Last year I quit a book club that I had been a member of for many years. I knew the women very well and considered most of them good friends. So why withdraw from the group? It’s actually pretty simple; it no longer brought me joy. Each time I saw it on my calendar I noticed myself looking for excuses not to go. When I did attend, I was easily irritated and impatient, and found myself far less engaged in the conversations than I used to be. At the same time, I noticed other groups I felt excited and energized to participate in. I had a pit in my stomach from the time I made the decision to leave up until the meeting where I would tell the group. But once I made the announcement, guess what? I felt relieved, lighter, and happier.
This experience got me thinking, what other things should I be letting go of? I decided to give myself an assignment that I often give to my clients called “What no longer serves me?”
During this activity we create an activity journal (similar to a food journal). We notice what/who brings us joy….. and what/who does not.
We ask ourselves these very important questions:
- What themes do we notice in our low joy activities?
- What themes do we notice in our high joy activities?
- How does whom we are with factor into how much joy we experience? How can this information be helpful in increasing our level of joy in activities?
- What did we learn about our high joy activities that we can translate to improve our low joy activities?
- What/who do we need to let go of to achieve more joy in our lives?
My joy log gave me a flurry of information and insights.
A few highlights:
- The people I spend my time with are more important than what I am actually doing. When I am with people I enjoy, particularly those who love to learn new things, partake in interesting and exciting activities, and stretch themselves, I am most joyous.
- This revelation changed the way I viewed my activity log. Instead of ditching every low joy activity right off the bat, where possible, I made changes to who I did them with.
- I also noticed that I love participating in think tank meetings, but do not enjoy the nitty gritty details of event planning.
- As a result, I withdrew from a few event planning committees and joined groups with a more big-picture focus.
- My joy log also reiterated how much I love spending time with groups of dynamic and interesting women.
- That is why I created my Midlife Reinvention Weekend Retreat in November and signed up to go on a women’s mission to Prague and Budapest this coming fall.
How about you? What no longer gives you joy? What do you need to let go of or make a change to?
Click the HERE to sign up to get your FREE “What Gives Me Joy” Assessment. Let me know what you find out. If you would like to work on this together, email me at Barbara@barbarawassermancoaching.com to schedule a “What No Longer Serves Me” coaching session.
For those of you who would like to make more connections with other midlife women, I invite you to join my Midlife Reinvention Facebook Group. You will gain access to training and resources from me and connect to almost 300 like-minded midlife women who inspire and support one another as they navigate and create their most fulfilling next acts.