Before I give you these 20 simple living tips, we need to understand what simple living means. It can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. I’ll offer you a meaning that you can see if it works for you.
For me, I understand simple living as doing one of two things. Either living in a way that makes your life easier, or enjoying the simple pleasures that we often neglect.
It’s almost 2020. Which means it’s almost time to plan some changes in your life that’ll make your next year your best year. So here are 20 simple living tips for 2020.
1. Schedule your time
Sometimes it can seem like you have so much to do in the day. It can feel overwhelming thinking about all the tasks you want to accomplish. But a great way to keep that stress to a minimum is to schedule your time more.
And there are different ways you can schedule your time. For myself, I like schedule things in large blocks. I divide my tasks into morning, afternoon, and evening.
I feel that gives me a little bit more flexibility in my time frame of getting things done. But maybe you need a little more structure in your scheduling.
In that case you can schedule your tasks hour by hour. One thing to remember with schedules is that sometimes you won’t be able to complete everything on time.
But don’t let that discourage you too much. You can be proud that you at least completed most of the tasks that you set out to complete in your day. So set a plan to give yourself more structure and stability in your days
2. Say what you feel more
Do you have a habit of bottling up your emotions until it gets to a boiling point? At times, we waste a lot of energy holding back what we feel when something is bothering us.
Maybe something that we don’t appreciate someone is doing to us. Maybe something that’s been stressing us out that somebody would be willing to help us with.
I can recall a time in my life when someone close to me did things to me that bothered me. But I held in for a long time until I let it all out one day. But it unfortunately made that person feel really bad because there were a lot of things they didn’t know I was feeling that I just unloaded on them.
So now, I do my best to make it habit to let people know what’s bothering in the moment, so it can be addressed, and then we can move on. If you do the same in your life, I think you’ll find that it’s easier to feel at peace inside of yourself.
3. Say what you feel less
I know this will sound like I’m contradicting myself, but not everyone needs to say what they feel more. For some people, or in some cases, you’re better off saying what you feel less.
Are you familiar with the phrase, “picking and choosing your battles”? If you aren’t, as I understand it, it means that you have to decide what’s worth arguing or fighting about, and what’s not.
Particularly if you’re in a romantic relationship with someone, there are going to be many times you’ll need to decide to either let something go or make an issue out of it.
The answer to which choice you make won’t always be the clearest. I try to give myself at least a few minutes to think about whether something is worth bringing up or not.
Usually after a few minutes I realize it’s not worth my anger. Perhaps what could also help you is the Abraham Lincoln method. It’s said that Lincoln would write angry letters to people he was mad with, and then never send them.
Just getting the emotion out in other ways may be enough sometimes. Being wise with your anger, and finding good ways to manage it, will make your 2020 much more simple.
4. Do more things now rather than later
Having a schedule also helps with accomplishing one of the most important simple living tips. When you do more things now rather than later, you save yourself a lot of time trying to do something last minute.
But it goes deeper than just procrastinating less. Think about how our time can move quick often. How fast did this year move for you? It felt like it just flew by for me.
I think about this year and realize there are so many things I could have done earlier, that would have saved me some trouble with some of my current problems now. But I’ll spare you the details of all of that.
The point is, the more you take care of things now, the less of a problem they will be for you in the future. A lot of life just getting stuff done, and not being lazy about tackling the issues you need to take on just because it’s easier to put it off.
It might feel easier in the moment to put things off, but it feels a whole lot better to just get the job done.
5. Physical health = Mental wealth
That sounds a lot better than exercise more doesn’t it? When we invest in our physical health, we build up our mental wealth. We put so much of the focus of exercise in improving ourselves physically, we forget how much it improves us mentally.
There are enough studies out there that indicate sitting around watching TV, browsing the internet, or being on our phones all the time tends to increase anxiety and depression.
There are also enough studies that show being physically active on a regular basis helps to reduce anxiety and depression, and even bring us more joy.
For myself, I’ve made more of an effort to walk and stand up more to keep myself physically active. Most of the time I usually feel good after doing it. For you, you can find an exercise that’s fun for you to get you more likely to do it.
