You'd think simplifying your life would be, well simple. Just cut out everything, right?
If you've tried to before you know it can difficult and sometimes painful. How do you decide what to eliminate and what to keep?
There is a huge temptation, especially when you're excited to go overboard. The problem is extremes rarely work and we're left disappointed with the lack of overall change.
Simplifying Your Life
To counteract those problems, I came up with some guidelines to keep me focused as we make simplify our lives.
- Begin With Why: Before making any transitions, it can be helpful to write down or talk about why you're doing this. Most people say they are simplifying to save time or money, but that's not a complete answer (though they are awesome benefits). Who/What will you have more time (and money for)?
- Picture Your Future: With an idea of your priorities comes the fun part – visualizing where you want to go. As you simplify your schedule and free up things, what do you want to do? BE as specific as possible. Don't say ‘travel more'; pick one or two spots you'd like to visit first.
- Understand Where You Are Now: So you have a journey planned, but you need to know where you're starting from. Get a snapshot and review things. This is a blame free zone.
- Change Your Habits with Systems, Not Willpower: We all have blind spots with our budget, house, and schedule. When we're stressed out we tend to get sloppy in a few areas. If you want to change your habits, you need to change your systems.
- Go for the Small Wins: Even if you have big goals, building up momentum with small wins can have a huge impact.
- Build Around What You Value: Take out your budget and schedule. Start sketching a new one, this time starting with the essentials and priorities. Take your remaining time and money and allocated it on the rest.
- Adjust as Needed: The constant in life is change. Don't feel bad if you have to rework things. Take it as an accomplishment that you are working towards your goals.
Feel free to adopt all, some, or none of them for your journey. How I simplify my life will be different from yours.
As we work things out over this next year, I'll share our wins and our setbacks.