4 QUESTIONS TO INSPIRE A SIMPLER LIFE AND DEFINE YOUR PRIORITIES
A simple life is not dull, empty or static. Instead, it is an edited life of defining priorities, letting go of what doesn’t support us and purposefully creating space in our hearts and minds for what supports us better instead. In this post I’m sharing 4 questions to inspire a simpler life to help you define your priorities.
SIMPLIFYING LIFE AND DEFINING PRIORITIES
Every now and then, I like to check-in with myself. Re-evaluate how I’m feeling about my life, what’s going well, what needs a little work and any changes that I’d like to make.
I’m all for setting goals at the start of the year because they help me identify what’s important and give me some tangible and realistic targets to strive for. I know I work better when I have a plan and something to tick off or work towards!
However, I also know that I don’t like to get stuck if something’s not working for me. Things change in life, whether that’s within us or circumstances around us, so I find that having a set of goals that I’ve created once a year, doesn’t really work. I need a little bit more flexibility and wiggle room.
That’s why I try to do a twice-yearly check-in, once at Christmas and New Year and the other in about June or July.
Part of that check-in is asking myself some questions. If you’d like to take this opportunity to ask yourself some questions about your own life and anything that you’d like to work on or change for the coming few months, here are some ideas to get you thinking!
4 QUESTIONS TO INSPIRE A SIMPLER LIFE
Here are some little questions to inspire a simpler life. I hope they help you get clear on what’s truly important to you and how simplicity could help you make space for those things in your everyday life.
1. What makes you happy?
It’s an obvious question but one that we so easily overlook. When we’re busy in life, busy at home, at work, making ends meet or just getting through the day, perhaps the last thing on our minds is the luxury of being happy.
Ask yourself what lights you up on the inside, what makes you smile and laugh? Do you honour these things enough or are you too tied up honouring your busy schedule and overloaded task list? I know I’ve been guilty of focusing on my to-do list and getting the housework done when my kids just wanted to play a game and have a giggle with me instead.
I invite you to list 5 things that really, truly make you happy. Can you find a way to weave them into your day, week, month and year on a regular basis? What would you have to say no to, let go of or change in order to make that happen?
2. Does your daily life align with your priorities?
What are your priorities in life? Family, kids, career, friends, money, a hobby, health, happiness, spirituality. Make a list now if you’re not totally clear in your mind. There are no right or wrong lists here. Your list will look different to mine and I daresay that your list might change over the years. I know mine certainly has!
Read through your list and ask yourself a few questions. Were you surprised what was on the list? Does your daily life reflect the items on your list? Are you honouring your priorities every day? If someone was a fly on the wall in your daily life, would they be able to identify your priorities by how you spend your days?
Life can move faster than we can and when we’re chasing to keep up, sometimes we let other things slide. Keep in mind your little list of priorities, refer to it often and check your calendar and to-do list to make sure you’re honouring your priorities as often as you can.
3. How do you feel at the end of the day?
It may be an unusual question but I know myself that how I feel at the end of the day is a good barometer for how that day went. Of course, there are plenty of things that we can’t control in our day and we all have good days and bad days. However, when I’m lying in bed, or winding down before bedtime, I like to reflect on the day and how I felt about it.
Run ragged, stressed out and ready to drop is a sign that something needs to change. Tired but content with what I’ve achieved and ready to relax for a peaceful sleep before I get up and go again in the morning, for me is a sign of a fruitful, balanced day. Anxious for tomorrow and unable to relax usually means I’m worried, out of my comfort zone, given myself too much to do or putting too much pressure on myself.
How you feel at the end of the day isn’t always a sign that your life needs to change on the outside. Sometimes it’s just a sign that you need to change your inner environment, your expectations for yourself and how you look after yourself.
Try it each night for the next week and as you lie in bed ask yourself how do you feel? Listen to your body, your mind and your heart and lean into what they’re asking for.
4. Where do you spend your time?
Time is the one thing that we can’t get back and creating more time for myself and those priorities we thought about earlier was one of the most rewarding and meaningful aspects of simplifying my own life. I carved more time out of my day by letting go of some of the things that were taking up my time before.
Over the next day or week, I invite you to keep a little record of where you spend your time. It might be at work, playing with the kids, housework, shopping, watching TV, reading. There’s no judgement, right or wrong. What I do hope is that it’s a useful little exercise for you to see where and how you spend your time. Then perhaps you can work out if you could change things a little if you feel you need to?
Swap housework for reading (by having less stuff and therefore less to move, tidy and clean)? Swap scrolling social media feeds for phoning your best friend and having a laugh on the phone. Swap stressing over what to cook for dinner because you’ve got nothing in, for cooking your favourite meal with ingredients you’d planned and bought earlier in the week. These are just some examples. Your swaps might look different but it’s all about carving out more time for what makes you happy and makes you feel better at the end of the day!
CREATING A SPACE FOR WHAT’S IMPORTANT
A simpler life means different things to different people but what it does mean is that you make space for what’s important by removing anything that isn’t. It could be the clutter in your home, unhealthy habits that don’t support you, friendships that no longer serve you or things that you say yes to because saying no seems too uncomfortable or scary.
Simplicity is about more than just living with less. Simplicity is a state of mind.
Stripping away the things that don’t serve you inherently requires you to think about what makes you happy in life, where your priorities are, how you feel about your life and how you spend your time actually living that life.
There are so many more questions I could have encouraged you to think about but I hope these start you thinking about your life now and some tweaks you could make over the coming months.
Take time to reflect on your answers, don’t rush to make changes but enjoy the process. Remember baby steps will get you to wherever you need to go but checking in and asking yourself a few questions is a very good place to start!
RESOURCES FOR SIMPLE LIVING
If you’d like to explore what a simpler life could mean for you, here are some resources which you might find helpful: