A Simple Approach to Living With Less

How to Soar Over Hurdles That Stand in Your Way

Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed. ~ Abraham Lincoln

It’s easy to get discouraged when you are building a new life for yourself and for your family. It’s hard work to live differently than you have before and to be different from those around you.

I get discouraged by messes all the time. My brother and nephew are home for the summer, so our typical household of 10 is now a full dozen family members under one roof. To say that messes pop up quickly would be a major understatement!

Most days, my dream of living a clean minimalist life feels very far away. But those are the days I find a few moments to retreat to my peaceful bedroom. It’s there I remind myself that minimalism is more of a journey, not a destination.

Here are some tips for making it over the hurdles that stand in your way. These are taken from a section on discouragement in my book Family-Sized Minimalism. I’ve applied them to pursuing minimalism, but the principles work for almost anything you’re pursuing.

Don’t Doubt Yourself

Despite the challenges that come from the initial decluttering and the ongoing upkeep, don’t doubt your decision if you have chosen minimalism. If you’re like me, you knew you wanted this kind of change before you even knew what minimalism was.

Now that you’ve been convinced minimalism is the solution for you, cling to it no matter what roadblocks stand in your way. Over time the roadblocks get smaller and smaller.

Take It One Step at a Time

Like anything worth pursuing, you have to make the time if you want to see results. Even baby steps will get you where you want to be if you keep putting one foot in front of the other. The journey towards minimalism is definitely a marathon and not a sprint.

Simplifying your life won’t happen quickly and it won’t be a one-time race. It’s important to pace yourself and try not to get discouraged when you see how much farther there is to go. Enjoy the little victories along the way.

Remind Yourself of Why You Chose Your Goal

Always keep your finish line in mind. Remember to write down the reasons why you’re on this journey to minimalism. There are bound to be setbacks along the way, so having your objectives and reasons clearly defined can be the sort of encouragement you need to cheer yourself on.

Make Progress Not Excuses

Taking action and making progress is what brings us closer to our goals. Claim today as your day to make some progress. If you are a planner, you already know what you need to do. Pick one thing off your list and go do it. If you are a jumper, choose three individual things you want to accomplish today and then start with one.

Reach Out to Others

There is strength in numbers. Find others who are like-minded in your quest for living with less. Thanks to the growing popularity and awareness of minimalism, there are more books, online resources, and communities on the topic than ever before.

Reach out to your friends and share what you’ve been reading and learning. You might be surprised how open they are to minimalism and the freedom it can bring.

Are you experiencing any hurdles standing in your way?

If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, Family-Sized Minimalism or subscribing to the RSS or the weekly update newsletter in the sidebar. Thanks so much for reading.

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Article originally published on 06/27/2011

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  1. I am going to type up your steps, print them out and put them on my bathroom mirror. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • Faith Janes says

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for commenting.

      I was just visiting your blog. You have some gorgeous photos there. 🙂

  2. Whenever doubt creeps in I check out all the like-minded blogs to keep me on track. Knowing there are others who have similar aspirations is a god send. 🙂

    • Faith Janes says

      I do the same thing, Jo. I really don’t think I would have made the progress I’ve made this year without all the great support from other like-minded writers.

  3. I think that remembering WHY you were doing something in the first place is so important. The everyday HOW can become overwhelming, but if we remember our WHY it gives us the tenacity to keep moving forward.
    Great post!
    Hang in there, summer won’t last forever!

    • Faith Janes says

      You’re exactly right, the “WHY” is huge! If you don’t have a firm grasp on your “why” then the “how” doesn’t really matter.

  4. I’ve been feeling so discouraged this week – I needed this post. Thank you for the encouragement!

    • Faith Janes says

      You’re very welcome, Jill. I often write the things I need to hear the most. Thanks for stopping by.

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