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simplicity is love
Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Little Happiness Boosts (when your heart needs a lift)

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:45

If only we could put happiness in a bottle and access it when we are feeling down. I’m learning that feeling happy is not only dependent on what’s happening around us, but on what’s happening on the inside too.

I don’t know the secret to happiness or how to feel happy all the time, but here are a few things I do know about happiness.

  • It’s ok not to feel ok all the time.
  • Happiness comes and goes and then it comes back again.
  • People aren’t always as happy as they want you to think they are.
  • We can go through something really hard or sad and still feel happy.
  • We have more power than we think when it comes to creating happiness.

Two of my favorite people, Marc and Angel Chernoff specialize in cultivating love and happiness. They study positive psychology, write about what they learn and even host an annual conference to encourage others to live differently by thinking differently. They share amazing, inspiring information but what I really love about them is that they walk the walk. I’ve spent time with them, had very meaningful conversations with them, watched them with their son, their parents, friends, and clients. They are the real deal. Their desire to lift people up is palpable.

I’m happy to celebrate the release of their new book, Getting Back to Happy. It invites us to change our lives by changing our thoughts. The powerful lessons and action steps delivered throughout the book mixed with beautiful stories of people experiencing heartbreak, trauma, and hopelessness who rise up don’t just bring us back to happy. They bring us back to hope, to love, and to trusting ourselves to become  who we want to be and to live rich, full lives full of what matters most.

Again, while I don’t know the secret to happiness, what I do know is that we have the power to infuse our days with little boosts of happiness, even when things are messy, or painful.

If you need a little extra happiness today, I recommend the following happiness boosts …

  • Making someone else happy. Send flowers, or a text message, or something else. Boosting someone’s happiness always boosts mine too.
  • Be Grateful. Find something – even the tiniest thing to be grateful for.
  • Take a joy walk. Leave your step counter at home and walk for the joy of it. Notice the beauty around you. Make your walk an adventure to spot things that make you smile.
  • Shorten your to-do list. If I’m overwhelmed with too many things to do, I don’t feel happy. When I lighten up my list, I lighten my heart at the same time.
  • Write your happy down. Reflect on the ordinary, everyday things that make you happy and write them down. Use your list as a reminder that even when everything feels chaotic or messy, you have a reserve of happiness to tap into. Things on my list include cuddles with this pup, sunrises and sunsets, music and coffee.

Find Marc and Angel’s book, Getting Back to Happy here or enter to win a copy here on Instagram with your best happiness boosting suggestion.

The post Little Happiness Boosts (when your heart needs a lift) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Anti-Procrastination Decluttering Challenge: 10 Spaces, 10 Minutes, 100 Items

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 09:17

Even though we know how to declutter, our procrastination tendencies kick in when it’s time to get started. We think, “today is the day to start decluttering” and our friend, procrastination steps in and offers the following …

  • “There is so much to do.”
  • “Where should we start?”
  • “Is that really the best place to start?”
  • “What’s on Netflix?”
  • “Did you exercise today?”
  • “This is going to take forever.”
  • “Come on, it’s your day off. Do you really want to spend it decluttering?”
  • “There will be plenty of time tomorrow to get started.”

The secret to combating procrastination is to build momentum. It also helps to trick procrastination into having fun. Instead of making your decluttering project a big chore, turn it into a challenge. Bonus: a challenge may interest decluttering resistant family members too.

Procrastination will fight our intention to spend a full day decluttering, but 10 minutes? We can do anything for 10 minutes. Choose a space, set a timer for 10 minutes and put 10 items from each space in a box or bag. By the time you finish, procrastination won’t know what hit him. Use the momentum you create by tackling another space, or going for 10 more items in the space you are in.

You may not need to declutter all 10 of these spaces so choose the ones that resonate with you and add on spaces as needed.

Decluttering Challenge: 10 Spaces, 10 Minutes, 100 Items

1. Purse/Briefcase/Backpack
Dump the contents from your daily bag. Only add the items you use back in. Let go of the rest.

2. Bathroom
Get rid of old cosmetics (see this for expiry guidelines), expired prescriptions and OTC meds (here’s how to dispose of them). Take a sweep through each drawer and cabinet. If there are unopened items (toothpaste, shampoo, soap) or similar items that you know you will never use, donate to a local homeless shelter.

3. Hall Closet
I’ve never seen the inside of your hall closet, but I can almost guarantee there are things in there you don’t need, don’t want and don’t even remember you have. I’ll be checking my hall closet this afternoon!

4. Pantry
If you bought food for a special diet and then never did the special diet or opened the food packaging, donate it to a food pantry. If there are other things you never use, let it go and make space. Or, challenge yourself to use everything in your pantry before buying anything new.

5. Nightstand
Make the space near where you sleep simple and peaceful.

6. Outdoor space
Tackle balconies, porches, front yards and backyards. Even when it’s outside, clutter is clutter.

7. Car
From the glove box to the trunk, do a sweep of your car. You’ll probably eliminate that annoying rattling noise in the process.

8. Inbox
If your inbox has become a 2 year to-do list, start deleting for 10 minutes at a time. If it’s a lost cause, consider email bankruptcy.

9. Head space
What’s swirling around up there? Write down 10 things that are on your mind, weighing you down, and preventing you from thinking clearly. The simple process of moving your worries from brain to paper will help you figure out the next step.

10. Money
Open your banking account and see what you’ve spent money on over the last 30 days. Make a list of the 10 things you want to spend less on, and cancel monthly subscriptions that aren’t serving you anymore.

Now that you’ve let procrastination know that you are the boss, consider these other challenges to continue to build decluttering momentum.

The value of personal experiments and challenges goes far beyond clean countertops. Keep asking questions like … “wouldn’t it be crazy if?” and see what happens.

