The Many Paths to Simplicity
When you think about simplifying your life, only you know what you have in mind. Whatever it is, it almost certainly is going to be something different from what I want.
There is no cookie-cutter approach to simplifying, no single path to take, no wrong or right way to go about it. It is a personal process, and only you can choose the path to take. The path you take has to make sense to you, as an individual, so that it fits your personality, dreams, desires, and life situation.
Finding Your Path
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits came up with some ideas that might help you find our own path to simplicity. They’re not meant to be adopted wholesale, and you’ll find that some may contradict each other. That’s because each represents a different path; and, on the whole, they are only meant to offer inspiration so you can think about where you want to go, figure out a path to get there, and take the first step.
- Take things slowly. There is no need to rush to a simpler life. Take deep breaths, and take things one step at a time. Baby steps. Enjoy the process.
- Do a major rehaul. Sometimes it can be revitalizing to Wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. Now, that might mean moving to a new house and only bringing the possessions that mean the most to you. Or it might mean getting a new job that you love and setting your own schedule around those things you love doing. Or it might mean doing a major cleaning of your house, getting rid of most of your junk. It could mean just dropping all commitments except the things you love most.
- Remember what’s important. Why are you trying to simplify? Is it to make room for the things you love? Then be sure to identify those things, and keep those things in mind during this process. Is it simply to reduce your stress and live a more peaceful life? Then remember those reasons on your path to simplicity.
- Adopt changes gradually. If you adopt one small change at a time, you can make major changes over the long-term without the changes seeming very big at all. When the small change becomes the norm for you. Then make another, and that becomes the norm. Each step seems small, but they can add up to really big progress over months and years.
- Try different types of simplicity. You don’t have to pick one way. You can try frugality, then minimalism, then cabin-in-the-woods simplicity, then chuck all your responsibilities and hang out on a beach all day. See what works for you.
- Join a community. There are online communities and may be even groups within your community that are going for a common goal. That might be frugality, or decluttering, or living with a minimal impact on the environment. Join one.
- Take assessment. Step back and take a look at your life in general, reflecting on what you want your life to be like, on what kind of progress you’ve made, on what needs to be done. It’s good to do this at the beginning of your path to simplicity, and every now and then along the way.
My ultimate goal is to live a life that isn’t overwhelmed with tasks, projects, and errands . . . a life that has space for what I want to do and gives me room to breathe . . . a peaceful life, without drama, where I can work happily, travel a little, and spend time with the people I care about most. What’s your ultimate goal?
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