Tag Archives: zen habits

“The Little Habits” by Leo Babauta of zenhabits.net

This post was really encouraging, and I just couldn’t help but share it. Below is an excerpt. To read the full post, click here.

‘Powerful indeed is the empire of habit.’ ~Publilius Syrus

“It’s amazing how big a difference a little thing can make. Starting your day mindfully with some tea, for example, can change your entire day. Clearing your desk will make your work day amazing. A smile from a loved one can mean the world.

“And when these little things are repeated daily, and formed into habits, their benefits increase not just by multiples but by exponents.

“The little habits can be life-changing.

“Everyone’s world-changing little habits will be different, but I’ll share a few of mine, and then some tips for forming them.”

Here’s some of the categories and tips Leo discusses:

  1. Get-in-the-door ritual.
  2. Put clothes away.
  3. Wash my bowl.
  4. Prepare meals in advance.
  5. Just step out the door.
  6. Clear distractions.
  7. Take a walk & reflect.
  8. Breathe.

And here are some tips from Leo to get yourself started:

  • Do one habit at a time.
  • Make it easy to do.
  • Do it consciously, very consciously at first.
  • Don’t allow any exceptions.
  • Post your progress publicly.
  • Keep doing it, every single day.
  • Enjoy the habit.

 

“Forming a habit can be easy, if you enjoy it, take it slowly, and do it mindfully.” ~Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Free eBook from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits announced his newest book today. I’ve been following this blog for some time now and have not been disappointed. Download a free PDF of this 27 chapter book on simplifying your life here. There’s also a full digital copy with extra features available for $35 (which happens to be satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back). Check out the release post here.

table of contents

i. step back

  1. introduction
  2. the age of distraction
  3. the importance of finding focus
  4. the beauty of disconnection
  5. focus rituals

ii. clear distractions

  1. limiting the stream
  2. you don’t need to respond
  3. let go of the need to stay updated
  4. how not to live in your inbox
  5. the value of distraction
  6. why letting go of these distractions is difficult
  7. tools for beating distraction

iii. simplify

  1. creating an uncluttered environment
  2. slowing down
  3. going with the flow
  4. effortless action
  5. 3 strategies for prioritizing tasks
  6. letting go of goals
  7. finding simplicity

iv. focus

  1. a simple system for getting amazing things done
  2. single-tasking and productivity
  3. the power of a smaller work focus
  4. focused reading and research
  5. walking, disconnection, & focus
  6. creativity and practicing deep focus (available in full version)
  7. finding stillness and reflection (available in full version)

v. others

  1. finding focus, for parents
  2. the problem of others
  3. managers transforming office culture
  4. how to start changes on a broader level (available in full version)

Living Simply

I’ve recently been seeing a theme in some of the blog posts I’ve been reading.

The Zen Habits Blog is one I’ve been following a lot. One of the author’s sold all their possessions, including cars, and moved to an apartment in SanFrancisco, where they ride bikes or walk everywhere. Here’s a bit from a recent post:

“I’ve been finding that simplifying things means I can savor life more fully.

“Savoring life starts with a mindset. It’s a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness, isn’t ideal. It’s a mindset that tries instead to:

    • simplify
    • do & consume less
    • slow down
    • be mindful & present
    • savor things fully

“It’s the little things that make life enjoyable: a walk with a loved one, a delicious book, a chilled plum, a newly blooming tree.

“And by simplifying, we can savor life to the fullest.”

Another blog I found through the Zen Habits blog is the Smaller Living Blog. Check out her Beginner’s Guide to Decluttering here for some great tips.

I also ran across an article about what The American Dream really means (hint: it’s not about huge houses and fancy cars – it’s about owning a small piece of the world that’s paid for and enjoying life to its fullest). It’s an interesting little PDF that doesn’t take long to peruse.

All this combined with my regular Scripture reading has added up to us deciding to sell a bunch of our stuff and live more simply. Our goal is to be able to pick up and move wherever and whenever God would have us to. So, I’ve posted a new page on this blog: the “For Sale!” page. Post a comment on the “For Sale!” page if you’re interested in anything. If you live near Taylors, SC, just pay and come pick it up, or I can meet you. If you live further away, I am willing to ship items at the purchaser’s expense.

Thanks for helping us on the journey to a simpler life!

