Week Three: Live Well on Less

The mere idea of simplicity is soothing. It is a desired state of being.

Why? Because, for countless people, just getting through the day is their primary ambition. They are inundated with a rush of tasks and activities and then ask themselves why their lives are so chaotic -- with so little accomplished. Thus, they're left with a feeling of emptiness -- longing for a happy, peaceful life in which goals are identified and achieved, and less time, money and effort are spent. Unfortunately, this longing is often accompanied by an idealist view of simple living.

The hallmarks of simplicity aren't found in the lack of things, or in the possession of them. Simplicity is a thought process -- it displays itself through attitude, personal style and an appreciation of the tangible and intangible world around us. Genuine simplicity is a balance between the luxurious and the frugal. It leaves you free to perform the tasks that will allow you to realize your own vision of happiness and help you to become the person you long to be.

Finding True Simplicity
True simplicity is achieved by taking consistent action toward your life goals.

Unfortunately, most people resist the idea of goal setting (it seems too rigid or uncreative). Many people never get around to setting goals at all -- they hope for the best and drift through life aimlessly.

One of the primary secrets for incorporating true simplicity into your life is found in identifying and setting goals. Once done, you will be much better equipped to recognize the actions and pathways that will take you toward simplicity.

Exercise A:

  • Give thought to what you most desire from your life. Do you wish to:
  • Own your own business?
  • Be a good parent, partner or friend?
  • Write a book?
  • Run the house more smoothly?
  • Create a harmonious home?
  • Learn to speak French?
  • Become financially secure?
  • Plant a beautiful garden?
  • Travel the world?
  • Earn a degree?
  • Exercise more often?
  • Study philosophy?
  • Eat healthier foods?
  • Avoid regrets?

Take a few moments to think about what your goals are and how you would like your ideal life to be. In your journal, write out a master list that includes all your wildest dreams, ambitions and goals.

Exercise B:
Write an outline of how a day in your ideal life would unfold. Be specific. Imagine the details. Start with the first moment you awaken in the morning. What actions will you take to achieve your goals? What thoughts will be on your mind when you fall asleep at night?

Keep in mind that an ideal life need not entail large amounts of extra time or money--this exercise is simply meant to enlighten you as to your own life goals, and how you can reach them on both small and/or grand levels.

Exercise C:
Write out one action that you can take now, this very minute, to begin achieving your goals. Put down your pen and go do it!

Daily Exercise
Please try to come to the message board twice a day (briefly!) if your schedule allows. Having to "report in" will assist you in being responsible. Please answer these questions each day:

Morning Question:

  • How do you plan to live well on less today?

Evening Questions:

  • What were you able to accomplish today?
  • If you accomplished everything on your list, how does that make you feel?
  • If something derailed your plans, what was it? Was it out of your control? Will it affect your plans?

Please be sure to read the posts of your fellow Challengers. Someone may have faced a similar life adventure that day, and the way they handled it may inspire you. By the same token, your actions and words may lift and console someone else.

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