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Simplifying Life: Why Simplifying Might Not Be So Simple

Simplifying Life: Why Simplifying Might Not Be So Simple

You’re ready to start simplifying your life. You’re excited to start experiencing the benefits that come with simplifying life. But the more you start trying to simplify, the more you realize that simplifying isn’t always so simple!!

And that’s the funny thing that can sometimes happen when you’re simplifying your life. You realize that simplifying isn’t always a simple thing to do.

If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone! There are a whole bunch of reasons that can make simplifying feel like a complicated, daunting or overwhelming task.

In today’s post, I want to discuss some of the reasons why simplifying might not always feel simple. As well as encourage you to keep pushing through and doing the work to simplify your home and life by sharing some of the benefits of simplifying. And sharing what to focus on while you’re simplifying life to make it feel a little easier too!

Why simplifying life isn’t always simple

Simplifying Life: Why Simplifying Might Not Be So Simple
Photo by alis&po on Unsplash

A simpler life is counter-cultural

One of the biggest reasons simplifying your life doesn’t always feel simple is because it’s such a counter-cultural way to live.

We live in a society where we’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us to buy more, own more, do more, go faster, etc. From a very young age, we are taught to be consumers. And taught to always want more and the newest, latest and greatest thing.

Making the choice to live a simpler, slower life goes against the norm in many ways. It’s making an intentional choice to slow down, have less, do less, etc. Which can be really hard to do with so many “more” messages all around you.

It actually requires a lot of intentional effort to make these counter-cultural lifestyle choices.

It’s easy to get caught up in the flow of more, newer, bigger, faster, etc. And going against that flow does require you to make intentional choices. As opposed to going with the flow of what feels “normal” in many ways.

We start with more

Because we live in a consumer-driven society, many of us start with more. More stuff in our homes, more commitments in our schedules, more vying for our time and attention, etc.

If you’re anything like me, you didn’t realize you don’t want a life of more (stuff, commitments, etc.), until you experienced living with “more” for yourself.

After noticing the way “more” left me feeling depleted, overwhelmed, stressed, unfocused, etc. I knew I didn’t want to continue this way. I knew I wanted a simpler life with less.

But that left me starting from a place of more. And once you already have “more”, it takes a lot of time and effort to sort through it and remove the clutter (both tangible and intangible).

I wish I could have appreciated the value of “less” before accumulating “more” first. But I do think it’s something we often have to experience for ourselves to really appreciate the costs and benefits of each.

The cost of convenience

One of the reasons it’s become so easy to accumulate more in the first place is how convenient it can be to accumulate more compared to previous generations.

Thanks to online shopping, super fast shipping and unlimited access to buy more “stuff” any time of the day or night, it’s really easy to accumulate a lot of stuff.

This convenience can be helpful in some ways.

But it also means it’s really easy to fill our homes with more “stuff” than we truly need or want. Which again, takes intentional effort to avoid doing and making different choices to prioritize simplifying life.

Letting go is hard

Now that many of us start from a place of “more” and can easily accumulate more with a simple click online, we’re left figuring out how to simplify and get rid of the excess.

And learning to let go, declutter and simplify isn’t always easy!

Letting go is a lot of work and involves a lot of effort, decisions and emotions.

There are many reasons that can make decluttering feel hard.

We’re forced to face the money we spent on things we didn’t truly need, use or love. As well as the purchases we regret.

We’re forced to face the emotional and sentimental attachments we have to the things we own.

Thanks to the Endowment Effect, we tend to place more value on things once we own them, making it feel harder to let them go. We need to break the habit of keeping clutter “just in case”.

And so many other reasons that can make decluttering feel hard.

Saying “no” is hard

And simplifying our schedules isn’t easy either!

It’s hard to say no and sit with the discomfort of knowing people might be let down or disappointed by your decisions.

It’s hard to say no to things you wouldn’t mind doing in order to save your “yeses”, your time and your energy for what is most important in your life. Feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) can easily pop up when you say no to some things to prioritize what matters most to you.

Even when you feel good about the choices you’re making to simplify your life and your schedule, it doesn’t mean it’s always easy to make these choices!

We’re in the age of multi-tasking

Another reason simplifying life can feel challenging is because we’re living in the age of multi-tasking.

A time where there’s more expected of us and where we expect more of ourselves too. There is pressure from all around us to “do it all”. Work, raise children, volunteer, keep up with the housework, maintain friendships, exercise, eat healthy, travel, have hobbies, etc.

The list of expectations and responsibilities placed on us, or that we place on ourselves, is long and quite frankly can be exhausting and overwhelming.

There are endless productivity hacks, apps and trackers to help you try to get more done each day and be more efficient.

