These days it seems as if everyone wants to be healthier, skinnier, live a more simplified life, get out of debt, and get organized. Pinterest is flooded with all sorts of pins on how to do just this. Of course, I am one of those people. I am an avid pinner! My problem is, I am one track minded; therefore, one day, I might be trying to get skinny but then get side tracked by tackling my debt issues. I mean come on, who can sit down and look over that mess without having a piece of chocolate cake and bowl of ice cream! That was one of the reasons I began documenting my journeys to these coveted places.
On paper, a simplified life sounded like the answer to all of my problems…that is until I really read about it; which you can read my first reaction to the simplified life here.
Now that we were on the path to getting our debt under control and seeing the work that goes into it, I decided we need to put more effort into living a simplified life and create better habits to avoid repeating past mistakes.
Upon further investigation of the matter, I realized that there was a way that I could cut down on the excessiveness of life without making MAJOR life alterations…AKA chickens in my back yard.
I decided to focus on the things that allow me to still be me yet less stressed and less weighed down.
Live for God and leave it to God
When you live for God, you realize that some of the things weighing you down are not only unnecessary, but unfulfilling as well. Mental clutter and stress can easily be handled by letting go and putting it in God’s hands. Whether it is a stressful relationship or a busy schedule, evaluate the things that cause you the most stress and ask God to help you with these things.
An important step in living a simpler life is paying off debt. This has been one of the most relieving things that I have done thus far. It is a work in progress but with every debt that we get rid of I feel a little better and this feeling is what keeps me going when I have a sudden urge to go on a shopping spree.
Live within our means
Living beyond what we can afford has become a prominent lifestyle. Bigger houses, nicer cars, name brand clothes, and the latest electronic devices have become necessities instead of luxuries, causing us to live further and further outside of our income bracket. Payment plans and credit give us ways to afford things that we could not afford otherwise. Taking a stand to live with only the things we can afford was hard, but a necessary step in our path to simplifying. Focus on what we have not what we don’t have.
Don’t compare ourselves to others
Just because the guy down the street has a motorcycle and his wife has a convertible does not mean I need one. Just because she is tall and skinny does not mean I am less of a person then her. We have to quite comparing ourselves to others. Not only does this contribute to living outside of our means, it is a miserable way of life. Nothing good comes from comparing ourselves to anyone but Jesus. We are who we are, and the sooner we become content with that, the sooner we can acquire true happiness.
Dieting is hard, frustrating, and often depriving. There are so many fad diets out there that we blow money on left and right trying to “look good”. I would stay stressed out wondering how long I would be able to keep this diet going, and then, when I would mess up, I would get stressed thinking I am never going to lose weight. Quit trying to look good and start trying to feel good! Eat in a way that you will feel good. I have decided that dieting is stressful and puts me in a bad mood. Since I developed that frame of mind and just started eating healthier I have not only lost weight but I feel better. It is a slower process, but this is something that I can live with for the rest of my life.
Get rid of clutter
This was a win win step for me. I ridded my life of lots of stuff and made extra money off of it to help with the debt issue. I got rid of tons of stuff! So much that my mom called to ask me if I was planning on selling my house and purchasing a tiny house, which had been a momentary dream of mine. I had lots of things that were cute and that I really like, but they just didn’t go with what I wanted for my house. There were decorations on the wall that I didn’t like but were filling an empty space…I got rid of them and guess what; it didn’t make that much difference in my overall décor. I chunked clothes, towels, dishes, books, and so much more. Now there is less to clean and less to worry about. Every time I open an organized drawer or walk into my neat closet, I just smile.
Get rid of mental clutter
This is a hard one but I decided that I had to let some things go that were clogging up my brain activity. Everything negative had to go. No more worrying. This is one that required a lot of help from God and is a work in progress but with every other step I accomplish, this one gets better and better
Look for the good in everyone
God made everyone and everything. God is good therefore, there is good in everyone. Focusing on that is a life changing habit to develop.
Forgiving others is like giving ourselves a pardon from a jail sentence. Holding on to any bitterness towards others only affects us. Most of the time the other person doesn’t even realize they have wronged us, or that we are mad or hurt. There are too many good things to harbor on ill feelings.
Take responsibility for our actions
This is a serious problem these days. Shoveling blame off on others is done left and right. Taking responsibility for our actions will not only enrich our own lives but the lives of others as well.
Spend more time outside
I have a bad habit of staying inside. I always feel like I have some sort of house work to do and if I don’t, I want to sit down and watch a movie. Going outside is seriously therapeutic. The other day I decided to work in my flower beds and though I almost had a heat stroke, I really enjoyed it and it made me feel good. I hope to continue trying to send more time outside.
Plant a garden
This is also therapeutic and it contributes to saving money and eating healthy. There is something extra special about homegrown fruits and veggies. Planting a flower garden is also a lot of fun and a great stress reliever.
Enjoy the little things
I have to remind myself of this every day. Kids grow fast. We need to enjoy every moment whether it is the messes they make or the activities that they do. There are so many things in this world that have been taken over by the progression of life. We have to stop, remember and enjoy these things. Animals, nature, and children can all have a profound impact on our lives. We need to enjoy them. We went to the lake the other day. We didn’t have a boat. We didn’t have jet skis. All we had was our cheap floaties, a couple of packages of hot dogs and each other. This was the best time I have had in a long time. I wasn’t stressed like I often am on vacations. I just floated in the water and watched the kids.
I may not be planning on raising chickens or sewing our own clothes anytime soon, but these things are definitely doable and will pave the way for the path to making life even better!