If you’re looking into minimalism, simple living or seeking ways to simplify your life I’m betting I can tell you a few things going on in your life right now.
You are feeling overburdened or overwhelmed. You are feeling frustrated or anxious about where your life is right now. Your day is so packed you feel like you rarely have time for the things you really want to do. You might even feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel constantly busy but never really getting anywhere.
Here’s the good news, you are on the right track, there is an ante dote simplify!
Simplicity is all about removing the excess from your life and clearing space so that you have time for the things that matter most. It’s about taking control of your life rather than allowing others to direct your time.
However, knowing that you need to simplify your life and knowing how to get there are two different things. But I’ve got you covered. Here are 10 simple yet key steps to get you started minimizing so that you can maximize your life.
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1. Know Your Why
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you’ve undoubtedly heard me talk about the importance of knowing your why. It’s so important to know exactly WHY simplicity matters to you.
You see whenever you want to make a real change in your life you need to have a compelling reason to make it stick. Change is hard and without a compelling reason it’s just too easy to give up. (You can read more about how to make a new habit stick here.)
This compelling reason is your “WHY” it is the reason you want to simplify your life. What do you wish was different about your life right now? Why? What will move you in the direction of a simpler life, one that is easier to manage, more peaceful and filled with the things that matter most to YOU!
If you’re not sure what your WHY is, I want to encourage you to take some time to figure out why you want to simplify your life. Once you’ve determined your “why”, write it down on paper and keep it in a place you will see often.
2. Refocus Your Thoughts
Another thing I talk a lot about is the power of our thoughts. Our minds are amazingly powerful and our thoughts have a lot to do with our success.
To successfully simplify your life it’s pretty simple, start with your thoughts. Put yourself in the correct mindset.
Simplifying starts with believing that by minimizing all the excess in your life you really can clear space to have those things that truly matter to you and that you are worth it and you deserve it!
Honestly, I think what complicates life is that too often we emphasize how hard or difficult things are. But when we start speaking truth to ourselves and emphasize the amazing benefits we can gain, things begin to change.
For me, I have certain scriptures that I go to and speak to myself. These include Matthew 17:20 “if you have faith nothing is impossible” or Romans 8:31 “if God is for us who can be against us.” These simple affirmations remind me of the presence, support, and help of God when I’m trying to accomplish hard things. They compel me to continue to move forward.
So take some time this week to sit down and make a list, not of the factors against you, but of those that are for you. Direct your thoughts to affirm YOU can have a life filled with abundance, peace, joy and overflowing with those things that matter most to you!
3. Minimize Expectations
I can’t tell you how many times I have placed unreasonable expectations on myself based on what others say or do. We look at our Facebook or Instagram feeds and these people that seem to have these fantastic lives. In no time, we begin to think we should be doing all the things.
The problem is nobody can do all things. When we compare our own lives to what we see others doing we create this unnecessary burden on ourselves. To truly simplify your life keep your focus on YOU and YOUR life.
Stop looking at or listening to what other people say you should be doing. Instead, focus on what you are able to do.
This is your life, the whole purpose of simplifying your life and minimizing the excess is to allow you to maximize those things that matter most to you in YOUR LIFE.
Make this journey about you! Focus on your why, what living an intentional simplified life will do for you.
Anytime you seek to change some part of your life or create new habits there’s going to be hard points that are going to make you want to quit. We all do it.
This is why it’s good to find ways now that will keep you motivated and inspired to simplify your life when the going gets tough.
Don’t make it complicated, some simple ways to maintain your motivation and inspiration is to create pinboards, (you can follow my Pinterest Simply Living Board here.) Keep reading blogs on simplicity, or listen to podcasts or YouTube channels that inspire you.
If you find your motivation waning read this for some simple ways to regain your motivation.
5. Plan to be Uncomfortable
The further along you move on your journey to simplify your life, you’re gonna have to make some hard decisions when it comes to determining what’s essential and what’s not. You will also find that much of the familiar is gone as you focus on what is essential.
Planning for these uncomfortable days is important. Take some extra time for self-care and be proactive and bringing joy into your home. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, some beautiful fresh flowers, a pretty new plant, a wonderfully scented candle or even a special mug with your favorite tea.
Having a plan in place to push through those tough days could make them a whole lot easier.
6. Identify Temptations
As you move along in the minimizing and simplifying process, temptations are going to come up all of a sudden.
I hadn’t been shopping in like a month, which was probably the longest I’d gone without shopping in forever. Even though I didn’t need anything I just wanted to go shopping. I was so tempted to do what I’d always done – shop. And unfortunately, I definitely gave into the temptation.
For a while, especially in the beginning, I had to avoid certain stores and activities which were tempting me to self-sabotage all my hard work. However, once I learn to identify my specific temptations I was able to create positive substitutes.
Some ideas to get you thinking are to start an exercise routine, read more, take up knitting or painting. You can even do what I did and start a blog. The key is to identify the temptations that will interfere with your desire to simplify your life before they arise.
I think a lot of times people fail at simplifying because they overdo it. Simplifying your life is about getting rid of those things that are not serving you.
Think about the things in your life that are causing you stress and not leading you closer to your goals, those are the things you want to minimize as much as possible.
But, keep the things you love. If you love to craft it’s OKAY to have a room full of craft supplies that you use. The point of simplifying and minimizing is to have those things that are useful and lovely in your life and get rid of everything else.
8. Make Your Own Rules
One of the best parts of simplifying is that there really are no rules. It’s about what feels right to you, you get to pick and choose what you want in your life and disregard the rest.
It’s so important not to obsess over the details and the amount of stuff you’re getting rid of. When people do this, stuff becomes a central focus rather than the value being added to your life by eliminating the non-essentials and they miss the point. Plain and simple, when you do this, you are allowing things to still rule you and you are just as enslaved as if you eliminated nothing.
Your focus belongs to making time for what matters in YOUR LIFE. Keep your focus on your “why” and minimize what feels right for you.
9. Practice Gratitude
Here’s the thing with gratitude — it makes you want less –.
When you choose gratitude it creates contentment with your life right where it is. By learning to be thankful for the circumstances in your life, you are not seeking something you don’t have.
It’s super important to realize that discontentment is a form of bondage. There is no satisfaction, you are trapped constantly searching for more, for something else. Gratitude frees you from this bondage, it allows you to fully enjoy your life.
Did you know that materialism is strongly connected to reduced well-being? We live in a society which generally encourages materialism. However, the minimalism movement has shown that materialism makes people feel less content and reduces feelings of gratitude.
When you are overwhelmed with stuff you reduce the ability to appreciate and enjoy the good in life. Rather than being grateful for what you do have, the focus becomes on what you don’t have.
To the contrary, gratitude will cause you to focus less on things that don’t matter, and more on the things that do, like your family and other relationships.
Make it a habit to practice gratitude by jotting down at the end of each day a few things that you are grateful for.
10. Remember The point
As you go through this journey of simplicity there will be tough days. You’ll have days when you’re uncomfortable discouraged or frustrated. These are the times to remember why you began this journey in the first place.
This is the reason I had you write down your “why”. You’ll focus on your why a lot on this journey.
The point in minimizing isn’t just to get rid of stuff, the true point is to reduce stress in your daily life. Reject busyness for the sake of busyness, live a calmer and more peaceful life. It is about living intentionally so that your focus is on those things that matter most to you!
Simplifying your life doesn’t need to be hard when you keep these 10 steps in mind.