What Happens When You’re Stuck on the Journey to Simplicity?
Lately, I’ve been feeling stuck on this journey I’ve undertaken to live more quietly and modestly. I want to do a lot of decluttering and cleaning but well, I just haven’t. I want to be more intentional about how I spent my money, but lately, I have been impulsive instead. So right now I feel stuck in neutral, wondering how to get started again.
Here is what I plan to do:
- Remember to take on commitments intentionally –keeping in mind what my larger goals are. I can say sorry, I’m busy, even if my busy is reading a good book on the deck.
- Recognize that simplicity is a stepping stone to a richer life – one that is not based on the abundance of my possessions but on the abundance of love and adventure in my life.
- Remember that our culture will always say I need more of the latest and greatest stuff but what I really need is more time, rest and joy. Material possessions simply cannot give me that.
- Take a 30 day spending break and only buy essential consumables
- Clean out my closets one at a time and get rid of the things in them that I no longer need or use.
I am currently reading Refresh – Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona and David Murray. In the chapter on rest, she says of taking Sabbath rest, as well as longer vacations, that “We leave behind our frantic pace of life for a time to re-calibrate our speed, to get a perspective on where we are going and why. We pause to remember God’s role in our lives, to worship Him for His all-sufficient grace, and to keep our eye on the ultimate horizon of eternity. One of the devil’s best weapons is noise. Just as people use white noise to block out other noise, Satan uses lifestyle noise to block out God’s voice.” What a great reminder of the importance of rest on a regular basis.
I am grateful for the life that God has given us. My husband and I are rich with love, family, health, and fun. I am choosing to focus on simplicity again.
Exercise Made Simple
My motivation to exercise tends to go through highs and lows. Some seasons, I exercise to excess and others, not nearly enough. I read the latest article telling me what the new “best” way to exercise is. And that seems to change from year to year. Its cardio – no its weights – no its cross fit –no its… The truth is – any activity is better than no activity. So don’t worry about the latest fad exercise program.
If you struggle to be consistent in your activity plan, like me, here are a few ideas that may help.
- Use exercise as a way to feel better, healthier and have more energy. Many studies have shown that weight loss is much more tied to what you eat than how many hours you are putting in exercising. In fact, when I was training 12-15 hours a week for a half-ironman, I actually gained weight. No – it wasn’t muscle either. Since I was training so much, I unconsciously gave myself permission to eat everything in sight. You can’t make up for a bad diet with exercise!
If your only motivation to exercise is to lose weight, it will be hard to stick with it especially if the scale isn’t moving. So, workout for your health and wellbeing. The rewards will be longer lasting than just working out for weight loss.
- Pick an activity that you enjoy. I have a son who really enjoys weight lifting, another who loves long distance running, and another whose favorite is hiking. They do those activities because they like them. And all three of them get the benefits of regular exercise, even though they do very different things.
I love walking, biking and swimming – hence triathlon. Except that triathlon includes running, and running quite honestly, is generally miserable for me. Once I realized that, and switched to race walking, I found that I am much more excited about my workout every day. Also, if you hate the gym, don’t think that paying a bunch of money for a membership is going to motivate you. You might force yourself to go for a few weeks, but soon your money will just be going to waste.
- Pick an activity that is convenient and simple to do. Swimming is another sport that I enjoy, but the closest lap pool is 40 miles away, so it is not something I can do very often. I’m just not going to drive into town 3 times a week to hit the pool. So be a realist when you plan your fitness program. For years, I have used exercise DVDs because – wait for it – they are convenient and simple to use. Right there in my basement, with no worries about who is going to see me, or cleaning up to go workout, I can exercise in peace.
That being said, you may be a person who is energized by working out with others. If so, find a walking partner, or an exercise class. Join a challenge on Fitbit or Garmin. There are a lot of ways to use technology to help you get motivated. One place I used to work had a yearly step challenge where we all wore a pedometer and got prizes for improvement as well as most steps.
- Any activity is better than none. It’s better to start small and build up, than it is to go too hard and too fast and end up quitting a couple of weeks later. There are lots of great beginner exercise plans on the internet. Just be sure to choose something simple that you know you will enjoy.
The benefits of regular exercise make it worth the effort to get it done. Your improving health and your higher energy level will be the best reward!