While I’m still technically offline until next week, I wanted to pop in briefly to wish you a Happy New Year!
I’m not really one for resolutions but I always find this time of year really exciting. Possibilities are refreshed and hopes are new and there’s just something wonderful about the potential fizzing just below the surface, don’t you think?
More often than not though, this feeling of excitement and possibility disappears before January is behind us. We find ourselves stuck in old habits. Revisiting old issues. Battling the same old piles of clutter and mess, and feeling the same old sense of overwhelm as we realise we don’t know where to begin.
That was me for years, until I discovered the delight of living with less. Less stuff, less stress, less pressure, less comparison, less shopping, less debt, less clutter.
I’ve spent the last five years learning that having less stuff actually gives you a lot.
It gives you the opportunity to focus more on the people and important experiences in your life.
It gives you more time, more energy, more care and more compassion.
It means you can focus on experiences over things. Travel instead of trend-hopping. Memories instead of souvenirs.
Over the past five years as I’ve slowly learned to pare back, find what’s important and live (mostly) according to those priorities, life has become easier. Simpler. Sweeter.
- We have afternoon naps on the weekend
- Cleaning up takes minutes, not hours or days
- I spend less time dusting and organising
- There is more time together on the weekends
- We entertain more
- Our horizons are expanding and we’re travelling more as a family
- I worry less
- I compare our life with that of others far less
- The overall feeling of life is that of contentment
- In other words, life is good.
Not to say that living a simpler life makes things perfect. It doesn’t.
Our kids fight. We get things wrong – alot. We make poor spending choices. We get impatient. There is still the annual influx of gifts at Christmas (although this is much less than it used to be).
Simplifying life just makes it easier to deal with this. And to me, that is the single biggest benefit of living a simpler life – over time it just makes living life easier. The daily tasks, the constant stresses, the annual pressures – these things become easier to deal with when there is less stuff cluttering up your home and your head.
The difficulty, I would say, is in getting to that point. How do you actually create that simpler life, when right now everything feels so complicated? When you feel so overwhelmed? When you don’t even know where to begin?
There are literally thousands of places to find simple living information and inspiration, both online and off. This blog and many others similar to it have hundreds of suggestions on how to start, where to begin, how to declutter and what to do once you’ve finished. And they’re all great sources of information. In fact, that’s how I came to discover simple living and finally get started on my own journey.
But if you’re looking to make 2016 the year you create a simpler life, you might be interested in joining A Simple Year.
This is the third year I’ve been lucky enough to be part of this course and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’re achieving.
Rather than having to work through the process of simplifying by yourself, A Simple Year is an interactive online course created by some of the best known writers in the simplicity movement (and me). Leo Babauta, Courtney Carver, Cait Flanders, Colin Wright and Tammy Strobel (among others) have come together to create something amazing. Each month you focus on a new area of simplicity by working with one of the simple living advocates mentioned above.
- January – Clutter
- February – Busyness
- March – Travel
- April – Cooking
- May – Digital
- June – Work
- July – Money
- August – Self-care
- September – Mindfulness
- October – Eating
- November – Relationships
- December – Gratitude
If you’re looking to make 2016 the year you simplify your life, I can tell you that our 2014 and 2015 members have had incredible success and this year is going to be just as transformative.
There are already hundreds of people signed up to take part, and registrations close at the end of January. Check out simpleyear.co for a full outline of each month’s module and to register.
In the meantime, we’ll be back to regular podcasting (and maybe the occasional blog post!) real soon.
Happy New Year! xx