This month, in spending time in reflection, being self-aware and harnessing positive thoughts, I’ve realised that it is important to define the things that matter most to you. And in doing that we need to be intentional about taking steps to respond to those things.
We like to complicate life and stray away from the simplicity of day to day “in the moment” living by creating barriers and being defined by other people.
But this year of monthly challenges is all about being more of “me” as I define it and less of “me” as current society decides it should be.
For that reason, here are the 12 steps that are important to me in my ‘Simple Living’ challenge.
12 Steps to Simple Living
1. Do not isolate yourself. It’s a big world out there but it gets smaller as you branch out more. Never be afraid to ask others for help, say “yes” to more invites, call that old friend up out of the blue! You will be surprised where this takes you.
2. Shh… listen, don’t speak – take time to listen, think carefully and work out what your mean before you speak. You cannot take words back once they are said, so guard your tongue. Show empathy and be compassionate.
3. Don’t let fear make your decisions. How many times have thoughts of what might go wrong got in the way of you pursuing the things you want to do? Fear is the number 1 dream-killer. Don’t let what might happen get in the way of what could happen.
4. Own your happiness – take responsibility of your feelings and emotions. Happiness is something you create within yourself and no person or circumstance should have the ability to take it away from you. Do what it takes to make you happier, you only have one life!
5. Change – you know you’ve been wrong, you know you make mistakes. Change! Always aim to be the best version of you and don’t make the same mistakes twice!
6. Be kind & understanding. You don’t know what someone has gone through to get where they are today, so assume the best in people. Give them a chance! So often we judge others from afar but when we get to know them, we wonder why we didn’t meet them sooner.
7. Have role models. It is good to have someone we look up to, but be careful not to put them on a pedestal or compare yourself to them. You are your own unique you and role models should be there to encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves.
8. Surround yourself with your goals. If you want to be a dancer, hang out with dancers, similarly, if you want to be more patient then spend time with patient people. You become like those you surround yourself with so choose carefully where you invest that time.
9. Release emotions creatively and healthily. There are many creative ways of expressing emotion. Things like painting, dancing, writing, singing and even cooking or baking. All of these are gifts to enable us to express ourselves and give an outlet for emotion. Too often we fold into ourselves or lash out when we are experiencing negative emotions, but next time try directing those emotions into something creative as a way of healthily expressing your feelings.
10. Be spiritual. See the world as more than just a physical place. Don’t stop seeking more. Whether it be more enlightenment, more love, more peace or more faith. Expand your knowledge, deepen your understanding, grow in wisdom.
11. Be healthy. Your body is a precious temple, look after it. It is our only “earth suit” and it isn’t easy to repair when it’s broken. So take very good care of it and invest in it. Choose to eat more veg and less meat, drink more water and less alcohol, exercise to keep everything mobile and strong, don’t take sleep for granted, make sure you give your body enough time too regenerate each night and keep up the personal hygiene (if not for your sake then for everyone else). It will be worth the investment in the long run!
12. Know who you are! – Finally, always remember, you are good enough, you are capable, you are strong; you will achieve your goals. Don’t ever let anyone else define your worth, know your value and don’t settle for being treated less than what you are. You are beautiful!
The monthly challenges I have set myself are all part of this journey. The hope is that by the end of this year, life will be more purposeful and intentional as I rid myself of complications and just simply be me.