simplicity

Ep 087: A Simple Christmas

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Hello December. Hello Christmastime! Hello trying to be minimal and simple during Christmas. Anyone struggle with this? I think much of the problem is that our society puts an overwhelming amount of pressure on Christmas and focus on the wrong things. We reach for what we want rather than what we need (and what will bring us true joy). Not to mention the serious FOMO we face during the holiday season! We're afraid that if we don't buy lots of presents, overbook our calendars with holiday activities, and go all in that we're missing out, or our kids are missing out, and we're not doing a good job. Like we aren't giving them a proper Christmas. But everyone has has different family situations, budgets, and ideals that need to be considered. I hope you find this episode encouraging and helpful as you take action on simplifying your Christmas!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The reality of what Christmas means (and costs) in our society.

  • Quick, actionable tips on simplifying Christmas that you can apply this holiday season.

  • The value in finding your sweet spot and what matters most to you and the power of letting go of the rest.

  • How to deal with relatives and the parts of Christmas that aren't in your control.

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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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 guys! Have you heard Declutter Like a Mother is coming back? I'm super excited! This is my annual challenge. I'm beyond ecstatic to even be saying this to you guys!

I look forward to this every year. It is the one time of year that I just clear my schedule. I show up. I'm live with you guys. We’re chatting. I'm answering questions. We are focused on decluttering.

The whole premise of Declutter Like a Mother  is 30 minutes a day, every day, for 30 days. That 30 minutes can be broken up throughout the day or done all at once, whatever you need to do, but the point is my whole community comes together. We rally. We become decluttering warriors. We focus. And it just creates this team atmosphere unlike anything else. That's why I get so amped up about it and I'm always urging everybody to join.

Last year we had over 40,000 women from all over the world joining together, showing up to the live streams, reading the emails, decluttering their houses, and getting insane results.

This is the time! If you like accountability, if you like that team feeling, if you like me and you want to hang out with me and hear me talk about this in a really focused, intentional way, Declutter Like a Mother is where you need to be!

It's totally free to sign up. You can go to alliecassaza.com/warriors and you'll get the signup page. Totally free!

I want to see you there! Let's do this!

Hi, beautiful friend! I cannot even believe that I am recording this episode right now. Christmas. What's even happening right now? I don't want to be cliché and say what everyone else is saying and that I can't believe it’s this time of year again, but…I can't believe it's this time of year again.

Also, here in southern California it's not super Christmasy and it kinda never is. Brian and I were just talking this morning about how we were really over not living in a state where we get to have the seasons.

But anyway, it is Christmastime and I love Christmastime! Even if I don't live in a state that feels super Christmasy, we have a lot of traveling coming in this season and we will be going to places where it's Christmasy, so that'll be really fun.

But I wanted to just do an episode about this kind of beastly topic that I get asked about all the time and it's been really hard to know, “Hey, how do you have a minimalist Christmas? How do you simplify Christmas?”

That's a really loaded question. It's really hard to answer. There's a lot of things that go into that and even more things that go into it, the more specific I get with the person that I'm talking to. I know each of you have different family situations. Each of you have different budgets. Each of you have different ideals.

Sometimes these big questions are really hard for me to answer, but I didn't want to let this season go by without having an episode about it and at least addressing some core points because there are some things that you can just take and run with, apply to how your life is and what your circumstances are (you know how your family is) and play it by ear and live your life.

So, I'm not going to shy away from this, even though ‘a simple Christmas’ is a beastly topic to me and it can be a little intimidating to be like, “Yeah, here's my episode on a simple Christmas.”

Of course, I can't cover all the bases and dive really deep into all the things, but before I get into this, and I'll mention it a couple more times in this episode because it's that important, I do have something that I created last year and put together. I spent a lot of time on this. I surveyed hundreds of thousands of people and got down to the nitty gritty, a deeper dive into what does go into simplifying Christmas. And that is what A Merry Little Christmas is all about.

A Merry Little Christmas is a mini course that I have. It's only $15 and it's something that I put together that really just dives a little bit deeper. We can only get so deep in podcast episodes.

It's broken down into “here's the sections of your holiday season, and the things that can feel really stressful, really overwhelmed, really cluttered, really heavy and how we can just breathe simplicity over all of that and make it lighter.” I get really specific.

For example, one big question is what do you do when your relatives or even your husband just doesn't want to simplify Christmas? They want to go big or go home and all you want is less? How do you handle that? What do you do when your ‘live at home together’ family is just really all about simplicity this year and your relatives are feeling weird about it and they want to give your kids a ton of crap? How do you have that conversation? What do you do?

I really just dive deep and get specific about all of those things in that little course. And again, for $15, that's pretty great. It's a seasonal thing that I like to do to help you guys out and really get a little bit deeper. So that is there. And you can just go to alliecasazza.com/jolly to check that out. And again, $15, you can see a breakdown of what you'll be taught in there. We'll talk about that again in a little bit.

But for now, let's dive into this basic episode on the topic of simplifying Christmas.

I think the first thing to say is that we need to look at the problem with our society and Christmas. Again, this is a huge thing to talk about, but what it comes down to is that Christmas in our society, in our culture right now is a business. And it's a 400+ billion dollar one at that.

It's raking it in and it's fooling so many people into financial ruin with this idea of “You've got to give your kids a great Christmas. Oh! You've got to get Billy what he wants for Christmas. You’ve got to get your daughter that one thing she really wants for Christmas. Go into debt. You have to get them a present. You have to spend more than $25, obviously. You have to make it feel really special. You have to make sure that you spend the same amount on them is they spent on you last year.”

There's so many little lies. The Christmas industry is, like I said, raking it in and fooling so many people into financial ruin.

A couple of years ago, it was around January, when I had called our finance company for our car and I remember Brian and I just had them on speaker phone when we're calling with some kind of question. I don’t remember what it was. We were calling them and we were on hold for forever and when the woman finally came on the phone, we had been on hold for so long and she was like, “Hey, I'm so sorry about that wait. At this time of year, we have so many repos from people going into serious debt and not paying their bills around the holiday season that we just have a lot of people on hold trying to get their cars back because they were repossessed.” We were like, “That is so sad.”

But we also totally get it because it's a lie that so many of us buy into and it's easy to buy into it. Just the reality that people are getting their cars repossessed. They're not paying their bills. They're skipping on their mortgages. They're going into serious debt because of the Christmas culture.

I think that a lot of the time, maybe we're a little too prideful to simplify into what fits our means. I think we're focused on the wrong things, reaching for what we want rather than what we need. And what we need is what's going to bring us joy. Simplifying things down to those basics. And those basics look different for everybody.

Simplifying things down to, “What's going to make this Christmas joyful?” It's certainly not going to be a repossessed car and a crap load of debt, right? It's like we're buying into the business’ lies and really missing the point. I don't mean that to sound really overly cliché, like ‘let's just get back to the point of Christmas and Jesus is the reason for the season” and all those things which, you know, of course is truth. I'm not trying to say, “We're just missing the point. Let's just get back to the heart of it.”

It has to be deeper than that. It has to really mean something. We need to realize how much we're buying into the lies and really truly missing the point of this season.

I think the core of this problem that we have is fear. I think it's a lot of real serious FOMO, fear of missing out. We're just afraid that if we don't buy lots of presents, if we don't overbook our calendars with holiday activities, if we don't go all in and create this immense fun in this season that we're missing out or our kids are missing out and we're not doing a very good job and that reflects on us.

It's like we aren't giving them a proper Christmas if it's not insanity. What we're really doing when we live this way during this time of year is we're setting a really unhealthy precedent for our kids.

I share this in the Merry Little Christmas course in the beginning of the intro lesson because it's so important, but I'll share it here too because it just popped into my head.

I remember years ago having a conversation with my dad. My dad and I are really close. My parents are still married. I have awesome parents. They're super awesome. You guys, if you follow me on Instagram, you've seen them because every time I posted anything about them, I get a million messages about, “How are those are your parents? They look so young.” They're not; they just have great genes and I hope I got all the good genes from them.

But my parents are awesome and I was having a conversation with my dad. My Dad was an awesome dad. He did a great job. We were talking about parenting and regret. It wasn't near the holiday season or anything, we were just talking about parenthood.

I remember asking my dad, “Is there anything that you really wish you would've done differently?” Out of all the things he could have said, he said, “I wish that I would have not gone so over the top with Christmas for you kids because I felt like I set a precedent and it kind of took the focus off of what it needed to be on. And I never really felt like we were spending good time together. It felt like I trained you guys to look forward to a crap ton of gifts.” And I remember that. We had awesome Christmases. I encouraged my dad that I felt like, “Well, just so you know, I think you're thinking of it in a different way. I don't think of it that way.”

My parents were pretty well off and they didn't spoil us during the year at all. We had what we needed. That was it. We never got toys randomly, but my parents went real big on Christmas and birthdays and that was fine. I never really felt super spoiled. I know my siblings have said something different than me, so I don't know, maybe that was my personality responding to that parenting differently. But anyway, that's what he said. And he said that out of anything he could have ever said…he could have said, “I wish I hadn't spanked or I wish that…” I don't know, he could have said anything. And he said that. That really struck me, especially because it wasn't around the holidays; it's not like it was on his mind.

I'll always remember that. That really struck me huge. I think it's important to just like ask yourself, where do you want to go? Where do you want to go with this holiday season? How do you want this to be in your family?

I think it's important to note that it's not that it's bad to go big on Christmas. I'm not swinging way the other way with this. What I'm talking about is messed up priorities where people are spending beyond their budgets and killing themselves during the season, packing in way too many activities and making themselves way overly busy and way overly broke because it's too much.

So, if you want to go big and Christmas and that's your family’s thing, do it, whatever. But if you're stretching yourself too thin, you're feeling really busy, you're missing the point. Your family's not feeling closer during this time. If you're feeling financially burdened, then maybe it's time to reflect and go a different way.

If you want to get back on track, just kind of back to the heart of the holiday season, but you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. We're just going to dive into some ideas that I have, some things that we do in our family, and some solutions that I think I have to this problem.

We're keeping it as helpful as we can, but it's just a beast of a topic and the Merry Little Christmas course is there for you, so just remember that, okay? Alliecasazza.com/jolly.  It’s a $15 course. It gets way deeper and specific into issues.



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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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All right, so first let's talk about a basic question. How do you even simplify Christmas because that can feel really overwhelming. Ask yourself what you want. What do you want? What does it look like? What does your ideal holiday season even look like? What really attracts you and your spouse to the holidays? Is it baking? Is it having a lot of fireside talks with your family? Is it a lot of activities? Is it a lot of getting out? Is it going somewhere where there's snow, if you don't live somewhere where there's snow? Is it totally doing it a different way and maybe you do live somewhere where there's snow and you don't like it and you want to plan a family trip to Florida every year and just ditch it and have a super, non-traditional Christmas? Whatever it is. Ask yourself what do you want?

Then I think out of that, have a conversation with your spouse and your kids about what they want. I think a lot of the time your family and especially your kids will really surprise you and be a lot simpler than you think. Maybe not your spouse. Maybe your spouse is giving some resistance to simplicity here. And they're going to be like, “Well, when I was a kid we went all out and it was so fun. I want to do that for the kids.” And that's okay. You can talk about that and find a compromise.

But usually with our kids it's a lot simpler than you think. The most random and smallest little traditions will really strike a chord with them. And that's their favorite thing. And it's so small and simple that maybe sometimes some years it gets pushed aside. It doesn't get the space that it needs because you were busy doing other things and you didn't realize. But you're missing out on your kids’ favorite tradition that was really simple.

You don't even have to do all the things that your family wants to do when you have this conversation, but just start that talk and just listen. Get to the heart of what's on their list. What can you do that meets their core desire? For example, maybe you ask your kids, “What do you guys want for our Christmas season? From the end of November through December, what do you want to do?”

Maybe you noticed that all the things on their list is being outdoors. Going to visit Santa’s Workshop in your town. Going out and playing in the snow. Going up to the mountains or going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe you notice a theme that all the things they want to do are out of the house. Maybe you notice that it's all inside the house. Maybe you didn't realize how much older your kids were getting and they just want to hang out with you at home, bake sugar cookies, sit by the fire and make cider.

Maybe you'll notice a running theme. You don't have to do everything on their list, but you notice a common theme and you can say like, “Okay, I can see that your core desire is to be at home, stay cozy and hang out. Let's plan some days where we just block it out to set aside time to do that.

Just have that talk and get real with yourself and your family. I think it's very, very easy to not realize how much we're going overboard because we feel pressured to show up and make something awesome for our kids and our families, and then it's too much. It’s not even what they wanted. We're missing the whole point and that really sucks. We don't want that to happen.

Another step in simplifying Christmas is talking about gifts. Set a limit for gifts in your home. What that is for you depends on you. It depends on your budget, but I don't think it should just depend on your budget. I've been on both sides of budgeting.  A few years ago, a limit to my gifts would have been because of a budget issue. I don't have that budget issue now, but I limit my gifts because I don't want to set a certain precedent for my kids. I want to keep it simple. It's very sweet and unstressful. I order a few awesome gifts for my kids off Amazon and I'm done. I'm not a part of the holiday psycho stressful shopping and I love that.

That is a big piece of the joy that I feel around the holiday season. I'm not a part of that rushed-out-of-the-house-shopping. Even if I'm going to get a really special in-person-present for somebody on my list and I have to go out, it's not crazy because I'm not doing that for everybody. I'm not overspending or really stressed out. It's simplified.

Think about the gifts in your home. What's the limit that you need to set? What is your budget? What’s too much? What do you feel like is a good amount for your kids?

Just to give you an example, we keep it pretty simplified. We typically do three gifts per kid. They don't have any theme. I know some people like to do something to read, something to wear, something to play with and all that. That over complicates it for me and it makes me feel even more stressed. If that simplifies it for you, go ahead. Look up that list online. It's awesome.

But for me, I don't like those limits. I just think three great gifts per kid, plus a stocking with some little fun goodies in there, usually candy, maybe some Hot Wheels for Emmett because he loves Hot Wheels and he always loses them when we're out. Little simple things and that's pretty much it. I'm not psycho about it. Like, “Oh my gosh, three gifts per kid and that’s it!”

I can't remember a time when we went over that. Usually three gifts per person. I'm able to make those gifts really good ones and that makes me feel good. They're good quality gifts that this kid is going to love and that's it. It doesn't matter if our budget is 10 times higher this year than last year. The gifts don't reflect that really. It's still the same amount of gifts.

I think the next step in simplifying Christmas would be to stop comparing our Christmases to others’. It's okay to keep it really simple and get your kids coloring supplies and blocks. You don’t have to do a big thing like a trampoline or a gaming system, or one big family gift.

It's okay to keep it small. It's also okay if it is your season to go big. Ask yourself, what's going to work for us? What's going to simplify this so that we as the parents can enjoy this time and have magic in it as much as the kids do.

Looking at the gifts that other moms get their kids and feeling like you're less than, looking at what the other moms are taking their kids to and feeling like you're not doing enough to celebrate, that's not helping you. It's not furthering your holiday season. It's not furthering your growth as a person. It's not helping your family in any way, shape or form.

We really need to be mindful of that and just learn to appreciate like, “Wow, that's so great that that family did that. What a great idea. You know, maybe someday when it's our season to do things like that, we'll do that too.” Find your sweet spot. Consider your season of life. Consider your schedule, your work. Consider what matters to you. Decide what's going to feel good for your family this Christmas, and then let the rest go. Just unabashedly let it go.

Moving away from how to simplify Christmas, a lot of the time people struggle with how to deal with relatives and the parts of Christmas that aren't in your control. You can have this mindset of, “Okay, I know what matters to me this Christmas. I know where my spouse is at. I know where my kids are at. I know what we want. We've got this simplified Christmas that feels really good to us in mind and that's what we're going to head for.”

But a lot of time the holidays involve other people who maybe have a different ideal than you, or maybe you've always had a certain tradition that you're ready to drop and the other people aren't ready to drop it. It can get tense. The holidays can already get tense because they involve family. If your family is imperfect and there's people involved, it can get a little tense.

I think that it's something to just navigate mindfully and have your boundaries. Don't be super self-centered and like, “Hey, we're not doing that tradition anymore. Sorry.” Communicate. Find some balance.

Maybe there is something that you go to that’s kind of an obligation, but you're loving on your family in this way when you go to that Christmas party and you show up for them. But you don't say ‘yes’ to all the things. You don’t show up to every single house because everyone's gotten divorced and the family’s split up a million different ways, and you feel really obligated.

Maybe you can find your sweet spot with where your boundaries are and where you show up, step outside of yourself and give to the people in your family and your extended family in the holiday season, but you're not giving so much that you're not able to pour into your family, which is really important.

I understand that that can get really complicated and I've totally been there. We have divorce on one of the sides in our family. It's very complicated and messy and people are not very nice and it gets really difficult. I feel for you and I understand that. All I can say is just pray about it. Think through what you want, what matters to you. In your gut, run it through like, “What would it feel like if we went to this party? What would it feel like if we didn't? What would it feel like if we hosted our own party and brought everyone to us? And if they don't want to come, they don't have to. What would it feel like if we just said ‘no’ this year? What if we just traveled and left this year?”

We've done all of those different things and now we kind of feel like we have our sweet spot. And even though other people are being kind of nasty and not cool, we know we're making the right decision and we don't feel like we're being selfish. We just feel like this is what's going to work for us. And then over here we've got something that we go to that we really don't want to go to, but we love our family and it's about family this time of year and we're going to go to that anyway. Finding that balance.

Also, when it comes to gifts, getting a little bit more practical, it can really, really help when you feel like you're working on simplifying your space, you're getting rid of stuff, you're going minimal, and then here comes Christmas and you're worried that it's totally going to undo all your hard work - it doesn't have to be that way.

One thing that's really helped me is creating a wishlist for my kids’ gifts. I have found that people want to be the ‘present hero.’ What I mean by that is every relative wants to be the one who gets your kid the thing they really, really want and swoop in and get them the awesome thing and have your kid love them. And that's the core of getting presents is that your relatives just want your kids to love them and they just want to love on your kids and it's a way that they can do that. Because kids love presents of course.

So tell them what your kids want. Talk with your kids. Create an Amazon wishlist. Create a Target wishlist. Just create a paper list and have your kids mail it to everybody and maybe put a little note in there for grandma, “Hey, just so you know, this one that I circled, she really wants that and if you got her that you'd make her whole holiday.” The relative is going to get that thing. They want to be told what to get. They don't want to just randomly waste their money and get random stuff that your kid might not even like.

Take advantage of that. Tell them what to get. And then you can kind of have a little bit of some control over the things that you know your kid is going to love and the things that you know they're going to use. It's going to be good for them. It's not going to be a waste of space because they're going to love it or they're gonna use it. It's going to grow their imaginations or whatever it is.

I'm not saying to be hyper-controlling and make a wishlist for your kid without talking to them and putting a bunch of educational stuff on there. It's your kid's holiday. Let them like toys. It's okay. But people just want to be told what to get. It's going to be so much easier for you to take on some more toys if you know that it's things that your kids really wanted, or that is helping them grow their imagination or whatever it is.

