We’re nearing the end of the year and it only gets ever more busy and crazy from here as we near the holiday season. With events, preparations and a thousand things to enjoy, this is a busy time of year, that leaves us with little time for reflection and preparation time for next year. So, before we get truly into the holiday rush, I thought I’d make a quick guide for how to simplify your life. I feel like starting next year with a clean slate and rounding off this year the best I can – it sure has been a crazy one.
“I feel compelled to clarify, simplify, and personalize truth.” – J. Grant Howard
One of the most obvious ways to simplify your life is to start minimising the number of things around you. I have a full blog on how to declutter your house in 30 days, but decluttering can go further than that. Maybe you need to mentally declutter, getting all of your thoughts, worries, and lingering to-dos out onto paper. Maybe it’s your online clutter, the excessive number of email campaigns you’re subscribed to, the people you’re following that you always scroll straight past, the long list of bookmarks or photos on your phone you don’t really need.
Whatever you find needs decluttering, it can be very overwhelming, so make sure you break your decluttering down into smaller tasks and do them little and often. Ask yourself ‘does this bring me joy?’ if it doesn’t, it might find a better home somewhere else. It’s tricky, but I promise you it gets much easier the more you do it and you might even find it really fun (I know I do).
2. Cut out negativity
Much like decluttering, this is clearing your plate of anything that’s going to make your life heavier. This could be toxic relationships, possessions or clothing that doesn’t bring you joy, as well as negative habits. The first step here is to highlight what these things are. Get in the habits of asking yourself how things make you feel. Whenever you do something or see someone, ask yourself ‘did that make me feel energised?’. I think that’s the best way to judge the things around you – by their energy-sucking-ness.
3. Learn to say no
One of the things that can really complicate our life is having too many things on the go – especially if they’re things we don’t truly care for. So, one way you can simplify your life is by learning to say no. I’ve written a full guide on the subject, but in short, it’s mostly about knowing and understanding your priorities, being aware of and realistic about your schedule and perfecting the art of saying no, even under pressure – something that comes with time and practice.
4. Kick bad habits
Bad habits can really overcomplicate our lives. Besides slowing us down and hold us back, they can also make you wind up in sticky situations you don’t really want. Plus, they weigh us down. Having what you want to do and what you actually do be out of alignment creates a lot of inner conflict, making your mind not a fun place to be. To truly simplify your life, you need to deal with those inner conflicts (over time, of course) and create as much peace inside you as you’re manifesting outside. There are loads of ways to approach bad habits – again, I have a full guide on how to kick bad habits. For the most part, it’s a golden trio of self-awareness, responsibility and action, I tell all in that blog.
5. Have a routine
Having a routine makes it easier to fit in and remember the things you actually want to spend your time doing. As, what is essentially, a stack of habits, routines quickly become habitual and mean that any habit you’ve made will be easier to do every day.
As things become habitual, they take up less space in your mind, they happen naturally. Make a list of the habits you want to start and slowly, a couple at a time, spend a few days working them into your routine. It can help to do them at the same time or same place in your routine every day. From here, they’ll get easier and easier to do, until they become just as simple as brushing your teeth.
6. Get organised with habits
There are so many things you can do to become organised. A couple, that I think help to make your life simpler are as follows:
- Give everything a home. This is a great way to keep your home tidy. When eveyrthing has somewhere to go and you get back in the habit of putting it there as soon as you’re done with it, tidying up will almost be doing itself. I trained myself into this habit a few years ago and it’s served me well ever since. It also taught me a valuable lesson, that sometimes putting in a little extra effort straight away can beenfit you long term.
- Have systems. Similarly, having systems for how you do things can make doing them a lot easier. Knowing that you clean on Sundays, knowing that you meal prep on Wednesday nights, knowing that where you put receipts or letters that need dealing with later will help you keep on top of things and take away a lot of stress – you’re safe in the knowledge that you’ve got everything covered.
- Use to do lists. To do lists can be so so handy. Our memories are pretty darn good, but they can get bogged down and unreliable trying to manage every moving part of our lives. Keeping a to do list to hand will bring you peace of mind that you won’t accidentally end up forgeting things.
- Do a little everyday. Much like putting everything back in its place, doing a little of tings everyday makes them much easier to manage and much easier to approach. Instead of needing to do gargantuan cleans every so often, do a couple of small jobs each day to stay ahead of yourself.
Find more organisation habits and ideas: How to Get Organised: 9 Organisation Tips
7. Stop procrastinating
I know how it is. The world looks big and scary, tasks take effort, things take time and dedication and there’s a much easier path you could take. Procrastination is a really tricky habit to tackle because it sounds so convincing that sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it. But to me, I know I’d much rather spend my time and energy doing things I care about than taking the easy road. The more you do it, the easier it becomes (as is the way, I’ve learnt, with most things in life).
The key is to make it as fun as possible – even if it’s a really boring task. Throw on some music whilst you do it, promise yourself a fun task to do once you’re done, take breaks and keep reminding yourself that you do care. If it works for you (it works so so well for me), be a little extra. Imagine the best possible way this task could plan out (not doing it isn’t an option though!) and make that scene. Say you need to clean your space, put on a comfy outfit, pop on some tunes, light a couple of candles – get inspired and make it as romanticised and enjoyable as possible.
8. Be intentional with your time and energy
Being intentional is something I focused a lot on for the first half of this year. I tried to really listen to what my body and my mind needed from me. What did I really fancy to eat? Did I need more sleep? What was I in the mood to do? I asked myself these questions frequently and slowly but surely found myself more naturally in tune with my body. Suddenly I wasn’t overeating, feeling as tired, or feeling like I was ‘wasting’ any time. I felt more confident in myself, quicker witted and more healthy.
This doesn’t mean always choosing ‘good’ food, going to bed on time or making the ‘healthy’ choice – sometimes this is staying up late because you’re enjoying yourself, treating yourself to a pizza because you really fancy it or chilling in bed on a weekend morn. The point here is to try and make the best decision for you at the time – whatever ‘best’ might mean at that moment – and committing wholeheartedly to that choice. We all fall to the easy path sometimes – sometimes it’s exactly what we need – but other times, we can find ourself conflicted between choices and repeatedly choosing the one we know we don’t really care for. The day you start making choices with intention, confidence and strength is the day you really start shining.
9. Learn to manage stress
Let’s face it, as much as you do simplify your life, it’s still not always going to be sunshine and daisies. Stress is a natural reaction and no matter how zen you are or how simple your life is, you’re still going to face it sometimes. So knowing how to effectively manage stress is going to be a huge aid in keeping you on track and keeping your life simple, even in times of stress and overwhelm.
10. Know yourself
For me, this is the most important thing you can do to simplify your life. We’ve spoken about creating habits, managing stress and organisation, being intentional, but all of those things become a whole lot easier once you know who you are. Knowing what you care for, what helps you feel peaceful, what habits and environments keep you feeling good – these are the most important things. These are the things that will make the biggest difference. Do what’s right for you, what you agree with, what moves you further towards your goals and what you enjoy, what makes life worth living.
Suggested: 75 Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery
That’s all of my tips for how to simplify your life. A lot of these take time and practice to implement into your life, but once they’re there, they help elevate every single aspect of your life. Above everything, this is about making your life enjoyable and helping you be content as often as possible. No, contentedness doesn’t mean constant happiness (what’s life without a little rain?), but it does mean fufilment, meaning and fullness and that is what my best life looks like.
That’s all from me, I hope this brings some peace, joy and simplicity to each of you. Love, Ella-Rose xx