P.S. Music helps! Listen to your favorite music while taking on one of these challenges.

The post Anti-Procrastination Decluttering Challenge: 10 Spaces, 10 Minutes, 100 Items appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Top 3 Decluttering Excuses for Holding on to Crap You Don’t Need

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 13:39

Decluttering excuses allow us hold on to crap we don’t need. If you struggle to let go (and most of us do), you might find yourself using one or more of the following decluttering excuses. I’ve used them all and in talking with people over the years, I hear them come up a lot.

1. I might need that someday.
This is a lie I told myself over and over again. I still catch myself doing it. What I’ve realized though is that most of the time, just in case means never. While there will always be unique situations, this excuse (for the most part) is how we procrastinate letting go.

If this is your favorite excuse, I recommend creating a just in case box. As you are decluttering and come across things you want to save just in case, put it in the box. When the box is full, seal it and hide it. Get it out of sight. Set a reminder to donate the box in 90 days. Chances are you won’t remember what’s inside, and you won’t think about it at all until you are reminded.

2. I want my stuff to go to a good home.
During most of my decluttering efforts, I didn’t struggle with this one. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about where my stuff went, I just knew that I could do more good in the world once all of the excess was gone. I didn’t want to get hung up on where each thing went because I knew that would only delay the process. Find a place to sell or donate your things that is “good enough” and stop filling all the spaces after you let go. It’s the repetitive cycle of buy-declutter-buy-declutter that is depleting our resources and filling us with guilt for needlessly spending and searching for fulfillment in the wrong places.

The Buy Nothing Project may help you find a good home nearby. The rules are simple: “Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.” You can find a Facebook Group in your local area and offer what you don’t need anymore.

3. It’s not hurting anyone.
This was one of my favorite excuses to hold on. I wrote the following about letting go of some of my sentimental items in Soulful Simplicity, “In an effort to hold on tight, I thought, “It’s not hurting anything or anyone to keep this stuff.” Then I remembered that I want my quality of life to be more in line with “How is this helping?” instead of “How is this not hurting?” I wanted to create an environment that allowed me to be fully present.

Once I identified why I wanted to let it all go, the paper and plastic stuff that made up my memories didn’t have a hold on me or my heart anymore. Now, instead of capturing moments and boxing them up, I embrace and absorb them. The next time you think, “It’s not hurting.” ask “How is it helping?”

Decluttering and letting go for good is a challenging process. Pay attention to your decluttering excuses, the lessons, and the lightness you feel on the other side. You’ll learn so much about yourself and how you want to move through the world.

The post Top 3 Decluttering Excuses for Holding on to Crap You Don’t Need appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Soulful Simplicity: discussion questions and goodies for your book club

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 14:33

I want to support your book club! If you are reading, have read or plan to read and discuss my book, Soulful Simplicity with your book club, I’d love to help and mail you some goodies.

I’m so grateful you chose Soulful Simplicity for your book club. Included below are a few things that will help you talk about the book and enjoy your time together. If you don’t belong to a local book club, start one or connect with long distance friends and host a virtual book club.

Goodies

To say thank you for reading and discussing Soulful Simplicity, I want to mail you bookmarks and signed bookplates for everyone in your book club. Simply fill out this Google Form and I will send them your way.

Recipes

The food and the company is just as important as any book at a book club gathering. Here are a few recipes you might enjoy serving at your next get-together.

My favorite snack right now is mixing strawberries, avocados, black salt and a little balsamic vinegar. Get creative, and have fun with your book club snacks.

Sharing

Post photos on Instagram from your book club gathering, or another picture of the book with hashtag #soulfulsimplicity so I can give you hearts and share your images too! Like these …

Discussion Questions

Section One

Making Me: I had to start on the inside

  • Have you had a wake-up call that inspired change in your life?
  • What are the things you do in life that you don’t want to do … so you can do things you want to do?
  • Discuss the hands on heart practice. Is this something you are willing to try? Too woo for you? Make sure to read my take on the woo too in Chapter 8.
  • Choose and review 3 of the suggested questions from Chapter 8.
  • Share one of the action steps from Chapter 8 that you want to take in your own life.

Section Two

Making Space: Clearing the debt and clutter

  • Which “myth of ownership” resonates the most with you?
  • Talk about the guilt you have associated with your stuff (holding on, letting go, spending too much …)
  • Challenge each other to take Project 333 and talk about the rules you’d make and break.
  • Choose and review 3 of the suggested questions from Chapter 18.
  • Share one of the action steps from Chapter 18 that you want to take in your own life.

Section Three

Making Time: The busy boycott

  • Share your morning routine. Is it intentional or by default?
  • Talk about the guilt you have associated with your stuff (holding on, letting go, spending too much …)
  • Challenge each other to take the Busy Boycott detailed in chapter 21.
  • Why is saying no such a struggle?
  • When was the last time you lingered and what will you do to build more lingering into your life?
  • Choose and review 3 of the suggested questions from chapter 29
  • Share one of the action steps from Chapter 29 that you want to take in your own life.

Section Four

Making Love: what really matters

  • What is your relationship with sentimental objects?
  • Write down and share your heart’s mission statement (see chapter 32).
  • Talk about why you want to simplify your life? What really matters?
  • Choose and review 3 of the suggested questions for Chapter 40.
  • Share one of the action steps from Chapter 40 that you want to take in your own life.

Closing

  • What surprised you most about the book?
  • Have any of YOUR views or thoughts changed after reading this book?
  • Was there a chapter or quote that gave you an “a-ha!” moment?
Quick reminder

If you’d like me to mail the goodies (bookmarks & bookplates) mentioned above, please fill out this Google Form.

xo,

Courtney

The post Soulful Simplicity: discussion questions and goodies for your book club appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness