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Setting Boundaries and what to do if You Feel Guilty About Saying No

Be More With Less - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:17

Why does setting boundaries and protecting what we need most for ourselves sometimes make us feel guilty?

Setting boundaries and what to do if you feel bad or guilty about saying no.

If you feel guilty about setting boundaries, instead of dismissing the practice altogether, explore the guilt.

When I feel bad or guilty about something, I write it down. I write all my thoughts and feelings on paper so I can really examine what’s going on instead of letting my mind get carried away. In other words, I don’t believe every thought that crosses my mind.

Write it down and ask the following questions:

  • Why do I feel guilty for taking care of myself?
  • Is this really guilt or is it something else?
  • Why don’t I trust people enough to let them know what I need?
  • If a friend needed to create boundaries for their own wellbeing, would I fault them for it or support them?

Once you explore the guilt, you may discover it’s not guilt at all.

What you are feeling is likely discomfort which is very common if you aren’t used to creating and honoring your boundaries.

If you aren’t willing to experience the discomfort though, you might be resentful of yourself or others for not giving you what you need. I don’t know about you, but if I have to choose, I’d rather feel uncomfortable instead of resentful.

Discomfort fades more quickly and it’s not steeped in anger and animosity like resentment is.

If it’s fear of disappointing others that holds you back from setting boundaries, start with boundaries only you have to honor. It’s a good way to practice.

Most of the boundaries I set are ones only I have to honor. For instance … 

  • No email or social media before I’ve meditated, moved, written and read.
  • Show up ten minutes early for every appointment.
  • Dress with 33 items or less.

We often think of boundaries as harsh or mean, but they are kind. Boundaries aren’t designed to shut others out, but instead, when you set a boundary, you are giving yourself permission to take care of yourself.

When you set and honor your boundaries, you are saying …

I am important to me.

I am important to my loved ones.

Taking care of myself matters.

You can’t please everyone. You just can’t.

You may have noticed that when you try to make everyone happy all the time, the only result is burnout and even more disappointment.

If you need to set boundaries for your own mental and/or physical wellbeing, do it. Don’t worry about who you might upset. That part isn’t up to you.

Eventually, everyone will benefit from you taking really good care of yourself.

The post Setting Boundaries and what to do if You Feel Guilty About Saying No appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

21 Ways to Simplify Your Life in Five Minutes

Be More With Less - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 13:33

You can simplify in five minutes.

Life is busy and uncertain. You are short on time and energy. It’s hard to start something new. Decluttering your house or paying down debt could take years. Downsizing and relocating, or changing careers seems out of reach. Simplifying your life sounds like it could take forever.

That might all be true or not, but don’t let it stand in your way of getting started.

When you make big change small, you don’t have to worry about how much time it’s going to take or what the big picture plan is. You’ll feel less overwhelmed if you can be proactive even in a small way.

Twenty-one ways to (begin or continue to) simplify your life in five minutes.

Choose one of the following recommendations. Set a timer for five minutes and then stop when you complete the activity or your five minutes is up.

Tomorrow, try another one.

You could do them all in one day, but I recommend one or two a day to help build momentum. Consistency is more important than intensity, so a little bit each day will help you progress in a more enjoyable, meaningful way.

1. Cancel a non-essential appointment or item from your to-do list.

2. Dump your junk drawer in a bag and hide it. In 30 days, if you don’t remember what’s in the bag, get rid of it.

3. Make an appointment for a preventative exam (dentist, mammogram, physical). Life is always simpler when you are healthy.

4. Send me an email about something you are struggling to simplify. I’ll send you back my thoughts (If more than 10 people respond, I’ll make you a Q & A audio recording).

5. Delete games, social media, or other apps that keep you staring at your phone.

6. If you are in debt, read this 21-day guide to help you become debt free.

7. Unsubscribe from retail accounts and things you never signed up for.

8. Start your morning with five minutes of meditation or gentle stretches.

9. Start the 30-day mins game. Find one item to donate today, tomorrow find two, the next day three and so on.

10. Follow @bemorewithless on Instagram for weekly live calls to inspire you to simplify.

11. Join the Be More with Less Facebook Page for simplicity challenges like this one.

12. Call local donation centers and see who will pick up your clutter when it’s ready so you don’t have to drive it around.

