Change Your Life In 2018 - June Challenge: Simplify Your Life, or, Finding Your Why

If you’re just joining in, the “Change Your Life In 2018” series is my quest to make some small changes this year.  Rather than setting easily forgotten resolutions I wanted to focus on 12 changes that would help me learn and grow as a person.  I’ve chosen to focus on one change per month so that it could not only become a more manageable goal, but I have a better chance at making these new habits as well.  I hope you’ll join me in the challenge!

Reading the words "simplify your life" can immediately result in shivers for fear of the task of decluttering as you envision your home stripped down to absolute minimalism.  Let me assure you, that's not what we're focusing on for this month's challenge. 

Instead, our focus is on the "why".

Yes, it's important to begin the processing of simplifying parts of your life.  Think about how much easier your day is when your home, office, etc. are clean and/or your schedule is freed up a bit.  I  personally think much clearer and am just generally happier when my home is tidy.  Think about the feeling of lightness and relief you get when you purge an area or a function you didn't really want to attend is cancelled.  Purging/simplifying/lightening your life are all things to be worked on this month, but before you even delve in, begin working on finding out what is at the heart of the clutter.  Because without discovering this, it will all accumulate again in a matter of time.

What Is Your Why?
A quick personal story.  I've shared before that I come from a family of collectors and I've previously written about overcoming that clutter-filled life.  But I was also, at one time, addicted to clothing and shopping for clothes.  When I was in my teens to my early twenties I dealt with upset, lack of confidence, feelings of not fitting in, loneliness, and all other uncomfortable feelings with shopping.  I had so many clothes at one point that I wore a different outfit (top and bottom) to college for one quarter without ever wearing anything twice.  Ridiculous, really, but at the time it was easier to focus on clothing than what I was trying to avoid facing.  I was addicted to clothes and shopping as a way of dealing with my uncomfortable feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.  Or, rather, of not dealing with it.

I purged the clothing when it just became too overwhelming, but before I knew it, my closets were full again.  Because this is how I dealt with things.  Eventually I realized that I needed to figure out why in the world I couldn't stop buying.  I needed to implement purposeful, committed steps.  For me, I quickly realized that some of it was learned behavior.  It was how my mother dealt with things.  It was hard to face the reality, but I did and I actually am completely opposite now.  Now, 20 years later, I don't really enjoy shopping and the clothing that I have purchased were bought because I needed or liked the clothing, not because I didn't want to face uncomfortable feelings.

Getting to the root of the clutter and/or excess of "stuff" is critical.  This is your "why".  Once you figure out your why, you can start working on fixing that.  Then, it's time to attack the clutter!  Dealing with the excess that you've accumulated is INCREDIBLY difficult, but it's also incredibly freeing.  And when you are partnering this with working on your fears and/or insecurities, you will feel such a weight lifted off of your shoulders. 

Action Items
So look underneath the piles of stuff (no matter how well organized those piles are......) and be honest with yourself.  What fears or insecurities are hiding in your stuff? 

When you are about to go shopping, or you start to pull out your credit card, stop yourself and ask why you are buying this. 

When you physically put your hand on something to determine whether or not to purge, really pay attention to your feelings as you start to make the decision.

Take Back Your Time
Clutter isn't just about things, it can also be about how we live our lives.  Often we overbook our lives and it feels cluttered and out of control.  Again, looking at the action items above, you want to find your why.  Why are you agreeing to everything thrown at you, even though you have no time to do it?

Become intentional about the people you spend time with and the commitments you agree to.  Yes, there are things that we "should" do that we will end up committing to.  But really assess every invitation that comes to you.  Are you agreeing to all because you "should"?  You've heard the term "take your life back"?

This is your life - you choose how you live it and what you should or should not do. 

Make sure you are actually making that decision.  If not, it's time to assess the whys.

Do you have any tips of things that have/haven't work on your own journey to a more simplified life?

Next month’s topic is: Your Thoughts Are Your Reality

Find the introduction to the series here: 12 Things You Can Do To Change Your Life In 2018
Find January's challenge here:  Letting Go Of Regrets
Find February's challenge here: Figure Out What To Do With Your Life
Find March's challenge here: Setting Goals & Chunking Them Down
Find April's challenge here: Change Your Routine
Find May's challenge here: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

1 comment

  1. I also function better with orderliness. I don't enjoy shopping (unless you count thrifting) and feel that I really don't need much.
    One thing I always try to focus on is my intention in buying something. It must serve a purpose in my life, whether that is to make something easier or bring joy to someone else. It really is easier living with less.


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