If you’re reading this, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed, stretched thin, or at the very least, discontent. You probably crave some order, a slower pace, calm and simplicity. I’m with you, friend. I have been intentionally working to be more content, more mindful, and to create a simpler life for me and my family. And I can tell you that it is WORK but it is WORTH IT.
There are some big things you can do to simplify your life. You can overhaul your budget, get rid of the majority of your stuff, move to a smaller house, change jobs. There are also tons of small things you can do, like start using a planner, create routines, set goals, declutter, eat better, sleep better, and take time for self care. But I’ve found that many of biggest roadblocks to simplifying can come down to just a few habits. Kick these basic habits to make big strides toward a more simplified life
5 Habits to Kick for a Simpler and Happier Life
1. Stop comparing.
Unless you are making comparisons to track progress on your own goals, just stop comparing. Keeping up with the Joneses only creates feelings of discontent. Being what someone else is or having what someone else has will never be enough to make you happy and striving for that only unnecessarily complicates your life.
If you want to compare your life to another’s, look to someone less fortunate than yourself. You will see what blessings you have more clearly.
2. Stop complaining.
It can be healthy to vent your frustrations once in a while, but making it a habit to complain about everything that isn’t exactly the way you’d like it to be does nothing good for you or anyone else. I always say that if you don’t like something, change it or move on.
If you have a habit of complaining, you also have a habit of seeing everything that’s wrong instead of everything that’s right. Complaining about things you cannot or will not change only keeps those annoyances at the forefront of your thoughts and creates chaos for you where it is not necessary.
Complaining about small things creates the sense of need where a need does not truly exist. For example, complaining that the color of the ink in your new pen isn’t exactly what you wanted makes you feel like you need a new pen. Do you need a new pen or do you want a new pen? If you don’t like the pen and using it makes you frustrated, get a new pen. If that isn’t possible, move on and accept what is good about that pen (like the fact that it allows you to write the things you want to write).
3. Stop saying, “I need”
Let’s be real about needs versus wants. We who live in the first world need for very little. What are your basic needs for survival? What are your basic needs for happiness?
We use the phrase “I need” in front of things like “a gray sweater”, “a kitchen remodel”, and “a promotion”. You don’t need those things; you want those things. But when you convince yourself that those are needs, you’ve convinced yourself that you cannot thrive without them and getting those things becomes extremely important. You spend time and energy (both physical and mental) on obtaining those things, and if they are things that you cannot afford or are not ready for, that effort uses time and energy unnecessarily. In fact, the push to get those things could actually further complicate your life if it means you are spending resources you simply do not have.
Try using “I want” more often. It is surprising how much of an impact just changing that one word can have on your mindset.
4. Stop saying, “Yes.”
Saying yes can be a wonderful thing that brings great joy to your life — IF you are saying yes to the right things. But when you say yes every single time someone asks a favor of you or invites you to participate, you will soon find yourself under water.
I think many women say yes too often. I know I did for a long time. Just remember: when you say no to one thing, you are saying yes to something else.
When someone asks you do to them a favor or you have an opportunity to participate in something, ask yourself what you would be saying no to in order to say yes to that favor or opportunity.
5. Stop dwelling on the past.
You cannot change the past. It can be so hard to move on from a bad experience, but dwelling on the past takes mental energy that could be used on creating a great future.
Some experiences need time – losing a loved one, for example. You can’t and shouldn’t simply move on immediately after it happens. And I’m certainly not suggesting you move on from loving and remembering that person. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t let things that happened in the past paralyze you.
When you find yourself dwelling on the past, ask yourself what you can do to change it. Maybe you are dwelling on a conversation you had with a friend. What can you do to change things? You could call her and hash it out. Or you could move on. You can’t change what happened, but you can use that time and energy to change the future.
Simplifying your life can start with small, basic steps. Starting small sets a strong foundation for when you are ready to make bigger changes that can be more difficult. Prime yourself for simpler living by kicking habits that make your life more complicated.
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What changes, big or small, have you made for simpler and happier living? Share with me in the comments below!
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