Ep 061: 10 Ways Minimalism Helps the Super Busy Family

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Motherhood is a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. As my kids get older, we get into schooling, and realize the activities that interest them, I find that my life just gets fuller and fuller. I really enjoy having a full schedule. Other than the occasional need for a week off, I truly thrive when my calendar is full and my days are packed with a life lived on purpose. There’s a big difference in being too busy and in simply having a full life. Embrace where you’re at and if you find yourself overwhelmed, find ways to simplify wherever you can.

Minimalism is one way to do this. It kept me afloat and simplified my to do list in a very chaotic, uncontrollable time of my life when babies dictated everything, all the way down to how much sleep I got. No matter how many kids you have and what season of motherhood you’re in, minimalism lifts a huge burden you may not even know you’ve been carrying. It’s such a gift and is especially helpful for the family with a full calendar.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How minimalism lifts the burdens you may not know you are carrying and makes your life less stressful.

  • The ways minimalism alleviates time spent cleaning and prepares your home to always be ready to have people over.

  • The benefits of minimalism for your kids. They will enjoy experiences over things more and aren’t overstimulated by all the clutter.

  • When you have less, decision making is easier, you know where everything is, and you can say yes to more of what you want to do.  

Mentioned in this Episode:

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If you want to get started or if you want a reboot in your journey, maybe you've lost your way a little bit, go get the Minimalism Starter Kit. It's a fan favorite download. It's totally free. It's chock full of good stuff. And it is totally free! 

 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hi, beautiful! Thank you for listening to my show today! I'm really glad that you're here.

I'm super stoked about this episode. It's something that I love talking about. We're going to dive in to 10 ways minimalism helps the super busy family.

Motherhood is many, many things, but boring is definitely not one of them. The older my kids get, I realize that life gets busier in a different way. When they were super little and I was in the toddler/having babies phase of life, it was physically busy and I was really exhausted from that, and also emotionally drained just from dealing with them. The meltdowns, freakouts, tantrums and all that. Now it's busy in a new way, which I think is super fun. The kids are older. They've got different interests. They've got homeschool groups to go to, activities, horse lessons, and all these things. I find that my life has just gotten fuller and fuller and busy in a new way.

I really enjoy having a full schedule. I'm definitely an introvert. I definitely get my energy from being by myself. I love being home a lot, but I don't like doing nothing. I will usually schedule a “nothing” day, maybe once a week, maybe less, depending on what I need, but other than that I really enjoy being a busy person. I really thrive, and so does Brian, when our calendar is full and our days are packed with a life lived on purpose. That's our sweet spot. That's how we like to be.

In fact, if we have a day or two where we've been home, maybe there's a ton of work to get done and we decide the kids are gonna just do some school, do some reading and have a couple of “techy” days while we catch up on work, or it feels like we're just home a lot, we will find ourselves snapping at each other and needing to get out of the house. We'll take a walk or go to the park or something like that. Just to get out of the house. Any excuse, because we just like to be out and busy and going to different things.

I think as your kids get older and you have kids that are interested in sports, activities, extra classes and things like that, your schedule will get really full fast. Unless this goes against your core values for your family for some reason, I think this is a good thing.

Kids are so much fun and motherhood is something to be celebrated in every season. I think there's a big difference between being too busy and using your busyness as sort of a badge of honor, and just saying “yes” to everything because you've put your identity in being super busy and just being a “yes” man of sorts. There’s a big difference between that kind of busyness and simply just having a really full life.

So, I've learned to embrace where I'm at. If I find myself overwhelmed, I find ways to simplify wherever I can.

Maybe it's just taking a break every now and then. I just came off of a few weeks off from the business completely. I just got kind of burned out and I needed a break from that. I got burned out in that part of my life. I took a break.

Also, minimalism is another way to do this, to simplify your life so that you can enjoy the fullness of it, but not the bad kind of busy where you just feel like you can't even catch your breath and you don't even have time to do what matters most to you.

So, I started my journey to minimalism when I was in that baby-having phase of my motherhood. I was a stay at home mom. I spent lots of time at home. I didn't have a lot else going on. I had three kids under three at the time. And my babies were all-consuming in my life. That's the season that I was in. Minimalism helped me in a different way than it does now. It kept me afloat and simplified my to-do list during a very chaotic, very uncontrollable time of my life when my babies dictated everything all the way down to how much sleep I got and how much time I had to put food in my mouth.

Now my baby is three and we've got baseball, horseback riding lessons, a business to run, meetings and media interviews every week, photoshoots and videos to make on a regular basis. Minimalism helps me in the same amount that it did back then, but just in a different way. It possibly even helps me more now.

The more I evolve as a mother, my life shifts, and we head into new seasons, the more grateful I become that I am a minimalist and that I am actively practicing that lifestyle. I think no matter how many kids you have or what season of motherhood you're in, minimalism lifts a huge burden you may not even know you've been carrying until it's off of you.

It is such a gift, truly. That's why I've dedicated my life to talking about it and I think it's especially helpful for the family that has a really full calendar. So, let's talk about exactly how minimalism helps that kind of family.

I think first of all, you spend a lot less time cleaning…like a lot less time. Typically, I spend about 30 minutes a day maintaining my house. I'm not a neat freak. I'm actually kind of a naturally disorganized person, but I do like my house to be clean. It will bother me if it's not picked up, you know what I mean? I don't care if the banister has some hand smudges on it. I won't freak out and run over like Monica Geller and start rubbing it. But I do enjoy living in a clean space.

I like having my house ready for company to drop by. I enjoy living in a clean space that feels put together. It makes me feel accomplished and that's just the way that I am. And even so it takes me 30 minutes a day to maintain my house.

We have one day a week that we'll clean as a family for a couple hours. Usually on Saturday mornings, sometimes not, because we've been going to the farmer's market. It’s kind of shifted to be like a Friday afternoon thing, but whatever day it is, usually like 1-2 hours deep cleaning as a family. It's been a little bit less now because I recently hired a housekeeper to help me out with that and help us foster more family time. It’s really low maintenance. We have six people living in a three-bedroom house. I think that's really low maintenance. I'm really happy about that and I know it's just because we don't have a ton of stuff taking up our space and requiring us to put it back again and again.

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago now, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home. Simplify your life.

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Number two is your house is almost always ready for people to come over. So, when another mom from the soccer team stops by to drop off your son's forgotten knee pads, you can invite her inside without throwing a bunch of mess in the closet.

When your church asks for volunteers to host Bible study, you can raise your hand and be confident that it won't be a panic screaming match between you and no one else who cares, as you clean up all the things the night before, every single week.

I am such a hospitable person. I am the first to offer to host things. I actually get a little panicked within myself when I'm in a situation where somebody else is the host. I love being the one to host.

We have a whole other set of cups, mugs and dishes just for hosting things like Bible Studies and parties because we love hosting things. I love feeling confident that if I have the wrong time and everybody shows up an hour early, sure, everything will be perfect, but I'm not going to be freaking out because the house is a disaster and I haven't even had a chance to get ready yet because everything is just more minimal and simpler.

Number three, you have more time to actually enjoy the season of your family. You can be present. Imagine that. Actually being able to be all there and enjoy your family right now in the season they're in. Not something that you're hoping to get done one day, but right now. You're actually there and able to enjoy it. Even if you're in the thick of having babies and it's a really overwhelming season of motherhood, you're still able to enjoy and be there and that's a really great feeling. Enough said about that one. That one just says it all.

Number four, your life is just a lot less stressful. Managing a family meal plan, running errands, you know, playing chauffeur if your kids go to school, is a full-time job on its own. These things will stress you out a whole lot less if you don't also have a house full of junk that you are constantly picking up. Trust me.

Number five, your kids are not overstimulated. So scientific studies done all over the world have shown us over and over again that kids do not function well when they have a lot of options surrounding them. A cluttered room to come home to after a long day of school full of toys and junk they don't even use, is just not good for them. It's just not. Add in screen time and long school days, and no wonder they're in terrible moods a lot of the time, right?

If you simplify their space, you’re going to see such a huge difference. They're going to be in better moods and they're going to start enjoying their days a lot more and you will too. This is one of the biggest benefits I've noticed in my kids versus other kids. It's such a lifesaver.

Number six, your life is centered around relationships, not stuff. I don't even think I need to explain that one. It's huge. Your life is centered around relationships, not stuff. What a great way to live and what a great example to set for our kids, right?

Number seven, when you want to say “yes” to something, you usually can. So, what I mean by this is when you're not bogged down by a ton of home maintenance time, you're a lot freer to be involved in the things you want to be involved in. You can say “yes” to things more if you want to. You can volunteer more. You can spend more time with your kids. You can help your community more. You can start that blog you've been wanting to start. You get the picture. You're able to just take on more. And this is a huge way that minimalism benefits the super busy family.

If you're super busy, it's probably because you like living that way, at least a little bit, maybe not too much busyness, but you like having a full life and you like being able to help and serve. This is huge.

I'm really protective of my time. I have a lot of rhythms and routines and I live a really minimal existence. It’s not because I'm selfish and I don't want people taking up my time and I just want to be with my family. It’s because I want to be able to say “yes” to the things that matter. I want to be able to serve at my church. I want to be able to serve in my community. I want to be able to go with my kids to the homeless shelter and show them this is service. This is what we're here to do, to help other people. We're able to do all of those things because we don't have so much home maintenance. It's huge, you guys. This is a major benefit.

Number eight. Minimalism teaches your kids to enjoy experiences over things and that is huge when you've got a full life. I think we all want our kids to grow up knowing the value of living a good life of experiences versus things, but none of us wishes our kids, would grow up materialistic, right? But yet a lot of the time we’re accidentally putting them there.

Minimalism draws all attention to relationships, experiences, family, and spending time actually living life. That is so helpful when that's what you're doing - living Life. Going to baseball games, packing up for baseball practice, taking your daughter to soccer. You're living life and you're not focused on, “Oh my gosh, there's so much to pick up when we get home. There's so much to do.” It's just simpler and that leads me to my next point.

Number nine, you know where everything is. Now, this isn’t perfect, but I will say it is a 100% better than it used to be for me. When you live out minimalism, there's a lot less time spent looking for things. Every mom knows how annoying it is to desperately need to find your daughter's other cleat and be 15 minutes late to practice because it was wrapped up in a blanket behind the sofa, right?

Less stuff means less mess, less chaos, less clutter, and more owning your space and what’s in it. Simple as that.

And lastly, number 10. Minimalism helps a super busy family because there’s less decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is a real thing and it sucks. All the little decisions like what to wear, when should I clean the bathroom? All of those little things like, “Mom, can I have cereal? Hey, can I wear these shoes today? All of those little decisions that we make minute-by-minute. They’re made a lot less overwhelming when there's simply less stuff.

A smaller wardrobe means less choices. You weren't wearing 80 percent of it, chances are anyway. These little tweaks like that in your home really add up to a totally different life. And I mean, trust me, I've seen this difference in my own life every single day. I see it in my business. In other women. This is just how it is.

Less is less fatigue. It's less of all the bad stuff and more of all the good stuff. And what a sweet life to live, right? I think that's the goal.

So, this has been 10 ways minimalism helps the very busy, on-the-go family. And I hope that this was really inspiring for you guys.

If you want to get started or if you want a reboot in your journey, maybe you've lost your way a little bit, go get the Minimalism Starter Kit. It's a fan favorite download. It's totally free. It's chock full of good stuff. It's totally free on the show notes page, allicasazza.com/shownotes/061.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 060: Prayer + Soul Care as a Busy Mom with Valerie Woerner

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As moms, it is easy to make excuses when it comes to taking care of our soul. However, when we have little kids or are in a super busy season, that's the time that we honestly need it the most. We are constantly pouring out and don’t realize that we need poured into. And the more we make excuses now, the harder it is going to be to get back to taking care of our souls. Val Woerner is the owner of ValMarie Paper, where she creates journals and tools that are really help “cut through the noise” of everyday life and find fullness of life in the presence of the Lord. Even if you're busy, even if you're a mom of little ones, no matter your season. And I want to encourage you by telling you that whatever you have to give now is more than enough.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Val Discuss:

  • Why you should put effort into your relationship with God, especially in the busy season of raising little ones.

  • Ways you can get quiet, connect with the Lord, and take care of your soul in your everyday life.

  • The importance of avoiding excuses when it comes to taking care of your soul.

  • What the word “renew” means and what the Bible says about it, so that you can fight everyday anxieties and battles.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes? Want more details? Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s? Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

 

The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration I created for you. It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


Don't have time to listen_.png

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hey beauties! Today I am introducing you to someone who's become an Instagram friend, not just somebody that I follow and who follows me. Valerie Woerner, she is a beautiful soul. She really is. The more I follow her, the more I get to know her, the more we pass messages back and forth every now and again, the more I come to just love and admire her so much. She is just such a godly woman. I'm really inspired by her.

Val is the owner of ValMarie paper. ValMarie paper creates journals and tools that are really beautifully created to be practical tools that help you “cut through the noise” as Valerie puts it so beautifully, of everyday life and find fullness of life in the presence of the Lord. Even if you're busy, even if you're a mom of little ones, no matter your season.

She very pointedly speaks about that and speaks about how sometimes we moms, specifically, can use the busyness of our season and the out-of-our-control chaos that comes with having little ones, pregnancies and things like that, as sort of an excuse to skip out on the important stuff like prayer, journaling, reflection and that quiet soul care that we so desperately need. And she also speaks pointedly about how this is actually a time where we really need to be more on guard and diving more deeply into those types of soul care things.

So, I'm really excited to let you in on this chat with Val. I would encourage you as always to listen with an open mind and open heart and prayerfully consider taking action in some way on this in your life.

And so, without further ado, let's dive in.

ALLIE: Hi Val, and thank you so much for joining us today.

VALERIE: Yeah, and thanks for having me. I'm excited to chat.

ALLIE: Yeah. Okay. So, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family and your story.

VALERIE: I'm Valerie Woerner and I live in south Louisiana with my husband, Tyler. We have been married seven years. We were actually best friends for a few years beforehand and I swear I told God “I'm not marrying him. If I marry him, I'm going to be so upset.” But anyway, long story short, I fell for him. God knew better than I did. Crazy. We have two little girls, Vivi & Vana. They are 4 & 2. Just lots of fun and I run a business called ValMarie paper. We sell prayer journals and a couple other things. I have also written a book, but I’m working on another now on motherhood coming out next year.

ALLIE: Good. Yeah. Okay. So one thing that I love about you and really the reason that I wanted to have you on was because you speak very graciously but also pointedly about how mothers sometimes can use just the busyness of our season of raising kids, especially pregnancy, babies and not sleeping as much in this “in the thick of it” season as, I mean honestly, I think this word will upset some people, but as sort of an excuse to skip the important stuff, like the journaling, prayer, reflection, the soul care that we need. So, tell us about that, how you feel about that and how we can stop doing that.

VALERIE: Yes, I think it's crazy because it is easy to become an excuse whenever we have little kids, but that's the time that we honestly need it the most because we are being poured out so much that we have to be poured into. I believe that’s through Jesus and I know you do too. That's where our strength is going to come from.

So, one thing that I think a lot about for prayer is that as we start to drift from our prayer time with Him, it becomes easier and easier to silence His call whenever it is time to pray. But whenever we just feel prompted to pray, it just becomes easier to shut that out and just feel like we have responsibilities, we have things to do.

So, I think for me, I just want to encourage moms that not only do you need it right now, that's why we don't want to make an excuse, but also the more we make it an excuse, the harder it's going to be to get back. We're not just gonna jump back when they go to school, suddenly have this deep relationship with God and be like, “Okay God, I'm back and let's just get back to it.”

It's going to take a lot of work to get back. And I always say it's not that God has moved away from us, but it's more like we've walked away. I don't know if that makes sense, but I definitely feel like we need Him now more than ever in this season. And I would never want a mom to feel like it is a good enough excuse to say “no” to God for the sake of our kids.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I'm out of that season as of now. Probably going to fling myself back into it later this year, but I think it's just a lot. You're not intentionally like, “Oh, I'll just wait and when the kids go to school, I'll be better at it.” It's like a subconscious, almost feels like it has to happen that way, but it's sad because then we're teaching our little ones…they're not seeing us do that. They're not seeing us have that time. They're not hearing us pray out loud. It's just not a part of it.

And I think that is one lie of the enemy for sure that kind of sneakily gets us out of that flow and away from closeness with the Lord when we need it most.

But I love that you say that. I love that you say we need it the most during that time because it is a crazy time for sure.