You don’t even have to exercise every day, although it wouldn’t hurt. Just doing something physically active most of the week can make some difference for you.
Simplify your life by simplifying your mental health. Exercise more to increase your mental well-being, and thus you’ll increase your inner-calm.
6. Focus on your day for most of the day
It’d be easy for me to tell you to just live in the now as some self-help people say. But that’s easier said than done. Sometimes you’re going to think about yesterday. And I mean yesterday in the sense of your past in general.
The mistakes you made, the regrets you have, the fond memories, and many other things. Sometimes you’re going to think about the future. The big events you have to prepare for, your concerns about situations your unclear in your life, and just where you’re going in life in general.
So I don’t suggest you necessarily live in the now. Instead, just focus on your day for most of the day. I think the earlier living tips of scheduling helps you with this one.
You’ll have activities and tasks to focus on in your day. I don’t know if there’s any truth to this, but I think the more time you leave your mind unoccupied, the more you will tend to eventually worry and feel sad.
So for 2020 and beyond, practice focusing on today for most of the day, and only allow your mind to drift in the past and future a few times in your day.
7. Sit outside and enjoy nature
This is one of the best simple living tips because it truly embraces the meaning of simple. Just simply sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful earth we have around us.
Use this as a time to get away from all the technology that can complicate our lives. At a convenient time for you, have your phone turned off.
Keep your other devices inside. Just look around and observe the colors that you see. The blueness of the sky, the greenness of the grass, or whatever colors other are in your area.
I always like to make note of each different color I see outside. In addition, breathe in the fresh air and be thankful that you get to enjoy it. Smile while you’re appreciating the light breeze and warm rays of the sunshine.
Take a note of all the sounds of the animals that you hear. The pitch and tonee of all the different birds that create the songs of nature. All of this is basically helping you to think a little bit less for a moment.
To put down the bags of stress you’re carrying in your mind for a moment, and just let yourself be relaxed.
8. Give away items you’re not using
One thing that can be really complicated in life is all the items you have to deal with. Maybe you have a lot of clothes in your closet you always have to dig through.
Maybe there are some old items lying around that you haven’t used in years. All these items can take up space and give you so much work you have to do cleaning your house.
2020 can be the year you embrace giving away what you’re not using. But don’t feel you have to do all at once. You can do one item a day, one item a week, or however many you feel comfortable with.
If you haven’t used an item in over a year, really consider getting rid of it. Chances are you’re probably not going to use it much over the next year anyway.
And if you end up missing that item eventually, you can always shop for that item again to replace it. Think of how much simpler your life will be. How much easier it’ll be to clean areas of your home.
The extra space you might have to just walk around freely. Focusing on those two things can be a great motivator for going ahead and decluttering your space.
9. Cook more
Cooking probably is one of the last things you think a list of simple living tips would recommend. But I might be something that could really simplify your life.
It’s been said that you save money when do more cooking than eating out. And who doesn’t want to simplify how much money they spend?
And if you don’t feel like grocery shopping, there are apps like Blue Apron and Plated that will deliver the ingredients you need to cook the meal you want. I know not everyone likes cooking, but I find there’s a simple pleasure in just making your own meal.
Or making a meal for others to enjoy. It can be a relaxing distraction from all the other things going on in your life. You don’t have to cook a five-course meal.
That you don’t rely on someone else to make something for you. And of course, you can still take pleasure in the simple joy of getting to spend less through cooking more.
10. Cut your cable
For the most part, we don’t really need cable as much as these days. Almost everything you want to watch can be accessed online. Think about this for a moment.
Of the 10’s of 100’s of channels you might have to watch on TV, how many do you actually watch? Other than ESPN and occasionally one of the cable news channels, I really don’t watch any other channels my TV besides the broadcast network.
It’s amazing how you don’t even need to watch anything live anymore. There are websites that put the TV shows on the next day. Besides that, this could be a great way to help you (and your family if you have one) do more physically active things besides watching TV.
With less choices, you’ll be less likely to keep going through channels to find something to just watch. So, consider getting rid of your cable. Out of all the simple living tips, this will probably help the most for simplifying your monthly expenses and help maximize your physical activity.
