The older I get, the more I realise that to have an easy life, you need to do two things:
Work hard on creating the right systems and want less.
In order to get to a place where your life feels “easy”, you need to work incredibly hard to make it that way. You need to find what works and eliminate what doesn’t serve you. This takes time and practice. You need to work on your health so that life can run more smoothly for you. Your health maintenance isn’t easy and doesn’t work on autopilot. You need to make it work every day like clockwork so that it becomes routine.
This is all to say that you need the right systems that work for you. Systems are habits and routines that become your lifestyle.
Knowing what meals are easy, cheap, nutritious, and delicious for your body. Knowing what workouts feel good and get your heart rate to the right level. Knowing how and when you work best, create in flow, or attend to your chores effectively.
It’s about knowing yourself, inside and out, which can take years of work.
The other thing to consider for an easy life full of systems that work is an awareness of changes in your life. When you need to adapt your systems (routines and habits) to fit a new goal, circumstance, or need. A new mother, for example, will probably not have the same systems as a twenty-year-old athlete. Your systems need to fit the lifestyle you want and the place you’re at in life. Be realistic and kind with yourself.
System = choose something actively, doing it, building habits, habits become routine, routine becomes natural, this becomes your lifesytle!
The second part is wanting less. This takes less time but it’s difficult in a society of abundance and overconsumption. We always feel we need more. This causes a life of desperation, need, and yearning. Never fulfilled. Never enough.
Instead, being content with less; being intentional about what you want and need; being authentic and focused on your own values and desires (quieting the noise of others telling you what you want); and being essential about what matters to you, can cultivate a life of more ease.
For example, if I felt like I needed (really wanted) a massive, glamorous wedding, I would “need” a lot more. This means spending more money and taking more time. I don’t have that kind of money, so I would need time or loans or familial help in order to manifest my ideal wedding. This can cause financial stresses and familial tensions. Whereas scaling it back and wanting or needing less from my wedding day means I’m happier and it’s simpler for me to get what I want and need.
I need a cup of delicious coffee to be happy = easy;
I need a million pounds to be happy = hard!
I’m not saying you can’t have big things! That you can’t have the glamorous wedding, or the big house, or the fancy car, or the dreamy husband, or whatever else. Of course you can. Just as long as you are true in your desires. As long as you know that those things aren’t all there is.
I for one feel so content just playing Scrabble on a weekend with my fiance! Boring? Maybe to some, but not to me. And I have to say that it means I am a lot happier than some people because I need less to feel joy. I don’t get disappointed because my weekend wasn’t filled with adventure or fancy meals. Are those things good? Hell yeah! I like to dress up and eat good food; I like doing cool new things and sharing the story afterward. I just don’t need them as regularly, therefore I’m less disappointed, have a simpler life, and feel more at ease with what I have.
It’s so easy to become jealous, though, isn’t it? I felt a massive wave of it when I saw a friend away in America doing cool things. Why can’t I go away like that? Why is he always abroad, spending lots of money, and I’m not? It hurts. FOMO is real. Envy is a strong emotion. And it’s not bad. It’s not ugly. It’s valid. It’s feedback. It’s telling you what you desire.
The trouble comes when you sit in that emotion and do nothing about it. I deleted Instagram so I wasn’t triggered so easily. Simple. I then journalled about my envy. I then remembered that my partner and I have increased our annual wages this year already and we are saving more money, which means more opportunities to do the things we want to do.
When we focus on our own wants and needs, honestly and compassionately, we can work to tend to what is essential in our lives. We can begin to manifest what we really need because we’re not distracted by other things that we think we need to be happier.
Snapshot takeaways and to-dos:
- List areas of your life that feel hard and you would like to make easier
- Become aware of where you’re not actively making decisions ahead of time and begin to build a habits that tackle these
- Adapt and change your routines and habits when things aren’t working or your life changes (also if it gets boring!)
- Stay with it for the long run; habits take time before they become easy and routine
- Intuitively and compassionately make these decisions; don’t copy others or force things that don’t actually align with who you are and what you really want or need
- Don’t beat yourself up for getting jealous; it’s a normal emotion (analyse the feeling and track whether it’s telling you that you want something or is it just a distraction telling you that you want something but you don’t)
- Remember that the more things you decide ahead of time, the less likely you are to fall into bad habits (week of healthy meals planned = no takeaways or bad eating)
Some systems you could focus on:
- Physical activity: how will you move your body the amount it needs each day/week?
- Education: how will you educate yourself each week?
- Mental activity: how will you create an awareness of your mental activity and care for your mind?
- Creativity: how will you express your creativity each week?
- Diet: how will you ensure that you are eating healthy, balanced meals each day that energise and care for your body?
- Sleep: how will you get the amount of sleep that you need?
- Finance: how will you budget, save, and invest your hard-earned money each week/month?
It’s hard to create systems that work well for you and create an easy life. This is why most of us don’t feel that life is easy (myself included!). If an easy life is really something you want, work hard for a few years so that you can get to a place of relative ease.
However, don’t forget that nothing you do can make life so easy that you never feel pain, or make mistakes, or have to make hard decisions, or whatever else. Your daily life can feel easier, but the big things may still be difficult at times. You can’t be perfect. You can’t make your life perfect.
Don’t chase perfection for ease, instead craft a life that’s intentional and kind, so it feels easier day-to-day.