Real, Simple

You know, I'm really not one for resolutions or even goals for that matter.

Resolutions feel fake – for me, the most impactful changes tend to happen naturally throughout the course of the year. Putting a date on a desired change feels beside the point. It doesn't make me work any harder, it doesn't make the change happen any faster. Plus, resolutions are ideas that are made up to coincide with the month of January. (No offence, people who make resolutions.)

And goals? I have them. They look like this: Improve my financial stability, have a hyper-organized home office and a place that I own to put it in. I think of these more as "to do" items mainly because I put a lot of pressure on myself and the idea of creating a goal only adds more pressure. (And again, Good Girl Syndrome.)

I haven't yet embraced the now-trendy idea of giving yourself a word for the year. If you're not familiar with the practice, the idea is to give yourself a word to focus on for the year. Not a goal, not really a resolution, but more like a general, inspirational theme to base your life around. (Think of words like balance, well, refresh, etc.) 

This hasn't appealed to me partially because of the reasons listed above; mainly because I couldn't think of a good word.

But I do have a word that's becoming more like my general life practice. It's something I started last year, want to focus on in 2015, and continue with afterward.

The word, the idea, the very being is that of simplification.

Much like my slow embrace of minimalism which started last year with material items, I'm now looking to incorporate the idea of simplifying into all other aspects of my life. Deleting apps I don't use on my phone, organizing my Google Drive, minimizing work projects, multitasking less during the work day/all days. Of course, when it comes to simplifying, the mental/emotional and material worlds overlap. I'm now at a point – so deep in my "quest" (I guess) for simplification where I'm not second guessing or double checking – I'm listening to my gut and trusting my instincts.

It's saying no to projects, donating things I don't use, deleting e-mails, throwing out random socks or recycling tiny pieces of paper that could be reused (why do I keep these things?). It's cleaning the dishes as I use them, keeping my desk sparse as I work, buying a few nice things at the drugstore when I need them rather than a million cheaper things.

In other words, simplifying daily life in all forms. 

The idea here isn't to waste but to eliminate excess. I want my life to feel as clean and simple as it possibly can, so I'm ridding it of anything and everything that adds physical or mental clutter.

I've streamlined some of my work projects and will have some exciting things to announce in the coming weeks. I'm also going to stop using my blog Facebook page, and turn most of my attention to Instagram. (I know – keep breathing.) But it's even the little things like this – one more status not to update, please – that make me feel so much better.

So there. I guess my word of 2015 is simplify. I'm still not sure about the whole "word of the year" thing, but so far, I guess it's working pretty well.


Dealing With Change

There are a million cliche things you could say about change. 

You could say that it's necessary in life. You could say that without change you have no growth, that it's hard but ultimately rewarding, etc.

But when confronted with real change – whether it's small or something that will cause a big disruption in your everyday life – change can be extraordinarily difficult, and something that's a lot easier said than done.

I've often found that deciding that you want to make a change is the hardest part. It requires addressing feelings and emotions and then deciding to actively do something about those feelings. And whether you're aware of it or not, a good amount of strength and bravery is needed to even decide to make a change in life. And all of that's before you actually do anything.

Once I've decided that I want to make a change the worst part is generally over with. From there, it just comes down to making plans and putting those plans into action – something I like doing. That doesn't mean the process of change is over, but at least for me, the worst part is over.

Though I embrace change in my own life, I'm also the type of person who wants it done as soon as it starts. While I enjoy the planning and 'making it happen' aspect, I'm easily frustrated by delays or challenges that might interfere with the process. It's like making the decision was hard enough, so once it's done with and decided on, I want the change over, and pretty quickly at that.

Perhaps needless to say, that's usually out of my control and I know that. It's something I'm working on improving, one panic attack at a time. Rolling with the punches, taking one day at a time, accepting a relative loss of control. Letting one door close, allowing another to open. 

Several friends of mine have gone through life-altering changes in the past few months: moves, break-ups, leaving jobs, starting companies. New cities, new towns, new lives. All of them have struggled at points – they'd be inhuman not to – but I'm impressed with how each of them have handled these changes. 

You can go through your life avoiding change, but in that you're also avoiding living. Experience comes from change, happiness can come from change, and of course growth in all its cliched glory comes from change.

Maybe the real point here is that change happens to all of us it at some point, whether we want it to or not. It's learning to accept the change, deal with it fully and with our best selves, and welcome the experience and growth that comes with open arms. (Or at least with fewer panic attacks.)

 

When have you had to deal with change in your life, and what was the hardest part? Anything surprise you about the experience? Let's chat! I'd love to hear about your experience.