Life isn’t easy.
It’s complicated. It’s messy. It’s entirely unpredictable.
And like a ship surrounded by water on all sides, it is important to be strong enough to not break.
Even one hole can lead to devastating consequences, and we’ll soon find ourselves underwater.
For years I believed that happiness depended on how many things I owned – like possessions, friends, loved ones. I believed the more, the better.
But I was wrong.
And I found happiness only when I decided to declutter my life and focus on the present moment. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to simplify your life.
It’s taken me 28 years to realize that less is indeed more.
All my life, I wanted beautiful things. I wanted to be surrounded by 2000 books, have a fancy collection of notebooks, cups, bedsheets and whatnot.
But every time I bought a few fancy items, it made me happy for a few days and then I’d be online shopping again.
There was no end, no sort of permanent satisfaction.
This didn’t just apply to things, but my time.
I felt I was super productive if I spent 8 hours working. Or doing multiple things.
All that did was drain me because I wanted to be everywhere, doing everything.
And one day, I decided to change.
I started reading multiple books on minimalism, and I felt drawn towards it.
The more selective I became with my time, the happier I became.
I’ve been simplifying my life for more than a year, and it has given me so much peace. I am content.
And although I’m not strong enough to avoid shopping completely, I believe that my current lifestyle is much better than before only because I’ve decided to downsize.
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How to simplify your life
I’m including multiple tips below that I’ve started implementing in the past year.
Please know that you don’t need to do it all at once. Do what speaks to you. Implement one thing at a time. Start with some thing that makes sense to you.
And most of all, read it with an open mind and an open heart.
1. Declutter your home
You spend most of your time at home surrounded by the things you own. Do not let your things own you.
If you are constantly overwhelmed with cleaning, or your surfaces are always a mess, or you feel there are so many things you do not use, it may be time to start decluttering.
Start with the easiest room and work towards others. I have a whole guide on decluttering your home that will help you.
Cleaning takes hardly any time at all! If that isn’t a pro, I don’t know what is.
Decluttering my home has helped me become more productive and happier because there is nothing to distract me.
Which brings me to my next point…
2. Curb your shopping
Focus on buying essentials and things that you really need.
As a voracious reader who is also a bookaholic, I struggled to stop buying physical books. It was difficult for me to switch to reading books online completely.
So, I started small. I started reading 1-2 books a month online, and it felt good. I was able to highlight important points and have more access to them whenever I needed them.
Within a few months, I shifted to reading 4-5 online books a month. And now I’m barely buying any physical books. Even if I do, I exchange the ones I won’t read a second time so that I can keep the clutter to a bare minimum.
Another thing that’s worked for me is keeping budgets and recording my expenses. I use this app called Pocket Expense.
At the end of the month, I can see how much money I spent on ordering takeout, non-essentials and so on. This helps me understand my bad shopping habits, and I know where I fall short and what my weaknesses are.
3. Let go of toxic relationships
Whether it is your family, friends, colleagues, or partner, take some time off to meditate and think about whether these relationships are adding to your life or taking away from it.
Life is short.
And spending time with people who drain you physically, mentally or emotionally is just not worth the hassle.
Your time and energy are the most precious resources you have.
Focus it on people who make you feel better – people who are an asset to your lives.
Doing this one thing will really contribute to your inner peace.
Here are some posts to help you with this:
- 13 signs of unrequited love and how to let go of them
- 12 genuine reasons to let go of a friend and how to do that
4. Learn to say no
Like I said earlier, your time and energy are precious.
This means you have to be very selective with your time. If you want to stay in on a Friday night but your friends have asked you to party with them, feel free to say no.
You don’t have to do things you don’t want to.
Every time you say no to something you don’t want to do, you’re saying hell yes to something you do!
I have a whole guide here on learning to say no without feeling crappy.
5. Cut down on paper
I pay all my bills online. And I have been very stringent on avoiding paper completely.
India in general has become very digital. We don’t print our airplane tickets or electricity bills.
Everything is on the phone nowadays. And that’s pretty awesome.
Every time, you say no to printing something, you’re contributing to saving the environment.
Try to cut down on buying newspapers and magazines. Switch to reading everything online and you’ll not only accumulate less clutter, but the trees will also thank you!
6. Digital detox
As a former video-game and cartoon addict, this one took me some time to implement.
More screen time was fun when I was growing up. But as an adult, it honestly doesn’t do much for me.
I own Disney+, Netflix, and Prime, but I don’t watch TV for more than an hour a day.
And this has helped me gain so much more time that I’ve been using to actually take care of my pups and my mental health.
I started slowly. I replaced watching TV with hobbies that actually make my heart sing like playing the piano (something I’ve wanted to do for so many years) and learning French.
