Best Way to Simplify Your Life

Homework, soccer practice, music lessons, your job, religious school, friend time, shopping time to get the latest stuff, and 5 mil­lion other things on your weekly to-do lists.

Is your calendar so packed that you feel like you don’t have time to breathe? Are you exhausted? Ready for some down time?

The New York Times called Elaine St. James the “leader of the simplicity movement,” and Oprah called her a role model. Elaine has written five best-selling books, including Simplify Your Life. She knows that your life can get crazy and so hectic that it’s hard to stop. But here’s her advice on how to slow down a little bit and make your life simply more relaxing, more satisfying, and less stressful.

Simplify Life Best Way to Simplify Your Life

Dare to have less. You face a lot of peer pressure. You feel like you have to have everything. But ask yourself, do you really need five more CDs? Another dress? Is it worth working a whole evening at your part-time job to get them?

Simplifying doesn’t mean you should deny yourself everything or something you really want. It does mean taking a step back and asking yourself: “Will this add meaning to my life? Or is it just one more thing to get in the way of discovering who I really am?” Be conscious of what you are bringing into your life.

Dare to do less. There’s so much pressure to be involved in everything. You might feel like you have to participate in every sport, in every school play, in every school club you can fit in. You think the clubs will look good on your college application, or you’re in them because your friends are. But you’re running yourself ragged.

Simplifying means doing less. Be conscious of how you’re spending your time. Examine the reasons you’re doing something-Ask yourself, “Am I taking on this activity for the right or wrong reason? Because I really want to, or because my best friend is doing it? Or because I feel pressured to?”

Some reasons are legitimate. Sure, you want to be in some ex-tracurriculars; and sure, it will be good for your college application-But the ultimate thing to keep in mind is you can’t do it all. You’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you to explore what you want to do.

Decide what’s really important to you and let the rest go.

Dare to be your own person. In the first two items you asked yourself if you’re buying something because of pressure from other people, doing something because of other people. If you are, maybe you need to stop. Make sure you’re not living your life for someone else. Bring a new level of consciousness to things you do and have.

When your focus is acquiring the latest and greatest, when your life is packed with things to do, it’s hard to figure out what you really want and who you are. Our lives are complicated enough, without adding a lot of extra stuff we don’t really want or need.

Find the courage to figure out who you are. Go with what you know is right. Just dare to be yourself.

It’s liberating.

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