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May 16, 20234 min read


If you have uncluttered the spaces (and people) around you and are working on establishing what your goals really are, you are already on the path to simplifying your life; making it more manageable and less hectic and draining. One aspect of simplifying your internal and external world that is not often thought about is decluttering your mind of nagging thoughts that keep you from moving on. And that means moving on by doing exactly what you are doing right now, or moving on to something entirely new and different. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out the good advice from the bad when so many voices are telling you what you should do. And now you want to know what YOU want to do with your life, how you want to live it, and who you want to live it with. 

You can start with letting go of being influenced by what other people may think of your choices. Are these thoughts keeping you from what you really want to do in your life? Are those worries blocking your mind and keeping you running in circles, and making your life complicated? Trying to always please everyone in your life usually does not work. No one is a robot. And though robots can be programmed to do as you want them to do, even robots burn out if they are not maintained. But the bottom line is you are not a robot so don’t let someone program you.

If you want a big career change or location change, you don’t need validation; not if you are able to do it on your own without financial assistance. I’m not suggesting you quit your job today, especially if you are responsible for others (children, family). 

You don’t need validation for what you want in your life but you do need decency, respect and love in your life..  

If relationships are good to begin with, then there is always a sweet spot to be found in making decisions and compromises. But the only way one can be truly autonomous in life desires and decisions is to be just that: autonomous! It may sound good but after a while, you may change your thinking on that one. It may not be simplifying at all. 

But let’s start with some easy ways that make a difference right away. If you watch tv when you go to bed until you go to sleep, that means you brain is always running just like a tv with this channel or that channel. We may think it is calming our minds but it is usually cluttering our minds. I used to be a tv junkie who “needed” it to go to sleep.

It was hard but after removing it from the bedroom for the first time in my adult life, I felt much calmer very quickly.  I sleep much better and feel more in control if that makes sense. I meditate for a few minutes at night and when I wake up. My thoughts are more organized. And it felt good to know I could change a lifelong habit, which led to other positive lifestyle changes. 

An important step that can immediately simplify your life is learning when to say no. 

You probably already know when you should, so implement it!  Most people genuinely want to help others, especially good friends and relatives. 

Often, people ask someone for help, thinking that person has the spare time and don’t realize that there are a dozen other people asking for their help at the same time; and the truth is that person does NOT have the time in his or her life to divide it among all the requests for help. And that is a stressful situation to be in, especially when it is hard for that person to say no, even at the expense of his or her homelife. Familiar? Also, it is not unusual for men to have a harder time with declining a request for help. Women are better at linking their no with their children, spouse, or work. But often, a man just can’t come up with a reasonable alibi in time!  So he pays the price when he ends up breaking other promises or obligations in the process. 

If you can’t draw the line, your life will be put on hold. You’re only one person. Sure, the askers appreciate it. You might even get a case of beer but unless it is that person who helps you frequently and you have that arrangement with, it’s not worth the complications it causes.

So next time you’re asked, pause, bite your lip, shake your head slowly while you think of the comeback, which will be essentially no. It will get easier and you will feel so much less stressed when you don’t have that pressure. Consistently saying yes to avoid conflict or disappointing someone, brings conflict to you and others in your immediate life. 

Sooner or later, that stress accumulates and eventually boils over. At home or at work. Addressing this issue can be one of the most life changing ways to simplify your life. And gaining that confidence and peace will lead to other strategies to declutter your life in ways only you know you need.

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Stephanie Sharpe

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