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The Seven Steps to Simplicity

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This is a guest post by Maria Murphy of Simply Put Together.

Finding balance and life satisfaction in today’s world is a challenge, even on a good day. After practicing as a psychotherapist for over 15 years, I have formulated my own philosophy about how to attain a sense of simplicity and balance. I believe there are seven fundamental steps to gaining the life satisfaction many of us seek. These steps are easy to reach when practiced in small steps with consistency and focus. Listed below is the philosophy of The Seven Steps to Simplicity and some examples of how to incorporate them into your life in small, easy to use steps. Find one example below that fits your goals and give it a try!

Slowing Down

We live in a very fast paced world. It’s important to teach ourselves ways to slow down, for both relaxing and creating space to think about what is important to us individually.

  • Practice visualization. Use your senses to put yourself in a relaxing scene or setting. Don’t just visualize going to the beach. Ask yourself what the air smells like; is the sand cool, hot? Is it late afternoon with long shadows on the beach or night-time with the moon shining on the water? This exercise can be done in only minutes….almost anywhere and will remind you to slow down.

Managing Our Lives

People who feel in control of their lives feel more successful and confident. This is about developing the tools and mindset to create that sense of personal power.

  • Double time yourself. Are you perpetually late? Do you tell yourself you can squeeze in a “quick callâ€? before your meeting begins… in 5 minutes…which is at the other end of the building? Do you think it will take you 20 minutes to get to that meeting across town, but you forget to factor in small things, like finding your keys, 5pm traffic and negotiating a parking spot? If you have this problem, simply face up and double time yourself. Give yourself 40 minutes to get to that meeting and don’t ever pick up the phone 5 minutes before you are scheduled to do something!

Trying New Things

We need to get out of the routine, stay fresh and alive and also break out of old thinking and strengthen problem solving.

  • Practice a “what if.â€? Try something you have always wanted to try, but never had the chance or nerve to explore. One of the best ways to stay young is to try new things. This keeps you fresh and it also prevents you from the dangerous world of “I wonder what my life would have been like if I had tried……â€?Have fun and try one of your “what if’s.â€? Always use good judgment, of course.

Personal Wellness

We often let our wellness slip to the wayside when things get busy; taking care of ourselves gives us a better quality of life and keeps us rejuvenated for what is coming next.

  • Take a 2 minute time out. Taking time out of our busy days can seem like a daunting task. Sometimes it feels like taking a moment “offâ€? would make the whole boat capsize, but it’s really not true. Instead, when we take a moment here and there, we teach ourselves that we are important and we keep ourselves rejuvenated and refueled. Look for the opportunity to take a moment off.

Thinking of Others

Embrace a philosophy of respect for self and others. This is easy to practice with simple shifts in behavior and communication.

  • Own up when you goof up. This is a simple one. Just admit when you are wrong. A simple “Sorry. I thought the movie started at 7, not 630â€? will do wonders. How about “I am so sorry I am late for this meeting.â€? Instead of, “Sorry! Traffic was awful and there was all this construction everywhere, and…..â€? Take responsibility and own up. Your life and relationships will be better for it.

Positive Thought

This is not about “Pollyanna thinking�. It’s about a conscious choice to be positive because it gives, rather than takes, energy.

  • Think 3. This takes only a minute or two a day. Think of three things that are good in your life right now. This is simple and will move your mind into the direction of positive thought. This exercise and philosophy are not about pretending negatives don’t exist, just not making the negatives our focal point.

Seize the Day

There is so much joy in life. It’s easy to let that slip between our fingers. But the truth is, soaking in life’s pleasures is a big part of being alive, no matter what is going on in your life.

  • Participate. Do you grab on to the moment or let it slip by? When something new and exciting is happening, do you get a knot in your stomach and become afraid to jump in? What if you participated? What if you played waffle ball with the kids or got on the dance floor or spoke up in that meeting and shared your idea? Look for the opportunity to participate in the world around you.

The Seven Steps to Simplicity aren’t all that complicated, but together, they add up to the ability to live a life full of happiness, personal satisfaction and purpose. When you practice these steps in small ways, they become part of you and finding balance and life satisfaction becomes part of your everyday. Good luck, have fun and check out Simply Put Together, the planner that paves a path for change while you organize your daily schedule.

For more details on these steps and Maria’s book visit Simply Put Together.

Please Share!

How do you incorporate simplicity into your life? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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22 Responses to The Seven Steps to Simplicity

  1. Going2Oahu June 19, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    This is a very nice list. In Hawaii, many of us try to maintain a state of aloha throughout the day, and it begins with something as simple as waking up with a smile.

  2. Mindfulness February 5, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    Great post Maria! Adding a little simplicity to our lives seems like the only way to survive these days. I want to recommend to your readers a meditation technique called mindfulness that’s all about living in the moment. It’s a little different from the positive thought step u mentioned in that mindfulness is about acknowledging the good or the bad in every moment in an unbiased way. You do write that positive thought is not about pretending negatives don’t exist – and kudos on that point. We shouldn’t ignore the bad stuff in our lives because then it becomes harder for us to fix it.

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