MINIMALIST GOALS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE THIS YEAR
Minimalism is a lifestyle encouraging us to find meaning and value without the stuff and clutter of modern life. In this article we look at some ways you can set minimalist goals to simplify your life over the coming year. There’s a free printable worksheet you can get to identify your priorities and define what’s important to you so you can set goals that really align with what matters to you.
MINIMALISM AND THE MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
This quote from Joshua Becker over at becomingminimalist.com is my favourite definition of minimalism.
As a lifestyle, minimalism encourages us to constantly evaluate what adds value and meaning to our lives and to prioritise that. Instead of what busy life wants to prioritise for us instead.
When modern life encourages us to measure happiness and success in terms of the size of our salary, cars, wardrobes and homes, it takes courage to look at your life from a fresh perspective.
Minimalism has given me many things that money can’t so easily buy. Time with my kids and loved ones, time for myself and time for experiences and making memories. Not just for the big things but for the little things in life that make every day so special but that I would normally be moving too fast to appreciate.
Minimalism encourages us to work out what’s important in life to us, what really matters and to make those things a priority by having less clutter and stuff in every shape and form to remove and distract us from the life we want to lead.
If you’re new to minimalism or would like to explore more about it, I encourage you to read a couple of articles which I’ve listed below:
GETTING STARTED WITH MINIMALISM
If minimalism feels like something you want to explore as a way of creating a more simple and intentional life for yourself and your family, go for it!
There are no hard and fast rules and you can start slowly and find your way. I don’t encourage a hard and fast minimalism with rules and I certainly don’t believe there are strict criteria you have to meet to call yourself a minimalist.
Instead, I do believe minimalism is about living to a set of personal values and beliefs and having awareness of what fills your life and, of course, building up the courage to do something about it if life feels off or out of sync.
Alternatively, as we’ll look at in this article, you could set some minimalist goals to simplify your life this year and see how you get on, step by step.
There’s a free printable worksheet you can get too to help define your priorities and set goals accordingly.
MINIMALIST GOAL SETTING
Setting goals is a popular way to set our intentions for the year ahead. Sometimes we succeed and keep them up, sometimes they don’t get past the first week or month.
Intentional living and the minimalist lifestyle is about being aware of what you let into your life and what you keep out. It’s about knowing what you want from life and aligning your priorities and goals with your every day. Otherwise, busy life has a habit of deciding our priorities for us!
Minimalist goals and goal-setting is about setting goals for your life that help you spend your time, energy, freedom, skills, money and resources on what matters most to you. These goals, aligned closely with your values and priorities, are a tool to help you make conscious decisions about what clutters your life and what gives you most reward, meaning and fulfilment instead, and how to make that happen. Goals have a purpose!
WHEN TO SET MINIMALIST GOALS
It doesn’t matter if you’re reading this in January or July, there’s no hard and fast rule that says goal-setting is only for the New Year. In fact, as you’ll read later, I’d argue that it’s good to revisit your goals regularly throughout the year to make sure they still feel right to you. Nothing will demotivate you more than trying to achieve a goal that no longer has a purpose or meaning to you.
MINIMALIST GOALS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE THIS YEAR
As I write this we’re heading towards the end of one year and the start of the next. It’s a time of reflection on what I’ve achieved this year and what I’d like to achieve over the coming 12 months.
As always, simplifying and decluttering are high on my agenda. It’s not that I haven’t decluttered and simplified already, but as you’ll know if you’ve tried it yourself, neither of these things are done once and you’re done forever. If only!
Simplifying life isn’t easy and daily life throws at us many challenges, opportunities, obstacles and clutter in all shapes and forms.
Keeping that clutter and complexity out of my home, schedule, heart and mind is an ongoing process. Simple, baby steps which are consistent and realistic have been my go-to method of decluttering and simplifying for over nearly a decade.
I learnt that trying to do too much, too quickly and I would burn out as quickly as my clutter came back in!
So, to help you not make the same mistakes I did and as a tool to help you create a simple, intentional life over the coming year, are my top 10 minimalist goals to simplify your life this year. Enjoy and good luck!
MINIMALIST GOALS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE THIS YEAR
Here are some minimalist goals to simplify your home, time, life and mindset this year.
1. Simplify your eating and exercise
Healthy eating and regular exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the more complicated or onerous we make it, the less likely we are to keep it up.
