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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Be the Priority of Your Own Life (starting now)

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 04:05

Forget about your New Year’s goals and resolutions for a moment. Forget about simplifying your life, paying off all of your debt, starting your own business or discovering perfect health. Those are all really great things to go after but just for the next few minutes, set them all aside.

Those are big picture things. Think small instead.

What can you do right now to take really good care of yourself?

What can you do in this moment to be the priority of your own life?

I love these words from Rudy Francisco, “Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us, they know exactly how it should be done.”

The way to so fiercely loving ourselves is by taking really good care of ourselves.

This will be different for everyone, but taking really good care of yourself might mean you …
  • Cancel your next appointment.
  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Schedule a dentist appointment.
  • Turn off your phone.
  • Take a bath.
  • Call your best friend.
  • Read a book.
  • Declutter your junk drawer.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Write something down that really pissed you off and tear it up.
  • Bake something for your neighbor.
  • Do nothing.
  • Scream.
  • Laugh.
  • Cry.
  • Sit Still.
Often, the solution to our pain is much smaller than we think.

I could list 50 more things and still not include the one thing you need to take really good care of yourself right now. I don’t know what’s best for you. If you aren’t sure or you think you need to change your entire life before you’ll feel happy and cared for, consider this …

Often, the solution to our pain is much smaller than we think. Author, Glennon Doyle says, “I tend toward dramatic thinking. When I have a problem or when I feel icky, I tend to think the solution is: I have to move, and I need a new family, and a new religion and a new house. I need to start all over, everything is terrible. But what I usually need is, like, a glass of water.”

So maybe, simply drinking a glass of water is the one thing you can do right now to take really good care of yourself.

Be the priority of your own life by pausing a few times a day and asking, “How can I take really good care of myself right now?”

Don’t wait until you think you deserve it, or until you have time or money or space or whatever else you think needs to happen before you start putting yourself first.

Start now.

Because you do deserve it.

Show people how to love you.

Take really good care of yourself.

Be the priority of your own life.

OK?

The post Be the Priority of Your Own Life (starting now) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

The Inspiration Gap: why we all fall in and how to get out

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 09:43

There is no shortage of inspiration out there in world. I’ve been reading non-stop lately about different topics that interest me. I am bursting with inspiration, but I’ve yet to take action.

I’m stuck in the inspiration gap … that gray area between a spark and a flame, between inspiration and action.

Think back to a time (it may have been five years ago, or maybe it was yesterday) where you felt inspired to make a change in your life or to dump a bad habit, or start a better one. Then what happened? In some cases you may have used your inspiration to jump right into action, but other times you got stuck in the gap.

Here’s how the inspiration gap works. You read a book, or an article or watch a documentary, attend a conference, or hear a story about someone who is changing their life or changing the world and your heart flutters a little. You think, “If they can do it, so can I.” Or your inner voice pipes in, “Let’s do this. Let’s make a change.” Or in some other way, you get a sign that you are inspired to do something, be something, make or change something.

And then … the gap.

  • You decide to do more research.
  • You get distracted by email.
  • You are hungry.
  • You have to pick the kids up at school.
  • You are tired.
  • Your favorite TV show is on.
  • You have to make dinner.
  • You see that a friend from high school (who you can’t quite remember) just posted her latest vacation photos on Facebook.
  • Or worse, your monkey mind jumps in and says, “that’s crazy, don’t bother.”
The Inspiration Gap: why we all fall in and how to get out

We all experience the inspiration gap. Sometimes we have to be inspired by the same idea for years before it sticks. Even though I simplified my life over the last few years, it was many years before that when I read, Your Money or Your Life and wanted to simplify. Then I got lost in the inspiration gap.

My wake-up call in 2006 helped me close the gap between inspiration and action, but I still have to remind myself to continue to step into change the moment I feel inspired. That doesn’t mean I turn my life upside down when I read a book that inspires me, but it means I take a tiny step immediately. I write it down, call my sister and tell her about it, or sit quietly and put my hands on my heart as if to seal the inspiration within.

Talk about the change you want to make or the thing you want to do before the inspiration gap silences your motivation.

Sometimes, because we’ve failed before, or because we think we are too busy, too old, too broke, too tired or too something else to change, we allow the inspiration gap to silence our motivation. We just forget about it for as long as we can, until we catch another glimmer of inspiration.

