Life is a series of micro-decisions that change the entire course of your future. No matter what choices you’ve made in the past, you’re one decision away from simplifying your life.
1. Choose people who choose you.
I know you like the mystery of being with someone who seems distant. You think, if I can only capture them, change them, then I win. However, this is the surest road to heartache.
A person who wants to be with you will make time for you. They’ll be consistent. They won’t be perfect, but when it comes to you, they’re going to put in the effort. They’re not going to leave you constantly guessing if they want to be with you or not.
2. Choose people who you choose.
On the flip side, we can become so caught up with anyone who gives us attention that we forget to ask if we even like them. We react reflectively. We only consider what they want. We become so obsessed with having someone who likes us, about finally feeling accepted, that we end up pushing our needs aside.
Your decisions aren’t solely about choosing people who choose you. You must choose them back. Avoid creating relationships with people from a place of fear or anxiety of loss. Deliberately select the people you want in your life.
3. Stop giving people unsolicited advice.
Let people ask you for advice, or like in writing, provide them with the space to choose what and when they’d like to read.
Often, people don’t want your advice. They want a listening ear.
They want validation to continue the behavior they’re already doing. They may even get upset or resentful towards you for pushing them to do better.
Forcing unwanted advice on others takes up vast amounts of your energy. Reserve this energy for close friends, family members, or those receptive to listening to you. Some people aren’t ready to hear what you have to say until they ask, and that’s okay.
4. Stop doing things you don’t want to do.
You’re upset because your boss, family member, or coworker made you do something you preferred not to. You let guilt get the best of you and now you feel stuck, but you don’t have to wait for your emotions to disappear before taking action. In most cases, they won’t.
You’re allowed to say no. Remember you have more choice than you imagine. Stop saying yes to things that you don’t want to do.
5. Remove yourself from people and environments that drain your energy.
Instead of trying to tip-toe around people or waking up with dread every day, remove yourself from environments that no longer serve you.
Yes, it can be challenging at first, but you won’t have to hold your breath, anticipating if a person you don’t even like will waste your time and energy. A great book on loss and letting go is How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Melba Colgrove.
6. Stick to one social media platform.
Social media seems to be the gold standard for building businesses these days. The downside is that it can take a toll on your mental health and drain your time. Even if you have multiple social media accounts, stick to one that you’ll use primarily. Alternatively, get help managing them. Limit your time by installing apps like Freedom, which allows you to block social media sites for a specific length of time.
7. Don’t lend more money than you’re willing to lose.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Money can cause conflict. Money can make or break friendships and tear families apart. Consider how you’ll feel towards the person you lend money to if they can’t pay you back. Can afford a financial loss? Don’t go into debt or create unnecessary resentment by lending more money than you’re willing to lose.
8. Live debt-free.
As we continue on the topic of finances, consider moving towards debt-free living. Studies show that reducing debt improves mental health and reduces anxiety. Additionally, you can concentrate on income building to enjoy more of the activities you love.
9. Delete credit cards.
Reducing or altogether eliminating credit cards can help you get out of debt. You might be thinking, how am I going to build credit or qualify for loans without a credit card? That’s the point.
Dave Ramsey, a well-known financial advisor, speaks against using credit cards. He summarizes that they make it too easy to spend money and get into debt. Dave suggests that you can use a visa debit or prepaid credit card instead of traditional credit cards.
10. Pray before you need help, not only after.
At times, we pray after we’re in trouble, exhausted or can’t figure something out. Try praying before you enter into certain places or agreements so you can potentially avoid making things more complicated than they need to be.
11. Reduce the amount of decisions you have to make.
We have more choices in the world than ever before. These numerous options can lead to the inability to decide. Increase the amount of time you have by streamlining your decision-making process.
Buy clothes you love, pick your outfits out ahead of time, wear limited colors, rotate only a few pieces of clothing through your wardrobe. You can also create a routine around what you eat, your morning, or your bedtime. These habits can free up mental room so you can focus on more significant decisions.
12. Say no more often.
We think that having a busy calendar means we’re being productive. But it doesn’t mean that we’re actually getting more done. Organize your time effectively by saying no more often. Examine your values and ask yourself if what you’re adding to your calendar pushes you closer towards your goals or takes away from it.
13. Practice zero tolerance.
You’re allowed to set a precedent that you don’t do certain things, period. “I don’t work past 5,” “I don’t drink,” “I don’t eat meat,” “I don’t engage in conversations about…” At first, you may meet resistance; after a while, people will get it. Anyone who continually pushes your boundaries will need reminders. You may need to reevaluate their meaning in your life if they repeatedly refuse to accept your limits.
14. Unsubscribe from an unwanted email list.
Look at your email inbox. Are you seeing things you want to see? Subscribe to content you’re interested in. Unsubscribe from the content you’re not. Ask yourself whether these emails provide value. If not, unsubscribe.
15. Don’t say anything negative for 14 days.
This activity is recommended by Dr.Neil Nedley, a physician who developed the highly successful Depression and Anxiety workshop. Nedley asserts that it’s more important to reduce negative thinking than concentrate on positive ones.
In his exercise, you avoid saying anything negative for 14 days, and if you do, you start over. I’ve personally tried this; I’ve found that after a few days, my mood was naturally boosted, though the exercise was more challenging than I thought.
Life is a set of small decisions that transform the entire course of your destiny. No matter the choice you made yesterday, you’re one decision away from simplifying your life.