Unless you enjoy health and fitness, you don’t need expensive gym memberships or subscriptions to deliver your meals to your front door. You can if you want, of course, but it’s also possible to find ways to incorporate healthy eating and exerise into your day and life in much more cost-effective and sustainable ways.
I wrote this article on simple tips for healthy eating. Much of it is about getting organised with regular meal-planning, making a mental note of trigger times when you’re most likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and having healthy snack substitutes that are just as easy to choose, prepare and eat.
You could think about ways to batch cook your food to reduce the stresses and strains of mealtimes.
Perhaps think about how well your kitchen works for you. Is it clear and easy to prepare and cook in or are the surfaces cluttered and your cupboards crammed full so it makes finding what you’re looking for difficult?
Simplify your exercise by creating a simple daily routine incorporating movement, strength and flexibility in whatever way suits your body. Yoga is good for both body and mind, but there are also health benefits of walking and getting outside as much as you can.
Simplifying your eating and exercise is about being consistent, realistic and not worrying if you don’t get it right all the time!
2. Simplify your household routines
Household routines keep your home ticking over with minimal effort and fuss. With my own minimalist cleaning routines I get a little bit done every day and generally spend less time cleaning because I’ve got less stuff to move, tidy and clean. I have all my cleaning supplies where I need them and my kids help around the home too.
This didn’t happen overnight but encouragement and persistence paid off, for both me and my family.
3. Simplify your finances
Getting rid of excess credit and store cards, paying bills on online, stopping any subscriptions that I didn’t need or use and creating a monthly budget which I stick to as much as possible are all ways I simplified my own finances.
That’s not to say that money isn’t a problem. The cost of living is increasing and many of us find ourselves with less money at the end of the month after food, heating and general life.
However, being more aware of what comes in and out of our bank accounts, managing our finances better, avoiding those impulse buys and knowing when and how to get help if things are difficult are key ways to simplify your finances.
For more tips, try this article on how to simplify your finances and manage your money.
4. Simplify your wardrobe
A decluttered closet and having less clothes has made my mornings so much easier. I can find what I want to wear easily and quickly and go into the day knowing that I look and feel as good as I can.
A minimalist wardrobe might have less clothes, but the clothes you do keep are flexible and can be worn together in many different combinations. They suit your lifestyle and day to day needs and are in colours, shapes, styles and textures that you enjoy wearing and feel comfortable in.
A closet stuffed full of clothes might feel like you have more options but I bet you probably would wear only about 20% of the pieces on a regular basis!
5. Simplify your spending and shopping habits
Minimalism isn’t about never going shopping but it is about shopping intentionally. Before you head to the shops for something to do on a bored Saturday afternoon, impulse buy something that you don’t really need or line up for the sales to grab a bargain, think about what you’re going to buy and why you’re going to buy it.
Do you really need it? Do you have something similar already? What else could you be doing with your time, energy and money?
Shopping can be fun, but when it fills an emotional need or drains your bank account, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your shopping habits?
Read these tips for more ideas on minimalism and shopping.
6. Simplify your schedule
You can be minimalist about your time as well as the stuff in your home. Discover the value of doing less, saying no, postponing an appointment.
Enjoy having more free time, more unstructured time to do what you want, when you want.
7. Simplify your thoughts
How you think about things determines how you feel about them and the actions and decisions you take as a result of those emotions.
Practice a little self-care for your mind and declutter your thoughts. Spend time listening to yourself, re-connecting with yourself through journaling or just sitting quietly and see what comes to mind.
Try these journal prompts for self-reflection as a starting point to simplify your thoughts.
8. Simplify your work-life balance
Not an easy one and something I’m always struggling with! However, conscious decisions to create boundaries between work and personal life can really help us find a better work-life balance.
I used to find that a busy working week would leave me on autopilot during the weekday and I ended up disregarding the amazing blessing and value of the ordinary every day.
If so, perhaps it’s time to address your own work-life balance and see what changes can be made over the coming weeks and months for you and your family.
9. Simplify your relationships
Letting go of relationships that don’t give mutual support, friendship, love and respect is tough but it does help your mental health and the pressures on your time and energy.
We all go through difficult stages in life and sometimes we rely on friends and family more at some times than others. But, if you feel that you’re giving more than receiving, perhaps it’s time to put in place some boundaries and draw a line under difficult relationships. That might not be forever, but it may be possible to create a little space and distance just for a while.
