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Here recently I’ve had some major epiphanies when it comes to what my purpose in life is. As such, life is about to become very full…I mean fuller, and this forced me to evaluate my current life systems. I considered both of what I am being called to do, as well as things that I would like to build upon habit wise. Since we are all given 24 hours in a day, and some of us accomplish a ton, and some of us don’t, I had to look at my current productivity systems if I wanted to remain in the former category. I knew that no matter how much I chose to take on, I would still want time for rest, connection with my family and creativity. I’ve learned over the past 15 years that you can do and accomplish a lot of things while still having a ton of time left for unwinding. The only way to do it however is to keep things simple and not to waste time.
Much like your computer needs updating, so does one’s daily life habits. Each upgrade should produce pleasure and make life even more fun to live. I genuinely love the gym so when I went to upgrade my workout habits, I re-joined my preferred gym, but chose a location closer to my horses since that’s where I am in the morning. Now I enjoy my coffee while feeding and grooming my horses, and then head to the gym down the road to get a good routine in and can get home after work instead of getting a workout in. Now, if I hated gyms then maybe I would have added trail running or yoga instead. The point is, if you don’t like doing something, or if being around a certain person is close to painful, then stop spending that time in that way. We must be prudent, and good stewards of the time that we do have in a day. More pleasure and less bitching can solve a lot of problems.
I have found while living in simplicity that many opportunities present themselves, or I can actively pursuit them. This is because without clutter, chaos, distraction, and toxic relationships I’ve made the room in my life for me to “see” them. Without these things, I couldn’t handle the 9 very different irons that I currently have in the fire. Irons that I love by the way. Irons that made the somewhat painful weeding out process well worth it in the end. By the way, the process of weeding out can be it’s own journey. In fact, it can even be brutal and you’ll have to be courageous enough to allow that process in order to get as healthy as possible. It was something that I struggled with, and I took a decent amount of heat from people who are not only hard to be around, but have zero intentions of ever changing themselves and would rather bring you down for doing so. If that is the part of your life’s journey that you are in, then honor that. It has many gifts to share with you. If you would like some emotional support for while you’re going through it, then I invite you to see how I and another talented writer went through these processes, and continue to as it’s a life long thing. It just gets easier the more that you accept it as part of life. I promise. Check it out: liveyourpositivelife.com
Here I’ve taken my very short list of powerful personal actions for living a simple life and show how I personally implement them. As basic as these actions are, they are called “personal” for a reason. They are subjective and it’s up to you to make them your own.
Alas, things do not always go according to plan or the way that you want them to in life, but what is great about these powerful actions in particular is that once you build upon them for yourself, they are there for you to fall back upon while you re-position yourself. This keeps you fresh and organized for when you’re ready to try again at seizing opportunities. No worries if things go awry, when you’re living a simple life with any sort of dedication and intention, it’s not IF the opportunity comes, or IF things fall into place as they are meant to…it’s WHEN. Therefore, keep yourself prepared for the life of your dreams:
Dun Dun Daaaahhhhh. Yeah, I said it. Listen, the pain and suffering actually comes from avoiding it. If you sit with feelings you often can come to the root cause of them and work to release whatever it is that you are feeling. Please remember that feelings are not facts. They are just passing through our experience and the only thing that can give them power is our action and reaction to them.
As I have written about in the past at liveyourpositivelife, there was some in-law nonsense/trauma that I suffered through a few years back. Here recently though, some residual sadness and anger bubbled up and I almost chose to ignore it. Since I know better, I did all that I could to clear it by feeling it. I also went and spent about 5 hours talking to my parents about it and other family things, which is something that I never really did before with regard to this topic. Then with the combination of just allowing the feelings, coupled with the venting it out into the open, the feelings were gone. Just like when you turn on a light switch and it’s no longer dark, it was over. With the ickies out of the way, and back to feeling good, better decisions and clearer thinking can be had.
