Simplify Your Life for More Peace, Clarity and Joy in the New Decade
The Minimalist Movement Stretches Beyond Just Decreasing Number of Possessions. This Is Where to Start When You’re Ready for the Next Step…
What would it feel like to only own things that you love and use daily? When everything that you have has a purpose, it’s easier to: feel more at home in your space, create more memories and focus on what really matters.
While all of this is true, it’s usually where the focus ends in minimalism. Most of the time when we read about minimalism, it speaks to things like creating a capsule wardrobe, big de-clutters and rejecting consumerism.
Minimalism is a movement that focuses on more than just the physical. It’s about every area of our lives: eliminating what doesn’t matter so we can focus on what is actually important.
The fact that it is a movement focused on eliminating the non-essential and focusing on what means the most to us in our daily lives. When done right, practicing minimalism is extremely freeing. It clears our schedules, allows us to be more in tune with ourselves, and gives us more energy to our dreams.
I’ve been practicing simplicity for the past few years. It’s helped me a lot with my personal mental health. It has helped me to become more content, more thankful and given me deeper insight into not just myself but the world around me as well.
Post-declutter and past physical possessions, what does it mean to simplify our lives?
Simplify schedules using a Top Three System
So many times, regardless of our circumstances in life, we stretch ourselves far too thin. Too many commitments and things screaming for our intention mashed with too many things on a daily to do list. If you narrowed that list down to three things what would that look like?
Imagine waking up daily to a list with only the most essential tasks to get done today. Where you only have three things on your calendar. This system allows you to still accomplish what needs to be done, but by narrowing your focus, it allows you to be less stressed and focus on the right things to get done that day.
What would those three things be?
Simplify By Practicing Mindfulness
Overwhelm happens when we focus on too much. It happens when we focus on everything in our lives: past, present and future at one time.
The art of mindfulness is just being fully present at one place or on one task. It is being aware of what is around you, what is going on at this present moment.
Raising awareness lends itself to increasing mindfulness. So does meditation, allowing yourself to focus on your breath and simply noticing thoughts as they pass you by. Scheduling time for family and time for yourself is another avenue to practice mindfulness.
By paying full attention to what the moment is and everything going on around us, we allow ourselves to enjoy the moment and become more content with the good things we have.
Simplify by keeping a journal
Journaling is an amazing outlet. It allows us to focus on what we are grateful for, express emotion and preserve a record to look back on.
The length of entries is not the focus here, journaling can be as simple as writing down one sentence. A great way to begin this practice is to pick a theme and jot down a sentence per day related to that theme. Possible themes include: lessons in building a business, a gratitude thought or a quote that inspires us. Another system is to jot down a quote and 10 bullet points about your thoughts throughout the day.
However, it is not enough to just write. The best practice is to look back on that journal at least every few months. Looking back on that journal will provide you with insight. What bothers you? What sparks joy into your life? What helps or hurts your mental health?
When looking back at that journal, what stands out? What is the most obvious? How does that affect your outlook moving forward? If something continually brings you joy, how can you incorporate more of that? What has helped you through the most through the challenges you’ve faced?
Simplify by addressing the biggest boulder
Everyone has something that they struggle with. Whether that’s self-esteem, debt, addiction, or anything else that keeps us from being our best selves.
Simplify by addressing this area of life. Come up with a plan that allows and enables you to address it. Remember that even small things make a difference. It is possible that the best way to address the stumbling block is not through making big bold declarations and relentlessly attacking the problem. It might be better to break it down and taking smaller steps.
An example from my personal life would be the fact that I have a lot of personal debt. I’ve tried to attack this through no-spend years, massive pay off plans and years of less. When I try these years, I find myself behaving for the first few months. When the honeymoon phase is over, I wreck any progress by going back to my old spending habits and before long I find myself back in the hole.
Sometimes this kind of big action is not the right path. I’ve heard about people who can do massive challenges, like paying off 7k of debt in 7 months, however, for me, I believe that smaller steps: learning to budget, having a 10k plan over the next 12 months and practicing delayed gratification with an occasional splurge is a better plan.
When the big attack it and get over it doesn’t work, try smaller and simpler tasks. Let yourself off the hook and celebrate your progress as you move forward.
Simplify by focusing on one.
We are close to the New Year. It’s common at this time each year to make a lot of bucket list of resolutions. To focus on multliple areas of our lives at the same time. However, the secret is that by choosing one area of our lives to focus on, we gain more. The idea of choosing one word for the next year is so powerful because we get to explore that word in detail.
For example, if that word is love: how are we showing love to the family we have been given? How often are we there for a friend who just needs to talk? Do we do anything to help those in the community? How often do we practice patience and kindness towards the person who most aggitates us?
By simplifying our focus, we allow ourselves to give ourselves fully to working on that one thing. It will teach us more than we thought we knew previously in that arena. We learn more about ourselves and how we function, as well as learning about the subject of our focus. We develop more in that space than by focusing on a million different things.
Focusing on one aspect will affect every other area of our lives. This does not have to be a negative thing. For example, if we focus on personal happiness, this will make us more giving, more compassionate, and stronger for those around us. It is the conscious act of making us better and then helping others.
Simplify by giving yourself grace and space to figure things out
When we attempt change of any kind, there is a learning curve. Often times, we expect perfection from ourselves. This is not always true for what we expect from those around us, but we hold a measuring stick to ourselves of unfulfilled expectations. The only person to compare ourselves with is who we were in the past: yesterday, last month or last year. What progress are you making in life? How have you improved through the time?
Remember that it’s important to give ourselves room to make mistakes while we are growing into the person that we want to be and envision ourselves being. Life is messy and mistakes are made on a daily basis. Allow yourself to realize this and to learn, not beat yourself up over any unfulfilled expectations or that you’re not further along on the journey.
There is a lot more to simplicity than just decreasing possessions and getting rid of stuff. This journey is multi-faceted and if you allow it to, it will change your life. What one area do you think you will focus on this year to bring lasting change and more joy into your life?