The same went for my Instagram. I was an Instagram addict. I’d spend hours scrolling through my feed. And I’d find that I’d wasted hours on social media. This particular habit also contributed to my online shopping.
Whenever you’re cutting out a bad habit, replace it with something better – Something that you enjoy doing.
In this way, you won’t miss TV or your phone.
There are so many things you can do instead of spending time on a screen:
- Pick up a hobby you left when you were a kid
- Start an online business
- Volunteer in your local charities
7. Follow a morning routine
If your day starts well, your entire day will follow suit.
I start my day with 2 glasses of warm water and I feel super energized in the mornings.
Start your day by writing a To-Do list of everything you want to accomplish by the end of the day. I sometimes do this the night before so that I can prepare for the next day.
Your morning routine should energise and rejuvenate you. Spend some time by yourself doing something that makes you happy.
Whether it’s reading, a light yoga session, taking your dogs out for a walk, do it.
Carve out just 30 minutes for yourself, even if you have a family to look after.
Because if you aren’t energised and happy and aren’t taking care of yourself, you cannot look after anyone else.
8. Eat healthier
The best way I’ve found to cut down on snacking and eating junk food is to stop buying it!
I order most of my ingredients online, and I cut down on sugar just by not ordering cookies and chocolates!
If it’s not in your cabinets, you won’t eat it. It’s that simple!
Hydrating your body also helps you avoid snacking. Most of the time, our bodies are just dehydrated.
Eating healthier meals doesn’t happen in one day. Don’t go cold-turkey on snacking and avoiding junk food.
If you’re eating junk food every day, minimize it by eating only on alternate days and then shifting only to the weekends. Your body will crave less sugar, and you can cut it out completely with time.
Cutting out junk food from my diet has helped me become more energized and active!
9. Have a reservoir of knowledge that you can dip into
I can credit 100% of my successes in every walk of life to reading. Be it business, taking care of my mum who had cancer, navigating through life’s difficulties – reading has helped me immensely.
The knowledge you get from books, podcasts, documentaries, etc., can save your life.
You don’t need to make 100 mistakes to learn something. You can learn from others’ mistakes and experiences if you read their books. Reading shortens the learning curve.
10. Learn to be present
If you’re constantly overwhelmed or anxious, try meditating. I started using Headspace 2 months ago, and I can’t get enough of it.
The idea behind meditation is not to get bogged down by your emotions but to notice them and watch them pass.
It teaches you to be present at the moment and not focus on the past or the future. For people that are always worrying about the future or finding it difficult to let go of the past – meditation is exactly what they need.
It’s easier said than done, and that’s why meditating every day will change your life completely – even if it’s just 15 minutes a day.
It has helped me become less anxious, less angry, less impulsive.
I’m more present with my emotions and feelings, and meditation helps you become increasingly self-aware.
As a person who’s suffered from insomnia all my life, I find it extremely easy to sleep these days. I fall asleep in less than 10 minutes.
Give it a try for at least 2 weeks, and you’ll notice the change you see in yourself.
11. Simplify your finances
Try to save at least 20% of your earnings. You never know when you’ll have a rainy day.
I have so much peace of mind because I try to save at least 20-40% of my monthly earnings. I know that even if a calamity ensues, I will be able to navigate through that.
Automate all your monthly utility bills so that you don’t have to waste time paying them.
12. Do not focus on more than 2-3 goals at once
Multi-tasking isn’t practical.
The best way to accomplish your goals is to pick just 2-3 and then be su[er consistent.
What separates successful people from unsuccessful ones is consistency. And even if you’re getting just 1% better every day, you’re making more progress than most people out there.
And in no time at all, you’ll have mastered a skill.
Focus on different areas: Create spiritual goals, physical goals, mental goals and follow through with them every single day.
A morning routine and a daily to-do list will help you immensely.
13. Love yourself
The best way to simplify your life is to cut out all the things that don’t serve you. It’s more of a lifestyle than an immediate solution.
Take some time off to think about life and what is it you really want to do.
Every task you do should add meaning to your life in some way. You’ll find yourself less drained.
If you have to learn just one thing in this lifetime, learn to love yourself.
And you’ll feel lighter, happier and freer.
You may also enjoy: 29 self-love quotes to heal you right now!
Remember, simplifying your life is a process, not a one-day wonder. Spend each day working towards making your life more simple, even if it’s just 1 task.
With time, you’ll notice yourself getting less anxious or worrisome, and you’ll notice your home and your life is much better when it’s decluttered and full of space.
Remember, when you create more space, you’re making room for things that will serve you and bring you unbridled joy.
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