Learn more about my favourite habits for simple living and why you should create your own if you want to simplify your life.
I’ve spent the past five years writing about simple living 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 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 their desires and their reality, and there’s confusion about how to bridge this gap.
While it’s not the only answer, one way to start moving forward is by intentionally creating habits for simple living.
The Power of Simple Habits
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 and simplify, then here are a few habit ideas worth considering.
11 Simple Daily Habits
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.
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 in the long run, it often costs more than expected.
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?
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 it 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.
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 really do add up to meaningful connection.
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 newborn 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.
BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT
If you’re looking to create habits for simple living, 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.
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 what works for you.
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.
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.
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 some 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 tired and overwhelmed. Life feels confusing and complicated, the complete opposite of “simple”.
One strategy for combating decision fatigue is to create standards for common decisions. Think of these as “rules” for you 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, create the habit of actually using your standards when you’re making decisions. This is how you live a not only simple, but also intentional life.
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 and simple living involves 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 practiced, life as a whole will become more beautiful and, of course, simple.
Do you have any meaningful habits? How do they help simplify your life? Let us know in the comments! x