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Simplify. Declutter. Eliminate. Streamline.

These are big themes in my life right now. I’m frustrated by the amount of clutter (physical and mental) in my life right now, but my progress in simplifying has been halting, at best. Today, I was thinking about how I could simplify, and I had a very freeing thought.

You can’t change what other people expect from you, but you can change what you expect from yourself. Therefore, you can simplify by eliminating expectations for yourself. It’s something that you can do almost instantly, and the results are wonderful.

Think through your task list, and even beyond it to the “ought list.” The “ought list” is that impossibly long list of things you ought to do, hope to do, beat yourself up about, but know you’ll never get to. In my case, my ought list contains the beginnings of projects that sounded wonderful at the time, but no longer hold any interest to me. In many cases, the ought list contributes to clutter in my house. I save things that I ought to use for a craft, and books that I ought to read.

The crazy thing is–no one is telling me to read those books. No one else cares if I read those books. I’m the one that decided that I should read them, and now I don’t want to read them anymore. So guess what? I don’t need to read them. And I don’t need to make those crafts. In fact, I can cut my losses and get rid of the clutter associated with those “oughts.”

You can do it too.