Does life feel like it’s getting out of hand? Is there time for those people you love and the things you love to do? This month I’ll show you how to simplify your life to make room for more of the good stuff. Stay tuned…
Hi I’m Josie Thomson. I’m a multi-award winning coach, mindset and resilience expert, author and 2 time cancer survivor.
I don’t know about you, but life feels so ‘full on’ these days! Full of commitments, full of agendas, full of deadlines, full of appointments, full of demands, full of ‘stuff’ that seems to create a state of BEing that doesn’t seem quite ‘right’ or balanced and wholesome to me.
Is this how life is meant to be? Are you asking this question too?
Life seems to be overfull for so many of us.
We tend to say YES to a lot of things – we say yes to invitations and commitments; we answer as many emails and messages as we can each day; we join groups and forums; we buy books; we take on new hobbies and interests, we get involved in new relationships and we buy more stuff.
What we don’t often consider is this: when we say YES to something, what are we saying NO to?
The result of all this busy-ness is predictable:
* We spend way too much money and we get into way too much debt, and then have way too much clutter.
* We are always busy and feel like we can’t keep up with everything we’re meant to do.
* We don’t seem to have time for what’s really important — for relationships, meaningful work, stillness, solitude and silence, and taking care of ourselves.
* We can’t fully deliver on all of our commitments because of all the things we have to do – we’re torn and pulled from pillar to post.
* We use these full agendas to distract ourselves from being fully present from life.
It’s understandable that there’s a tendency to overfill our lives — we’re usually responding to desires, and not giving full consideration to what we really want in our lives or even what we don’t want.
So how do we change this pattern? I say we need to simplify our life.
What To Simplify?
Simplifying means intentionally culling back on what you have in your life:
* The more you possess, the more you are possessed! So cull your possessions — give away or remove extraneous clutter that is just weighing you down, and find the joy in possessing less.
* Cull your commitments – take a close look at everything you’ve committed to doing – be that committees, meetings, boards, mentoring or volunteering and being a part of various projects.
* Cull back on your activity online. We spend a lot of time online, usually switching constantly between tabs, which results in a constantly distracted and ‘busy’ mind. Is this really how you want to spend your life? Could you let go of some of it, and let yourself be more focused in more meaningful ways?
* Cull back on how much you do in a day — we pack our days full with lots of activity and busyness. What could it be like to do less?
* Cull your interests, hobbies, travel and other aspirational activities. We are crowded by random desires to live a life of travel, activity, beauty, and novelty. But fulfilling these desires doesn’t often lead to a meaningful life, and instead leads to an overwhelming life. It’s not that we ought not do any of these things (I travel and have hobbies), rather, we must discern what matters most, and commit our focus and attention to that.
Today, I’ll share some ways for you to make a simple plan to simplify your life. So let’s get into it!
At its core, simplifying is about consciously thinking about what you really want to cultivate in your life, and what you’d like to remove.
How to Simplify?
So how do we simplify our life? Isn’t decluttering our lives just another thing to add to a huge ‘to do’ list?
Here’s an idea. Start with a blank canvas.
Imagine for a moment that your life had only a few essentials:
* A room with a mattress, a few changes of clothes, a jacket, a few books, a computer and a phone. A backpack for carrying things. Maybe a couch and computer desk if you really need it.
* A bathroom with toilet paper and a shower with soap, and maybe three or four toiletries.
* Simple food of legumes, rice, vegetables, fruit, nuts. A few dishes. Maybe a refrigerator, stove and a dining table.
* No workout equipment, just walking, hiking, bodyweight strength training. No hobby equipment. Maybe a bike if you need to commute – but walk most places.
These are the ‘bare essentials’ for most people. There might be a few other things you’d need, depending on your circumstances, but let’s not get caught up in the details.
Now imagine that you could only choose a few things to do each day. For me, that might be:
1. Meaningful work (mostly coaching, with some admin tasks needed).
2. Spending time with my family and other meaningful relationships (remotely too).
5. Reading and writing.
6. Eating simple food.
I’d be very content with just those things in my life. What would your six things be?
Is there anything else you’d like to cultivate? What other things would you add? Imagine a stripped-back ‘core essentials’ life.
Now think about what you could let go of to make room for just these.
We must leave space in our life for doing nothing too. This might be for reflection, for being present, for silence, for stillness, for healing and even for the unexpected.
I realise life won’t always be this simple, and we must be willing to flow with things that we can’t control. We can’t always cut back on the commitments that we need to fulfil, and we can’t always have a job with meaningful work. And let’s face it, relationships can complicate things too. I do understand.
But sometimes, I think we could just be making excuses not to let go – to avoid handling other things, to rationalise the status quo, and hold on to our attachments, and to our comfort zones.
Simplifying our life is about letting go of attachments, letting go of the excuses, and letting go of fixed beliefs. I wonder what’s possible for you once you do let go?! Are you willing to give it a crack?
Share your thoughts below and let me know how you go? Do you have other ideas for simplifying life? How do you do it? I’d really love to know.
With the rapid rate of change and our constant need to keep up with advances happening all around us, it’s becoming increasingly important to take stock often and ensure we are prioritising what matters most, and who matters most so we don’t lose sight of what makes our life purposeful and meaningful. To do this well, we must simplify our life as much as we can.
For this purpose, I’ve developed a set a quarterly workshops and a range of FREE webinars for you to explore important themes like this, that create conditions for a more purposeful, balanced, joy-filled and wholesome life. Check them out over on my website at josiethosmon.com/events.
Remember this: there’s no growth in our comfort zone. Perhaps it’s time to get comfortable in the discomfort of simplifying our life.
Until next time, remember: it’s not what happens to you that defines you, it’s how you respond that counts.