Keeping It Simple

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Remind me never to move again.

I am in the middle of packing, and even though I am just moving from one place in Newport Beach to another, it is a lot of work.

Part of what is both good and bad is going through all my belongings. It is amazing how much ‘stuff’ we collect, and so much of what at the time we thought we needed and have not used for the past few years.

I thought I was committed to my journey of keeping it simple, yet with my endeavor to pack I was not so sure about that. It is difficult to let go of memories, things that are sentimental or what we think we might need or believe we will regret getting rid of.

Living simply actually takes concerted effort. It is so easy to go into a store and be caught by the shiny new objects—and yes, shiny things tempt me also.

Therefore, I ask myself the following questions: Does it make my life better? Is it really what I am wanting or needing? Does it have some form of purpose?

It is not exciting or fun having to pay attention to these details, yet by asking ourselves these questions, it keeps our lives less complicated. There are many ways that we can address the concept of keeping it simple. Here are my top 10:

  1. Clean out all possessions that do not have any sentimental value or a purpose that we use on a regular basis.
  2. Keep it simple also means watching where we spend our time. What activities do you engage in that do not make life better for yourself or others? How many times do we say yes to something when we really do not want to go?
  3. Make your goals specific, again having meaning and purpose in your life. I tend to stick to one to three goals at a time.
  4. Simplify your thoughts. One of the issues I see that creates a lot of anxiety for all of us is over-thinking. I remind people, including myself, to keep focused on what is important right now and again what has meaning and purpose.
  5. Money is truly an important one. Being mindful of your money means paying attention to your spending habits. One of the biggest mistakes people make is over committing themselves financially. Being mindful of your spending sounds boring, but the results will feel great.
  6. Make sure your words have meaning and purpose. Again this just means focusing on being present to what we say. It has a tremendous impact. Think about what others have said to you that has either made you feel amazing or impacted you negatively.
  7. Keeping it simple with your emotions is not quite as easy. Yet, what I mean by this is owning your emotions and keeping them managed. For example, if we get angry, express it in a meaningful and purposeful way. Sometimes we can get caught up in our emotions or get stuck in them and then they have a negative effect. Keep them current.
  8. Keep your eating meaningful and purposeful. We all know how to eat well and that is important. It also means we get to enjoy what is meaningful for us. I was at See’s Candy the other day. I could eat every one of those sweet treats, but I actually will only eat the ones I love and truly enjoy.
  9. Keep it simple with our social media, TV and computer engagement. Again, this is so easy to get caught up in. We have to think again what the purpose is and what has meaning.
  10. One of the most important things to keep simple is relationships. Most of us have a lot of people in their lives yet many of these relationships have little depth to them. When we engage in relationships that have little purpose or meaning we become drained. It also complicates our lives. Relationships can make our life meaningful and give it tremendous purpose. It is what life is about, and if we are distracting ourselves with the shiny, it drains us and we can be left wondering what happened to our life.

I agree with Confucius when he said “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

Need I say more? No, because I want to keep it simple.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected].



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