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Everyday Cheapskate: It’s time to start lightening up!

As flights go, it was ordinary. Still, the trip stands out in my memory as one of my all-time favorites. That’s because I traveled light.

I flew to Dallas in the morning, participated in a luncheon event, saw the sights in the afternoon, and returned home later that evening. It was so simple. No luggage; no baggage check; no carry-on; no umbrella, coat or duffel bag. No computer or bag search. No straining to hoist all of that heavy stuff into the overhead compartment. I was unencumbered and carefree.

There’s something to be said about traveling in such a way. For serious cyclists, the difference between winning and losing can come down to a simple matter of weight and quite possibly the reason we don’t see Lance Armstrong towing a little trailer filled with snacks and cold beverages.

My point — and yes, I do have one — savvy cyclists and climbers are keenly aware of the weight they’re carrying and are always looking for ways to shave a pound here, an ounce there. They know the success of their endeavor depends on their ability to reach their goals without delay and to finish the course.

And so it is with you. The heavier the load, the more difficult the journey and the more trouble you’ll have reaching the goal. Heavy burdens make it difficult to keep up. They can make the journey of life more of a trial to be endured than an adventure to be enjoyed.

So are you enjoying your journey, or are you about to break under the weight of all that “luggage” you’re trying to maneuver down the road of life?

Review your load. You can divide everything you are carrying into two categories: tangible and intangible. Among your tangibles might be too many possessions, heavy debt, dozens of credit accounts, mountains of clutter, an overcommitted calendar, and so forth. Under intangibles you might need to list perfectionism, fear, doubt, guilt, worry, and regret.

Release what you cannot control. It is possible you’re trying to manage burdens you were never meant to pick up in the first place. Take off that big load of regret. It adds nothing to your life and only wears you down. The past is over, so lay it down and let it go. Look your fears and doubts in the face and make a decision to leave them by the side of the road. And that trunk filled with worry? It’s not yours! Set it down. How about those debts? You may not be able to unload them all right now, but little by little as you pay them down, you gain more control over your life.

Renew your mind. Every day you chose your attitude and the way you will respond to every aspect of your life. Elaine St. James in her book, “Simplify Your Life,” says, “Wise men and women in every major culture throughout history have found that the secret to happiness is not in getting more but in wanting less.”

Even when you feel as though your life is completely out of control, you can be sure of this: If you want to soar high, you need to take a serious look at all the baggage you’re carrying. Then lighten up!

Mary Hunt is founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 23 books, including her 2012 release, “7 Money Rules for Life.” You can email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

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