Hello, Katie Wheeler here with week three of my five keys to happiness video series. Thank you for tuning in this week for the Magic of Less. If you missed any of my previous videos on this topic, you can find them on my Facebook page under Videos. The last two weeks I spoke about perspective and choosing your thoughts as the first two keys.
This week’s key to happiness is the Magic of Less. This means slash some things from your life! Less stuff, fewer commitments, fewer expectations, fewer rules, less frustration, less stress.
Get Rid of Extra Stuff
Clutter clogs up your brain just like it clogs up your lifestyle. If an object doesn’t serve a purpose, have a designated place or bring you joy, donate or sell it. We just moved from a 2,500 square foot home to a 1,700 square foot home. All 2,500 square feet was full of stuff. Stuff that it turned out, we didn’t need. We took a trailer full of stuff to Goodwill when we moved, and it was liberating.
This is especially important if you have kids because kids come with a lot of stuff. They should put this in the manual, your kids will clutter up your home and your vehicle with endless amounts of stuff. Get back to the basics. Does it serve a purpose? Does it have a place when it’s not in use? If not, donate or sell it.
The hard part about this is the items that no longer serve a purpose or have a place but they are sentimental to you. I read once to take a picture of the object before donating it because really, what you want to to hold onto is the memory that object elicits, and the photo will do that just as well as the object. And then, those few special things that you can’t part with, find a place for them.
Lower Your Expectations
This may seem counterintuitive to some bits of advice you’ve received. We’re taught to set high expectations of ourselves and others. However, do you find yourself constantly striving to meet or exceed your own expectations? Do you feel stressed and burned out as a result? You may be trying to do too much. Lower the bar a bit.
I realized I expected too much of myself when I was working full time and learning to be a new mother. Even with the additional responsibility of being a mother, I still expected my home to still be spotless, laundry caught up daily, a home-cooked meal every day, and to not be stressed out or allow this stress to affect me or my family. I realized that I needed to lower my expectations back to reality. We are all human. We will all make mistakes. Striving for impossible expectations is only going to stress you out.
Reduce or Reevaluate Your Goals
It’s important to have goals, but make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Trackable) (https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.php) goals only. Check out the link if you’d like to read more about how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
For example, when my husband and I first made the transition to having two kids instead of one, I realized my goals were not attainable and realistic. I reduced them to keeping the children alive, fed and occasionally change diapers. And, for myself to shower and brush teeth every day. Not kidding, that is all I focused on for the first three months of our second child’s life. And that’s okay! Even for a hyper busy person like me, that’s okay! I had someone tell me once that my idea of leisure is someone else’s busy. Yet, I realized that being so busy all the time was stressing me out because I was trying to do too much, and it affected my happiness.
Start with your calendar and slash whatever does not help meet your S.M.A.R.T. goals or bring you joy. Do you look at your calendar and wonder how to carve out any time for yourself? Is it so full of commitments that you don’t even have time to breathe let alone fit in that relaxation yoga class you so desperately need? Get your red pen or that red X ready and start deleting. If it doesn’t help you meet one of your goals or bring you joy, delete it. Learn to say, “No thank you.” Another fundraiser, home party, dinner, event, etc. Be choosy. It’s vital to cut out the extra things so you have time for your priorities and those of your family.
We spend our money and our time on our priorities. If you find you’re in short supply, reevaluate your priorities.
To protect your calendar once you get it cleared, you’ll need to learn how to say, “No” more often. If you tend to be a people-pleaser like me, saying “No” takes practice. You don’t need to explain either. A simple and polite, “No thank you.” Or, if you feel you need to say more, “Thank you for thinking of me, but I need to pass for now. I hope it’s a fun time/successful event.” The important thing is to get room back into your calendar for YOU which leads into next week’s topic on the subtle art of selfishness.
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2 thoughts on “Happiness Key No. Three, The Magic of Less”
Wish I’d had this advice 35 years ago. Keep up the helpful info…
Thank you, Ann! I’m so grateful to hear this is helpful.