11. Explore your creative side
This could be the funnest of the simple living tips. Another simple little pleasure you can do to not only distract yourself from the issues of the world but have fun as well.
What’s something creative you like to do? Do you like to draw? Enjoy writing? Playing music? For me, one of my first creative joys was writing. I can remember writing short songs when I was little and writing poetry in high school.
As I got into my adulthood, I liked making music my guitar and wrote more songs. Now I enjoy writing these blog articles mostly. I get to express myself and be free from my thoughts about my life.
And with doing creative things, you never know if it could turn into something more. Maybe you could profit from it one day, which I’m sure that would make your life a whole lot easier.
And who knows, your creativity could inspire someone else to be creative. But beyond all of that, sometimes expressing yourself creatively is just a great way to release any emotions you have built up inside.
Whatever you’re mad or sad about, you can turn it to words or pictures, and make beautiful art. So make it a plan in 2020 to let yourself be more creative.
12. Have a regular bed and wake up time.
I read once from a book by a psychologist that a lot of their client’s anxiety reduced just following a regular sleep schedule and eating breakfast. For most people, including myself at times, the latter tends to be easier than the former.
But less anxiety means your life can be easier, so it’s worth a shot to try sleeping at a regular time and waking up at a regular time. I know from my own experience whenever I’ve gotten to sleep when I wanted to, and woke up when I wanted to, I felt pretty good.
It surely beats staying up late, waking up tired, and feeling grumpy in the morning. So, if you can find a way, try following a sleep schedule in 2020, and see how it makes you feel.
Among all the simple living tips listed, you might find this helps decrease your stress the most, and make life feel a lot more simple.
13. Do activities that make you nervous
Now you might be wondering, how would doing activities that make you nervous make your life simple? Well, life is full of moments that can make us nervous, scare us, or downright terrify us.
And while this maybe among the scarier simple living tips, I think the more activities we do that make us nervous, the more we can be calm in those serious moments that will test us.
Think of it like the exercise of exposure therapy that some psychologists suggest to help with anxiety. The more you become accustomed to managing yourself in moments where your nerves are tested, the more you’ll be fine when those really serious moments come.
Because you’ll have the experience of knowing you can push through and be okay on the other side. And you realize all the nervous feelings that hold you back from doing things you might really want to don’t have to. So go out and sing in a karaoke bar.
Or go approach someone you like. Do something that you normally would be nervous to do more often and be more comfortable trying new things. Speaking of which…
14. Try more new things
Having new experiences in life can both make your life easier and be a simple pleasure. One of those win-win simple living tips. For the simple pleasure part, you get new memories you can look back on with fondness.
For example, I look back on my time trying an escape room for the first time with my girlfriend. It was a fun experience, and something I won’t forget. Trying new things also helps to make your life easier.
Particularly in your interactions with people. The more you’ve done in life, the more you can relate to others of all different backgrounds. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been told before I can talk about most anything.
And that’s because I’ve experienced a lot of different things I’d never done or seen before. So be open to trying something new. You’ll give yourself new joy in having done something different, and more ability to have good conversations and connect with people better in life.
15. Do some volunteering
Helping others is another nice way to just forget about your problems for a little while. And best of all, there are numerous studies that shows helping and giving to others makes you feel good.
I know I feel good when I can lend an ear to someone who needs somebody to talk to. I don’t mind that it might take away time from other things I’d like to do.
Getting the connection of having those heart to hearts with someone and helping them feel better is more meaningful. What can you do to volunteer your time to others?
Maybe you can put some of your best skills to work. If you know how to cook, you could take time to volunteer at a soup connection. If you really like working with kids, you can be a mentor for an after-school program in your town.
This is probably one of the easiest simple living tips you can do. Whatever way you decide to help, it’ll make you feel good, and make your life simple in not having to constantly focus on your life.
16. Compare yourself to your past self
We can complicate our ability to enjoy our life when we compare our lives so much to other people’s lives. It prevents us from appreciating how far we’ve come in our journey, and the life that we’re fortunate to have.
One of the best tips on living simple is to compare who you are today, to the person you were yesterday, and the days before. I used to feel bad about where I was in life because I wasn’t where everyone else around me was.
