The Word of 2013: Simplify


I just completed my second Annual Review (see Chris Guillibeau's how-to here). Putting things in black ink and stepping back to observe as much as possible is a practice I've found invaluable. Sometimes we have ideas about how we think we've done and when we look at the objective information find very different realities. I focus my review on my business but take note of things like health, relationships, change in habit, transformative events, moves, etc. This has helped me become more conscious of the things that truly help me thrive so I can make them habits which become a part of how I live.

I've come to recognize that the simpler my life is the more fulfilled I am and the more I can give of myself.

So, my word for this year is simplify. The idea of simplifying isn't something new to me. It's something I've been doing for a few years now but something feels different now, and I can't say exactly what it is. Maybe it's a deeper recognition that the less I have the happier I am. That the more I place my attention on what is truly valuable in life the more I'm drawn to keep my attention there. That I want as little of my consciousness as possible spent on considering what shoes I should wear with my outfit. That the fewer projects I pursue simultaneously the more I can give to what I'm working on. That the longer my to-do list is the more scattered my mind is. This doesn't mean I'll be doing less work. In contrast, I think simplifying will enable me to do more quality work. Through simplifying I'll have a clearer focus, be less distracted, have more energy, be able to give more of myself to my pursuits, and live a fuller life.

Below you’ll find my specific (vague goals are rarely accomplished) goals for 2013 which include some things that I’ve already been doing or are part of who I am but that I want to reinforce.

  1. Wake up 6:30am each morning and go to bed by 10:30pm each night. What I really wanted to write here was, “Wake up and go to bed at the same time.” I tend to thrive with a set schedule, but I happen to be averse to committing to one. So, here it is in writing, a commitment to early rising and falling.
  2. Spend each morning meditating for one hour and then writing for one hour.
  3. Use my purchase power. I’ll reduce my belongings, which are already fairly sparse, to high quality items that add value to my life and do not support the slaughter of animals, even if it means it’s not convenient for me and I can’t make impulse purchases.
  4. I will aways keep in mind that this life is one evolving process, that we are all connected, and that there’s never too much love, kindness, and compassion to be shared.
  5. I will continue to eat foods that make my body thrive and reduce and eliminate those that harm it, even if it means making certain social sacrifices.
  6. I will laugh every day, and I will try to be around as many people as I can who make me laugh until my face hurts.
  7. I will stay present and spend as little time as possible thinking about the past and future. Practical thoughts and ideas for the future are obviously something I advocate; I’m looking to free up space the mind spends fantasizing about the future.
  8. I will continue to develop my yoga practice, something that my entire being is always so grateful for.
  9. I will dance more, even if it means going by myself or having a dance party in my bedroom. You’re never too old. (Isn't it fun to picture grandmas and 'pas busting a move in their room solo? That's going to be me when I'm 90.)
  10.  I will take time to consider projects before taking them on and ensure they are ones I’m doing because I’m connected to them. I will not do any projects out of guilt or neediness.
  11.  I will continue to create a list each night and do the things on that list the next day. I will continue to batch my work.
  12.  I will break gluten-free bread with someone at least once a week.
  13.  I will begin to journal again- even if it’s just a note or two. This will help me stay conscious of my life, progress, and help me see myself a bit more clearly.
  14.  I will read daily. I’ll alternate between a “thinking” book and a “light” book depending on my mood. I read 18 books last year and aim to hit 25 this year.
  15.  I will stay connected to the world via social media. There are so many amazing people out there. I want to meet you.

If you enjoyed this check out Craig's 12 Rules for some more inspiration on Zen Habits.