Small steps simplicity

13 August 2007

I've had a number of emails this past month from readers who asked about significant changes - the grand gestures of life - and how their move to a simple life will have to wait until the large change falls into place. While there is no right or wrong way to look at simplifying your life, I think that waiting for the big changes might complicate lives rather than simplify them.

You can start living
simply right at this moment if you choose to. It will take no change in your circumstances, no change in location, no more money, nor less of it, no joint decision with your partner or change in employment. Small steps are the way to go. Do tiny things, little gestures that make a small difference. Small steps are easy and you will be more inclined to do a small thing rather than wait for the major ones. And when you look back on them, those small steps make all the difference.

So just what is a small step
- it is anything that makes you smile, makes you feel good, makes you feel that you've done the right thing, such as ...

Put a small bunch of flowers in a cup or glass - it doesn't have to be fancy, just a little bit of nature brought inside for your pleasure.

Talk to your next door neighbour.

Phone your sister, a friend, your mum or dad and say whatever is in your heart.

Declutter your cutlery drawer.

Enjoy what's around you.

Take your old magazines to the doctors surgery.

Make your husband's favourite meal for dinner tonight and tell him it's because you appreciate him.

Take the dog for a walk.

Smile.

Start a change jar.

Make yourself a cup of your favourite tea or coffee and sit down to enjoy it.

Write a real letter to your best friend.

Make bread, soap or laundry liquid.

Look critically at your values and what you think is important to you and your family. Don't be afraid to reinvent parts of your life that need changing.

Plant some seeds.

Breathe in really deep and think to yourself: 'this feels really good'.

Write up a budget.

Change your idea of success. If you have the view that success means living in a big house, driving an expensive car and living the high life, reassess that. When you live a simple life, old symbols will be replaced by innovative ones and a shiny new car will just symbolise petrol consumption and too many dollars spent on transport.

So you can see that starting your simple journey need not be a grand statement. It's more than likely going to be small, easy to do steps. There are many things that are very difficult in this life, starting to simplify is not one of them. All it takes is your decision to start.