We all have desires, we all want something (most often new), we want to build new habits, we want to make new relationships, and we are wanting to doing it all the time.

In this quest for more, we tend to forget, that the first step in acquiring something new, is to let go of something old. Let me elaborate on each of the use cases and generalising it is fraught with disaster.

Let’s start with habit. Yeah, I am a self proclaimed master on habits. We all are looking at building new habits. We can take example of reading or running, as these are two activities that I get questioned a lot on, as to how one can read more or start running. Apart from the physical ability in case of running and intellectual capacity to absorb more in case of reading more non-fiction books, the biggest question to address is – Where is the TIME?

When people say with dejection – where is the time? I simply tell them – time milta nahin hain, time nikalna padta hain. The time has to come out of some other activity. You will need to analyse a typical day and find out which activity you can do ‘less of’ or eliminate completely, in order to make time for either go for a run or to read a book. It’s highly unlikely that any of you indulge in any of these activities for a sizeable amount of time – twiddling fingers, breaking knuckles, sucking thumb, looking into nothingness, counting stars, etc. These would have been no-brainers and easy for you to eliminate and allocate to more meaningful (relatively speaking) acts like running or reading. So the time will have to come from watching TV, sleeping, chatting with friends, etc. activities which might have their own merits, but maybe you can start with doing less of many activities than having to eliminate them completely. 

The most difficult part thus in building a new habit is dropping an old one, or spending less time on the other activities. One has to be heartless and realise that however much we like doing many of these activities, they are eating into a lot of our time which could have been used productively in something else.

There is no better way to illustrate the above point than the example of being in relationships. Except when you are a Casanova, debonair or an outright flirt, its not possible to be in two relationships at the same time. You need to break off from the first to consider the second. You need to break bonds with one activity to be able to make room for a new one to get space in your daily schedule.

When it comes to clothes, it’s always better to discard the old clothes before you buy a new one. Otherwise you will end up with overflowing wardrobe of clothes, most of them would have not been worn more than 2-3 times. Same holds true for shoes, belts, wallets and many other accessories items for men and women alike. Makes space before you bring in the new.

Holds true for books as well. Even for voracious readers like me, its just not practical to hold on to each and every book we buy and read. If the book is not worthy of being re-read or its not a classic which amplifies the beauty of my book shelf, getting rid of the book is better than hanging on to all of them.

Similarly for apps on the phone. Every-time we are adding a new app, make a sanity check and see if we are really use all the ones which are on the phone already. That’s the best time to delete a few which are not needed anymore.

In meditation also, we have to first let go of our existing thoughts, ideas and notions. The emptying of the mind if the biggest challenge. Once we are able to cross that stage, then we can make room for kind thoughts to emanate from the same mind.

So make space for new activities, new habits, new relationships and new experiences… and the world will be a much better place to live in !

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Hetal Sonpal

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