If simplifying your life feels like an endless cycle of post holiday decluttering, spring cleaning, and trying to keep your closet under control every season, it may be that your heart is not really in the game. I’m not passing judgement or trying to insult you. In fact, I know what you are going through.
While decluttering, reducing obligations, paying down debt, and simplifying your wardrobe are all part of simplifying your life, those are just the mechanics.
Likewise, if you want to lose weight, eating less and moving more are just small steps towards a bigger lifestyle change.
So why do we have to keep starting over?
Why do we take one step forward and two steps back? A little of that is part of the learning process, and part of leaning into change, but on a bigger scale, if you don’t know why you want to change, or if your reasons for change don’t resonate with your heart, you’ll repeat the change over and over again without sustainable results.
I know this, because I’ve done it. I spent years attempting to make healthy lifestyle changes. I wanted to eat less, exercise more, spend less, and save more, but my reasons were all superficial and my heart said, “I don’t believe you.”
After being diagnosed with MS in 2006 after months of debilitating vertigo and fatigue, and learning how stress impacts the disease, and all disease, my heart was paying attention. I decided to eliminate as much stress as possible from my life to rescue myself from a downward slide and change the course of my disease. As I mentioned, I had tried to make healthy lifestyle changes over the years, tried hundreds of times, but without this compelling reason to change, I never did.
If your heart isn’t in the game, permanent change doesn’t stand a chance. Really understand your motivation to change. What’s pulling on your heart? For instance, quitting sugar to lose 10 pounds to fit into your high school jeans for a reunion may get your ego’s attention, but it might not really speak to your heart, but if you think quitting sugar will help you sleep better, prevent cancer, and live longer … now it’s a matter of the heart.
You already have a compelling reason to simplify your life.
The good news is, you don’t have to wait for a life changing diagnosis or a major wake-up call. I had many reasons to change before things started to fall apart, but I used my busyness as an excuse. I didn’t have time to pay attention to what was going on in my own life and heart. I could have made time, but it wasn’t a priority, and I was scared to acknowledge it because once I did, I knew I’d have to make a change.
Change is scary, but looking back over the past 10 years, I’m so grateful I did it anyway. The more stress I released, the more time and space I created. Finally, there was room for more love; self-love, how I love my family, creating work I love … all the love. Each change I made to simplify my life demonstrated that less stuff = more love.
I can’t tell you what your reasons are, but I do know once you identify them, vocalize them, and write them down, you will never look back. Once simplifying your life becomes a matter of the heart, the universe will conspire to support and help you. You will connect with like-minded people, and find the strength you need to let go of the clutter, the busyness, and all of the other things standing between you and what matters most.