Last week, I wrote about my first shopping experience as a minimalist and my disappointment over how hard it was. I had researched ahead of time, set a budget, made a list and made a plan, so it should have worked out perfectly, right? Wrong. Once I actually went shopping, all of my planning essentially went out the window and I felt like I had failed. Not completely, but enough for it to not have felt like a win.
A few days ago, I was listening to this episode from The Minimalists Podcast, when the lightbulb went off. DUH! No wonder I had felt so defeated. I had made a crucial mistake - I had forgotten the difference between easy and simple.
We often view those words as synonyms, but I assure you, even though Webster uses the word easy in the very definition of simple, there is an important, often overlooked, difference. And that difference is awareness.
Easy is the path of least resistance. Easy is going with the flow. Easy is comfortable. Easy is normal & dare I say it… Easy is boring. Easy is your brain on autopilot, unaware of what’s going on around it. When’s the last time you thought about how to brush your teeth? You don’t - you just do it - because it’s easy.
Simple is uncomplicated, direct, straightforward, purposeful, intentional, pure. Simple requires thought, reflection and planning. Simple is your conscious mind. Simple is being aware and making a decision, then following through.
Yes, sometimes simple things are easy, but more often than not, they aren’t. Becoming a Minimalist is simple, just decide you are one, and you are. Being a Minimalist? Not so easy. Decluttering your house and getting rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy? Simple in concept. Actually doing it? Not easy. There’s a lot of effort that goes into adopting a simpler lifestyle. I had momentarily forgotten that, and I’m likely to do it again.
But the good news is, there are ways to get back on track and to better prepare yourself for the next time you get caught in the Easy vs. Simple battle.
Plan for Interruption
When we expect everything to work according to plan, we set ourselves up for feeling defeated. Life happens. We need to expect the unexpected. Chances are, our plans will not magically work out 100% of the time, and frankly that’s a good thing. I know in my own life, I never could have imagined or planned for where I am now and I love my life! I’m grateful my original plans fell threw.
There are things that I want, things that you want and it’s true that we’ll never get them if we don’t plan and work towards them. We have to remember though, that sometimes our plans don’t work. But, just because they didn’t work doesn’t mean that our ultimate goals and desires won’t come to fruition. Sometimes it takes persistence or redirection. If you’ve been at something for a while and aren’t seeing any progress, you need to consider if you’re being persistent enough, and if you are, you need to consider if you need to tweak your approach. Our plans often need to shift from one season to the next, and if you find yourself in transition, taking a step back to consider redirection could help you get back on track.
Remember it’s a Process
Anything in this life worth having takes time and effort. We aren’t guaranteed an overnight success. Life isn’t a genie, saying our dreams out loud won’t make them instantly appear. Declaring “I’m a Minimalist” won’t make your stuff go away. Growth and improvement come with time and experience. It’s a process and a lifelong journey, and with that, remember to…
Give Yourself Grace
You don’t know what you don’t know. Learning takes time. Making any significant changes in your life for the better shows strength. Try not to compare your journey to someone else’s, I know, easier said than done. Remember, that they too had a first day. You’re not perfect and you never will be, but you’re doing it, you’re going after it. Some days will be awesome and others will totally suck, but it’s important to not take it as a personal blow. When you mess up, learn from your mistake and press on. Continue to say ‘Yes’ to your journey each and every day, it will absolutely be worth it in the end!
Love & Blessings,