Okay. I think the main thing about that time of little ones especially, and I think it can go, it can transfer over. Now I'm busy, more busy, but it's a different and better kind of busy. It's not like “chaos busy” with the kids. They're just older and there's baseball and homeschooling and horse lessons, more on the go, I guess, and I do fine with that. Rather than out of your control, the kids are going crazy, you're pregnant and sick. That's a different type of busyness, but I think in that season it can feel like it's just total chaos.

It's happening minute-by-minute and the kids are too little to really be expected to play quietly to give yourself space and pregnancy, you can't always get up super early. So, in the thick of it, how do you get quiet and connect with the Lord and take care of your soul in that?

VALERIE:  Yes. Okay. So, this has been so on my heart. I know we know this. I know we know that it's not about our quiet time. That we can experience God throughout our days, but my big goal lately has been to just live with a deep consciousness of God. So as I go through my days, I'm seeing Him everywhere. I'm seeing things to be grateful for. His presence is changing my actions and I think in that respect, I think it's almost, I don't want to say easier to do, because it's not easier to do with the little kids, but how full our house is shouldn't be changed by that.

And that should be encouraging. That's not to be discouraging to mom's like, “Hey, you should have it together,” but more that our goal is not like we have to have this hour-long thing in the morning. I still recommend, I mean I want to do that because I want that deep time with Him, but if we're going through a short season where all we have is throughout the day, that is enough.

Whatever we have to give to God is enough. I wrote about this in a journal that's going to be coming out with the book, but I can't even think of the story, but whenever the widow gives two coins, just knowing that whatever you have to give, if you're giving that to God, that's all He wants.

If you only have 15 minutes and that's what you're giving, you should not feel bad about that. There's people who have three hours in the morning and they give Him 15 minutes. And God probably wants more for that person. But I think knowing if you truly, truly do not have this extended time, whatever you have to give is going to be enough.

But like I said, I really think it's like an all-day, just living in His presence and learning how to do that has been so rewarding. Even more than what I've learned in the last few years about prayer, learning how to live with Him every day the last six months has changed me so much and very unexpectedly.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. I think I totally agree. About, I don't know, maybe 2-3 years ago, I wrote a blog post about what you're saying. It was a realization for me and that's where it was born out of, that you don't have to have that “set aside” quiet time. I'm sitting on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and a journal and candles and all this stuff. I have that now. Now my season has changed.

But I remember trying to force that when I was in the baby-having season and I realized that God doesn't want that perfect time. Of course, if you can get it, take it. Sometimes you just can't in that space. I think realizing that you can talk to him while you're doing the dishes, while you're driving, and also praying out loud, letting my kids hear that. At first they're like, “Mom, what are you doing?”

But just letting them see that mom has a relationship with the living God and I'm talking to Him because I'm a little stressed today. Or I feel like I yelled too much today and I'm sorry and we're going to work it out. Being really raw with them. It was so huge. And just that realization that it doesn't have to be perfect and pretty and Instagram- worthy. It's just real. And just like you would with a friend or your husband, just talking it out as you go.

Then when they get a little older and they can kind of play, my youngest is 3 ½ so I can say, “Go be busy, go play outside” and I can get an hour in the morning or in the afternoon if I want. And it's beautiful because I didn't have it before. But you can't just ditch it altogether.

VALERIE: Right. And also, just knowing when that season ends and not letting it stay longer than it has to be. Finding the grace but not wallowing in it also.

ALLIE: Right. And would you say that that kind of is where it becomes an excuse?

VALERIE: Yeah, yeah.

ALLIE:  Okay. So, through your company, ValMarie paper, which I love. I don't know if you guys remember, if you've been around a while, but on Instagram a while ago, maybe last year, I shared your journals. Brian still uses the men's. It's really neat too. And I've always heard this about journaling and I'm a big journaler but I don't go back and look. Ever. And it's been really neat to really go back and look at what was happening and how big our prayers felt at that time and how now it's like, “Oh yeah, I forgot that God even did that.” We're not worried about that anymore. It's neat.

So, you create, and I love the way you word this “practical tools that equip women to cut through the noise of everyday life and find fullness of life in the presence of the Lord.”

So, tell us what that looks like day-to-day, what kinds of journals you create, what does it look like to use them and how do you help women do that?

VALERIE: Yeah. Our main product is our six-month and our yearly now. We have a six-month journal that's broken down into the months. So, you fill it out once at the beginning of the month, which is perfect for anybody in a busy season because sometimes it's hard to commit to writing things every day. But you write it down once at the beginning of the month and then you just carry it with you and you can pray. I pray normally like one or two sections a day. I never pray the whole thing. It's never the goal to go through all the sections in a day.

But the goal is just that you can do it while you're doing dishes. I have mine on my passenger seat anytime I'm in the car. In our bathtub we can hang it up in the little spigots and pray while I'm taking my nightly Epsom salt bath.

All of the things that we do, even our free pdfs and different things like that, are designed to take these spiritual ideas that people can say like, “Okay, that sounds really good. Now how do I put that into my life?” And because our world is so noisy, we make it a little bit more accessible for people so that they're not having to, I don't know, get stuck somewhere. “Here, this is the format, go for it.” We pray that this is a tool that people will be able to use and really make their own. The stories that we hear…it's crazy how people are using it and what they're getting out of it.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I love that. I was already following you and then I noticed that you did this anxiety, “challenge/study” and it was really amazing as somebody who does struggles with anxiety. My whole family actually. I really believe that this is a generational thing. I really think that that happens more often than people realize. All the women in my family just struggle with it. So, I really loved what you did there.

I know we're not really talking about that, but you spoke to your experience with anxiety and how you combat that with prayer. I just admire you for that so much. And I know other women listening struggle with that.

VALERIE: Oh Gosh. Yes. Okay. So, I always say I was a worried, little child when I was young, so my mom actually prayed with me a lot. And that's where I learned how to pray. She just instilled that in me. But as I got older, I was writing my first book, had just finished writing, and I have heard people talk about it a lot, whenever you're writing a book there's a lot of spiritual warfare. I wrote in there about a season where I had a lot of anxiety in high school and started feeling like something was wrong with my heart. And I woke up in the middle of the night, during the editing process of the book, and I thought I was dying.

Tyler was next to me and I said, “Go get Vivi, I need to say goodbye to her.” We called an ambulance. My mom lived down the street. She came over to stay with Vivi. She prayed. She came in the door and she prayed with me. And by the time the ambulance was standing in our doorway, my heart had stopped beating (that way). I thought for sure the only way my heart was going to stop beating the way it was, was for it to stop.

The ambulance came in. It was actually somebody I knew, a friend of a friend, and she was like, “I think that was a panic attack.” And I was like, “There's no way that was a panic attack. It was so real.” I googled everything about it. I can be a judgmental person, telling people to buck up and everything like that, but experiencing that…

I finally shared it on Instagram and the people who responded and were just like, “I've been in the hospital for that” or “I've had a panic attack.” I had no idea how prevalent that was.

The Renew Challenge that we did was me looking up the word “mind” in the Bible and just knowing that I had to figure out how to control my mind, because it will take us places we don't want to go. And even yesterday my daughter flipped out at the pool because there were wasps. And I'm having this spiritual conversation of, “Vivi, you have to get these thoughts out of your mind. The devil wants you to focus on the wasp.” I said, “Don't think about the wasp. Think about me.” Taking our thoughts captive and not only taking them captive, but then filling them up with truth is the answer.

And so, the 14-day challenge is basically 14 days of just pounding that message in to where you really start to change your thoughts.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely.

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Hey friend! It’s Allie! Have you heard of the Supermom Vault yet?

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Check it out!  alliecasazza.com/courses-1.

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ALLIE: Okay. So that's amazing. And I went through it and it was amazing. So, I know then it was email-based and you're doing something new with it now. So, is that going to be still available or how can people get into that?

VALERIE: Um, yeah, we actually have it on our website about ValMariepaper.com, but it's going to be our Renew Ebook. We've had people say that they've gone through it and they wanted to go back to it. And I've even wanted to go back to it but not wanted to go back through all the emails. So, I think we'll have both options just so if you want to take it slow, you can do that, and get the constant reminder for two weeks.

ALLIE: Yeah. I just loved the way you had it set up. It was so powerful. Just looking, like you said, at the word “mind” in the Bible. There's so much out there about how powerful the mind is and I think people, especially in the Christian sphere, shy away from that because it seems “new age” and really a lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it is biblical, right?

He is The Creator and He spoke the universe into existence. We're made in His image. He gave us a working mind, working bodies. We have a lot of power. The things we speak and think, they do something to us. And so yeah, I think it's really powerful to kind of stop being the victim and taking ownership of the power of our minds and getting the enemy out of there. He doesn't belong there. And taking that back for ourselves. So that's what I got out of what you said. And I loved it. So yeah, I just had to bring that up.

VALERIE: And it's crazy. It's empowering. I know I've already mentioned it once when we talk about not being a victim, that is empowering stuff. It is not to make us feel like we can't have a pity party. That's my whole book. We don't want to have a pity party. We think we do, but we don't. We want to live these full abundant lives.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. That translates to everything. Everything. Even just the other night I was having a conversation with a friend and we were both kind of just griping about “how good junk food is” and “it's so hard to make good choices.” I just snapped out of it and was like, “we have a choice.” We're so blessed. We have a choice with what we can eat. That’s a luxury that so many people don't even have. And really? We want to whine and complain about how junk food is so good and health food sucks. How it sucks to have stay thin. No. Let's choose abundant life here and fuel our bodies, love ourselves well and take care of our temples. Just switching that dialogue I think is so huge.

Like you said, the world is so noisy and it's negative noise, mostly. It's easy to get swept up in every area. Anxiety, prayer, motherhood, marriage, health, work, everything. It's just easy to get swept up in the negative.  

VALERIE: Yeah, and if we start exercising that muscle that “I can control this thought” it's going to get easier. We’re not going to be combating it every day like it's this huge thing. It’s just going to be easier.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. It's like a muscle that you flex and exercise and it gets stronger and easier. I love that. And that's hope, because in the beginning this can be hard to figure out how to navigate this. Having a spiritual relationship with the Lord in the middle of the chaos of motherhood, that’s not easy. I mean it can be later, but yeah, it's hard to start. It's hard to remember. There's so much going on. There’s so much pulling for our attention and I think if we can just remember, “this is the priority, though. This is where I need to live.”

I always say this and I just want to say it again, for anyone who hasn't heard me say it. When you're staying in the presence of God and you're spending time with Him every day, all day, He will remind you of things and help you focus on the right things.

There is so much pulling for your attention, so much on your to do this. And He will be your guide when you're just sitting with Him all day. You know, I've found that to be helpful. I'm more productive. I'm more energetic. I’m more loving and patient when I'm there.

And that's what really matters. Not getting everything done on my list.

Do you have anything else that you want to say about this? That I'm forgetting to ask you? That you're passionate about with this for these women?

VALERIE: I think we have to just keep reminding ourselves that prayer is actually productive. As silly as it sounds. I know my friend, Michelle Meyer says that a lot. We want to not feel like we always have to be productive but at the same time just know that prayer is really productive.

This month I do Powersheets and I'm pretty sure you know about them. Instead of the “five daily things;” I’ve not been doing well at those. So, instead of putting the actual things that I want to do, “pray about what I eat, pray about my sleep, don't hit snooze,” now it’s “pray about sleep.” And this month I'm seeing a huge difference.

I don't want to say I'm not actively doing anything but I'm starting with the prayer and that's going to change my actions. But it's also going to just change my heart because I'm giving it to God. I was thinking about this today, just remembering that once we pray about something, there is so much victory before we even know the answer because we know we have asked God for something that we want and if He has heard us and if He doesn't deliver, it's not because He's trying to keep things from us. It’s because He has something better.

That makes me want to pray about everything. I want to pray about every single thing so that I know this has all been covered in prayer. Whatever God does now is going to be His best plan, and not like I'm leaving things on the table of missing out on blessings that He could have because I didn't ask.

We have to know how to ask with a heart that's aligned with Him, and that is through knowing the Word. I just feel like that's something that if we could remember that as we're trying to muster up this desire to pray, I think that's helpful to know and will help motivate us.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. Okay. So, I'm going to link to everything in show notes that you mentioned. Your website and all that, but where can our listeners find more of you? Like what social media platform are you most active on?

VALIERE: I love Instagram. Val Woerner is my handle. Then we have our business, ValMarie paper. It's more focused on sharing hacks to use the journal and different tips that other people are doing. We blog. But if you go to our Instagram you'll find everything there.

And I wanted to ask you a question. So, what do you feel like is the thing that you pray for the most? And this is not like a big like personal, but just whether it's God's peace, God's blessing or something like that?

ALLIE: Yeah. That's a really good question. I can think of a handful of things but I’d say maybe the thing I pray for most is wisdom in responding to things. I feel like that's a really big part of my job and something that I've always felt like I'm too blunt. I feel like it's a gift but also kind of a curse sometimes. I can say what I think and what needs to be said, what needs to be heard, but I want to do it in love. In my marriage, to my kids. I have one daughter and she's just very sensitive. It’s not a natural thing for me to respond in a nice way. With the boys it's like “Ah, whatever, just go do this.” And with her it's like “I'm really hurt that you didn't say…” She just is so sensitive.

And in my job, the messages that I get can be unkind, or really heavy, and I don’t know what to say. So, just that wisdom, “Do I even need to respond to this? “If I do, how can I be your light in this?” It's hard and I often will send an apology and a corrective answer because I'm human. So, I think almost daily, like just wisdom and responding to different situations.

VALERIE: That's awesome. My mom was probably similar to you. I don't want to say she wasn't compassionate. But she was compared to the other parent's spectrum, we were like, “Why won't you let us stay home if we have a cough?” We have to be throwing up or bleeding to stay home.

But I so appreciate how our mom (I'm saying this for me and my twin sister) parented us. She turned out two amazing daughters and an amazing son. So, there's that.

ALLIE: It's just my personality and also having all the boys, they will walk all over me. It’s hard to translate and switch over to my daughter. It’s something that I think the Lord is just using to stretch me.

VALERIE: And stretch her too, so that's good.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. So, thank you so much. This was such a good interview. I'm so excited to share this! And thank you again for your time. I really appreciate it.

VALERIE: Of course! I'm so appreciative to be on!

ALLIE: Okay guys, we'll link to everything in show notes and I will talk to you guys next time.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 054: The Secret Thing I Do To Actually Reach My Goals

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If you have listened to my podcast or followed me for any amount of time you know that I love setting goals and I am really intentional about reaching my goals! When I sit down before New Years, I write out one word that I want to focus on for the next year and write my goals around that word, then I jump into the year working hard to achieve those goals. But - here is the big secret - I don’t forget about them throughout the year! I think it's really easy to abandon your goals and your intent for the New Year once it's not the New Year anymore. It’s easy to not think about it again until the next New Year comes around and everyone starts to get reflective again. We fall into this pattern of life really happening and goals are forgotten. The difference between people who actually reach goals and people who just set resolutions is how often they come back to their goals to check in on them and how often they reflect on what their intention and purpose was for the year. So, by revisiting your goals throughout the year, you are setting a pace for yourself to actually achieve your goals and be intentional with your focus for the year.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • The importance of setting intention and purpose to your goals.

  • How revisiting your New Year’s Goals throughout the year will help you achieve your goals and become an action taker.

  • Ways to make decisions throughout the year that help you focus on your intent and purpose for the year.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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I wan to help you refocus on your goals, which is why I created this FREE guide to checking in on your goals! It's really like journal prompts, thought prompts, and heart prompts that will help you reflect and ask yourself important questions.  I want you to take action on achieving your goals this year! It's so important. You're going to know who you are, where you're at, where you want to go, and exactly what steps you're going to take to get yourself there. That's really, really powerful!


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful! I want to talk to you today about something that I think is kind of unique. It's something that I do in my personal life. It’s actually something that I'm passionate about.

It’s coming back to what your goal, your word, or your intent was for the year you're currently living back in January when New Years was coming around and you were setting your goals, making resolutions. Coming back to that halfway through the year, and actually multiple times throughout the year, and checking in and asking yourself, where am I at? Am I living that out? Did I forget about it? What can I do to get back on track and get intentional with where I wanted to take myself this year? I think it's really, really important to do that.

This is the difference between people who actually reach goals and people who just set resolutions because they have “fresh start syndrome” and everyone else is doing it around New Years. But then they walk away, head back into their norm and they never really change anything or get anywhere that they want to go.

So, at the end of every year - and it's actually my favorite time of year, the week after Christmas - I think the world gets weird and antsy at that week. It's kind of a weird, no-man's land. It's not the holidays anymore, but it's also not the New Year yet. It's actually one of my favorite weeks of the year, if not my absolute favorite week of the year. I love the day after Christmas because my family and I keep it low key. We purge a bunch of stuff because the kids just got toys from relatives for Christmas so we let go of a bunch of old toys.

