This article originally appeared in The Simplifier #44.
#1 Define goal.
#2 Craft statement using positive-language technique.
Creating a Simplicity Statement
By Shawn Tuttle
What is a Simplicity Statement? It’s a personal declaration of what a simplified life means to you.
Once you’ve acknowledged that your life isn’t as simple as you’d like it to be, you’re in a position to take action to rectify that situation. Going through the process of creating your Simplicity Statement helps you clarify how you want your life to be. Once identified, the statement helps you maintain focus as you simplify your life.
Why is it important? Clarity! A rule of thumb for any endeavor: know what you are working towards. You are a busy person–save yourself time and energy by knowing the purpose of your actions. Otherwise, go take a break. Doing something halfway wastes your and others’ time.
Sound extreme? Well, simplifying your life doesn’t mean you no longer have to deal with responsibilities. Rather, it means you are clear on your priorities and your actions are in line with those priorities. Say hello to firm intentions!
If you’ve worked with a coach before, you may already have a personal mission statement. How is a simplicity statement different than this? Your personal mission statement speaks to the core of your life purpose. For example, mine is “to help others reach their full potential in the spirit of gratitude”. In comparison, the simplicity statement is a quality of life declaration. It defines the ball game of your experience.
You want change? You’ll get more by understanding what belongs on the playing field and what rules run the game. Then when you set specific goals, your mind will have an easier time determining which questions to ask and how to deal with incoming information and resources.
Yours will be unique and may reflect a variety of aspects of your life:
- how you spend your time
- physical stuff
- quantity and quality of thoughts in your head
- other people or relationships
- peace of mind
You ask: “How do I come up with my own?”
By recognizing the aspects of your life that can be simplified.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Ask yourself questions such as:
- How do you feel after spending time with the people in your life? Is there room for improvement?
- What states of mind do you want to experience more of?
- Do you like all the stuff in your life? Does it support who you want to be?
- Are you spending time pursuing your dreams?
If you have difficulty getting to the heart of it, think of a time when your life was simple. Describe what you liked about its simplicity. Did it have to do with your mental state, physical stuff (or lack thereof), or how you spent your time? Which feelings would you like to recreate? Which situations would you like to recreate?
Let’s walk through creating a statement so you have a better idea of the desired end result.
(The initial statements come from local “Simplify from the Inside Out” workshop participants.)
Initial statement: I don’t want extraneous stuff in my life.
Step #1: State in the positive
(Focus on what you do want. Saying you don’t want X keeps bringing you back to X.)
Revision 1: I want good stuff in my life.
Step #2: Add more definition
(What does “good” mean? Give it more detail.)
Revision 2: I want the things in my life to be useful, lasting, and/or aesthetically pleasing.
Step #3: Drop “want”
(This is a word choice issue. In terms of visualization, it’s better to come from a place of completion, i.e. drop “want” from the statement. However, sometimes the brain will rebel against this if the statement is too far from current reality. It might protest, “What? the things in my life are not useful, etc.” and throw the baby out with the bath water. I prefer to come from a place of completion.
It’s also better to drop “want” to get it closer to the tool form. For example, when you are at the store with an object in hand, you’d ask, “Will this be a useful, lasting, aesthetically pleasing addition to my life?”)
Final version: The things in my life are useful, in great shape, and/or aesthetically pleasing.
The following initial statements are put through the same steps as above but without the explanation:
Initial statement: I want to focus on what’s important to me and not have to deal with what isn’t important.
Final version: I engage in activities that are fun, fulfilling, and in line with my goals and dreams.
Initial statement: I don’t want to waste time–mine or others.
Final version: I use my time well and wisely.
Initial statement: I want my workflow to be easy, smooth, efficient, and effective.
Final version: My workflow is easy, efficient and effective.
Initial statement: I don’t let other people tell me what’s best for me.
Final version: I listen to my intuition.
Once you have your statements, put them in a visible place where you’ll read them frequently. You want them to become second nature, so until you’ve retrained your brain, keep ‘em handy.
Want to turbo-charge your statement? Develop a visualization of yourself fully living your Simplicity Statements. One client identifies her ideal vision as “Flowing Woman”. Instead of coming back to her specific statements in time of question, she asks, “What would Flowing Woman do?” Powerful!
The process of simplifying your life will take time and vigilance. The statement is meant to give you inspiration, guidance, and courage when situations are confusing. As you make your way through the fog, there is opportunity in each situation to choose your course through the rocks that line the shores of life. Navigating by the light of your Simplicity Statement will bring you to port safe and sound.
Shawn Tuttle is founder of Project Simplify.