You don’t have to do a Google search in order to figure out if you need to simplify your life. At least, I don’t. Recently I’ve been reassessing my life. I’ve cut out a lot of superfluous stuff in order to make space for simplicity, serenity and solitude.
Were those choices easy? Nope. Absolutely not. However, sometimes we’ve got to make hard choices in order to simplify life. Why? Hmm…let’s think about that. Here are a few suggestions about why you should simplify your life:
The Benefits of Simplifying Your Life
If you’re thinking about cutting back, reducing, or minimalizing, that could be unknown territory. I mean, if you’re accustomed to all the bells and whistles, or trying to keep up with a billion followers on your social networks – the idea of cutting the largesse could be daunting. If you can relate, then take a look at some of the benefits of simplifying your life, such as:
Reconnecting with YOU
Very often, we pile on a bunch of projects or entrench ourselves in social obligations for the wrong reasons. To explain, when humans are dissatisfied, they typically look to externals to fuel themselves internally. When we make an effort to simplify and eliminate distractions, we’re only left with ourselves.
This can be both unnerving and unsettling. Why? Because living with ourselves can feel lonely or unfamiliar.
The truth is, simplifying your life gives you a glorious opportunity to reconnect with yourself. If you think about it, you have had the longest relationship with yourself than anyone else.
That sounds weird and a little Star Trekkie – but consider this:
Who else knows you better than you?
Nobody, that’s who. Therefore, you know when it’s time to cut out distractions and start getting back to basics in order to reconnect with your best asset – which is you.
Getting Present in the Present Moment
It’s a cute adage (that makes me cringe a little for being a bit sappy), but the saying, “The present moment is a gift because you are present” (or something like that), really is true. One of the greatest benefits of simplifying your life is getting present in the moment.
When you don’t have the clutter, distractions, noise, obligations, etc – all you have left is: This.One.Present.Moment.
In my case, this has revolutionized my mindfulness practices.
Being mindful is akin to advancing awareness and spiritual growth. When you are present, you can slow things down.
When you slow things down, you can appreciate, savor, enjoy and notice fleeting moments that might have otherwise been lost to you when you’re paying attention to complications like pinging smartphones or mind-numbing tasks that don’t amount to adding value to your life.
Experience Freedom by Saying “No”
I’ve always been the “yes” girl. In the past, it’s been hard for me to say “no.” In truth, I was born with a guilty complex and saying no has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. I could write a book on that sh*t, but we’re talking about you, and how you can feel more liberated by simplifying your life.
Let’s start by saying this: You never have to provide an excuse or reason for saying “no” That was a toughie for me. It’s a toughie for a lot of people (especially the do-gooders in my life whom I love so dearly).
What saying here is, when you don’t want to do something, it is totally okay and appropriate to just say no. You don’t have to cook up some cockamamie excuse. You don’t need a reason. Just say no and move on.
Once you start practicing the art of flat-pat-no-delivery to others, you start to experience this liberation. Maybe it’s like burning bras in the late 60s, early 70s, when the women’s movement finally said “F this. Enough is enough!” – at least, that’s what saying “no” felt like for me.
It took a long time to establish my boundaries in order to experience freedom from saying no. But take it from me – totally worth working on in an effort to respect your needs and simplify your life.
Tips to Simplifying Your Life
Simplifying your life is, admittedly, easier said than done.
Furthermore, you might be wondering why you would want to do such a thing (re-read the aforementioned benefits of a simplified life). In truth, this strategy is more about making things easier for yourself. Maybe simplification for you looks like re-organizing or decluttering.
Perhaps it might be as innocuous as re-adjusting your daily routines.
Or maybe you just need to rearrange your life in simpler terms to make time with friends and family members who really matter in your life. Whatever your situation is, here are a few tips on simplification with a goal to enhance, enrich and enjoy your life.
Do Some Deep Self-Analysis
Before you launch into living a minimal lifestyle, you’ve got to assess your current condition. That means identifying the unnecessary chaos or needless stress in your life, and start cutting that bullspit out of your life once and for all. If you’re anything like me, you might tend to overcomplicate things or even overthink everything. Am I over it? No. However, I do make intense assessments and try to recognize when I’m piling on the crud that just tangles my life up, making things ridiculously overcomplicated.
Take an inventory of your daily routines and habits. Even if you don’t have a structure or regime, that doesn’t mean you don’t have habits creeping upon you all the time. You need to be aware of these knee-jerk responses. For instance, if you habitually turn to social media in order to distract yourself – that’s a trigger that is thwarting your cause for simplifying your life. This and other actions such as overeating, drinking, smoking – whatever – are all behaviors that are robbing you of simplicity.