The kids are super willing to let go of things because they just got new stuff. I've talked about that before. That's the best day of the year to purge. (And side note, I always have a big sale on my course that day to help you purge.) But anyway, it's just a really great day to let go and prune back what's unnecessary. To make space for all the new stuff you got physically and also make space in your heart for the new coming year.

I love the last week of the year. I get very reflective and I look back at the year I am wrapping up. I look at the decisions that I made, the person that I became because every year brings you into a new season.

It brings you into a new piece of the person that you are. I would get my journal out and be very reflective. I get really prayerful. I look ahead at the coming year. I dig deep and find where do I want to go this next year? What were the problems with this year? What were the triumphs of this year? And I ask the Lord, “Where do you want to take me? “What do you want me to focus on this year?” And He always helps me come up with a word or an intent for the coming new year.

It's just my favorite time. It's a really sweet week for me. I always feel extra close to God and really centered and confident in who I am as a person and in where I'm going.

I love a good, fresh start as much as the next person. But I really like to get intentional with this time of year.

Instead of setting resolutions, I usually pick something that I want to focus on. And that was “enjoy.” I really had it on my heart that the Lord really wanted me to rest and relax after a year and a half of working my butt off, hustling hard to grow my business and make it what it is today. It was time to sit back and let myself be restored, quiet that hustle a little bit, and just enjoy what I had built. Enjoy my family more. Enjoy all the people that I hired. Enjoy the fact that I created jobs for people, for moms who can now stay home with their kids. Enjoy the fact that I'm homeschooling my kids. Just enjoy the life that I have been given.

And so, that was something that I set, and headed into 2018 focusing on.

I think it's really, really easy to abandon your goals and your intent for the New Year once it's not the New Year anymore. It’s easy to not think about it again until the next New Year comes around and everyone starts to get reflective again. You catch that bug and think, “Okay, what happened this year and what do I want to do next year?”

You fall into this pattern of life really happening to you, your year happening to you. Then after it's happened to you and all is said and done, you look back at it from a standpoint of a lack of control and you're like, “Okay, what do I want for this year?”

You have this grip of control over the coming year because it hasn't happened yet. Life is chaotic and crazy and life happens. Things out of your control take place.

And, of course, I totally get that. But I really want to live my life on purpose. I really want to live an intentional life of trust in the Lord, but also of not being a person who sits back and let things happen to her.

So, I like to come at my year with a sense of purpose and intent, not a control-freakness where I've got this tight grip on my life and I'm just like, “Oh my gosh, I have to make sure I have a say in every single thing that happens.” I'm actually really a mellow person, but I'm just intentional.

I don't want you to confuse intent with controlling.

Anyway, I'll do this multiple times throughout the year, but especially over the summer. It's the halfway point of the year and I get pretty reflective and prayerful again, a little bit extra and more intentional in the summer.

I'll circle back to what my intent was at the beginning of the year and ask myself, “Where am I? Is there anything that I'm doing that doesn't align with what I wanted? With what I know that God put on my heart, with what I know my focus was supposed to be for this year?”

Then I'll journal it out a little bit and pray through it for a week or two and be thinking and looking at my life extra closely. What's on my calendar? What's on my task list? What's in my Trello boards? What's going on in my life? Our homeschool? In my business? What's on my calendar? What am I spending my time on? Putting it under the microscope of my intent at the beginning of the year and asking myself, “Is this enjoying? Is this purposeful? Is this aligned with what I am supposed to be focusing on this year?”

Then I'll make decisions. Now, I'm going to give you some examples from recently as I've done this halfway through my year, but just know they are a little bit, I don't know, intense and it's not normally like this.

Usually there's just things like what I noticed that I really wanted to focus on, like cultivating more joy in my life. “I never hang out with my best friend and I miss our regular coffee dates. I'm going to text her and see if we can set up a regular coffee date again because I'm really not being intentional with my friendship with her, and that brings me a lot of joy and really fills my life with happiness and I want to do that.”

There'll be little things like that. But this year I actually had quite a few things that I felt like this isn't really serving me. It's not things that I really started up this year, but just things that were a normal part of my life, maybe from the year before, that I noticed, you know what, these are really sucking my energy, draining me and making me not able to live the intent that I had for this year and it's really on my heart to let these things go.

Usually there are things that will let other people down a little bit, or maybe make you afraid of what people will say or think. Or disappoint somebody. Or it may be even scary for you to let go of because they've been a part of your life for so long. Or you've attached your identity to these things.

For example, maybe you are really feeling led to homeschool, but you don't know anything about homeschooling. Your kids are in 5th and 3rd grade. They’re older and you have no idea how to do this. They've been in school their entire lives, and so making that decision can be terrifying honestly.

I think you're getting intentional. Again, you're circling back to what your intent was. Asking yourself, looking at your life and your calendar through this lens is really powerful.


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To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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So, getting back to more of a personal version of this example is my word for the year was “enjoy” and I started to look at what was on my calendar, my work list, what I've been spending my time on and one thing really popped out at me. That was The Purpose Society. So, The Purpose Society is a monthly membership community that I started last year in August. It was something that I'd wanted to do for a really long time. It actually took me a while to get it up. It took a lot of planning, a lot of time and energy, some money to start up. I really poured my heart into it.

I actually really enjoyed The Society. It's not something that I ever felt like, “Whoa! I really don't like this. I really want to cut it off.” But as I was reflecting, as I was praying, giving my life and my schedule over to the Lord in prayer and asking Him, “What is not aligning with “enjoying” this season of my life?”

Because as a believer, I really believe that God puts certain intents, and certain words, and goals on my heart at the beginning of the year because He knows what's going to come this year. He knows what's going to come next year. He knows what happened last year. He knows what my soul needs this year.

It's really important to stay with that intent and not abandon it because you forgot, because it's no longer a New Year. So, I know the word “enjoy” was imprinted on my heart so deeply. I know that that's what He gave me. I know that it's important for me to stay there.

So, The Purpose Society jumped out at me and I was just praying and journaling through it and I realized The Purpose Society is the lowest branch of income in the business. It really doesn't do much compared to the rest of my business. It is the most time and energy consuming branch of the business. I also noticed that I would pour things into The Purpose Society and then, in turn, would not be able to pour into the rest of my business. It was just really depleting me.

It also didn't seem like a really wise business decision either. I found myself just really pouring a lot of time into it, really feeling drained. I know that we're going to be adopting either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, depending on when things finalize. And I just felt like I really need to clear my plate. The Purpose Society really jumped out at me as something that would maybe need to be pruned.

So, after I prayed about it - I actually ended up praying about it for about a month - I really felt sure this is a decision that I need to make. I knew that I would be letting down about a thousand people. It was going to be hard. I don't like to disappoint people. I also have a hard time admitting failure or defeat. And for some reason, this felt like that to me even though it's not.

I really had a hard time saying that this is what I was going to do, that this was a problem for me and that it wasn't in line with my purpose and my intent, and it was really feeling like something that I needed to let go of.

It actually went really, really well. Super smooth. Everybody understood and everyone was so kind to me. It was really, really well received.

As soon as it was let go, (which was really recent, it was just last month) I felt it. I felt like “Yes, total peace. This was a good decision.” I had so much extra time every week. Over the course of each month now I have so much more time and I'm able to really enjoy every aspect of my business.

I have more time to enjoy my family. I have less on my to-do list. I set myself free and I got so much time back. It was a really good decision.

Another decision that I made through my mid-year reflection was to take June off of work completely. There were a couple of appointments I couldn't move, but starting June 5th, I took over three weeks, almost the entire month, off of June. That was hard for me to do because my work doesn't feel like work to me. I love what I do. I love who I serve. I love you guys. I love being involved with you. I love creating content. Coming up with episode ideas, writing blog posts. Coming up with video ideas with my husband. I love what I do, but I need a break every now and then.

I realized that I had been working pretty relentlessly for about 19, 20 months without a break at all and that's not good. That's not intentional. And so, I realized I really needed to make some time for some time off. I scheduled three weeks off of work completely and it was so soul-fulfilling for me. It was so good and I really needed it.

Another thing that I'll do when revisiting my goals for the year is simplifying what I'm aiming for for the year.

This is a really personal episode, so I hope it's not seeming narcissistic that I'm talking about myself, but that's all I can really pull from because I only know what my intent for the year was. I don't know what yours is. You can take what I'm saying and apply it to your own life, of course.

There were a lot of goals that I had for this year that I realized were great. They would be so productive. They would be so good. They would make my audience thrilled to have all these amazing new things from me. But, they wouldn’t really allow me to enjoy the year, enjoy my family and enjoy my business.

It would be more like last year - lots of hustle, lots of work, lots of breaking things out and going crazy, being really busy and really full. And so, I let go of some things that were hard for me to let go of.

There was a course that I wanted to create that I put away till next year. I could do it and I would enjoy it, but it wouldn't let me enjoy my family as much and it would really cram my schedule full. So, I let it go. There were a lot of things like that.

Revisit your goals for the year. The goals that you've created in the last 5, 6 or 7 months - do they reflect what your original intent was? What you knew in your heart you needed to focus on this year? Kind of revisiting that, pruning those. Letting go of things, even if they're good things, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're good for you right now.

Also taking a look at what's obligatory? Is there anything obligatory that's on your calendar all the time that you're doing on a regular basis that's just not serving you? It's not about being selfish and creating a life that’s so fun all the time. I believe we're here to serve other people. That's my entire business.

There’s a difference between serving other people and loving on them and being a good human being and just running yourself ragged doing things for other people. Constantly volunteering for things and signing up for things, ignoring your family because you're giving so much that you're just exhausted all the time.

Take a look at how you're spending your time and ask yourself, “Does this reflect the intent I had for this year? Is this where I want to be halfway through this year? Is this where I wanted to go?” Again, intentionally looking is the difference between people who actually reach goals and people who just set resolutions from “fresh start syndrome” and then walk away and head back into their normalcy.

I created something that will help you guys do this for yourselves because we are about halfway through the year still and you can totally do this. You can do this at any time.

Like I said, I do this several times a year, but at the very least once halfway through, usually I do it every quarter if I'm really being intentional and really on top of it. But you know, it just depends on what's going on that year and the season of life that I'm in.

But we're about halfway through the year right now and I created a worksheet. It's really like journal prompts, thought prompts, heart prompts, I guess, that will help you reflect and ask yourself important questions like, “What was my intent for this year in January? How have I kept with that? How have I strayed from it? What's going on in my life that doesn't reflect this goal? How can I get back to where I want to be?” All those types of things and it really helps you work through things.

There's space for you to type or write. You can do this on your computer or you can print it out and fill it out, pen and paper style. It's really helpful. I've been doing this for years and I know what questions you need to ask yourselves to get intentional in this way.

So you can download that in the show notes, which would be alliecasazza.com/shownotes/54. Go get that. It’s totally free. It's on there and it'll really help you because I want you to take action on this. It's so important. You're really going to see a difference in yourself. You're going to know who you are, where you're at, where you want to go, and exactly what steps you're going to take to get yourself there. That's really, really powerful!



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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 053: Defining & Creating Happiness with Gretchen Rubin

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How do you define happiness? What are ways that you find happiness? You don’t need to spend a lot of time, money or energy to find happiness. Not everyone can uproot their lives and travel the world - most of us have kids who need us at home! Simple changes to your daily habits, a deeper investment into the relationships in your life, or putting self care as a priority are all ways that you can boost your happiness daily. You just have to decide that you are going to find ways to be happier right in the middle of usual. Which is why I brought Gretchen Rubin on the show for this specific topic! Gretchen is a wife, mom of 2 daughters, co-host of The Happier Podcast, and a New York Time bestselling author. She uses her platform to help others find their happiness, create good habits, and cultivate a more inner calm. And I know she is going to help guide you to defining and creating happiness in your life!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Gretchen Discuss:

  • Ways you can find happiness - without a lot of time, without a lot of energy, without a lot of money - in the ordinary parts of your day.

  • How your habits impact your happiness and how you can use them as an engine to fuel your happiness.

  • The important connection between happiness and relationships because doing anything to deepens your relationships, is very likely to boost your happiness.

  • Finding happiness in self care and why you should not feel guilty for it.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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ALLIE: Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show. I am sitting here with Gretchen Rubin. Welcome, Gretchen! Thank you so much for being here. I'm excited to dive in with you.

If you don't know, Gretchen is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Happiness Project, which I have right here, and you've since started a podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin and it's amazing.

I am a podcast producer, but I don't listen to many of them. Yours is one of the two that I listen to on a regular basis. I love it. It's so important.

GRETCHEN: That's so nice to hear. I do it with my sister and we have so much fun doing it together.

ALLIE: Yeah, you guys are fun. Before we dive in, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

GRETCHEN: Sure. I live in New York City, but I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I'm married. I have two daughters, one who just went off to college this year. It was bittersweet. And then one who's in seventh grade, so she's still in middle school. We got a dog, which I talked about a lot on the podcast, us trying to decide whether or not to get a dog. Big spoiler alert. We did get a dog.

I've written several books about happiness, good habits and human nature, The Happiness Project, and Happier At Home, which is all about specifically how to be happier at home. And a book called Better Than Before, which is all about how to change your habits. That's something that a lot of people want to do in order to make themselves happier. I've written a book called The Four Tendencies, which is all about a personality framework that I discovered in the world about whether people are Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, or Rebels.

And then I have a book coming out in March called Outer Order, Inner Calm which is all about little fun ideas to get more outer order, if you are one of those people who feels like outer order gives you more inner calm.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. You're amazing. So many books. That's awesome.

Diving into The Happiness Project, I love how you say in your book, it might even be in the introduction, that you say that so many people have gone before you on this pursuit of happiness and that a lot of them, especially some of them were famed (I mean they're not called a happiness project, but that's what they are) involved a big uprooting of life, like Elizabeth Gilbert moved to, I think, three or four different countries. But you didn't really want to do that, first of all, and then also you admittedly couldn't just because your kids were probably much younger when you were doing this and your life, so you decided to find ways to become happier right in the middle of the usual, which I think is, is so powerful. And as a mom, I appreciate you doing that and writing a book on it because we can't all just move to Bali.

GRETCHEN: As I've gotten deeper and deeper into the study of happiness, one of the things that's really encouraging is that I think for just about everyone, there's a lot of low hanging fruit. There's a lot of stuff we can do - without a lot of time, without a lot of energy, without a lot of money - just as part of our ordinary day that can really significantly boost happiness.

And so, it's not like you have to have the emotional or the physical wherewithal to do something huge because a lot of times it's really the little things that can add up to make a very significant difference.

ALLIE: Yeah, and it's really empowering. It's exciting to read about stories like that, big, grand stories, but it can also be, discouraging is the wrong word, but just a little like, “Oh, well how can I get that?”

GRETCHEN: It is hard to see how to translate it in your own situation sometimes when what they're doing is so exotic, extreme and colorful, and you're like, “Yeah, but I've got carpool at 7:15 in the morning. I don't really see how I am going to fit that in.”

I remember a woman said to me, “I feel like a 10-day silent meditation retreat would make me really happy, but my husband isn’t sure that he wants to be left home with the five kids.” I can kind of see both perspectives there.

ALLIE: So for your year-long happiness project (you did 12 months) an area of your life was dedicated to each month. I feel like a lot of them as I was reading the book, kind of branched off into other areas a little bit. You covered a wide range of things in some of the months, but really you were giving attention to one area of your life for the full month, keeping yourself from getting distracted by the other things and giving that your focus. And so just curious, what was your favorite month?

GRETCHEN: Wow, that is a really good question. I mean, I loved the month of eternity because I love studying my spiritual master St Therese of Lisieux, so that was really wonderful and transcendent.

I would say most of the things that I talk about are really super concrete, you know, they're like the one-minute rule - anything you can do in less than a minute to do without delay. And so, it was sort of fun me to do something like study the life of St Therese. And by the way, I'm not even Catholic. I knew nothing about St Therese until I read her memoir and was like, “Oh my gosh, she's my spiritual master.”

I loved the month of energy, which was January, because I thought, “Well if I just had more energy, everything in my life would be easier.” Absolutely true. And I would say like as the years have gone by, I'm very, very focused on things that go to my energy because I just realize it's so much easier to do all the things that I know will make me happier if I feel like I have the energy. If you're just exhausted then you don't have the energy to do an arts and crafts project with your child or to plan a party or to go to your reunion. It just seems like too much trouble.