I also think that there's something huge to be said about just talking. Communicate kindly to your relatives, as much as you can and as it fits the relationship, where you're at. Talk to them about your simple lifestyle that you're pursuing, especially if it's new and it's different than what you guys have done in the past. People can't read your mind. They don't know where you're at. They don't understand what your aim is and they might think that you're just trying to be controlling and keep them from loving on your kids and you're not. But they don't know that, so just let them know.

Communicate kindly and sweetly. “This is just where we're at. I definitely want to have Christmas with you guys and we definitely want to do presents if you guys want to. Here's a list.” Maybe even through talking you'll find that your relatives are kind of on board and they don't want to do a gift exchange this year.

You guys know who I am and what I do. I've been doing this. I've been well known for doing this and talking about what I talk about for years. Just last year was the first year that our relatives were onboard with not doing a gift exchange and it was really freaking awesome. It was the best Christmas we ever had. Tensions were low. Typical relationships that kind of have a difficult time getting along - it was great. We had great conversation. We ordered pizza. We had an awesome holiday celebration. We watched Christmas movies and we exchanged no gifts. They brought coloring books and crayons for my kids and that's it. It was awesome. Everyone realized how awesome it was and now that's our new thing, and they're finally on board with just ditching the gift exchange thing.

My parents still get my kids gifts and that's great. That's fine, because we have a separate Christmas Day thing with them, but I mean extended relatives like my grandparents, aunts and uncles and all of that. They're on board and it's awesome.

It might take time to get there. Maybe you're lucky and they're onboard now, but if not, it's okay. Just find the common ground. Communicate kindly. Don't be over-controlling. Simplify what you can. Let go of the parts that you can't.

And remember in the A Merry Little Christmas course, the $15 one, all of this is really dived into deeply if you really need help with this. If you feel like you really want to make changes and you really want to enjoy the holidays this year, you're feeling a little panicked, go get that. It's going to be a great $15 that you'll spend and it's not going to be regretted and I can help you a little bit deeper in there.

Next week on the podcast we're going to talk about traditions, which I think is going to be really neat for you guys. Kind of on the topic of simplicity, but more so towards traditions and how to choose what's going to be worth it. What's going to be good. We're going to talk about that next week.

Go get yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Go simplify your holiday. Love you guys. Let's talk about traditions 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 079: Essentialism: The Key To A Life Lived on Purpose with Greg McKeown

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Greg McKeown is the author of the book Essentialism (one of the most important books I have ever read!). He is really good at taking people through the areas that are consuming too much of their time and guides them back to what is essential. In this episode, Greg guides me through that journey in specific areas of my own life and I am excited for you guys to listen in!

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Greg Discuss:

  • What the paradox to success means and how essentialism is the antidote.

  • The power that nonessential things have and why we get sucked into them without really knowing it is happening.

  • Practical steps you can walk through to focus in on what is truly essential in your own life.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Greg’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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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, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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Hey beauties! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show! Today's guest is just such a sweet, kind, esteemed person. I am so honored to even be recording this intro. I just wrapped up our interview and it was so good. I am so, so freaking excited for you guys to hear this interview.

Greg McKeown is so many things. He is one of the smartest guys I've ever had the opportunity to speak with. He's a gem and he is such a good man of faith. He's a family guy, he's an author. He's so accomplished. I just sat down with him and felt like being here with him was so, so good.

Greg is the author of the book Essentialism. I've written blog posts about this, shared it and talked about it a lot over the past two years or so. I think the first time I read it was about two years ago.

I wanted to have Greg on the show specifically for this month, where we're really talking about my favorite authors, diving into books and reading more. This book is so important. It's so important that you read it. It's actually a really great book for listening as well, so if you prefer audio books, this is one of those where you could totally listen to it and really still gain everything that you would gain if you are reading it in paper. I know sometimes you get an audio book and you listen to it and you're like, “Dang it, I really wish I had that in paper.”

I think it's a good one. You're going to want to maybe take some notes to reference later, but it's totally one you could listen to.

This interview with Greg was one of the most powerful interviews I've had so far in my career. It was practical. He takes me through essentialism in my own life right now, at the time of this recording. We opened my phone together and looked in settings and found that I was spending a lot of time texting and doing things on my phone that I didn't realize was still so bad. You guys know I talk about phone time and getting intentional with that all the time, but the phone is a part of my job and I have to talk to people in my business throughout the day. And just seeing that number, the amount of hours was such an awakening for me and so humbling.

There's always room to grow and improve and yes, there's basically no time spent on social media, but there's a lot of time spent texting and how can I improve that? Is that worth the time? He takes me through practically speaking, essentialism, and setting up a part of my life and what is essential.

It's so good. I can't wait for you to hear this. I'm so grateful to Greg for totally just taking over this interview and making it a practical life changer for you guys. I think hearing the examples that he walks me through is going to help you actually go and make changes in your life today. I am so, so excited. All of that to say let's dive in with Greg. This is so good.

ALLIE: Hi Greg. Welcome! Yeah, I'm excited. So we're just gonna dive right in. You are the author of Essentialism of course, and I love the story in the book about how you got into essentialism. Would you mind just kind of opening up by telling that story?

GREG: Well, there’s two parts to this story. The first is I was working with Silicon Valley companies and I noticed this pattern. The pattern was when people were focused on the right things, it led to success, which we had tons of opportunities which actually got in the way of continued success because it distracted them from the very focus that had led to success in the first place. I call this the paradox of success.

But simultaneously I also had an experience in my personal life that I realized this isn't just a business phenomenon and this is a human phenomenon. And I received an email from my boss at the time that said, “Friday between 1:00-2:00 would be a very bad time for your wife to have a baby.” (I mean she was expecting otherwise that's an even stranger email to receive.) And sure enough, we were in the hospital, our daughter is born in the middle of the night, Thursday night. We're in the hospital Friday morning and instead of being present, focused, invested in the singularly important moment, I was feeling torn, stretched and pulled in at least these two different directions.

How can I keep everybody happy? And to my shame, I went to the client meeting. And really I walked away from that, in hindsight, clear, as I'd made a fool's bargain. I violated something essential for something nonessential. And I learned from that a simple lesson which is if you don't prioritize your life, someone else will.

