I offer these suggestions for things to throw out of your life as you do your spring cleaning:

• Sedentary life in a box

Our bodies are designed to move regularly, and move vigorously at least once a day. Yet most of us live sedentary lives moving from box to box. We get up in the morning and walk out of our house box and get into our car box, drive to work, walk into our work box and spend the day there. Then we leave our work box and get back into our car box, drive back to our home box, and don’t come out until the next day when we do the whole sedentary process all over again. And then we wonder why we are unhappy.

Suggestion: Move your body. Vigorously and often. Make sure you are doing something fun, so you are more likely to keep doing it. Just make sure you do it.

• Unnecessary limitations

Contrary to some current popular sayings, there are limits in life. No matter how much I may want to, or even how much I believe I can, I just cannot fly from here to Orlando without the aid of a plane. These are not the limitations of which I speak.

I’m talking about our self-imposed limitations. Our “I can’ts.” Suggestion: Make a list of 10 things you would like to be, to do, or to have. Pick one and do it. If you can’t do it right away, schedule it. If you are like most of us, you are already coming up with reasons and excuses why you cannot do, be or have what you want. What if you had to? What if you knew that time was short?

• Debt

Sixty percent of divorces can be traced back to problems with money. Our culture teaches us that accumulating consumer debt by charging everything is a perfectly acceptable way to live, even the American way. Calling them credit cards is really a misnomer: They are debt cards, plain and simple. There is a proverb that says “just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Stated anther way, debt enslaves your life.

Suggestions: Other than a mortgage for a house, consider the radical notion that if you cannot pay for it, you cannot afford it, unless you can afford to pay off the balance at the end of the month. If you have to use plastic, get a debit card instead of a credit card, so the money comes immediately out of your checking account. If it ain’t there, you can’t spend it. If you need help in getting out and staying out of debt, you can visit these Web sites: crown.org or debtintowealth.com. Bottom line on debt: get out and stay out!

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist.


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