And then I love reading. I had a whole month that was really about just getting more reading into my day. I love that. I'm working on trying to make sure I have enough time to read.

Relationships. I had one for my family, one with my marriage to my husband. Those were really nice. They really paid off.

I think I would keep going until I hit all 12 because I really did love them all. It was a wonderful exercise. Everything made me happier.

ALLIE: The reading one was particularly inspiring. I love to read, but I have four kids and my oldest is nine, so they're all very little. They were all born within five years and it's crazy. I mean really it's an excuse because we can fit in what we want to fit in. I'm watching the office, I plowed through those.

GRETCHEN: Oh my gosh. Let's talk about the office. I can throw it down. I have seen the office so many times.

It’s interesting that you say that though, because then I went onto write a book about habits. And it was interesting to me (and encouraging to people like you and me who love to read) how many people had that as a habit that they really wanted to change. Many, many, many people want to read more. I actually did a one sheet (and it's on my website if anybody wants it) that's ideas for how you can get more reading done. I was very surprised. I didn't know that so many people like to read as much as they do, but a lot of people really do want to bring it back in.

But you're right, it's easy for it to get crowded out. So, I think there are tips that you can use. The easiest tip is don't read anything that you don't like. I used to feel like I had to finish a book if I started it and now I drop it at any point. Then you like what you’re reading more and you have more time to read the things you like. It really makes reading much better. But a lot of people have this feeling that you shouldn't stop. There’s no “book police.”  

ALLIE: I think chapters were always a big thing that held me back. “I have to finish this chapter. I can't read the whole chapter, so I just won't.” Reading a page or two is progress.

You've mentioned January was one of your favorite months and that is the one I really want to dive into. I think I read that chapter two or three times because it was right what I love to talk about. It really hit home as part of my personal story. Letting go of the clutter. That was the first thing you decided to tackle. I think for my story too, it all started out of desperation and not really knowing what to do. Just purging that physical clutter and then seeing how that carried over into every area of my life.

For our listeners, how do you think that taking on your physical, literal space first helped you in this happiness project?

GRETCHEN: Well, I mean you’ve seen the same thing. I think it's weird and kind of mystical, our feeling of connection to the objects around us, to our possessions. There's something about when you feel like your possessions are out of control, or you don't really know what you have, or things are out of place, don't fit, don't suit, you don't like them, or you don't even know what they are. “What is that chord? I have no idea.”

I remember I took a pair of pants out of my husband's closet. He's like, “I've never seen that pair of pants before in my life.” I'm like, “I don't know who snuck in here and put them in, but…” You feel out of order. You feel more self-possession when you feel in control of your possessions.

It’s just making space. When it's easier to hang up your coat. When you can shove a bureau drawer closed neatly. When food is put away nicely. You feel more composed. You feel calmer. You have less frustration. You know where to find your keys. You're not scrambling all the time.

I wrote about this in Happier At Home. There are certain places in our homes which feel like us. Your bedroom feels like you in a way. Making your bed makes you feel more like yourself. The kitchen has a special role; it's not some random arm chair. Your kitchen is special. Your desk is special. Your car is special to you, it reflects on you in some way.

And so, I think getting control of it, having it look good, having it feel like it's everything you need, use or love. Feeling that connection.

It's funny asking people about this, how often people will have places in their homes or even their apartments (because I live in New York City) that are untouched, that get neglected. For whatever reason it's like, “I don't know why we never really used that room. I don't know why that closet became this junk black hole that nobody ever goes in or out, like Willy Wonka’s factory.” Why is that?

Or  “Ooo, it’s scary under the kitchen sink. I don't want to go under there.” Deal with that stuff. You’ll feel so much more self-possessed.

ALLIE: Yeah. You talk a lot about taking something on. I think we avoid things a lot, like clutter. I see it every time I work with somebody. They’re avoiding it. They know that it's a problem. They don't like it. They're not happy at home, but they’re just avoiding it because it seems overwhelming.

And particularly in that chapter you talked about how it was funny how it seemed like this big thing and it really wasn't that big of a deal. So, for somebody that may be feeling like that – “I just avoid it; I have kids; it's so much to take that on” - what would you say to that kind of mindset?

GRETCHEN: Well, I think one of the things to remember is there's all kinds of different ways to approach this. You want to do it in a way that feels right for you. This is one of my objections to Marie Kondo. I found Marie Kondo very charming. I love the book. I got rid of a lot of stuff after reading the book. But she's so clear that there is one way and her way is the right way. I think for a lot of people if they just took everything out of a closet and put it on the floor, they'd freak out. It wouldn't make anything better, you know?

I think sometimes you do little things. A shelf, just do one shelf in a medicine cabinet if that's all you feel like you can do. Just do one shelf, just do one shelf in your kitchen.

And then there are things that you can do as you go that help keep clutter away. One that works really well is the one-minute rule. Anything you can do in less than a minute do without delay. Hang up a coat. Rip open a letter, scan it and toss it. Put the milk back in the refrigerator. Shut a drawer. All these little things add up. They get rid of the “scum” on the surface of life. It really makes it feel much more possible to do a bigger job because you're not so burdened down by these little jobs.

Another thing, a friend of mine told me to do this and I have been amazed at how effective it is, is always take one thing with you when you go from one room to another. You don't have to put something away. So, if I have my sweater, it's not like I'm taking my sweater all the way from the front door to my closet, but I'm just going to move it as far as I can naturally take it as part of wherever I'm moving in my apartment. The thing that's weird is how much faster it is to put things away because everything's gradually moving to its place. Then you don't have to set aside an afternoon because you've been doing it along the way. Now kids make it hard. Kids are like a whole other level of clutter, but those are some ways that you can keep clutter more under control as you go.

ALLIE: Actually, after reading your book for this interview, I thought about some of the things you say like, “Okay, yeah, that wouldn't work in our home because we have little kids, but I can branch off of that and I got inspired to problem-solve basically. And one thing that I did was I went and bought this really cute wicker basket for next to my stairs downstairs and it's pretty good. So now anytime anything is down stairs that goes upstairs, just goes in the basket and everybody lifts the basket upstairs and puts things away. It's the smallest tweak and it has changed the house and the way I feel.

GRETCHEN: Absolutely. Absolutely that just having things ready to be moved like that I think can be huge. And that's one of the things that's really fun is sometimes the smallest little tweak. For us, nobody would ever hang up their coat. And I was the worst of anybody. I hate hanging things up so there were coats everywhere and it just looks very messy. But then when we moved from one apartment to the next I got four hooks put in each closet door. So, we have hooks everywhere. It's huge because it turns out that people won't be bothered to hang up their coats, but they will put their coats on a hook, or if I put their coat on a hook, it just takes one second.

It's just this one little investment of time and a tiny bit of investment of money, ends up being having kind of a disproportionate benefit in terms of the overall way that our house looks.

Now that we have a dog, which we got a couple of years ago, I get up in the morning and take him for a walk and I've fallen into the habit every morning of tidying up. I used to tidy up before bed, but I'm so tired that I just want to go to bed. Now I tidy up in the morning and I put things away. I don't do any cleaning. It's a very relaxing, peaceful way to start the day for like 5-10 minutes. Everything is nicer for the rest of the day. I do it before I get his leash out. And it's this calming thing. It doesn't feel like a big deal. It's just a nice way to get everything back where it's supposed to be before the day begins.

ALLIE: I like how you realized that your season of life is kind of ebbing. You don't have to be so rigid.

GRETCHEN: I think you're putting your finger on something that's one of the challenges of parenthood, which is that the minute you get everything figured out, you lose a nap and then you're like, “Oh my gosh, how do I do it now that we have no naps?” Or you get everything figured out and then they go to kindergarten and have to be at school an hour earlier in the morning and everything has to readjust because “Oh my gosh, we've got to be up and out an hour earlier.”

And so, I think that's one of the challenges is if you like to have systems in place, it can be hard because as soon as you get a system in place, your child’s schedule changes and then everything else has to follow along. That's part of the fun of it, of course. But it can be a challenge if you're really in a groove and then it just doesn't work anymore.

ALLIE: This is segwaying into my next question for you, but this is why I love how you talk about habits. I think having habits instead of a rigid, time-based schedule is so helpful as a busy mom. “These are the things that I need to do, these are the habits that I have during the day, and then if it needs to shift by a couple of hours, that's fine. As long as this gets done, we'll all be functioning.” Instead of being like, “Okay, 1:00-2:00 p.m. I have to write and then fold the laundry or whatever.

_______________________________________________________________

When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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ALLIE: So, since you do talk a lot about habits, what is the connection there? What's the connection between habits and happiness?

GRETCHEN: Well, that's a great question. I wrote The Happiness Project and then I wrote Happier At Home and that's what got me into studying habits because I realized that when I would talk to people about their happiness challenges, what was it that they wanted to work on in order to be happier? A lot of times what they would point to is something having to do with a habit. They would say things like, “My house is always a mess and it's making me crazy.” Or “I can't exercise even though I know I feel better when I exercise.” Or “I want to eat more healthfully. I want to practice guitar. I want to read to my child every night in bed. I want to create this e-course to sell as my side hustle.” Whatever it is.

And I realized that for a lot of these challenges, habits really had the solution, you know? Because as you said, there's all this power in habits because when you have something as a habit, you don't have to use willpower. You don't have to make decisions, which is draining and difficult. Something just happens on autopilot. It's just gonna happen. You don't have to think about it; it just goes.

And so, I became very interested in understanding how can we use habits to make ourselves happier? It's clear that they can be used to make ourselves happier, but then that just gets you to the question of, “Okay, well then how do you change your habits?” That's a very big question. That's what I ended up writing a whole book about it because it turns out it really depends on the person.

What would work for you to change your habits might be very different from what would work for me to change my habits. So, I just sort of understand the whole landscape of it, but I think just about everyone agrees that if you use habits wisely, they can be a tremendous engine for happiness because they make it easier to do the things that make us happier.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. So, if somebody was listening (like I said, most of my listeners are mothers and are in that overwhelming season) what would you say is a good start to just bringing in a little bit of happy when you feel like there isn't a lot of time or quietness for you to even think and process through working on that? What's one small way to start bringing in a little more happiness into your day-to-day life?

GRETCHEN: Like in the moment or a long-term or both? So, if you need something quick, like a mood boost right now, I would say one great thing is to listen to your favorite upbeat music. That's one of the quickest, easiest ways to intervene in your mood. Or even doing 10 jumping jacks. This is one of my favorites. I’ll often say this to my daughters, if they're feeling blue, “Give me 10 jumping jacks,” because it shakes you up. It's kind of goofy. It gets your feet off the ground.

If you need something more long-term. I think the thing to think about is relationships. Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree that to be happy we need strong relationships. Not just buddies that we can talk about the office with, but people where we can confide, we feel like we belong, we have intimate, enduring bonds. So, anything that deepens your relationships or broadens your relationships, is very likely to boost your happiness.

A lot of times relationships take time, energy and money. So, go to your college reunion, go to see your friend’s new baby, plan a party, make a lunch date instead of eating lunch at your desk or just staying home. Make a plan to meet another family at the park. Even though you feel like, “Ugh, who wants to get into all the logistics of it?” If you do that, it's probably gonna make you happier.

Join or start a book group. It doesn’t have to be a book group; it could be a podcast group. It could be a book swapping group. If you don't have time to read, you could just swap books and talk about books.

There's all kinds of things that people do. A friend of mine wanted to start a book group for people who read People Magazine. She said, “I have a lot to say and I would always be prepared.” I'm like, “That's a great idea for a group. If people don't have time to read right now, like you say, pick something that everybody's excited to do, because what's important is that you're getting together and that you're having that consistency.

So that's one thing to think about. Take time to call your parents. Take time to stay in touch with old friends. If everybody's trying to get together in Boston for Columbus Day, really make an effort to get there. Strengthening relationships really is something that boosts our happiness in the short-term and also in the long-term.

ALLIE: Yeah. And I found it actually really surprising that you mentioned and other experts and philosophers have found the same, that friendship was the biggest contributor to happiness. I don't know, it just really surprised me. I have great friendships, but it feels like it’s a little bit on the back burner, I guess? Maybe it's just my season and that's okay.

But when I started to think about it, it’s true. Having coffee with a friend before the week starts. I mean it totally changes the way things go. It is so important to invest in those life-giving relationships on top of your marriage and your relationship with your kids. And so, I guess it's just maybe something that us moms in this young season are not really thinking about. It feels like a little bit of a back-burner issue.

GRETCHEN: But I think it's all relationships, not just your friends. But, I think you're right and I think it's good to realize that there are different seasons of life and that certain things aren't possible right now, but they might be possible later.

So, maybe right now you can't be in a book group, but you should be alert for when maybe you could. Things do become possible at different points and it's easy to miss the fact that, “Oh, wow, you know, now I could do this. I could get up and go for a walk every morning because my kids can get themselves up and dressed by themselves. It turns out I don't have to be here every moment.”

I think one thing is to think about is, “Well, what can't I do, but what can I do?”

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. So, one comment that I see over and over and over again in what I do is the topic of self-care and pursuing happiness in that way. This happened the other day. I felt that nagging feeling that you need to be alone. I'm an introvert. I need to be alone. And I hadn't been in a long time. All of these social things had happened. I homeschool my kids so they're always here. I avoided it for two weeks and I just kind of snapped, meltdown, not my best self. I was like, “You know what, I'm going to go.” I did a three-hour, just got out of the house and took care of myself. But I am just flooded with messages every time. “How do you do that without feeling guilty? I feel so self-centered doing that.” Please talk about that.

GRETCHEN: Okay. So, this goes directly to my most recent book, which was called The Four Tendencies, which divides people into Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels. And what it has to do with is how you respond to expectations. Outer expectations - like a work deadline - or inner expectations - like my own desire to keep a new year's resolution.

Most people can tell what they are just from this brief description, but there's a quiz on my site, Gretchenrubin.com, if people want to take the quiz, but most people don't need the quiz.

Upholders readily meet outer and inner expectations. They meet the work deadline, they meet the new year's resolution without much fuss.

Questioners question all expectations. They'll do something if they think it makes sense, so they're making everything an inner expectation. They tend to resist anything arbitrary, inefficient, unfair.

Obligers readily meet outer expectations, but they struggle to meet inner expectations. This was like a friend of mine who said, “I don't understand it. When I was in high school, I was on the track team and I never missed track practice. Why can't I go running now?” Well, when you had a team and a coach waiting for you, no problem, but when you're trying to go running on your own, it's a struggle.

And then Rebels. Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner. They want to do what they want to do in their own way, in their own time. If you ask or tell them to do something, they're very likely to resist.

So, I want to come back to Obliger. Obliger is the largest tendency for both men and women and whenever anybody's talking about self-care, whenever anybody's talking about not being able to put themselves first, whenever anybody's talking about other people's priorities, that is a huge flashing light saying that you're talking to an Obliger, which isn't surprising because that is the biggest tendency for both men and women.

So many, many, many people in the world are Obligers and here's the thing. I think it's the most important thing from my Four Tendencies framework of everything that anybody's really responded to. If an Obliger wants to meet an inner expectation but is struggling, which by definition they are. They are not having trouble meeting the work deadline. They are not having trouble showing up for Carpool. They are not having trouble responding to the friend's email, but they are not able to go to the Yoga class. They're not able to spend an hour reading on the sofa. They're not able to go get the massage even though they got a gift certificate. The solution, the one thing that works, the absolutely crucial but very easy to provide solution, is outer accountability.

To meet inner expectations, Obligers must have outer accountability. So, if you want to read, join a book group. If you want to exercise, take a class, workout with a trainer, workout with a friend who's annoyed if you don't show up. Think of your duty to be a role model for other people. Think about your future self. Well, Gretchen right now doesn't want to do it, but future Gretchen is going to be so disappointed. That's what can work for Obligers.

But what you were talking about is something called Obliger Rebellion. This is when Obligers meet, meet, meet expectations, then suddenly they snap and they say, “This I will not do and this is over. I'm finished. I've had it!” And sometimes it's small like, “I'm going to walk out of the house for three hours but I am going to leave you in like a safe way.” But sometimes it's huge and dramatic. It can be things like ending a 30-year friendship, getting a divorce, walking out the door and going to work for a competitor. Obligers who are in Obliger Rebellion, feel resentful, taken advantage of, unheard, like expectations have just become too burdensome.

It's meant to protect Obligers just the way it protected you. You needed that solitude. You were starved for silence. You had to get it. So Obliger Rebellion allowed you to feel like, “You know what? I'm out of here.” It gave you that energy. It exploded you out of your everyday life.