And really, that's me, but the people listening to this right now can ask themselves some litmus test questions. Have you ever found yourself being stretched too thin at work or at home (like I was)? Have you ever found yourself feeling busy but not productive (like I was)? Have you found your day being hijacked by other people's agenda and feeling that you don't have a choice, you just need to do it all? If the answers to any of those questions are “yes,” then this is what I wrote Essentialism for was to try and address people like me who find themselves saying “yes” to those kinds of questions.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. I think everybody can relate to that in some way, and I think especially in motherhood specifically, I mean now you have four kids, right?

GREG: That’s right. Four children.

ALLIE: You understand that things are popping up all the time and while some of it is a little outside of our control, there's a lot of things in just being a parent and being involved in school, sports and things, and things just kind of come up. A lot of the time it feels like, like you say in the book, how can I do all of this well? And that's not the question that we're supposed to ask.

So, having said that, can you talk to us about what essentialism is. I know you break it down to a few steps in your book.

GREG: Yes. So, the problem is this paradox of success is the undisciplined pursuit of more. This is the problem. Where you feel like you have to do everything for everybody and that your job is really to stuff everything in. Because if you can stuff it all in, then you can have it all. This is the illogic of nonessentialism. This is our problem. This is the challenge that we have to overcome.

And the antidote to that challenge is the disciplined pursuit of less, or essentialism. Essentialism, really, is this perpetual, continual, pursuit of (1) What is essential. (2) Elimination of what is nonessential. (3) The creation of a system that makes execution as easy as possible in supporting the things that you've identified as being most important. That’s what essentialism is.

ALLIE: Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. So how exactly do we begin to discern what is really important for us in our lives when it can all feel like, oh, I can see how this is important, I can see how this might be worthwhile. If it helps to answer it, how do you discern what's actually important for our lives?

GREG: So, Allie, are you up for a little experiment? Let’s take this conversation out of the philosophical and let’s make it sort of practical and apply it. As people are listening to this, they can do the same exercise themselves. Of course, their answers will be different.

The first thing to do is to think about importance continuum. So, think about the room that you're in, right? One side of the room is like 0-10% important. It’s one far side of the room. And on the other side of the room is the most important, the very most important things, maybe 90-100% important, or the essential things.

So, you've got this full continuum and everything that we do or could do can be placed somewhere on that continuum. Does that make sense first of all?

ALLIE: Yes.

GREG: So, Step 1 in essentialism is to explore what is essential, to create space to explore what is essential. And you’re doing that now, and I'm doing that now and everybody listening is doing that now. We are creating space to think about not just what’s good or important, but what is very important, the essential things, this 90-100% area.

Here's what I want you to do. The first question I have for you is what is something right now that you know to be very important, essential, that you are either not investing in or you feel that you are underinvesting in right now?

ALLIE: I would say revenue-producing tasks in my business keep getting pushed to the back burner.

GREG: Revenue producing tasks in your business. Tell me what that means just a little more concretely.

ALLIE:  Writing some emails that will take me a lot of time that I keep pushing off that will produce revenue that we're needing to meet our goals for September.

GREG: Right. So, you've got some emails that need to actually be created and sent out. That needs to be done. It's a job. You know it needs to be done. You’re pushing it off. There’s something about this that’s not pleasant. I'm sure a variety of things, but that’s the work. Why does it matter to you?

ALLIE: Because it’s my family's livelihood. It's our revenue, our money. We need it.

GREG: Okay. Give me one more level of why. Why does that matter to you? So you need it for your family. That's your revenue stream. Why does that matter? Give me one more level of why.

ALLIE: I don't know if this is right, but what comes to my mind is that I also can't get these women into the program that will change their lives if they don't buy it. And then also we can't do the things that we need to do as a family and as a business, if that money doesn't come in.

GREG: Okay. This is jugular. This means your double bottom line is affected. That's what you just said. It drives the mission. No margin, no mission. If you don't get the revenue, then you can continue to make the contribution you want to make professionally to all of these people and also within your own family. You want to be able to provide so that they can live, grow and succeed. This is why.

Okay, we have now identified what matters and why it matters. Now a little more just on Step 1, this exploring what’s essential is, what would success look like? Like how would you know that this work was taken care of? That it was completed?

ALLIE: Spending about two hours, really thinking through the wording and the copy that would go into the emails. Actually writing it, proofreading it, editing it, and sending it off to my business manager for execution. That is my part of finishing that.

GREG: Perfect. In total? You said two hours, but was that two hours the first part or was that total? What do you think?

ALLIE: Total task done.

GREG: Ok, total task, two hours. That’s Step 1 done.

Okay. Now we're going to move Step 2, which is the opposite side of this continuum. What we now are looking for is an activity that you know to be very unimportant, nonessential, that you're still spending more time in than you think it deserves. Give me something that you go, “You know, I wouldn't mind spending this much time, but I'm probably spending this much time.” Something that is still nonessential in your world.

ALLIE: I would say this week, kind of trivial, but time consuming, catching up on the laundry from a bunch of trips that we just took. I could easily give that to someone else.

GREG: Okay, so we've got laundry on there. How do you do on social media?

ALLIE: I delegate a lot of it, but I do spend quite a bit of time.

GREG: More than you wish you did? Would that also be on your list?

ALLIE: Yeah. I could cut that down for sure.

GREG: Okay, so I want to do this because I think this is a fun thing, and by the way you're being helpful and brave to even do this experiment right now.

Okay. So, do you have your phone with you?

ALLIE: I do.

GREG: Okay, so everybody listening to this do the same thing. Pick up your phone and don't get distracted by it. Look up, go to settings in your phone. Under settings, go to battery. Under battery is listed all the apps on your phone right now. It will be preset. There's a blue tag there we preset to one day. Next to that blue tag is seven days. Will you click seven days? And then next to that seven days there's a clock face and I want you to click that clock face as well. Okay?

Now what you can look at. Now, this is just one tiny but factual resource for how people are spending time. Underneath there now you will see how much time in minutes and hours you have spent on all of those different apps over the last seven days. Do you see that? Anything striking you?

ALLIE: I'm surprised by how much texting. 5 ½ hours texting? I feel like I don’t text that much, but this is humbling.

GREG: 5 ½ hours texting?

ALLIE: 5 ½ hours in Messenger; 7 minutes only is in the background.

GREG: You’re doing it. You can't believe that, can you? Because you're running lean in your life. You’re already applying these principles in your life. You’re already above average. But you could be above average in today's world and still, in fact everyone is, still sucked into nonessentialism. This is the power of nonessentialism. It's everywhere. And it’s not everywhere by default, it’s everywhere by design.