This is character building and it takes some practice, but once you are able to assume responsibility for actions, life actually gets easier. Have you ever tried telling a lie, and then had to tell another and then one more after that to cover for the first? Not only did it not work out in the end, the entire process was exhausting and probably got a lot of people angry and it ruined their trust in you. Learn to mean this: “I am sorry. It will never happen again. These are the actions I’ve taken to correct the action…”
I got the chance to practice this when I lost one of my client’s monthly boarding checks. This is a check that covers the boarding fee for two horses and are funds that I draw from to pay the landlord, as well as their grain and supplies. Of course it happened on a beautiful Sunday after I had a wonderful early ride and lovingly groomed all of the horses leaving my world to feel perfect and complete. When I realized that my check pouch was missing out of my purse I was so upset at myself. I was able to immediately pin point why it had happened, all because I had fallen out of organization that week because I had not realized until that moment that my systems were out of date to the changes I had recently undergone. I had to email her, apologize, ask her to reissue the check, and deduct and then cover her cancelled check fee. In the end it was more than ok, and it will never happen again. But blaming, coming up with a story, covering your tracks, it’s all needless and it will cost you much more overall than accepting responsibility ever could.
Create REALLY Healthy Habits S-L-O-W-L-Y
For me personally it all began about 10 years ago and it was a domino effect. Once I started working out, I didn’t want to eat bad food. Once I stopped drinking and hanging around party-all-night kind of people, I only wanted enriching experiences with close friends. Once I started meditating, I only wanted more quiet to connect to my creativity. Paying attention to my new found desire to live my life with intention had me actually living that way with only small changes a little at a time.
Wanting to build a gym routine can begin with a few walks around the neighborhood. Eating better can start with cutting take out one day per week. It’s the intention that matters the most and by asking yourself the below questions you just may find where to begin. Once you find a start place, start small. Want to meditate? Read about it, watch something on YouTube, or download an app, and aim for 2x in a week for 5 min each. From there gradually bump the time and frequency up. While in the process of creating healthy habits, think about these questions:
- With What Do You Fill Your Head/Heart/Sub-conscious?
Since I’ve cut cable, you can find me on YouTube or Netflix under documentaries. I recently loaded Stitcher on to my phone so that I can listen to some awesome podcasts; both while I’m in the gym, and even while I’m riding my horse! It’s free and it’s awesome. Below is a few snapshots of my playlists. Please believe that Gary Vaynerchuk is on there!
When it comes to reading, I only read self improvement, spirituality, financial and business books. I have so little time that every moment that I do have I maximize with putting the most beneficial things into my thinking systems. You can find my essentials for your bookcase or reading device right here.
2. With What Do You Fill Your Vessel?
This is one that I’m constantly working on. I mean constantly. I have plenty of posts on here about meal planning and perfect grocery shopping but what I do 97% of the time is just make the best choice that I can in the moment. I go out of my way to remove all of the chemical laden sugar stuff from my existence by not buying it at all. Of course this leaves me with only whole foods that then must be prepared. On the nights that I run behind and don’t prepare my lunch for the next day, there have been times that I resorted to the fried chicken wings from the bodega down the street from work. Know what? I’m still alive. I didn’t get upset about my “poor choice”, I just resolved to do better next time.
When it comes to my mornings, I be sure to start off the way that I intend to go with the best of the best. Coffee: I make it as healthy as possible. It’s organic and I use unsweetened almond or coconut milk and then put in cinnamon for the added health benefit. I’ve nixed sugar and flavored creamers all together. Water: It’s the first thing that I drink in the morning, and I have it at room temperature so not to shock my system. To grow this habit, I will be adding organic lemons to it. Smoothie: I practice intermittent fasting and therefore only eat from 11 am to 7pm. But I do need nutrients so I mix up spinach, banana, almond butter, flax seed and coco powder with almond milk. If nothing else, then at least I have this great start to the day.
Most dis-ease can be avoided in the first place with better diet and lifestyle practices. Care enough about yourself to really do the homework about what you ingest. Understand how it moves through the system and that everything we swallow ends up as part of our anatomy.