How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff, from Zen Habits Blog

How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

“Simplifying is liberating and beautiful.

“It all depends on whether you have things, or they have you.” ~Robert A. Cook

“Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom.

“Simplicity. It is a lovely ancient spiritual tradition that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.  As we try to make sense of our erratic economy and the accompanying financial anxiety, it is natural to leap to a less risky lifestyle extreme — stop spending, scale back, live lean.

“If you are a regular reader of Zen Habits, you are probably intrigued by the idea of simplifying. In fact, you may have even given up many material things and actively live a very simple life. People who have adopted this level of  simplicity, especially in the land of consumerism, are incredibly inspiring and fascinating.

“But let’s be real here. In spite of embracing the concept of simplicity, most people really love their stuff, and they love acquiring more stuff. Like our attitudes about a healthy diet, our feelings about material things are complicated. We know what’s good for us, but we just don’t want to give up what we like. Our stuff makes us feel good.

“Is it possible to live a simple life and still love stuff? How much letting go of stuff really counts toward simplifying anyway?

“Living simply and detaching from material things will make you happier. There is real research and lots of anecdotal evidence to support the truth of this. But is it possible that some material things can add to our happiness, sense of contentment and joy in life? If so, how do you go about deciding what’s good stuff and what’s bad?

“Perhaps the deciding factor is motivation. Do the things that you own or wish to buy support your ego, or do they enliven your soul? Some material things can afford you a sense of warmth, coziness, beauty, fond memories, or comfort. There are other things that offer only that fleeting rush of acquisition.

“If you infuse mindfulness into your ideas and actions around material things, you can create a gentle balance between loving stuff and living simply.

“Here are some thoughts that might be useful.

“1. Look around your house now.

“Walk from room to room. Do you see things that you never use and don’t really care about? Why not give them away or sell them? Clear physical and psychic space by removing the “dead wood” in your environment. Someone else might really need these things.

“2. Examine why you are hanging on to something.

“Is it truly useful or meaningful, or does it feed your ego in some way? Are you holding on to it just to impress others or to make yourself feel better or more important?

“3. Look at how you spend your time.

“Do you have things you own for hobbies that you never pursue? Do you have a kitchen full of gadgets but you rarely cook? If you truly think you will come back to a hobby or activity, box things up and put them out of sight until you do. Be realistic about how much time you have to use your extraneous stuff.

“4. Are you in a career that is thing-focused?

“Decorators, car dealers, retailers and others involved in creating, buying, selling and marketing merchandise, can have a hard time detaching from material things because they are always surrounded by the newest and best. There is beauty and art in many things, but consider this: you don’t have to own them all to appreciate them. Eckhart Tolle once suggested to Oprah Winfrey that she not buy everything she likes or wants — just savor it for the moment in the store.

“5. Consider experiences rather than things.

“On the whole, experiential purchases provide far more pleasure than material purchases. The memory of experiences improves with time, but material purchases are harder to think about abstractly. Experiences also encourage social relationships which provide long-lasting happiness. If you are itching to spend, spend on a great experience with someone you enjoy.

“6. When you think about your things or want to purchase something new, consider these parameters:

  • It brings beauty into your life and stirs your soul.
  • It supports a passion or hobby.
  • It helps bring family and friends together in a creative, meaningful way.
  • It educates and enlightens.
  • It makes life profoundly simpler so that you can pursue more meaningful things.
  • It helps someone who is sick or incapacitated.
  • It is useful and necessary for day-to-day life.
  • It’s part of a meaningful tradition or a reminder of a special event.

“7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:

  • Buy on a whim.
  • Buy to impress others.
  • Buy because you feel you deserve it.
  • Buy when you can’t afford it.
  • Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
  • Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
  • Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
  • Buy because you are bored.
  • It’s purchased because buying soothes you.

“It is possible to balance a simpler life with owning and acquiring material things. You can enjoy stuff without living the life of an aesthetic. The exact balance you create is a matter of personal preference. But realize there is a diminishing point of return with accumulation and materialism that undermines authentic joy and fulfillment in life.

“Apply mindful purging to your current lifestyle and belongings, as well as thoughtful consideration to your future purchases. Carefully examine your motivations for keeping possessions or buying new things. Once you allow things serve your soul, rather than you being a slave to your things, your life will evolve into an artful harmony between what you have and who you are.”