Learn how simple living and the right daily habits can improve your life (or in my case, change it completely). Here are 11 ideas to help you begin.
I’ve been writing about simple living online for many years now, and one thing I’ve learned during this time is just how much people want to slow down.
There’s been a shift in awareness that I’ve noticed both online and off. I see it in my friends, family and acquaintances—a realization that our busy, fast-paced lives are just not sustainable in the long run.
Instead, we’re searching for something slow and meaningful. We want a genuine connection with loved ones, time to explore our passions, and space to rest and simply be still.
These are the things that matter—but sadly, many people are still coming up short. There’s a disconnect between our dreams and reality, and there’s confusion about how to bridge this gap.
While it’s not the only solution, one powerful way to begin is by looking at your daily habits. The little things you do add up, and in the long term, they can dramatically improve your life. Keep reading for 11 simple habits to help you get started.
Will Habits Improve Your Life?
As you’re probably aware, habits are things that we do without much conscious thought. They’re often small and seemingly insignificant, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A habit done once might be trivial, but when you repeat it over and over again, it becomes a powerful tool. Create habits that reflect the life you want, and you are, in essence, breathing that desire into life.
If you want to slow down, simplify, and improve your life, then here are a few habit ideas worth considering.
11 Simple Daily Habits To Improve Life
1. Daily journaling
Simple living is about slowing down and creating space for the things that matter, which is why journaling is one of my favourite daily habits.
It’s perfect for decluttering the overwhelm in my mind and bringing about self-awareness. The simple act of getting what’s swimming in my head out and onto paper brings clarity, making it easier to align my actions with my intentions.
If you want to create a daily journaling habit too, check out this post about how to start journaling. Alternatively, you might enjoy this list of simple living journal prompts.
2. Pause before acting
In this day and age, we’re always rushing from one thing to the next. Life is busy, and one of our coping strategies is to make fast decisions.
You can see it in all areas of our lives—we’re quick to say “yes” to new commitments, and we give in easily to impulse purchases. It might save us time and energy now, but it often costs more than expected in the long run.
A simple way of making better, more intentional decisions is by adopting the habit of pressing pause before acting.
Take a deep breath and think about the impact of your decision. Will your future self thank you for your choice? And does it reflect your values? If not, is there a better option?
3. Daily self-care
You’ve probably heard the saying that “you can’t pour from an empty cup”… but have you truly taken it to heart?
I know from experience just how easy it is to push self-care to the bottom of your to-do list. There’s always something else that has to be done so you put it off, but the hard truth is you will burn out eventually.
Everyone needs self-care to keep going so commit to making time for yourself a daily habit. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Figure out what restores you, both mentally and physically, and then do it—often and without guilt.
Are you wondering how to practice self-care without it feeling like yet another item on your to-do list? These practical self-care tips will help you find the balance.
4. Spend time with people you love
What are some special things that you can do every day to connect with the people you love?
It doesn’t have to be complicated—could you read a book with your children, ask your friend about her day, or give your husband a big bear hug for no apparent reason?
To be clear, I know you don’t need me to tell you that these things matter … but you might need a reminder that the little things are worth doing.
If you don’t have much time, it’s OK. Work with what you have, create small habits and if you’re consistent, they will add up to meaningful connection.
5. Simplify your cleaning
I’m often told that housework is a barrier to simple living, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Trust me—I’m not a naturally tidy person, plus I have a toddler and baby at home!
But fortunately, I have strong daily habits that keep cleaning from overwhelming me. For more on what works for me, check out my minimalist cleaning routine.
6. Be present in the moment
If you’re looking for a daily habit that will truly improve your life, then learning to be present is one of the most powerful things you can do.
I know, I know—it’s so easy to find yourself lost in the past or worrying about the future! We all do it from time to time, but with practice, you can shift your attention.
Notice the rise and fall of your breath. Feel the weight of your body against your chair. Listen carefully to the sounds that surround you.
It doesn’t matter what’s going on with the outside world. When you practice the art of mindfulness, you can find an oasis of calm within. That is truly the ultimate act of simplicity.
Currently, my favourite mindfulness resources are the Insight Timer app and the Headspace app. I also enjoy learning from Jack Kornfield and I especially appreciate his loving-kindness meditation.
7. Simplify mealtime
Between planning, shopping, preparing, and eating—meals can take up a large portion of our time each day. Make life easier by creating habits that simplify mealtime.
There are a lot of options out there: meal planning, meal prepping, or simple eating. You might have the same thing for lunch every day or order pizza every Friday night. There’s no one “right” way to do it, so experiment, and find a habit that works for you.
Related Post: How to Create a Minimalist Pantry For Your Kitchen
8. Create a morning routine
There’s a quote made quite popular by Tim Ferris that states, “if you win the morning, you win the day”. Start your day on the right foot and in doing so, you’ll feel better prepared to handle whatever life throws at you.
So how do you create a morning routine? And what should it include? My advice is to start by thinking about what matters. What makes you feel good in the morning? What are your non-negotiables? Choose one, do it every day, and then keep building on your success.
For more inspiration, check out my minimalist daily routines and my tips for simplifying your daily routines.
9. Simplify your belongings
As a minimalist, it’s probably not a surprise that I think decluttering is important for simple living.
After all, look around you. What do you see? Are you surrounded by clutter? If so, odds are you feel surrounded by chaos as well.
Combat these feelings by decluttering regularly. Create the habit of questioning why you’re holding on to your belongings: are they adding value to your life and if not, can you let go?
If this is a challenge for you, be sure to download a free copy of Mindful Decluttering. This in-depth guide and workbook will help you troubleshoot your greatest decluttering challenges, and inspire you to practice minimalism in all areas of your life.
10. Create standards and live by them
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of decisions you have to make each day?
If so, you’re not alone. There is evidence to suggest we face over 35,000 daily decisions, and while the actual figure might be debatable, our feelings are not.
Decision fatigue—a type of stress that comes from making too many decisions—leaves us exhausted. Life feels confusing and complicated, the complete opposite of “simple”.
One life-changing habit that will help you combat decision fatigue is to create standards for repeated decisions. Think of these as “rules” for your life, and you can get started by exploring two simple prompts:
- I say “yes” when …
- I say “no” when …
Use your values to guide you, and then get in the habit of using your standards when making decisions. This is how you live a not only simple but also intentional life.
11. Find joy in the little things
To some extent, our lives will always be a little bit busy and complicated—no matter how much we simplify.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try! But it’s a delicate balance; simple living means working on what we can control, and letting go of what we can’t.
This is why finding joy in the little things is so important. When life is inevitably chaotic and overwhelming, we can be intentional about seeking out the magic around us.
Steam rising off your coffee. A ray of sunshine coming in the window. The sound of laughter in the distance.
Make it a habit of looking at the world with new eyes. As time goes on and you become more practised, life as a whole will become more beautiful and, of course, simple.
More Tips That Will Simplify + Improve Life Everyday
These daily habits for simple living are a wonderful starting point, but if you want to learn more about how to simplify and improve life, check out:
- 8 Simple Shifts That Make Life Better
- 7 Things To Let Go Of To Be Happy
- 20 Simple Things You Can Do To Declutter and Live Minimally
What daily habits have had the biggest impact on your life? Let us know in the comments! x