3. With What Do You Do With Your Vessel?
Are you working out? Walking? Praying? Playing? Do you have quiet time? Are you reading things and viewing shows that add benefit to your life by making you think or inspiring you to do and be more? Do you plan trips to rest and recharge? Are you connecting in kinship with a supportive community?
I recently became very active in helping to start up my neighborhood’s civic association. The people that I’ve met and talk to weekly are amazing. We are all so very diverse and yet all of us have learned from and enjoy one another. I love walking around my city blocks meeting people and spreading the word. I’m forming community at home and that’s very important to be successful in life. Reach out, get involved. Start something, join something. Pay close attention to what thrills you and move towards that. That’s why we’re actually here on this planet. It’s not just to pay bills and then die.
4. Do You Have Morning & Evening Routines?
Crucial. SO crucial. Things can get away from us in the middle of the day. There’s so much that isn’t within our control; traffic, late starts and early dismissals from school, getting sick, other people’s tardiness. Yet the start and the end of our days are totally up to us and well within our control.
I used to sprint out the door about 20 minutes before I was supposed to be somewhere. I was tired, not prepared, and constantly chasing my tail through out the day. Now a days, I’m up at 4:30 am, done feeding and grooming my horses by 6:45 and at the gym by 7. I’m showered and heading to work by 8:15. I have everything with me, I know what I’m doing that day and where I have to be by what time. There is such a sharp contrast to how things are now as compared to how they used to be, that I can never go back. Once you taste the sweet freedom of the simplicity of granting yourself proper time in the morning, you won’t go back either.
My night time routine really exists to support my morning routine; prepare gym bag, do I need my riding clothes for after work? Is there lunch in the fridge for tomorrow? This is still a work in progress for me as I want to add nice things like stretching and also more things like more cuddles with Dylan and connection with Michael. To begin, Dylan and I started a new routine of going down to the river on certain weeknights. We look at the ducks, we sit on our rock and watch the sunset, and we just BE in the nature. I’m a firm believer that it take baby steps and I know that I will add even more great family connections because it’s small changes in a habit over a long period of time that makes them successful. (See what I just did there?)
Take Care Of The Small Things
Mow the yard if it needs it. Always wash, dry and put away the dishes at the end of the night. Make your bed every single day. These things reflect maturity, self-love and they build discipline. To lead the life of your dreams, you need to have your shit together and you can’t tackle the big things without taking care of the little things. Will you fall off from time to time? Yes. But then you take a few hours, or a day, and restore the balance in anyway that feels right to you. You’ll feel better and can move forward.
Of course there are some little pesky things that have to be done but we want to put them off. In those instances, I find it best to just do them as little as necessary. Don’t like paying bills? Make it a point to only have to do it once per month by making a budget and paying bills in advanced, or put them on auto pay. Hate the doctor/dentist? Make all appointments in the same week and just get it done. One thing that I’ve noticed by making sure all of the necessities are taken care of, I’m able to relax much more. The peace that you feel is palpable. Everyone deserves to feel that way.
Simple living is simple…if you allow it to be. These actions one by one can build something magnificent. I’m living proof as the more that I practice these actions, the better things get. The key to it all is to allow. Allow yourself to have a lazy day without punishment. Allow yourself to adjust life practices so that they suit better. Most importantly, allow yourself to let go of the need to control or your need to keep doing things that are no longer working.
I’m a blogger who is addicted to simplicity. My next goal is furthering my minimalistic habits by getting rid of 10 things per week. You will be hard pressed to find clutter in my home, yet I’m always able to find at least 10 things to pass on. I’m curious with just how little I may actually need to live life well. This blog documents my life journey thus far with simplifying all aspects of my life. As a former habitual shopper who was constantly in a rush to partake in nonsense, I hope to show others that simplicity is where it’s at.
And no, the picture isn’t recent; it’s 5 years old actually, but I had done my hair myself.