Simplify!Thoreau said it more than 150 years ago: "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

If that advice was needed before railroads had even spread across the country, how much more do we need it today?

Simplify Your Life . . .

We have more choices today than ever. More communication channels, more ways to entertain ourselves, more ways to spend our time. We can live anywhere, do anything, read anything, and see anything. The variety is amazing, and I'm grateful for it. 

But how much is having all those choices improving your life?

The real trick is to enjoy the richness in life's possibilities, but without being overwhelmed by our obligations or the options available to us. And the best way to pull off that trick is to think consciously about maintaining that balance.

. . . Around the Few Most Important Things

The questions to answer are simple:

  • What's most important to you?
  • What do you most want from life?
  • What would you hate to lose most?
  • What do you most enjoy?

The answers will overlap, but it's worth it to list a dozen or more top contenders for each question. Look for the things that come up consistently and use those as your shortlist of priorities.

For a lot of people, the winning answers are predictable: family, friends, enjoyable work, and a sense of security, good health, and keeping the wolf from the door. Same as it was in Thoreau's day -- or a thousand years ago.

Carve It Down

Now for the hard part: do something about it. Take an honest look at your life and figure out what you can start discarding.

If it's too much stuff -- clothes, cars, furniture, the boat you never use -- then you can start there. But I really advise that you focus even more on the activities that don't fit your priorities.

Most people, from what I've seen, waste entirely too much time on things -- activities, possessions, jobs, whatever -- that only marginally interest or entertain them, when they could be focusing on much deeper, much richer experiences. It's a natural trap to fall into, but it's worth making the effort to escape that trap.

You don't have to live in a cabin in the woods like Thoreau did. You don't have to become a monk. By all means, you don't have to suffer. 

You just have to embrace the virtue of simplicity, be honest about what's most important to you, and then follow through. 

What will a simpler life mean to you?

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Tim Walker, Life Balance Guest Blogger for The Providers of CareOne Debt Relief Services Tim Walker

Tim is a writer, marketer, and social media pro living in Austin. He joined CareOne's blogging team as a contributing writer for the Life Balance blog in 2009. As a blogger who has personally overcome debt challenges, he draws from his own experience to provide tips on living a balanced life and keeping fit. You can read more of his thoughts (on fitness and everything else) at his personal blog, What I've Learned So Far. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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