But then I came to the realization I don’t have anything to feel bad about. And you don’t either. Because our life circumstances are different than everybody else’s.
Only we know the true extent of the difficulties that our journey has been. We can be proud to have made it as far as we have, and also build on what we’ve learned from our experiences.
So, compare yourself to your past self, and if you’ve been better than you were in the past, great. If you haven’t, then determine what you need to work on, try something different, and then hopefully you’ll make progress you can be proud of.
17. Spend time with people in person
In our increasingly technological age, we’re spending less and less time talking to each other face to face. Instead, people are mostly texting. I feel like an old person saying this, but I remember a time when people actually used phones to talk on them.
Texting just can’t beat seeing somebody’s facial expressions and hearing their voice. And it simplifies your life to talk and see people more, because there’s less likelihood for misunderstandings.
I can’t tell you how many times an argument started because someone misunderstood what I wrote, or I misunderstood what they wrote. We save ourselves a lot of confusion and frustration just being able to hear the tone of someone’s voice when they say something.
Real human interaction is a simple pleasure that should be appreciated more in life. So take time to go out somewhere with someone you’re close with. You might feel a lot better after doing it.
18. Communicate with your elders
There are perhaps few people alive that know better about living simple than old people. At the point in life, they’ve stopped caring what other people think, and they just do what makes life easier.
It can be difficult enough being old, so they don’t have time for complicated. This is one of those simple living tips that is both a simple pleasure, and something that can make your life easier.
The simple pleasure in communicating with older folks, is they have so many stories to share about the past. It’s almost like going back in time to hear their experiences in life.
I remember learning about my grandparents life living in New York City. All the things they did and had to do to get by. You also learn to appreciate how much easier life is now, because people of a certain age definitely had to struggle more in life than we do now.
Talking with older people can make your life easier because they have a lot of wisdom they can pass down. Surely having made it as far as they have, they probably know a few things about life.
So whether it’s your grandparents, or maybe just going to a retirement home, spend time communicating with your elders.
19. Listen to music
Listening to music. Few tips on simple living could be simpler than this, right? There are probably a lot of you reading this that already do this, and that’s great.
It’s something I haven’t done as much lately, but I find when I do, I wonder why I don’t more often. Music has such a way of connecting with our emotions and helping us cope with our reality.
I’m appreciative of the artists who believed in themselves that much to think the world should hear their creativity. It’s a simple pleasure to enjoy the great sound of someone’s singing voice, and feel the emotion they convey, and their music conveys to us.
What are some of your favorite artists or bands that you remember growing up? Maybe you should relive some of the good memories you had listening to them.
Listen to some of those old songs on YouTube or a radio station that plays that music. Feel free to sing along and just really get into it. It can help to reduce your stress, and make your life feel a lot more simpler than it did before.
20. Think everything will be okay.
One of the biggest things in life that can make life feel less simple is our own worries and doubts. We take a long time to make decisions because we have doubts if we’ll make the right one.
We worry a lot about if something we do or say might turn into the worst-case scenario we imagine in our heads. But maybe in the year 2020, we can learn to think everything will be okay no matter what.
With making decisions in life, I do my best to get a good amount of information. I review that information, and then decide what I’m going to do. After I make that decision, I do my best not to worry about it anymore.
Think about all the situations in life you’ve been through. How much you’ve endured and pushed through despite the mistakes you made. Somehow someway, you found out a way to move forward.
Why can’t that happen again with anything in life you face? What is it going to accomplish to constantly worry about if this doesn’t work out, or if that doesn’t work out?
It just makes you feel stressed and takes away your ability to simply enjoy your life. So make the choice to think that everything will be okay with whatever you’re going through in life.
Trust from your past experiences that you can find a way to make it out of difficult situations like you did before. Believe in a greater good that can come from your challenges. It makes life a lot simpler for me, and I think it can make life a lot simpler for you too.
From all of these 20 simple living tips I’ve given you, I hope your life can be easier, and it can be more joyful. It may be challenging at first to try these things, but I hope once you get consistent with it, life will be a lot simpler for you.