3 Signs That You’re Hanging Onto Something Toxic

When is it time to let go? Or more specifically, how do we know when to stop doing things that don’t contribute to our long-term plans?

I used to have a hard time realizing what had worth, and what was thoroughly worthless.

Whether it was an activity, a class, a person, etc., I just couldn’t let it go. I had a problem with being loyal. Not that I was disloyal, but rather too loyal. I used to feel guilty when dropping things after I’d start them, and for a long time I would suffer through them just to avoid the guilt of being a “quitter.” My internal judge serves up a gnarly guilt sandwich. Maybe yours does too?

For example, I used to play in a slow-pitch softball league. It was just once a week and I liked it at first, but after a while it started to feel like an unnecessary burden. And worse still, it consumed one of my nights and did not contribute to a single one of my goals. Even though I knew this, I kept signing up season after season. I didn’t want to let the guys on my team down.

But, I’ve come to realize something—there is a time to say “no.”

Think of the time you are throwing away engaging in things that you don’t really want. Instead, think what you could be doing that moves you closer to your objectives.

Here are three clues that you might be holding onto something toxic that’s pulling you in the wrong direction and keeping you from your goals.

  1. Always On Your Mind

Do you constantly monitor the day in which you have deal with it? Like an alarm clock in your mind constantly reminding you that this thing is fast approaching. Is it always on your mind, but in a bad way?

And apart from keeping tabs on it, do you also feel relieved knowing that right after you deal with it, you get a break until the next time you have to deal with it?

If so, it’s time to take a closer look.

**Don’t mistake this for a passion that you thoroughly enjoy. That’s okay. You want to focus on things that will take you in the direction that you want to go**

  1. Left With Less

No, I’m not talking about your last trip to Las Vegas. I mean, when you leave this thing, do you feel worse than before you got there? Actually, that sounds a lot like Vegas, doesn’t it? Get that out of your mind already

Here’s what I’m getting at. Do you feel less confident? Does it suck the positivity out of you? In general, does it rob from your motivational bank account?

Those are serious symptoms that are trying to tell you something. Listen. 

  1. No Clear Purpose

Do you even remember the reason for doing it? Is there a clear goal you are trying to achieve by partaking in it?

For personal growth, there will be challenging endeavors which are intended to make you stronger. After all, when you first start something new it can be frustrating. I mean, who wants to suck at something? Nobody. But in these cases, it’s important to know why you are challenging yourself and to have clear intentions for what you hope to accomplish.

For example, maybe you have a problem speaking in front of groups. What you can do is find a Toastmasters club and join it. It’s not easy and it can be frustrating at times, but have a reason for doing it and you’ll be fine. The reason might be to communicate clearly or become better at selling your ideas. Once you reach competency, you can move on.

Using the same example above, there’s a good chance that you’d dread going if you didn’t have a clear objective for doing so. It would seem like needless suffering (If you’ve spoke in front of an audience before, you know what I mean).

So, set a clear purpose in all things that you do.

Understand that just one of these symptoms is enough to put an axe to it. A perfect three-for-three, though, is grounds for ending it with a vengeance.

You’ll know when you’ve made the right choice because of how you’ll feel after saying goodbye. It will feel like someone yanked a ten-ton-truck off your shoulders and then served you a chocolate sundae. Yummy.

Start your detox. Do what’s best for you and your vision; throw out the rest that’s holding you back. 


Matt Kramer had an extreme fear of public speaking that nearly crippled his hope, but overcoming it has changed his life. His passion is simple: To help others crush the fear of public speaking so they can use the confidence to capture their dreams. Visit Matt’s blog to get tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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