13. Put an inspiring simplicity book on hold at the library. Start with one of these:

14. If you are sick and tired, read this article.

15. Make a list or write about how you’d spend your time if you weren’t so busy.

16. Make a cup of tea and stare out the window.

17. Put on your shoes and head out the door for a walk.

18. Put a box by the front door. Put clutter in it every day.

19. Grab any clothes from your closet that you haven’t worn in more than a year and donate them.

20. Call a friend and schedule a day to support each other as you declutter (in person or virtually).

21. Sit quietly and put your hands on your heart.

As you work through these recommendations or choose action steps of your own, don’t compare or compete.

This isn’t a contest or a competition.

This is your life.

The post 21 Ways to Simplify Your Life in Five Minutes appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

10 Conversation Starters (or Journaling Prompts) to Help You Let Go

Be More With Less - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 12:33

These 10 conversation starters (or journaling prompts) will help you let go with more ease. With all of the focus around minimalism, simplicity, decluttering, and capsule wardrobes, it’s easy to believe that a simple life is the dream, but a simple life is not the end goal.

We don’t remove clutter, reduce stress, and boycott busyness to have a simple life.

We do it to have a life.

Letting go doesn’t come naturally for most of us, but there are some things we can do to make it easier. If you are struggling to let go of something or to declutter your stuff, take a step back. Maybe you’ve decluttered enough, or this isn’t the right time.

It might not be the right time to declutter if …

You don’t feel well.
Instead of running yourself down cleaning and decluttering, rest and take care of yourself. You’ll make better decisions when you feel well.

You are grieving.
If you’ve lost someone close to you and feel pressured to declutter their things, pause. Take care of yourself first.

You’ve recently let go of a lot of stuff.
Maybe it’s time to stop decluttering and appreciate the new space you’ve created.

If this is the right time, but you don’t know where to start consider these 10 questions to help you let go.

Use these questions as journaling prompts or as conversation starters if you are decluttering with someone else. Dig deeper with more questions here. Remember the goal isn’t a clean countertop, organized book shelf or even a simple life. You want to get your life back and that may require some soul-searching.

1. Why do I want to declutter my life?

Understand why you want to make a change, write it down, and use your why to motivate you when you don’t feel like decluttering, or when you lose motivation.

2. What are the most stressful areas of my life?

Sometimes we only think of clutter as stuff in our home, but often we find clutter in our finances, calendars, to-do lists, and other areas. Determining the most stressful area may give you some direction in terms of where to start.

3. How do I really want to spend my time?

Because we are so busy, we don’t often take the time to ask this question but it’s an important one. Do you want to spend the time you aren’t working and taking care of your family buying new things and taking care of your stuff, or do you want to spend it in other ways?

4. Would I buy this today?

As you are decluttering, ask yourself, would I buy this today? If the answer is no, you can let it go. Take it a step further and add up what you’ve spent on the items you wear (clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories) over the last five-ten years. What would you do with that money if you had it all back today?

5. Do I need help or really good music?

If you are completely overwhelmed and unmotivated, decide what you need to move forward. Maybe you need help from a friend or a professional, or maybe you just need some really good music and a big glass of water.

6. Do I really need more than one?

Be honest with yourself. Do you need more than one set of measuring cups/spoons? Sunglasses? Purse? Wallet? Pair of gloves? The items and answers will be different for everyone, but it can be a delight to discover that one is enough.

7. Am I holding on “just in case”?

The just in case excuse for holding on is a messy combination of fear and procrastination. We hold on because we aren’t quite ready to let go but we rarely use or enjoy the just in case stuff we keep. Take a look in the back of your closet, in the junk drawer, under the sink or in boxes in the garage or attic and it’s clear that just in case means never.

