Our endless problems overwhelm us. They overwhelm us because we meditate on them and think of the worst scenarios to go along with them.
I did this for the majority of my life. Give me a problem and I’ll turn it into a fiery monster and worry myself into oblivion!
The most important thing I’ve learned over the last couple years is that simplicity is the answer to so many “problems” in our lives!
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
We don’t live in a simple world anymore. We are surrounded by chaos, expectations, buried in heavy workloads, trying to please everyone around us, and in doing this we ruin our health, we ruin our happiness, and we ruin our relationships. Not to mention the biggest problem of all…we are disconnected and not really living at all.
We are all rushing around “doing” things but we aren’t actually engaged in anything. We’re just jumping from one thing to the next. Our relationships are HUGELY lacking because no one is REALLY present anymore. We aren’t slowing down for the things that matter.
I know you’re thinking “HOW do we slow down or make time for things in a world that’s moving so fast???”
We’ve made everything so complicated! But the answer to most of our problems is to simplify our lives.
Below are 4 ways to start simplifying your life starting now and how each of these will bring change for you.
It’s 2020 so let’s make a goal to calm life down, to be more present, and to actually ENJOY our lives in a calm, peaceful state of mind!
ARE YOU IN? Let’s get started.
#1 Make A List of What Matters Most to You:
What matters most to you in this life? What will you look back on from your deathbed and wish you had done differently?
It’s time to take a step back and look at what REALLY matters in this life. We have one life to live, what do you want your life to be?
I had my son when I was 20 years old. His dad and I were engaged and had been together for 3 years at that point. But as most young relationships go, it went south and I was a single mom by 21. I didn’t have any family to help so I raised my son on my own and his dad became non-existent.
I had a corporate job, my son was in preschool all day, and my mind was in constant survival mode trying to do it all. I hate to say that this was our lives through most of his childhood.
Every day that I dropped him off at preschool he would cry and watch me drive away. My heart broke daily and I absolutely HATED leaving him.
I was young and didn’t have the tools to know how to prioritize what mattered. However, I did set aside my evenings for my son and I wasn’t open to giving them up for anything. We ate together at the table and we spent time together. I’m thankful I made that choice.
But now, he is out on his own and I have so many regrets. I let life suck me dry and I wish I would have invested more time just “being” with my son. I was rushed and I lived in fear because the world was on my shoulders. I was in a constant state of stress and anxiety trying to do it all on my own.
As time went on, when we spent time together my mind was on other life stresses instead of being completely in the moment and being present.
Time goes VERY fast. Embrace every moment, enjoy every moment you have with your awesome life experiences. Be present in them and let go of whatever else is going on in your life. You cannot turn back time. And problems…they pass.
Yes, I provided for him and kept him safe, but I missed so many precious moments in the chaos. That is something I can never get back.
Sit down, make a list of what’s most important. Your marriage, your children, and things that bring you joy should top your list. If you are single like me, it might be dreams that you have ignored, or quality time with your friends and family.
Your list doesn’t have to be a physical thing. It can be how you want to feel. Like I want to feel peaceful. I want to have calmness. I want to feel happiness and joy. I want FREEDOM to be myself.
Now it’s time to get rid of the clutter. Clutter includes things you do or physical things that can be removed from your life.
What feels heavy to you and causes you more stress? Write them down and remove those things from your life. They are holding you back.
Have you stayed in a job you hate out of fear and safety? This is stealing your joy every single day. It’s time to listen to your heart.
If you’ve committed to things that you really didn’t want to do, nicely back out of them and do not give in.
Get off your phone! When you come home or are with other people, put your phone away and be present. There’s nothing more annoying and disconnecting than a person who can’t put their phone down. This says your phone is more important than the person/people you are with.
Turn off the TV and do things that are productive. If you have a family then spend time with them and let go of the problems of the day. If you’re single do something that lights you up, that makes you grow, or just relax and connect to yourself.
When you get home take 5-10 minutes alone somewhere to just sit and regroup, get yourself in a positive mind space, then go do something positive.
Don’t sit your kids in front of the TV or video games. Get them active and moving. Engage with them.
Clutter also refers to the physical things we have in our lives. Such as:
Do you live in a big house that causes you stress because you can’t keep up with it? Or is it so expensive you can’t afford to go do fun things with your friends and family like take trips and have fun life experiences? I highly suggest downsizing or making adjustments so that you can free up time and money. Many families are downsizing nowadays so that they can LIVE more and have more time for what’s important. Too many things equals stress. Spend money on experiences, not things.
Go through your house and get rid of anything that is not a NEED. Meaning anything you are not using on a regular basis. The more stuff you have the more stress you will feel. I know because I’ve been there and I’ve downsized my own life.
What do you REALLY need? Make sure you aren’t trying to impress people with things because that will weigh you down. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, what matters is that YOU are happy and living YOUR best life. If you live life for others then you will never truly live.
Debt. Debt is a HUGE stresser. I’ve also been there! Make it a priority to do what you need to do in order to pay off all your debt. Getting yourself in a good financial position is so freeing!! Live within your means and get rid of the credit cards unless you are using one for the cash back benefit. If that is the case make SURE you pay them off monthly or else the extra cash back is not a benefit because you’re paying interest instead! It also helps to pay cash for things for awhile because using cards (even debit cards) can cause you to spend more. Make a budget and stick to it. Know what you are spending and where you are spending it. I recommend Dave Ramsey as a great resource for building a financial plan to get out of debt. Click HERE to see his book.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
#3 Set Boundaries:
You’ve got your list of what matters most to you and are getting rid of clutter. Now it’s time to decide what you are going to do to make those things top priority and you will need to set boundaries in order to protect those things and your time with them because I guarantee 100% that something else will come to steal your time.
For example, if you are married and want to make your marriage a priority, plan weekly dates together. During that time phones are put away, you don’t talk about each of your problems, you engage in meaningful caring conversation as if problems don’t exist and you two are the only ones in the world. Talk about positive topics, your dreams, enjoy each other, go do something you both love. Connect, be present, and make the time matter.
Same goes for your children. Set play dates with them and be present. Enjoy them, play with them, talk with them, encourage them and tell them they are awesome. Put the phones away, engage in what they want to do, laugh with them, ask them about their days and the things they loved today. Asking your kids about what GOOD things happened in their day will program them to always look for the good in the day. If something bad happened, support them and then ask “now how can we turn this into something good?” Get your kids minds focusing on the positives and this will significantly change their lives. Be their role model in this as well with focusing on positive things and not on problems in your own life.
For things that bring us joy…it’s SOOOOO important that every single day we do something we love. Something that lights us up and makes us feel excited to be alive. The more we engage in things our souls crave the more our lives will shift into a positive place that brings us peace and guides us on our path.
Carve out time daily for these things and set the boundaries so that nothing else can interfere. Don’t allow interference in these things that matter most to you.
#4 Make A Plan:
Now that you know what is most important in your life, it’s time to make a plan to shift your life around to make these things priority.
Is your dream to travel? You may need to shift your spending or budget so that you can buy the ticket. Downsize, sell things, get rid of the job that steals all your time…whatever it is stopping your from what your soul wants, find a way to change it. Buy the ticket and GO.
Make the things that are important to you a priority. Shift everything else to the back burner. Get creative! When you do this your life will feel so much less chaotic and stressful because there is substance, you are connecting and you are present, you are giving your soul what it is screaming for and with that you will start to feel happiness, joy, excitement! Your life will start to shift and you will become your best self which will attract others to you.
Let the heavy stuff go. Stop carrying the world on your shoulders. Problems will always be a part of life but it’s what we do with those problems that matter. Don’t give them your power. Know that this too shall pass and instead of mediating on the problems, meditate on being thankful for what you have, meditate on positive things, imagine positive outcomes instead of all the things that could go wrong.
Calm down. Simplify. Stop making everything into a mountain. You only need to keep moving forward and listening to your heart. If you do that, you will find that calmness, peace, and connection you are longing for.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
Let’s simplify life. We only have this one experience and it goes much quicker than we expect. Don’t have regrets. Follow the leading of your heart and don’t compromise. Be present and love others. Be kind! It’s all possible. You are NOT stuck.