Simplifying the New Year

As you solidify your vision for the New Year, improve life by including the concept of simplicity!

With the New Year comes new hopes, new visions for reaching goals and dreams with regard to health, family, career, finances, spiritual life, and self-improvement.  As mentioned a few weeks ago, even vacation can be a goal in the New Year for the self-employed business person.  As I have begun pondering my own goals for the New Year, a recurring theme has surfaced from a variety of sources, that of greater joy through simplicity.

Here are 7 ways to improve your life and joy in the New Year by implementing simplicity:

1.  When considering goals, purchases, acquisition, consider the level of ongoing maintenance.

Before you set your sights on any additions to your life in the New Year, consider the level of responsibility involved.  Pretty much everything in life takes maintenance and maintenance takes both money and time.  If you desire to add any possession to your household, do you actually want to deduct from other areas of your life the additional finances and time it will take to maintain it?  For example, if you wanted a swimming pool for the family or a boat for recreation, it takes both time and funds to maintain it.  Consider, would you actually be happier putting the maintenance time into family time or personal time?  Would you be happier having the money used to maintain the item to be available for smaller joys all year through?  The example is of a larger acquisition, but the same principle applies to smaller additions to your life.

While caring for domestic rescue rabbits in our home for over 25 years, we did business with a well-known veterinarian in the field.  She has signs all over her office saying, “A rabbit is a 10 year commitment,” as the length of commitment is rarely considered by people when taking in a pet.  This is not to discourage the joys of pet ownership, but to encourage you to consider the long-term commitment involved.  We, ourselves, have gotten to the age where we have decided it is time to end our rescue rabbit involvement when this last rabbit is laid to rest, and opt for the joys of pet ownership from a type of pet with less maintenance and fewer health issues.  We have also considered that, due to our own age and the lifespan of this other pet, the new one will probably be the last pet we will be committing to.  Take care to consider the level of maintenance as you develop your goals for the New Year.

2. Simplify your life with freedom from self-condemnation.

Scripture does challenge us to “Aim for perfection;” one needs to always strive for improvement spiritually, in your personality, and in interpersonal relationships. However, do not weigh yourself down with self-condemnation that you do not attain perfection.  The key in that quote is the word, “aim.”  Yes, improve your spirit, personality, and ability to communicate and express love; in these things, “aim” for perfection but do not live under the pressure and/or self-condemnation of not achieving perfection – only God is perfect!  Rest in the fact that you are on a journey to improve and enjoy the journey!

3.  Make a commitment to yourself to simplify your life through less perfectionism.

This is not to encourage laziness or a lack of self-improvement, but rather simplifying your life this year by freeing yourself from unrealistic or unnecessary perfectionism.  It is time to let go of the pressure and condemnation you bring on yourself, and the time wasted, by trying to achieve an impossible level of perfection for the purpose of impressing others. Free yourself of such energy and time wasters as going beyond the typical level of energy and finances to entertain your friends because of an imbalanced feeling to “impress with things,” or similar unnecessary and stressful perfectionistic ideas.  Do not complicate your interactions with people to the point that you cannot enjoy being with those people!  The people who are coming over to visit are doing so out of feelings of love or respect for you that already exist. Truthfully, the people who love you do so for the way you already are with all your imperfections; those who do not love you as you are do not truly know how to love, so why would you bother trying to impress them?

4. While reaching for goals, be content and appreciative for what you have

Don’t let the delay of goals and dreams rob you of joy now by allowing frustration and disappointment. If you cannot control your emotions over unfilled goals, you are letting your desires to dominate you.

Frustration and disappointment will make all areas of your life more complicated.  Simplify your life by being content and appreciative now while waiting for your goals to manifest.

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5. Evaluate if your desire is truly important.

Do you truly want that possession or experience?  Is it important enough to put the time, effort, planning, etc. into it if it takes years to see it through?  If not, let it go.

6. De-clutter. 

Studies show that clutter itself in an office and/or home creates stress.  It also is more difficult to clean and usually creates the stress of not being able to find things when you need them.  Simplify your life by clearing out both your office and living space, even your bedroom. Use it as an opportunity to bring added joy to yourself and others by giving the things you no longer use or need to someone who needs them.

7. Don’t be doubleminded. 

Do not waste time and energy laboring over decisions, especially those of no consequence, such as what you are wearing today, which restaurant to eat lunch at, or which DVD to rent.  Make yourself be decisive in a timely manner.  Also, do not lose your joy second-guessing yourself after you’ve made a decision.  Rarely in life are our choices so life-changing that we cannot correct a poor one, so in normal day-to-day decisions, keep it simple and just decide.

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