There are so many benefits of living a simpler life, but even when we know what they are, there usually has to be a good reason and immediate need to change. While life is humming along, it feels easier to do what you’ve been doing unless you recognize that something is clearly broken.
I can say from personal experience that sometimes things have to get really broken before you notice. When you are overwhelmed with the stress and crazy of the day-to-day, the most important things seem to slip through your fingers.
Fixing what’s necessary and even urgent can seem impossible when you are busy trying to hold everything else together.
1. You are broke.
When, as Dave Ramsey likes to say, “there is more month at the end of the money” and you are struggling to make ends meet, it feels impossible to get to the other side. After struggling with debt, and living beyond my means for years, I finally decided to crawl out. The credit cards got chopped, store accounts closed, and our family cut most unnecessary expenses until it was all paid off. We paid the student loans, car loans, credit card debt and finally, a first and second mortgage when we sold our home last year.
I thought it would be a tremendous sacrifice to pull back and put any extra money towards debt, but it was actually a great relief. It gave me time to see that I could be just as happy, happier even, without buying a new pair of shoes or trying to lift my spirits at the mall.
How to start simplifying your finances:
The easiest way to stay stuck in debt, and stress from money worries is to stop talking about it. Ignoring your money mess is complicated and it affects your health, happiness and relationships. Talk about it with your family or tell the world like Marianne.
Your finances may be a mess but that doesn’t mean you deserve to suffer or feel guilty. Instead of working so hard to make ends meet, work on having fewer ends.
2. You are sick.
Nothing complicates life more than poor health and everything is harder to deal with when you don’t feel well. Life becomes a big complicated, vicious circle if you don’t put your health first. If you aren’t used to putting yourself first, this will be a big step but the people you love and take care of deserve the best, healthiest version of you.
How to start simplifying your health:
Get honest. Make a list what you eat and drink for a week. Track your exercise. How do you medicate? Prescription drugs, over the counter, over the bar, from the refrigerator? Write it down.
Make an appointment for a physical with a doctor you trust. Bring in your lists. If you don’t like your doctor, get a new one. Eat food that lifts you up more than the food that drags you down. Make your health a priority and become your own healthy living advocate. Fight for good healthcare and time to take care of yourself.
3. You are tired.
If all you want to do at the end of the day is fall into bed, that makes getting up and doing it all over again the next day less than appealing and certainly doesn’t contribute to health, happiness or overall quality of life. When you are tired, you are uninspired, and unmotivated. Everything is harder to get through.
How to simplify and get your energy back:
Get honest. Identify why you are tired. Trying to do it all? Are you working too much? Unhappy with your work or relationships? Unhealthy? What is dragging you down? Ask for help. You can’t do it all and even your valiant attempt is exhausting.
Say no. Back off. Take a nap. Reclaim your energy.
None of these issues are remedied over night. None of them are easy to fix. Some of them can even make simplicity feel complicated for a while. Even with all of that, you will feel relief and gratitude after the very first tiny step.
The rewards you claim when you simplify your life will be worth every credit card you pay off, every box of clutter your donate, each dinner out, vacation, and new thing from the mall that you resist. It will be worth every raised eyebrow that comes your way when you say no to things you cannot afford, or when you try a new, healthier way to eat.
I’ve experienced broke, sick and tired and I’m happy to report that there is a better way. When you put a stop to
- over spending
- constantly comparing
- excessive busyness
- proving yourself
- ignoring your body
- exhausting your mind
… you can find energy, save more, feel better, and be more with less.
You don’t have to change everything all at once, and I don’t recommend it. Instead, choose one thing and let the momentum from that change fuel your confidence and inspire the next step.
Simplicity doesn’t promise a perfect life, but it does help you define what happiness means in your life, how much you really need to achieve that happiness, and what you need to eliminate to maintain it.