3 Dire Reasons to Simplify Your Life

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.

3 Dire Reasons to Simplify Your Life

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:

Get honest. Simplify your finances by making a list of all the money that is going out and coming in. Host a simplicity summit. Read and implement The Total Money Makeover. It works.

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.


  1. says

    I only made it to tired and sick, Courtney :) And then it still took me awhile to begin simplifying. We humans are fascinating aren’t we? I hope our stories can save others from having to take it so far. I hope they can enjoy the beauty of a simple life before they get tired, broke, or sick. If not, at least they might be able to start a little sooner.

  2. Courtney Carver says

    We are fascinating Sandra! (and sometimes stubborn) 😉 I hope it helps too. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Lilith Z says

      I am a new minimalist.
      I read almost all your posts,and I like it.
      There is a big problem confused me recently,if i wanne be a minimalist,and life in this way,how can I earn enough money?
      I have a job,but I think it’s meaningless.

      • Courtney Carver says

        Hi Lillith, I think the first step is to realize that you do have options and can consider other types of work. Make the most of the job you have now while you figure out what you’d really like to do and what it will take to make that happen.

  3. Rose Cole says

    Dear Courtney, I found this website last August a few days after coming home from the hospital with a stroke. I was a 54 year old Critical Care Nurse who was absolutely fried; burned out to the core and I realized that if I did not get off the hamster wheel I was going to die! I had been slowly moving toward the idea of a simpler life but was being held back by the mindset of living to work instead of working to live. I decided to change all that one minute, one hour, one day at a time. It was very therapeutic to go through my house and closets and get rid of the very things that no longer mattered to me. I decided to stand firm and take a step back and just stop spending money and living a simpler life. Now I am back at work as a RN but on my terms. I am working on an as – needed basis and have the option to work more or less to suit my needs. I now have time to take my yoga practice off the back burner. I have time to get out and enjoy nature. I have time to cook nutritious meals at home and take care of my self. I have time to actually read a book.
    I am here to tell everyone not to wait until you have a major health crisis. Life is too fleeting and short. I have spent the last 35 years not even knowing on some days what the weather is like out side or gobbling my lunch standing up at the nurses desk. It finally caught up with me. It is so not worth it. Am I having to live on less money now? Yes, I am but the benefits way out weigh the need to have more, spend more, buy more and that, in the end, is what matters.

    • Pam says


      Thanks for your reply to Courtney’s terrific post. I guess I was lucky, with just a TIA (“mini stroke”) that lasted all of 5 minutes, a week ago today. But I am living like you did, and I cannot do that anymore, if I want to have a life. My mother said many times that the “wake up call” starts out quietly, but can turn into a sledgehammer if one fails to listen. So scary!

      Courtney, your blog is already helpful, although I just found it today. I do not know how to simplify, or how much. I just know I need to do so. This afternoon, I decluttered my dresser, pulling some jewelry I never wear to give away or sell. It’s a start.


  4. Randi says

    Oh my gosh Courtney, I was so glad to read this last night!!! After an exhausting & stressful day from fast paced demands from kids, family members, house chores & the daily grind, I was Wiped Out!! But was very comforted by reading this post & seeing that I am not alone. I came back to reread this post again & I am now going to have a much different day than yesterday. Today is going to be a much slower day for me & that will require me to saying No to several things but I see from you & others here that that is what is required for us to live better lives. THANKS SO MUCH to you, your blog & all the others who comment & tell their experiences here. I am forever grateful : )

  5. says

    I made it to one. and stopped right there. Intuition told me what would follow. I might not have a full-time job or a car, but I do have my garden, my life and the ability to travel when the opportunity sees that it fits. Priorities are where you place them…

  6. Paula says

    As usual, very inspiring! I am glad to report that since i’ve started reading your blog about 2-3 years ago now… wow, time does fly! I’ve become a better person, healthier, happier and I have been putting myself first, my health, my overall well being before any demanding job/boss I can have, any stressful or unhealthy relationship I have to deal with or the busiest day I could come across.
    I choose eating healthy, working out and keeping calm before anything else.
    Thanks, Courtney!