The more you think about those reasons, the less you think about simplicity.
It’s time to think less about why not, and more about how to and why you want a simpler life.
The Biggest Obstacles
This is the #1 reason that people get stuck in jobs they don’t like, and situations they would rather avoid. I know this because I spent my 20’s getting into debt and my 30s getting out of it.
Debt sucks! Lean on experts like Dave Ramsey to see the light at the end of the debt tunnel. Getting out of debt was one of the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, but being in debt does not stand in the way of simplicity.
Disability or Illness
Not feeling well makes everything more challenging. It’s can be easy to focus on your limitations instead of your opportunities. We’ve all suffered from a flu or cold and can recognize how that will slow you down.
Some have even more long term disability. The hardest thing to do is ask for help. Sometimes your greatest strength is admitting weakness and I encourage you to let other people help you.
I have worked through 2-3 months of vertigo and fatigue with MS relapses and a full year of harsh drug side effects. Not feeling well may slow you down but it does not stand in the way of simplicity.
Pressure from family/society
If you can let go of wanting to be like anyone else, and dump the need to justify your decisions to friends and family, your life will become radically different, even if nothing else changes.
We all want to be loved, but our differences make us even more lovable. It’s nice to make everyone around you happy all the time, but this is your life. Not everyone will respect your decision to stop watching TV or live a debt free lifestyle, but that pressure from family and society does not stand in the way of simplicity.
Teens and other children
For a long time, and still today, I think my teenager gets in the way of simplicity. In reality, it’s my desire to avoid any major changes in her life. The more I changed, the more I realized how strong she is and how my changes were to her advantage. She doesn’t agree with everything I do, but I’ve yet to meet a teen that thinks her mom is perfect.
Teens and children bring different challenges to the table but they do not stand in the way of simplicity.
Before you start a big project, face change head on or start to work towards a meaningful goal, the easiest and most common first step is to make a sandwich and put step 2 off until tomorrow. There are so many things that can come before the most important thing you need to accomplish. Read The Little Guide to Un-Procrastination and know that procrastination does not stand in the way of simplicity.
I’m busy. You’re busy. The world is busy. How will we find the time to de-clutter and simplify? You will find the time by making it the most important thing you have to do. Remember when you couldn’t find time to exercise, but when you realized that your health depended on it, you found the time. Your health depends on simplifying your life, but figuring out how to find the time to do it does not stand in the way of simplicity.
The ability to focus in on your goal to live a simpler life is next to impossible if you have too much going on. A cluttered mind can be hard to clear, but with practice it can be done. When you focus on the why, instead of the how, when, where, what, you can calm your mind.
When you know why you are doing something and recognize the benefits, things become more clear. Lack of focus and mental clarity will make your journey less linear, but it will not stand in the way of simplicity.
Each of these obstacles were suggested to me on Twitter, and interestingly enough, I have dealt with each at different times in my life. While they are all things that can stand in the way, one person hit the nail on the head when she said, “The only thing standing between me and a simpler life is me”
Yes! It’s true. The only thing standing between you and simplicity is YOU.
Here is a great example of being confused about what is really standing in the way. I used to think that I couldn’t get any work done because people kept calling or emailing me. The actual reason that I couldn’t get any work done is that I made answering email and phone calls more important that doing good work. I was in my own way.
The fact is that simplicity isn’t what we really want. We want the side effects of simplicity like…
- location independence
- world travel
What’s interesting is that the things that we think that simplicity will give us are the some of the same things we think are in the way.
Answer the question, “Why do I want a simpler life?” and write down the answers. Now narrow it down to the top three most important reasons. Those are your WHYS.
Whenever you start thinking things are hard, or that you don’t have the time, or clarity, go back to the WHYS. They will fuel you. They will inspire you. They will change you.
Open the door and get out of the way.
Life did not get complicated overnight, and it won’t become simple overnight, but by simplifying something everyday as you work towards a simpler life, you will build momentum. You will find more time, and space and health and all of the tools you need to pay down your debt, eat cleaner food, spend time with your family, create your dream job, live where you want to live or whatever that WHY is for you.
The only thing standing between you and simplicity is you.