Well happy new year and welcome to new, fresh motivation! I’m so glad you’re here because this is a great way to start off the new year. Simplifying your life is an amazing way to start out 2022.
It’s no secret right now that simplification is a buzz word. You want less, you feel overwhelmed and overcommitted. You look at your life and see busy and you don’t want to be there. Minimalism is a dream of yours. So your mind goes, how can I make this easier, how can I simplify alllll the things so I have a chance to breathe.
As I began to write this I did a simple google search. What I found made me laugh a little. 72 tips to simplify or 25 hacks to simplify your life. How about 1 tip or 1 idea. How about the whole less is more approach?
So although a lot of those articles I clicked through had good ideas on how to simplify life, and why simplifying your life is important I found myself getting a tad overwhelmed with all the things I would have to do to be able to do less.
It confirmed my hunch that we all need a little simplification from trying to simplify. So as the year kicks off I hope you read this and start to get the idea that you don’t actually need more ideas, more prompts, or more motivation. I believe you are already motivated and you already have the ideas, it’s just getting the guts to actually see your life become something different than it is now.
Let me explain what I mean.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE?
A few months back we had a few friends over for dinner. As we all sat down conversation began, my friend next to me started talking about how great it was we were all able to get together! But we were missing one of our other close friends!
She made the comment, with no ill intent, that their family always seems like they had something to do, that every time she invited them over they had something everyday of the week. It was impossible to do impromptu with them.
It got me thinking, it wasn’t that long ago that I felt like I was that person. We had something scheduled every night, I had lunches and meetings and commitments! That was back when we only had 2 kids. Only two kids! So why is it that my life seems to have gotten more simple with less to do?
As we continue to chat, I talked through what my changes were that had allowed me to simplify my life and to prioritize impromptu dinners meaning I had room to spare in my schedule.
WHAT SIMPLIFICATION LOOKS LIKE IN MY LIFE
I want to share with you some of the key points that turned me around from being overcommitted, overwhelmed, and overtired! Remember this is my life and this is what works for me. You are different, you have so many other things going on in your life that I don’t know about.
But maybe it’s time that you evaluate how many times you’re saying “I can’t” or “I won’t” or “that just wouldn’t work for me”. Are you holding on to the life you have now and longing for something different? Are you sitting where it’s comfortable, are you sitting where you’re safe?
I don’t want to sound harsh here but could you take a stab at being a little more flexible or braver? We all look at and long for something more but we find every excuse of why we can’t have it.
But what if the only thing stopping you from having it is you?
What simplification looks like in my life. I realized that at some point a few years back I stopped saying yes to the things I felt like I had to do. I know you probably heard before, saying yes to one thing means you’re saying no to something else. I had heard this too, and it made a little bit of sense. Until I realized that it made a lot of sense. Until I realized that by saying yes to so many other commitments I was saying no to unhurried living. I was saying no to living a life of peace. And I didn’t like that.
So I started getting a little tougher. I started to get a tad thicker skin. I knew before anything came up what was the most important to me. I had taken time to think about and reflect on what I wanted to prioritize and value in my life. And I stopped trying to make other people happy by saying yes.
Maybe you’ve found yourself there? Maybe you’ve found yourself in the place where you feel like you can have that great friendship or you can have that promotion or you can have that life if you just continue to be the yes girl. You trick yourself into thinking that means you’re dependable. But in reality if you’re saying yes to things that are not a value or priority to you you’re getting stuck in the hustle of living a life for others.
I stopped planning and filling my every weekend and my every evening. I know you might be thinking easier said than done. Isn’t it pretty easy to go through your phone or your planner and just cross stuff off? If it’s something that’s not the priority or something that’s not of value to you. Is it easier to take that away and put in, family dinners, date night, walk around the neighborhood, learning a new recipe, or whatever holds value to you that takes away busy.
Now this is where my life and your life might look different. What I value is slowness. I value being able to sit on the porch while my dinner cooks in the crockpot. I’ve chosen not to worry so much about having it all together all the time.
But if your priorities are different than mine, then what you value looks different too. Do what you need, to know where you see value and where would you feel like your life purpose is being fulfilled? If that’s making a list great, if that’s talking it out with a friend or your husband, do that.
But if you haven’t decided where your values are or what your priorities are, you need to establish those so you know when you are filling your life with them versus filling up with things that aren’t a priority.
The other adjustment I made in my life to see freedom and flexibility was to stop with the commitments.
I came to terms and accepted, which I hadn’t really been doing before, but this was not a season of life where I could commit to all the things I wanted to. No matter how good the things were.
