Better Living

11 Forgotten Ways to Simplify Your Life

Decluttering your home and clearing your schedule aren't the most critical ways to simplify
BY Mike Donghia TIMEMarch 6, 2022 PRINT

A cluttered home and a busy schedule may be the least important areas of your life to simplify.

For many people, these areas are a great starting point because they can be the easiest places to begin. Getting a few wins under your belt can lead to a snowball of life changes.

But the other reality that I have seen is that many busy people are also singled-minded and focused on their life’s purpose and other people with somewhat cluttered homes have complete inner simplicity.

That is the kind of simplicity that really carries weight.

The most wonderful benefits of minimalism come from a life that’s focused on the things that matter. We can’t lose sight of that even as we try to achieve a simple aesthetic and clutter-free lives.

Take a minute to remind yourself in case you’ve forgotten any of the ways on this list to simplify your life from the inside out:

1. Don’t procrastinate on the small stuff. In the effort to simplify your life, it’s possible to become too big-picture-focused and start to believe that life’s drudgery is beneath you. No one escapes the hard, ordinary work of everyday life, and ignoring it today only makes your life more complicated tomorrow.

2. Don’t keep looking for a perfect plan. Settle for a good enough plan and make it great through your hawk-like focus and ability to learn as you go. In almost every scenario of life, there’s only so much you can learn from a standstill. You must take the first steps to reveal the rest of the path forward. Don’t complicate life by endlessly ruminating when it’s possible to learn as you go.

3. Take care of your health while you still have it. I was talking to my sister today and we were both remarking how common it is to not fully appreciate what you have until it’s gone. It’s one of the most predictable responses in our human nature, and yet it sometimes seems inescapable. Without a doubt, good health is a blessing that makes all other activities easier and more enjoyable. Protect, preserve, and strengthen what you have today.

4. Settle the question of life’s meaning. Undoubtedly, faith is a huge part of my life and one that I consider to be a great simplifier. My personal faith brings clarity to my values and shape to my priorities. It keeps me from thinking too highly of myself and my circumstances, or too poorly. There are obviously greater reasons beyond simplicity to ponder the great questions of life, but don’t wait. Begin your personal journey today.

5. Don’t look for shortcuts. Take the hard path. This week I was considering a shortcut. I weighed the pros and cons and ultimately decided that shortcuts rarely deliver what they promise. What we think we want is the destination, but the good life we desire is really about the journey, the people we share it with, and the person we become along the way.

6. Guard yourself from addictions of all kinds. While I have not personally struggled with addiction to drugs or alcohol, I have seen their impact on the lives of those I love. I do know, however, what it’s like to constantly give in to distraction or to be so attached to my phone it feels like I could never give it up. Fighting addictions is like playing life in hard mode. Find a way to let go, and enjoy an inner simplicity like you never imagined.

7. Avoid self-pity. Of all the vices, is there one so sad and self-defeating as self-pity? We feel sorry for ourselves and ruminate on our own failures or bad breaks—to what gain? Self-pity adds complexity to your life by causing you to focus on the wrong thing: yourself. Wake up to the reality that what’s past is past, and that in this moment, you’re free to focus on what you can do now.

8. Avoid envy. When I compare my life to the life I expected and hoped for when I was younger, I’m thrilled. I have a very happy marriage, close friends, three lively children, a satisfying job, and plenty of leisure time. The realization that I have everything (actually, way more!) than I could ever need brings me peace and helps me to remember what is important. But when I compare my life to the lucky few who have even more good things—suddenly I’m unhappy and anxious. My simple advice to myself is to keep my eyes on what’s good.

9. Be reliable. There’s not too much advice that is absolutely universal in its application. One such piece of wisdom is to be reliable. When you’re reliable, the people you care about most trust you. When you’re reliable, you find favor and respect and all sorts of good things among the circle of other reliable people. To cut yourself off from this circle of reliability is one of the quickest ways to add layers of complexity to your life. Don’t leave the circle!

10. Don’t lie or pretend to be something you’re not. Maybe you’re not tempted to tell outright lies, but how often do you paint yourself to be something other than who you really are? Putting your best foot forward is one thing, but always concealing your mistakes or flaws adds complexity to your life because you always have to hide and wonder if you’ll get found out. Do your best, be yourself, and those who really know you will allow that to be enough.

11. Surround yourself with people you admire. Good friends rub off on you in a hundred subtle ways. As social creatures, we’re always trying to fit in and often be like those around us. Choosing your friends wisely and seeking to become closer with those you admire, is one of the easiest ways to simplify your life. Instead of fighting the negative influence of unhealthy friends, good friends make it easy to live into your values.

This article was republished from ThisEverGreenHome.com

Mike Donghia
Mike (and his wife, Mollie) blog at This Evergreen Home where they share their experience with living simply, intentionally, and relationally in this modern world. You can follow along by subscribing to their twice-weekly newsletter.
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