INSIDE: This post is a guest post by Karen from Slow Motion Mama. In it, you’ll find five nuggets of wisdom that offer a spot of minimalist encouragement and serve as gentle reminders for your minimalist journey. Looking to simplify your life? You’ll love these tips. Let’s dive in!
A fork in the road…
There are times when life leads up to a crossroad and a decision must be made. You must choose whether to press on along the current path or turn and go another way. Perhaps the journey has been more difficult than you imagined. Maybe something has happened along the way that was unexpected. Obstacles arose that feel insurmountable.
Whenever you are pursuing a goal, it requires change. And change is tough – to initiate and to maintain.
You know you want to simplify your life, but your vision of what life could be is so far off from where you are in this moment that it seems like a pipe dream. Others have told you as much. But, I’m here to tell you that they are wrong. The dream buried in your heart for the life you desire is attainable. You can do this.
Here are 5 minimalist encouragement tips to serve as gentle reminders along the path to simplifying your life.
#1. | Choose your own adventure
It’s important to remember that minimalism is unique to each of us. What is minimalist to me might not be to you. Some minimalists can count every item they own. Some couldn’t even do that in one room!
Minimalism is not about adhering to a set of strict rules or depriving yourself of material possessions. It’s about analysing your priorities and building a life that reflects them. Sure, it has to do with stuff, but that’s just the start. Minimalism, as a lifestyle, goes much deeper than that.
To be successful in maintaining minimalism, you have to understand your values and your priorities. Maybe you’re feeling discouraged – like you’re failing at this minimalism thing because you’re not measuring up to some rigid definition you hold in your mind.
But have you ever stopped to analyse if that vision is even what you want?
Make sure that whatever goals you’re working toward, you’re working toward them because they are things you want. Not things you feel pressured to achieve or ways you feel you should measure up.
Minimalist encouragement tip #1:Don’t try to force anyone else’s definition of minimalism onto your life. This is your gentle reminder to make the journey to simplify and the goals you want to achieve unique to you.
#2. | Pick your pace
Time is a factor that limits us all. We only have 24 hours in a day and an endless stream of things to do during it. And while minimising your schedule will help you regain some of those tick-tocks, there are also seasons of life that will just be busier than others.
Recognising the limitations of time on your life can help you give yourself some grace. If you’re working full-time, raising young kids and fulfilling other responsibilities, it can feel challenging to work on simplifying (however, I might also argue that the lack of time is exactly why you need to work on it!). Instead of stressing out about what little time you have to focus on minimising and decluttering, with whatever time you do have, be intentional.
Minimalism is not a race. Sure, there are some people who get hyper-focused on achieving their goals and declutter their houses top to bottom in a month. If that’s you, go for it! But if your journey develops a little more slowly, that’s okay. Progress is progress. Focus on doing something every day, no matter how small, to move the needle toward the life you want.
I’ve had weeks where I have decluttered 700 items and weeks where the best I could do was toss the broken toy my son handed to me. Sure, the 700 weeks feel amazing, and rightly so! Just don’t get so addicted to the high of simplifying that you become disheartened when you make slower progress. Simplifying your life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Don’t feel like you’re failing just because your home isn’t reflecting your vision just yet or your schedule is still too busy. Keep working toward the vision you have for your life, knowing that you are still moving forward, no matter how slowly.
Minimalist encouragement tip #2: Maintaining minimalism can only be achieved when you honour the process as part of your life. This is your gentle reminder to recognize what pace works for you in the season of life you’re in.
#3. | Become more intentional – in action and in practice
Similar to the old idiom what goes up must come down, when it comes to our homes, what goes in must come out. It’s important to be mindful of what we bring into our homes. Everything takes space. And when we give stuff residency in our homes, there’s an opportunity cost – it costs time to clean, maintain, repair, and remove. Before you buy something, think about the true cost and determine if it’s worth it.
In an effort to become more intentional with stuff, I started an annual challenge this January where I’m tracking all incoming items into our home. I’ve been practising minimalism and budgeting for several years now, so I knew my shopping habits were in check. However, I was shocked to see how many things entered our home because they were given to us! I highly encourage you to try this challenge for yourself (even for a month or a week) to build awareness of the flow of stuff into your home.
While you’re becoming more intentional with your stuff, also be more aware of how you’re using your time. Look for habits you can cut from your day (social media is mine!) that will give you more time to work toward your goals. Even if you can gain 10 minutes, that’s 10 minutes to declutter, tidy or reflect.
Reflection is often the step we skip because we run out of time to do it all. But it’s a step that’s so critical. Without reflection, you cannot judge how you are moving toward your goals. Without time to be retrospective, you won’t recognize opportunities for clarity or redirection.