I think you said Messenger, but it could almost be any messaging app. How much money has been spent, how much effort has been spent building a system to make it effortless for you to be on Messenger. If it was neutral meaning if the world was not built nonessentialist right now, then we might say no money has been spent on it. You just live and you can choose to focus on one thing or another and it's just neutral.

But it's not neutral. Billions of dollars have been spent building the machine that you're using, the phone that you’re using to be on Messenger. Billions of dollars have been spent by the team at Facebook to make sure that Messenger is built a certain way. All of this should help us to see why, “My goodness, of course I'm doing this.”

Now just found yourself 5 ½ hours. Now I don't know how much of that for you is productive. I'm not saying every time you're using Messenger that is a waste of time. Can you tell me what you would like that to be?

ALLIE: I would like to cut it in half. I know a lot of the texts in this are business management texts that need to happen. For me, I’m thinking 5 ½ hours doing anything that isn't really money producing or intentional living is not okay with me no matter what I was doing.

GREG: Yeah. I remember the first time I ran this exercise with myself when I was first testing this and I was surprised too. I found an app, for me it was news. I was reading way more news in terms of hours per week than I realized and I thought, okay, that's got to change. That's not what I realized I was even doing. That's one of the reasons I like just running through this little exercise

So, let's say you said you cut it in half. That's what you wanted. Look at that. We just found you over two hours, which is exactly the amount of time you're looking for. And we didn't get too close off the goal. We didn't get too complicated about this. We didn't have to get into lots of jargon. We just identified the extremes.  

Now, that is not sufficient. That might be sufficient for you because you might be somebody who just has a high execution capability so you'll translate this. You'll make you make the decision and you'll go into operation.  

So, we've identified in Step 1, what's essential. We've identified Step 2, what's nonessential. And the trade-off is the inherent part of the essentialist strategy.

Essentialist strategy means trading these things off. It’s not just saying “yes” to something important. It's not just saying “no” to something not important. It's making the trade-off between the two so that you are now living a more essentialist life than before.

Once the decision is made, the tradeoff, we now move into the 3rd Step, which is execution. Execution has multiple parts to it. A nonessentialist approaches execution in a very forced way. At the last moment, I'll make this thing happen. You know, I'll stay up till midnight trying to get these emails done, let's say, at the last moment. This is one approach, but what I have found is that essentialists approach execution from how do we stack the deck in our favor?

That's what we're trying to do. That's what I want for you. I want us to right now build a system that means that it is more likely than not that you will do it, and even if you don't feel like it. So that while you do feel like it, right now in this conversation you feel like making the change, you're making the trade-off, you use that discipline to build a system that means you'll execute even when you don't feel like it.

So, it’s a different way of using your discipline currency. You're buying a system instead of trying to buy directly the execution. You want to build a system that encourages execution.

So let's do that. So, the first thing I want you to do is I want you to describe for me a graphical progress mechanism. Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of words. A chart of some kind that you use. Now I can give you options, but sometimes people have preference. They have some way that they like to do this.

Seinfeld uses a calendar and he makes a red cross over every day that he has sat down and written comedy, and if he doesn't do that he won’t do it because this is the hardest part of his work. And so, he has a visual representation and his goal is to have as many consecutive days in a row.

So, let me give you another alternative. A star chart. Literally a star chart, just like we would use with our children. We're all big children. We love star charts. You could have a stock chart, but I'm asking for a graphical representation of the work that needs to be done. What sounds right to you?

ALLIE: I have a big calendar on this wall in my office that's just for looks and I would just put a big x on each day that I did what I need to do so I can see it.

GREG: Okay, so let's break it down. Let's say that it's half an hour a day until you're done. Is that how you'd want to approach it? So every day you get half an hour done. Every day you have traded off, like I might even encourage you to have one red diagonal line for every day you spend half an hour writing these emails. The second line that makes the “X” for every day you've given up half an hour of time on Messenger, so you are actually keeping yourself honest for both elements of the trade-off.

Okay, now we have checklist, we have a graphical representation. Now we need a reward. This is an external carrot. This has nothing to do with the intrinsic benefits that you will gain, and of course, motivate you inherently to want to make these trade-offs in the first place. But I mean something very tangible that’s some reward for you. Every day would be ideal, so every day I do this, every day I get both “X’s” I get to…what? I get what benefit? What’s something for you?

ALLIE: Being able to read in the evening. I never do it because I'm catching up on things I didn't do during the day. I would love to be able to sit and read for a half hour before I go to bed instead of finishing up work things.

GREG: Super. So, you have a favorite book and you're going to get to read it. If you do this, you get to reward yourself by reading this. Okay, good.

Now we need to take away. We need something that if you don't do it, you don't get it. Not just that you don't get to read the book. Something that is, again, tangible, physical. I can give you examples from people that have done this before, but does anything come to mind for you? You want to examples?

Okay, so I have one person who has a hundred-dollar bill pinned up on the wall. On any day they do not do what they've identified, they have to rip up the $100 in multiple pieces, throw it away. It cost them $100 if they don't do it.

I have another person who has a favorite wine. Both his reward and take away is this. He gets to drink his glass of wine if he does what he's committed to, and he has to pour down that glass of wine, just pour it down the sink, if he doesn't.

Here are examples. I can give more but what do you think?

ALLIE: I liked the money one because it motivates me and because my task is directly related to creating revenue and so it really hits me because it's a physical, it's related and it's a big reminder.

GREG: It’s a physical, direct representation of exactly what you're trying to do. I like that too. So literally, your job is to get $100 bill and pin it up right next to that calendar, so it's there.

By the way, how do you feel about that? Like tell me about the emotion of it, the thought of taking that and ripping it up. How do you feel about that?

ALLIE: I feel incredibly stressed even just thinking about it. It's funny because in writing these emails, like I'll make much more than that. If I don't do it then I'm losing. Not only am I losing that money from not writing the emails, now I'm losing $100 that could be given away to somebody who needs it or used to pay a bill. It's so painful.

GREG: What it is, what the research shows, is that a takeaway is generally about six times more effective than a reward, which is just amazing. I almost wish it wasn't this way, but it seems to be. Certainly when I share these ideas with people it’s the part that gets people's attention. Everyone's listening to this part. Oh my goodness they think, “I have to throw that away. I have to give that thing up. I have to rip up $100.”

ALLIE: My palms are sweaty just thinking about it.

GREG: The goal isn't to stress you out, but it is to give teeth to this commitment. We say we're committed, but somehow we're more committed at the moment that we're willing to rip up $100 bill. Somehow that changes the emotional intensity behind what we're saying.

