As you make an effort to live more meaningfully, to minimise the clutter and focus on your happiness, you start to appreciate the good things you are doing to make this change.
You notice that you now have a morning routine. Nothing pleases you more than having less clutter around the house to sort and dust. Travelling or memorable experiences become a new focus.
What we are not too good at is noticing what we still need to stop. Identifying the dangerous habits which are holding us back.
I have been working for three years to live a more meaningful, enriched life. Money and time spent on doing things I enjoy, rather than things I think I should.
However there are still some habits which I could easily fall back into if I didn’t make a conscious choice not to. A choice to evaluate and assess what I do each day to make sure I am making the most of my time.
Feeling too busy
It doesn’t have to all be too much. I saw this fantastic quote from Courtney Carver last week which put it all into perspective.
Why do we feel so obliged to do it all these days? Why do we want to have the perfect everything? We are so consumed with being perfect. Acing our job daily, keeping up our social media appearances, seeing friends, keeping the house clean, baking, cooking, exercising and fitting in time to read a book, watch the latest TV show everyone is talking about and work hard to buy the next big material item to keep up with the jones’s.
Even writing that felt like a chore.
You are in control of how much you need to do. If you are feeling overwhelmed, put yourself first.
Assess your priorities and look again at your to do list. Remove something, remove everything unnecessary, until you are feeling like you again.
You can always say no, and sometimes it’s a great discipline to practice this.
Planning for tomorrow
It’s so easy to forget about today when tomorrow seems so much more exciting. We might have a huge event coming up, but it seems such a shame to waste the days in between by focusing on the then rather than the now.
Each day I like to think about three things that have made the day great. It might be as small as getting an hour to read in bed in the morning. But these small things make each day valuable.
Stop wishing away the days in anticipation of something bigger and better, as you might look back and regret it.
Comparing Yourself To Others
This is probably the hardest habit to break. We are from a young age bombarded with messaging which tells us to be the very best we can be. There are always ways to improve. Just take a look at any monthly magazine in your local store. I can guarantee articles helping you look better, feel better, get a better job, reinvent your wardrobe or buy those perfect Christmas gifts will be plastered across the cover page.
How about we don’t look to improve ourselves, but instead we value and appreciate the person we are.
If we continue to compare our lives to the lives of others around us, we will never be happy. Someone will always have a ‘better’ job, a faster car and a bigger house. The true question is what actually is better? How do we define it? Is a job better because of status, money or pay? Because honestly I would rather do a role I enjoy for less money than the stresses and status of a ‘high-powered’ role.
I would rather drive my old but working car, and spend the money seeing the world rather than a four wheeled status symbol.
Having nice things is lovely, but we shouldn’t measure ourselves with them.
Measure yourself by working out if what you do makes you truly happy. Because if you are not happy, nothing will ever be enough.
Worrying about doing nothing
It’s okay to do nothing for minutes, hours, even days at a time. We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be productive, to be busy, to complete jobs and tasks on big lists we have created for ourselves.
I used to feel guilty if I had spent a Sunday doing nothing. Now I look forward to it. You should too. If you need to do nothing, then don’t. Put yourself first.
Putting things off
Your health, that run you were planning to go on, that holiday you scheduled and then postponed due to work.
Daily we are always pushing important things aside. It might be to avoid the lifestyle change you have needed just for one more day. Forgetting about that cake you wanted to bake because you’ve got to organise the kitchen cupboards.
If we keep putting aside what truly matters, we will one day look back and regret it.
Evaluate what is putting you off completing that task. Is it too hard, too much of a change, or do you just have too much to do?
Too often we leave things until it’s too late. Since living more minimally, I have had a lot more time to do the things I once would have avoided or pushed aside.
Less housework, more time enjoying my hobbies. Less spending, more time travelling. Less bad food, as I have been eating more mindfully.
These habits are all easy things that can be avoided by being conscious of our choices. Make a change today and choose to enjoy life and live more meaningfully.