5 VITAL LESSONS FROM LEARNING HOW TO SIMPLIFY MY LIFE
Simplifying your life through choosing a simple living lifestyle takes time and motivation but it definitely pays off! Check out this post on why simple living means so much to me and my five vital lessons from learning how to simplify my life which benefitted both me and my family. Simple living is for everyone. It’s not about taking everything away and making you live with nothing. A simplified life is full in so many ways and this post will give you some practical tips on how to simplify your life too.
MY PATH TO SIMPLE LIVING
Simplifying my life isn’t something that just happened overnight. My life had caught up on me without me realising. I worked hard at my career, worked hard at being a mum and worked hard at being a wife. I was working hard all the time and somewhere, some time, something had to give.
I’ve often talked about how my constant dedication and striving for 100% led to a melt-down that I should have foreseen. But instead I’d carried on thinking that I could do it all and have it all, if only I kept pushing and working hard enough.
How stupid of me and how naïve to think that I was Superwoman… when clearly, I was not! I had stuck my head in the sand for too long, ignoring the warning signs and pushing them under the carpet so that I wouldn’t see them and neither would my friends and family.
However, the meltdown came and although, at the time, it felt like the worst thing in the world and a major sign of weakness on my part, it was actually the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.
My meltdown was the catalyst for a change that was so profound and far-reaching that if I’d thought too much about it at the time, I would have hidden under the covers with fear! I’m not one for taking risks, I prefer things to be safe, measured and under my control.
My meltdown was definitely not in my control and, as weird as it sounds, what happened because of it, wasn’t in my control either!
BUILDING UP MOMENTUM WITH A SERIES OF DELIBERATE CHOICES
From the point at which I’d sunk so low that I knew things HAD to change to the point at which I can, hand on heart, say my life is finally where I’d like it to be, my journey from start to finish came about because of momentum and cause and effect.
After lots of research, soul-searching and asking myself difficult questions and coming up with even more difficult answers, my journey from the start to this point was all about a series of choices, decisions and actions that built up over time. The knock-on effect of choosing an option, deciding to follow it through, it growing arms and legs and have far-reaching results beyond what I originally expected, has led me here today.
TO MY SIMPLE LIFE
What began with a small decluttering has ended up with my simplifying every aspect of my life, becoming a passionate advocate of minimalism and simple living for mums (as I know first-hand this stuff really makes a difference!) to creating enough spare time and energy to pour my knowledge and love of helping others back into my little blog and website and turning it into a business that supports other women to change their lives and love their motherhood. Wow, what a turnaround!
I’ve learnt a lot along the way, but if I nail it down to the main lessons I’ve learnt as I simplify my life, then these would be it.
5 VITAL LESSONS AND PRACTICAL TIPS ON HOW TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE TOO
#1 SIMPLE IS BEST
It seems a very crude and dare I say it, simple, thing to say but simple is best! When things get too complicated then they’re often wrong or false. A bit like that little fib that turns into a huge lie to get you out of trouble but actually gets you into more trouble! Sound familiar! Be honest and own up and that usually gets you off the hook better than the most elaborate lie. Or the business idea you have for your business that’s so complicated even you can’t understand it, let alone an investor.
Well, simple is best. Simple means what you see is what you get. There are no hidden surprises, no false expectations and you can cut through the clutter and see what’s what. You know what’s ahead of you, you know what problems and challenges you have to deal with, and you’ve got a plan to get done what’s needed. There aren’t any distractions or things to get in your way and you can focus with clarity on what you want and when you want it. Nothing gets too complicated, too confusing or muddled to take you off track or blur your focus.
Practical ways I’ve found that simple is best
- Meal planning and meal prep – Keeping it simple in what I plan to cook by coming up with a rota for different meals on different days in different weeks. And making sure I do regular online food shopping so I know I’ve got all the ingredients in when I need it. Check out this post on meal-planning made simple.
- Household chores and housework – I’m not a fan of housework but it needs to be done. Come up with some simple routines to make sure your home stays clean and tidy with minimal effort from you. Check out this post on how to set up simple routines that will save you time and energy and keep your home looking great!
#2 WE HAVE INFINITE POTENTIAL
Never would I have thought that a few years ago I’d be working on my own little business and I definitely would never have thought about what that business might be. Before becoming minimalist and on a path to simplify my life, I wouldn’t even have known what these things were (apart from a design style!). Fast forward to now and I have heaps more knowledge and understanding of both these lifestyle choices. And, selfishly, more awareness of what I’m capable of now that my passion, energy and time are channelled in the right same path.
We have infinite potential as long as we’re metaphorically and physically in the right place at the right time and everything aligns when it should. Make things too complicated (and forget about lesson #1 above, simple is best) and we lose the freedom to allow ourselves to push on, achieve our ambitions and try new things. Infinite potential is possible but only if we create space for the passion and determination to achieve it.
