A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Live a Life Beyond the Box!

So many times in life, we limit ourselves. We put limits on our dreams, on our abilities, and our identities. We often explain it away by making excuses for our boxed-in lives. We claim it’s due to circumstances that our beyond our control:

  • If only I had a better paying job, I wouldn’t be in so much debt.
  • If I had more free time, I could write that book I always wanted to write.
  • I wish I was in better shape, but I just can’t lose weight.
  • My house is so cluttered, but I don’t know where to put everything.

I’m guilty of saying all those things myself. Maybe you have too.

No One Put Me in a Box

Then I realized something very important. No one put me in a box and no one put you in a box either. I crawled into that box myself. I put the mental restraints on myself that said I can’t lose weight, I’m trapped in debt, and I don’t have time for my life.

Sometimes my box felt nice and roomy. It was almost comfortable in there. It was familiar to me and I decorated it all nice and pretty.

  • This corner was for my dreams. It had nice squishy pillows in it where I could sit and dream for hours.
  • This corner was for my self-pity. It had a nice deep bathtub in it where I could sit and soak in it until my fingers got all wrinkly.
  • This corner was for my planning. I cut a window in the box and I would look out into the world and ponder all that I could do once someone let me out of the box.
  • The last corner was were I stored my busyness. I had a desk and my laptop and I made sure to stay busy. Once someone got me out of the box I could have the free time to enjoy my life.

Getting Out of the Box

Guess what? No one put me in a box and no was getting me out of it. It was up to me to find my own way out.

I had to look around and realize that my life is more that can be contained in a box. I wasn’t trapped a box of my own making. I simply needed to stand up and step outside of its confining walls. A single decision was all it took to get me started to living a life beyond the box.

  • I decided once and for all, that the clutter surrounding me was not worth wasting my time on. I started getting rid of things that stole my time and choked the enjoyment out of my days.
  • I decided that living in debt isn’t as scary as doing nothing about it. Every step of progress made to kill the debt is a victory to helps motivate me to take on another battle.
  • I decided that I hated the way I looked and felt about my body and no one can change that but me. Drastic changes don’t last but every thing I choose to eat makes a difference.
  • I decided that my dream to become a writer was as simple as sitting down to write.

Are YOU in a Box?

There’s no shame in a being in a box. The first step is simply realizing that’s where you are. The second step is deciding what you’re going to do about it.

Maybe you’ve never really thought about it. I spent many years not even bothering to question things. I know it’s not easy. Some days I just want to crawl back into my box and take a nap. It’s easy to fall back into old habits. Living life outside the box takes commitment and a lot of determination.

Be honest with yourself. If you’re stuck in a situation, then see your box for what it really is. If you are somewhere you don’t want to be, it’s time to take control! Don’t just dream and don’t just plan. Stand up and take that first step out of your box!

Are you living in a box? Do you need some encouragement today on how to get out of your box? Please share with us in the comments. If you’re free of your box, I’d love to share in your victories too.


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Article originally published on 03/02/2011

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  1. Just commented on the last post and then saw that you put this one up. This is a great post. I have been living in a box and just recently (as in the past week) decided to get up and get out of it. I need to lose weight and get in better shape, and since that is the biggest area of my life in which I’m dissatisfied, I decide to make that my top priority. Part of my problem I think was actually prioritizing. I think about how I need to lose weight, but I also need to declutter that room, and spend time cooking with my kids, and do more scrapbooking, the list goes on. But I realized I can only really concentrate on one thing at a time in a major way, so since I constantly obsess about my weight and lack of self-control, that’s where I’m focusing my energy right now. I’m making room for the other goals I have, but I need to do them in smaller increments.

    So I’m slowly getting out of this box and I hope to be out of at least two corners of it by this summer. Wow, another way to think of it. So glad I clicked back to the home page after commenting!

    • Faith Janes says

      Thanks so much for commenting, Kathy. (I was just commenting on your other reply when this one came in).

      I’m so proud of you on concentrating on your weight. That is such a tough one! It’s probably my hardest one right now too. You’re so right that we have to prioritize before we can start making progress. I know you can do it!

  2. Hi Faith!
    So funny – I just wrote a post today about creating “value boxes” which is all about being aware of the most important priorities in our lives so we can nurture them consistently.
    But I absolutely agree that it’s important to beware of over-planning and treating the boxes we create as a safe haven from which we never emerge to see the possibilities – and freedom – that awaits us. Thanks for a great reminder!

    • Faith Janes says

      Thanks, Tisha. I just read your post. I had never heard of the value box concept but it’s pretty neat. I also like “Plan your work, then work your plan.” Great reminder to get focused and then start taking steps to get where you want to be.

  3. Great post. This year has, so far, been my year for climbing out of some of my boxes. I seem to be inside a box, inside a box, inside a . . . well, you get the pictures. It’s been a great and somewhat scary experience but well worth it.

  4. I love this. I, too, was in a box. I like that you state no one put us there. That is so important for us to get. We put ourselves there, and we have to get ourselves out. Once you get out of the box, it is actually sad to see so many people still sitting in their boxes, miserable.
    Begin again, each and every day

  5. Excellent advice! It’s all about having the courage and intelligence to realize it’s up to you…and only you to make change in your life. I never want to be in a box…I live my life with that simple thought in mind.

  6. Wow! Are you talking directly to me? Are you reading my thoughts? I feel so stuck most of the time, stifled and trapped in this life that *I* have created. I have said each and every one of those statements in my head; excuses why things can’t be how I want them to be. I think my next step is to rip down some cardboard walls!

  7. It is so easy to forget that we always have a choice. We really can decide to step out of our box and do things differently. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. The power of freewill is something often forgotten. Blame is an easier solution, for it uses no energy. It took me 40 years to realize I have a choice and my actions are what makes a difference. It really is what separates all of us…the choices we make.

    My box may have be floating down a far away river, so when I stepped out of it the world looked a bit different than I had hoped. Thankfully, I like were it eventually took me.


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