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Living a Lighter Life in 2020

Removing the weight of clutter and rising up in a lighter and happier way

Ceiling lamp
Photography by Kiran CK

My goal for 2020 is to live a lighter life.

What’s driving this desire? It feels like life is moving too fast. I want to slow down and savor more moments.

More Friday night living room dancing dates with my kids while they’re still interested. More kitchen creation moments so that my kids are comfortable nourishing themselves with more than fast food later on in life. I want to experience these moments and be fully present. I don’t want my mind to be elsewhere, thinking about what else I have to get done before the end of the day.

When my oldest was a toddler, I would read to him as he drifted off to sleep. I remember using this time to think about what had happened at work that day. My mind was in one place, while my body was in another, doing just enough so that no one would be the wiser. I thought I was quite talented at doing multiple things—snuggling and reading out loud while thinking about something completely different. I felt as though I was tricking time. I now realize and am saddened by the wasted opportunity of being only partially there.

A few years ago, I left the corporate world and became an entrepreneur, which brought its own heaviness. Each day, I wake up knowing that I’m going to fail as I shoot for the moon so I can land among the stars. After each failure, I quickly pick myself up, but I notice that I spend much more time thinking about the lows than relishing the highs. And while there are so many highs to be celebrated, I tend to move quickly past them.

This year, I’m going to do more celebrating. In fact, I’m going to find something to celebrate every single day—and it shouldn’t be hard as long as I’m present. Moments I’ll applaud will include getting enough sleep, a delicious and nutrient-dense meal, a laugh with a child, a hug with my husband, a client’s delight at releasing some extra pounds, an organized house, or a chapter written of a book I yearn to write. The opportunities are endless.

The more celebrating I do, the more present, happy, and light my life will be.

Are you interested in living a lighter life? Here are three steps that will help you:

1. Create White Space

If your life feels overloaded or if you’re running from obligation to obligation with no time to think, it’s time to stop doing and start being.

This intentional margin of time is called white space and it’s the quiet stillness between all the busyness and chaos. This magical space will allow you to understand what’s important to you. It’ll help you decide how you want to show up, and how to have a lighter life.

So get intentional and seek out this empty space on a daily basis. Use this time to ask yourself how you want to eat, love, move, sleep, and spend your minutes and money. These are the specific components that directly affect our mental, emotional, and physical health.

How do I create my white space? I wake up before anyone else in my family. Instead of picking up my phone, I pick up the kettle and put it on the stove. While it heats up, I sit on the couch with no agenda, close my eyes, take in some long breaths, and just focus on being. New beginnings always unfold when I take the time to listen.

2. Focus on Your ‘Yes’ and Go All In

If you feel like you’re constantly multi-tasking and that everything is a priority, it’s time to focus on your ‘yes’ and go all in.

This ‘yes’ is the root of living a lighter life. It will require a new approach, which will take effort. Do you think you can do 1% better every day? That’s all it takes. Even at 1%, change can appear hard. Fortunately, when you know your ‘why,’ lifestyle edits are easier to make. So focus on what you’re gaining and how it’ll feel to live up to your potential more fully.

Your brain will try to trick you into believing that an immediate dopamine hit (from things like sugar, shopping, or gossiping) is worth deviating from your greater vision. So stay focused on what you’re saying yes to—you’re saying yes to what matters the most to you.

How do I focus on my ‘yes’ and go all in? Right now, I’m prioritizing my personal health. I know that if I feel good, I’ll have the energy and clarity needed for my business and relationships to thrive. What’s not making the cut? Refined sugar and extra screen time. Change is dramatically easier when I’m crystal clear about what I want.

3. Embrace the ‘Less Is More’ Mentality

A lighter life is not built on self-deprivation. When we believe we’ll be deprived in the short term, we won’t be successful in the long run.

So how do you embrace a ‘less is more’ mentality? See the value in less and remove the distractions that are blocking your potential. These include mental and emotional clutter like compulsive people pleasing, chronic comparisons, and hurt feelings, as well as physical clutter like impulse purchases, too much alcohol, and unhealthy food.

Weeding out these distractions will open up and enhance your life immensely.

How do I embrace the ‘less is more’ mentality? I spent decades thinking that more was more, so this is a work in progress for me. But today, I choose quality over quantity. I eliminated alcohol, grains, and self-created drama. These changes have me feeling an unexpected abundance of wellbeing. I’m vastly improving my life by living with intention and purpose.

In 2020, I’m removing all of the mental, emotional, and physical clutter that weighs me down, so that I can rise up in a lighter and happier way.

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