We’re at the start of a new year. You might have started thinking of resolutions to make. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions in the traditional sense of the concept. I find that often instead of helping us move forward (that is the goal, right?), instead, it can put us under too much pressure.
So, in place of setting big (all too often, unrealistic) resolutions that can then overwhelm and set us up for failure, I propose looking for ways to simplify your life in the new year. Make room for more. More of what makes you happy.
Simplify Your Life in the New Year
How exactly do you simplify your life? Obviously, this can vary from person to person, but here are 5 ideas that everyone can put in place to clear out room for what really matters.
Start meal planning.
Seriously, I cannot tell you the peace that comes from planning your meals ahead of time. No, you don’t have to become one of those people who spends a weekend prepping enough meals for the whole month. Even planning only a few days at a time can be so freeing.
Knowing what we’re going to have for dinner before dinnertime saves time, money, and aggravation. Have a hard time coming up with ideas? Check out my weekly meal plans here.
Clear the clutter.
I’m not talking about differences in decorating styles. Some people prefer a more minimalist look while others like a fuller, cozier one. Either way, keeping unnecessary items around can drain your energy and add to your stress levels.
When my daughter was little, we always went through her toys just before St. Nicholas Eve. She would choose items she no longer wanted and the elves would come and pick them up to share with some other children. We continue this tradition even now – minus the elves.
The holidays/winter season are a great time to evaluate your stuff. Do you have anything that you no longer need? Things that no longer make you happy? Send these off to a thrift store or charity and clear out some space for the new year.
Clear your mind.
Are you carrying around any negative thoughts or feelings? While you’re purging things from your life, get rid of these too! As Elsa says, it’s time to let it go. Let go of the toxic people in your life. Release the guilt. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Forgive others for theirs.
If it helps you to take a physical, tangible step in clearing your mind, try this. Write it all down – everything you want to release. Then burn the piece of paper. If you can’t do that safely, try tearing it up into as many pieces as you can. Symbolically let it all go and move forward with a lighter heart.
Rethink your to do list.
What are your priorities? Family, friends, community, self care, faith? It’s a good idea to sit down and really think about these. Put them down on paper. How well are these reflected in your to do list?
We all have basic tasks that need to be done – preparing food, cleaning, grooming, earning a living, and so on. But beyond those, many of us end up spending too much time on things that aren’t necessary and don’t really matter. Eliminate what you can. For the rest, create routines, enlist others and delegate, or even consider hiring some help.
All of these tips can be implemented ANYTIME throughout the year to help you gain some balance and make your life a little bit easier.