While learning to be productive and efficient are not necessarily bad, there is a point where constantly trying to do more comes at a detriment. A detriment to your health, the quality of work you’re doing, and your quality of life in general.

It’s not easy to intentionally choose to live a bit slower and do a bit less. We’re so used to “pushing through” and not listening to our bodies when we need rest or to slow down.

It takes practice, mindfulness and really tuning into yourself to learn to slow down, listen to your body and honour your own limits instead of always pushing them or pushing past them.

Information overload

In addition to the pressure to “do it all”, we’re also in an age of information overload.

Between 24-hour news, social media, apps, constant connection through our phones, etc. it can be easy to always stay plugged into the never-ending flow of information available to you.

This constant connection to the world and flow of information can lead to comparison, heightened stress levels, interrupted focus, and many other negative side effects.

And can also make it really hard to slow down and focus on living a simpler lifestyle.

Simplifying life is worth it

I don’t want to share this information to discourage you or make it seem like simplifying life isn’t possible or worth it.

It’s definitely possible to create a simpler life you love that supports you well. And it’s absolutely worth putting in the time and work to get there.

I share this to remind you that if simplifying life is feeling hard, frustrating or just not as simple as you expected it to be, you’re not alone! These are challenges we all face as we focus on simplifying our homes and lives.

Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. It takes time and a lot of work, but the results of the time and effort you invest are definitely worth it.

Simplifying your life can lead to:

  • More time for the people and activities you love
  • More space in your home, your mind and your schedule
  • A better functioning home
  • More happiness
  • More confidence
  • Better relationships
  • More presence in your life
  • More patience
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • More financial freedom
  • Increased feelings of gratitude and contentment
  • More freedom in general
  • And so much more!

How to make simplifying life simpler

The best way to motivate yourself to put in the time and effort to simplify and start experiencing these benefits for yourself is to focus on why you want to simplify in the first place.

It’s not about simplifying or having less just for the sake of having less. It’s about choosing to simplify and have less so you can have more of what matters most to you.

Whether that’s more time with your family, more time for a hobby you love, working to reduce stress and create a calmer home that supports you and recharges you, etc.

Decide what matters most to you. Then use that to guide your decisions about what you can simplify, reduce or eliminate to create the home and life you envision for yourself.

This becomes your “why” for simplifying your home and life.

Holding your “why” in the forefront of your mind and allowing it to guide your simplifying decisions makes it so much easier to work through the reasons simplifying doesn’t always feel simple.

You’re not choosing to simplify to make your life look a certain way from the outside looking in. But instead, you’re simplifying to create a life you love that supports you, your values, your goals and your priorities.

Choosing a simpler life doesn’t mean you can’t handle more. It simply means you’re being intentional about where your time, energy, attention, money, etc. are going.

Choosing to simplify what matters less, so you can have the time, space and freedom for what matters most.

Simplifying life isn’t always simple, but it’s worth it

I hope reading this post will help validate your feelings if simplifying doesn’t always feel simple to you. If it feels hard or like you’re swimming upstream, know you’re not alone.

Simplifying life doesn’t always feel simple to do, because it isn’t! You’re making an intentional choice to live differently from what society is telling us. And that can be hard!

But it’s worth it to put the time and effort in to create a life you love, focused on what matters most to you!

Have you ever noticed that simplifying life doesn’t always feel simple or easy? Leave a comment and let me know if you can relate!

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Janet Micallef

Sunday 5th of June 2022

In reading your post, I found myself saying yes, yes, yes to all the feelings and situations you talk about. Accepting that simplifying is often hard work is actually freeing - I no longer need to resist this idea. Also, Knowing it’s a shared experience is something helpful I can hook into in order to move forward.

Simple Lionheart Life

Thursday 9th of June 2022

I'm so glad you could relate to these challenges too. I agree - it's so much easier to work through these challenges when we can expect them and prepare for them. And knowing we're not alone always helps too! Thanks for reading :)

Mattie W Price

Sunday 5th of June 2022

It has been a challenge and I won't say it hasn't. Its taking me/us 3 years. I switched over completely to simplifying everything back in March 2022. We a enjoying our life. We have a couple of friends (which one actually In my best friend) that has gotten so upset, angry and intimidated that I have made this change. I have been so surprised that this. I decide to do Hygge lifestyle and one of neighbors called to an cult.

I guess I have been surprised at our friends reactions about this whole lifestyle change.


Simple Lionheart Life

Thursday 9th of June 2022

I'm sorry you have faced so much resistance from friends in your life. That makes it harder, but good for you for doing what is best for you. Thanks for reading :)

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