But it can also be very destructive because a lot of times Obligers don't feel in control of it. They will compare themselves to like a volcano erupting or a balloon bursting. It can often seem inexplicable to other people. People with other tendencies often don't understand this, and they'll say things like, “Well, I don't understand. If you didn't want to do it, what did you say you would do it?” Or like, “Well, I don't understand why you didn't say something about it six months ago. Why didn't you just say this is what you want? What’s the big deal?” And so, it can have reputational consequences.

Obligers themselves will often say that they feel like they're acting out of character. They don't understand why they're responding in the way they are and they're often very relieved to realize that there's a word for this - Obliger Rebellion.

It's a very, very common pattern. It has a good side and a bad side. It is definitely something, though, that should be paid close attention to. It's an important warning sign. It can be very helpful, but if it goes too far it can have negative consequences. People who are Obligers or are around Obligers want to watch out for that feeling of building resentment, building anger, building feeling like it's all too much, because once Obliger Rebellion starts (as far as I can see as I keep talking to Obligers about their experience of Obliger Rebellion) it seems like it just has to run its course. Once it starts, you can't shut it off. It just goes until it's done and it can go a long time. Sometimes it's short, sometimes it's long.

ALLIE: That is so interesting to me. And you just addressed like every mom. That's so important. And when you were talking I was getting, I don’t know, mad. Why isn't this more out there? Why isn't this more talked about? That's so important. It's so huge. Oh my gosh. That was really profound.  

GRETCHEN: The book, The Four Tendencies, is all about this because each of the tenancies has patterns that, once you know the pattern, you’re like, “This is so obvious. I know a million people who are exactly like this. I've seen this all the time. I just didn't know it was a thing.  Or this is just my private pathology. I didn't know other people felt like that.”

I'm married to a Questioner and one of the things that you see in Questioners often is that they don't like to answer questions. It's weird. Like my husband, if I said to my husband, “What are you making for dinner?” He'll say, “Food.” Not because he's a jerk, but then I found out this is a thing among his tendency. A lot of Questioners are like that and so now I don't take it as personally. I'm like, “He's not jerking my chain to annoy me because he thinks it's funny.” This is just a Questioner thing.

Once you know it's an Obliger thing, you're like, “Okay, well how do I, how do I get in front of this now? Because maybe I just want to understand what's happening to me better.”

ALLIE: It’s so, so powerful to understand yourself more fully and understand the people that you live with more fully. I love that.

I'll link to that book for you guys who are listening and I'm definitely going to pick that up. I think that could be really powerful too for raising your children.

GRETCHEN: Oh yeah. Well, and it's funny because I'll talk to people and in a second I'll be like, “Oh, I think I know what you're dealing with.” People will often say to me, “I don't understand it because my son is really smart and he does really well on the test, but then he refuses to do the homework.” And I'm like, “Oh, I bet he's a Questioner because Questioners are like, ‘Well, I'll learn for a test because that makes sense to me, but this is a waste of my time to write this dumb book report so I'm not going to do it.’” And then I'm like, “There's a solution for that, which is if you just explain to a Questioner, whether they're an adult or a child, why you're asking them to do it, you're going to get a much better result.”

I just talked to a guy two days ago where he's like, “Oh, I played soccer all through high school, but I played goalie and I had a coach who was like, ‘Everybody has to run sprints.’” He said, “It doesn't make sense for me to do this cardio sprint workout because I'm the goalie; I should have goalie-type workouts that are for my position.” And the coach was like, “I'm the coach and I say everybody does it.” And he's like, “You know what? That doesn't make sense to me; I quit.” I'm like, “That is totally a Questioner because it's like, “It doesn't make sense to me. I'm out of here.” But if the coach had said, “Oh, but let me tell you, I've been studying the methods of the Olympic teams and what they've shown is that your reflex time is totally a function of your cardio” Blah, blah, blah... then the kid would have been like, “Okay, cool. I just wanted to know there was a reason here.”

Or like a Rebel Child. You know Rebel children - they want to do what they want to do in their own way, in their own time. And I remember hearing from an Upholder mother who said, “How do I make my five-year-old rebel daughter realize that there's some things you just have to do? Like you have to wash your hands after you use the potty?” And I laughed and said, “You don't have to wash your hands after you use the potty. You absolutely do not have to do that.” And that little girl’s figured it out and you’ve got to make her want to do that for her own reasons. She’s got to choose to do that because you can't make a rebel do anything they don't want to do. But there's ways to deal with that very effectively, once you understand how they're approaching the world, which is very different.

Like as an Upholder, the Rebel type is like the opposite of mine. It's very hard for me to understand the rebel point of view. But now that I understand it, I see how there's so much power there. I've learned so much about everything from understanding how Rebels see the world because it's the opposite of the way I see the world. It's blown my mind wide open.

I think it really can help, especially when there's conflict. “Why are you behaving this way? Oh, well, maybe there's a very simple explanation.”

ALLIE: Yeah, and we get so caught up in our own minds, our own bubbles that we only see the world the way we see the world. I love getting outside of that box and opening up your worldview and your perspective to other people. It's mind-blowing every time.

Are you familiar with the enneagram? We aren't huge fans of the Myers Briggs. I feel like there's some things that didn't really fit us. And so, we did that one and it was so funny as a “2” to see why would you ever respond that way to that situation? I was clicking the answers while he was telling me what he would respond to the questions and I was like, “I can't click that. That's ridiculous.” It was so funny. You just get stuck in your own way.

GRETCHEN: I think that is so true and it's so hard to remember that other people just don't see things the way we do. You're kind of like the world is the world, the situation is the situation, but people just are profoundly different in how they see things.

For instance, a good example is Obligers need outer accountability in order to meet outer and inner expectations and so it's very helpful for them to have outer accountability and of course a lot of things in life kind of automatically give you outer accountability. But I remember talking to a Questioner mother and she said, “Oh, I realized that I've been giving my son bad advice.” She had a 20-something son who wanted to take the GRE, that’s the graduate exam that you take to go to graduate school. And he was kept saying to her, “Mom, I need to take a class to study for the GRE.” And she said, “Oh no, honey, if it's important to you to do well on the test, you can just buy the book and study on your own.”

No. See, he's an Obliger and he was saying to her, “Mom, I need outer accountability. I need to go to a class. I need to have a schedule. I need to have a professor. I need to have student study groups.” That's accountability. But she was giving him bad advice because she was giving him the advice that would work for a Questioner.

Like when I studied for the Bar, I just got a bunch of tapes and did them in my kitchen. I didn't need accountability and that's very useful to know. If you don't need accountability, it can save you a lot of time and energy because you can just do it on your own.

But when people say they need accountability, help them get it. A lot of times they don't realize they need it, but if they know they need it, get them the accountability because why not?

Or like Rebels often resist accountability. If they feel like you're looking over their shoulder, they won't do it. So, you've got to back off and not hold them accountable. That might make things worse if you're trying to hold them accountable. But, of course, if you're an Obliger parent with a Rebel child, your instincts could lead you into disaster because you keep trying to give them what you think they need and it's just exactly the opposite of what they need.

ALLIE: It makes so much sense why there is so much conflict and why you can live with a person and be married to a person for decades and still have disagreements and confusion about why would you do that? Or why after 20 years, why are you still this way? That was so helpful. I definitely want to just end there. That was so, so amazing.

Thank you so much! Okay, so we're going to link to all your books and your podcast of course, but is there anything that you want to say if people want to connect with you? Is there a social media platform you favor or anything?

GRETCHEN: I'm all over the place. Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook. I have a weekly Ask Gretchen Rubin Live on Facebook. That's a ton of fun.

I'm everywhere as Gretchen Rubin and I love to connect with people, with their questions, their insights, their observations, their illustrations, so get in touch. I'd love to hear from people.

Again, if you want to take the quiz to find out what your tendency is. It's on my site, Gretchen Rubin.com. I think 1.3-1.4 million people now have taken this quiz. It's really very short. It's free. It's fun and I do think people are finding it helpful because like you say, when you know how to manage yourself, then you can make your life happier, healthier, more productive, more creative because you know how to do it in a way that's right for you. And when you're trying to help other people be happier, you can do it in a way that's right for them. If you're a “2” and you're dealing with a “7”, you gotta take that into account.

ALLIE: Absolutely. I love that. We'll link to that quiz for you guys too. Thank you so much for being here. This was great. Thank you. It was so much fun to talk to you.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 050: How Minimalism Can Steal Your Joy

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I've spent the last six years uncovering something that changed my whole life. And when I first started, I didn't know what it was called or even that it was an actual thing. I was just a desperate girl trying to find a way out of survival mode because I believed in my heart that I was created for more. And that thing, of course, is minimalism. The philosophy of less that comes with minimalism took me from overwhelmed, depressed and fighting, and barely getting by to loving motherhood, thriving in my role and being the mom that I always wanted to be.

For me, minimalism is about simplifying what I have in my home so that have the time and joy to focus on my family, offering my kids and my husband the best of me, not what's left over after I pick up, wash a thousand dishes, fold six hours’ worth of laundry and reorganize all the toys again. Minimalism is all about where my focus is. Not how many items I have, not how many pairs of jeans I have, not how minimalist I appear. I don't want to deprive myself of things for the sake of “being a minimalist.” There are things that bring me joy, make me happy, and fill my life. It's more time in my day, more time for what matters, more time for pursuing what lights me up and makes me feel alive.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • What minimalism means to her and how she finds joy in having more of what makes her truly happy.

  • When you focus on asking yourself purpose-driven questions about what you own rather than counting your items and following what someone else says that you're supposed to be doing, you create a philosophy of minimalism that works for you. And minimalism for you will look different than minimalism for anyone else.

  • How minimalism is less on your to do list and more checks on your bucket list.

  • What takes up your space takes up your time. So focusing on the intent behind the stuff in your life will help you fill your time with things that bring you joy instead of make you feel overwhelmed.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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DO YOU FEEL LIKE...

You're stuck in survival mode? The mundane parts of motherhood have taken over? Every time you get something clean someone is making a mess behind you? You’ve tried to get organized a thousand times, but it always comes undone within a few days?

If you're screaming "YES!" at an awkwardly loud decibel while staring at the screen, I totally get it girl. And I have something for you. 

YOU'RE ABOUT TO DISCOVER WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING YOUR ENTIRE #MOMLIFE FOR...


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey sweet friends! Welcome to the show! Today we're going to talk about rules-based minimalism or this sort of “legalistic minimalism,” as I like to call it. This can be a controversial subject.

There are a lot of prominent teachers in the minimalism niche that have popped up over the last few years and many of them would strongly disagree with me on this. I know that because I have received emails. I won't name names because to each their own, but in this way, I think a lot of people disagree and that's okay.

But you know, I'm a mom. I've got four kids. I live a very simple life. I love my home. I love decor. I don't want to live in a cold, stark place that’s not very welcoming and doesn't make me feel filled with joy when I walk into it.

I don't want to deprive myself of things for the sake of “being a minimalist,” things that bring me joy, make me happy, and fill my life. I don't. I just don't want to live that way.

And so, I really want to address this idea of making decisions based on the fact of, “Oh, because I'm a minimalist or I want to be a minimalist…” I want to start out by saying that I've spent the better part of the last, oh my gosh, almost six years, uncovering something that changed my whole life. And when I first started, I didn't know what it was called or even that it was called anything. Even that, it was an actual thing. I was just a desperate girl trying to find a way out of survival mode because I believed in my heart that I was created for more.

And that thing, of course if you know my story at all, is minimalism. And that philosophy of less that comes with minimalism took me from overwhelmed, depressed and fighting, and barely getting by to loving my motherhood, thriving in my role and being the mom that I always wanted to be. I am not perfect, of course not, but so much closer to what I imagined I'd be when I was a girl and I imagined having a family.

For me, minimalism is about simplifying what I have in my home so that I'm a person who has the time and joy to focus on my family, offering my kids and my husband the best of me, not what's left over of me after I pick up, wash a thousand dishes, fold six hours’ worth of laundry and reorganize all the toys again.

The point of minimalism, for me, is where my focus is. Not how many items I have, not how many pairs of jeans I have, not how minimalist I appear.

It's taking power and control back of my time and how I spend my days. It's not about how many objects I have. It's more time in my day, more time for what matters. More time for pursuing what lights me up and makes me feel alive.

You guys, I started this blog before my minimalist journey, but it sat there half dead and getting nowhere. I am a writer at heart. I wanted to have a blog. I wanted to do something, and I didn’t know what. This whole business, this whole everything that I have, was born because I created more time in my life for my purpose and I would have missed it if I hadn't done this. It's so important.

Minimalism is more space in your home, more space in your calendar, more space to breathe and rest and enjoy things and live.

It's less yelling. It's less stress. It's less fighting with your family to just clean up please. Everyone gets that, right? It's less of that. It's less organizing and developing routine because you don't need to rearrange your junk. You need to let it go. It's less crap in your way. Less on your to do list and more checks on your bucket list.

Man, I'm telling you, it's where it's at. It's huge. It's life-changing. Minimalism is more money in your bank account because you're spending mindfully. It's being the mom you always wanted to be but have struggled so hard to find. The mom who isn't stretched incredibly thin every dang day, just trying to get to bedtime. The mom who doesn't resort to yelling because she's not that stressed out anymore.

Think about that. It's amazing. It's such a gift.

As I've gotten to the heart of this idea for myself of minimalism, you know, I've been spreading the secret of less to my fellow women as much as I can and that is what got me up to where I am today.

My message has reached people in Russia, China, Australia, Canada, and honestly, parts of the world I didn't even know existed. It's gotten me on television more than a handful of times. It's landed me on the phone with Jenny McCarthy. It's had my experience spread all over major websites for years. It's been incredibly unexpected and amazing. I love seeing other used-to-be-overwhelmed moms breaking these chains and messaging me that they found a new, purposeful way to do this “mom thing.” They're so happy and grateful.

However, having said all of that and laying the groundwork for you, one thing breaks my heart every time I see it. And it's an almost daily thing. These women missing the point, obsessing over the details and the numbers of the things in their home and continuing to give the power to their stuff, just in a different way.

So, like I said before, a lot of minimalist influencers will encourage this. I think they mean well and they have their hearts are in the right place. I'm not saying there's anything necessarily wrong with it, but you will never find this from me.

If this goes well with you and you want to count your things, and that's the philosophy you want – go. This is definitely not the place for you. I think these people are meaning well, but they're inspiring others by counting how many of each “thing” they own and focusing on the numbers and the things.

There are no minimalists’ rules. There's really no right way to do this and if anyone claims that, I think they've missed the point. I think we'd all agree that the point of living this way is the power.

By removing the excess from your home, you are now in charge of your space. Of how much time you spend on mundane things, of how you spend your days and like my favorite quote by Annie Dillard, she says, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

So, shouldn't we be intentional about this? If you're focusing on counting, you've missed the point because your things are still in charge of you. In this case of minimalism, it's still all about the stuff. You're just transferring the way it's in charge of you.

Sure, some people do really well with numbers and they just want a little guidance with what works and that's fine. But there's a big difference between guidelines and obsession. And I think there are people who pride themselves on living with very, very little. I've seen articles floating around about “this guy who lives with less than 20 things.” Okay, well he's homeless and he looks like he wants to kill himself, so, I'm going to go ahead and let go of how many jeans I have and just focus on living an intentional life with my kids. What's the point of that? To me, there's very little purpose there. It's all a big show. It's kind of irritating and it's also kind of unrealistic if you're a parent.

I've shared before that I love anytime the message of minimalism is getting out there. I love it. I love that this has spread like wildfire, become a trend lately. It's awesome. But most of the minimalist leaders are not even married, and those who are, are not parents, or they're dudes. They don't have the mom thing. They don't get it.

I'm happy when anyone frees themselves from consumerism. It's a real problem. I struggled with it for sure like anyone else does, but I can't help but wonder why these other people seem to feel the need to wear minimalism and the amount of items they have in their home like a badge. They show their stark empty houses with their plain, white walls that lack personality and they wear them like a badge, like pointing a big, red arrow to the number of things they own. I can't help but feel like maybe they've missed out on the freedom aspect, and instead you've chained yourself to things with a fresh pair of handcuffs.

You started out with the handcuffs over here to the left and you’re chained to your stuff because you have way too much of it. It's taking up all your space. It’s taking up all your time. It’s stealing your life from you. It's stealing opportunities from you. It's stealing your joy.

Then you find minimalism and you're feeling really good and inspired, but you get a little bit obsessive and you go all the way in and now you're obsessing over, “I really want these black jeans with holes in the knees and this tear right here. They're super trendy and I love them. Oh my gosh, they're so flattering. I have the money to pay for them, but I already have a pair of black jeans. I'm a minimalist and, oh my gosh, I can't. Nope. I'm not going to do it because I don't really need these.” And you leave the store and you can’t stop thinking about those dang jeans and how good they make your butt look.

