of years, it’s just been super hard to laugh. The stress of divorce and single parenting. The weight of so much to do. The need to always be on. It got so much so that my kids would tell me they miss seeing me smile. So this year I’m really really going to try to just laugh. To listen to my kids and all the funny things they say and to enjoy them. Even if life isn’t perfect.

5: Making sure everything is perfect. Hahaha. Speaking of perfect I’m assuming all of you who read my words have been waiting for me to talk about perfectionism. I’ve learned that life is messy and messy is beautiful. So I’m not going to work to give the facade of perfection. If it’s a bad hair day it’s a bad hair day. If we have tater tots for dinner we have tater tots for dinner. My kids need me there for them – making sure everything is always in order has robbed me of minutes with them.

6: Comparison. Not just with everyone else, but really with the expectations and plans that I had established in my mind for myself. I always thought that life would be kind of moments. But you know, just like I wrote, life happens. Comparison eats away at contentment which eats away at joy which results in bitterness.

7: Unhealthy relationships. Even writing that brings a chill down my spine. Never before have I dared to utter those words for fear of what others would think of me. I’ve been the peace keeper, the negotiator, the one that will stand up at the defense of others and effectively through myself under the bus. I want to encourage you to fight for you and to fight for friends and relationships in your life with people that value you for you. You shouldn’t ever be made to feel inferior in a relationship. Ever.

8: So much stuff. The book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (affiliate link), as you know,  is about the Japanese Art of simplicity. I am determined to go through every item in my house, from my clothes to books to things to gadgets to apps to all of it. We have to manage it all and I’ve discovered that the managing of it is what makes comparison and discontent and overwhelm and perfectionism happen. If you’re not part of this journey with us, we’d love to have you. We’re doing a Six Week Tidying Challenge together.


9: Fear of trying. My favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing each day that scares you.” That’s what I’ve been living – pushing myself to do things that are hard or that scare me or make me better. Several years ago when I was in Haiti I had an opportunity to ride on the back of a motorcycle. I was terrified, but knew it was one of “those” moments that you get or lose. So I did it. And friends, it’s on of the top ten moments in my life – riding that bike and getting to the black sand beach as the sun set and just being. So let’s not be afraid. Let’s be bold and try something each day.

10: Labels. This. I get that labels help us categorize each other. We label the days of the week, we label our kids clothes, and so forth. Labels aren’t inherently bad. But labels that keep us stuck like – I’m a failure – they have no place in our lives. So replace labels with truth.

11: Listening to fear mongering. Honestly, if I catch fear mongering propaganda on my facebook feed that person is hidden. I remember years ago reading Dr. Andrew Weil’s book “Eight Weeks to Optimum Health” (affiliate link) and in it he talks about going on a news fast. Well, guess what, I’m thinking now he’ll tell us to hide all the angst, anxiety, horror and fear that so much of what is shared on facebook is about. I don’t mind being informed, but at a certain point it’s just enough.

12: Excuses for why something cannot be done. When I started writing this blog there were so many reasons why I didn’t or shouldn’t or couldn’t do it. Many times it was my own mind telling me I wasn’t good enough or no one would read and so forth, but friends, they are excuses that hold us back. So this year – when you hear that excuse about why something won’t work – step back and decide to fight stronger to make it work. It’s the pushing through that produces results and the life that we want.

13: The need for kale. Or I guess I could title it all the things that I’m told to love but that I don’t that much unless you sautee it with bacon or pancetta. It’s really not about kale – so before all you kale lovers (which hahah includes me) decide to go after me – it’s really about the idea that sometimes there are things that might be awesome for us or that everyone else loves and we just don’t. So instead of forcing myself to like something like that I’ll find something that makes me happy and be confident with that.

14: Telling myself I’ll do it tomorrow. If something has to be done, then today is the day to do it. Living the Eleanor Roosevelt quote means doing the hard stuff at times. It means calling that friend, making that dinner, playing that game of Sorry with the kiddos. Friends, time is precious. I know that when we are in the midst of those mothehrood days that it can drag, but honestly, the gift of normal is beautiful. Celebrate today.


15: Putting myself second. Motherhood has a way of doing that to us. We don’t realize it most of the time – and it’s a beautiful thing – that giving of self – but truthfully it can be very easy to lose us in motherhood. We can lose the things that we love and have those moments where we look in the mirror and wonder who the girl is staring back at us. So no more second. Maybe it means coffee with a friend or starting that class or being brave and writing – but you matter. Take care of you.

16: Not finding joy: For real. It’s time. This is the year for me and for you and all of us. It’s about deciding that this is the year of happy (read I forgot How to Be a Happy Mom for more) and really living super thankful for today. As I shared earlier, this past week I packed all my boys up and drove from Minneapolis to Nashville. There were so many reasons in my head why it wouldn’t work but honestly – i just want to live. Happy, joyful and all of the stuff above. That’s what I want for you too.

