I have something to say. Really. It’s crucial. Are you ready???
Since I embraced simplicity, my life has changed.
Yes. It. Has. Changed. Dramatically. Radically. Completely. Outside of the most unexpected gift of becoming a mother, I declare that saying “NO” to consumerism and vowing to live a simpler life has been the best thing to ever happen to me.
In 2010 I started reading about simplicity. I kept thinking I needed a change. As a massage therapist, I had always told my clients that stress is the number one cause of over 90% of diseases in our modern-day. Yet…I was really stressed. Rushed. Tired. Unfulfilled. Every New Years past I wrote down my goals: This year I want PEACE. PEACE, Dammit!!! I NEED IT!!! (Hmmmm….see the irony?)
Then, one night amid my lifestyle-induced insomnia, I came across a blog post by Leo Babauta. From there, I started following other bloggers like Josh Becker and Tammy Strobel. And now I follow several bloggers who, like me, are finding that ‘minimalism’ is more about simplicity…and less about living with nothing at all. Quite frankly, these people became my teachers. I have so much gratitude for each of them for the introduction to a simpler life.
Last year I was determined to get my finances in order, take a much-needed vacation, and get my mental and emotional health back on track. Looking over the last year (even during a global pandemic) I accomplished my goals. Dare I say that this is the first year I did achieve my goals – so maybe…just maybe…I needed the forced ‘slow down’.
In 2021 I plan to focus on my physical and spiritual health. I haven’t outlined what that will look like eventually or even how I’ll measure that (Cue SMART Goals), but I’m still working through it. I know that simplifying my engagement calendar will be vital for successful goal management. For starters: Every Thursday at 7 pm, I will continue my yoga practice. Boom. Physical & Spiritual with one stone.
Let 2021 be your year. Whether you decide to consider the concept, are ready to begin cleansing your life of clutter, or even prepared to take it to the next level and help others…Turn 2021 into a year that can change your life forever. Make it the year to embrace simplicity; to let go; to feel free. Say yes to relaxation and happiness. Say yes to getting your life back.
To further convince you, here are 12 Ways (and Reasons!) to Simplify this year:
(Disclaimer: Some will bring on immediate benefits while some will be worth the wait. Just be open.)
1. Reduce the physical clutter in your home. By reducing, you will have less to clean, less to maintain, less to organize, less financial burden, and less emotional distractions. Owning less eventually gives you ‘more’ in other areas of your life.
2. Say “No, thank you” to a commitment. Booked-solid people have no time for rest. And people who have no time for rest are mean. Seriously. They spend that spare 15 minutes folding laundry instead of reading to their children. They take a 20-minute drive and use the ‘windshield’ time to return phone calls instead of singing silly songs with their kids or merely taking in the sights around them.
3. Start each morning with these words: “Thank you.” Feeling gratitude only expands the reasons to have more of it. With less to occupy your attention, you’ll be able to see how blessed your life is. And, if you find it isn’t as ‘blessed’ as you’d like it to be you’ll have the time and energy to find ways to make it more blessed.
4. Simplify your menu. I mean, REALLY. In the book, Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne suggests making each day the “Fill In The Blank” day, such as Monday-Pasta; Tuesday-Rice; Wednesday-Slow Cooker, etc. We typically eat the same twelve menu items over and over. Don’t believe me? Really? What’s your ‘go-to’ meal on hectic days?
5. Focus on prevention. It is so much easier to STAY well than to GET well. You can apply these ideas to your body, soul, material possessions, and bank account.
6. Realize you don’t have to live your life the way you’ve been told. You don’t have to own 2+ cars, a boat, and a 3500 square foot home with a craft room, workshop, and separate living areas. You don’t have to work in a job you hate. You can have, be, and do more with your life. I’ll introduce you to this concept throughout the year, starting with this movie trailer. (Since 2013, I have watched this movie every New Year’s Day to remind me!)
8. Reduce the clothes in your closet. Americans wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. You don’t believe me? Well, I’ll have a challenge for you in March that will prove me right. You wait and see.
9. Find a creative outlet. Hopefully, it won’t be one that encourages you to turn an entire room into a smaller version of Hobby Lobby, BUT in the event that it does you’ll be amazed how much adding creativity to your life breeds happiness.
10. Schedule nap time. Or just some downtime to sit in the sun. Don’t have the time?? Not to sound judgmental, but that’s an unfortunate commentary on your life, and I want to help! Refer back to #2, and we’ll discuss this more during the year.
11. Limit your time on Social Media. Seriously, the drama factor on FakeBook alone is enough to prove my point on this one. There is no bigger time suck than Social Media. The comparison factor alone creates opportunities for you to be stressed.
12. Have a place for everything. Even those pesky clipped coupons and scrapbook paper need a place to rest – and your kitchen counter, isn’t it. Many of us are working from home now, and our ‘office’ is the kitchen island. Except it isn’t. (Listen again: The kitchen counter/table/island is not your office.) So, get yourself a file box or briefcase and put all that stuff away each night as if you were working from your favorite coffee shop.
I’ll post challenges centered on reducing clutter and improving your life quality over the next year. No worries, they will be simple. (Simple…not necessarily easy.)
So, what would you like help with this coming year? Where can you simplify? Which of the twelve ideas resonates most with you?