Inside: Living a simple life brings freedom, peace, and joy and reduces stress. These five ways to simplify your life will get you started toward slow and simple living and a happier life.
We live in a world of abundance where we can have much and do much and we even sometimes pride ourselves on “having it all.” But is that really the ultimate goal…to do all the things and have all the things? What if we rejected this notion and instead embraced a simple life, a life where we are not weighed down by our schedules and our stuff?
Simplifying your life can bring so much freedom (both financial and time), peace, and joy. When you start your simple living journey and begin experiencing these benefits, you will crave it in every part of your life. You’ll ask yourself “Where else can I reduce the distractions to focus more on stuff that’s actually important to me?”
If you’re tired of chasing a life that brings you more stress than peace, then simple living may be exactly what you need.
5 Ways To Simplify Your Life
If there is anything worth rushing for, it’s rushing toward a slower pace and a simple life. Here are 5 actionable steps you can implement today to simplify your life.
1. Start living a simple life by determining your values and priorities
When starting your simplifying journey, it’s important to get clear about your goals, values, and priorities. Knowing what you value will help you decide what you want to keep in your life and what you can let go of.
Sometimes it’s tempting to fill our your calendar simply because you don’t know how to say “no” (see number three) or you have what the kids call FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. You sign up for everything because it all sounds good or fun. And maybe it is all good or fun, but when you get serious about your values and goals, you learn to say “no” to even the good stuff that isn’t aligned with what matters most.
Knowing your values also keeps you motivated to keep working toward simple living. Values act as your compass to help you stay on track as you are simplifying.
Think about what you truly want to achieve in your life. Now, when a new opportunity, purchase decision, calendar commitment comes your way, assess whether it aligns with your priorities, goals, and values. It it does, say YES wholeheartedly. If the commitment isn’t inline with your values, skip it and instead enjoy the JOMO…
JOMO (noun) Joy Of Missing Out: Feeling content with staying in and disconnecting as a form of self-care. Antonym: FOMO
2. One thing simple living must include: Decluttering
Clearing excess clutter from your home and simplifying your living space is a crucial part of living a simple life.
Think about it this way, the more stuff you own, the more time you spend organizing and managing it all. Clutter increases stress and distracts us from the things that matter most to us.
Make a decluttering plan. Schedule time specifically for cleaning out the clutter, room by room. And make sure you know exactly where you will take it all when you are done so it doesn’t sit in your house or garage and slow down your path to the simple life.
Less stuff = Less mess
Less mess = More time
More time = Freedom.
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3. Learn the Art of Saying “No” So You Can Say “Yes” to the Simple Pleasures of Slow Living
As mentioned earlier, simplifying your life requires you to decide what matters to you the most and what you want to prioritize. So naturally, the next step is to learn to say “no” to things that don’t line up with your goals.
I understand saying “NO” isn’t always easy. But with a little practice and the right motivation it gets easier.
Learning how to say “no” in a nice way is simple if you learn a little trick called the sandwich method. Try saying something nice or giving a compliment, then say no politely, and end by saying something nice again. For example, “Your dinner parties are always so lovely. I’m sorry we can’t make it this time. I hope you have a great time.” Give it a try next time you need to say “no” nicely.
You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.
4. For a Simple Life, Slow Down and Practice Gratitude
Gratitude turns what we have into enough. — Aesop
Showing gratitude for what we already have is the foundation of simple living. When we slow down and start noticing what we have, appreciating our life for what it is right now, we begin realizing just how little we really need for a happy life.
Finding contentment with what you currently have instead of constantly chasing after more, bigger, newer, and better stuff is what simple living is all about. Over time, simplicity and gratitude will bring you more peace and joy then stuff and busyness ever did.
At the end of the day, what really matters is that your loved ones are well, you’ve done your best, and you’re thankful for all you have.
5. Embrace a Gentler Pace with Slow Living
Lastly, slow down, intentionally. With less on your calendar and fewer possessions to care for, you can begin to embrace a slower pace of life and be present for the life you want to live.
Give your full attention to the present moment or task at hand, rather than always thinking about what is next. Whether it’s washing dishes or listening to a child’s story, let your attention be fully there.
If a slower pace is new to you or you aren’t sure what to do when you feel bored with your new down time, then remember to be mindful about what you add back into your life. If you don’t even remember how to relax, that’s okay! Go easy on yourself and remind yourself that your worth is not connected to your productivity and that there is value in doing nothing or doing things simply for pleasure.
Take a short walk in the woods, read a book, pursue a hobby, spend time with loved ones, or simply take some time to sit and do nothing at all. Put away your phone and be fully present for something you enjoy or completely emerge yourself in the art of doing nothing.
Real happiness requires less than you think.
One thing that is important to remember is that in the quest for a simpler life, try not to compare yourself with others on similar journeys. We are all unique and our families have different needs and values, so slowing down or simplifying will look different to everyone. Let simplifying your life be exactly what it needs to be for you and your family.