Escaping the Hamster Wheel of Life

After hearing about what we are doing here at Project Gap Year, many have expressed that they too wish to make a change and simplify their busy lives, but don’t know where to start.  Today I’m excited to be featuring a guest post from Victoria Mininger from Simplified Life.

It’s amazing how the busyness of life creeps up on us. Before we know it we are dashing from job, to home, to sport practices, PTO meetings, the grocery store, gobbling down dinner and praying that nothing really important falls through the cracks. Deadlines loom and bills need to be paid.

Life is busy and life is full. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except when it becomes a bad thing. All of a sudden we realize how tired we are and we find ourselves praying that our kids soccer season (that just started) would somehow be over already.

We feel overwhelmed with it all and yet we have no earthly idea how to get off the hamster wheel that seemed to magically appear under our feet.

Many of us dream of a simpler life. We think “Man, if I could just slow this whole thing down.” If I could just get a few days off.” “If I could just get my house under control.” If I could just…..

And yet many folks carry around this belief that simplifying life is just not possible for them. If it was, then it would have happened by now right?

True. But only if a simplified life was a place we could wish ourselves by being strong enough or organized enough or dedicated enough.

But the truth is Simplifying life is a process and hard work. It’s a conscious choice we must be willing to make every day we wake up.

Because the reality is that we didn’t arrive at an overwhelmed, complicated, hamster driven life overnight.

So it’s foolish at best to think that achieving a simplified life is something that we can make happen overnight.

Simplifying life is a process and a lifelong journey. A journey that will have it’s up’s and downs and require hard work along the way.

So if that’s the case how do we get jump started in the process?

Escaping The Hamster Wheel Life

Here are 3 ways to get intentional about simplifying life:

Evaluate Your Life: Every single person will approach Simplifying differently. Each of our lives are unique and the area that I may need to simplify may not be the area you need to simplify. Instead, evaluate your life right now and pick one or two areas that feel overwhelming to you.

Decided what changes need to be made: Once you have identified 1-2 areas that you desire to simplify then start with a few simple steps in that areas. For example – If your schedule is overwhelming, take a hard look at what is on your plate and decide what things can come off your plate now or in the near future. In the same way, before you add anything else to your schedule evaluate it and ask “Can I really give my best to this right now?” If not, then the answer is no.

Tackle one area at at time and see it through: Don’t be in a hurry to tackle too many things at once – that just leads to overwhelm in a whole new area and can cause you to feel defeated before you really get going. Focus on 1-2 areas and allow yourself to make forward progress and the time to form new habits. Once you have that area simplified, then move onto the next.

The key to the 3 steps above? Have patience with yourself. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a process not a quick fix and true, lasting change takes time.

Escaping the hamster wheel and enjoying life again is within your reach – But it takes choosing to start the journey each day, being patient with yourself and committing to lasting change.

Cheering You On!

Victoria Mininger is a freelance writer, blogger, speaker and coach at Simplified Life. Her heart is to help other people break free from an overwhelmed life. To learn to embrace life with passion and purpose and to stop drifting and really start living a life they truly love.

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