How to Embrace Simplicity
This is a guest post written by Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens.
Some people are experts in simple living. Tammy Strobel is one expert who lives it. She’s also a very supportive and talented fellow blogger who has generously agreed to guest post on Momentum Gathering this week.
So many of us are overwhelmed by an incredible amount of advertising everyday. We are surrounded by a plenitude of stuff, but many of us aren’t happy. We are searching for something that will give us the momentum to find happiness in our lives. I think that “something” is simplicity.
Embracing simplicity allowed me to find happiness in my own life. I downsized my belongings, sold my cars, and finally paid off my debt. By taking these steps, I feel less overwhelmed in my personal and professional life.
The increasing complexity of our world has fragmented our time, attention span, and has left many people stressed out and financially strained. Simplicity is about examining areas of excess. Areas of excess could be shopping too much, checking your e-mail 30 times a day, or over-eating. By embracing simplicity and eliminating your own areas of excess, you can reclaim your time, health, and focus on creating meaningful connections with friends, family and your community.
The idea of simplifying your life can be daunting, so let’s talk about a few ideas to get you started.
Take inventory of your stuff and banish clutter from your life.
There is no magic solution or quick lifestyle fix to the problem of clutter. If you have a house full of stuff, de-cluttering responsibly will take time. And that’s okay.
Go through your home, room by room, and create piles of stuff you want to keep and stuff you want to donate. Don’t rush this process. Going through all of your stuff gradually won’t be so overwhelming.
Be responsible as you de-clutter your stuff. Don’t throw your stuff away! Give it away or re-purpose your stuff. We don’t need more stuff in the landfills, toxins seeping into our water supply or more garbage shipped to developing countries.
Micro-action: Take inventory of your stuff. And start small. Read How to Shed Your Stuff and The Story of Stuff.
Think about your needs before you purchase a new item.
In Your Money Or Your Life, the authors encourage people to ask themselves three questions before they buy anything:
- Will I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent?
- Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
- How might this expenditure change if I didn’t have to work for a living?
Micro-action: Write down the questions above on a slip of paper. Put it in your wallet. Inserting this little slip of paper in your wallet will help you remember to ask these questions before you purchase an item.
Do less, focus more.
Life doesn’t have to be so busy. You can make a choice to do less and focus more. For instance, consider ditching your TV and limiting the amount of time you spend on the internet. Rather than watching television after work or spending hours surfing the internet, set time aside to focus on your priorities.
Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids or start a small business. All of these things are doable. But you have to take action. Start doing less and focusing more on what makes you happy.
Micro-actions: Make a list of distractions in your life and think about how you can start cultivating focus. More importantly, take action.
Go on a tiny vacation.
A “tiny vacation” is a way to refocus and examine your state of mind. You can take a tiny vacation at a moments notice and you don’t have to go far. For instance, a tiny vacation might be a walk in the park, spending an hour at a coffee shop, or taking a long afternoon nap.
Micro-action: Brainstorm a list of tiny vacation ideas. Set aside 30 minutes per day to take your own little vacation. Use that time to recharge and refocus.
Be mindful of your physical and mental health.
We only get one body and mind. If we don’t take care of both, life can be difficult. The beauty of simplifying your physical world is you’ll have more time to focus your health. For example, if you aren’t working 12 hours a day and commuting for two, you’ll be able to exercise and spend time with loved ones.
What steps have you taken to simplify your life? Please leave a comment and share your story.
Tammy Strobel blogs at RowdyKittens about simple living and is the author of Simply Car-free: How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life.