New years is, hands down, my favorite time of the year.
I love getting to start over with a clean slate. I can set aside all the mistakes I made the previous year and focus on the endless possibilities that lie before me. That's exciting!
New Years are full of dreams just waiting to come true!
As much as I love looking forward and making plans, I also enjoy spending time at the end of the year reflecting. I think about all the things that I experienced during the year, what I did well, what I could have done better...
I think about it all.
A few years ago, around this time, I resolved to live a simpler life. I worked hard during the year to de-clutter and make my physical surrounding match the live I wanted to live. It was a big life change. But a good one.
But even though removing clutter helped tremendously, I still found myself frazzled and stressed and overwhelmed. And that's because I didn't have the right habits.
Life still got messy. And the clutter, both physical and mental, crept back in.
When I feel stressed and life has me down, I get stuck in a rut. One of those I don't want to do anything kind of deals. I don't clean, I don't exercise, I don't do anything but eat pints of ice-cream for dinner.
Solid life choices happening over here. Clearly.
I was able to stay true to my intention of living more simply, but it wasn't easy. The clutter and overwhelm kept coming back. It took some time (way too much), but I finally realized it was because I didn't have the right habits.
Minimalism is a lifestyle. Just getting rid of the clutter doesn't magically fix things.
This coming year, let's resolve to change our habits and cut down on the overwhelm. Here are a few resolution ideas to help you live more simply and instill good habits.
Don't try to do everything all at once.
I know, I know, that sounds super obvious. But you'd be surprised how many of us forget that. I'm guilty of it, too!
Multitasking isn't efficient. All it does is help you get more things half done. And typically, they're not even done well.
It's OK to do one thing at a time.
When you focus on just one thing, you'll find that you get it done faster, and better. And you'll feel more accomplished when you're able to check so many things off your to-do list.
Doing just one thing at a time also helps to keep your mind clear.
If something else pops into your head that you need to do? Write it down and tell yourself I don't need to think about that right now. Once this becomes a habit, you'll be less frazzled about the housework and all around more relaxed.
This is a big part of living simply. One day at a time, one thing at a time.
Learn to say NO
This one is so important!
Over the years I have gotten really good at telling people no. And it has improved my life so much.
Not that you shouldn't ever say yes to things, but you want to make sure you're being intentional about what you spend your time doing. And you always want to remember that your needs and feelings matter, too.
As an introvert, this is a really important lesson to learn. Being busy is exhausting. My people energy runs out fast.
I love spending time with friends and family, but I still need to make sure that I'm getting the down time I need. Don't burn yourself out trying to make the people around you happy.
Take time to evaluated what time commitments add value to your life. Are those things getting you closer to the life you want to be living? If so, keep those! But if you keep finding yourself with a schedule full of things that cause you stress and anxiety, you may need to start saying no a little more often.
It's OK to say no!
Be realistic with yourself about how much you can take on without wanting to pull your hair out. It is OK to say no to something that is going to cause you stress. Your friends will understand.
Wake up earlier
Woah, woah, woah. OK, I know you're thinking I've lost my mind.
I'm not a morning person either. Waking up is hard. And I need considerable amounts of coffee to be a fully-functioning adult.
But the earlier you wake up, the more time you have for consuming coffee.
(Think of how much coffee!!)
We all know mornings can be kinda crazy. When your house is cold and you barely have enough time to shower and throw clothes on before running out the door....
That's not a good way to start the day.
I lived those mornings for a long time. The real problem is, while sleep is so wonderful, having rushed and stressful mornings lead to having rushed and stressful days.
You don't recover. You stay stressed the rest of the day and it leaves you exhausted by the time you get home.
Your morning sets the tone for the entire rest of the day.
Surprisingly though, when I started getting up a bit earlier, my outlook on mornings changed completely. Now I have time to do yoga, shower while my coffee brews, and then I am able to sit with my coffee, do some reading, have breakfast, and basically just putz around my house getting ready for work before I leave 5 minutes early.
It's very relaxing.
Getting up a bit earlier allows you the time to create a relaxing morning routine. My morning routine has become an essential part of my day. If I miss it, I'm a disaster.
Establish an evening routine
Believe it or not, but this is the key to having a relaxing morning.
What you do in the evening is either setting you up for success or failure the next day.
Ok, maybe failure is a harsh word. More like, setting you up to be mildly frazzled? Is that better?
You evening routine doesn't need to be anything elaborate. It can be something as simple as tidying the house before bed, setting out your work clothes, making sure all your work items are by the door, and/or prep breakfast or lunches for the next day.
Whatever you decide to include in your evening routine, it should be setting yourself up for an easy morning the next day. You'll be surprised what a huge difference it makes.
But you don't need to make your evening routine all about chores.
Do something relaxing that is going to prepare you for a good nights rest. Read a book, have some tea, take a bath... Put some self-care into your evening!
Turn off your phone
Don't freak out! I don't mean for the whole year.
What this resolution really means is to put your phone down, turn off the computer, and allow your focus to be on where you are.
It is good to occasionally disconnect and be more present.
Spending more time away from my phone has been a huge blessing in my life. And it frees up so much more time than I thought it would!
I turned off all but a few notifications and established "quiet hours" for my phone. No more notifications jolting me back awake 10 minutes after I've gone to bed. No more constant notifications distracting me from whatever I'm doing.
It has been wonderful. I highly encourage you to do the same.
You guys, this is a game-changer!
I wasn't a believer in meditation until I tried. I was very skeptical and thought how much can this really help me?
But then I tried it. Meditation has become something I look forward to every day. It is almost unbelievable how refreshing it is and how much it keeps me grounded.
Meditation comes in many forms. It can be quiet time, yoga, centering yourself, reciting mantras, or focusing on your blessings. You need to do what works for you.
One thing to remember is that you don't need to clear your mind. When we start thinking that mediation means we can't think about anything, that's when we get frustrated with ourselves and stop trying.
Let your mind wander.
The point is to be present.
So take some time for meditation and reflection this year. Even if it's just spending time looking in the mirror telling your self good things, make time to do that. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes.
Doing a brain dump is my favorite way to clear out some headspace.
Every morning, or every evening (or both!), grab your journal or a piece of paper, and write down everything on your mind.
And I mean EVERYTHING.
It might be things to do, random ideas, worries, things you'd like to eat, coffee you want to try.... Write down everything in your head.
That's it! (kinda)
Now that it's all written out, you can start dealing with those thoughts.
Put the action items on a to-do list, pray about the worries, and save the random ideas for later.
But the idea is, once it's all written down, it's not in your brain anymore. If you brain dump in the evening, you'll sleep better. Or if you brain dump in the morning, it will allow you a clearer mind to be able to focus on one thing at a time.
Resolve to Live Simply
Living simply isn't necessarily easy. But few things worth doing are.
I hope you'll join me in putting these resolutions into practice this year and move towards living a simpler life.
Small actions can have a big impact.
Start small, pick one or two things, and add more throughout the year. Don't overwhelm yourself trying to make too many changes at once. That's kinda the opposite of what we're trying to do here.
What are your resolutions for this year? What dreams are you chasing after? Let us know in the comments so we can encourage each other toward our goals!
The Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism ebook
This 70+ page ebook walks you step by step through decluttering your home and life and how to live as a minimalist!