12 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Get Focused on What Really Matters

HJ: The irony of attempting to simplify your life is that it can end up being quite complicated.  It should be easy right?  Just let go of what is not important and doesn’t contribute positively to your quality of life.  However, we tend to have emotional attachments to many things in our lives that keep us bound to them far longer than is necessary or even beneficial.  There is a saying that people will work harder to keep from losing something than they will to gain something new.  This is often the case with simplifying your life– you are (in a sense) losing something that you once valued or felt like you needed that has now outlived its usefulness.

Often times when we begin to attempt to simplify our lives we realize that we’re not exactly sure what it is we want or even what’s important to us, we just know that something is not working and we need to change.  The process of simplification is just as much an internal examination of who we are and what we value as an external process of letting go and moving on.  It’s important to approach the process with a mix of compassion and decisiveness.  The tendency here is to let our emotional attachments to things, people, places, etc. overwhelm us and prevent us from making real, meaningful and lasting changes.

The 12 steps outlined below will help you get clarity and summon the strength to release whatever is no longer serving you and feel at peace throughout the process.

– Truth

12 Easy Ways to Make Life Simple Again

By Angel Chernoff | Marc and Angel

Life is not complicated.  We are complicated.  When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, life is simple.

Would you like to uncomplicate your life?  I bet you would!

Marc and I received well over 1,000 replies to our recent ‘subscribers only‘ email series on simplicity.  This inspired me to revisit the content, tailor it to some of the most popular replies and questions we received, and share this enhanced summary of our simplicity advice series with you here.


A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person.  For me, it means getting rid of some of life’s complexities so you can spend more time with people you love and do more of the things you love.  It means getting rid of the clutter, and eliminating all but the essential, so you are left with only that which gives you value.

For the cynics who might say that the list of ideas below is too long to be ‘simple,’ there are really only two steps to simplifying:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you.
  2. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.

Of course, that advice is not terribly useful unless you understand how to apply this concept to different areas of your life; so I present to you the points below as well.  And since there can be no ‘one size fits all,’ step-by-step guide to simplifying your life, I’ve compiled an incomplete list of ideas that should help you move in the right direction.  Not every tip will fit your lifestyle, so just choose a few that do and apply them accordingly.

3.  Learn to let GO of what wasn’t meant to be.

Letting go is part of moving on to something better.  You will not get what you truly deserve if you’re too attached to the things you’re supposed to let go of.  Sometimes you love, and you struggle, and you learn, and you move on.  And that’s OK.  You must be willing to let go of the life you planned for so you can enjoy the life that is waiting for you.

4.  Stop berating yourself for being a work in progress.

Start embracing it!  Because being a work in progress doesn’t mean you’re not good enough today.  It means you want a better tomorrow, and you wish to love yourself completely, so you can live your life fully.  It means you’re determined to heal your heart, expand your mind and cultivate the gifts you know you’re meant to share. May we all be works in progress forever, and celebrate the fact that we are!

5.  Don’t wish your life away.

The truth is, your whole life has been leading up to this moment.  Think about that for a second.  Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low, and everything in between, has led you to this moment right now.  This moment is priceless, and it’s the only moment guaranteed to you.  This moment is your ‘life.’  Don’t miss it.  (Read The Power of Now.)

6.  Forget what everyone thinks and wants for you.

One of the greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you.  Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to be.  The best thing you can do is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don’t just accept the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what others will think, or afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.  They aren’t.

7.  Stop worrying and complaining.

Start focusing on the things you can control and do something about them.  Those who complain the most accomplish the least.  And when you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.  It’s usually only as good or bad as you think it is.

8.  Start making moves.

Sometimes we ask questions not to seek answers but to affirm something our soul knows already.  You’re not doing yourself a favor by merely hearing the same answer from people over and over again.  It is accepting the truth, making a conscious change and finally moving on to other things that is your answer.  Give your soul a chance to explore the life you are meant to live.  Stop asking the same questions – at some point you have to make a decision and take action.  (Read Getting Things Done.)

9.  Focus on being productive, not being busy.

Don’t just get things done; get the right things done.  Results are always more important than the time it takes to achieve them.  Stop and ask yourself if what you’re working on is worth the effort.  Is it bringing you in the same direction as your goals?  Don’t get caught up in odd jobs, even those that seem urgent, unless they are also important.

10.  Look for the silver lining in every tough situation.

When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

11.  Spend more time with the right people.

These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

12.  Let things be less than perfect.

Smile every chance you get; not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have, and all the problems you know you don’t have.  You must accept the fact that life is not perfect, that people are not perfect, and that you are not perfect.  And that’s okay, because the real world doesn’t reward perfection.  It rewards people who get GOOD things done.  And the only way to get GOOD things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.

Afterthoughts

Truth be told, life is actually pretty simple, but we often insist on making it complicated.  If you’re struggling with any of the points above, there is a clear path to getting back on track.  Your habits are simply broken and need to be repaired.  When you trust a broken set of habits every day, it’s only a matter of time before life gets confusing and complicated.

It doesn’t have to be this way though.  You can make adjustments starting today that will instantly help you feel better, think more clearly, and live more effectively.  That’s why we wrote our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”  It is filled with short, concise tips on how to do just that.

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