Finding a Simple Balanced Life

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One of my goals moving forward in my life is to live a more balanced, simple life. In the fast-paced, stressed out society we live in it’s very easy to forget about what’s really important to us. It’s easy to want more and more, and get caught up with always having the next best thing. It’s also easy to get caught up in social media, news, TV and other distractions and lose site of what we really want in life. In my research to find ways to obtain a more simple life I came across this great Simple Living Manifesto. The manifesto lists 72 ways to simplify you life. I cut this list down to 20 ways (look I am already simplifying!) that fit into the scope of my balanced simple life project. I think these are all great ways for not only myself, but anyone to re-examine their life and find a more balanced and simple life.

  1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.
  2. Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home to civic to kids’ activities to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things.
  3. Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much.
  4. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, messages, Facebook, cell phones, and more. It can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, put a limit on your communications: only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes. Only do Facebook once a day, for a limited amount of time. Limit phone calls to certain times too. Same with any other communications. Set a schedule and stick to it.
  5. Limit your screen time. Screens can come to dominate our lives. Whether it’s TV, your phone or a computer sometimes we are staring at a screen for the better part of our day. Try and limit this or even drop it from your day all together.
  6. Do what you love. Once you’ve freed up some time, be sure to spend that extra time doing things you love. Go back to your list of 4-5 important things. Do those, and nothing else.
  7. Spend time with people you love. Again, the list of 4-5 important things probably contains some of the people you love (if not, you may want to re-evaluate). Whether those people are a spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them and talk to them.
  8. Spend time alone. Alone time is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. It sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s extremely calming. And this quiet is necessary for finding out what’s important to you.
  9. Be present. These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity.
  10. Learn to live frugally. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It’s directly related to simplicity.
  11. Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … you get the idea. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long term.
  12. Exercise. This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life in the long run, but it goes even further: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better. It’s great.
  13. Learn to decompress from stress. Every life is filled with stress — no matter how much you simplify your life, you’ll still have stress (except in the case of the ultimate simplifier, death). So after you go through stress, find ways to decompress.
  14. Find a creative outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, poetry, painting, drawing, creating movies, designing websites, dance, skateboarding, whatever. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that makes your life much more fulfilling. Allow this to replace much of the busy-work you’re eliminating from your life.
  15. Simplify your goals. Instead of having half a dozen goals or more, simplify it to one goal. Not only will this make you less stressed, it will make you more successful. You’ll be able to focus on that One Goal, and give it all of your energy. That gives you much better chances for success.
  16. Create a morning writing ritual. If you enjoy writing, make it a peaceful, productive ritual.
  17. Learn to do nothing. Doing nothing can be an art form, and it should be a part of every life.
  18. Go for quality, not quantity. Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life … instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.
  19. Fill your day with simple pleasures. Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day.
  20. Always ask: Will this simplify my life?If the answer is no, reconsider.

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