Christmas Boy and I have been together for 16 years and married for 10 years this August, and it hardly seems possible that it's been that long! We get along wonderfully and our relationship is pretty darned great. I'm convinced that our success thus far has been largely due to Sheri's advice -- and although I just found Sheri, the tenets she outlined have always played a big part in our marriage.
Sheri's terrific marriage lessons led me to think about the years I've been in business and the lessons I've learned along the way that might benefit you in your quest for a simpler life. So here they are, my 14 years and 14 lessons learned.
1. Change Can Be Great. I know change is scary sometimes but even scary changes can open doors to things you never imagined.If you don't change, you'll have more of what you have now. Forever. How does that sound?
2. You Can Only Change Yourself. You can't change anyone else. You can only change yourself and hope they notice and become inspired by the person you're becoming. The good news? They very often do.
3. No, You Don't Need More Space. You have what you have so adapt. Parkinson's Law states that work will expand to fill the time available. So it goes with stuff. More space without fundamental mindset shifts just equals more stuff. Don't food yourself.
4. Containerizing Isn't Organizing. Just because it's boxed in clear containers, labeled and stacked neatly doesn't mean you don't have a clutter problem.
5. Self-Awareness Is The Secret. Until you can see your own behaviors and hear your own thoughts you will never master yourself or your environment. Period.
6. Your Habits Make (Or Break) Your Life. The things you do habitually will become the things that either create a powerful life or enslave you.
7. Products Aren't The Answer. Products are necessary part of getting your life in order the way free weights and a balance ball are part of an exercise program. They're helpful, but unless you change your mindset and behaviors, they're just part of the clutter.
8. You Probably Won't Need It Later. I know, I know. You "never need something until you've already gotten rid of it." Yeah well that's crap. Maybe it's happened a time or two. But haven't you had a bad meal in a restaurant before? You didn't let that stop you from ever dining out again did ya? I didn't think so.
9. You Must Be Enough. All the pretty things in the world won't make you happy and a tornado, fire or hurricane can't destroy your spirit. You must detach from the bondage of the things of this world if you're ever to master yourself. It's nice to have things. They're useful and they make our lives so lovely and easy. But when it comes right down to it, everything you need should reside inside of you and the rest should be blessed gravy.
10. Decisions Beget Decisions. Nothing happens until you make a decision. And if you're afraid to make decisions, or you just plain put it off, I promise your life will be a mess. Because frankly to quote Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast." If you're not making decisions pretty quickly you will fall behind. The good news is decision making is like working out. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Just do it.
11. The Stuff Isn't Your Problem. Your head is the problem. It's how you think about your stuff that's the problem. When you change your mindset, you change your life.
12. Your Kids Need To Learn To Live Without You. I know you don't want to think about it. But one day your kids will grow up and God willing, they will leave your house. When they do, don't you want them to be independent, self-sufficient adults who can enjoy a meal without hitting a drive-thru, can do their own laundry and keep their apartment clean? They don't learn any of that magically. You have to teach them. It's your job.
13. Control Your Time To Control Your Life. Your life is your time and your time is your life. Time is a non-renewable resource which makes it more precious than gold. If you don't control your own time, set boundaries and commit time to your highest priorities, who will?
14. You ARE The Boss Of You. You must create a life you love. You must consistently balance your own needs and happiness with that of others. You must embrace the moment and live your own truth, even though others may not like whatever it is. You must because someone in the world is watching you and desperately needs you to set that example for them.
I'd love to hear your take on any of these and how you apply them in your own life!