The benefits of minimalism
If you’re like most millennials and always striving to better yourself, there’s a good chance you would have heard the term ‘minimalism’ thrown around a few times.
From journalist and popular author Sarah Wilson aka the ‘I Quit Sugar’ Queen to Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser, more and more high profile and successful people are choosing to live with fewer possessions and are swearing by its benefits.
So what is minimalism exactly? And is it something worth implementing in your life?
Two friends and advocates of the minimalist lifestyle, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, describe minimalism as a tool that helps you find freedom from all the negative feelings associated with our incessant need to continuously consume. Freedom from fear, worry, overwhelm, guilt and even depression.
In their blog The Minimalist, they share their journey of living a six-figure income and opulent but unhappy lifestyle to embracing a minimalist mindset and finding a passionate, free and meaningful life.
While they aren’t against owning possessions entirely, they believe the problem lies in the meaning we associate with obtaining them.
The social status and the perceived success, for example, that we give to our possessions and the time and energy we spend in pursuit of these things. For them, minimalism has broken the cycle of compulsive consumption, the continuous chase for bigger, better and more without conscious and deliberate thought behind it.
Brooke McAlary, blogger and Slow Living advocate, applied the principles of minimalism and simplified her life by decluttering more than 25,000 items over a 2 year period.
She created what she calls a ‘Slow Home’ and in her own words rediscovered her health, passion, energy and her spark. Her now simpler life has made space for her to reconnect to what’s genuinely important and she shares this message in her iTunes rated #1 health podcast The Slow Home
Dan Erickson, who describes himself as a moderate minimalist, believes getting rid of clutter and excess has opened up more time in his schedule.
It’s given him a chance to reclaim what truly aligns with his values like health, relationships, learning and making time for his passions.
In his e-book The Happiness of Simple he describes how the complexity of modern day living has stolen our joy. It has led us to falsely believe that we never have enough and breaking away from this way of thinking, through applying the principles of simple living, is the key to reclaiming our happiness.
These are just a few examples of the impact living with less can make.
And let’s be honest, most of us not only live with and spend more than we need but are in constant pursuit of more time and space for things we really value.
So whether you want to completely adopt the minimalist way of living or just take the first baby steps, according to these simple living experts, here’s a good place to start to reap the benefits of minimalism:
Do a goal inventory
Erickson suggests making a list of the 5 most important goals in your life.
Ask yourself why these goals are important to you and if they are authentically yours or based on what society values. Will achieving them add more stress or bring peace into your life? The actions or habits that only create stress without adding value need to go.
Declutter your home
Make a goal to tackle a room a week. Go through each one and get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. This especially applies to duplicate items.
Be really honest with yourself and only leave behind possessions that serve a purpose or bring you joy. Everything else is just clutter and is taking up space. At the very least you’ll free up the time needed to keep it tidy.
Spring clean your relationships
Take a close look at the connections you have with the people in your life.
In Letting go of Shitty Relationships Milburn explains that we tend to “routinely keep people around simply because they’re already around”. He explains that holding onto relationships that continually drain us or fail to add value or provide support will eventually become part of our identity and will prevent us from living the lives we desire.
If attempts at trying to improve the relationship have failed, it needs to end. As difficult as this may be, these changes usually make room for new and enriching connections with people that are more in alignment with who you are.
Take a look at your spending
If you haven’t already, book a FREE Financial Possibilities session with us.
You’ll not only discover more about yourself through your spending habits, you’ll rid yourself of thoughtless and compulsive purchases that prevent you from being your best self. More importantly, we’ll help you redirect your energies towards achieving goals that truly align with who you are and what you value the most.
Clean up your schedule
Take a close look at how you spend your time, be it for work, social, family or personal growth.
Are you making the most of your time in these areas? Are you overcommitted in some and lacking in others? Cut out any social functions that don’t add value to who you are as a person. You know the ones? Where you spend two hours listening to someone whinge about their lives or where you feel you can’t be your honest self for fear of being judged.
And what about your children? Do they really need all those after school activities? Let go of over-scheduled and unfulfilled. Replace it will busy with a purpose.
Cut down your digital time.
Be it your phone, computer, iPad or the tv, we are all glued to some type of device for more than we need to be. As social media plays such a big role in our lives it’s easy to spend hours looking at a screen without even realising.
The best way to limit our exposure is to create screen-free spaces. Maybe that means no devices during dinner times or no wifi in our bedrooms. Giving our minds (and eyes) a digital break is imperative in simplifying our lives.
Schedule time for solitude
Simple living means decluttering all areas of your life, and your mind is no exception.
Making regular time to switch off from the endless amount of noise we are bombarded by daily is important. Be it through meditation, yoga, connecting with nature or whatever works for you. Slowing down your mind and focusing inwardly is a powerful way of disconnecting from the consumption culture we live in. And allowing to the surface what truly resonates for each of us.
Remember there is no right or wrong way when it comes to applying the principles of minimalism.
The key is to start small and grow from there.
Decluttering our lives and making space for what’s really important to each of us individually is really just the beginning. The overall aim is to continue on a path of being our best selves. It’s the next level of living with mindfulness and experiencing joy by letting go anything that’s holding us back.
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Article by Evie Tramer
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature. It should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.