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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

I don't spend months creating courses for no reason. This is where the action is. My courses are for the serious doers out there. If you want to see focused, real change happen in your life - change that lasts - this is what my courses are for.

This is where I dive all the way into actually implementing minimalism in your home and simplification to the cluttered parts of your life as a mom. We get legit detailed in these courses. My students have incredible success rates that they share in our Private Students’ Community and you can see some of their testimonials on my website.

I work really hard to keep my courses priced as low as I can, but you guys know I totally get being on a crazy tight budget, which is why I also have payment plans available

My courses are different from each other. They each serve different purposes and will take you to different places in your life. Don't overthink which one to start with. Just go to the website and pick one that's resonating with you and enroll.

For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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GREG: There are many other things that we could do to aid in execution. I could go through them. I mean, you could take Messenger off your phone for this week. You can turn off your phone altogether for this hour a day. You can give your phone to somebody else. You can write out your email and not even be on technology. Just write it out on paper so that you don't have that distraction in place. One thing that I think we should still do is now building an accountability partner, right? So who is going to help you stay accountable to what we've just described? I want a name.

ALLIE: Hayley, my business manager, that’s her job so I would enlist her for that.

GREG: Okay. So let's do now this part of the exercise. There’s two better reasons to do it this way. One is to practice for this conversation with Hayley, but there's a second benefit to it and I'll get to that after we’ve done it.

I want you to tell me like as if I am Hayley. I want you to explain to me what we've just done just as if I am Hayley. Just tell me what we've just done and where you're looking for help.

ALLIE: Okay. So, I’ve decided that I need to write some email copy for 30 minutes every single day and I need you to hold me accountable to that. If I don't do it by 5 PM Pacific, then I have to rip up $100 and sweat. I would say, check in with me at 4:00 every day as a kind of you have one more hour to get this done if I haven't done it already.

GREG: Okay. I love that. I thought that was so clear. You gave structure to it. Because we'd used the systematic way of building this, you were able to express some of that.

Let me share something that I would encourage you to do and I actually want you to do it again now, based on this idea. And let me just say this is universally not done when people go through this exercise. Even though we just did it, they still miss it, and that's because…I don't know why really, but it's very inherently human, to not explain why.

For some reason we assume people know our intent and it’s the cause of an enormous number of human relation challenges. We assume people know our intent and in fact, it is unknowable. Our intent is the most private part of us. It's like deep down in our secret part. A big improvement to becoming an essentialist is to express “why am I doing this” before asking people to do what.

You don't have to get through the whole thing again, because the structural part was really clear, but can you just express, as is if I'm Hayley, why do you want to make this change?

ALLIE: Okay, I want to write this email copy every day because this task keeps getting pushed away until the end of the month and then it becomes a point of stress. And without this done, we are not able to meet our revenue goals. We are not able to give to the charities we would like to give to in the amounts we'd like to give. And everything as whole in the business becomes very stressful, versus peaceful and well planned.

GREG: Yeah. And there was even a little more because... I loved what you said…but there was more. There was, “This is jugular to the business and to my family. This is personally important to me. This is personal for me to make this change because it provides for my family, it provides for our business. This matters to me.”

What everybody needs, who is listening to this, is to be as clear about what they're trying to do, what's really important, what's essential. As clear, and as many reasons as possible for why because that produces the emotional energy to be able to then make the trade-off. You need to have your “yes” be clear, poignant, visceral, strong, emotional, so that it gives you the energy to make the trade-off to build this system. That’s what pours energy into the process.

By the time you're done with the process, the process is feeding you, so that when the emotional strength isn't there, the system is there. You've now got an accountability partner. You've got a graphical representation. You've got a reward system for doing it and a takeaway for not doing it.

Now we have gone through the 3 Steps. That's one application of essentialism. What's essential? What’s nonessential that can be eliminated? And let's build a system to support it. How do you feel as we went through that process?

ALLIE: I feel so good. I feel inspired and encouraged, because life is just so loud. You get distracted by other things and you forget like, what are the things I actually need to do though that have to get done? I've been distracted by, you know, we just started our busy season as a family with sports and homeschool, extracurricular activities, and all these things and they're great. They're good. But they're distracting from the things that we won't be able to do those things if these three, four or five things don't happen.

And so those essential things are getting pushed because they're time consuming and it's such a reminder of that is not the order that is going to bring me a peaceful life at all. So I feel really smacked across the head and a good way.

GREG: {laughing} Well, I don’t know how I feel about having created a smacked across the head sensation for you, but I liked the idea that what I heard underneath of all that was a sort of wake up and an empowerment. A sense of first of all, I am not doing something that I clearly can do and now I’ve got a system that’s going to encourage me to do it.

What is your current confidence level in actually doing that within the next week?

ALLIE: I feel very confident actually. Writing emails and writing in general is what I feel I'm most good at and I like doing it. I don't know why it always gets pushed. It’s probably really just a time thing. I don't think there's much in-depth heart things that I am not dealing with about it because I like writing and I am confident about it. But just the reminder and like you said, the awakening of this matters more than you're treating it like it does. Let's set this up so you'll do it. I feel very, very confident that I'll do it and I would never rip up that $100 bill so I will do it.

GREG: Yeah. See, there's a few things you see. Something you just said I really liked was the idea that this exercise drew into contrast all these activities that were muddled in the middle that appeared to be all approximately the same level of importance. We've got the sports, we've got the extracurriculars, we've got curriculum that we've got to get through. We've got all these activities, we've got the emails to write, we've got Messaging, communication to have with other people. It sounded to me as if it was all melding into the sort of the middle area of that continuum. It's all pretty good and it all kind of has to be done.

ALLIE: Yes.

GREG: But when you try and stretch the continuum and be more precise, you find actually some things are hugely important. They’re way up one side and some things are way off down the other side. Of course, some things are in the middle. I mean that's the idea of a continuum. But by stretching the continuum, you start to see they aren’t all approximately the same level of importance.

Some are way more important. Some must be done first. They enable the other things in fact. Like the kingpin in bowling, you hit the one right thing and it will have a positive effect upon many other things. And that’s confirming that you've chosen something that isn’t essential.

But let me just go one step further with this. The continuum we’re describing isn't static. Meaning, if you take the whole continuum you just described, a year from now, five years from now, whenever, everything that you now think is 90-100% important, that could be stretched to be a whole new continuum.

