I recently read a quote by Steve Maraboli that said, “The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.” Many people value the principles of simple living, but don’t know how to get started.
My goal is to simplify my life in 2017. Living simply means something different from person to person. For me,
- It means to be the most authentic version of myself, make heart-centered decisions, and to create the life I love living.
- It means being empowered to do what I love and completely present with those I love spending time with.
- It means removing all the clutter and making room for only what I need.
Now listen, living simply is not that simple to do. It’s not an overnight process, it will take time. To be honest, it’s a lot like me and my weight loss journey. I lose 5 pounds, then I find 3 of them the following week. Just as I had to be determined to change my diet and exercise regularly in order to achieve my goals, you will need to be intentional about living a more simplistic life.
If that’s you, then let’s do it. Let’s take the journey of living simple together. Here are a few simple ways to begin living simply:
Know Your What!
“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods
There are so many factors to consider with knowing your what. Knowing your what means knowing what matters to you most.
· What are your priorities?
· What matters to your family, spouse and children?
· What things can you get rid of today that doesn’t align with what matters most to you?
· What things are you taking for granted that is critical to you living simply?
My journey to living simple starting in 2014 but I had no idea that it was gradually happening. It was a time in my life that I call my “hatching” season. I was finally okay being who God created me to be. I was open to breaking out of my shell of old habits, limiting perspective, fear of success, and the expectation of others, so that I can live out my heart’s desire. I remember during this year having panic attacks because while I was on a new job, making more money and attending meeting with some powerful people, I was not content. That wasn’t the life that I ultimately wanted. A little over a year later, I quit. And while I knew that I was getting closer to what I wanted, it took another year before I finally figured it out. It wasn’t money, or a position or status that I sought after – it was to be the happiest version of myself. And my “happy” meant that I could enjoy the simple joys in life. Today, while I still have a ways to go, I am living a simpler life doing exactly what I love.
When we simply our lives, we are inherently being open to other life experiences. Therefore, what matters to you may change over time as your circumstances change. A friend of mine would use the term “stay liquid” when describing how to flow with change and keep our eyes on the prize. So, stay liquid when adapting to the changes in life, the world and your experiences that you continue to be honest about what you want most.
How Much Is “Enough”?
We live in a very materialistic society. Often times we focus on what we have, and how much more we need to get. Our need for more keeps us in a never-ending and vicious cycle. Are you working harder to buy more stuff that you don’t actually need? How much is enough for you?
I know these questions are tough, trust me I am asking myself these same questions as I strive to live simply. You see, there was a time in my life when I wanted everything. Nothing was enough, I worked hard and struggled and ended up with the debt to prove it. What helped me to move faster towards living a simple life is when I had to stay on jobs that I hated, because of my dependency of having more put me in debt. When I cried to my husband because I hated going to a job that we could not afford to quit, that’s when these questions began to get a lot easier. I did not want to ever be in a situation like that again, and we had to have a tough conversation about eliminating stuff…including debt to live happy and free. Over the last few years, I have changed my habits, and clinched on to my desire of living a life where less stuff means more freedom.
Simple living is hardest in the area of our material possessions. I am not suggesting that you don’t enjoy nice things, however I do suggest you learn to live with less, learn to live with your “enough”. When you are tempted to buy something, or take on a new client, or join another professional network ask yourself: “will this help me live a more simplistic life?”, if the answer is anything other than yes…you don’t need it.
Love What You Do.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
By simplifying your life, you aren’t meant to live empty. It’s just the opposite, you are giving more space to those things that you really want to do. You know the WHAT we defined earlier, that is what you are simplifying your life to do. What does it mean to love what you do?
It’s important to understand the difference between “doing what you love” and “loving what you do” when it comes to living a simpler life. I encourage you to do both if you can, but know the difference. Doing what you love, doesn’t always allow you to be paid very well and for some it more than they ever imagined. Either way, if the pay fits within your “enough”, then you are fine. But if you are like some, you are finding it equally gratifying to love what you do. It changes the perspective a bit, it’s a lesson that I had to learn once I quit my job to pursue my passion. My passion didn’t come with a paycheck at first, so while I continued my path of living my simple life of purpose, I learned to love what I was doing to create my ideal life. I truly believe that it is possible for you to be paid well by doing what you love, but if you are like me and need to be fluid and love what you do in the meantime…. you are creating happiness all the same.
Don’t chase success, but rather pursue happiness. Whether you are doing what you love, or loving what you do…or both, it takes you deciding to search within yourself to identify what fulfills you. When you find what fulfills you, you’ll find that it fills with you joy – and that’s an important factor in living a simply life.
I want to live a more simplistic life, and it is not as easy as it sounds. What does it mean for you? Who can you share this with, that would benefit from join the “live simply” journey with us? I am eager to hear from you, please comment below.