Category Archives: Simple (Minimalist) Living

Adopting a Minimalist Lifestyle and Mentality: Four Steps to Simplifying

With all the options and availability we have today, it is easy to become weighed down by excess stuff that does not serve us. Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise, we all tend to carry around baggage that we would be better off without.

Adopting your own unique version of a minimalist lifestyle is a manner of simplifying your life in a way that will serve you. It can be catered to your own needs and desires and altered as you grow.

Set the goal to live deliberately, intentionally choosing what you will allow into your life from here on out. From the smallest time-suckers like social media to the heavy hitters such as a soul-crushing career, be bold and dare to analyze what is serving you and what is not. Daily habits and routines can be solid foundations to build a life around or they can be deterrents holding us back from truly living.

“I lost me when I gave up on my dreams. I lost me when I outsourced the tough decisions in life to society’s expectation of me.” -Grant Peelle (Featured in the documentary “I’m Fine, Thanks”)

Are you ready to start living your dreams? It’s time to make some changes, so get ready to jump.

Four Steps to Simplifying Your Life

1. Realize your dreams and your heart’s deepest desires.

For some people, this will be the fun and easy part. For others, it may take a little to get the ball rolling.

If it helps, write a mission statement for your life, or a number of simple, powerful statements that resonate with you, such as:

“I want to be self-employed and make $100,000 a year.”
“I want to have 3 hours a day of quality time with my partner/my kids/my friends/my books/my craft”
“I want to become a strong, powerful athlete.”
“I want to have authentic, meaningful relationships that inspire growth for everyone involved.”
“I want to be able to travel everywhere I want, whenever I want.”
“I want to live in a simple, beautiful home with lots of natural light and no excess junk.”
“I want to have plenty of free time to relax, be in nature, and pursue the things I am passionate about.”
“Every day I want to feel happy, healthy, and free.”
“I want to share what I am passionate about with the world and to inspire growth and personal development.”

If you are more of a visual person, get find pictures that inspire you either online or in magazines and create a vision board. Or, do a combination of both.

Start writing, start dreaming, start getting in touch with what you truly desire. The hardest part is beginning and it becomes progressively more exciting and invigorating once you get going.

Allow yourself to define your desires without limitations.

2. Let go of that which is no longer serving you.

Now that you know what you want your life to consist of and to feel like, it will be easier to look at your life and know which situations, people, items, etc. are serving you and helping you to get closer to being the person that you want to be and living the dreams you want to live.

It will also be clear which situations, people, items, etc. are not.

By eliminating that which no longer serves us, we create fresh space in our lives. We create freedom. And freedom is power.

3. Decide what you are going to invite into your life and where to hold space for new possibilities.

You have acquired your power, now you get to decide what you want to do with it. Don’t rush to fill the newly created space, especially out of fear. It is easy to get pulled back into soothing routines, which are sometimes disguised as new ones. Commit to being keenly aware of what is going on, daring to allow yourself to sit with the new space you have created until you feel the pull of true inspiration.

When a new opportunity presents itself, check and see if it is in line with your deepest heart’s desires as defined in step one. If you are not sure, these questions may be helpful to ask yourself:

Will this add value to my life?
Will it bring joy or help facilitate more joy in my life?
Do I need to jump in or can I test the waters as a trial before committing?
What will it take the place of? Is it worth it? (Contemplate this, even if what it will be replacing is free time, which the importance of cannot be understated.)

Be discriminating. Elevate your expectations of life. Don’t just settle for a good life, insist on an awesome one. When you get used to living that way, if something is worth your time, you will know, because your excitement about it will be clear.

4. Appreciate your life, whichever phase of this process you may be in, and be grateful.

This step cannot be emphasized enough. It is easy to get caught up in our daily routines and habits, even when we are being intentional. So make appreciation a habit. It is one that you will not regret.

Wherever you are in your life, wherever you are in your journey with minimalism, wherever you are period, take time to stop and appreciate anything and everything you truly can. Be grateful for your life. The more you do this the better you will feel and the more you will generate in your life to be grateful for.

Quick Recap

  1. Realize what your ideal life looks and feels like without limitations.
  2. Analyze and eliminate that which is no longer serving you.
  3. Intentionally choose what is essential for your ideal life, being discriminating.
  4. Appreciate and be grateful.

Now get out there and start living the epic life you deserve, you badass minimalist.

Check out the video I did about this topic here:

Minimalist Fitness: Finding Joy In Movement that Serves You In Achieving Your Goals

What sort of movement practices do you engage in? Do you look forward to them? Do you dread them? Do you feel like they are serving you or are you merely going through the motions?

I believe we were designed as a species to move often and vigorously. Living out in nature we would have had to have been fit enough to climb trees to forage fruit, run from predators, create shelters, and so on. Our bodies were our only mode of transportation and we relied upon them heavily.

Over time we have gravitated towards motorized vehicles that carry us around, chairs that support our bodies and a whole society that operates around making things “easier” for humans to get what they need to survive. Unfortunately these innovations have also lead to the steady decline in fitness amongst the human race. As a species we are more unhealthy than ever and growing lazy and unaccustomed to moving our bodies.

Cultivating an Attitude of Play

We have the ability to change this declining trend. We can learn to truly enjoy moving our bodies and experiencing growth in our fitness. We can cultivate an attitude of play towards something that is often referred to as “working”-out and look forward to our play sessions each day.

From a young age I was always interested in sports, playing outdoors and moving my body. Perhaps it was because we did not have TV in my family growing up, but the thought of being inside while the sun was out seemed like a waste of a day. Needless to say, I grew up active. Yet I noticed that as I got older my attitude towards attending sports practices or going to the gym wavered and sometimes it would feel like a forced chore rather than a fun activity. (Sound familiar?)

When I became aware of this trend creeping into my fitness routines I decided to put a stop to working out and learn how to play once again. What I found was that by shifting my perspective I could enjoy a whole range of fitness activities, both new and old.

So how can we learn to cultivate an attitude of play in our fitness routine? We can begin by shifting our point of focus to our desired outcome. This outcome could be anything from being able to do 10 consecutive pull ups, to mastering a front handspring, to learn to salsa dance, or to look and feel great in your body.

Set Yourself Up for Success

It’s time to reorganize your brain and get inspired. Get ready to let go of old patterns of thinking about your work outs and make room for the new. Start by think about what your fitness goals are, write them down, and allow yourself to get excited about how it will feel to achieve them.

Keep your goals present in your mind. Put your list in a place that you look at regularly such as on your desktop or your refrigerator. If you are a visual person, find an image that inspires you with your list of goals. If you work well when you are held accountable, recruit the help of a supportive friend that will check in with you on your progress and remind you of your motivations.

To stay on target with your goals, it is important to know how you are going to achieve them and to have well-formed motivations for doing so. Make sure your goals are set with your best interest in mind. Educate yourself on the topics that pertain to these goals and incorporate this knowledge in your plan for your path to success. When you have good reason for pursuing something and you have educated yourself about it, it is much harder to fall off the wagon.

Set yourself up for success; make it so not only the idea of succeeding sounds good, but go a step further and pre-pave a path to your goal that is just as appealing and exciting. Do this by setting up fun checkpoints for yourself along the way. Checkpoints can be fitness related or otherwise and you can schedule them at whatever intervals will serve for holding your attention. The only tip I suggest is to not make your checkpoint rewards counter-productive (for example I wouldn’t reward myself for reaching 50% of my weight loss goal by eating an unhealthy meal).

Here are some examples of checkpoints similar to those I have used:

Goal: Achieve a full dead-hang pull up
Checkpoint: 5 dead hang pull ups with the smallest resistance band
Reward: Treat myself to a massage

Goal: Fit into a size 1 pair of jeans
Checkpoint: Fit into a size 3
Reward: Get rid of my old yoga pants and buy myself a new, smaller pair

Goal: Attend Crossfit consistently for 3 months
Checkpoint: 3 weeks of 5 classes per week
Reward: My growing strength and fitness will be enough reward for me! Oh but heck I’ll treat myself to a day of “freedom to do no work” if I want it.

Goal: Run 10 miles with relative ease
Checkpoint: Run 4 miles
Reward: Take a trip to Narragansett, RI and run the 4 mile seawall
Checkpoint 2: Run 6 miles
Reward: Run the Barton Springs 6-milke Loop
Goal Achievement: Buy myself a new pair of Merrell Minimalist Running shoes and get rid of my old holey ones with no tread

The rewards can be small, big, frequent, or otherwise. What they should be is relevant to your goals and to what motivates you.

Get Out and Play

The most important thing is to find something that is fun for you and to get out and start doing it. Most likely at least one or two activities sound initially enticing even if you have not fully cultivated that attitude of play yet. Remember, movement can be anything from walking to dancing to playing a sport to chasing around your kids to snowboarding to building a tree fort, and so on.

So once you choose your activities and set yourself up for success (in whatever way that takes shape for you), get out and start moving! And be consistent about it. That doesn’t mean that you have to start doing a new activity 5 days a week, but make it a point to find a way to move every day, and be sure that you are practicing the activities your goals are centered around at least 3 times a week.

Once you get yourself set up for success, it’s time to get out there and make your fitness goals a reality!

Bonus Tip For Fitness Lovers: Diversify

Want to get maximum gains in your fitness?

A lot of people tend towards a certain exercise or two and end up neglecting the other areas of fitness. However, to have great, well-rounded fitness it is important to concentrate on all aspects. We are only as strong as our weakest link, so if you want to improve your overall fitness, it is a good idea to focus on the areas you need the most improvement. Applying this theory to my fitness regime, I have begun focusing on incorporating more strength training in past 6 months and I have seen impressive gains in all areas of my fitness because of it.


OK, all of that aside, let’s get back to basics.

Movement is essential for health. Health is essential for happiness.

Find joy in your daily movement. Choose practices that serve you.

Cultivate an attitude of play and see how it opens up the world around you.

Set goals, stay motivated and get out there and have some fun!