Dr. Kristen Mitteness
20 Ways to Make 2018 Simpler
Updated: Dec 26, 2018
It's hard to believe that 2017 has come and gone and we're now looking to 2018. Rather then setting big, lofty goals, maybe making 2018 simpler will help you live the life you want. Here are 20 ways to do just that.
1. Don't fill every nook and cranny of your schedule. Learning to live in peace and quite during the hustle and bustle of today's world is hard. Enjoying those breaks between the chaos might be exactly what you need to feel calm.
2. Prep breakfast ahead of time. If you have a meal ready to go, your morning routine will be easier and you are less likely to make poor food choices later on. Eating one quality meal per day might be better than what you've been doing previously and a simple step in the right direction.
3. Work out in 5-10 minute blocks of time. We often make fitness more complicated than it has to be. What if you simply set your timer for 5 minutes and alternated between 10 air squats and 5 push ups until time was up? That's a lot more movement than skipping the hour long session at the gym and it took a fraction of the time and energy. You can do it first thing in the morning, you can do it first thing when you get home, you can do it in your office between emails. Keep it simple.
4. Limit your email checking. What are the chances that you will receive an email that immediately needs a reply? Hopefully they know to call you in the instance. Limiting your email responses to once or twice a day can really free up some time and allow you to single task, which has been found to be much more effective anyway. This will give you the time to focus on more important projects or simply enjoy some extra free time. Also, turn email notifications off so they don't distract you throughout the day.
5. Make a to do list before you start working. Writing out a plan will help you stay on track and work more efficiently. You'll be getting more stuff done in a smaller amount of time without even realizing it.
6. Reduce your closet. Go through your clothes and get rid of anything you haven't worn in the last year. Chances are you aren't going to wear it. Having less clothing options will leave you with only things you love and make your clothing choices every morning much simpler.
7. Clean up one room, corner or drawer at a time. When you focus your cleaning efforts on a smaller scale, it seems less overwhelming and daunting. Simplifying the process may help you get enough drive to get started and complete the task.
8. Take 10-15 minutes each evening to get ready for your morning. Laying your clothes out and planning meals for the next day will make your morning routine much simpler. Your morning will require less thinking and doing making getting out the door easier.
9. Curl up with a real book. And while you're at it, keep your phone out of your arms reach. Truly chilling out with minimal distractions with a real book is something too few people do today.
10. Find a few recipes that include 5 ingredients or less. We often think that good meals needs to be laborious and complicated. They don't. I always keep some form of ground meat or sausages, eggs, onions, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes and a green veggie in my fridge. Pick a few ingredients that you can chop, saute in a pan, add a few spices or your favorite sauce to it and viola. A delicious meal made simply. Keep the ingredients on hand so you can make a great meal at any point in time with minimal work and thinking. Most meals you can also make more of and freeze them when you're in a pinch.
11. Add walking to your daily routine. As previously mentioned, we often make working out more complicated that it has to be. Walking is one of the best and simplest forms of movement you can do. You don't need any equipment, you can do it anywhere, it is low impact and risk and absolutely free! If you live in the cold tundra of Winnipeg and don't want to get bundled up, you can join the hundreds of others and walk in the mall. Again, this doesn't have to be a 10k trek. A 15 to 20 minute walk will do wonders for your mind and body.
12. Automate all savings and payments. If increasing your retirement savings, travel fund or any other monetary savings, automate it. You can set this up through your bank or various apps. It will take some planning beforehand to figure out how much you can consistently save, but just like exercise, anything is better than nothing. And when you automate it, you won't even think about the fact that the money is not for your use. We are really good and making by with what we have, so by taking thought and simplifying the process, you will be growing your nest egg (or travel fund, etc) in no time.
13. Practice hygge (pronounced hue-guh). Hygge a the Danish term that can't be translated exactly to English, but encompasses the act of slowing down, simplifying and enjoying the moment, often with something warming, such as a cup of tea, a book, a candle and a small group of friends. You can learn even more about this wonderful practice in the book, The Little Book of Hygge.
14. Remember to do simple acts of kindness every day. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Smile and say hi when you wall by someone. Say thank you and please. And do them all with no expectations. These little acts mean more to others than we realize, keep you in a better mood and take minimal effort other than being present. And if they don't smile back? Don't take it personally. You have no idea what other people are going through and I promise their attitude has nothing to do with you. Just keep saying hi. You never know who needs that little act of kindness in their life.
15. Turn off notifications on your phone. Do you really need to know when someone liked your photo on Facebook? Or viewed your Instagram video? Do you have any idea how much time you actually spend on social media? If you are spending 30 minutes per day that means you are spending 3.5 hours per week. Think of what you could accomplish in 3.5 hours! Chances are, you are spending way more than 30 minutes per day. I know I can easily get lost in Instagram for 45 minutes at a time. Its hard to believe I have that much time for it! Separating yourself just a little bit from your social media accounts will allow you to connect to life in front of you a bit more. Give it a try for 30 days and see what happens.
16. Start single tasking. The human brain does a great job of being aware of multiple things at once. However, the more we try to do at a time, the more the quality of our work suffers. Try to focus on one task at a time. This can be harder than it sounds, but the results are worth it.
17. Get outside. Appreciating nature is an excellent way to truly enjoy the simple things in life. How do you feel when you see a beautiful sunrise or sunset? How neat is it seeing an animal in the wild? What can you appreciate in the world if you actually look around and take it all in?
18. Donate a few things that you don't need, love or even want. Chances are, your house is full of things you really don't care for. Why not donate a few things to someone who needs or really wants it? Whether it's a few pieces of clothing you haven't worn in the past year (also see #6), a kitchen appliance you don't use or some decor that you no longer love, giving it a new home simplifies your life, but may also make someone else's a bit simpler, too.
19. Unsubscribe from email lists you don't read. Our email inbox can fill up really fast. I spend most of my time in my email just deleting things I don't want to open. Why not simply unsubscribe from those lists and save yourself a bit of filtering time?
20. Practice gratitude. There is always something each day for which to be thankful for. Why not take a few minutes every day to think of a few things? It has been found that being thankful or grateful for things we already have or experience not only helps us to live a more fulfilled life, but also makes us happier.
Simple doesn't mean boring. It can actually help you live a more abundant and loving life and keep you sane. Can you benefit from a simpler life?