Here’s the truth: you aren’t too anything. You are just a scared to share what you want most. You fear disappointment or what others may think, or you fear that you lack the confidence and perseverance to succeed. But saying, “I’m too _____________” is much easier than facing your fears.

“I’m too _____________” is an inspiration gap.

Close the “I’m too _____________” inspiration gap by talking about the change you want to make, the thing you want to create, or what you feel inspired to do even before you know how you’ll do it.

Maybe you want to write a book, become debt-free, quit watching TV, build a house, sell your house, travel the world, eat more kale, take a walk, learn to sew, start a blog, or climb a tree.

Tell someone you love. Tell the internet. Or if that’s too much, write down your heart. Write it on paper, read it back to yourself and keep reading it every day until you are ready for the next step.

One tiny step is all it takes.

Take comfort in knowing that the inspiration gap isn’t very deep or wide. You don’t have to climb far to get out. One tiny step is all it takes and inspiration is waiting for you when you decide to rise up.

Big change comes from hundreds of tiny steps and they all matter. I’m not going to stop telling you this because we all need the reminder. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

That tiny step you took yesterday, or today, or the one you are going to take tomorrow, it’s a big deal. You are doing it, one tiny step at a time, sometimes the same tiny step over and over again and it’s making a difference.

In an upcoming post, I’m going to tell you about the books, stories and people who are inspiring me into action, but for today, I don’t want to be part of the inspiration gap by overloading you with information.

What do you feel inspired to change in your life? What do you want to do even though it sounds crazy? No matter your circumstances, or the gaps you may face, what tiny step can you take right now to lean into your inspiration?

Tiny steps matter. Take one now.

Coming up …

Next week I’m hosting a webinar to tell you more about A Simple Year. It’s a 12-month program I’m offering for the last time in 2019. Registration closes at the end of this month.

This webinar won’t be an hour of me trying to convince you that you need this course to simplify your life. Maybe you don’t!

I won’t be using fancy, persuasive techniques or Powerpoint presentations (I don’t even know how to use Powerpoint) to get you to sign up.

Instead, I’ll invite you into my kitchen and tell you what to expect from the program. Then, I’ll answer any questions you have so you can determine if this course is right for you. If you sign up for the webinar, I’ll send you a recording (audio and video) even if you can’t attend the live session on January 16th.

The post The Inspiration Gap: why we all fall in and how to get out appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

How to Become a Minimalist (or just simplify your life a little)

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 14:09

Writing this article, How to Become a Minimalist, has been a fun reminder of the different stages of minimalism I’ve navigated over the last ten years. In the beginning, the word minimalism wasn’t even in my vocabulary. Neither was the word simplicity.

My only focus was eliminating stress from my life so I could live a good life with Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2006 and still clearly remember my neurologist telling me that I was standing on the edge of a cliff. I had a choice. Keep pushing, stressing, and over doing it all, and fall off the cliff. Or, slow down, step back and get my life back.

How to Become a Minimalist (or just simplify your life a little)

I leaned in slowly. I didn’t want to add stress by turning everything upside down overnight. It took us many years to declutter, downsize, and become debt-free. By investing the time and energy to simplify, I turned my health around, started my own business and changed my entire life.

With my family, I’ve taken a bunch of tiny steps that added up to big change. Whether you’ve been simplifying for years or you are just getting started, there is something here for everyone. If you want learn how to become a minimalist or just simplify your life a little, start here:

1. Write down why you want to become a minimalist. 
Figure out why you want to simplify. My why was health. Your why may be different. Maybe you want to pursue your dream job, travel the world, or have a few minutes to yourself every day. Jot down a few of the things you want out of life and why you think minimalism will help you get there. Once you understand and connect with the whys, the hows, whats and wheres will come much more easily.

2. Start decluttering and keep going for as long as it takes.
Very slowly, start letting go of the stuff in your home that you don’t use, love or even notice most of the time. Start with the easy stuff and as you begin to enjoy the space you are creating, move on to the more challenging items. When you finally get to the really tough stuff like photographs and sentimental items, read this: https://bemorewithless.com/bye-photos/.

3. Make-under your closet.
A simple closet is the gateway to a simple life. Instead of another seasonal closet clean-out, make it fun and meaningful (and make it last) with minimalist fashion challenge Project 333.

