Thursday, January 7, 2016

Simplify - my theme for the year!

We live in northern Utah and take the local paper.
The Standard Examiner

One of the best things in the paper is Brad Larsen, he writes a weekly column.
Always good stuff.
This was one of my favorites and is perfect for a New Year!

Enjoy the journey of life with just enough “baggage”
By Brad Larsen

 “Life is actually quite simple but becomes complicated
 because we insist on making it so.”

While we live in a complex, hurried world, it doesn’t mean we have to lead frantic, complicated lives. We often overload ourselves with “extra baggage,” by succumbing to society’s lie that there is greater joy in having, being and doing more sooner.

We try to cram more into our lives just like a suitcase that’s already too full. We tell ourselves that one-day we’ll slow down and really start to live. But that mythical day never comes and time rushes relentlessly onward as we try to keep up.

Throughout time we’ve been taught that happiness doesn’t come through material things and instant gratification. And that the more we want right now, the more it will demand of us later. We can waste precious time getting, maintaining and upgrading things.

In our fast-paced, technology-obsessed, and career-driven society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find balance in our lives. How do we create a simpler life when the world is telling us what we “need today” to be happy and successful?

We do need to slow down, embrace life and be thankful for each day. We can start by focusing on simpler needs and pleasures, rather than carry the heavy extra baggage of a hurried, cluttered existence trying to keep pace with the rest of the travelers.

We can enjoy life’s journey more by following these 10 tips:

     1.      Focus on experiences. Usually we seek “things” to entertain us and make us happy. What if      spending time with loved ones fulfilled us? What if hanging out with friends is what we need? Work  on building memories that will last forever.

      2.     Fill needs, not wants. The things we own end up owning us. They complicate our lives; drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a meaningful and fulfilling life.

  1. Be generous. Get rid of the consumer mindset by changing to a mindset of helping others. Research shows that giving to others improves our outlook on life and how we perceive one another.
  2. Rethink commitments. Over-committing banishes peace and calm from our lives. No matter how worthy we think our commitments are, we can prioritize them to be more in line with our values and purpose.
     5.      Disconnect screen time. Focusing on technology affects our life more than we think. Media rearranges our values and begins to dominate our life. Try turning them off regularly and focus on the important, not the urgent.

     6.      De-clutter your environment. When we clear away our stuff it helps clear our mind. It creates more mental space for creative, satisfying and peaceful thoughts. De-clutter doesn’t mean just reorganize, it really means de-own. 

  1. De-clutter your mind. Resentment, bitterness, hate, and jealousy have never improved anybody’s quality of life. Start by by forgiving past hurts and letting go of regrets and feelings that should have been tossed out long ago.
  2. Pamper yourself. Do something nice for yourself because you are worth it. Every day enjoy a relaxing, calming activity that develops your inner self. Spend time alone or with the people you care about most. Make time for you.
    9.      Be mindful. We are given this moment in time and have no idea what tomorrow holds. Truly successful people realize there is nothing lacking. They enjoy what they’re doing right now and enjoy what they already have.

    10.  Be grateful. Studies show that practicing gratitude daily helps improve health and well-being. Embracing simplicity strips away the nonessentials so we can see just how much of what surrounds us is worthy of our gratitude.

If we are running so quickly that life is a blur, perhaps we need to consider what we are running towards. There is more to life than increasing its speed and accumulating more. When it's our time to go, our stuff stays behind, so pack light.