8. Do I own this for the life I have or the life I want?

The aspirational ownership struggle is real. If you aren’t enjoying and using the things you own, perhaps you purchased them for the kind of life you wish you had, or for a life you used to have, or for a life you want people to think you have. Consider how you might be more present and engaged in your real life if you got rid of those things.

9. Do I need it right now?

While you are decluttering, slow the inflow too. Stop buying things you want or think you need. Pause and ask the question, “do I need it right now?” If you can, wait 30 days before you buy it. Chances are your interest will fade.

10. Is there another void I am trying to fill?

As we declutter and let go of stuff, busyness, mind spinning and heartache, things may feel empty at first. And empty can hurt. So we fill the spaces to relieve the pain. The answers you are looking for are often in the space (or emptiness) in our homes and on our calendars if we are willing to ask the questions and listen.

As author Dave Bruno says, “Stuff is not passive. Stuff wants your time, attention and allegiance.” Luckily, you get to choose what will get your time, attention and allegiance. I have a feeling it’s not going to be new stuff to store.

Tomorrow (1/31) is the LAST day of the very LAST year of A Simple Year.

If you are interested in joining A Simple Year, tomorrow is the very last day to join the very last year.

Registration closes (forever) on January 31st. I recorded a webinar last week giving an overview and answering questions about everything from what topics we’ll cover, to the Facebook group, to our refund policy. You can watch the replay here.

Learn more about our contributors and monthly topics and join here.

The post 10 Conversation Starters (or Journaling Prompts) to Help You Let Go appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Books to Inspire Simplicity, Peace and Wellness (and some just for fun)

Be More With Less - Thu, 01/24/2019 - 12:53

I just finished writing the new Project 333 book! It’s in my editor’s hands now which means I have time and space to read again. Most of the books I read are to inspire simplicity, peace and wellness but I also like reading just for fun and relaxation.

I don’t like to read when I am writing a book. It’s easier for me to write my own words when I’m not reading other words at the same time. It may sound silly because the more we read, the better we write, but for me it can’t all happen at the same time.


Now that I’m back in reading mode, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the books I’m enjoying and others I’m looking forward to reading soon.

Enjoying these books right now:

I like having the combination of non-fiction, fiction and audio-book going at the same time. I typically read non-fiction in the morning, listen to an audio-book while walking and read fiction at night.

The Power of Now: I’m reading this now and plan to read it over and over again for the rest of my life.

Becoming: This is the audiobook I’m listening to when I walk.

Still Lives: I just started this novel.

I read these books over the last few weeks:

The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life

One Day in December: A Novel

Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out

Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal

I’ll be reading these books very soon:

Where Did You Go?: A Life-Changing Journey to Connect with Those We’ve Lost

The Inner Beauty Bible

Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being

The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self-Care

These books aren’t available yet, but I look forward to reading them.

Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to Being Happy, Confident, and You in a Looks-Obsessed World

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game

City of Girls: A Novel

I find the most pleasure in reading books that friends and family recommend. Check out these books that my daughter recommends (along with her strategy for establishing a reading habit). I also subscribe to Book of the Month Club in an effort to boost my fiction reading.

Once I’m done reading, I give my books away. If you aren’t sure what to with books you’ve read, I recommend giving them to friends or donating them to libraries, retirement homes, or neighborhood little libraries.

A few things … 

  • I almost called this article, “I Quit Drinking Coffee so I Can’t Write Today.” I’m on day five with no coffee and the un-caffeinated struggle is real. I didn’t stop drinking coffee because I wanted to, but for other reasons. I’ll be sharing more on Monday’s Instagram Live call at 5pm EST. Join me here.
  • Registration for A Simple Year, 12 months of guided simplicity closes on January 31st. This is our last year! Learn more about the program here. If you aren’t sure if A Simple Year is right for you, check out this recorded Q & A webinar.

The post Books to Inspire Simplicity, Peace and Wellness (and some just for fun) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

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