10. Simplify your stresses and strains in life
The minimalist goals that we’ve mentioned above might all help to create more time, space and freedom in your life, with less clutter and less stress but more joy, happiness and contentment.
None of these things will happen overnight and they’re likely to be a mix of short, medium and long term goals.
However, constantly evaluating what’s working and what’s not and tweaking things to suit any changes that come up for you will help keep you focused on your goals.
A good way to kick-start the process of goal-setting is to identify what are the biggest stresses and strains in life for you. What stresses you out the most? What gets you down? What triggers bad habits or challenging emotions?
Can you put any goals in place to help overcome these problems or at least make them easier?
Grab a notebook now and make a list of your biggest stresses and strains and what you could do to overcome them.
MINIMALIST GOAL-SETTING TIPS
When you set goals for yourself, it’s helpful to bear in mind a few key points.
You may have heard the term ‘SMART’ goals which is an acronym commonly used in goal-setting. The SMART in SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. You can read more about setting SMART goals here.
Here are some minimalist goal-setting tips to help you set your own goals for simplifying life.
1. Goals should be specific
Lofty goals are fine, but it’s helpful to break them down into specific steps. If you want to declutter your entire home, top to bottom, this year, then that’s great. But you’ll have to come up with a plan to do this in smaller, detailed and specific stages. For most people, the thought of decluttering everything will be too overwhelming and they’ll never even get started. Aim high, dream big, but have a clear, detailed plan for how you’re going to achieve it and be specific about what you want to achieve.
2. Goals should be measurable
Your goals should have a clear outcome so you know when you’ve achieved them. You might decide you want to run the next local 10K park run. You might want to save enough money to afford a holiday this year. You might want to clear your clutter so you can downsize and move home. In these examples there is a clear and measurable outcome so you can keep your eye on the end goal, track your progress and know when you’ve achieved it.
3. Goals should be achievable
It’s no good saying you’ll never buy anything new for a whole year. Things wear out and we all need to replace items we’ve run out of. Shopping can also be fun! Better be realistic by saying you’ll buy no new clothes for a month and see what happens. It will be better for your motivation levels if you underestimate what you can do (and be pleasantly surprised if you achieve it) instead of setting the bar too high so that you can’t reach!
4. Goals should be relevant
Goals require motivation, perseverance and commitment so in order to give you the incentive to meet them, your goals should be highly relevant to you right now. There’s nothing wrong with revisiting and refreshing your goals every now and then to check they still feel right. To decide what goals are relevant to you right now, think about your priorities in life. What’s really important, what stresses you out the most, what makes you happiest? Set goals around these areas and they’re likely to mean more to you if they’re completed because they’re relevant right now.
To get clear on your priorities, you can get a free printable worksheet at the bottom of this article!
5. Goals should be time-sensitive
Open-ended goals without a timescale and date to be achieved by can be so loose we don’t feel pressure or energy to complete them. Give your goals a date by which they need to be done and it will focus your mind to prioritise them. Declutter your bedroom by the end of this week, clear your debt by the end of the year, put in place 2 household routines that you stick to by the end of this month. Keep track of your progress, make a note of the end date in your diary or on your phone and tick off your goal once it’s been achieved by the deadline you set.
6. Goals should be dependent upon no-one but you
This point isn’t one of the SMART goals but I think it’s an important one. In an ideal world we’d all love support from our spouse, kids, family and friends, for example to help us lose weight and get fit. Moral support, encouragement and a partner to run, jog, hit the gym or do yoga with would be great but relying on someone else to motivate us and keep us motivated isn’t the way to go. Your goals are just that. They’re YOUR goals and will require you to start, end and keep them up in the middle. Other people have different priorities and motivations and if they lose interest, or can’t support you, it’s no good laying the blame or making excuses that they didn’t help you. You should be in control of your goals.
GOALS AND HABITS
There’s one other really important point about goal-setting that’s a topic all of its own!
Setting yourself goals for anything in life won’t make those goals happen on their own. It’s what you do to achieve those goals that largely determine whether you meet your goals or not.
If you’d like to set goals for yourself, I encourage you to think about your habits, routines and daily actions because it’s what you do with tiny beginnings that could determine how well you keep your bigger goals.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to set minimalist goals to simplify your life. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve any ideas to add. If you’ve set similar goals in the past, how did they go? Which did you find the hardest? What helped you the most? Are you setting any other goals for this coming year?
Leave a comment below if you’ve anything to share which might help others…