I don't want people to get stressed out listening to this, but things that used to seem important can be eliminated altogether. When you say, you know what, I'm done, I'm done with television, you can be done with television. These are extreme things to say. They'll sound extreme.

I am done with Facebook. There's no need to be on Facebook. I can be on Facebook one minute a month, a year. I am just done with it. Suddenly the things that you used to go 90-100% become your whole life. You're spending all of your time on what you have identified previously as 90-100% important, so your whole life is now full of things that used to be just sort of a portion of your life.

And that process continues and continues so that in the new continuum, you keep looking for those items in your “new” 90-100%. This is the 90% rule. You keep on looking for 90 % and above. You keep trading off your 0-10. This is why it's a disciplined pursuit. It's an ongoing process so that eventually your life is fuller and fuller with more and more of the most important things.

So that's how essentialism is different than almost every other productivity and efficiency approach anywhere. This is about perpetual pursuit. It's not about doing more things, it's about doing more of the right things. And you keep on doing that and you keep on becoming more selective. Things that you would have said were 50% important last year, now are no longer even on your list. That's gone completely when you keep on becoming more and more selective.

And this way you become far more valuable. Your contribution goes up significantly. And over time your stress can also be decreased at the same time. That’s the value.

ALLIE: Yeah. That’s amazing. My mind is blown all over again just talking to you.

GREG: I'm pleased because essentialism for me continues to be a stretching, challenging model for me as well. I'm a struggler. I'm learning this and I continually try to apply these ideas. I have found that over time it's a richer journey than it was in the beginning. It gets richer and richer over time. It's not like an idea for me, like many of the ideas I’ve come to and even fallen in love with through my life to say, “Okay, that's done. I'm done with that. I'm moving onto the next thing.”

For me, it is something that the more I live it, the richer it becomes, the more and more selective I can be, the better the opportunities. I'm investing in the right thing, so that means you get more of the right things coming. Relationships are the most important. People get better and better.

You get to discern better. At first, someone might be saying, “Hey, I'm going to go on dates with my wife.” Then eventually someone says, “Well, hold on. I’ve been doing that every single week. I never not do that. I'm going to start designing and planning it at the beginning of the week, not just last moment. Start designing it.”

Over time you become more and more thoughtful, more and more selective as you take this very rich journey into essentialism. Because the beauty of life…and whether it's useful or not…the overwhelming reality is that almost everything is in fact noise, but a few things are so valuable, so important that they are incredibly useful to identify and pursue.

I'll give a business example of that from a quote I read years ago that has been helpfully haunting to me. And it’s this: “All you need is the one right idea to live like a king for the rest of your life.” The idea that I think is powerful in that is that it’s not about ideas; I can have a million ideas. But find the right one, the most important one, now it’s rich.

This is true, I think, in all of life. It's all about trying to pursue that trade-off with other things so that we can keep pursuing and discerning even more clarity within what we've identified as important.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I think even just the idea of what you're saying for so many people listening and for me, is just what would life even look like if the only things I spent time and energy on were things in the 90%. Things that really mattered, were so worth my time, that were essential, that have to happen. I would imagine you would have a lot of free time that would either end up being fun and play, which you also talked a ton about in the book and I love that chapter, or more time spent on those things.

GREG: Exactly. Something that has been profound to me is I read a graphical essay available online that’s called The Tail End, and in it the author is giving graphical representation of how much time we have remaining or how little. He shows, for example, the crescendo insight that he has is that he plots out all of the face-to-face time that he will have with his parents. And he crosses off all of the face-to-face time he has had so far. And he concludes that by the time he left home he had had, I think the number was 94% of the face time he'll ever have with his parents.

That's like a shocking insight. It’s a shocking thought to me, but totally real. I mean once you leave, you can talk on the phone, yes you can meet in person, but unless you will be incredibly deliberate, and even then, you have spent that face-to-face time. That is done. Of course, as a parent we can see that from a reverse point of view that “Okay, we are all in the tail end of our parenting. We are all in the tail end of our lives in a sense, so we have to use our time differently.

This is all to set into context. The idea that in the final analysis we have so little time remaining that if I don't spend it constantly searching for the 90% and above and pursuing those things, then I will be trading off those 90% and above for trivial things. I'll be making a trade-off. Now it might not be as dramatic or as foolish as the trade-off I made to go to this meeting instead of being focused on my wife and daughter on the day of her birth, but it will still appear a fool's bargain in hindsight.

I'll give you another positive because I know there's lots of negatives that have depressed us all, but I remember a positive for me, I went through a similar process like you and I just did and identified a top thing for me, an essential thing, would be speaking to my grandfather each week. I was probably at that time spending about 15 minutes a week on Facebook. Not a lot of time, but some time. It's still 15 minutes, right?

And so I stopped. I made that trade off. Almost every week for the rest of his life, which was a couple of years or something at that point, I spoke to him on the phone and that was my trade-off. Nobody hearing that story has ever said to me, I think you really should have spent that time on the Facebook. It’s obvious. In hindsight, it’s obvious.

People can make these trade-offs. You can live a life that really matters. You can make small adjustments. Don't get down about the times we get it wrong. Of course, we get it wrong, but keep coming back to what's essential.  

I’ll leave you on this. When you are on a flight from San Francisco to New York, the plane is off track 90% of the time. It gets to where it's supposed to get because it keeps coming back. It comes back to being on track. That's exactly how I feel about living essentialism.  

We’re going to be lost. We’re going to be nonessential. All of us will be off. How frequently can we come back to that primary question, what is essential? What do I need to be focused on next?

As we do that, the faster we come back, the less time we waste and we get to celebrate the wins that we're having and feel encouraged every time we get it right. Write it down. I do that in my journal. I write down every day the things that I felt grateful about, the essential things that did get done. It's a positive cycle and I don't have to feel discouraged about all the times I messed it up today. Keep coming back.

ALLIE: Yeah, just kind of constantly calling things under the light and looking at is this essential and do I want to keep going with this? I love that you say that. It's not about get it right and then live your life that way. It's about keep bringing it back underneath the light and looking at it and asking yourself and checking in. I love that.

GREG: That's exactly right and you said it perfectly.

ALLIE: This is amazing. Thank you so much for making this practical. It's so helpful, but it's overwhelming sometimes and I think that you made it practical and gave those examples with me and my stuff. It's so, so helpful. I just thank you so much for being here. This was so great.

GREG: Well, I very much appreciate it and best of luck to you and all your followers and listeners.

ALLIE: Thank you so much, Greg.


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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 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 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.
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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.
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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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