Minimalist encouragement tip #3: Being intentional is the secret to success on your journey to maintain minimalism in your life. Use this tip as a gentle minimalist reminder to continually focus on your priorities. It’s never too late to cut out the noise and simplify your life.
#4. | Focus on the journey, not the obstacles
We fail at our goals when we see the obstacles in our life as dead-end signs instead of speed bumps. Things happen that toss everyone off course – illnesses, work projects, seasons of busy, holiday obligations, costly mistakes. The difference between those that are successful in achieving goals and those that are still dreaming about achieving goals is perseverance.
Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. And if the problem is an actual mountain, give it the time and attention it requires. Know that your journey toward minimalism will be waiting when you have the time to dedicate to it again.
Minimalist encouragement tip #4: Know that obstacles and situations are bound to arise that can throw you off course. Let me gently remind you that it’s not the end of the road unless you make it so.
#5. | Minimalism will always require work
The truth is minimalism is counter-cultural. As just like swimming against the current is harder than going with the flow, living an a-typical lifestyle will always require more effort than not. But, the more you pursue minimalism and align your life to simple, the easier it becomes.
The current is strong when you first jump into the river of minimalism. You’re adjusting to the temperature, getting a lay of your surroundings, and finding your true north. However, once you understand the situation, and start figuring out your technique, swimming against the current becomes easier.
Don’t give up because the water’s cold or the swim is long. Find the stroke that works for you, set your course, and keep your eye on the prize – a simplified life you love!
Minimalist encouragement tip #5:The path to living a simple life is the road less travelled. Let me gently remind you that it is well worth the effort it takes to attain and keep a minimalist lifestyle.
Staying encouraged on your journey to simplify your life…
As a practice, minimalism can be a lot to take in when you are first getting started. It can also be challenging to maintain minimalism when life gets complicated. However, I truly believe minimalism shouldn’t be seen as something “extra” you need to do or fit into your days. Minimalism is the essential framework you need to organise your days and accomplish your big dreams.
When you plan your time, organize your home and budget your money through the filter of minimalism, life becomes simpler. Decisions become easier. And the days become less complicated. It takes intentional effort at first because change can be hard. But as Zig Ziglar said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly – until you can learn to do it well”.
If I can offer you any minimalist encouragement, it is this: keep going. Don’t worry about if you’re “doing it right”. Don’t stress over not progressing in your decluttering like you want to. Give yourself grace if your schedule is still a mess. Just keep going.
Like bamboo growing for years underground before it breaks through the soil to the sunlight, so is your minimalist journey. Every time you make a choice that aligns with your vision for your life, you’re making progress toward your goals to simplify. You’re getting a little more minimalist. Don’t give up. You’re about to break through the dirt into the glorious sunshine.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen is a teacher, wife, and mama of two littles who aspires to simplify her life, achieve financial freedom, and travel the world. She writes at Slow Motion Mama, where she teaches others how to curate their homes, streamline their finances, unbusy their schedules, and tackle their big dreams. She loves island life, all things food, photography, and European cappuccinos.
A spot of minimalist encouragement…
Thank you so much for this post, Karen! I just love the analogy of swimming against the current. It’s so true for whenever we start something new. It’s pretty tough to get started and it can be hard to take the leap and dive in. But if we have faith, if we trust the process and keep going, we CAN accomplish our dreams! Here are the five minimalist encouragement tips again:
- Minimalist encouragement tip #1: Don’t try to force anyone else’s definition of minimalism onto your life. This is your gentle reminder to make the journey to simplify and the goals you want to achieve unique to you.
- Minimalist encouragement tip #2: Maintaining minimalism can only be achieved when you honour the process as part of your life. This is your gentle reminder to recognize what pace works for you in the season of life you’re in.
- Minimalist encouragement tip #3: Being intentional is the secret to success on your journey to maintain minimalism in your life. Use this tip as a gentle minimalist reminder to continually focus on your priorities. It’s never too late to cut out the noise and simplify your life.
- Minimalist encouragement tip #4: Know that obstacles and situations are bound to arise that can throw you off course. Let me gently remind you that it’s not the end of the road unless you make it so.
- Minimalist encouragement tip #5: The path to living a simple life is the road less travelled. Let me gently remind you that it is well worth the effort it takes to attain and keep a minimalist lifestyle.
There you have it…five gentle reminders about minimalism!
I hope these little nuggets of minimalist wisdom encourage you to keep striving towards a life more simple. And whenever you’re having a tough time, just remember the bamboo. You might not yet see the fruits of your labour, but you never know when you’re about to break through the dirt and see that sunshine!
For more great tips on living a life more intentional, be sure to check out Karen’s blog over at Slow Motion Mama. She even has a FREE Big Goals Printable that you can download. Consider it your very own planning guide for outlining your own course for victory! Find it here.
That’s it for this post! Which minimalist encouragement tip resonated with you the most? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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