Feb 17, 2016 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

If you’ve decided to change your lifestyle to a slower way of life, first let me say congratulations.

Second let me say, I sympathize.

It’s easy to see where you want your life to be and the time and space you want to have in it, but the changes you need to make to get there can seem overwhelming. I know, because that’s how it is for me.

But what I’m coming to realize is that these changes don’t need to happen all at once. If they did, you’d see results faster, of course, but they wouldn’t necessarily be sustainable. The secret lifestyle-change sauce, then, is: Baby steps.

People who want to get up earlier are frequently told to set their alarms for five or 10 minutes earlier each day until they’re getting up at the time they wish. They ease into it with a small, steady change that proves more lasting. The same is true if you want to make changes and have them become a way of life, not just something you do infrequently. Smaller, more meaningful changes are the way to go.

Here are a few examples:

Decluttering: This is one thing that can bring a sense of peace and calm when it’s all done and things are not so cluttered, but getting to that point takes a lot of work. You don’t have to tackle the whole garage all at once, however. Maybe just tackle the junk drawer. You can always build up to more, or just continue along a slow and steady path. Another option is to keep a bag for donations in your closet, and when you come across an article of clothing that doesn’t fit or isn’t flattering, put it in the bag. Voila. Constant, easy decluttering that becomes a habit instead of a one-time, painful experience.

Spending less: When you feel like going to the mall, go on a hike instead. Or play a game of tag with the kids. Or take the dog for a walk. The point is to get some exercise and fresh air, and avoid the temptation to buy stuff you most likely don’t need. You’ll feel so much better about yourself, and you won’t have to deal with buyer’s remorse or finding a new place to put the thing you just bought.

Doing less: This is the hard one. Saying no to free up time for the important things in life can be a huge change for anyone. But you don’t have to start by saying no. You can start by not saying anything. For example, don’t volunteer to lead the coordinating committee for the holiday party at work. You can pitch in, of course, but you don’t have to head up the whole thing. I’m sure someone else would love that opportunity anyway.

Changing your way of life is a major undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be just one big step. Like with projects at work, breaking something down into manageable chunks helps ensure you can keep on track and do the things you need to do to get the results you desire. It’s not going to be done overnight. With a little patience and perseverance, though, it can be done.

What are your tips for making lasting changes?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.