Holy cow, the last 6 months of 2017 has tried to kick my bootay…can I get an amen?
This entire year has taught me a lot about not only myself, but the world, what I want out of it, and especially the direction I’ll be taking in 2018 both in my personal and professional life.
One thing will remain the same as it has since 2013 when Justin and I made a pledge to reduce stress, stuff, and debt.
At the time we didn’t know it had a name. We were becoming “minimalists.”
Since 2013 I knew we were “weird” only having one car, sharing a phone, spending extra money on our debt instead of the flashiest flat screen….but I didn’t realize just how different we were.
Since taking our minimizing seriously, we have worked to pay off over $21,000 worth of debt….while BOTH being entrepreneurs. Whaaaaaaat?!
Today I want to share with you three of the most valuable steps we’ve taken to simplify our lives. These three things have been imperative to our success and I know that with empowering knowledge, a burning desire, and the appropriate action steps, you can do it, too.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
3 Ways to Simplify Your Life Starting Today
1. Reduce Clutter
There is life changing potential in this first step to simplify your life: reduce clutter.
Take a moment and look at the room you’re in. Does everything have a home? The remotes? Your 15 coffee mugs? How about the empty photo album sitting on the shelf, covered in dust, ready to be filled with the photos you have yet to print from your phone?
All this “stuff” we have lying around is actually holding you down. It’s overwhelming and, without you even realizing it, will keep you from reaching your potential.
A clear space creates a clear mind. Having a home for all of your things helps clean up. There is no distress in, “where does this go?”, “I can’t clean up because then I have to shove this somewhere”, ” I really need to clean out that junk drawer.”
One of my favorite ways of reducing clutter is taking 5 minutes to take the things that don’t have a home, or you’re not really in love with keeping, and putting them in an empty tote, out of sight.
Now, with a clearer space, start to organize what is left in front of you. If something doesn’t seem to fit, add it to the tote.
Put the tote out of sight and after 30 days, if you haven’t thought about it consider donating or selling it. If you have thought of something and you’re still not emotionally ready to let go of it, evaluate why you’re not ready to let it go, and if that reason is justified, place it back in the tote until you’re ready to send it on its way.
I’ve found that after a month, I’m generally ready to let things go. Although there have been a few items that have taken me 6 or so months to have peace about giving up. Simplifying your life is a process, be gentle (yet lovingly tough at the same time 😉 ) with yourself.
2. Turn off Your Phone Notifications
Wow, it wasn’t until I did this, did I feel the satisfying freedom of not having the notifications pop up every few seconds.
We live in a “squirrel-y” world; always jumping from thought to thought, short attentions spans, forgetting what we were doing seconds before because our phone lit up so, of course we go straight to it.
One day I was fed up with constant dings from social media apps, emails, and text messages so I went to the notification settings in my phone and took care of business.
Make a list of your notification priorities. For me it was text messages and phone calls.
Go through and turn off notifications to the remaining apps. Now you can check these apps whenever you have time or are mentally ready to (for me, this particularly applies to emails, I have to be in the right state of mind to answer emails.)
You’ll have to resist the tempatation every time an app tries to remind you to turn notifciations on, but once you experience “notification freedom” I think you’ll enjoy it so much, it will be easy to stay strong 😉
3. Cut Up Your Credit Cards
Yulp, you heard me right. A key step in simplifying your life is cutting up your cred it cards.
Credit cards are a way to live outside your means. You’re borrowing someone else’s money and paying them back extra later.
The only credit cards Justin and I have had since we’ve been married were Lowe’s and Best Buy.
Justin had used the Lowe’s card to help build our home, but once we paid it off, we went so long without charging that they cancelled our account! An oddly, awesome feeling! As for Best Buy, we’ve used it for their 12 months same as cash when purchasing my laptop for school, my cell phone outright (to avoid corporate cell phone payment scams…I mean plans 😉 ) and for an investment camera for our business and my blog. We’ve never been hit with extra interest because we are aware of our budget and what we need to pay to pay off our balance in time.
Cut up your credit cards. That’s really it. Evaluate why you have the credit card. Are you using it for things and stuff you don’t need? Are you using it to invest in your education i.e. My computer for nutritional therapy school? Or another reason?
I steer clear of all credit cards, and while I’ve heard stories of individuals and families using them to their advantage…absolutely, 100% do not use them as a form of income. And if you do choose to charge something, take a mindful approach to it: would you buy this item if you could hand the cashier cold, hard cash?
Debt weighs you down, especially mentally and emotionally. You owe someone something, and that’s never fun.
I mentioned changing the direction of Naturally Katie in 2018.
I noticed that I’ve been holding back talking about some of the things I’m most passionate about because I “thought” I was supposed to exclusively talk about nutrition, and nutrition only. But since I’ve given myself permission to venture out in discussing the areas of my life less talked about, like minimalism, yoga, and my lifestyle as a whole, ideas and content have been flying through my mind.
That being said, I’m happy to announce that the blog you just read and co-hosting @rebellenutrition ‘s Making A Minimalist Challenge are the first two steps into introducing this new content to my audience and the Naturally Katie community as a whole!
You can still expect nutrition and holistic lifestyle content, because, well, I’m super passionate about those two things, but expect a whole lot more. More content, more fun, and more tools to help you change your perspective and life in 2018.
Stay on the lookout for what’s coming 🙂
As for the Making a Minimalist Challenge, it begins January 1st!
It’s a 5 day challenge hosted by Amie from Rebelle Nutrition and it includes daily emails, prompts, and FB lives from Amie, herself + a slew of co-hosts, including me!
I’ll be going live on Wednesday, January 3rd at 3pm EST talking about how to minimize debt, eliminate credit card use, and how decreasing debt increases freedom.
Sign up by visiting http://www.rebellenutrition.com/mamchallenge. Amie’s first challenge included over 2,000 people who worked together and supported each other in the life changing process of needing less to live more.
I can’t wait to see each of you simplifying your life and alongside all of us!
In love and health,