Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, my wife and two young daughters became obsessed with The Great British Baking Show. Each night we would joyously watch an episode and root on our favorite home baker.
Their interest led to baking the challenges themselves, which resulted in extra weight around my midsection since Dad, of course, is the judge.
As I plot a healthier diet and exercise course, I find myself hungry and attempting to figure out healthier substations that directly align with my favorite foods and cravings.
Is there a healthier chip I can grab? What about a healthier cookie?
I can spend hours researching recipes and order lots of expensive options designed to beat back those cravings. More often than not, the substitution is terrible, and I’m out both time, money, and still hungry.
The effort put into this exercise couldn’t be further from the minimalist ideals I try to bring to my life.
I attempt to create complex solutions to a simple problem. I spend lots of money where the best options are the cheapest. I take time away from my passions to focus on something as simple as eating.
And, by intelligent design, the answer is staring me in the face in bright fluorescent yellow—a banana.
A banana is filling, contains lots of vitamins, and costs about a quarter. I eat one, and then I move on with my day to focus on more important matters.
In many ways, the mantra “Just eat a banana” can be applied to so many of the challenges facing us today where the most straightforward and minimal solution is right in front of us.
Yet, our mindsets are so attuned to think that the solution to every problem is something complicated that you can buy or add to your life.
How do we get control of our daily schedule? We download apps and buy journals that promise to correct our approach to work. But, the simplest solution is the obvious one: don’t schedule as many meetings and events.
We can’t stop looking at the news or social media on my phone, so we put complex rules to govern when and where we use our phone or check social media. The “banana” version would be to delete your accounts and leave your phone plugged in or get rid of the smartphone altogether if it is a problem.
Minimalism allows us not just to change our home’s layout and the amount of stuff we own. By adopting the same principles we apply when discarding clothing and picking out furnishings to the bigger choices in our lives, from diet to mental health, our minimal mindset can help us live in greater balance and less stress over-complicating simple decisions.
About the Author: Greg Behr is a practicing minimalist living in Chapel Hill, NC. He brings his philosophy on less is definitely more to his roles as a father of two young daughters, husband to an amazing wife and co-owner of a successful strategic communications firm, GBW Strategies. He writes to keep his sanity and share his best practices via his blog on Medium.