4. Simplify your social media.
Spend less time online overall but when you are engaging in your social feeds, curate them to support the changes you are making in your life. Follow and unfollow accordingly. Once you’ve simplified your social feeds, spend less time on your phone with these 8 little tricks.

5. Know what you owe.
If becoming debt-free is part of your minimalism journey, the first step is knowing what you own and what you owe. I was deep in debt for decades and it was one of the most stressful parts of my life. I was so ashamed and overwhelmed that I ignored it most of the time. I never understood what the real numbers were until I put them on paper. Even though the numbers didn’t paint a pretty picture, it was a relief to see where I was starting from. When you are ready to become debt-free, try this 21-day guide to help you get started.

6. Support your minimalism with daily inspiration. 
When I’m making a change in my life, I read books or listen to podcasts with encouraging, helpful information to stay motivated and engaged.

Start with these:

7. Decide how you want to spend your time.
Sometimes we get so busy, we forget we have a choice in how we spend our time. What matters most in your life right now? Make a quick list. It might be one thing, and it might be ten. Write it all down. Now write down what you spent most of your time doing over the last month.

Think about your what matters list as the life you want, and your what you did over the last month your actual life. Does how you spend your time support what matters to you? Don’t judge, just notice. I make these lists from time to time, especially when I am caught up in something or feeling run down. And when I make and review my what matters list, I remember myself and what matters to me. It makes it easier to say no, and to more mindfully decide how I want to spend my time.

8. Simplify your insides.
As Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, “When you get the inside right, the outside falls into place.” As it turns out, calming your outside can calm your inside too, but don’t dismiss all of that clutter and stuff that has built up inside your brain and your heart. It affects your mental health, your physical health, and your relationships. It matters.

9. Do just enough. 
If the things I mentioned sound impossible. If you don’t think you have the time or energy to simplify your life or declutter your home or calendar, just do enough. Simplify enough, declutter enough, clear your calendar enough. Just enough to create a few minutes every day so you can sit quietly, remember who you are and what matters most in your life.

10. Do what’s best for you.
Don’t worry about following the advice of every popular minimalist or decluttering expert. You don’t have to wear the same shirts Mark Zuckerburg wears, or create the perfect capsule wardrobe collection. You don’t have to live in a tiny house or carry all your belongings in a backpack. Don’t worry about how many items you own or don’t own. Don’t compare your journey to another. You can watch your favorite movies and buy what you need and love. You can call yourself a minimalist or not. This is your journey, your minimalism, your life.

2019 is the last year we’ll be offering A Simple Year, 12 months of guided simplicityLearn more about the program here. 

A few things that may be of interest …

  • With a digital connection, you can join from anywhere in the world.
  • We offer a 30-day refund policy.
  • We have an (optional) private Facebook Group for connection and accountability.
  • At the end of the year, you’ll get lifetime access to the course material.
  • If you have additional questions or concerns, we are happy to chat with you and help.

I’m hosting a webinar to share more about A Simple Year and to answer your questions on January 16th. If you are interested, please sign up here.

The post How to Become a Minimalist (or just simplify your life a little) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

How to Make Big Change Small (8 simple ways to close one chapter and begin another)

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 12:05

Whether it’s the end or beginning of a year, or a phase or season in your life, consider these recommendations to close one chapter (or an entire book) and open another.

If you want to make space for a brilliant new year, or new season in your life, intentionally close the one you are leaving behind. Below are eight simple ways to make the transition you may be considering. Please note the tiny steps within each recommendation.

Every change you make is the result of hundreds of tiny steps and they all count. The more you recognize their importance, the more willing you’ll be to take a tiny step towards change instead of giving up because change feels too big.

Make big change small.

8 Simple Ways to Close one Chapter and Begin Another

As you scroll through this list, notice what resonates with you. Close the gap between inspiration and action and choose one. You can always come back to the others, but start with one.

1. Simplify your closet.
If you want to change your life, start with your closet. Eliminate closet chaos, create space in your home and a enjoy more peace in your life with minimalist fashion challenge Project 333.

Tiny steps:

  • Read more before dismissing it: https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/.
  • Create a uniform with a few of your favorite items.
  • Invite (or dare) a friend to join you in dressing with less for three months.

2. Create a morning routine.
When you become more intentional about how you start your day, things begin to shift on the inside and the outside. I call this the morning routine effect.

