3 Simpler Living Strategies for the New Year (and Denver Resources that Can Help!)

3 Simpler Living Strategies for the New YearI’ve never really been one for resolutions. Nevertheless January has always seemed like the ideal point to implement new beginnings. So, as 2015 rolls into 2016, this feels like the right time for conducting my own personal state of the union for my family, our home and myself. To do this, I have collected both strategies, as well as local Denver resources, to help simplify our lives this year.

As I have begun embracing simplicity, I’ve come to the realization that my greatest obstacle in so many areas of my life is this: decision fatigue. There was a time when having lots of options for a decision seemed wonderful, indulgent even. “What should I have for dinner tonight? I could have my favorite meal that requires a long prep time or maybe that new recipe that requires an extensive shopping trip. Both sound delicious.”

Now that I am chasing kids, options just seem to create more work: “What should I make for dinner tonight? Will the 3-year-old eat that (or at least a part of it)? Is the preparation something I can do while I feed the baby and keep preschooler occupied? Do I have the ingredients on hand and is everything thawed? If not, do I have time to go to the store to get the ingredients and will baby cooperate? I wonder if husband will mind if we just order out again?” I feel exhausted and defeated before I begin even working on dinner: Decision fatigue.

Is this a first-world problem? Absolutely. But, it’s also a cause of first-world stress. This study is just one that confirms what many of us already suspect: having too many options can create rather than minimize stress.

There is a reason that highly successful people opt to minimize important decisions by following a formula, such as wearing the same thing every day. As a mom, I am finding that applying this rule reduces stress and simplifies life. Basically these practices depend on making one overarching decision that you can fall back on time and again with little to no thought.

Here are a few areas where I’ve been putting this theory into practice and local Denver resources that can help…

1.    Embrace and cultivate your personal style: Rely on a signature or capsule wardrobe that flatters you, and do not deviate from this no matter the current trend or the good deal. There are many ways you can get started: You can read up on the many, many online posts that discuss how to create a capsule wardrobe. (And, you don’t need to limit your options as drastically as some—just do what works for you.) You can utilize an affordable monthly subscription service like Stitch Fix (women only), which I have heard wonderful reviews of from friends. Or you can call someone locally for immediate, more intensive help. Local personal image consultant Milena Joy gets rave reviews online. Also check out these local services: Keri Blair, Worthwhile Style, or Spruce (men only).

2.    Strategize dinner with the plan-ahead method that works best for you: There are so many options for busy people who still wish to eat healthy at home. You can find many helpful guides online on meal-planning that can help you to be more organized and stick to a budget. Another option, which I love, is the concept of developing “meal templates,” such as pasta, Mexican, grain bowls, that you can customize weekly but don’t require a lot of additional thought or prep work. Dinner meal planning and delivery subscription services have become a popular go-to option, especially for busy professionals. Relish! and Perfect Pea (for vegetarians) are local options. (Another good non-local option is Cook Smarts.) And for those nights when you just can’t get it together: healthy meals prepared by chefs and delivered right to you: Supper Bell (no planning necessary–you can order as late as 3pm that day!) and Caveman Chefs.

3.    Select a signature gift to give to everyone: Shopping for someone else can be so difficult, and this simplifies that process in so many ways. Select a book you’ve loved this year or your favorite indulgence, such as a  body scrub or lotion, bottle of whiskey, or massage. This past year I was obsessed with Turkish towels, so simply beautiful yet durable, and many loved ones were on the receiving end of these. The key is to select something that you have enjoyed and share that with those you love. At first this may sound like you are not being very thoughtful, but even with a signature gift you can customize it for the person. One of my favorite things to do is curate a box of my well-loved favorites, especially local goods or those I can find at my favorite boutiques. My favorite local fillers include: Love and Toast and Chocolove. And, forget about buying new gift wrap every time…simple brown mailing wrap with a beautiful ribbon makes an elegant presentation no matter the occasion.

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