You missed out on joy! Don't do that. The handcuffs are now on you still. They’re just over here to the right side because your stuff has you chained in a fresh way. This isn't a Spartan race where the most hardcore wins. It's not about comparison or being the most minimal.

It's about getting back what was stolen from us by our own selves by a culture of consuming. It's about more time, more joy, more living, more mothering, more present living, less yelling, less being stretched thin over your life, like Saran wrap over leftovers, where one little pull too hard or poke too heavy and it just falls apart. Your life falls apart. It's about creating white space in your life.

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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So, what do you do then? This is why I love teaching the art of simple in the way that I teach it, and that is by focusing on the intent. What's the why behind each item? What is it doing for you? Who cares how many you have? It's irrelevant. Why do you have it? Do you love it or need it enough to continue allowing it to take up your space and time? Because the fact is what takes up your space takes up your time. Remember, you buy everything twice. Once with your dolares, your dollars, your money. Then again with your minutes, so that's a fact. Are you okay with that?

I always use this example, but I'm going to use it again because it's amazing. I have a friend, her name is Jen (HERE is her episode). She was my first guest here on The Purpose Show and she's amazing. She does tiny house living and she was moving into her first tiny home that she had named Caroline.

It was a little house on wheels, super cute. She was getting rid of everything. Then she came across the collection of shot glasses that she had collected with her father who had since passed away. So, she's lost her father. She moving into a tiny house. She's letting go of things left and right. She's at the point where she has to really, really, really be intentional about the amount of things that she could have because she only has so much space. (Side note, you only have so much space, so if you have a very little amount of space, of course are going to have less stuff than somebody else. That's good. That's good. Let it motivate you.)

So, Jen's in this situation and she comes to this question of shot glasses. They’re really not necessary. She doesn't need a collection of shot glasses. Where is she going to put it? But you know what? Jen kept that collection of shot glasses because it brought her incredible joy. It was deeply special to her. She toted that thing around all of her tiny houses that she's lived in and she still has it. That's amazing.

It's about what is it worth to you? Every single thing is taking up your space and your time. So, is that worth it to you?

I've shared before about my love of clothing and I lived for about two years with a full-on capsule wardrobe and it was helpful. It definitely reduced decision fatigue, but it kind of left me a little lackluster, because I'm a girl who loves clothes. Fashion has always been my thing. I love putting outfits together. I love having a minimal simplistic style, but I also love having options. I love going into my closet and having all these options and piecing together an amazing outfit.

I don't have a giant closet overflowing with stuff. Everything that I wear gets worn on a very regular basis and I love all of it. It fits me. It's not stained or damaged and I wear it all the time. It’s not like I have a ton of things because if I had a ton of things that wouldn't be true of my wardrobe but it's definitely not a capsule wardrobe and I love it (HERE is that episode).

It's okay if it means a little bit more laundry. It’s okay if it means a little bit more space and time taken up. It’s okay if it’s a little bit more maintenance because that's worth it to me. I feel really unhappy with a capsule wardrobe.

You have to decide what's worth it to you. It's going to look different for you than it does for me. I think it's also important to ask yourself, “Could you live the next 30 days without buying it again?” If so, do you really need it? That's how you decide if something is a need.

When you focus on asking yourself purpose-driven questions about what you own rather than counting and following what someone else says that you're supposed to be doing, you create a philosophy of minimalism that works for you. It'll actually last that way because if it's not making you happy, it's not going to last. If it's not really working for you, it's not going to last.

There are some things that I have chosen to be super minimal with and I'm never going back. Like my kids' toys. We have the one toy bin and we keep our Legos separate in a separate little organizer. My kids have one toy bin and it works great. All the toys fit in there. We've never had more than that. When it starts to get overflowing, we reevaluate what's in there. We get rid of stuff. We have a one-in/one-out policy and it works great. We've had one bin of toys for all four of my kids for five years and it's been great.

I'm super minimal with my kids' toys because I want my kids to have the gift of imagination. I want them to play together and they do. We don't need anything else. That might not be the same for you. This works for me. There's areas of my life where I am so incredibly minimalistic and other areas where I'm like, “Well, this is worth it for me.” I want a little bit more (like my clothes.)

I know that I only need to clean up for about 30 minutes a day to maintain a house that’s clean, beautiful and ready for company to drop by. I know that my day is mine to live - sitting on the floor building Legos, homeschooling my kids, running a business that I love, and snuggled up with my husband watching Netflix  - without the stress of how much housework I will have to catch up on tomorrow.

That is minimalism. That's what it's given me. I've found my “sweet spot” and you will too. I know that I have the things that make me happy and the things that I need to live life well, but nothing else. I want for nothing. I count nothing. I obsess over nothing. Stuff has absolutely zero hold on me and I want that for you too. I don't want you to be bound by the stress of how much is too much or what number of jeans is the magic one that will make you a real minimalist.

I want you to make your own way and do what sets you free. I want you to have less. I want you to have enough less that you notice a bunch of fresh time on your hands. I want you to be free in that way too. I want you to simplify all the way and then see how you feel. If you want even more free time then go again, move through your house and another wave of less in purging.

Find your own magic number and don't you dare count to know what it is and measure it up to somebody standards.

Let go of the stuff and the need to follow the rules because life is waiting to be lived, right? And I want you to take the power from your stuff and put it back in your own hands where it belongs. Don't just transfer the handcuffs from one side to the other.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 047: How To Make Birthdays Special Without The Huge Party

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We celebrate birthdays big time in our house! But most of the time it is in nontraditional ways. We make birthdays special without having a big party. And there's something sweet, intimate and special about doing it that way. We can get into this mindset of “if you're not having a big party then you didn't really celebrate” and that's just not true. You can totally make birthdays special without the big party! There's nothing against having parties, just keep it simple so that you enjoy it. It’s a big day. It's the celebration of the day you became a mom, either for the first time or the fifth time. It’s the celebration of a new life and it matters. We don’t need to perform or impress, we need to celebrate!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How celebrating birthdays in simpler, nontraditional ways are just as special.

  • Ways to simplify parties so they are less stressful for everyone (especially you!)

  • What it means to have a no gifts birthday party.

  • The significance your child's birthday has on you as their mom.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes?  Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s? Do you want to really get you started on minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

In the Supermom Vault,  you will receive replays of my very best online workshops (not available anywhere else), tons of actionable PDF's, downloadable with one click, more than 20 audio & video trainings, and professionally-designed printables for your home to keep you focused & inspired! 

 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


I_ve_got_you_2.png

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful! Today we're going to talk about how you can make birthdays special for your kids without the huge party.

This episode is coming out of questions that I get, like every other episode, but I also just recently had a birthday party for my son. We had gone a while without really doing a birthday party and it was nice; I enjoyed it for sure.

I also think there's something to be said about birthdays without the huge party. There's something sweet, intimate and special about it. I think we can get into this mindset of “if you're not having a big party then you didn't really celebrate” and that's just not true.

I really love birthdays. We celebrate them big time in our house, but a lot of the time it's in nontraditional ways. It might not look super big on the outside, but it's really special to us and to our family, whether we are having a big party or we're not.

I wanted to talk about some ways that we've made birthdays special without having a big party.

First of all, do something that your child really wants to do, or go somewhere that they really want to go. This can be something big like Disneyland, Legoland, the zoo, or whatever. A theme park you live around. It could be something as simple as going to the movies. Or going to their favorite park for the whole day and bringing a picnic lunch and cupcakes and just having a fun day. Kids remember those types of things.

Number two is to create simple traditions like waking up to balloons all over their bedroom floor, streamers hanging from their door, or birthday cake pancakes the morning of their birthday. Something like that.

By the way, we've done all three of those things and they're all super special. We switch between different things for different kids, but the most popular thing in our house is balloons and streamers when they wake up. They love it. It's super exciting. The door is closed the morning of their birthday and when they open it streamers are stuck to the wall above their door. It's like a streamer curtain. There are balloons in the hallway leading down the stairs and we're all there ready to wish them Happy Birthday in the morning. It's just super sweet. It's those little things that make kids feel really special.

Number three is to have some really nice focused family time. Maybe dinner out or dinner in where you make their favorite meal, get their favorite takeout, go to their favorite restaurant. Have a family game night, play their favorite video game all together. Let them teach you how to play. Play board games or watch a movie at home together. Bake a cake. Just hang out and have family time.

It can feel like you're not doing enough and that's just ridiculous. It doesn't have to feel like that. Birthdays can be so special if they're super simple. It doesn't have to be blown out of proportion.

Number four is to celebrate with just close family members. This is simplifying it for you in a way that it's like you're not hosting the big party and dealing with all the people. And I know it can get complicated. If I invite this person, then I have to invite this person, and that leads to this person – it starts feeling really out of control.

And sometimes for a child's birthday, you want to celebrate them. You want to love on them. But honestly, it can come at a really bad time. I've had birthdays come when I was having a miscarriage. When we were moving. When we found out some really difficult news about Brian's job. It was just a really hard time.

It's okay. It's not selfish for you to adjust and act accordingly to the season that you're in, where you're at in life right now. If you need to keep it to close family members, ask everyone to come over, order pizza and just hang out. Have a cake and some ice cream and sing to your kid for their birthday. Let it be a nice family night.  

Number five is have the party. Just keep it simple. Let go of these Pinterest-perfect, super, super themed parties that are inconvenient and draining for everyone involved.

I had a birthday party for Leland’s first birthday. Leland's my second born. So, this was like six years ago, seven years ago. It was superhero-themed.

I was a totally different mom back then. I went crazy, way above and beyond. I built a cardboard city. I had cut out strips of comic books to make a banner - actually out of comic books - we decorated it like crazy. We went way outside of our budget and really financially hurt ourselves that month.

And I was a mess. I was a psycho, you guys. I was in such a bad mood. I was yelling the whole morning of the party. A couple of close friends come over to help me set up. I was on the verge of tears. I was snapping at everybody. I was just not myself. And that's what I remember about my son's first birthday party. It really wasn’t fun.

He doesn't even remember it, thankfully. It really sucked. It wasn't fun.

I don't know if you guys can relate to that story, but I never wanted to repeat that again. That was actually right before my minimalism story kind of started. So, I decided, “You know what? I think simple is better for everyone.” And so, I started to keep things simple.
_______________________________________________________________

Hey friend! It’s Allie! Have you heard of the Supermom Vault yet?

The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration I created for you. It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired.

The Supermom Vault is only $39.00 and is available at alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

Check it out! It’s a really good simple start.

Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes? Want more details? Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s?  Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

This is definitely the place to go!

Check it out! Alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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We just had Hudson's birthday party and it was great. It was super simple. He wanted a theme.

And on that note, while we're talking about this, we have been out of doing birthday parties for a while. We haven't had an actual big birthday party in a few years. It's been a really nice break. We were traveling. We had lived out of state for a little bit. We weren't really around friends and family. We took a nice break from the traditional birthday parties and this is how we came to have all these different ways to make birthdays special without parties. It was just a really nice break.

But this year Hudson just said, “You know, mom, I really want a party. Is it okay if I have a party?”

And I said, “Of course, what do you want to do?” He wanted to have a Ninjago-themed party. For those of you who don't know, Ninjago is a Lego thing. It’s a movie and a show. It's these little Ninja guys. The boys (Bella too) just really love it.

And so, he really wanted to have a Ninjago-themed birthday party and I said, “Sure.”

And it was actually really fun. We ended up doing a “no gifts” birthday party. I haven't done that since Hudson turned one. There's a blog post about that. I'll link to it if you want to read about how to do that the right way without seeming like a jerk. Why you would or wouldn't want to do it. Why we never really do it; we did it this one time and haven't done it in five years.

It was just really simple, really good and wholesome. He had a really great time. He knew about the “no gifts” thing and had just wanted one or two things. My mom got him one thing and I got him the other thing. It was really great.

We did do a themed party. I ordered a couple of themed decorations from Amazon ahead of time. They came in the mail and were hanging out in the closet way before his party, which is really not stressful for me. We ordered a simple-colored, themed cake at Target and put a couple little Lego Ninja guys on the cake to decorate it. It was super simple.

We hung lights in the backyard and had some balloons. The kids jumped on the trampoline, played games and ran around while the adults hung out and talked. It was a really good time for everybody.

I think if you stop thinking about it as a “birthday party” and feeling the need to provide all of this entertainment, candy, gift bags for the end of it, piñata, and amazing Pinterest-worthy cupcake tower and all of that performance anxiety that comes with it (just let it go), and think of it more like hosting a barbecue in celebration of your child being born, it kind of shifts your perspective.  That's what we do now.

So, we grilled, had food, drinks and punch. We didn't really have anything “themed” in terms of games and stuff. We just let the kids play. They were allowed to show their friends the Nintendo Switch and they played video games for a little bit. They played outside a ton on the trampoline. They ran around upstairs. They built Legos at the table together. We had cake and food and everyone just played.

The kids were creative and played together and the adults talked and hung out in the backyard. It was just so fun. It was just like having a summer barbecue. It was really wholesome and good.

I think sometimes if we step outside of the “birthday party performance anxiety mom mentality” and just let ourselves plan a good time, it's different and it's better.

There's nothing against having parties, but just keep it simple so that you enjoy it.

It’s a big day. It's the celebration of the day you became a mom, either for the first time or the fifth time. It’s the celebration of a new life and it matters. It's big. Somebody new was born into this world. A World Changer was born and we're celebrating that. We’re not performing or impressing and I think that's the key.
_______________________________________________________________

This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 042: The Importance of An Evening Routine

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What you do in the evening definitely affects how your morning goes. I'm telling you, it's not about you personality type. It's about setting yourself up for success, for joy. It’s about giving yourself the gift of a good solid start to the day, so you can handle what the rest of the day throws at you. So why wouldn't you want to set yourself up for success, right?

It's really important to make all your routines work for you and your life. What works for someone else may not work for you. I hope that through hearing what my (very flexible) evening routine looks like, you find what works for you!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How an evening routine will help ease your morning routine.

  • The importance of making your routine work for you and your life. Don’t feel pressured to copy what works for someone else, because it may not work for you!

  • What a general evening routine looks like in the Casazza house.

  • Simple decisions you can make during your evening routine that will help relieve stress for the next day (What to wear, how to do your hair, when to work out, etc.)

  • How to create your own evening routine.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 

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WANT TO SET YOUR MORNING UP FOR SUCCESS?

What you do in the evening definitely affects how your morning goes. I'm telling you, it's not about you personality type. It's about setting yourself up for success, for joy. I created a FREE guide to help you figure out what you can get done during your evening routine so you can make the next day easier! And you know I am all about making my days easier! 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


I_ve_got_you_2.png

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

_______________________________________________________________

Hey, beautiful! I am going to be talking about having an evening routine in this episode.

I personally think that the morning routine has the most impact. I guess I feel like it's the most important thing when it comes to your routines, because no matter what happens at night, you can always start over tomorrow. Also, for the current place I am in my life, a lot of the time evenings just don't go exactly as planned, and a lot of the time it’s because I'm exhausted. There was a lot going on. I'm running a company and homeschooling. I find that mornings are more in my control.

I've heard some people say the opposite and I used to feel the opposite, so I really think it's just about where you're at in your life. But what you do in the evening definitely affects how your morning goes. So why wouldn't you want to set yourself up for success, right?

It's not that I don't have an evening routine or anything; it's just that I'm really, really big and really rigid with my morning routine. My evening routine is becoming more rigid, but it's definitely something that will ebb and flow a little bit more than a morning routine.

But I've been asked about what our evening routine looks like a lot of times. We do have one, so I'm definitely going to open up and share what that will look like with you today. And then also I am going to get into a little bit at the end of what you can do to create your own evening routine.

This is one of those things where, depending on what type of learner you are, it really helps to look at this on paper and write it out for yourself. I put together a free download for you. You can fill it out on your computer or print it out, depending on your preference. It has a checklist of what an evening routine can do for you and also has some space with prompts to help you brainstorm out loud with yourself what your routine should be. Because everybody's life is different.

And that's the other thing I wanted to say before diving in. I think it's really important to make all your routines work for you and your life. You have a different schedule than I do. You have different things on your plate than I do. You're in a different season of life than I am most likely. But I think it can help to see what someone else is doing and then to copy some things and gain inspiration from other things. I always liked to learn this way, by hearing what someone else does, because it gets the wheels turning for me and helps me find a place, a jumping off point, of what to do for my own self.

Let's dive in. I am going to share what our families’ typical evening routine looks like.

