Live Simply

148912_10151698981070277_218670908_nOver the years, I’ve learned a lot about the steps of moving towards a simpler lifestyle and today I thought I would combine the best ones for you in this article. I’m not saying these steps will be easy or that they are something you can accomplish in a week, but with dedication, you will be able to soon see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Create a morning routine. This simply didn’t matter to me when I was younger and now I understand just how important and necessary it is! Without a calm, positive morning routine, my day will feel stressed and negative. The morning is my chance to set the mood for the rest of the day. I start with a quick affirmation or meditation to say today is going to be great! If the weather is nice I will take the dog for a  walk in the woods, and it is a successful walk if we find water that she can take a quick swim in. My goal in the morning is to have the house mostly picked up, dinner planned, and breakfast is the same thing every morning, quick and simple, scrambled eggs with a little cheese and half an avocado. I also love to have music on in the morning, it gets the whole family ready for a great day!

Kick the clutter to the curb. And I mean really kick it all the way out of your house. Every time the seasons change I like to do a little assessment of what the heck is in the closet. We create bags to donate items and guess what, we don’t miss a single thing! Take it in pieces. Clean out one room at a time and then a few months later, do it again. Keep cleaning out until all you have left are the things you feel are beautiful and the things you really need. I do not own anything that I do not use less than once a season. Everything has a purpose or significant meaning. This is a very difficult step for many people, but I assure you that it’s 100% worth it.

Only do what you can.  If you have too many things going on in your life that when you make it to the end of the day you wonder what happened, it’s time to cut the excess. Keep a schedule of what you do in a full day and then look over it the following day. Consider areas that can be simplified or cut out completely. If it’s creating stress it’s possible that it’s not worth it.

Clean as you go. I could not picture living a simplistic lifestyle without this step! When I’m baking or cooking, I’m always cleaning as I go. (And usually with my non-toxic cleaners made with essential oils) This prevents me from getting to the end of the project and being so tired that I don’t want to clean up or from telling myself I’ll clean it up tomorrow and then it doesn’t get done. Tomorrow is just as busy as today. Clean up as you go!

Skip trips to the store. Do you occasionally find yourself running to the store for just a few things? I have been doing this more often again and it’s time to stop. Not only are you wasting time and gas money on something that you probably don’t need right away, but you are adding in extra stress by being in the mindset that you need everything or can’t make do. In the pioneer days, pioneers would only make the trip to town after creating a large list. They knew how to do without and that to have those items would be nice, but they didn’t need them right away. They made do until it was time to go to town again, and when they did get there, they would stock up to have plenty to get them by until next time. The next time you need something, don’t make the trip to the store, make a list and wait until you have a nice long list before you make that trip.

Make a simple stockpile. To go along with the above step – make sure you have created a simple stockpile so you don’t run out of those things that you use all the time. I am not saying you need an entire bomb shelter of canned goods on hand, just if you do a lot of baking make sure you have a couple bags of those ingredients that you use often. If your family eats a lot of beans, buy the 25-pound bag instead of buying the 2-pound bags. You can get plenty of tips on building your stockpile here.

Meal plan. This is a big one and one of my favorite tips of all time! Meal planning is an incredibly simple way to make sure that you are not only planning every bit of your grocery money, but it also stops the daily, “What’s for dinner?” question. It only takes me about 10 minutes each week to create my meal plan. If you have trouble creating a meal plan and grocery shopping list of your own, I highly recommend either the 21 Day Fix eating plan or just using the free Beachbody meal planning guide online. Both are very affordable meal planning services that can save you a great deal of time!

Minimalize your clothing. I never realized what a relief it was to have less clothing until I really cleaned out my closets. I’m not saying that you need to only have a handful of items to wear, but keep only a small, strategic amount of outfits that can be put together quickly. No more sorting through the closet deciding what to wear and no more unending piles of laundry to do. Learn more about creating a minimalistic wardrobe here. Here’s a quick tip…buy yourself some nice wooden hangers and only keep the amount of clothing items for the wooden hangers that you have.

Remove the negative things in your life. I think this is the hardest step, but it’s also the most important. Negativity has no place in your life. All it does is cause stress, anxiety, and issues. It’s easy to get sucked up in the drama and the craziness of this world and hard to remove yourself from it, but I promise, it’s very, very worth it. The next time something negative crosses your path, decide if you really need to be involved or if there is something you can do to remove yourself from the situation. Yes, sometimes that means un-friending a continual drama queen on Facebook or maybe something as uncomfortable as telling a family member that you need to have your space in a situation. But, like I said before when we started chatting about these steps – not everything on the path to simple living is easy, but it’s worth it in the end.

Our lives aren’t perfect and they never will be, but I fully believe that we can live a slower-paced, simpler lifestyle no matter what. It’s all in the choices that we make along the way.

Find me on Facebook at @alihigginscoach ~ Have a Simple and Fabulous Day!

There is Only One You

One of my goals in the new year is to take better care of myself, both in my personal and business life. As a creative entrepreneur, it’s super easy to spend all of your time and energy working on your business that your health falls to the wayside. I’m guilty, for sure! Today, I’m sharing several healthy habits I’m striving for. As you read, I encourage you to think about what you can begin to carry out in your day-to-day.
This is the easiest habit you can get started on right away. Drinking plenty of water has tons of benefits like controlling headaches, improving your skin and keeping you energized. One of my latest goals is to drink at least 60 ounces of water each day. Ever since I started doing this, I noticed increased stamina and ability to focus on my business. Amazing what a little water can do!
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one before! Weight loss and healthy eating are some of the biggest industries out there. There are new diets popping up daily. Eating healthy needs to become a lifestyle change for more than just a diet change for periods of time. If you have not found a portion control system that you enjoy yet the 21 Day Fix containers are really great! Think about taking it one week at a time and making habits that continue throughout. Do not restrict yourself but keep the treats in moderation and be honest with yourself when things are not going so well. Make the effort to eat whole and natural foods most of the time! Much like staying hydrated, eating healthy has many benefits like reducing stress, increasing productivity and helping you live longer.
I sit behind a computer for the better part of the day, which means I don’t get moving around until I get home every night and get to my gym! I love working out in my home. I know it is not for everyone but I love it and it works for me and my schedule. Streaming workouts On Demand and using DVD’s are what works for me! If you have not found what works keep trying all sorts of things, yoga studios, home DVD’s, fitness gyms, personal trainers, Zumba classes, the list goes on!
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the pursuit of owning my own business is that sleep should be NUMERO UNO on the priority list. Your brain needs that time to clean itself and reset for another busy day. If you have problems sleeping I would highly recommend you tell your doctor and see a sleep specialist because losing sleep can do long term damage to your very important brain.
This is a fun habit to keep! I firmly believe that you should never stop learning, especially if you own a business. Even more so if you own an online business, because the internet continues to rapidly evolve. I like to invest in e-courses, webinars and conferences relevant to my industry in order to stay on top of my game. I also have enjoyed reading books such as You are a Bad Ass, and The Go-Giver.
These are only several examples of things you can do to stay on your A-game. What healthy habits do you like to keep? Which new habits are you going to implement this year? Let me know in the comments below!