Story by: Whitney Hansen
We live in a world that tells us we aren’t enough. We don’t have enough, our bodies aren’t enough, our bank accounts aren’t enough, and the only way to fill this void is by material items.
We chase happiness through material items so deeply, that we sometimes lose ourselves. We lose touch of what truly matters- personal connection, solitude, and chasing our dreams.
The constant bombardment of social media posts, television commercials, magazine ads, and watching the next Kardashian jet set to an exotic location has harsh financial and emotional implications.
This is why we must practice the art of pursing less.
Only when we learn to be intentional with our life, will we be given the opportunity to understand true happiness.
We purchase new cars, clothes, finance trips on credit cards and buy seriously silly stuff. But doing this robs us of our one fleeting resource- time. We have to then trade our hours for dollars in order to pay off our once important purchases. Being intentional about purchases leads to more freedom in how we choose to spend our time.
Some call this minimalism, I call it art. Here are ten tips to help you live an intentional life:
1. SAY NO MORE THAN YOU SAY YES
Time is your most precious asset, treat it that way. Guard your time wisely- it’s the only thing you can’t get more of. The rule of thumb to live by is if it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no. I can’t remember who I heard the from, but it has always resonated with me. If you are looking for a great book to read about this stuff, check out Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I prefer the audio version. See how you can get Essentialism on Audible for free.
2. MAKE YOUR HOME LOOK LIKE A MAGAZINE
Declutter your home. You will find yourself being very careful about what you bring into your home. If you don’t think this stuff matters, check out this podcast episode on how interior design affects your financial life.
I love making my house look amazing and one of the biggest things I did was build an electric fireplace surround. It took me a weekend and truly gave my home an upgraded, comfy look that I will cherish for years.
3. BECOME SELF-AWARE
Many times we make purchases not because we need them, but because we are dealing with something emotionally. Perhaps it is a break-up and you are not feeling attractive. Before you purchase anything, step back and figure out why you are spending money.
4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Every morning start your day by reflecting on your blessings. Say “thank you” for everything and everyone in your life. I try to work gratitude into my morning routine. While I’m eating breakfast and sippin’ on my coffee, I write in my gratitude journal.
5. ONLY USE CASH
Leave the credit/debit cards at home. Research shows you will spend 12-18% more when using plastic. Impulse buys will rob you of an intentional life and a great savings account. One way to manage your cash is by using the envelope system.
6. EXERCISE DAILY
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that how you treat your body isn’t reflected in your bank account as well. The discipline it takes to get your butt to the gym every day is the same discipline it takes to stick to a budget. Discipline is a muscle and using it frequently will help you in all areas of life.
7. DON’T GIVE OUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
When you go shopping and the retailer asks for your email so they can send you coupons, respond with “I don’t prefer to give that out.” Marketers know those emails are effective ways to get you to spend money. It clutters your inbox and hurts your bank account. Just say no to emails.
8. MEDITATE REGULARLY
Meditation is a powerful, powerful way to get rid of the mental “noise” in your life. Sometimes focusing on breathing is enough to calm us down emotionally, clear minds, and remind us how lucky we are to be alive. (The greatest gift of all.) One of my favorite apps for meditation is Calm.
9. UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY
One day a week keep your phone at home, leave the laptop in your office, and commit to a technology-free day. This is so liberating! We are addicted to checking Facebook, Instagram and email. Give yourself the ability to go hiking, exploring, try a new restaurant without reading reviews beforehand, and enjoy the company you are surrounded by. If once a week sounds too frequent, try this once a month. If you are feeling extra motivated, try taking social media apps off your phone– I know, I know. But give it a try. You can always put it back on later.
10. MINDSET SHIFT
Shift your mindset from everything is essential, to nothing is essential. This seems simple, but will take years of mental conditioning to fully understand. But when you understand that material items really don’t matter, you will find happiness.
The art of pursing less results in more; more time, more money, better quality relationships, and more happiness.
Only when we remove our dependency on technology, material items, and even money as much as possible, we will find a truly rich life.