Sometimes making positive lifestyle or habit changes can bring out the worst in us. It starts out with joy and excitement about something new, and then as we settle in, our busy minds take over and try to sabotage our efforts. Sometimes external things like well-meaning grandparents going overboard with gifts, money emergencies, or other life situations get in the way, but usually the sabotage starts with us.
While these aren’t the 7 deadly sins, they are deadly sins that could slow down or halt your efforts to move towards a simpler, happier, more fulfilling life. Avoid these 7 deadly sins while simplifying your life or making any positive lifestyle or habit change.
When you compare your efforts to others, especially others who are years into the process, you discount the progress you’ve made and the benefits you are experiencing. Stay present and keep your eyes on your own stuff.
Use other people’s experiences as inspiration, but create your own adventure when it comes to simplifying your life, because after all … it’s your life. If you are looking for a fun experiment to help you engage in simplicity, try one of these.
It might take 3 years to pay off your debt, or 10 months to simplify your wardrobe. You didn’t complicate your life overnight, and you probably won’t simplify it overnight. When you feel impatient and frustrated that things aren’t happening faster, focus on the benefits you are experiencing right now.
For instance, if you are paying down debt, but not even close to finishing, perhaps you are sleeping better because you know you aren’t going deeper into debt. Or, if you’ve started decluttering, think about how you feel in the most decluttered space in your home. Use that feeling as momentum to declutter the next space.
Letting go of stuff and obligations can stir up guilt. You might feel guilty for letting things build up, for not paying attention to what really matters, or for overspending. It’s time to let the guilt go with the stuff.
You’ve paid enough. You paid with your money, your time and attention, and with your heart and these guilty feelings. You can let go now. If you struggle with letting go of guilt, try this three step process.
There is no one right way to do this simplicity thing, but if your focus is on doing it perfectly, chances are you won’t do it at all. Give yourself permission to figure things out along the way.
I can think of many times I didn’t try something because I was afraid I couldn’t do it, or because I was afraid I wouldn’t do it the right, or best way. Usually though, I was just afraid it would be ugly. When I say ugly, I mean challenging to figure out, or uncomfortable and imperfect.
Now, I try things even if I don’t know how, or don’t know if they will work. I turn things upside down, burn them down, build them back up, recreate, reinvent, rewrite, and stumble through until my ugly idea turns into a butterfly.
Perfection doesn’t encourage you, it derails you. There is no room for it in your simple life.
If you are excited about simplifying your life, it’s natural to want everyone around you to be excited too. Instead of focusing on simplifying your own life, it’s easier to focus on getting everyone on board. Instead of nagging and begging and pushing your agenda on others, be an inspiration by walking the walk.
Freeing up space and time in your life can feel uncomfortable. You may feel compelled to fill the emptiness of a decluttered room in your home with more stuff, or an empty calendar with appointments and commitments to avoid the discomfort.
Instead, fill your newfound time and space with things that really matter to you. If you don’t know what that is yet, fill your time and space with curiosity, self-reflection, and love.
Living in fear of what others may think of you, struggling with the fear of not having enough or being fearful of needing something just in case thwart your efforts to let go and live more simply.
When we live in fear and scarcity, we forget to live.
The next time you feel fearful, switch gears and choose something else. Author, Elizabeth Gilbert says, choose curiosity over fear.
You may also …
- choose gratitude over fear
- choose action over fear
- choose delight over fear
- choose love over fear
If any of these 7 deadly sins have gotten in your way, or tripped you up as you attempt to simplify your life, that’s ok. I’ve struggled with each of them at one time or another, and I’m sure I will again. I’ll do my best to avoid them, but even more importantly, I will notice them instead of getting carried away by them.