Episode 035: First Step to Achieving Your Goal Is Purging

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Do you know what the first action Stephen took to start building UnStuckable? He purged. He got rid of stuff, obligations, connections and even e-waste. He simplified his life to make room for the huge change his was about to go through. The topic of purging was actually our very first blog post and the one that has still generated the most comments.

During this week’s Live Google+ Hangout and Freedom Friday podcast we’re discussing why purging is a great first step toward achieving your goal. Now if you’re one of those people who knows they want change in their life, but don’t have a specific goal just yet, the process of purging is the perfect exercise to help you understand what you feel is really important in your life.

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Key UnStuckable Takeaway

Get more control over your life by purging your stuff.

Does your life feel completely out of control? If it does, purging is a great way to start regaining control over your life and how you want to live it.

Every day you have choices about what you bring into your home and office. You control what goes into your mind and body. You have much more control over your time and you currently might think.

Many of us feel stuck because we are buried under a mountain of stuff we don’t need, obligations that no longer fulfill us and social connections that are distracting us from what we really want to do with out lives.

Want to get unstuck? Start purging and simplifying your life!

Have a suggestion for our next live hangout? Email questions@unstuckable.co or post it on our Facebook page


  • The month before Stephen and Chris committed to working on UnStuckable full time, Stephen spent that time purging stuff, obligations, connections and even e-waste to make space and time for building a new business.
  • Purging is the process of simplifying your life  to either discover what is important to you or to realign all of the resources in your life toward your goal.
  • If you are feeling stuck, but don’t know how to get yourself unstuck, purging is a great place to start because it gets you to start taking control of your life and helps you discover what is really important to you.
  • “Americans are constantly adding stuff to their lives, but aren’t very good at subtracting from it,” observes Stephen.
  • Be aware of what you are letting go of and what you are holding onto. then ask yourself, “Why?”
  • You can also think of purging as an exercise to think and act more like an entrepreneur. You’ll get practice making tough choices and making commitments.
  • Purging will also help you discover your work preferences and how you really want to work.
  • As you purge obligations, you’ll create more quality time to work on your goal.
  • “One of the biggest hurdles to achieving a big goal is your ability to control your time and focus your time on what’s important to you,” says Chris.
  • Stephen regularly under promises and over delivers when he makes a commitment to someone else as a way to control his time.
  • Purge your need to be perfect, especially in your area of expertise as a way to put time back in your day.
  • Moving from your living space is a great opportunity to purge stuff you aren’t using.
  • At the end of each season, Stephen gets rid of any clothes he didn’t wear during that season even if he has an emotional attachment to it.
  • Purging is not just a one-time action, but rather an ongoing life habit.
  • Most important purging habit: stop letting stuff automatically come into your house, office or wherever you spend the most time.
  • Stephen still uses his mom’s mantra for organization, “Everything in its place and a place for everything.”
  • If you bring something into your home, something has to leave it first.
  • Paper is one of the biggest sources of clutter, so stop letting paper come into your living or work space.
  • Stephen never accepts swag when he attends conference because it’s mostly stuff he’ll never use.
  • “We’ve been taught that anything free is always good. I disagree because it creates clutter,” says Stephen. Only accept free stuff if you re actually going to use it.
  • Leo Babauta has been a simplification and minimalist guru to Stephen.
  • As you work toward your goal or move through your transition in life have the courage to purge connections that aren’t adding to your life or supportive if the change you want to make.
  • Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
  • In our interview with John Lee Dumas, he recommended spending less time with your bottom two connections of the five you spend the most time with as you begin your transformation.
  • Cultivate connections that provide you with constructive criticism.
  • “One of the core things people get stuck on is not purging and taking control of what’s around them,” says Chris.
  • Purging helps open you up to new opportunities.
  • Reassess all your commitments and obligations to determine which ones you need to purge. Nothing will bring you greater stress relief in terms of managing your time than getting rid of an obligation that no longer motivates you.
  • Stephen gets the same kind of “high” shopaholics get when he gets rid of something.
  • Don’t just purging physical possessions, but digital waste as well.
  • Limit how much time you spend communicating electronically and sitting in front of a screen.
  • Purging is a great exercise to start helping you understand how you want to work on your terms.
  • Stephen delays his gratification to buy something by putting it on the “maybe” section of his to do list for a few weeks. It gives him time to consider whether he really needs to make the purchase or not.
  • “One of the core tenants of being unstuckable is a person’s ability to purge,” says Chris.
  • Do your most important work at the beginning of each day and leave your less impactful work for the end of the day.

Quick Action to Get Unstuck

Find one thing to get rid of every day for three months.

Chris and Stephen are big believes in taking small, consistent actions as a way to build habits in your life. To start purging, simply get rid of one thing each day. Get start by:

1. Focus on just one room in your home.

2. Each day, start eliminating one thing from that room, especially if you haven’t used that item in the last year. (Don’t put it somewhere in your house, get it out of your house!)

3. After two weeks assess your progress and observe the change in the room, as well as how you feel.

4. If you honestly feel there is nothing left to get rid of in that room, pick another room or space to focus on for the next two weeks.

5. Continue this two-week cycle of purging a different space in your home for three months. With any luck, the purging habit we’ll be part of your life by then and you’ll have a deeper awareness about the things you really need to live your life.


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Questions & Feedback

Have a question or feedback for us? Email questions@unstuckable.co or Tweet @unstuckable

Thank you for listening. If you like something you heard in the show, let Chris and Stephen know by tweeting us @unstuckable

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Thank you for for your support and let’s get unstuck!