“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar. ― Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty
Simplicity means different things to different people. But at the core I believe it means getting rid of the unnecessary so the necessary can speak.
Not as easy as it sounds. Remember it’s a process of finding those things, people and events that bring you joy. And living there. Permanently.
So where to start? For me, it starts with figuring out the four to five absolutely must-do, must-be items in your life. We use this as the standard bearer and measure everything in our lives to it.
- Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things. See post here for an activity that will help you determine what those items are.
- Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. See posts here and here on how to say no and have it stick. Check Your Calendar and To-Do List. Pull out your calendar and really look at everything you’ve committed to over the next three months. This includes work, home, kid’s activities, exercise classes, hobbies, and social activities. Everything. Now place your list of the top 4-5 important things (#1) beside this list and circle those commitments that are in alignment. Here’s the hard part: cancel, drop out, back-out or get-out-whatever-way-you-can from those activities that aren’t circled. See how to get rid of resistance here.
- Learn to say yes – to you! Check your boundaries. Are you leaking life force energy in an effort to please others? Most of the work we’ve done in taming the inner critic is really about learning to say yes to yourself – believing in your own self-worth – as you set aside those stories about what others think you should do. See these previous posts for help in filling in with your own life force energy, grounding out the shoulds of others and tapping on the stories of self-judgment.
- Do your interior work. Meditate, tame your inner demons, quiet your mind. Clear out the center of your head and let your highest and best self be your guide. If you are not meditating daily, then find a way to do that. Take a class in meditation, listen to your favorite audio, sign up for a class in energy awareness (here’s one I love: Self Healing 101).
- Do the exterior work. Declutter your home, simplify your work tasks, leave the dust bunnies undisturbed. Cut down on noise pollution, check your email and social media sites less frequently. Stop the junk mail, give away lots of stuff to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Give yourself space – literally! Stop Keeping Up with the Joneses – who are these guys anyway? I believe “the Jones family” was a Madison avenue marketing ploy to get us to buy more products. Don Draper, did you do this to us?? Stop comparing yourself, your life, your children to some made-up set of standards.
Guard your time and prioritize your commitments. Make a promise to yourself to put your time, attention, love and energy towards only those people, events and things that bring you joy. That’s the simple life; putting first things first.
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