Sure, there are plenty of self-help books, blogs, and seminars you can check out in order to help simplify your life…but many of them take a long time and a lot of practice to implement. What if you want just a few easy changes you can make STARTING TODAY that can make a huge difference? Well, here are 10 that I thought should help get you started down that path…and if you have more, please share them in the comments. And away we go!
1. Set up all recurring bills to be paid automatically. Most banks have free bill pay, and most bills you would ever have to pay offer an electronic version instead of paper. Just set up your bank account to be debited automatically for those recurring bills every month so you don’t have to worry about them.
2. Create your dinner menu for the entire week, and then go grocery shopping to get what you need for every dinner. Pick 7 dinners, pick up the ingredients in advance, and you don’t need to spend time planning your meals every evening.
3. Do one thing at a time. If you are watching TV, watch TV…don’t also read a magazine & use the computer. (Believe you me, I struggle with this one. I am a dedicated multi-tasker, and it’s a hard habit to break.)
4. Go outside. Now. Too few of us spend any time outside watching the day go by. Even just 10-15 minutes outside watching the clouds or the birds goes a long way to slowing down your internal clock. Take a few minutes for yourself.
5. Limit your time on the computer to a set amount per day. (Another one I am battling.) With the internet, there is ALWAYS something else to find/read about/learn/waste time with. By turning the computer off at a certain point every day, you are giving yourself the freedom to escape that trap.
6. Eat your dinner tonight slowly. Cherish the fact that you can A. put food on your table when so many cannot and B. take the time necessary to eat it. Food is what keeps us alive and healthy; why rush your meal? Enjoy it!
7. Go to the library. Check out Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Read it until you are done. Take away some important lessons.
8. Learn to use the word “NO”. Repeat it a few times out loud. You don’t need to use it in a negative way at all; rather, you can use it effectively to do only those things you want to do rather than the things you feel obligated to do. Simplifying your life means being able to say NO to filling up every moment of every day!
9. Volunteer. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but volunteering to help others out gives you a different perspective on your life. Think you have it bad and life is tough? Volunteer to help those truly in need – you will see first-hand what a difficult life is. It could make your life look like a walk in the park.
10. Stop trying so hard to meet expectations created in your mind. No one can make you do, act, or behave in a certain way. Do what makes you happy and the rest will come easy. Live for yourself and no one else.
So…what would you add to the list of very simple behaviors you could change today to simplify your life? Please let us all know in the comments!