Our evening routine starts after dinner. After we eat dinner - whether we got takeout, cooked a big meal from scratch, or we just ate leftovers, whatever it looks like - after we eat dinner, we start with meal cleanup and the evening routine keeps unfolding from there.

One thing that's important to note is that everybody in our family helps. When our kids were very, very small babies and really, really little toddlers it wasn't this way, but we also didn't really have a super rigid evening routine at that point. It was like survival mode. Now that we have a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old, a six-year-old and a three-year-old, things are different.

Our evening routine starts with cleanup. Everybody pitches in. Even Emmett, the youngest, helps pick things up. (For those of you with really little ones, it gets better and you're not always going to be the one doing everything.). So, like I said, we start with our meal cleanup - dishes (dishes are the kids’ job, I don’t do that anymore, which is amazing) or utensils or throwing away packages if we got takeout that night - whatever it is.

And then general pickup, wiping things down, going through the house and doing a general cleanup. I've shared before that we have a few different times in a day where we do a once-over of the house a 5/10-minute clean sweep because we're a home all the time.

Brian and I work from home and run the business from home. We have a home office. We even work out at home; we've got a gym in the garage. We homeschool the four kids. We're home all the time and there's a lot happening in our house.

For those of you who don't work at home, or homeschool, you don't realize how much mess and life is happening outside of your home when are doing the typical job and school thing. When everything is happening at home, it makes for a lot more mess, so we definitely have normal times of picking up throughout the day. I like to center those around meals, so pretty much every time we eat a meal or the kids will get a snack around 10:30 in the morning. Anytime there's food involved, we'll say, “Hey, I’m setting a timer for five minutes. Everybody pick up what you see,” and everyone picks up.

But at night it's a big, “Okay, let's get the house cleaned up for the next day.” It's mainly the kitchen, the floors, things that might have slipped under the couch, or been set down by Emmett that should have been put away, our entryway and our bathrooms.

It's not like we've got cleaning supplies out and we're wiping down the baseboards, detailing the bathrooms or anything. It's just a pick up. I'm straightening things up so that we're starting the next day with a clean slate. After the kitchen, the dishes are done, the kitchen is wiped down and general pickup is done, we also do the downstairs bathroom one more time.

That bathroom takes a hit, let me tell you. There's a man and three boys in this house and I'm singling them out because I don't care what you say, they are messier than girls. It's the main bathroom. It’s the only bathroom downstairs. If guests are over or if Emmett has to go potty, his little special potty seat that goes on top of the regular toilet seat is in there. There's a lot going on. I definitely, definitely give it a wipe down every time I'm in there because it's always taking a beating.

So, we give the downstairs bathroom a wipe down, switch out the hand towel with a fresh one, and give it another once over to make sure it looks good before we head upstairs.  

Once that's all done then we head upstairs and it's time to get the kids ready for bed with showers, baths, and brush their teeth. For showers and baths, Emmett in particular always needs a bath. He needs a bath every day. If we ever do skip it it’s because we were out and he fell asleep and it's past bedtime and he just goes in bed, but he pretty much needs a bath every single day. He's very dirty. He's just a really wild little guy. He's constantly climbing under things and getting into stuff and he's just a dirty little guy.

Usually, though, I have the older kids on an every other day rotation. Bella will shower while the younger two bathe. And then the next day, Leland will shower while Emmett bathes. Everyone's getting cleaned every other day and that works for us, for where we're at right now. We'll see what happens when they're teenagers and we’ve got all that going on.

The kids use my bathroom. Although we have two bathrooms upstairs, they use my bathroom because our tub is amazing and huge. I put them in there and then I can clean our bathroom. It doesn’t usually need it very much, but I'll run the Swiffer Vac and pick up any hairs that fall on the floor. That’s one of my pet peeves. It's super gross to me when there's hair on the bathroom floor. I'll wipe down the counters. Sometimes we'll get into the cabinets and do a little purge, make sure everything looks okay. It's something productive to do while the kids are getting clean.

If the bathroom is fine, I will fold that load of laundry that I started early that morning if I haven't gotten it done yet. Like I shared in the laundry episode (which I'll link to in the show notes) I start a load of laundry in the morning and then by the time I go to bed that night it is dried, folded and put away. That’s how I stay on top of the laundry.

After all the showering and bathing, laundry or bathroom cleanup is done, the kids get ready for bed. We do teeth and all that.

Then usually we choose tomorrow’s clothes so that it's one less decision in the morning. The kids like to get themselves dressed. I don't care if they match perfectly all the time unless we are going somewhere where it matters. I'll let them choose their outfits. Then we get ready to get tucked in. Story, prayers, conversation, catch up over the day.

Sometimes I'll feel like one kid in particular maybe had a rough day. Maybe they just couldn't get things right, were in trouble a lot, or felt a little disconnected. Then I'll go in there and specifically spend a few extra minutes with them and help get their hearts back where it belongs with me. Speak life over them, pray with them, and whatever's needed there.

Honestly a lot of the time this kind of gets skipped over. We always pray with them, but sometimes it's just been a day and I just need to be alone, so we'll skip the story and just pray together and talk about the day real quick. And then it's “good night” and lights out.

But usually we do spend time at bedtime and it's a really sweet time.

The younger kids go to bed at eight. The older kids go to bed at nine. We have that difference of time and usually though everyone's in their room. I'll say goodnight to the older two, even though they’re not going to sleep yet. They usually go together in Bella's room and read books, talk a little bit, or build Lego's quietly. They have this unwinding time for about 45 minutes to an hour before it's time for them to go to bed. Then Leland will go into the boys' room, with his brother already asleep, and climb up to the top bunk and go to bed at his bedtime and Bella will stay in her room and go to sleep at her bedtime too.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home, calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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Once the kids are in bed, Brian and I will either finish anything that's lingering in the house if for some reason there's still something left over that needs to be done.

Every once in a while the workload will get really heavy, especially during launches. When there's a launch in our business, it means that we're releasing something new or something not new, but that's been closed. Some of my courses are not available all the time. Maybe they've been closed for months and then we'll reopen it. Different weeks like that in the business are a lot heavier workload. Sometimes the house just gets a little extra behind during those times because we're both working and balancing school, and things get behind for those 5-10 days, depending on the launch.

Sometimes we need to finish up some things in the house or the business. Sometimes we'll pull out our laptops and just sit on the couch together, have a glass of wine and talk, play music and wrap up any work.

But usually we're pretty done and all the stuff during the day has been done. Usually it's very rigid and the same, where we work in the morning and then we balance school. Brian does science, math and history, and I'll do language arts, reading and creative writing and all that with the kids in the afternoon.

Typically, we're all done with everything and we will sit and spend time together, watch Netflix. On Sunday nights, we have our weekly meeting where we go over everything together. So, it just depends on what night it is and what's going on in our lives during that month.

Before I go to bed I usually pick out what I'm going to wear the next day again, just because it's reducing morning decisions. I've shared before - and I feel like it always sounds a little dramatic, but I'm just being honest - I'm really, really an introvert. Dealing with decisions, people, and expelling energy, really has an effect on me. I have to be really, really careful with my energy levels and my emotional wellbeing. I've learned that I am kind of a sensitive person in that way. I have noticed since I turned 30 (I'm 31 now) I really started to just become “okay” with that about myself. I'm just careful with myself.

I try to make as many decisions as I can the night before, so that I start the morning out really well, not having to make a bunch of decisions and things like “What am I going to do with my hair? What am I going to wear? Am I going to work out this morning or not?”

They might seem trivial or like they don't matter, but they are decisions and those kinds of things just drain all my energy. The last thing I want is to make decisions, a bunch of decisions, in the morning and kind of dive into my day, and then before I even really start my work day, I'm already depleted. That's happened before and it's a bad feeling. So, I like to pick out what I'm going to wear the next day and sit it on top of my dresser.

I set my alarm. I make sure that my Bible, my journal, a pen and whatever book I'm currently reading is laid out for me downstairs in the area where I have my quiet time.

I also put my exercise clothes right by the toilet in my bathroom because when my alarm goes off I always get straight out of bed to avoid sleeping in. I go pee and then I will slip on my workout clothes before I head downstairs just because it helps wake me up a little bit more when I'm out of it.

Then I'm ready for Pilates later in the morning, which is a part of my morning ritual most days.

That's pretty much it. I usually go to bed around 10, but it just depends. This past week I have been extra tired. I don't know if you have your husband or kids around, so sorry if you do, but during PMS I am always really extra tired and I just listen to my body during those times. In the morning when I'm doing Pilates, I'll usually choose “stretch” workouts versus “feel the burn” workouts. I listen to my body and just stretch it out, do lots of breathing. It's definitely more like yoga than Pilates during that week. And then I'll go to bed really early.

Actually, as I'm recording this, last week was “that week” for me. I was really tired. I really listened to my body. I hydrated a ton. I didn't have a drink on date night. I'll usually have a drink on date night or a glass of wine here and there at home during the week. I didn't have anything extra. I loaded my body up with water and ate really healthy food choices, even though I wanted to eat junk because “PMS” and I just went to bed really early every night.

I was so tired. One night I went to bed at 7:30. I don't know what it was other than just that PMS time. I was just so exhausted. I've really learned to listen to my body. I'm definitely more of a night owl by nature. I've talked so much about that before. I still feel that tendency. To me, staying up till 10:00/10:30 when I get up so early, is staying up late. When I'm rhythmically getting up early, I can't stay up later than that. It's really hard for me. I don't enjoy it anymore.

I enjoy my quiet time when the kids are in bed. I still get that time with Brian. I can watch Netflix and be alone. If I want to get something done, I can. I can still get that time, but just every once in a while, I don't want it. I'm so tired and I just want to go to sleep.

So, that was last week for me. It just depends. I really believe in listening to your body if you can. If there's not stuff that you have to do, listen to what your body needs and just go to bed if you're tired.

But I will say my evening routine is huge for me because it helps me. It helps me want to wake up in the morning. That leads me into my next section of this episode, which is how you can create your evening routine.

I encourage you to get the free download that comes with this episode. It's Your Simplified Evening Routine. It's a free download. It's really straightforward and it's going to help spell this out for you so you can work through it on your own, instead of just listening to this.

But the biggest thing is to think about what's going to set you up for a successful morning. What do you need to get done before your day gets going? Is there anything that you could do at night instead of using your morning time for it?

I used to get up in the morning and find my workout clothes, get my workout shoes on, look for socks, put deodorant on, groggily go downstairs and then not really know where anything was. I didn't want to be fumbling through drawers trying to find my Bible or trying to find my headphones so I could listen to my audio book. I didn't want the kids to wake up. It made me not want to get out of bed.

To get out of bed at 5:00/5:45/6:00 in the morning, whatever time you wake up, it takes a lot. I do get up usually pretty early. I get up between 5:00-5:45 every morning, depending on the need, how much time I want in the morning and what time I go to bed. And that takes a lot.

And so, I need to want to get out of bed. What's going to do that for you? For me, waking up and making decisions, searching for things, scrambling, that's not going to make me want to get out of bed in the morning. I think that is the biggest misconception about waking up early, that people are not setting themselves up for a morning where they're excited to get up for what's going to get you up.

For me, it’s having that quiet time when the kids are asleep or at least they're upstairs, because we have that boundary set where they need to be in their room playing until it's time for breakfast. They don't decide when my day starts. I decide when my day starts. I decide when their breakfast is served too.

Having that parental boundary, I know that I'm going to get that quiet time. I know that I'm going to get to read. I'm going to be in the Word. I'm going to get time to pray. I'm going to be able to take a walk. I'm going to be able to read a book for 20 minutes uninterrupted. Are you kidding me? That's amazing. Of course, I'll get up for that.

So just write it all out. What would you love to do? What do you need to get done at night to give yourself that gift of a great morning? And again, like I said, what's going to help you look forward to the morning?

For me, another thing is knowing that I'm going to wake up to a clean house, an empty kitchen sink, a cozy space with a blanket, my books, and journal waiting for me to have alone time in the morning and that early morning “quiet” is huge. So, I set myself up for that.

I have a blanket that I got at Target, just like a throw blanket. It's my favorite blanket in the house. I have it slung over the arm of the couch downstairs in the front room where I sit and have my quiet time every morning. It's waiting for me.

I get my mug out and I set it next to my coffee machine. I put a fresh coffee pod in there as well. All I have to do is push the button in the morning. I lay out my workout clothes. I have the house picked up. The bathrooms are clean. Things are put away and picked up. The kitchen sink is empty. The kitchen is sparkling white, clean and ready for a fresh day.

There have definitely been times where I have skipped it and for some reason or another it didn't get done. Maybe people were sick or I was just too exhausted and I chose to go to bed and neglect that. Life happened. It really sucks and I totally, totally feel the difference in my entire day. It’s not just like, “Oh, what a bummer. I woke up to a dirty house.”

It's that my morning didn't get off to the right start and that affects my mood, my mentality and what I do in my morning time. It affects the whole day. It's like a domino effect.

This really matters. I'm telling you, it's not about being Type A because I am for sure Type B. It's about setting yourself up for success, for joy. It’s about giving yourself the gift of a good solid start to the day, so you can handle what the rest of the day throws at you.

If your kid throws up on the way to your doctor appointment. If a kid is playing baseball in the front yard and they break your window. If you get a call that changes everything. If you just end up having a crappy day and nothing really bad happens, at least you had a great morning.

At least you gave yourself that “center time.” And the evening is that catalyst for that great morning.

So, go to the show notes for this episode. It's alliecasaza.com/shownotes/42 and get yourself that free download.

Sit, knowing all of this, having listened to this episode and just work through that free download. Get your own simplified evening routine because it really does matter.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 041: 10 Things I've Done to Simplify My Life

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Life is crazy and chaotic. Sometimes you need to come back to what matters most, but you've got to know what those things are. And once you decide what is most important, you will naturally experience a more simplified life. What matters most? What can you remove from your plate? What is no longer serving you and your family well? These are all great questions that you can think through to help simplify your life. I am excited to share with you the 10 things I have done to simplify my life and how they have impacted me, my family, and my business.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How prioritizing what is important to you brings simplicity to your life.

  • The power of saying “no” even when it is difficult.

  • How having boundaries in order is such an act of simplification.

  • Why alone time is healthy, no matter if you are extrovert or introvert.

  • The ways established routines encourage simplicity.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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WANT TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME?

You buy stuff with your time, not just your money. Less clutter equals less stress and more time. It's as simple as that! Your Uncluttered Home is my most popular, globally-praised decluttering course, designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they clean up after it. It's truly the A-Z of minimalism - every room, every area of your house, totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist mama who's able to be a lot more present for what matters most. This truly is the ultimate when it comes to my philosophy and implementing it into your own life. 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful! Welcome to The Purpose Show.

I don't know if this is your first time listening or if you've been a faithful listener from the beginning, but either way I want to say that I'm really glad that you're here! I’m really glad you're listening and I believe you're listening for a reason. I'm happy to spend this time with you.

This episode is all about things that I've done to simplify my life. I sat down with the idea for this episode and I started to write what are some things that I've done, some things that I've put into practice that have simplified my life and really made a difference.

I'm all about asking the question: What can I remove from my plate in the different areas of my life? What has to be done by me? What do I want to be done by me? What's dragging me down? Is it necessary that it drags me down? Is it just a part of life?

Is there a way that I could learned to enjoy this more? Is there a way I could learn to do this more efficiently? Is this serving my family? Is this serving someone else in a positive way? What is going on with each area of my life?

I think that's how you really get intentional.

I sat down and wanted to come up with the list of the things that I've done to bring in simplicity. I ended up coming up with 10 things, which is perfect because all the articles that you see floating around out there, especially the ones that go viral are “10 things to do this, 10 things I've done that did this,” and I always wonder, “Do they sit down until they came up with 10 things or what?”

I always feel I come up with awkward numbers (8 Times That I Was A Great Mom) but this time I really did come up with 10. Perfect. Let's dive in. The first thing that I would say came to my mind about things that I've done to simplify my life is I decided what's most important to me. I would encourage you to do this and to keep your list to 5 or less things.

Life is crazy and chaotic. Sometimes you need to come back to what matters most, but you've got to know what those things are. For me, my list is broken down into relationships because really that's what each area of life breaks down to is your relationship with your priorities.

It's my relationship with God, my relationship with myself, my relationship with my husband, Brian, my relationship with my children and my relationship with my business.

And frankly that's about the order that it's in. The reason that I have it in that order is, well, first of all, God. Not to be cliché, but really He is my most important relationship. And I'll be honest and say sometimes my actions may not reflect that. But in my heart of hearts, that's what's most important to me. That's the relationship that deserves the top priority. And if I feel like my actions are not aligned with that statement, I know that I need to make some changes and some shifts. And I will and I do. That's a constant fine-tuning of sorts.

