The Little Guide to Getting Simple

Accomplishing goals and making new habits stick is not as easy as knowing what to do. We all know what steps to take to lose weight. Move more. Eat Less. That’s it.

If it’s really that simple, why is it so challenging?

What about living simply? We know what it takes, but the complicated parts of our life muck things up. This might sound obvious, but it needs to be said. A busy life complicates simplicity.

For instance, I would like to live simply in a tiny house on the beach. Because of the way I’ve lived my life up until now, I live in a bigger house that is more than 700 miles away from the ocean. This is not a complaint. It’s a fact. Maybe life circumstances have you living something other than your dream life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started.

I am not waiting until I’m in my tiny house with a tiny life to live more simply. I’m starting with this…

The Little Guide to Getting Simple


Instead of bolting out of bed when your alarm goes off, or hitting the snooze button, breathe mindfully. Lay in bed and take a few deep breaths before rising. (30 Seconds)


On waking, replace moving directly to the shower or coffee machine with a simple stretch. Take a deep breath. Reach your hands to the sky and look up, then slowly reach down and touch your toes or knees. Repeat. (60 Seconds)


Start your day with a glass of room temperature water. (30 Seconds)


Do nothing. (10 minutes)


Write. Draw. Sing. Dance. (10 minutes)


Call a friend. Skpe your sister. Reach out to someone that you love. (10 minutes)

These 32 minutes could change your life. This little guide will not make the complex stuff go away, but it will give you the clarity you need to manage it more effectively. You’ll notice a calmer response to stressful situations, and a clearer vision of your simple life.

You can do this. Even if you have a full time job. Even if you have children. Even if you have pets. Even if your life is complicated. Don’t let one more excuse of busyness get in the way of getting started.

How will you find 32 more minutes in the day to add in these healthy habits?

The even littler guide to finding 32 minutes

  • Wake up 6 minutes earlier.
  • Watch 10 minutes less of TV, Hulu or Netflix.
  • Cut 10 minutes of Twitter or Facebook time.
  • Go to bed 6 minutes later.


    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Bernice. So often we get caught up in the “I’ll do that when….” but the perfect time to start is right now.

  1. says

    Awesome suggestions, Courtney! Even this short guide to simplicity is simple…love it. Going to add the ones I don’t do to my morning routine. In addition to these, I add 20 minutes of reading and prayer.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. says

    These are simple, effective tips Courtney. I’m not good about starting the day mindfully. I have an eighteen month old that’s usually demanding my attention before I’m ready to wake up. What I do instead, is make time before I go to bed to breath, meditate and regroup. This really works for me.

  3. says

    I like it! The concept of the post sounds like a book title – “Simplify Your Life In 32 Minutes A Day”. :)

    By the way, on your list, I think you mean “go to bed 6 minutes later”, not earlier….?

    Great post!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Robert – Yes, 6 minutes later. Thanks for catching that. 😉

      Hmmm…I’d start working on that book, but am still wrapping my first!

  4. says

    Hi Courtney,

    I just love it! You say all the things i want say but i never seem to have the words to say them.

    First thing in the morning i need to take a bathroom break :)

    Then I salute the sun

    Spend time with God


    Shower and dress

    Eat a good breakfast

    Take a walk

    In an ideal world it takes me about one and a half hours. However sometimes I have other places to be and things get missed or i end spending less time then i would like too. Or sometimes i have to go to work at 6am and then i do only what i have too. But that’s life, its my life.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Bev, You can always spread things out through the day too. Give yourself permission to take a break!

    • jill says

      Thanks Courtney, this is Great! @Bev Smith ~ Oh I like “spend time with God”. I always think “meditate” and I get restless, but if I look at it as spending time with God, I think it would be much easier, more interesting, and purposeful. Thanks!

  5. says

    The word “Stress” actually relates to wear and tear as when the rubber meets the road on a tire or the brake pads pressing up against the rotor in the wheel. The term as it applies to living organisms was first introduced by Hans Seyle in the 1930’s who defined it as the consequence of the failure of an organism (human or animal) to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats, whether actual or imagined. Thus stress symptoms are the manifestation of a chronic state of responses to stress triggers that are actually benign. Even a thought can set off the same response mechanism that would be in play while standing in front of a hungry lion. Hence, Seyle’s definition still reaches to the heart of stress management; the idea of the response being inappropriate and engaging in a process of altering ones misperception of pending disaster or imminent danger.

  6. says

    Love the beautiful simplicity of this post, I’ll be adding in the things I haven’t been doing! Mahalo for sharing!

  7. says

    What a beautiful reminder as the season of Lent begins! I chose to give up social networking (fb) this year, and I can’t wait to add this to my 40 days. I’ll be sharing this will all of my friends.

    Thanks for another practical, useful, and insightful post :)

    In Christ,
    Anne Marie

  8. Jen says

    Thank you for *giving me permission* to breathe and rest.

    Sometimes, that’s all it takes: someone whom you really admire tells you that you should do something, and then it’s easy to do it. I have always known that I need to slow down and generally take care of my body and mind like I know I should. Since you have now said to do it, I believe I will! :)

    • Courtney Carver says

      Jen – It’s been two weeks since you left this comment. Are you breathing and resting. I gave you permission but the rest is up to you!

  9. says

    Simple enough to do every day. I like it…

    And by the way, thanks for introducing me to OmmWriter. It has helped me tap into my inner self.

  10. says

    I love it! I’ve been working hard (gosh that’s ridiculous) to gain more balance in my life and this post just SPEAKS to me. I wish I had a printer because I’d print it out and hang it on the wall next to my computer. Breathe, stretch, drink water, rest, create and love. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

  11. patti says

    i simply love how you have broken this down!
    i am going to replace that first coffee with a big glass of water instead.

  12. says

    Breathe! I love that you’ve put that at the top of your list. That is the single most beneficial step I have taken to simplify and create a fulfilling life. Only when we take the time to breathe can we appreciate the space in our lives.

    Thank you for this post.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Jason, I think paying attention to our breath naturally slows us down and mindfulness that comes from that adds clarity and momentum to everything we do.

  13. Nin says

    I am the type of person who usually wakes up and just bolts out of bed. I don’t have kids I need to run after or anything – it’s just habitual. But it’s not a good habit. For the last month or so I have been very gently going to bed and rising from bed. When I wake up now I just lay there relaxing for a little while (a few minutes) and then I write down what I have dreamed (I do dream interpretation). I start my day by listening to enya and just relaxing and properly waking up before actually rising from bed. I used to drink so much coffee every day (I don’t even know how many cups a day – from age 15 until adulthood!) and after cutting the caffeine and rising and resting slowly I am so much more calm and energetic all at once. I need to get better at breathing though – I will definitely try! Thanks for another great post :)