“Bigger is better.” “Don’t belittle yourself––bebig yourself.” “Think big.” With all the press about thinking big and being big and doing big things, it might be hard to imagine there being any value in thinking small and doing small things–and keeping life simple. But there is. And when you reach the second half of life there couldn’t be a better time to practice it.
Consider the wisdom of the following actions and how they might lead all of us toward a simpler, cozier, and less stressful life-style.
• TAKE SMALL STEPS.
When you’re sorting through your possessions and wondering what to keep, toss, or give away, think small. For example, go through one closet, drawer, or cabinet at a time. When you’re comfortable with that increment, proceed to the next small goal. You’ll be more relaxed and less apt to make decisions you may regret later.
• ALLOW SMALL MISTAKES.
It’s easier to clean up a cup of spilled water than a bucketful. Small steps cut down mistakes. And if you make one, it’s not a big deal—it’s just a small one. You can make necessary corrections simply and easily. A miscommunication, a misstep, a misunderstanding, is more likely to be noticed. You’ll have time to correct it. Think small and take small steps with people, as well as things.
• TAKE SMALL TIME-OUTS.
When you feel fatigue setting in or anxiety gripping you, don’t pile into bed and pull the quilt over your head. Stop what you’re doing immediately. Cut off the stress and fatigue before it gets the best of you. Think small. Stretch. Smile. Sip water or tea or nibble on some fruit or nuts. Take a small walk or a short nap. You’ll return to your routine refreshed and ready to continue.
• NOTICE SMALL INCREASES.
As you learn to think small, you’ll also notice small changes. Your confidence will heighten. You can learn a new computer program after all. You’ll meet new people more easily. You’ll surrender old obligations so you can investigate new opportunities and take better care of yourself while doing so.
• ACCEPT SMALL VICTORIES.
Notice the little victories that make your home life pleasing and satisfying. Instead of dashing here and there, forcing yourself or your mate to reach a desired goal, focus on a smile, a hug, a word of encouragement, a compliment, and a bit of gratitude toward the other. And start acknowledging yourself, as well, whether or not anyone else notices what you do. Pat your own back. Give yourself a small reward: that new book you’ve been eager to read, a cappuccino with whipped cream on top, an art movie, a new CD. Then when you least expect it, you’re likely to realize just how sweet and cozy your new life really is.