Monday, February 9, 2015

Simplify Your Life


Many people are looking for better balance and happiness in life. Through my writing and coaching, I help guide people towards those goals by providing them with options. One of my favorite lines of questioning includes challenging the complexity of people's lives.

Some questions include: What things are you currently experiencing in your life that you no longer want? How are complex or difficult relationships helping or hurting you? In what ways can you simplify areas of your life to bring you more peace and happiness?

Here are tips in three areas of your life to help get you started down the road to simplicity:

Simply Your Choices
  • Just because you can doesn't mean you should. To optimize your power of choice, pay careful attention to the results of your choices. Make your choices and notice the consequences. Be willing to try something new. And remember you can always choose again. Sounds simple, but not always easy.
  • Like a good parent or teacher, give yourself options. For example, I choose from three different health-related activities each day: swim, gym or nap. I need to choose one activity each day, but I don't have rules about which activity or how often I can choose it. I give myself the choice and allow myself to go with whatever I'm feeling that day—no judgments.
  • Help out your health. Keep a supply of healthy food choices stocked in your cupboard, refrigerator, and desk drawer at work. Avoid running low on healthy snacks or you might be tempted to binge on something you don't really need. Save the treats for special occasions!
Simplify Your Relationships
  • Take inventory of your current relationships. Which people are adding to your life? Which people are taking too much of your time and energy? Who is really supporting you, or who is waiting for you to do something for them? Think carefully. Choose which relationships to nurture accordingly.
  • Invest more in the most important people. I know this sounds obvious, but there is a tremendous power in incremental investments. Think of your most cherished relationships like a savings account. Adding a small deposit each week equates to large payoffs down the road.
  • Rise to meet conflict by softening your stance. Think about the outcome (what you really want out of a situation), and stay focused on the goal while you approach it with curiosity instead of coercion. Better resolution comes through collaboration rather than collision. Seek to win-win!
Simplify Your Outlook
  • I'm not speaking about your Outlook email account (although that could be another blog!), but rather Simplify your outlook on life. When you see that all of your choices—and ultimately your experiences—stem from your own unique perspective, you can learn to accept that your perception does, indeed, create your reality.
  • Develop a higher tolerance for ambiguity. There are so many unknowns and variables in our world. Developing a higher tolerance for ambiguity means learning to be more at ease with "not knowing". In other words, by allowing yourself to learn from the momentum of your experience, you don't need to figure everything out right away. Be patient. Watch. See what happens.
  • Learn to accept all things and people as they are. Right now. In all ways. Simple? Yes. Easy to do? Not so much. When you start to allow the things and people in your environment to exist without judging them (if they are "right or wrong"), then you are in harmony with nature. Pay attention to your own path and allow others to keep theirs. We are only responsible for our own journey, not the journey for anyone else.

My hope is that by making a few small changes here and there, you will notice how simplifying your life in subtle ways can have a profound on your feelings of balance and equilibrium. Besides, balance is already within you, so let it shine.

To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Need a bit more motivation? Pick up a copy of 21 Days to Better Balance, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life. You can also tune into Michael's recent radio interview with Sharvette Mitchell at: (Michael starts after 31:00).

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com