Okay friends – this is the year of awesome.

I hope you join us.



This week’s to-do list:

1. Do the sixteen steps above. Well, at least begin considering them.

2. If you’re struggling, go back to Section 3 of the book and read about sorting categories, not places. Then keep working on the laundry, bathroom and other places we mentioned. Plus, get ready for the kitchen.

3. Record this week’s emotion. Mine really is freedom. I cannot even begin to tell you how much space I have but beyond that how much SIMPLER life is now. If you have a testimony will you email me at rachel@findingjoy.net and I can include it? Pictures too?

5. Challenge a friend. In fact, I want you to think about mentoring another to work through this process. Kind of like how this challenge has been – a whole bunch of us working to get this done. Think about it.

Don’t give up now.

You can do this.

This week is the push through week.


ps. If you don’t have the book and are interested in it now here’s the link -> the life-changing magic of tidying up

pps. What are you planning on to do with all of your stuff you’re getting rid of? (that’s just a fraction of mine)


16 Responses to “16 Things I Am Letting Go Of”

  1. December 30, 2015

    Rebecca Reply

    You are seriously inside my head lately. This is how I feel as well. I have felt this way for far too long and it’s time to do something about it. Thank you for posting this!

  2. December 30, 2015

    Nancy Reply

    I quite honestly I haven’t followed your blog every day as I am not on Facebook all the time. But it seems to pop up when I need it… I can relate to what you’re saying and I’m right with you when your New Year’s resolution! Thanks for sharing!

  3. December 30, 2015

    Sally Reply

    Love to read your words. I can feel the honesty and the struggle too. AND you and your boys are beautiful to boot!

  4. December 31, 2015

    Brittany Reply

    Thank you. If you only knew how much I NEEDED this. Today of all days. Thank you. I’m glad it came across my feed. I may even print it and post it in my bathroom or something.

    So thank you.

  5. January 1, 2016

    Theresa Reply

    I can’t thank you enough for putting your fear aside to write this. I needed this so much. It is New Years day ,I wake up to a messy house and dishes piled up in the sink. I get up to fix that traditional Southern New Years meal and before I have even had my coffee the devil is already banging at the front door. I work two jobs as an RN in very stressful units. My husband works , I feel im letting my kids down because I’m always so tired and all I want is to be able to get to the coffee pot and cook without washing dishes first. The tree is still up and house still a wreck from Christmas. So it is an understatement to say I needed this today. Thank you so much.

  6. January 5, 2016

    Shannon Reply

    I’m printing this and putting it on my bulletin board. Thank you <3

  7. January 5, 2016

    Michelle T Reply

    As I was reading this I couldn’t help but to think, omg this is so me. Everything you said is something I would have written too. Good luck with your list. It’s got me thinking of writing my own list for my blog but it would be a lot of the same things you said. Great post.

  8. January 6, 2016

    Tina Reply

    thank you!!

  9. January 10, 2016

    Brianne Reply

    LOVE this list and am creating my own immediately after writing this comment! I will most definitely have a few of the same changes on my own list that you have on yours! I definitely think I will be making my next “Dream Board” my “2016 Changes” board and hanging it in my bedroom and even a second one in my office as a constant reminder to do what I need to do (and WANT to do!) to better myself and my family as well as make myself A LOT happier and I am sure my own personal changes will also make my family happier!

    Thank you so very much for sharing this! Definitely a HUGE inspiration to really act on what I want to change and get out of 2016! Best of Luck to you and hope you accomplish all of your goals and have a year filled with nothing but love, success and happiness!!

  10. December 2, 2016

    Melanie Reply

    I LOVE your list!!! So many times your posts are exactly what I need at a given time, so thank you for putting yourself out there. It helps the rest of us know that we’re not the only ones.

  11. April 24, 2017

    Pat McClure Reply

    A great list

  12. July 7, 2017

    Patti Reply

    My daughter just posted this & I applaud you for making these discoveries & promises while you’re still in the earlier stage of motherhood! I, to, am divorced, though I was in my mid-50s & my sons were grown. I’m now 72 & the reality of my life is sinking in! Your list looks much like mine & I am now dealing with decisions that would have been much less expensive 15 yrs ago! Brava to you, thanks for the inspiration!!


  13. December 28, 2017

    Shannon Reply

    Thank you. Simply thank you for getting “it”!

  14. January 2, 2018

    Janet Reply

    I think we might be twins! Thanks for sharing!

  15. January 4, 2018

    Stephanie Brazell Reply

    I love your posts and your blog. It hits me when I need it the most.
    This year I am trying to give up the need to be in control of everything. I don’t really know how but I’m trying.

    I’m also trying to be there for my sweet daughter. She needs me to be present and to say yes to more things.

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