I have spent over 10 years on my journey towards a simpler and more soulful life.
Whilst I am still fine tuning, I certainly feel greater freedom and fulfilment following all the years of work I have put into creating a life with less stuff, more meaning, more intention and purpose.
I have read a few blog posts and articles about what happens next. Once most of the hard work is done – where do you go? Is it like a weight loss diet where once you get rid of the excess kilos, you enter some kind of maintenance phase?
For me, maintenance is a way of ensuring that I maintain my goal. That I continue to review my values, beliefs and goals, and I continue to evaluate whether what remains in my life aligns with those values, beliefs and goals.
Like a weight loss diet, you don’t go through all the hard work and discipline only to put all the weight back on again. And if you do put the weight back on again, then you would need to question whether you really had the foundations in place to make lasting changes.
There will always be more to get rid of. There will always be those things that creep their way back into our lives and make themselves comfortable. There will always be the tendency to just sit in our comfortable place and let things go.
The thing to remember is that minimalism is not a fad diet. It’s a lifestyle. A long term relationship. And like all long term relationships, you need to put in the effort and continue reviewing and seeking feedback and re-aligning with each other.
Our values, beliefs and goals will change throughout the course of our lives. So what means something to us today may not have the same meaning in a few years. Just like a weight loss diet, as we go through life, our requirement and tolerance for certain things will change. What we need nutritionally in our 20’s is very different to what we need in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond.
So to with minimalism. Every aspect of our lives will take their own course, and we need to be able to adjust to the bends and twists in the road.
My husband and I have implemented 5 simple rules to help us maintain our soul simple life:
- Don’t add. Replace. To keep on top of things, we have agreed to purchase on a replacement basis only. If an item is worn, broken or no longer useful and we continue to have a need and purpose for that item, we purchase a quality replacement. If we have a need for a new item we must part with something we already have, so we are not adding to our existing inventory.
- Focus on Wellness. Focusing on our wellbeing and health, we are slowly eliminating unhealthy habits and have discovered a whole range of new activities that are resource efficient. Learning to cook new healthy meals, going for walks instead of drives, exercising together instead of sitting and watching television, practicing regular meditation. Whatever it is that keeps your well-being in check.
- Enjoy the simple things. A meal with family, a walk along the beach, playing in the park with the kids and the dog, picnics in the park, a good catch up with friends, playing board games, getting lost in art, theatre, or your favourite music. Some of life’s most enjoyable experiences are simple, cost effective and good for you. You don’t need to plan fancy dinners and elaborate holidays to live a fulfilling life. Savour the simple things.
- Remember the Why. Sometimes when you achieve a goal you get into coast mode instead of keeping the drive. Reminding yourself of why you went through the whole process in the first place, is helpful to keep you there. Keep your why front of mind. Always. And if you need to change your why along the way to keep it relevant, do so!
- Pursue your passions. The whole reason my husband and I pursued this whole journey was to remove the burden of our material things, and give us more time and energy for the things we love most. Sometimes, even now, we have to remind ourselves to go forth and prosper! Whether it’s volunteering, playing sport, cooking, sewing, reading, or just enjoying more time together with family and friends, learning a new skill – give yourself permission to invest in your passions.