Life coaches are everywhere. Ask any random person how they are and they will respond with some sort of insinuation that they are overly tired, overly worked, frustrated or engaged in the rat race that has become life for so many people. Every day, millions of people are lying their head down on their pillow, closing their eyes, and feeling like somehow, and in some way, they are missing the mark on their happiness. A popular theme among folks today is that they will get what they want ‘someday,’ that they have plans for the ‘future,’ or that ‘their time will come!”
But what if it doesn’t? What if some strange circumstance occurs that leaves them (or you) always just out of reach of their desires, goals, needs, and personal happiness? What if someday never comes? Will you be looking back on your life wondering what happened or where the time went? Will the constant striving towards your goals, your happiness, your wants and perceived needs – without ever really achieving any of them, have been worth the lifetime you spent toiling?
The truth is that no matter how many times people talk about making their life easier, about having the time to do the things they really want to do, about stepping out of the ‘rat race’ few people actually do. In fact, too busy becomes even busier as time goes on. And soon, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the only way to simplify your life is to lower your expectations?
Today, we are taught that nothing we want or want to achieve is out of reach. But making the achievement the root of your happiness is an obstinate situation to be in. For instance, if the only way you are going to be happy is to get the boat you have always dreamed of, then you leave no chance for yourself to relish in the moments of RIGHT NOW.
Lowering your expectations doesn’t mean that you need to throw away idle dreams or even stop dreaming altogether. It does mean however, that you need to move through your life with an air of gratitude for the things that ARE present and not bank your life satisfaction on a particular event, a particular kind of car, a specific amount of money.
Simplifying your life is about taking inventory of the things that make you happy and allowing them to multiply. It isn’t about the ‘what ifs,’ or the ‘when’s’ or even the ‘if only’s.’ It is about the RIGHT now. Instead of drooling over what you don’t have and want to have – learn to be happy, to find happiness and to be at peace with where you are right now. In this very moment.
When you lower your expectations, you will find that you aren’t disappointed as much. You will also find that expecting less from people, or sources outside of yourself enables you to see more vividly all the beauty and color that already surrounds you. Expecting less leaves you less angry and most importantly, keeps you more flexible to see many of the things that you are missing in your life right now.
The easiest way to start simplifying and lowering your expectations is to take two simple starting steps.
1. Identify the things that are important to you.
2. Get rid of everything else. EVERYTHING!
Sounds easy, right? And it is, as long as you are committed to the end result. Identifying what is important to you is something that you need to do daily, with nearly every decision. It includes people and places that you may feel like you are stuck with. At every fork in the road, you have to identify whether you are working towards something that is important to you, or whether you are going against your innate sense of happiness to do what ‘you feel is right,’ or ‘is necessary,’ or is ‘politically correct.’ It may mean weeding out certain people in your life. It may warrant finding a new job. It may mean finding solace driving your decade old, yet still running vehicle around town.
Deciding what is important to you at every moment may also mean not getting involved in an argument to prove that you are right. It might mean not buying those boots in the store window because a bigger goal is more important to you. It could also mean making changes in your own life that others around you won’t like.
When you begin to identify what is really important to you, you can start the life journey of simplifying your life and lowering your expectations so that you can be truly happy. Yes, it takes commitment. It takes decisive action. It takes will power – only because so many people are addicted to the rat race and the drama that ensues. It also means saying NO, and being realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish.
For instance, if you are constantly feeling stress to get things done at work, and then come home with a silent expectation that your house should be in perfect order and clean – you likely spend all your free time cleaning and working. But ask yourself, is the expectation of a ‘perfect’ house what is important to you. Or is it taking away from what is REALLY important to you like spending quality time with your partner, children or friends?
Simplifying your life is about ridding yourself of clutter in all facets of life. Whether it is your garage or mental state that is cluttered with junk – now is the time to get rid of it. When you get rid of the old, you make a statement that you are ready to accept the new, simplified, true to your heart things in life that are important to you. And most often, the universe follows suit with your wishes.