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Often the best way to improve your life is to prune, whether it’s habits or household items.

“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the unnecessary desires of life, and the works of life become less.” – Edwin Way Teale

Sometimes the answer to common problems is to start a different routine, start a new process, or buy something to make your life easier. While this may be true in some situations, I’ve found even more success with the exact opposite approaches.

Mathematician Carl Jacobi made a huge contribution to solving difficult problems when he suggested the idea of ​​“inverting, always inverting”.

When we have a problem, we usually approach it in a forward-thinking way. “How can I have a better marriage?” But when we focus only on progress, at the expense of the fundamental problems, we probably won’t get the lasting results we want. If we reverse the question, however, we can find a more direct and lasting path to success.

For example, “How can I avoid having an unhealthy marriage?”

Reversing our approach to problems can guide us to eliminate what afflicts us. For example, if we want to be healthier, we could add a new exercise routine or a new vitamin, but maybe we should start by quitting an unhealthy habit of smoking or eating too many unhealthy foods. This applies in many areas. For example, instead of adding more obligations to my schedule or “things” to my house, I have discovered that having less contributes more.

Through our family’s journey to minimalism, we have found that the works of life seem less important as we remove the obstacles that lead to problems. This works better than adding more systems or items.

Minimalism is not just a means to an end, but a way of life that allows you to better enjoy the journey, not just the destination. In this article, I’m going to share six common issues that many of us face and how practicing minimalism can be the key to moving forward.

too much stress

We live in a rapidly changing society that values ​​efficiency and productivity. According to the American Institute of Stressmore than 70% of people suffer from stress which contributes to poor physical and mental health, and 48% have trouble sleeping.

The solution: Spend fewer hours at the office, if possible. Follow fewer social media accounts, blogs, or news sites. Say yes to fewer but more meaningful engagements. Avoid impulse purchases. Focus on a few deep relationships and commit to investing your time in quality interactions together.

Too much clutter

Clutter affects each of us differently, and how we feel about our homes can shaping our mood and stress levels. When we walk through the door and notice heaps of clutter and unfinished projects, it’s no surprise that our cortisol levels increase.

Instead of living in a house full of items that detract from the joy of living, establish some decluttering strategies to help overcome this problem.

If you haven’t worn a garment in a year, let it go. Find a realistic home for each item you own. Determine if you really need duplicates of the same item, or if one of them will serve the purpose. Ask yourself, “Does what I have bring me pleasure or does it just take up space?”

Not enough time

There were many days when I wished I had just a few more hours to be productive. I try to fill my day with events and work while meeting the regular demands of motherhood. But when my mindset is adjusted this way, I often feel exhausted and tired at the end of the day.

Instead of trying to accept a list of a dozen items, make a realistic and achievable three-item to-do list. Life isn’t just about ticking everything off a list or seeing how quickly we can do something. Use your hours wisely and set limits on activities that waste too much of your precious time, such as social media, your phone or Netflix.

Let go of your desire to accomplish everything. To slow down. Learn how to fend off this fast-paced society so you can be part of a more meaningful life.

Financial debt

With the ease of shopping online, many people overspend and face financial debt which adds stress to their lives. Our society teaches us that when our clothes and belongings no longer give us pleasure, we should buy something new to satisfy that desire.

Resist the impulse to buy by following the “48 Hour Rule” delay non-essential purchases in the heat of the moment. Make a meal plan before you go to the grocery store and buy only the items on your list. Have a budget for major spending categories so you can visually observe your spending habits and draw a hard line when you go over your allotted amount. Find free activities or hobbies to do and focus on investing in the relationships around you.

When you learn to live with less, you will find greater financial freedom and realize that your affairs will never become a lasting source of happiness.

Unclear goals

When our goals in life are unclear or scattered with no real destination, we are likely to get overwhelmed and feel stretched between the things we would like to do, should do, or could do.

Instead of juggling too many goals with no way forward, consider these ways to make them clearer.

Create a list of priorities, narrow it down to the most important ones, and adopt a realistic to-do list each day. With common day-to-day decisions like what to eat, what cleaning products to use, or what to wear, decide once and stick to it. Decision fatigue is real, so don’t overthink the little things.

Likewise, when you start a task, commit to focusing only on that, rather than getting distracted by anything that demands your attention, like checking email, scrolling through social media, or starting another task. . Just do the only thing.

Limited creativity

Our modern world thrives on a stable economic system. To live well, we earn income and buy goods and services to meet our needs and wants.

But if we solve life’s problems only by spending money, we are depriving ourselves of a precious gift.

The ability to create allows us to bring beauty and innovation into our lives. When we create things or find new ways to solve problems without spending money, we often gain more emotional satisfaction than if we simply went to the store or called the repairman.

Prepare a homemade meal for your family. Take photos of the people you share life with. Write in a journal to convey your thoughts. Plant a small garden and watch it bear fruit. Go on an adventure without spending a penny. Sew a patch. Do a YouTube search for how to fix your dryer squeaking. Adopt healthy habits that reduce stress. Create a warm and inviting home for those who enter it. Create deep relationships with those you love by giving quality time. To read to forge a global vision of the world.

The time you spend doing meaningful things that enrich your life is real wealth. Just as you can’t get more exercise than a bad diet, you can’t do better than a lot of wasted time. Often, the key to a better life is simply letting go of the objects, habits, and ideas that weigh you down.