Practical ways of tapping into your infinite potential
This is a difficult one because we’re all different but I found two things to be vital…
- Mindset – Firstly, having the right mindset to approach all problems head-on and find a way around most challenges in life (check out this post on mindset if you need a bit of help!).
- Motivation – To just get on and ‘DO STUFF’. Don’t procrastinate or wait around for things to happen to you. Go get ‘em instead. Check out this post on how to make the most of your time!
#3 THE IMPORTANCE OF HOME AND FAMILY
Work and a career are important because they give us the material foundations for a happy life with the home, the car(s), the holidays, let alone the basics of food in our tummies and clothes on our backs. But, when you strip away all the unimportant distractions in life and really work out what your priorities are, a home and a family have got to be right there at the top.
You can do without the car, the clothes, Netflix, the dinners out, but without family you’ve got a big empty space in your heart. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, being busy because you have to be (work, school etc) and being busy because you feel you ought to be (can’t say no because I don’t want to offend anyone and if I’m busy that must mean I’m wanted and I’m important).
But being busy can mean we don’t spend as much time with the people who are most important to us, we don’t take time to have a laugh, share stories about our day, muck around and create memories.
At a push you could do without your car (although a little inconvenient) but what would you do if you sat around the dinner table and your family wasn’t there to share it with you? Or you came home, walked through your front door, and there was no-one there to greet you, day in, day out?
So often we prioritise the wrong things in life because we get caught up in bigger, best, more – everything that today’s society pushes us to think we want and need. Actually, what we want and need is fundamentally much more basic. It’s shelter, food and to know that we’re loved and needed and that we can give this back to others in return.
Practical ways of prioritising home and family
- Keep to regular meal-times when you can all come together to chat about the day/week, even if it’s just Sunday lunch
- Don’t go to bed on an argument
- Empower your kids to be independent but supportive of one another. You’re all on the same team!
- Create a happy, calm home – check out this post to find out how.
- Capture memories whilst your kids are little. Go to the park, watch them play football. You can’t create such happy memories sitting in front of the Xbox or a trip to the shops!
#4 SELF-LOVE IS VITAL
Many of us are used to putting everyone else before ourselves, especially if we’re parents. And of course, we’re responsible for little lives and that’s how it should be. But, looking after others and looking after ourselves aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not one or the other, it can (and should) be both.
If you don’t love yourself, treat yourself with respect, look after your body and your mind and spend time trying to be the best version of you that you can be, what kind of example is that to set your kids?
Our children look to us for everything, not just to be clothed, washed, fed and kept safe. They look to us for an example of how to lead their lives when they’re older. What choices we made, what actions we took and what we did in every situation. How you present yourself to the world is what your kids will see and try to emulate.
Give them the best start in life by showing them that you respect yourself as well as other people, that you’re just as good and deserving as anybody else and that you’re always looking to do the best you can, when you can.
Self-love (in all its forms) is vital because it enables you to be the strongest, most powerful version of you that you can be.
- Check out my free challenge to help Simplify Your Self Care.
#5 THE GIFT OF TIME
One of the biggest benefits I found when I came to simplify my life, was the gift of time. By stripping away any unnecessary distractions I freed up so much extra time. I hadn’t realised how much time I wasted by looking after my stuff, doing things in my diary that I didn’t want to do, letting minutes and hours slip through my fingers because I wasn’t focused and intentional about how and where I spent my time.
Time is the one thing we all wish we could have more of and it’s the one thing that we can’t do again. Simplifying my life taught me to be wise in how I spend my time and when to say no to wasting it.
Practical ways of simplifying your time
- Go through your calendar and say no or postpone any commitments that you don’t want or need to do. Focus on how you’ll spend that time instead. Check out this post if you’re struggling or would like more info.
- Create some daily habits for yourself that will simplify how and where you spend your time. You’ll be more productive and efficient with what you NEED to get done so you’ve got more time to spend on what you WANT to get done!
SIMPLE LIVING IS FOR EVERYONE
Simple living shouldn’t be off-putting. It doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your stuff or never buy anything new. It doesn’t mean you have to live with as few possessions as possible, have a home with no furniture and bare walls. It doesn’t mean that your life won’t ever be crazy, busy or a little chaotic!
Simple living DOES mean that you find simpler ways of doing things so that they’re easier. You focus on what’s important and don’t get hung up on what’s not important. If you want to buy something, buy it. If you want to leave the dishes in the sink, go on, be a rebel! Simple living isn’t about perfection. It’s just about real life, made easier!
But generally, a simpler lifestyle is an easier one. It might have less stuff in it but what you do have, is more important. For more practical ways you can simplify your life, check out this post on 8 ways to simplify your life.