Controversially, I put myself next instead of my relationship with my husband. I don't know if that's right or wrong, perfect or flawed, or what, but that decision came out of a lot of reflection and a lot of learning in my twenties. I just recently turned 31, so, I’m no  old sage or anything, thankfully.

But I will say that in my almost 11 years of being married to Brian, being a mother and “growing up,” I've learned that if I don't prioritize myself first, I'm kind of a terrible wife, mother, person, friend, sister and daughter, and all the roles that I fall into because I'm an introvert. The way the Lord made me is beautiful and incredible. But it's human. It's flawed. And if I don't prioritize myself and take care of myself at least a little bit, I don't perform well. I don't feel good. I'm snappy. I'm cranky. I'm short-tempered.

Of course, there are times where I feel like that and I've got to suck it up and be a decent person. Do my job. Get through my day. Be a nice wife. Say nice things. Hold back from saying something rude, unhelpful or cutting. But my point is, after my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with myself is important in that I need to make sure that I'm taking care of myself.

I put my husband first in a lot of ways. But all in all, I will say that I will make sure that I carve out a little bit of “me time” before I carve out a little bit of “marriage time,” if that is what it comes down to, it often does not.

I hope I'm getting my point across that I have to take care of myself so that I can be a better wife, a better mom, more available, more patient, kinder, able to respond and be mindfully present for my husband and for my children.

The order doesn't matter as much as you saying what your priorities are.

Friends and family are very important to me, but they're definitely on the outer rings of my life. Not the center ring. They don't come before that other list.

That doesn't mean that I'm selfish. That doesn’t mean that I’m money hungry because my business is on the other list first or anything like that. It just means my relationship with God first, and I've got to take care of myself. I have to make sure that I'm having some quiet time. That I feel OK. That I have taken a shower. That I take a second to myself. That I’m not feeling anxious or like I am lacking something. That I am just not doing good and not able to function. That my marriage is healthy. That my relationship with my kids is going well, or at least it's been taken care of and that I put time into.

My relationship with my business is so important because my business is not just a business. It's my passion. It’s really a ministry of sorts. It is so important and it is my family's livelihood.

When it comes down to it sometimes (a lot of the time actually) I do have to prioritize my business and my work above having coffee with a friend who's going through a hard time. Every once in a while it just comes down to it.

But usually - because I'm an entrepreneur, I work from home and I've got an amazing team behind me to carry the load of the day-to-day stuff - I can say, “You know what, I'm not going to work today. I'm going to finish up school with the kids and I'm going to go ahead and have lunch with my friend because she needs me.” I do that all the time.

But when I'm writing out my priorities, when I am writing out what really matters, that's kind of where my list is. I think it can be really daunting to come up with that list, but I think you should do it. And they think it's important.

If my feelings about a relationship with my main people and my business are suffering, something's going to have to give, because those are my priorities. So that's one thing that I have done to simplify my life is: I called out and said “what is most important to me?” And I made that decision prayerfully and thoughtfully over time.

I've got that list. I know I can come back to it if I'm feeling a little lost, overwhelmed or burdened by all the things. I can come back and look and say, “OK, what are my priorities? What needs to be top of the heap here in this situation?”

Although it can be daunting at first, once I did it, once I decided what's most important to me in my life, it simplified my life. It simplified my decisions. And it simplified a lot of things because my calendar reflects those priorities. My heart reflects those priorities and the way that I make decisions and say “yes” and “no” to things reflect those priorities. So, simplified my life a lot.

Another thing that I did to simplify my life is I learned to say “No.” Learning to say “no” can be so difficult for some people. It is not super difficult for me. It depends on the circumstance. There are some things that I feel like, “Oh, my heart goes out to the situation. I want to say yes, I want to be there to help.”

I am really passionate about giving. I'm getting a little personal here, but in the first year of my business our family was America's version of poverty. It was really, really, really bad. (If you want to hear our story, you can listen to episode six of this podcast.) We came around to the other side. Our business was thriving and went as a business from zero to seven figures in 18 months. It was so exciting and crazy. I have always been passionate about giving and helping others and my difficult financial experiences in my life with my husband definitely fueled that fire.

I became even more passionate about giving and wanting to do good things with this money. I got a little bit too gung-ho about giving and gave away too much to where it was like, “Oh crap, now we don't really have a safety net here.” We probably should have put a little bit more away because that’s what you want to do. I have a hard time saying “no” when it seems good, when something seems charitable, when it seems like it's going to help somebody else.

I definitely think that sometimes self care and prioritizing your own family can turn selfish. I think sometimes it could turn into you're not really “looking outside of your own bubble.” I never want to get to that point. It's such a hard balance. I really think it's got to be some kind of gut check that you have with your own self and a “heart thing” that you're watching and prayerfully keeping watch over I guess, and asking the Lord to point out to you if you've gone too far one way or the other.

In this case, with the money thing, I had gone too far. Too much charity, not enough being careful, wise and a good steward. I wanted to give back after I felt like we had had to take so much and we weren't able to help at all.

I've since learned to say “no” and to be wise. I'm not talking about just with money - that was just in one small example - but in little things like volunteering for something or having coffee with a friend, sometimes you just need to say “no.”

Sometimes it's not a good idea. It's not wise. It's not a moment to be giving. It's a moment to be wise is in the way of, “I know what my family needs today and this isn't gonna work for us.”

There's a lot of talk, from me as well, about self-care and having time away, taking care of yourself, having girls’ nights, going to get a Mani-Pedi every once- in-a-while. That's so great. But sometimes it's the opposite and while this girl's night that I just got invited to is so fun and a great idea, it's a really bad week for me to leave my family and do that. It's going to end up not serving me and actually stressing me out. You may need to say “no.”

I've got a blog post about saying “no” and I'll link to it in the show notes for you guys. It has really simplified my life to have that skill to know how to graciously say “No, I can't do that right now.”

Unapologetically having your boundaries in order is such an act of simplification and it's a habit that will serve you well.

The third thing that I have done to simplify my life is I turned off the things that distract me from my life. I'm talking about Facebook, phone notifications, all those types of things. There's recently been a podcast episode about that and I'll link to that in show notes for you guys as well. It's literally called “Phone Settings For A Present Life” and that is exactly what it is. How to physically set up your phone to stop beeping to you and distracting you from your actual life. It’s so funny, especially being a blogger, there's this pull and this almost expectation to share every moment and to not actually enjoy very many of them.

I feel like I have struck a really great balance of sharing plenty, sharing the fun stuff, the silly stuff, the serious stuff, the family moments, the business moments, the processes behind the scenes, but also really not feeling like I always have my phone. I found that balance I feel like. And I'm really happy with the balance I've struck. I want you to feel like that too. Turn off the things that distract you from your life.

I do not have the Facebook app on my phone. Facebook is on my computer and I can log in and do what I need to do there for work or pleasure or whatever. And then I'm done. It's not carried around with me all day long. I don't think it should be.

Your texts, your phone calls, your social media app alerts. All those things are only in the way how much you let them be in the way. I decided to prioritize (back to #1) and turn off the things that distract me from living my actual life, from being present for my God, myself, my husband, my children, my business, my friends, my family, and all these other things.

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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The next thing I did to simplify my life is I started spending time alone. This was another thing that totally came out of my 20’s, of me figuring myself out.

I say this a lot, but I'll say it again. Extrovert and introvert is not being hyper or super high energy, or loud versus quiet and shy. It's actually where you get your energy from. Extroverts get their energy from being around other people and introverts get their energy from being alone. There's people that are both, and that's called ambiverts. I don't know many of those but I know they're out there.

I am an introvert, and learning to give myself alone time, oh my gosh, it just restores me in such an amazing way. It's unbelievable what less than 10 minutes of being alone will do for me.

Even if you're an extrovert, being alone is so good for the soul. Just being quiet for a second. Get the kids in bed, check in with your hubby and make sure he's good, and go for a 20-minute drive. Get a Chai latte and go for a drive with the windows down. Don't even turn music on, just be by yourself. It’s so nice to see what good company you are and where your thoughts go. What worries, fears, dreams or joys come to mind?

Another thing I did to simplify my life was I simplified my home. You know, obviously this is what I'm really known for, but my gosh, I had a hard time not putting this first. I simplified my home. I got rid of the clutter. I let go of the drawerfuls of junk and crap that was taking up all the nooks and crannies in the closets, under the bed, wedged in between couch cushions, crammed into nightstand drawers and kitchen drawers. Multiple spatulas, spoons, and bowls that were mismatched. Magazines and random clutter.

I got rid of all of it and I've kept it all away by ruthlessly being the editor of my home over the last six years. It has transformed my entire life more than almost anything. It's been huge.

You probably already know this is what I do. This is what I'm known for. This is where my signature course, my ecourse, “Your Uncluttered Home” came from - this has been my process and my journey and let me teach you how to do it. Simplify your home. Watch your life transform. You wouldn’t even believe it if I told you all the different areas of my life that have changed just from simplifying my home. My marriage improved. Relationships improved with myself, with my kids. I was a lighter person, much happier, less stressed out. I found it so much easier to stop yelling and stop reacting to my life because I wasn't living in this place of constant stress. My life no longer reflected the way that my home was cluttered. It reflected the way my home was uncluttered.

Studies show that the way that we have our homes is a reflection of the way we have our lives. And I really believe that. It's been true for me and true for the thousands of students who have gone through “Your Uncluttered Home.” I definitely, definitely would say that one of the biggest things I did to simplify my entire life was clearing my home of clutter.

The next thing I would say is I established routines, specifically my morning routine. That's also a podcast episode. I am not sure what number it is, but I'll link to it in the show notes. My morning ritual is very important to me. I like to call it a ritual because that's really what it is. I don't like to think of it as a routine. I don't know, it just feels like the word “ritual” is so much richer, better, more spiritual, important and beautiful. And that's how I feel about my mornings.

I hate when something is going on that causes me to miss my morning ritual. That happens very rarely because my morning ritual begins pretty early in the morning. It's only when we're traveling and I have to get up early to leave for the airport for a trip or something like that that gets in the way. I feel the difference in my spirit. I really do.

My morning ritual has transformed my life so much. It has simplified so many aspects of my life.

Another thing that I did to simplify my life is I downsized. Back before all of this, before I decluttered, before this part of my story began, we lived in a pretty large house. It was definitely pretty large for our family size at the time. We only had two of our kids and it was a lot.

It was so much maintenance. It was so much cleaning and it wasn't really worth it at the time because I was so overwhelmed. I was fighting depression and we only had two of our kids. I was pregnant with our third, Hudson, and it was so much extra work. It was so not worth it. We couldn't even afford to furnish all of it. It just felt empty, dull and high maintenance. Oh my gosh. I mean it was awful.

We ended up downsizing and started to live in smaller houses. Nothing super tiny or anything but just pretty small. Small enough to where the potential landlord would say something like, “Are you sure this house is big enough for you guys?”

Friends and family would comment regularly on the fact that we were living pretty small. It didn't feel too small to us but small enough to where it got comments for sure. It was a little bit against the norm, even now when we have four kids. Actually, this is the first time that I'm saying this on my podcast now that it's out, but we know we're going to be adopting and so our family is going to grow even more.

Our house is about 2300 -2400ish square feet. And it's three bedrooms. We work from home, we’ve got an office that's an extension of the garage. So even now our house really isn't that big for a family my size. It's definitely the biggest house that we've had since our big downsize.

I think the original house that I was talking about before was over 3000 square feet and it was just a lot for me, especially at the time. And you know with more space comes more cleaning, more maintenance.

But it's OK; I can handle it now. I've got less stress. I'm not depressed. My kids are older; they help. My husband's here to help. I have a housekeeper that comes once or twice a month and helps. My season is different.

We still live a little smaller than most people with our family size. And it's great. I love a small house. I think there's something really beautiful and there's something to be said for small living. And I love when people message me and they say, “You know, I've got two kids and we live in a thousand square feet and we just love it. We're outside all the time.”

It's so true, you get out and you start to live. You enjoy the outdoors. You really make your little home count, you know? It matters to you more. It's more important to you. It's cozier. I love a small house.

Another thing that I did to simplify my life was I started walking. This might sound silly and you might wonder what that has to do with simplifying, but it really does. I started walking as a way to simplify my health. I think that the health and wellness industry is a money hungry industry of unnecessary advice. And I got sick of it. I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to feel like I had more energy.

I wanted to get moving, but I really don't like to exercise. I just started to walk. What I found was that, first of all, I love walking. I love taking walks, whether my kids come along or Brian's home and they stay with him and I go by myself. I love to walk. I started to let my thoughts wander. I started to get really grateful. Then I started to intentionally think of things that I was grateful for while I walked. I call those my “gratitude walks.”

Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or an audio book. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I have absolutely no agenda and I just go for a walk and see where the Lord takes me. But walking simplified my health. I lost weight. I feel better.

I do more than just walking now, but I still walk. It's a simple practice that I am really fond of that's really changed my life, that I really love.

The ninth thing that I've done that I would say simplified my life is I implemented a “nothing day.” It used to be once a week. Now I guess I still have a “nothing day” once a week, but really a very intentional, absolutely zero things on my calendar day, once a month for sure.

Sundays I like to turn off social media, at least for the most part. I don't look at my phone much. There's no work, unless I really want to. I love what I do. Sometimes I getting inspired and want to jot down a blog post or something. It's just rest, whatever rest looks like that day for me.

“Nothing day” is when you feel pulled really thin and you just need a break. “Nothing day” is no phone alerts, no phone at all, maybe. No capturing things for social media. I just unwind. Maybe my family will go and do something fun. Maybe we'll just hang out and do nothing at home. That's usually what it is, but it's just a day of “vegging out” and just “being.”

It's something that is so overlooked and not very often scheduled and it needs to be. It's so good for the soul. I implemented a “nothing day” once a week, about 1 ½ - 2 years ago and it was so good.

Now I'm in a season where I don't really need a “nothing day” every single week. We have very restful family days on Sundays, but it's not technically a “nothing day” now because we're going to church, Costco and stuff.

I have a “nothing day” on my schedule about once a month, sometimes more depending on my need. Let the day take you. If you want to leave and go do something, great! But, it's OK to stay in with no bra and no makeup and just hang out on the couch with your hubby and let the kids play games. Just veg. Just be. It's good. It's good for the soul.

Number ten is I simplified my eating. This goes back to the whole thing about the health and wellness industry. But you know, it's overwhelming. We eat at least three times a day and making food can be so complicated. It can really take over your day.

A friend of mine, Amanda Wilson (I'll link to her Instagram account) because she is an incredible Instagram-er for the health and wellness industry. She taught me about food prepping instead of meal prepping. Food prepping is when you prep basic foods so that you can put plates together for meals, instead of deciding what you're going to eat way ahead of time, making the meal, and putting it in the fridge.

Because what was happening for me was I eat by mood, so I would make a meal and put it aside and I wouldn't want that later. What if I didn’t want leftover spaghetti or whatever it is?

Instead, I started prepping basic foods that I know I eat all the time, like grilling up some potatoes, grilling some chicken and seasoning it lightly with salt and pepper, so it can be used for any recipe. Making some cauliflower rice and putting that in the fridge. Things like that. Things that could be made as part of a meal but aren't already a designated meal.

That really helped me. I simplified my meal plans. Maybe we'll do a separate episode on this, but I just simplified my eating. I cut the crap. I stopped trying to be all specific. “Oh, is this exactly Paleo?” I just said, “You know what? I want to eat clean. I want to eat well, but I also want to eat real and not have this takeover my entire life. I want to cook because I want to enjoy the atmosphere that I create my kitchen when I'm cooking, not because I have to.” I wanted to bring some joy into my eating and I really simplified our food in our house and it was so good.

I would encourage you to find a way that you need to simplify your eating, if that's feeling like a point of stress for you. I have a really good friend who just absolutely loves food. She loves everything to do with the creation of food. She would never want to simplify this area of her life. She loves cooking from scratch. She is amazing at it. But that is not me.

While I do enjoy cooking from scratch, I don't want to do that for every single meal. This is an area of my life that it served me greatly to simplify. I found a way that worked for me and our family. I would encourage you to do that if that’s hitting home for you.

And there you have it. 10 things that I've done to simplify my life. I hope that this was inspiring in a different way than my episodes usually are because I'm really just telling you something that I've done and not really telling you exactly how to do it. Which I think can make you be creative apply this to your own life in a different way than usual. So, I hope that inspired you guys.

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Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

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