Now I must start by saying, I'm in no way an expert in the subject and am on my own journey to finding a healthy balance of realistic simple living goals. So I thought I would share what has worked for me and things I've learnt along the way in the past two and half years.
After pondering what could cause a loss of focus or commitment to simple living, I noticed three areas that became really clear. These are media & consumption, influences & inspiration and personal expectations. So I thought I'd split my thoughts and advice into these three areas. You might want to grab a cup of tea and a pen and paper, there might be some list making involved.
Media & Consumption: Now more than ever before, the media in all it's forms (mainstream, alternate & social) is difficult to avoid and over exposure happens so easily. This can really take its toll on you, your goals and your happiness. So, start by making a quick list of the media you consume on a daily basis, TV, magazines, Facebook, Instagram.. it goes on and on. Now repeat after me.. None of this is 100% real. A big statement I know, but one you have to make peace with. It's ok, that's the media's job, but sometimes it's so easy to forget. So while it might be inspiring to check out the beautiful homes/fashion/whatever on Pinterest and Instagram, it can all at the same time be deflating, frustrating and overwhelming. And when you begin to compare your own life to something that has been carefully curated for your 'viewing and consuming pleasure', it's always going to be different. So what do you do? Here are my tips..
1. If you haven't turned off your TV yet, do it. I promise it will change your life.
2. Monitor how much media (especially social media) you consume each day and how it's making you feel. If you get that yucky overwhelmed feeling, it's time to put down the device and go outside.
3. If you really want to buy something new, write it on a wish list, then come back to it after a few weeks and ask yourself why you need it. We swear by this method in our home and use it from everything from home appliances to clothing. Remember that the point of trends is just to make you buy more stuff.
4. And if you get that 'my life isn't good enough, why doesn't my house look like that feeling', just repeat again.. None of this is 100% real. Then take a big deep breath and go have a cup of tea.
Influences & Inspiration: Now we've touched on the fact that social media can be inspiring and incredibly influential in both good and not so good ways, take a moment to list the people, places and things that inspire you to want to lead a happier, more simple life. You could even turn it into a vision board. You can see our 2015 vision board here. If you find yourself distracted from your own goals, come back to those inspirations, those people and places that nourish your soul and get you excited about the future. Even better than that, begin to cultivate your own inspiration. Grow something, start something new, write, paint, draw, dance, whatever it is that brings you joy. Rather than searching outwards for inspiration, begin looking inside and believe in the life that you are creating. This brings me to my next area, personal expectations.
Personal Expectations: So much about changing your paradigm and deciding to live more simply, comes down to your personal decisions and passions. What simple living looks like for one person, might be totally different for another. It's all about what is achievable and sustainable for you and your family. Most importantly, be realistic. Start where you can, with what you have. I've found a great plan is to make a list of the things you are doing or would like to do to simplify and improve in your life. It might be your simplifying your wardrobe or the kitchen, learning to cook from scratch, reducing debt or starting a veggie patch or worm farm (the top of my list right now).
1. Keep your list visible and revisit it often.
2. Make yourself accountable. This might mean sharing the list with others or documenting your journey.
3. Revise and reflect. It's not always possible achieve all your goals in a season or even a year. Be kind to yourself, reflect on your progress and make revisions. There is always room for adjustments and a new day tomorrow to try a different approach.
Most importantly remember, simple living in whatever form that takes for you, is not always simple. It takes time, planning, love, cultivation and patience. And slowly but surely it becomes a part of your everyday. As you begin to see the world differently, tune in, watch, listen and plant your feet in the earth. Connect with what brings you joy, let the other stuff go and don't forget to disconnect. Believe me, I know it's easier said than done. I still have to remind myself all the time. I promise though, the rewards for getting back to basics, for reflecting on what you consume, why and how you do it, tuning into the natural world and connecting with people and places what truly fill you with happiness are immeasurable.
Now over to you. What strategies do you use to stay on track? How do you tackle the complex world of social media? Do you keep a list or a vision board? I'd love to hear your ideas and stories.
Much Love & Light
PS. You can read more about my journey and our simple living goals here.