Wouldn’t it be great if genies were real and you could wish for a simpler life? As unfortunate as it is that mythical creatures don’t exist, you can learn to cultivate a more simple life on your own. The key to doing so lies in taking a deep breath, and thinking about the little choices you make every day.
1. Turn off your cell phone
If you’re constantly looking down at your phone, life is passing you by without you even realizing it. Use your cell phone only when absolutely necessary, and at other times put it away so you can engage with friends and family and be in the moment. You know those people you see out to dinner with a spouse constantly looking down at their phone to check their latest fantasy football stats? Don’t be one of them.
2. Savor the simple things
Waking up to puppy-dog kisses, taking a walk outside on a sunny day and enjoying a really good cup of coffee. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference in your day. Don’t let them slip away without acknowledging them. Savor and delight in the simple things, soaking up all the happiness they bring you.
3. Slow down and unwind
We live in a fast-paced world that is all about instant feedback and gratification. Take time to escape the rat race by slowing down and unwinding at some point during the day. Sit outside on the porch to read the paper and drink your morning coffee for a nice, peaceful start to your day. If you need to unwind at the end of a long day, pop in a yoga DVD to do when you get home. Figure out what makes you feel most relaxed, and find a way to make it a part of your daily routine.
4. Focus on things you’re passionate about
The wise Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” If you’re doing something you aren’t totally enthused about, you might want to rethink its role in your life. Obviously, there are certain things you have to do out of necessity, but beyond that, if it’s not necessary and it’s draining to you, cut it out of your life.
5. Cut back on your social media time
Don’t waste time on social media when you could be spending that time having face-to-face conversations with people who matter to you. Spending excessive amounts of time on social media is like bingeing on junk food. It feels good at the time, but you’ll probably just end up regretting it later. In fact, according to this infographic, 43 percent of teens express a desire to disconnect at times.
6. Have a sense of humor and laugh off mistakes
If you’re human, you’re going to make mistakes. It’s part of the deal. Rather than agonize over them, laugh them off and learn from them. Life’s too short to take yourself too seriously.
7. Simplify your wardrobe
If you have a closet full of clothes (and I am guilty as charged), you can save time and simplify your life by simplifying your wardrobe. Keep the basics that you need and donate the rest. You’ll save yourself time in the morning when your wardrobe options have been cut in half.
8. Simplify your meals
Don’t feel like you have to be Rachel Ray in the kitchen every night. Look at the ingredients you already have on hand, and tap into your creativity to come up with a dish based on what you’ve got. Plan ahead and shop for meals a week at a time. On Sundays, map out what you want to have each night of the week, and shop for everything at once so you don’t have to make multiple runs to the store during the week.
9. Communicate within designated parameters
Now that we have cell phones, email, Facebook messaging, Twitter, Skype and a variety of other communication means at our disposal, it’s important to be intentional about how much time you spend communicating. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes twice a day to deal with emails, and leave it at that. Don’t get suckered into the time-wasting trap of checking your inbox every 20 minutes.
10. Don’t be afraid to say no
If someone asks you to do something and you’re dreading the thought of completing the task, don’t be afraid to say no. Being upfront is much better than committing and having to back out later, and if you word it nicely, the other person will probably understand. Besides, standing up for yourself is nothing to cower away from. Don’t buy into the idea that you have to do everything.
Simplifying your life isn’t rocket science; it’s actually quite simple. Put these 10 principles into practice today, and the simpler life you’ve been dreaming of can be yours.
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