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Happy New Year | Part Four

I would venture to say true simplicity often isn’t even visible to others. Pursuing a simplified life is an internal journey, first and foremost — an opportunity for personal growth that also happens to add efficiency, and more importantly, joy and peace, to our lives. I’m passionate about simplicity because I believe it’s the precursor for so many things I want in my life. Pursuing simplicity means getting the clutter out of the way so we can set our focus on what matters most to us — our families, our friends, our careers, whatever lights us up. Simplicity is a mindset and lifestyle shift that makes room for the good stuff!

Because I know simplicity is the cornerstone for the life I want to create — the backbone for rest, grace, and wellness — I’m running after it more than anything else in 2019. If you’re ready to begin the journey toward a more simplified, joy-filled life, or you’re just hoping for a refresh in 2019, here are a couple of practices to incorporate into your routine.

Prepare yourself to be flexible. While routines and schedules pack a big punch in simplifying our lives, there’s no way to control our day-to-day. Life happens. The house will get messy. More clutter will magically emerge after you remove it. Part of simplicity is being willing to go with the flow when life gets tricky — and giving yourself loads of GRACE. As you begin to cultivate and implement routines that simplify your life, remind yourself that the best routines are ones that can be modified or scrapped, and life will go on.

Take stock of what you value first. Before you can begin removing things from your home, life, and schedule, it’s important to think about what you want to STAY. What are your core values as a person, and as a family? What brings you life? What are the absolute necessities for you to live a life of rest, grace, and wellness? What do you WANT your hours, days, and weeks to look and feel like? Carve out some time to journal and list the pillars of your life, or, if you’re a more visual person, get online and create a vision board. Once you determine what you want your life to look like, you can far more easily de-clutter AND build a routine that emphasizes these things.

Ruthlessly declutter your home. Organizing and decluttering your home (and office, and car, and iPhone … ) is a really practical way to create an environment that inspires you instead of overwhelms you. Fewer options (and less mess) make life more efficient, and honestly, more enjoyable. I get it: It’s SO easy to accumulate STUFF. Wrappers in the console of your car, kitchen gadgets you haven’t used in ages, clothes and toys your kids have outgrown. It happens to all of us. But what would your life feel like if that stuff wasn’t even part of the equation? If your senses and soul could really focus on the things that add color and beauty to your life? There’s no better time to ruthlessly declutter your life than the New Year. It’s the perfect backdrop for a fresh start. So grab your trash bags (seriously) and get it done. You’ll be surprised how amazing you feel in the absence of excess.

Remove anything that gets in the way of your joy. If we’re seeking a life of simplicity and joy, we’ll need to eliminate anything that drains us, even routines or practices we’ve grown used to. If Instagram is distracting you and causing anxiety, delete it (or move the icon to another screen). If your kids’ twice-weekly soccer practice adds stress to your routine and keeps you from connecting as a family, re-evaluate. If home-cooking meals every single night puts you on edge until dinnertime is over, think about if it’s worth it. Every commitment and routine and expectation comes with a trade-off. Think about if the investment is worth the emotional and physical energy, and remove anything that doesn’t add a sense of vibrancy to your life and home.

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