I don’t claim these 7 simple principles are the principles for living the good life. There are others that I reluctantly left out, but I chose these because they are simple and easy to understand. I also wanted to limit the number of principles to seven, otherwise I would be violating principle number one.
Figuring out what actions need to be taken with these principles is not complicated. Some of them are conceptually simple, but not necessarily easy to implement. For example, eliminating draining people is a very simple concept. It is easy to identify the people in your life that drain you and knowing what needs to be done as a next step is straightforward. However, it requires courage and determination and for some of you, implementing it may be very uncomfortable.
Keep it Simple and Quick
For some reason we tend to complicated everything. If you want to go from point A to point B, travel in a straight line. Don’t take any detours by adding unnecessary steps. Life is not that complicated so why not try simple for a change? You need to eat, sleep, love, express gratitude, and find meaning. Pick the obvious, simple, or easy alternative and go for it. Go with your gut and just enjoy the ride for a change.
Reduce Your Choices
It may sound counterintuitive but the more choices you have the more unhappy you are. Stop killing yourself with choices.
Barry Schwartz calls it “the paradox of choice,”. Facing many possibilities leaves us stressed out—and less satisfied with whatever we do decide. Having too many choices keeps us wondering about all the opportunities missed.
When you seem to have too many alternatives to choose from, a good way to reduce the problem is to just reduce the time spent pondering the decision. You want to lose weight and don’t know which diet is best? Eat less. Don’t know which outfit to wear? Put on some damn clothes! Want to see a movie? Pick the first one that grabs your attention and head out the door. Reduce your choices and stop wasting time making the simple complicated. Stop fretting over the perfect decision and start living a little.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
I believe this to be one of the most important attitude changes you can make. When you don’t sweat the small stuff, you allow your mental energy to be available for the big stuff. I’ve made a lot of progress in not sweating the small stuff and it has made all the difference in the world for me.
Identify the Essential and Eliminate the Rest
This is the basic principle espoused by Leo Babauta. It is simple in concept, but takes a lot of commitment to implement. Most people don’t progress their lives the way they want to because they spend huge amounts of time on the non-essential. You need to sit down and specifically identify what in your life is essential and then eliminate everything else. You will tend to think everything you do is essential and nothing can be eliminated. Don’t get caught in that trap. What if you only had one month to live? Would all that trivia be essential then?
Eliminate the Drain People
For most of us, people taxes are more burdensome than government taxes. It is something that is overlooked and taken as a given, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
You have it within your power to eliminate from your life the people who drain your resources. The debaters, the complainers, the victims, the angry, the rude, the needy, and those who think you are obligated to live your life for them should be eliminated.
If you think you can’t eliminate them, at least reduce the tax you pay to them by limiting your interaction with them. Most important of all you should set yourself free from manipulative relationships.
Living in the Present Moment
So much has been written on this that I won’t spend a lot of words on it. Here is a nice article from Psychology Today: Six Steps to Living in the Moment.
Be Fit and Healthy
Some of you may believe that being fit and healthy is not that simple, but it is actually quite straightforward. It may require intense commitment to habit change in order to implement, but it is most assuredly not complicated. Do short, intense, and interval type exercises like the PACE program (not an affiliate link). Eat natural whole foods. Eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables for enzymes. Eat fish, chicken, and grass fed beef. Eat tons of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables. Eat a variety of seeds and nuts. Vin’s Natural Bias blog is an excellent resource for natural eating. See how simple that was?
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