I didn’t simplify my life overnight. My transformation from overworked, under-inspired, sick and tired to debt-free, clutter-free, low stress, healthy and happy wasn’t quick, sexy or glamorous. There were days I wanted to toss everything in a dumpster, quit my job and run away from stress, debt, clutter, and the messy stuff but I didn’t.
Instead, I turned things around one slow change at a time. Some changes took a few days and others took years. With each change, I felt a little lighter and more motivated to keep going. Consistency was more important than intensity. Instead of overnight or fast and furious, my simplicity has happened inch-by-inch, thing-by-thing, dollar-by-dollar, one day at a time.
The benefits of simplicity one day at a time …
While not sexy or glamorous, there are benefits to simplicity one day at a time. Because the change has time to become a habit, it lasts. Here are a few other benefits:
I started simplifying in response to a devastating diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. When I found out stress exacerbates MS symptoms, I realized how stress negatively impacts other physical, mental, and emotional health conditions too. From a simple headache to something more serious like an anxiety disorder, stress makes things worse. Making change to reduce stress in a way that caused more stress to me and my family didn’t make sense. A slower, more thoughtful approach took longer but felt better. Gentle change isn’t stressful.
When we try to change things quickly, we don’t allow for how things may unfold in life. Slower change leaves room for more flexibility, with less focus on the final outcome and more joy along the way. We can shift as we learn more about ourselves and the changes we are making when we take our time.
Fast and furious change doesn’t give us a chance to fully appreciate why we want to change in the first place. We often slide back to our old ways when we approach change with a lack of purpose. Instead of being curious about how to approach things differently, it’s easier to beat ourselves up and regret our failed attempt to change.
With a more deliberate approach and a meaningful reason to change, we can continually remind ourselves why we are dedicated to something new and different even when things get tough.
Simplifying shouldn’t cause fear of suffering and sacrifice. I’m not interested in comparing or competing for the life I want to live. The changes we make should add joy, love, and happiness to our lives. It’s up to us to approach change in a way that encourages joy, love and happiness. We don’t have to wait until we change and fix everything to enjoy the goodness. Finding ways to appreciate the good stuff now will ensure even more positive change in the future.