Choosing to go against the grain isn’t always easy. If you want to live simply in a culture focused on consumerism, you may need to make some adjustments.
How to Live Simply in a Culture Focused on Consumerism
Whether you are having to live more simply because of life circumstances or because it is just a change you want to make, these tips will help you to live more simply in a culture that’s focused on consumerism.
1. Stop comparing
It becomes a challenge to live differently when you compare yourself with others. When you choose the path of simplicity, that often means not keeping up with all of the fashion and technology trends because that isn’t simple (and it’s expensive!).
If you are constantly comparing yourself to people on a different path, you’ll never measure up and it will just make you feel bad. Own your journey and your goals and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.
Discontent comes when we compare and begin to suddenly feel like we are without. If you want to live simply in a culture focused on consumerism, stop comparing yourself to consumerists.
2. Limit negative messaging
One way to stop comparing is by unfollowing people who you are tempted to compare yourself to. Be aware of the messaging that is coming into your mind. Take a look at what emails you are getting, what is in your social media feeds, whom you follow.
If the people you are following are on a different path than you, stop following them. That won’t take you where you want to go. Don’t let them be your leaders.
If you’re receiving catalogs in the mail or sales notifications from stores in your and they’re tempting you to purchase when you don’t want to, unsubscribe. Shut off anything that makes you feel like you are lacking or tempts you into further consumerism.
Choose to limit the negative messaging that is coming into your life. Create boundaries with technology and social media if it’s become a problem for you.
3. Increase positive messaging
In order to live simply in a culture focused on consumerism, you’ll want to find supportive voices in your journey to simplify. Read books and blogs that will encourage you. Join Facebook communities of like-minded individuals like, Simplify & Declutter.
Have your feed filled with messaging that supports where you want to go with your life. If simplifying is your goal, follow people and pages who speak into that message. This will continue to help you feel supported and encouraged in your journey and perhaps challenge some of your thoughts.
Have reminders in your home of what you stand for. Write a personal or family mission statement and review it often to solidify it in your mind. If you want to teach your kids to live simply in a consumer culture, the mission statement will help you stay focused on your values and ideals.
“Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.” –Cal Newport
4. Focus on your goals
Going against the flow is not easy. You’ll need to have specific goals and motivation behind it in order to keep moving forward. Knowing your why behind your goals as well as a clear vision will keep propelling you forward because you’re clear on the objective.
If you want to live simply in a culture focused on consumerism, keep your focus on your goals and mission. Keep taking the next step on your path towards the life you want.
It’s much easier to move with the current than swim upstream. So you need to be sure of your steps and the purpose behind your different life choices.
5. Start new traditions
To live simply in a culture focused on consumerism, you’ll need to create new traditions. If your current traditions land you in a house full of stuff you don’t want after the holidays, now is the time to make different choices.
Reconsider how you practice gift giving at the holidays. Focus on experiences over gifts. Start conversations with family members about your new goals in simplifying and how that will impact your traditions.
Come up with solutions that allow you to enjoy birthdays and holidays while still working towards your goals.
If shopping has been a hobby for you, find a replacement. Try going on a walk, having lunch with a friend, or starting a new activity you’ve always wanted to try.
6. Choose gratitude
Choose to be grateful every day. When you focus on what you have rather than what you lack your entire perspective changes. Part of living counter-culturally will mean that you feel uncomfortable sometimes.
It can feel awkward to be different, but when you are clear on your purpose it makes it easier.
Let your goals and values be louder than the messages that say you need more. You don’t need more of anything. Choose to be thankful for what you already have. Sometimes, it’s the perspective that needs adjusting. Not the stuff.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” -Aesop
It’s ok to not get the newest iPhone. It is perfectly fine to rent your home and drive an older car that you don’t make payments on. In fact, these choices will make Dave Ramsey proud and your home and life much less stressful.
Rarely does consumerism help you reach your goals. Unless your goal is to get into debt buying things that make you feel burdened and let down. It’s in trying to find our fulfillment in stuff that we feel empty.
When we look to things to make us happy, we feel let down. When we choose gratitude, we’re content.
Living simply doesn’t mean you have to be super cheap (although admittedly I am). It just means you are more selective in what you own and you don’t buy things just for the sake of buying them.
It’s about being intentional with your decisions and knowing what’s most important to you.
Choosing to live simply in a culture focused on consumerism, won’t always be easy. Your choice to live differently will be tested at times. But when you know what you stand for and why it isn’t as difficult.
You get to choose what you spend your time and money on. When you live simply, you free yourself up to focus on the people and causes you care about most. You have more to give when you live with less.
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This was a fantastic article. I appreciate that you encourage us to acknowledge the simple living is counter cultural. Until you realize your swimming upstream you won’t understand why you have to make a concerted effort to push against the current.
I have it really helpful to focus on what actually brings me joy. It is always a non thing like family nature sunlight rest learning creating and so on. When you realize that the joy of getting isn’t near as much as the joy of doing it’s easy to focus on experiences instead of things.