Whether you want to believe it or not, clutter is like a dark cloud that constantly follows us around. This persistent threat impedes our abilities to make strides toward fitness success. For some, this means losing weight, getting more sleep, increasing the amount of daily water consumption or even as simple as adhering to a consistent workout program. Here’s the crazy part; most of us get so caught up with the rigors of everyday life that we don’t even recognize the disorder surrounding us.

Clutter can manifest itself physically or mentally. It establishes a gradual presence and becomes so engrained that we aren’t even consciously aware of it’s affects. If you’re new to fitness, have been living a healthy lifestyle for years or find yourself somewhere in between, the presence of clutter will challenge your creativity, zap your energy, productivity and ultimately your health.

Physical clutter refers to everything around you in your physical environment. This can be your kitchen, your office, your school, your bedroom, your backyard, etc. Some of us can find these environments to be unorganized or unkempt while others may be much more tidy and orderly. Whichever category you find yourself falling into, it all boils down to a simple concept; we all have way too much stuff to deal with. These demands are draining and potentially life threatening if allowed to spiral out of control. Keep in mind that a clear, focused mind needs a clear, focused environment.

Mental clutter is quite the opposite, where you may find certain patterns of thinking affecting your ability to achieve success. This type of clutter tactfully operates under the radar and can strike when we are least expecting it. You may often feel self-defeated, more inferior around certain individuals, and shy away from particular opportunities all because of clouded cerebral highways. The trouble with this type of clutter is complete failure to thrive. You’re blind to options or healthier alternatives. You become stagnant and whatever energy you had in reserves is used up.

At this point many of you may be asking yourself, “how do I get rid of something I can’t see?” Try these simple solutions over the next month:

TAKE A MENTAL BREAK! In order to effectively identify, you must first recognize. Slow down and take a 5 minute break each day just to gather your thoughts and allow your brain to become consciously aware.

Self-reflect on your daily routines: Morning, lunch, bedtime, exercise etc. What’s working well? What’s not? Do you have destructive habits? Are you inefficient and wasting time? How can you make improvements?

Make a list of 3-4 tasks/week which you have been putting off and execute them by Saturday at sundown.

Achieving new fitness milestones requires being intentional about your environment, your schedule and your habits. This may all sound very overwhelming, but just take one step at a time and start moving toward more deliberate living. 35% of Americans are already exposed to the hazard of inactivity. Don’t let clutter hold you back!