If someone were to ask you what your priorities were in life, chances are you’d spout out the typical answers. Family. Health. Work. Spirituality. Maybe things like sports, music, charity, or minimalism make an appearance on your list too.
The truth is, we all like to say that we prioritize certain things, things that deep down, we believe to be important, but how many of us structure our daily lives to reflect those priorities?
Making a mindful choice to live a simple life often means taking a hard look at the way that we spend our time, money, and energy. It requires some deep self-reflection on our personal truths and behaviors. And it usually requires some major changes in order to align our daily lives with the things that we say we believe in.
True simplicity calls us into a space of radical honesty, asking us to examine the way we have been living and contrast that with the way we want to be living.
Clarifying Your Priorities
The first thing to know when you are embarking on a new minimalist journey is that judgment has no place in the process. Berating ourselves for spending too much time on Facebook isn’t going to get us anywhere. Nor will the self-imposed downward spiral that comes from your most recently blown budget.
When we can approach our desire to change with an attitude of acceptance and self-love, we are much more likely to follow through with our goals, ride through speedbumps with grace, and harvest more meaning along the way.
Pinpointing your priorities doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t require hours in a therapist’s office, or a dozen gluesticks for your vision board, although both of these things can be helpful!
I think it would be rather paradoxical to give advice on how to simplify your life, with long complicated directions and time-consuming exercises. In the wisdom of “like attracts like”, if you want clarity, simplicity, and spaciousness, you must begin with those qualities.
You can clarify your priorities and get your life on track by asking yourself these two simple questions:
What do I truly desire?
What is standing in my way?
These two inquiries really get to the crux of the matter, because they ask you to be direct and honest. They nudge you to open the dialogue with yourself about your deepest desires and the habits that may be blocking their path. These simple questions are all you need to get started. What follows is completely up to you.
Perhaps you long to spend more quality time with your kids or with your significant other. This may be the wakeup call that you need to streamline your emails, put down your phone, or cut back on your work hours. Maybe you really miss painting or playing the guitar.
This may encourage you to clear the clutter out of your spare room to make a studio space. Whatever you desire, whatever your true priorities are, there are solutions available to you to put those things front and center again.
You may be saying to yourself that things aren’t that easy. Your life just isn’t that simple. There is x, y, and z to be considered. And what about this thing over here? Or that other thing over there?
I’ll be honest, we all have our roadblocks, our doubts, our fears. Especially when it comes to making a radical change in the way we structure our lives. We let our big “buts” stand in the way of what our spirits are calling for.
Maybe your “but” is large, heavy, and well developed. Maybe you’ve taken that “but” to the gym every day for the last decade, reinforcing those excuses over and over until you feel like you can’t move anymore.
Well, now’s the time to start shrinking that “but”!
Rearranging your life so that it more closely reflects your priorities shouldn’t be a struggle. We all know, on a deep level, what things are really important to us at the end of the day, and what things light us up inside. We also happen to be really good at spinning off into worst-case scenarios and allowing our fears to keep us stuck, letting each year fly by on autopilot. Until one day, a loved one dies, the stock market crashes, or we get a scary diagnosis.
These catastrophic events always throw our priorities into stark relief, but what if we could mindfully clarify them today? What if we could decide right now what kind of life we want to be living, and make the courageous leap into a simpler, more heart-centered, soul-powered existence?
Don’t wait for a tragedy to strike or for a personal loss to be your wake up call. Make the changes you want to make now. All it takes is two little questions.
*Note — This article was originally published at A Brighter Wild.