Why would we ever want to have less?
We can all see the effects of consumerism on the way we live, the way we interact, and ultimately, the way we think. It has become second nature for us to fill our closets and our time to the brim, and often we lose sight of what matters to us, and miss out on some of the greatest experiences waiting for us.
Whenever we even start to think about reducing our dependence on the things that define us, our mind automatically goes to the sacrifices we’ll have to make, rather than the possibilities of how we can improve our lives with small, easy changes.
Minimizing your life simply allows you to depend less on things beyond yourself for your own joy and value. Instead, you open yourself to a great opportunity for your actions and habits to match your values—for you to live a life of wonder and excitement.
You don’t have to dread every step you take—you can pick the changes that most excite you and adjust your lifestyle to match what’s important to you!
Little Actions, Big Change
Okay, so now you might be a little flustered thinking, “where do I even start?” So many of the things you do day to day have become habit. Goodness knows when we have a single open moment, the first thing we do is open Facebook. And hey, there’s no shame in it. It’s the easiest, instantly entertaining activity we could find.
These unconscious activities are gratifying, but at what cost? The first step is just to begin asking a simple question: “is this really how I want to be spending my time?” Once you begin to question your instinctive habits, all you have to do is search your mind for one thing that excites you, and treat that as your first step.
For instance, next time you find yourself clicking on Facebook, pick one action to try out instead that you might enjoy more. Will you call a friend? Read a chapter of a book? Take a twenty minute walk?
These small decisions can add up quickly to real changes in your life, and don’t really require any sacrifice at all. In fact, you’ll find that when you take the time to critically evaluate how you spend your time, you end up actually living a more authentic life altogether!
Take a look at a few more interesting ideas to shake up your life…
Food For Thought
One of the easiest differences you can make in your life—and for the world—comes down to one of our most basic instincts: eating. Do you ever think about the sorts of food you eat? Do they come from massive manufacturing plants and national chain restaurants? Try finding local groceries and restaurants instead. If the thought of discovering new, hidden food treasures excites you, then I would go with that feeling and start adventuring.
You might find you’re enjoying your food and health a lot more, for only a few more dollars a month. Not only that, but you could also possibly get to know the local business owners in your area and create a better community. Social, environmental, and health benefits?! I believe that’s something worth thinking about.
Space it Out
How many things are in your room? How much clothing is in your closet? Do you use or wear these things more than once a week? If not, try donating those things to a local charity. This might seem like an unnecessary step, but think about how much freer you would be if you had a good sense of what was essential to you.
I wasn’t able to take this leap until I realized how much I like to travel and move to new locations. The less stuff I held onto, the easier it was to make big changes, or pick up and go wherever I wanted. If your heart doesn’t race at the idea of going and doing whatever you want, unburdened by the shackles of a moving van full of useless crap, at the very least you’ll have more space in your home and an opportunity to give back to people in need.
Never use your phone or laptop ever again. Just kidding! Going cold turkey isn’t for everyone. Do consider watching and limiting the time you spend on the computer or your phone. Even if it’s only for an hour or two a week. The things you enjoy from staying connected online will always be there no matter how many breaks you take.
It’s important to realize that you’re still you even when you’re disconnected. In fact, if you practice stepping away regularly, you might find that you reconnect with yourself even better. I mean think about it, what could you do with an extra hour a day that you’d normally spend in front of a screen? Over the course of a year, you could write most of a book, learn a new language…the possibilities are endless.
The Master of Simplicity
Sometimes, when you begin taking small steps, the need to take a large leap of faith becomes overwhelmingly apparent. Take a look at the life of Rob Greenfield, who went from living an ordinary life, to being renowned for the extraordinary challenges he put before himself in order to see what he was really capable of. After becoming more aware of the effect his livelihood had on the world around him, he challenged himself to live off the grid in an extraordinary way.
Rob flew 1300 miles away with no money, no possessions and made it a goal to hitchhike back on his own. And guess what? He did it!
Listen to him and I discuss steps, both big and small, that can be taken to live a more intentional life, and to really live in harmony with the world around you.
“How To Live Happier With Less” by Marc Angelo Coppola was originally published on Collective Evolution.