There are so many ways to learn new things, implement new habits and accomplish life changing transformation. My life is completely different from what it was only a few years ago.
I didn’t realize this when I started, but the key to my life overhaul is also the most effective way to accomplish anything.
Focus on one thing at a time.
I ignored this advice for decades because …
- There were so many things I wanted to do and change
- I would get really excited about changing habits and dive right in
- I got discouraged and gave up
- I tried to do too much and burnt out
- I wasn’t ready
I would start several new things and then within 4-6 weeks I was back to my old ways. When I felt inspired to try again, I’d quietly remind myself that I had failed before, and then fail even faster at the next attempt.
The changes I made over the past few years became part of my new normal because they had all of my focus and attention.
I became a vegetarian. I started eating a vegetarian diet to improve my health. Once I started to notice a change in my health, I researched other benefits of becoming a vegetarian. I read about raising animals for meat and factory farming. I learned about the impact of my actions on my body, animals and the earth. By really opening my eyes and heart to how meat was put on my plate, I lost my appetite for it. I was motivated by health and changed with compassion.
I got rid of my stuff. While I always felt compelled to put something on an empty surface, or buy something new, I have come to love empty spaces. It takes living without it to realize how clutter affects your life and takes away from your freedom and creativity. I started with clutter-free countertops, and eventually downsized from more than 2000 sq ft to 750. I’ve discovered that the less you own, the less that owns you.
I decided to live without debt. From the time I was 18 years old, I owed someone something. I thought I would always have a student loan, car payment and credit card bills. My husband and I paid off all of our consumer debt and last May we sold our house and became completely debt free. What will we do with our money now that we don’t have any monthly payments? Whatever we want.
While those were the biggest changes, I also quit my job to do work I love, sold my car, and created a dedicated yoga practice. Nothing happened over night, but each change supported the next and gave me the confidence and patience to focus on one thing at time.
The heart of each of these changes is simplicity.
The common thread and heart of my changes has been simplicity. Living with less has allowed me to be happier, healthier and more engaged in everything I do, but the changes only took hold when I gave them the attention they deserved. These might not be the exact changes you want to make in your life, but perhaps we have a few things in common.
I recently got together with a few of my friends and wonderful simplicity authors to create a way that you can focus on living a simpler life for an entire year. We designed simpleyear.co to give you permission to stay focused on one thing at a time and connect with people who can support your journey and make the process meaningful and enjoyable.
Each month you can focus on a new area of simplicity working with one of the simple living enthusiasts mentioned below. Here is a quick list of the topics, but please visit simpleyear.co to learn more.
- January: Clutter with Joshua Becker
- February: Busyness with Courtney Carver
- March: Travel with Colin Wright
- April: Kitchen with Jules Clancy
- May: Digital with Tammy Strobel
- June: Work with Courtney Carver
- July: Money with Joshua Becker
- August: Stay Simple with Brooke McAlaray
- September: Challenge with The Minimalists
- October: Food with Jules Clancy
- November: Relationships with Tammy Strobel
- December: Holidays with The Minimalists
Visit simpleyear.co to learn more about each contributor and the monthly topics.
I resisted change for so long because I wanted to do everything all at once (or nothing at all), but now my life is so different and so much better. If I can do it, so can you.
Is 2014 the year that changes everything?