A handful of months ago my life was like a high speed train, plowing ahead at full power, tearing past everything and everyone in its path.
Over the course of many years I'd dedicated myself to mastering and perfecting the art of being everything for everyone....the one who could be counted on to "do it all."
Because of many deeply-rooted insecurities and misbeliefs (that I won't take the time to dive into right now) I was living as if my sole purpose in this world was to keep other people happy and be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, etc.
After years of trying to live up to my own "superhero" standards, and desperately fearing what would happen if I let any of the balls I was trying to keep in the air fall....I fell.
A high-speed train can only sustain its high speed for so long before it's time to hit the breaks or a crash inevitably happens because the track runs out.
Just a handful of months ago, I was that high-speed train and after passing right by countless opportunities to hit the breaks, I crashed.
When Simplifying is Your Only Option
Have you ever felt like I did after all those years of pushing and striving? Spread too thin while feeling overwhelmed and overworked trying to keep up with everything?
What I realized when I reached my breaking point was that I had two options:
1. To stay on the same self-destructive path I'd been on and allow my life to fall apart from the inside out, or...
2. To simplify every area of my life by saying yes to the non-negotiable essentials and no to everything else.
For many of you, your story may not be quite so dramatic. Perhaps you've just been feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to keep up with the the family schedule, the laundry, the dishes, the meals, the bills and the millions of other things vying your your attention, without totally losing your mind (or developing a bad drinking habit!)
Others of you may relate deeply with the raw realities of where I let my life get because you've walked in the very same shoes.
No matter where you are, I believe that choosing to embrace purposeful simplicity and essentialism is the best thing you could possibly do to improve quite literally every aspect of your life.
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Embracing Simplicity Begins in Your Mind
As with most lifestyle changes, mindset is everything. When it comes to doing the disciplined work of simplifying your life, it isn't enough to just take a bandaid approach.
Throwing out a few piles of papers or getting rid of some of your kids toys may help you breathe a little easier in the short term....but what happens when those paper piles inevitably show back up again, or your child's next birthday rolls around, bringing with it a wave of new kid clutter?
If you haven't done the work of rewiring the way you think about your life, your long-term actions aren't very likely to maintain the work you've done externally.
Simplifying your life has to start with identifying the benefits of simplicity and essentialism, and believing that those benefits are possible (and worth it!) for you.
How to Cultivate a Mindset of Simplicity
Honestly, I think cultivating a mindset of simplicity is pretty straightforward: all you have to do is show up every day ready to practice actively simplifying every area of your life.
It probably won't feel very natural at first....we're used to overcomplicating most things in life because we get caught up in doing, being and having everything.
But if you stay humble and gracious with yourself while looking for ways to simplify the way you're doing life, every day you'll get better and better, and before you know it you'll wake up one day and realize you've become an entirely different person.
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Why Simplicity Wins Every Time
When simplicity is your aim in all you do, life becomes easier, more seamless, and less stressful.
You’re able to more quickly and effectively make decisions because you you’re focused on the essentials that matter most to you.
Simplicity is about tuning into what really matters, and letting go of everything else. It’s about creating space, time and energy for what really matters in life.
Choosing to embrace simplicity is truly an entirely new way of seeing and doing everything, and it will lead you to do, be, and have less...leaving room for the kind of more you've been craving.
In one of my all-time favorite books, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown shares, "It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter. "
Where to Go From Here
If you're ready to start cultivating a mindset of simplicity and proactively simplifying your life to make room for what matters most, I highly recommend you download my free Simplified Living Starter Kit by clicking the button below.
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This workbook and resource guide will help you get started on your simplifying journey (without getting completely overwhelmed!)
As you go throughout your day, tune into a podcast, take a few minutes to read one of the blogs or books I recommend and ask yourself questions like:
"What do I want or need most in this season of life?"
"How do I want to show up in my life? What kind of impact do I want to have?"
"Where am I overcomplicating things, and what could I benefit from letting go?"
Remember, embracing simplicity is a discipline that needs tending every day. Don't be afraid to let things be simple. Let them be enough. And always remember WHY you're choosing less in order to live a life of "more."
Words of Wisdom from Women Just Like You
As we wrap up the first installment of this new blog series called The Simplicity Sessions, here a few more great and inspiring insights from several women I know, love and respect, on why they've chosen to cultivate simplicity in their lives.
"I believe that overwhelm isn't having too much to do, it's not knowing where to start. Living your life with intention helps to guide you in all things and can help you fight that feeling of overwhelm. Purposeful simplicity is an extension of that idea; it helps you cut out all that extra noise and focus on the things that are most important to you." - Tonya Dalton, Founder + CEO of inkWELL Press, Co-Host of the Productivity Paradox Podcast
"I spent the first 2 years of my motherhood working 60-hour weeks running a business outside of my home. That fast-paced lifestyle put a huge burden on our family. Our home became packed with clutter, our spending was out of control, our marriage was falling apart, and my self-care was virtually non-existent. Finally embracing simplicity is what saved our family." - Sami Womack, Budgeting Coach & Founder of A Sunny Side Up Life
"It's important to me because without the pursuit of simple, the chaos wins and I lose precious moments I won't get a second chance at. I want to own my time and enjoy my days, not give in to the struggles and let life happen to me." - Allie Casazza, Blogger, Author, Speaker & Co-Host of The Purposeful Home Podcast
"When I found out I was pregnant again, my husband and I decided that in order for me to be able to care for our children, run my business and remain a sane, enjoyable person to live with - we needed to simplify. Embracing purposeful simplicity is important to me because it allows me to focus on what matters most and to live a life that is less stressful on a day to day basis." - Robin Long, Pilates & Barre Instructor & Founder of The Balanced Life Online