New Years Resolutions: Making them is a tradition -keeping of them is usually optional. That's unfortunate, because some of the pledges we make in those moments before the calendar changes are wonderful things to aspire to - spending more time with our children, exercising regularly, stopping a bad habit like smoking - or considering chocolate one of the main food groups. Yet, this is the one time of the year that it's condoned - almost expected - that we don't follow through on our promises.
But what if we did follow through? What if we could make a resolution that changed our lives for the better? What if we made a tiny adjustment in our perspective and it allowed us to be happier, feel freer, and enjoy a more mindful existence?
Well, get ready to make a commitment - it's as easy as embracing the idea of simplicity. Yes, simplicity.
The start of the New Year is the perfect time to make some changes. Resolve to get back to basics. I'm not advocating a cabin in the woods with no heat or electricity, just a small step to the left of the consumer frenzy. Where do you start? Right at home in your own headspace - by making a conscious decision that your time and daily experiences are more important than money and stuff.
Reduce your clutter: Unless you use it regularly, or it holds a high degree of sentimental value, it should go. Choose a charity and schedule a pick up. Just think of how much easier your house will be to clean, and how much easier it will be to find things once you've thinned out your belongings.
Decrease distractions: Cell phones, voice mail, two-way walkie-talkies, online instant messenger, and palm pilots are all tools created for convenience. Left unchecked, however, they can start running your life. Be sure your not becoming a slave to advanced technology. Oh, and turn off that darn TV too.
Learn to say "no": This tiny two-letter word is your best defense against becoming overextended. Start using it - no one will think any less of you if you do.
Learn to say "yes" when others offer help: Stop with the Superwoman fallacy. There is no harm in accepting help when offered, or even in asking for it when needed. In fact, most people are happy to be of assistance.
Cut down on compulsive buying: Shopping has become a sport in this country and credit card debt is hitting an all time high. Before you break out your plastic to get that new Prada handbag ask yourself - do I really need this? Will this improve my life? Is this "thing" worth the time I will have to put in working in order to pay for it? If the answer is no then don't buy it.
Relinquish some control: You can't speed up the driver in front of you, make the check out line at the supermarket move more efficiently, or govern the happiness of others. Just let it go. Take some deep breathes in traffic, practice your Kegel Exercise while waiting at the grocery store, and lead your life with integrity. Don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders - it's too heavy.
Reduce decisions: While having a choice is a good thing, too many options can be overwhelming. Whether you are contemplation a major purchase, or deciding what to cook for dinner, limit your self to two options. Choose one, then be happy with your decision - second guessing never helped anyone.
Enjoy the little things in life: Read a book, take a walk, have a bubble-bath, start a snowball fight with your kids, eat together as a family at the kitchen table, garden, snuggle, pursue a hobby, listen to music, write a letter, meditate, and follow your passions. Partake in everyday pleasures - all the things that don't entail shopping, spending, or crowds - and spend quality time with the ones you love.
Living simply is not about depravation; it's about living well. Our lives are complicated, in part, because we make them that way. Resolve to make 2005 the year of simplicity, and greet the coming months with a relaxed and peaceful spirit.
About The Author
Deborah Martin is a writer, life coach, and co-founder of The Woman Project. She holds a master's degree in psychology and is a licensed professional counselor. She is a certified teleclass leader and offers teleclasses and workshops on a variety of subjects. For more information please visit her website at www.dreamlearncreate.com.