Look, I’m not going to fuck around: This year is going to be easier than last.
How do I know? Firstly, because last year was way harder than most. But more than that, I know it because I made a commitment to myself this year to find ways to make everything that I do easier.
I’m the kind of person who likes to get a lot out of life, so I tend to put a lot in. Nothing wrong with that. But my problem is that I am a world class expert in doing things the hard way. I overthink everything. I get analysis paralysis. I procrastinate. I get lost in the weeds. I “take a break” at 80 percent completion, and then I don’t feel like picking it up again to finish. I’m the worst!
When I am creating a new project, my signature move is to overwhelm myself right off the bat by dreaming up the biggest, most complicated version imaginable, and then I complicate it some more until it’s such a mammoth undertaking that I feel defeated before I’ve started.
No wonder I’ve been chronically anxious most of my life! I’ve been living in the red zone of my capacities.
Not this year.
Important note: making things easier doesn’t necessarily mean doing “easier” things. The funny thing about pursuing a full and beautiful life is that the older I get, the more I want to do with the time I’ve got left. I’m adding things to my bucket list faster than I’m crossing them off, so playing safe and staying small is not going to win me the life of my dreams. Instead, I’m asking myself: How could this [insert big, exciting, scary goal here] be made easier?
My first “make it easier” hack: do less, better, I’m decluttering my to-do list. I’m unsubscribing from obligations that aren’t mine and giving myself permission to officially stop investing myself in things I lost interest in long ago. Donate that unread book. Close those tabs. Delete that email draft and move on. Making progress on the things that really matter is much easier when they’re not buried under a pile of things that don’t.
Once I’ve narrowed in on what truly is worth my time and attention, there’s a lot I can do to lighten my load. I can drop or delegate parts of a task and use smart shortcuts. I can manage my energy better by resting when my body and brain need it, rather than pushing through with diminishing results. I can engage more deeply with the people actually in my life now, instead of assuming the connections I need are way over there and hard to reach. I can choose “good and done” over “nearly perfect but not ready.”
And, crucially, I can ask for help when I need it — and accept it when it’s offered.
Of course, there’s only so much I can do as one little human, so I’m opening myself up to divine assists, too. This year, I will radically assume that the universe is backing my play at every turn. I’ll be listening to my intuition and keeping an eye out for cosmic instructions.
Can I be certain that life will drop lucky breaks in my lap just because I asked it to? Is that how it works? I don’t know for sure, but I won’t be one bit surprised when I stumble upon the perfect resource, or find myself in the right place at the right time, talking to the right person about the right things. Bring it on, angels. Send me your serendipitous encounters and perfectly timed coincidences. Put me in front of the secret doors and I promise I will walk through them.
Maybe the most powerful way to make everything easier is to remind myself that in order to live the best version of my life, I don’t need to know it all, have it all, or do it all. I can simply stop making things so much harder than they need to be, and move lightly in the direction of my own joy.
This post was first published in January 2023 on The Underwire, my Substack publication.