≡ Menu

3 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Live a Simpler Life

3 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Live a Simpler Life

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Confucius

This article is about a few mistakes I've made.

About a few destructive habits that can make life quite messy and unhappy.

And it's about what you can do instead to replace those mistakes and habits with something better.

This article is all about uncovering simplicity if you find yourself having overcomplicated your life.

1. Stop overthinking things.

Few habits and mistakes are as common as getting stuck in overthinking.

I used to do it all the time.

And it led to a lot of analysis paralysis, to little action being taken on what I deep down wanted and to so much time and energy wasted.

What to do instead:

Set short deadlines.

When you have all the time in the world to consider something then that can often wind up in you spending a lot of time thinking about the situation at hand from every conceivable angle.

I have found that learning to set short deadlines is really helpful for this, although it take a bit to practice.

So for small decisions like if should go and do the dishes or go and work out I usually give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.

For somewhat larger decisions that in the past would have taken me days or weeks to think through I set a deadline for 30 minutes or for the end of the workday.

Say stop in a situation where you know you can't think straight.

I know that I'm more vulnerable to negative thinking and overthinking things when I'm hungry or when I'm close to my bedtime.

And so I have learned to stay away from thinking about anything important during that time.

And if such thoughts with a negative twist still pop up then I tell myself: No, no, we're not going to think about this now.

Because I know that I will be back to thinking clearly and optimistically again if I just get some food or sleep.

I highly recommend finding your own situation(s) when you are more vulnerable to overthinking or pessimism. And to catch yourself and redirect your thoughts at such times.

2. Stop making your daily work busier and more complicated than it needs to be.

It's very easy to get stuck in the same old rut at work or in school. To spend your hours there like you usually do and like most of the other people do too.

With a lot of time spent on busy work, procrastination and on being stressed on weekends or just before a deadline.

What to do instead:

Breathe and find what truly matters in the long run.

First, sit down and take a couple of deep breaths to relax and to focus your mind.

Then ask yourself: what is the most important thing I can do today?

Think about what would matter most in the long run when you ask yourself this question. Find just that one task.

Get started with that one task.

If you have trouble taking action and are slipping into procrastination then go smaller.

Tell yourself: I will work on this task for just 2 minutes.

Make getting started so easy on yourself that there is very little or no inner resistance in your mind.

Because if you just get started then it's in my experience pretty easy to keep going for a while longer and to make a real dent in the task or even completing it.

3. Stop overcomplicating your relationships.

The fun, excitement and joy in a relationship of any kind can often be greatly reduced by simple and common thought mistakes.

Two such mistakes I've made too often in the past are to try to read minds and to go full in with creating drama.

What to do instead:

Ask.

Trying to mindread usually winds up in creating nightmare scenarios in your own mind.

Because reading minds is pretty much impossible and so it is very easy to project your own worst fears onto what this person might be thinking.

So instead start cultivating a habit of being a bit more direct. Cultivate a habit of asking and more clearly communicating to better understand each other.

Question your own drama.

There can be a sort of temporary pleasure or excitement in creating drama and making something bigger or more negative than it is.

In the short run and even more so in the long run it tends to be quite destructive though.

So start questioning your own drama.

Ask yourself:  

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

Ask it before you start creating and spreading drama to the people in your life.

Sure, the issue at hand may still have to be addressed but simplify it to what it truly is before you do that to avoid unnecessary conflicts, anger and hurt feelings.

And don’t forget to question other people’s drama too by asking yourself the same question.

Just because they want to create drama doesn’t mean that you have to get drawn into it.

 
Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

When you join the 80,000 people that are subscribed to the Positivity Newsletter you will not only get practical tips on happiness, self-esteem, productivity and more in your inbox each week.

You’ll also get these three guides for free:

-> 21 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School.
-> 7 Steps to Stop Being So Lazy.
-> 10 Things You Can Do When Life Sucks.
100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Amit

    Hello Henrik,

    I must say that you are saving many people’s lives.

    Thank You

  • Gpvashist

    Strong tips to better your life

    • I love the idea of setting short deadlines. It works for me all the time. Great article, keep up the good work!

  • Anna

    Thanks for sharing! Don’t analyze too much! Find the balance and make a decision within a minute and get your work done now, focus on now!

  • Shirley Jack

    These have been helpful and is appreciated
    Thank you

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Henrik
    Ur posts motivate me a lot.

  • stella

    Good morning Henrik,
    I do very much appreciate your positivity blog. I wish the world had 10 people like you, we would all be at peace. Like Mark has written, I went through a lot of trouble and I though the only solution to my problems was to take away my life. Fortunately enough, I came across this blog of yours and my thoughts have completely changed. This makes me want to read your inspirations on a daily basis. I take it as ‘food for thoughts’. You are a blessing to the world.
    Thanks

    Stella

  • Mannete

    Hi Henrick
    Thanks a lot for your your positivity letter, I was in a verge of self destruction before I met u but now I feel very optimistic about myself, my self esteem is improving a lot as I struggle a lot with low self esteem, feeling less deserving in life and basically afraid of success… Thank u.

  • Hi Henrik,

    great advice! In the past I was often overthinking things. What helped me was mindfulness meditation. I focused on the energy inside my own body. This slowly stopped my compulsive thinking. Now I’m a way happier person.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  • You are so right! I say the simpler life may include getting rid of extra stuff. But it’s not realistic to get rid of things you need. And simplicity is not the same as a minimalist for some of us. Depends on your family and situation. And if it doesn’t work for you, it’s okay to admit that. (I think minimalists often feel superior.) Just be honest and try to find a way to be conscious of the earth while enjoying the hand you’re dealt!

  • Hi Henrik,

    great advice! I can relate to overthinking too much. Used to do that all the time.

    What helped me was mindfulness meditation. I shifted my awareness to the energy inside my body. That interrupted my compulsive thinking. After doing that for a while, my every day life became more tranquil.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  • awesome post!! really insightful and helpful for me who is looking to simplify things at the moment while still driving towards success!

  • I saw a lot of website but I think this one holds something extra in it.