love it or list it

Love It or List It

Working with a client the other day, we were trying to get to the heart of what she needs in her life right now. She was dissatisfied but had a hard time defining what she wanted, what would fulfill her. To get her unstuck, I tried approaching the subject from a few different angles. Finally, she said, “oh, I get it, like Love It or List It.”

Love It or List It is one of the ubiquitous home remodel shows currently filling the airwaves.  The concept is to help couples whose homes no longer work for them. The couple lists everything that is not working with their home. Then one of the hosts sets to remodel the home with this list in mind while the other host searches for the perfect new home. At the end of the show, the couple decides to either love their newly remodeled current home or to list their current home and buy a new one.

love it or list itWhen one buys a home, it is perfect for them in that moment, but then things change. Children are born, grow up, and leave an empty nest. The home that was perfect in the beginning may not be perfect as things shift. The same goes for our life. A decision we made 10 years ago, which was the right decision, may now leave us with something that no longer works. When we realize we have outgrown our life, it is time for a change.

When we are considering changes in our life, we often think we have to list it. We are frustrated and unhappy. We think we need to quit our job, get a divorce, and move to Patagonia. The result is either we become stuck because those changes are too large to contemplate. We know that things need to change but we only see the all or nothing options which stifle us against any change. Or we throw caution to the wind and jump blindly into a major change, many times when we didn’t need to. We throw the baby out with the bathwater and lose the good things in our lives trying to rectify some of the not so good things.

Using the show as a premise, here is a three-step process to changing your life.

  1. Make a List: Look through your work, home, relationships, finances, and all of the aspects of your life. What is not working? Where could you use more space? Where are you having trouble functioning easily? What feels old and worn out? What does not express who you truly are? Instead of looking at that one thing which is not serving you, take a full inventory so you truly understand how your current life is functioning and where it could use improvement.
  2. Remodel: Look at the list you made and prioritize it by what would be most impactful. Then determine how you can make adjustments to the top priority areas to improve them. This is a remodel, not selling and moving. What tweaks can you make in make your life to make it a little bit better?
  3. Love It or List It: Allow some time after your remodel and see how things have shifted. Have the smaller changes in your life given you the joy you are looking for? Do you feel more comfortable and fulfilled in your life? If so, acknowledge and embrace it. If not, begin to look at larger changes you may need to make.

Sometimes we need some time and a blank slate to look at our lives without our responsibilities and previous choices so we can really analyze what is going on. Sometimes we need bite-size changes to give us the courage and momentum to move forward into a necessary transition. And sometimes, we do need to walk away. However, in much of my life I have seen more positive shifts in tiny changes. What do you need to remodel in your life?

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