5 Strategies to Practice Radical Simplicity
Have you ever felt like you have been on the hamster wheel of life and no matter what you do you can’t get off? You keep running getting nowhere while feeling completely exhausted. I can relate. I have felt that way many times in my life.
I am learning to practice radical simplicity.
When we focus on what is truly important and adopt a less is more approach it creates space in our lives to do what matters most. Love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves. So the million dollar question is how do we go about doing this?
Here are five strategies to practice radical simplicity in our lives.
1. Simple Minimalism
The pursuit of materialism is a losing battle. The sooner we realize that the accumulation of stuff and more money will never make us happy the better off we will be. We came into the world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” 1st Timothy 6:6–7
I recently moved from a three bedroom townhome with a basement, office and full workout room into a 700 square foot one bedroom apartment and I have never been more content. There is freedom and simplicity in this lifestyle. I can focus on what I love to do.
I know everyone’s situation is different and my lifestyle may not work for you, but there are ways that you can simplify your life from a materialism perspective that doesn’t involve downsizing where you live. What does radical simplicity look like for you around possessions and the need for getting a bigger and bigger bank account?
2. Simple Fitness
I am a recovering gym rat. I used to spend hours and hours in the gym to work on my physique. It was all ego driven. That’s how I would get external validation from the way I looked. I have learned to let that go.
I still have a passion for health and fitness, but it is no longer ego driven. It’s about taking care of this one and only body I will ever have. I already have a few bionic parts in me in the form of a metal hip and a screw and staple in my knee. I am an orthopedic surgeon’s dream.
Instead of spending an hour or two in the gym, I incorporate small doses of exercise and strength training throughout my day. I will drop down and do a set of push-ups multiple times through the day. I have some equipment in my apartment and for a break I will do a mini-set of strength exercises that takes about five minutes. I will do this several times a day.
I found a seven minute yoga routine that I will do in the morning or evening depending on how I feel. It’s simple and effective. For more information on how to incorporate simple fitness into your life check out this book written by Phil Maffetone on strength. It’s simple fitness and strength at its finest.
3. Simple Nutrition
We have made nutrition way too complicated. I have been in the health, fitness and nutrition industry for about thirty years and I even get confused on what is healthy and what isn’t. I am going to break it down for you in a couple of sentences.
Eat real whole foods prepared mainly at home that includes healthy fats, quality proteins and lots of vegetables. Cut out the refined grains and sugars.
Sugar addiction is real my friends. To break free from this sugar addiction I want to encourage you to try this two week test again from Phil Maffetone. I think he is on to something here.
The whole idea behind simple nutrition is to turn our body into a fat burning machine instead of an inefficient sugar burner. Believe me it works and it’s simple. I believe this is the only way we are going to restore our health personally, as a nation and our world.
4. Simple Spirituality
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor talked about religionless Christianity. What he meant by that is there are no false pretenses or inauthenticity. Religionless Christianity would be limited to these two things, prayer and righteous actions among humanity. It comes down simply to this.
“Loving your neighbor is more important than religion.” Mark 12:33
We are the church. As Jesus followers we are called to love God, love others and love ourselves. We are all equal and united as one. We are to treat everyone with love, grace and compassion. That is simple spirituality.
5. Simple Mind
A simple mind is one where we see ourselves the way God sees us in every situation no matter how much we mess up. We keep showing up doing our best knowing that we are human and also divine. We have the Kingdom of Heaven in us and we are also human, so that means we will regularly make poor choices.
When we adopt an attitude of seeing ourselves the way God sees us, one of unconditional love, we can move past our poor choices and mistakes, learn and grow from them. We can stop beating ourselves up for our human nature. God doesn’t do that, so why do we? We are inherently good, not bad. We are inherently innocent, not guilty. Let’s let go of the shame and start to see ourselves the way God sees us, has his beloved sons and daughters.
I have come to the conclusion the simpler the better in every area of my life. I am learning to let go of power, prestige and possessions and making more room for loving God, loving others and loving myself.
It’s a move towards radical simplicity that will lead to more joy, love and peace in our lives. Try starting in one area by making one small change at a time. See how this transition to radical simplicity leads to more freedom in your life and then move on to the next change.