12 Simple Steps to Simplify Your Life

Simplify Your Life

I spent almost 3 weeks trekking in India in 2009. It shed a light on how much less stuff other people have and can live without. When I returned from India, I looked around inside my house and felt like the most abundant person on earth.

After that trip, I decided I wanted to get rid of a bunch of stuff. I’ve been on the path of living simply ever since. I absolutely love going through my closets, kitchen, and rooms looking for things to pack up, so I can donate them.

However, looking back on my life, I realized I was attached to many things.

When I was younger, I felt important when I had lots things. Marketing messages were not lost on me. I didn’t have just one Cabbage Patch Kid, I had three. Three is better than one right? I could also say that I had three.

I was attached to clothes. I had a light pink winter jacket I got in 8th grade. It was really cute and by far the most expensive jacket my Mom ever bought me at that point. I got it after I had 4 teeth pulled prior to getting braces. I’m sure my Mom felt bad about what I had been through, hence the reason for spending so much on the coat. I wore it until I couldn’t wear it anymore. I kept it for MANY years after that. It was pretty. I couldn’t give it away.

Most recently, I use to save boxes. You know the boxes you get from amazon.com when you order something? Most people toss them. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about a empty box that intrigues me. The voice in my head says, “What could I put in it?” “I should save it to package Christmas gifts.”

Honest confession: I still like boxes. Now, I recycle them when I know I won’t use them. If collecting boxes are the only items I hold onto, I think I’m doing ok.

Besides collecting “things” we can also feel attached to people in our lives. Because we want them to stay in our lives, we do things we wouldn’t normally do. You might allow them to cross your personal boundaries or treat you in a way that is not acceptable. That’s not healthy.

No one has what you need to feel fulfilled and complete. We all want self-sufficiency and freedom. Holding onto people who we need to let go of, creates the opposite, inadequacy and conformity.

What do you hold onto? Things or people? Or both?

Living a simplified life to me means getting rid of all but the essential things, so you have more time to spend with the people you love and you’re surrounded by things that have value or are meaningful to you.

Everything should have a reason for being in your life. Click To Tweet

Now, everything I own has a purpose. I get excited when I can drop off bags at Goodwill. I surround myself with things that add more beauty to my life.

Yoga and meditation has taught me that while I’m here on this earth, I can respectfully use everything I need knowing that the things I have are not really mine.

They are here for me to use, until I pass them onto someone else or I take my last breath.

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking the whole world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu

To live a simple fulfilled life you don’t have to move into the woods like Thoreau. It’s simply about removing the distractions in your life, so you can breathe and have more time for yourself.

There are many ways to remove distractions and simplify your life. Below is a simple list to start the simplifying process.

1. Spend less time online
Do you constantly check your phone? Most people start and end their day on their phone. Create certain times during any given day that you’ll check your personal email and social media. Checking your phone all day leaves you feeling like you’re bound to everyone else.

Benefit: More time for yourself + less exposure to the blue light {highest energy wavelength of visible light} that can harm your eyes. Source

2. Want less stuff
Where is the peace of always wanting, allowing your things to control you, and never being satisfied with what you have? Having so many things complicates your life. There’s more to take care of and worry about.

Benefit: You’ll have more money to spend on things you really want. Creating experiences instead of collecting things will bring a richness to your life.

3. How you start your day
Create a morning practice that will help get your day off to a great start. You could meditate, exercise, journal, spend a a few minutes reciting what you’re grateful for, etc. Choose something that you can do easily and stick to it each day.

Benefit: More contentment and joy throughout your day.

4. Take a look at your time commitments
What are you busy with from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep? Do you need to do all of it? If you are busy from morning until night, take a look at how you can streamline your day, {you might need to ask for help, automate some things, delegate or hire help} so you don’t feel so stressed and exhausted.

Benefit: More time for yourself. You can pursue the things that make you content and happy.

5. Work on your eliminating your debt
I’m channeling my inner Suzie Orman with this one. 🙂 Look at your budget and find out where you can cut back, so you can focus on eliminating your debt. Debt feels heavy and costs you so much more the longer you hold onto it.

Benefit: The quicker you pay off your debt, the more money you’ll have for fun activites.

6. Evaluate your relationships
Do the people in your life uplift + encourage you or do they drain your energy and make you feel bad about yourself? Your friends and the people in your network should help you thrive and grow. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t. It’s not worth it.

Benefit: Having a supportive network who wants what’s best for you will help you achieve your goals.

7. Create a “What makes you happy” list
Write a list of things that make you happy. Every day choose one thing on your list to incorporate into your day. Remember to keep it simple. Example: taking a deep breath, listening to your favorite music, taking the scenic route home, etc.

Benefit: You’ll be happy everyday. 🙂

8. What’s in your bag?
What do you carry with you? Is it just the necessities or do you carry unnecessary items? Go through your bag and eliminate things you don’t need, like the cough drops from last winter.

Benefit: A happy back and shoulders from carrying a lighter bag.

9. Spend time alone
Spending time by yourself helps you quiet your mind. You are better able to hear what it is that you truly want.

Benefit: Helps you get in touch with you.

10. Create a weekly dinner menu
How much time do you waste trying to figure out what to have for dinner? How stressful is it to come up with something at the last minute? Create a weekly meal plan you can post on your fridge to save time and energy figuring it out in the moment.

Benefit: You’ll enjoy meal time. Planning meals also helps you save money. You end up going out to eat less.

11. Be present
Living in the here and now connects you with the moment. When we’re not in the moment, we’re in the past or future either re-living an experience or creating something that isn’t there. Take a deep breath. Be here now.

Benefit: Less worry, anxiety, and feeling depressed.

12. Edit your closet and drawers
Get rid of the clothes, shoes, belts, etc. you haven’t worn since last season. Donate them to your favorite charity. Closet clutter overwhelms you and makes you feel stressed. Whatever you put on your body should make you feel beautiful. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Simplicity is key.

Benefit: The ability to easily see what you have. Less time searching for items and more time being creative with your wardrobe.

Bonus Tip: Going forward, ask yourself, “Will this simplify my life or add to my happiness?” If the answer is no, you don’t need it.

A challenge for you: Choose one from the list above to implement into your life. To keep yourself accountable, let me know which one you’ll be tackling in the comments below.

Was this helpful? If so, share it with your friends on social media. I’d like to help everyone live a simple and happy life.

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