Charity work, dinner groups with friends, Bible studies. These are all great things. But they were just not great things for me in this moment and season of life. That doesn’t mean I will never do them, it just means I’m not doing them right now. And I didn’t let myself feel guilty for saying no to great things.
“Just because I’m saying no now does not mean I’m saying never.”
HOW DO YOU DECLUTTER AND SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE?
De-cluttering, it’s such a great word! Just the word alone makes you feel productive! It makes you feel like you’ll finally be able to sigh with relief! It makes you feel like your pantry will be organized and your closet won’t be overflowing. Just the word alone makes you feel accomplished!
However, you might get a tad stumped when it comes to actually acting on decluttering. Where do you start? How much do you declutter? Should you do it all right now or in little chunks?
My favorite way to talk about decluttering is decluttering your photographs on your phone! Now I’m not going to talk about phone photo organization right now although it’s something I do frequently! But I will bring in some of my tips for decluttering as it relates to photos so you can get an example.
I always say that if you are decluttering the amount of photos you have on your phone you need to start by learning how to truly take one great photo in the first place so you actually have less to declutter and organize. The concept makes sense right?
But what about with all the other stuff in your life. The physical stuff, the emotional stuff, the mental stuff.
If you find that it’s hard to declutter and simplify your pantry, maybe you need to start off by realizing what you are buying that you are not using. If you start getting less food that you don’t like to use you will have less to declutter.
The same goes for kid toys. Is it not completely true that kid toys seem to multiply, spread out and grow? And it also seems like the kids are never ever even playing with them!
But what if, instead of just walking through the house with a giant black trash bag yelling that everything on the floor is going in this bag and you’ll never see it again, you ask the kids what they are not interested anymore.
You take a little bit more time to talk about the process of stuff. Why did we buy this in the first place? Why did we spend our hard-earned money on this specific thing? As you go through this process with the things you already have, go through this process with buying things in the future.
I know we just had Christmas! And you might be feeling a stab of guilt at this moment. Maybe you went over budget, maybe your parents went over budget for your children! But as the month ticks on consider this more deeply: the things you are buying and spending money on for your children. There may be some hidden feelings left over from childhood or love languages that are being misconstrued.
HOW TO SIMPLIFY LIFE
At this point we’ve talked about time management, we talked about decluttering, and I’ve given you the two things that I changed in my life to see more freedom and flexibility.
What you don’t need is a list of 48 tips for simplifying your life. Back in the beginning of this post I said., “it’s just getting the guts to actually see your life become something different than it is now”.
So let me be honest with you for a second. When you ask yourself the question how do I simplify my life? Make sure that you’re ready to act on the answer. It doesn’t have to be work to simplify. It shouldn’t be stressful to find freedom.
But you do have to have the mindset that your life is actually going to change. You won’t be that woman that always says yes to things, pleasing others.
Coming to grips with a new life means you might actually let someone else down. When you say no to a girls night out because you just want to sit on the couch with your husband that is ok! Or when you tell your five year old that t-ball isn’t happening this semester because you just need one evening that everyone can be at home and play outside and go for a walk and eat dinner together. You’re not depriving him of his life’s dream. Regardless of his reaction and the guilt that it might cause you.
The example you set, the atmosphere you create, the feelings of a busy and a rushed life are not what you want to be teaching your kids. Is that the life you want them to learn? I know you want to serve them. I know you want to give them the best that you can. But is your perception of the best or serving misconstrued by the world you live in?
When it comes to simplifying your life you have to have the guts to create a completely new life altogether. That’s what simplifying does. It doesn’t allow the current busy overwhelmed, overcommitted life to continue. It squashes it right out.
Are you truly ready for that? Do you love the idea of it but you’re not sure if you could actually implement it? This is something you have to decide for yourself. Because simply reading an email or listening to a podcast is not putting into action a brand new life. It’s getting a good idea in your head but continuing on with what you’re doing now.
This is not a new concept. And it is not an easy concept. But I love this verse and it helps remind me of who I really am:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
As a Christian I have to remember that I am not my old self, I am new, and as much as I want to go back to my old sinful ways, and definitely do, I have to make the big change everyday. I have to realize that the old is gone. I have to die to myself.
If you truly want to simplify your life if you want something different, you have to shed off the old, you have to die to busy.
Will you become new? I’d love to know if you’re ready. I’d love for you to join the Unhurried Life Facebook community. A community designed to talk about the nature and life of unhurried and to cheer each other on as we strive to get there.
Come and join me! Click here to join!