A Year to Simplify: Take Two


A Year to Simplify: Take Two

One short year ago, I optimistically began 2018, armed with my word of the year, “simplify.” I was excited for the year to come and eager to make some changes. Feeling fatigue from over-commitment, I was craving some white space and ready to clear some clutter. I wanted to be a more laid-back mom and a better friend and spend my time doing things that reflected my priorities. The year started out strong. I went in with a bang and started decluttering my home. I identified some commitments that I could step back from. I practiced saying, “no.” January was great. Then February arrived and life hit hard. It was the start of a challenging and unpredictable year for my family and many of our loved ones. Each month brought its own set of challenges. Decluttering took a back seat and white space gave way to survival mode.

The year did not go according to plan. And it taught me a lot.

Miriam Webster defines “simplify” as “to make simple or simpler, to reduce to basic essentials, to diminish in scope or complexity, streamline.” But this year reminded me that life is not simple. Life is complicated. We can’t simplify the world around us and we can’t streamline grief, hardship, and changes beyond our control. Life is full of twists and turns. But that gives us even more reason to simplify the areas we can control to allow for more energy and focus on the things that are complicated.

Even though my first year to simplify didn’t go as planned, it was a step in the right direction. I learned that in order to simplify, I needed to identify. The added chaos confirmed my priorities, helped me recognize areas that needed to be cut back, and helped me pinpoint day-to-day activities that could be streamlined.

I am, once again, optimistic about my year to simplify. I am ready for take two. I feel better equipped to focus on the following areas, in the following order: 

  • Spiritual and physical health: Spending more time in prayer and Bible study has greatly impacted my spiritual life and it will be my top priority for 2019. Exercise is also vital to my health and sanity, and will remain at the top of my list. 
  • Limited activities: I love to be busy and I love to keep my children busy, but too much activity makes all of us exhausted, cranky, and stressed. Not to mention, it gets very expensive. We are still working on finding balance in this area, but we are planning to limit sports, extracurricular activities, and volunteer commitments this year. There are so many good things to be doing, but we want to be focused and intentional to keep this area from getting way out of control.
  • Organized home: Finally, I have found that I am far less stressed and much more at peace when my home is decluttered and organized, so I will continue to work on it this year. It’s not going to be perfect, but it can always be better. I will also keep working on simplified routines and better ways to run my home in order to cut down on the time spent dealing with “stuff.”

My definition of simplification is a change in mindset and intentionality with priorities. This intentionality will help me make more time for my family, friendships, and investing in others. My energy will be freed up to focus on areas where I am best equipped to make an impact. And I will be guarding my time and commitments so I can offer the best to my husband, children, and loved ones. It’s going to be a journey and I’m excited to see where the year takes me.


  1. I love this article Leah. So much truth and realistic goal
    Aspirations for 2019. In the Spring of 2018, Eric suddenly lost his mother and all my plans for the year came to a standstill. God meant for me to read this tonight. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your outreach commitment. Xi Love-Chandra

    • Thank you for reading and sharing! I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that 2019 will be a year of continued healing for your family. ❤️


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