5 THINGS TO LET GO OF TODAY TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
We talk a lot about decluttering our homes and our physical stuff to help simplify our busy lives. In this post, I’m suggesting some other, less obvious, forms of clutter that get in the way of our search for simplicity. Here are 5 things to let go of today to simplify your life.
CLEARING UNSEEN CLUTTER
So much of what we do in life is shaped by our mindset. How we think about things largely determines how we feel about them. In my own life, I know that how I feel about things in turn impacts on whether I do them (and how well I do them) or whether I fail before I’ve even really got started.
For example, I’ve never been to a gym. I wouldn’t know how to use any of the equipment and I’m worried that people will laugh at me. I know this is an unhelpful attitude, I’m sure people wouldn’t really laugh (and if they did, that says more about them than me) but it’s stopped me from venturing into a gym so far. I’m working on it though!
My thoughts are based on fear and insecurity. They clutter my mind in an unhelpful way, holding me back from doing something that really would be good for me. Can you think of an example from your own life?
This post is about 5 things to let go of today to simplify your life and they’re mostly to do with your mindset, thoughts and emotions.
I’m not an expert so I’m drawing on my own experiences here. However, I hope they help you to look at things differently – to appreciate yourself a little more, allow you more freedom to try things, give you the courage to embrace new experiences and see challenges as opportunities.
Be aware of how you’re thinking and why. Here are some tips and exercises to help clear your mind of negative clutter and make space for enjoying a simpler, freer life. Here are 5 things to let go of today to simplify your life…
5 THINGS TO LET GO OF TODAY TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Comparing yourself to others or being envious of others can be such a destructive mindset. Maybe you wish you looked more like somebody else, you were thinner, taller, more popular, you had more money, more holidays, a better car, a better wardrobe.
Comparison is the thief of joy but also the precursor to discontent and unhealthy striving for the wrong things.
To give you an example from my own life, I sometimes used to worry about how successful my blog would be. I focused on numbers of followers and monthly website traffic and stopped focusing on why I loved writing and how I wanted to help people. I wrote for Google and SEO (search engine optimisation so that my posts ranked when people searched for them) and stopped writing for my readers, the human beings who I truly wanted to write for.
Comparison and envy stifle your spirit and the things that make you, you. Try to leave comparison behind and focus on your own wonderful uniqueness.
Exercise: Choose 5 things that you’re proud of yourself for or you like, even love, about yourself. Write them on a post-it note on the fridge, a note on your bedside table or save it to your phone. Somewhere you’ll see it often.
2. Too much on your plate
This could be too many tasks on your To Do list, too many ‘should do’ thoughts in your brain, too many activities in your diary, too much stress on your body and too much stress in your mind.
What constitutes too much on your plate will look different for all of us, but listen to your body when it says too much is too much.
- Do you rely on caffeine or sugar to get you through the day?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you find it difficult to switch off or find time for yourself?
- Do you lack concentration, find it difficult to focus or make decisions?
- Are your irritable, angry, frustrated, tearful?
All of these things can be little signs that you’ve got too much on your plate.
Get comfortable with saying no, invest your time on the things that really matter and if you want to do things, find a way to strike a happy balance between embracing opportunity and knowing when you need to rest.
Fear takes many shapes. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of getting it wrong, fear of failing, fear of what people will think, fear of saying no, fear of missing out.
Fear is an emotion that arises through perceived danger or threat.
Fear comes in useful when it encourages you to think twice about doing something really dangerous, but fear that holds you back from being you and living your happiest, fullest life, isn’t so useful.
Think if there’s anything you’re fearful of. What is the worst that could happen and take simple steps to reduce that fear and do what you feel is right for you (as long as it’s safe of course!).
Journal prompt: What is one thing you’re fearful of? Is this fear keeping you safe or is it holding you back in life? If it’s holding you back, what is it holding you back from and what steps can you take to overcome it?
4. Things you don’t appreciate
When we declutter our homes, we often talk about getting rid of things that we don’t use, don’t need or don’t add value in some way. Perhaps another way of looking at it is to ask ourselves whether we appreciate something. It could be beautiful, practical, sentimental or maybe something else.
Simplifying your life isn’t about getting rid of things for the sake of getting rid of them. It’s about getting rid of the right things for the right reason so that you have more space, time and freedom for what matters.
When you next come to declutter your kitchen drawer or your book-shelf, take each item and give a quick thought to whether you appreciate that item – for what it looks like or it’s purpose or even some other reason. If you don’t appreciate the item, perhaps it’s time to let it go.
“If you’re not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You’re not going to start using it more by shoving it in a closet somewhere.” (Joshua Becker)
Don’t forget, this doesn’t just apply to the physical stuff in your home, it could be one-sided relationships, bad habits and negative thoughts.
5. Unrealistic expectations
Setting standards that are too high, striving to achieve things that are just not possible (at least without blood, sweat and tears) or pushing ourselves to constantly achieve, in every sense of the word, is so detrimental to our mental and physical health.
Perfectionism, trying to change or control others, setting too high standards for yourself and for others and failure to meet those standards, plays havoc on our brains and bodies.
It can lead to resentment, frustration, anger, tiredness, overwhelm and stress. We can rely on unhealthy props such as sugar, carbs, caffeine, smoking and alcohol to get us through.
Instead maybe we should be addressing the basis for our unrealistic expectations. Perhaps it’s time to slow down a little, stop chasing and instead tend to our self-care in more gentle and healthy ways.
When I struggle with this, I always try to think of it this way… There’s nothing wrong with being kind and supportive to yourself in the same way you would be kind and supportive to others.
Exercise: Do you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, or others? Every time you do, catch yourself. Try to think differently by accepting and embracing ‘good’. Don’t overreach by going for great, perfect or 100%. Good is great in itself. Have a ‘good’ day, a ‘good’ meal, a ‘good’ evening out with friends.
RESOURCES TO HELP SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
I have plenty of posts and resources on decluttering your physical stuff. I hope what I’ve shared here has given you some insight into other ways you can simplify your life. Did you recognise yourself in any of them?
Thoughts and emotions are complicated things.
I’m certainly not a professional or an expert in all of the above. Yet these 5 things are what I’ve found to complicate my own life to a lesser or greater degree over the years.
I’m sharing them here in the hope that they might help you understand, be aware of or even recognise them in yourself.
Here are some other posts which you might like: