When I say I try to embrace simplicity in my life, people aften ask me “How can I make my life feel simpler?”. My journey towards living a simpler life began when I stopped listening to all those noisy “shoulds” that are flying at you from society, via Instagram, from your friends and family (however unintentional!), and from your schooldays, for example. All of those influences distract you from your inner voice – the one that knows how you truly want to live, what your goals and dreams are, and who you really want to be.
If you cut out all the external noise, and get to know yourself instead, a simpler life awaits you.
So, if you’re asking “How can I make my life feel simpler?”, read on…
1. Get to know yourself deeply
I loooove a personality quiz! Not the type that tells you what type of cocktail suits your social style, or what colour nail varnish matches your star sign… I’m talking about the type that helps you get to know the inner workings of your mind. How you work best. How you like to interact with people. What sparks passion in your work. What fires you up and makes you angry. What makes your heart burst with utter joy.
The Myers-Briggs personality types are incredibly insightful – if you’ve not already checked out which type you are, or it’s been a while, head over and answer the questions here. Top tip – don’t overthink it. Even if you ignore everything else in that profile, take note of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert – that knowledge in itself could completely change the way you plan your week! DISC profiling is also a particularly good workplace tool – I wish I had known about this when I worked amongst some rather unpleasant office politics.
It’s not all about quizzes though. Getting to know yourself involves questioning (without judgement) constantly, and then making little tweaks to your life based on the responses. Try these out for starters:
- In the last week, what made you forget about your phone for a few hours?
- What has really pissed you off recently?
- Have you chosen to do or buy something (anything!) because it’s what your bestie or your mum or someone on Instagram would choose, rather than because it’s what you really want?
- When did time pass really slowly, and when did time fly?
2. Know what really matters to you
What do you value over everything else? For me, it’s flexibility. Working in 9-5 jobs for a decade was incredibly difficult for me. I used to feel so trapped even though I enjoyed the actual jobs, so every year or two I would quit and go travelling for a month or so. Then I’d come back and get another job – and a couple of years later the cycle would start again. I’ve never moved from one job straight to another job. The job was never really the problem, it was the lack of flexibility. When I quit my last 9-5 job, I started freelancing in the same field (did you know I’m a scientific editor as well as a coach), and I’ve now worked for myself continuously for far longer than I’ve ever worked for anyone else. I’m a very flexible boss!
Of course there are other things that mean a lot to me too, like simplicity, awe, integrity and positivity, for example, and these together guide me through decisions. If something feels off, or if I don’t connect with someone, chances are that one of these values has been compromised. That’s not ok – trust yourself and your instincts. A major thing to consider when asking “How can I make my life feel simpler” is that decisions are much easier to make when you know what you value.
3. Define your own success
In my early 20s, I used to live and work in London, I had a long-term partner, and I was out socialising most days. This is what success looks like, right?! I was deeply unhappy. It took until my 30s to quit my job (again) and start working for myself, move to the coast and start doing what was right for me. Today, success looks like ending the week feeling as energetic as I did on Monday, spending time at the beach almost every day, doing only work that I enjoy, and prioritising spending time with loved ones over working.
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. And if you judge yourself based on society’s or someone else’s definition of success, you will never know whether you are truly happy. Define your own success, and only measure yourself against what is meaningful to you. We are all different.
4. Allow yourself to dream
When you’re doing your accounts (yawn) and you drift off into a daydream, what is it that you’re thinking about? Sunny beach holidays, setting up your own yoga studio, selling your product in your favourite high street shop, photographing high-end events? Whatever it is that you dream about, write it down, make it real, put a timescale on it, work out the tiniest first step required. All of the random stuff that the thousands of online business mentors tell you to do can be put to one side in favour of only listening to things that contribute to your actual dream. No more feeling like you need to do ALL THE THINGS to be successful, because now you know what success looks like to you, and everything else is just noise that can be tuned out.
5. Embrace intentional living
Intentional living means making decisions based on what you know about yourself, your hopes and dreams, and your values. Your life moves more and more towards what you want it to look like. There are fewer obligations, and you spend less time doing things you don’t actually want to do. Intentional living means learning to say no to things that don’t work for you, so you have more time and space for things that you want to invite into your life.
If you have any questions about how you can make your life feel simpler, please do head over to Instagram and drop me a DM. I’ve also previously written a post listing 5 things that a simple life is not – feel free to pop over and have a read here.
If you’ve enjoyed this content, please do sign up to my newsletter where I’ll be sharing practical ways to help you live a simpler life. I’ll be talking about avoiding overwhelm as an entrepreneur, and encouraging you to make time every day to “live” rather than feeling like you need to work 24/7.