You can take this self-analysis to a new level by writing down your routines and habits. This includes recording your sleeping habits, hygiene rituals and behavioral trends.
Does that mean getting brutally honest with yourself? Yes. That’s pretty much what self-analysis is all about. Nobody said this was going to be easy, but the benefits payout big in the long run.
Plan For Simplicity – Not Contingency
While That sounds weird and contradictory, so allow me to explain. My sister used to plan for every wrong turn, every causality, and the probability of everything going wrong. I do that too – but not to such an extent. While it’s admirable to expect the best and plan for the worse – sometimes “winging it” can be a great prescription for simplifying your life.
To explain more deeply – You don’t always need a plan A, B, C, D ad infinitum approach to moving forward in life. Interesting things happen when you forgo the control rituals such as rigid pre-planning. What kind of things? The answer to that question is a good opportunity for a bullet point moment:
- Trust in yourself renders synchronicities that reveal lovely opportunities you could never plan for
- Holding trust in “the force” (your higher power, whatever you identify as your soul-force) is liberating, and beautifully eloquent in showing you there is a strong bond that is assuring your survival and wellbeing in the universe
- Observing evidence of things working out organically without the introduction of overcomplicated plans is proof that simplification can be not only beneficial, but a cool way of living your life (instead of pulling hair out to achieve control and order in any given situation).
Clear and Clean Out Your Living Space
I don’t make any promises, but this one action can revolutionize your life (yes, I promise). Getting proactive about decluttering and clearing out unnecessary stuff in your living & working spaces can simplify your life in mind-boggling ways.
When I’m in my darkest, most complex moments, I start rifling through my living/working spaces. I surmise what is needed and what is not. I have a “take no prisoners” approach to this. I use the 6-month rule, by giving away items I haven’t used in the last 6 months. I also do a massive cleaning on my living and working space to make space and allow me to feel more invigorated.
Fact is, where we live and work absorbs energy. Yes, it can soak in the energy of clutter, refuse, trash, and needless things. In turn, we as humans can absorb that same cluttery vibe. That’s not conducive to simplifying your life. Therefore, make a concerted effort to give away stuff to the charity you no longer need. Also, do a deep clean on your living and work area.
Doing this is tantamount to cutting ties of having your soul confined in a condition you don’t deserve. In order to liberate yourself and live more freely, you’ve got to ditch the clutter, release the hoarding tendencies, clean out the old and minimalize your living space. You’ll feel the difference immediately (and maybe you’ll thank me for this vital tip – cuz I gotta tell ya – this one act of cleaning and decluttering has saved my sanity more than once).
Take Stock in Little Things
One of the biggest assets you have in simplifying your life is the ability to pay attention to the small and unlikely pleasantries in life. That means focusing on elements in your life that you might overlook. It’s about reassessing things so that you free yourself to appreciate simple things such as:
- Running water
- Fluttering butterflies
- Luscious, good-smelly things like flowers and soap
- Friendship with furry friends (dogs, cats, pets, etc)
- Relishinging a sunrise after a long span of rainy days
- Appreciating the bits and parts of your body that work well
- Recognizing synchronicities and lovely happenstance that work in your favor
- Savoring little gifts the universe sets in your lap (you have to program yourself to see those gifts)
The point I’m making here is that you’ve got to retrain your brain and attention in order to identify the simple beauties that are constantly surrounding you. Once you focus on these delicate, fleeting moments of beauty, you will begin to appreciate the simplicity available in every moment of your days.
Simplification Must Be Simple
Ironically, I tend to approach the process of simplifying my life in a way that might overcomplicate it. I know – that’s laughable. But, I’m guilty. To explain, I start to make a gameplan about how I’m going to reform my behavior, minimalize unnecessary social obligations, restructure my schedule, declutter my living area, etc., etc., etc. If you can relate – then please know this: Simplifying your life doesn’t have to be complex or over-involved. Just start with a few things.
Slice out things in your life that aren’t serving you. Say “no” to obligations that are clearly not in your best interest. Methodically and slowly start to clear out things you don’t need in your home. The point here is sweeping out old habits and cobwebs in your life that cause complications in an effort to simplify.
It really is that simple. I hope these tips on how to simplify your life serve you as well as they’ve served me. As always, thanks for reading!
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