By definition, a toxin is a poisonous substance that kills, injures, or impairs an organism. A toxin can also inhibit the activity of another substance. Applying this definition to your day-to-day living, it may surprise you to realize how many things (and people) in your life are creating a toxic environment.
What are potential toxins in your daily living? Toxins can be people that make you feel bad, things that are holding you back from your goals, or situations that make you physically ill. A toxin can be a behavior, a person, or an object. But anything that “impairs” you or “inhibits activity” is toxic.
Let’s look at an example. Suppose you wanted to get a better job. The current job you have doesn’t pay enough, is very stressful, and is not a good fit for your personality. The career you would like to pursue requires a degree (which you don’t have) and relies heavily on networking to secure a position. In this example there are several toxins at play. Two obvious ones are your current job environment (the stress is injuring you) and your lack of a degree (this is inhibiting your activity). Other toxins could be your current spending habits (maybe the problem isn’t how much your job pays, but the fact that you are not living within your means), your relationships (are you getting the support from your family and friends to make this transition), and your own attitude.
So how do you eliminate toxins from your life?
1. Identify them. It is hard to fight an opponent that you can’t see. Think of the areas in your life where things aren’t quite how you would like for them to be. What is holding you back? These things are potential toxins.
2. Identify the impact the toxins are having on your life. For example, poor spending habits have far reaching impacts, what lessons are you teaching your kids, are you creating any strains on your friendships by borrowing money, is your health being impacted by the worry and stress of making ends meet.
3. For each toxin list 3-5 ways to eliminate it. Be practical, be outrageous, be creative; list any and everything that comes to mind.
4. Implement the easiest ideas first. No need to be overwhelmed or further stressed by overextending yourself. Set up quick hits. The momentum you create from the easy victories can carry you on to more difficult tasks.
5. Evaluate your progress often. Ships don’t set their course once and then hope they make it to their destination. Instead they constantly check their location and make corrections as necessary. You can do the same.