Updated: Oct 14
Life doesn't have to be so compicated. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Some people want money. Some want fame. I want simplicity.
I want less, not more. Five years ago, I made the decision to simplify my life – and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
It changed my life for the better. If you can look at life using a different perspective, it might change your life too.
Why I Decided to Simplify My Life
Like many managers in corporate America, I typically worked 50-60 hours a week, sometimes more. The volume of work was overwhelming, and the pressure to reach unattainable goals was unending.
The days rolled past in a blur:
Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
I felt trapped and overwhelmed.
My physical and mental health deteriorated.
At the end of one blurry, heart-pounding, stress-fueled day, I decided no more. This was no way to live.
So I quit. Done. Peace out.
Removing What I No Longer Needed
My days of wanting more were over. I realized that what I wanted and needed was less.
Viewing life from this new perspective changed everything.
It allowed me to get my life back.
With the weight of that job gone, I felt happier. And I had the energy to make big decisions about how I wanted to live my life.
One of those decisions was to simplify my life. I removed what I no longer wanted in my life –unnecessary possessions, unrealistic expectations, toxic relationships, and the need for others’ approval.
Here's what I removed from my life along with a few highlights summarizing how I removed those things from my life:
Material possessions. I sorted through years of clothing and household clutter. Then I filled bags full of all the stuff that I didn't use, need, or want and dropped it at a local donation center.
Unrealistic expectations. I reprioritized the items on my to do list and reconsidered my expectations. I learned to say no to myself and others. I set personal and professional goals that were reasonable and aligned with the life I wanted to lead.
Toxic relationships. I realized that my emotional well-being was more important than maintaining relationships that introduced negativity into my life. So, I distanced myself from people that made me feel bad about myself or brought negativity and stress into my life.
Others' approval. I also accepted the idea that I didn't need others' approval to live my life the way I wanted to live it. This was hard but really boiled down to acceptance. It was freeing to realize that I could live quite happily even if someone around me disagreed with the decisions I made.
In short, making the effort to simplify my life made me a happier person.
It also helped me create a more meaningful and satisfying life.
6 Ways Simplifying Creates a Better Life
If you’re thinking about simplifying your life, read on to learn seven ways my life improved because of changes I made to live a simpler life.
The more I simplified my life, the more peace I gained. I experience peace as a sense of inner calm. Turbulence and anxiety gave way to stillness.
Giving away much of what I owned - and letting go of the desire to own those things - reduced the amount of money I needed to live.
That was freeing, but it was just a start.
Making my own decisions about how I want to live my life and how and with whom I will spend my time, provided the ultimate sense of freedom.
It’s frequently the case that seeking, obtaining, or consuming too much of something, while ignoring or excluding other things, causes problems.
I believe we function best when we have balance in our life.
Simplifying brought balance back into my life and helps me stay balanced today.
Money doesn’t have the hold over my life that it once did. Like everyone else, I still have bills to pay and need money to do that.
I don’t, however, need as much money because I don’t spend as much.
And no, I don’t feel like I’m missing out because I have and want less.
For years I lived with the belief that I was a terrible friend. Work consumed my life.
When I wasn’t at work, I was so emotionally and physically drained that I often didn’t feel like spending time with family and friends.
That’s not a healthy way to live.
Today, I’m a fierce guardian of my time. I make a conscious effort to prioritize the relationships in my life.
Before I simplified my life, I didn’t think much about gratitude.
If you had asked me if I was thankful for what I had in my life, I would have said yes.
But that was about as deep as my thinking went.
Today, I appreciate my life. I’m grateful for my experiences, good and bad.
I appreciate the people in my life-family, friends, coworkers, and the strangers I will never know whose work or effort makes my life easier.
My Life Today
I make simplicity a priority in my life. Whether I’m going through hard times or easy ones, I’m committed to living simply.
Life circumstances do change. Whenever I have temporarily strayed away from simplicity, I feel it.
My mind and body tell me I’m off track:
I feel stressed, tired, and unsettled.
Those cues tell me it's time to step back and reassess what going on in my life.
I make the changes I need to regain the simplicity I crave.
Simplifying changed my life. It has made me a happier person and helps me lead a more fulfilling life.
I hope my story inspires you to simplify your life too.
Next: You might enjoy reading Three Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life.