Tiny steps:

  • Stop saying you aren’t a morning person. It’s a great excuse but it doesn’t matter. Start your morning routine whenever your morning starts, even if it’s in the afternoon.
  • Wake up and write down three things you are grateful for.
  • Stretch in bed. Wiggle your toes. Roll your hips from side to side. Reach your fingers to the ceiling. Stretch your lungs too and take a few deep breaths.
  • Hide your phone. Do whatever it takes to be digital free until you’ve enjoyed your morning routine.

3. Choose to leave the worst behind.
If your year was full of ups and downs (like mine), identify the worst of it and leave it behind.

Tiny steps:

  • Let go of things that make you sad. If you are holding onto physical reminders of the worst, let them go.
  • Write it down and ceremoniously burn it or rip it up.
  • If it’s not that easy, and the worst continues to weigh you down, ask for help.

4. Declutter.
If you really want to know what matters in your life, get rid of everything that doesn’t.

Tiny steps: 

5. Embrace the margin.
When an appointment cancels, or something falls off your to-do list, don’t replace it. Stop filling all the spaces with more items on your to-do list. Less do. More be.

Tiny steps:

  • Stop measuring. Let’s stop measuring who we are by what we accomplish. We need to measure less by what we cross off our to-do list, and more by what’s on our heart, by how we feel, and by how we treat people.
  • Linger longer. Think about the evenings you’ve sat around a table after a meal, talking and laughing instead of rushing to clean up the dishes. You fell in love with the people around you and the evening you shared. Likewise, lingering over a sunrise, a good book, a long walk, or a moment of solitude encourages love; love of what you are experiencing, love of who you are spending time with, and love of who you are.
  • Stop talking it about it. Let’s stop telling each other how busy we are.

6. Change your mood.
I’m fascinated by how connected our minds and bodies are. What if you could shift your mood simply by shifting your body? You can! Check out these tiny steps from my friend Rachel at MindBodyWise.com.

Tiny steps:

  • Loosen your Jaw. Start with a huge open-mouth stretch, sticking your tongue out as far as you can. Follow this stretch with a little jaw massage, by doing circular movements with your finger tips at the hinge where your lower jaw meets your upper jaw.
  • Relax your belly. Your gut is known as your second brain. There are more receptors for specific hormones related to mood in your gut than in your brain. So, take a moment to breathe, with the intention of inflating your belly. With each breath, feel your belly soften and the muscles of your core release.
  • Open your arms. Fan your feathers, so to speak, and take up space with your upper body. Let your system know that you don’t need protection right now. As you open your arms, breathe in deeply and repeat in your mind: “I am safe. I am at ease. All is well.”

See more of Rachel’s recommendations here: https://mindbodywise.com/blog/shift-mood-7-quick-easy-body-tools/

7. Use social media for good (or not at all).
Is social media adding value to your life and/or business or not? Continue to ask this question and experiment with how you use Facebook, Instagram or other social channels.

Tiny steps:

  • Take a Facebook-cation. Deactivate your account for 30 days or longer and see how it feels.
  • Curate your feeds. Unfollow feeds and accounts that frustrate you or bring you down. Follow uplifting, helpful groups and people.
  • Remove social apps from your phone or commit to visiting once a day or once a week instead of mindlessly checking in when you are bored.

8. Redefine your resolutions.
Whether you make formal resolutions or goals or not, redefine how you commit to change. Don’t tie your success to the results. When you are hyper-focused on the end of the goal, or a specific measurement, you discount everything that unfolds along the way. There is great opportunity for growth and joy long before you reach the end. What’s more successful than that?

Tiny steps: 

  • Celebrate every tiny step in the midst of big change.
  • Journal your progress. Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come.
  • Give yourself permission to change direction. If you aren’t tied to the end result, you have more flexibility to change your mind, and change your life.

A few things to consider for 2019: 

A Simple Year, 12 months of guided simplicity. Registration is open now. The program officially begins on January 2, 2019 but you can join anytime during the month of January. This is the last year we’ll be offering A Simple Year.

Join me for an Instagram Live call. Follow me here, and join me for one of the following topics:

  • January 7th, 5:00 PM EST New Year’s Resolutions (and the first resolution I’ve made in years)
  • January 14th 6:00 PM EST Project 333: See What Items I’m Swapping Out
  • January 21st 5:00 PM EST Why the New Year, New You Approach isn’t Working

The post How to Make Big Change Small (8 simple ways to close one chapter and begin another) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness