20 Ways to Live Simply and Fully: How to Make Space for Your New Year’s Intentions to Materialize
Monday January 1, 2024

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Welcome to 2024.

A year that holds an abundance of promise and opportunity merely waiting for each of us to be fully present so that we will be able to fully engage with what we meet along our life journey.

Have you set your intentions? Or maybe you call them resolutions? Or revolutions? Whatever you have been pondering regarding the new year, hopes, dreams, wonderings and desires, over the next two months here on TSLL blog and The Simple Sophisticate podcast, I will be sharing content teaching tools and providing inspiration to ensure indeed it can materialize.

And because each of us has a unique hope/intention/resolution/etc. for 2024, as varied as each individual person is from another, I will be providing tools and skills, each generally applicable so that they can be utilized for the individualized success you seek in this new year.

As I talk about with TOP Tier Members in today’s A Cuppa Moments w/Shannon video chat, the first step toward the success we seek is simplifying. Not simplifying as it is often referenced regarding clearing out the physical clutter, but rather a simplifying in order to gain clarity in the direction we wish to travel so that we will be guaranteed to eventually arrive where we desire. And this latter form of simplifying, while sometimes including the physical clearing out of stuff, is done to gain mental clarity and reduce distraction while bringing calm. And once we have clarity we have a clear path to creating a life of daily contentment.

Norman will be visually guiding you along this journey as you will see in the photos shared below, as we took a long hike to conclude 2023, and what a beautiful day we were fortune to choose to do so. As it was a new trail to us, each turn piqued our curiosity as well as gave our minds along with our bodies a wonderful workout. And that too is part of gaining clarity, it takes time, it takes energy, but with each step in the right direction for our life journey, clarity is gained, calm is found and contentment then experienced which then reduces the amount of energy expended unnecessarily so we can channel more of our energy in the direction that will yield the results we seek.

Okay! Allons-y!

How to simplify in order to gain clarity and lead ourselves to the materialization of our hopes for 2024.


1.Choose 3-5 (less is best!) most important things in your life

At the beginning of the year we may have a long list of hopes and outcomes we seek, but when we narrow down and make a physical list of what is most important, it is easier to shrink the list of hopes and outcomes so that we will have an improved chance of attaining them.

By choosing what is most important to us, it immediately edits out less valued outcomes. But here is the good news, the byproducts of our success are often few select things are often the things we had to relinquish as we whittled down our list. As well, if we are being honest with ourselves about what will truly bring fulfillment to our lives, some, if not all, of those items that were whittled off the list will not be missed as we acknowledge the gift we give ourselves by accomplishing and nourishing what is most important.

2. Establish and enjoy nourishing daily and weekly (as well as monthly and seasonal) rituals

Be sure to tune in to episode #372 this coming Wednesday, as this establishing of rituals to enhance our everyday lives and thus our success toward bringing our hopes to fruition, will be the focus of the episode.

In the meantime, explore these posts from the Archives focused on cultivating rituals.

3. Declutter each room

As I mentioned in the introduction, simplifying can involve the physical removal and organization of items as it will serve to create a nourishing environment for us to relax, create and rejuvenate. In an upcoming episode of the podcast, we will talk about how to cultivate a hearth and home for creativity and nourishment.

In the meantime, read this post that shares 16 Simple Ways to Organize Your Home.

4. Live frugally, consider shopping/spending habits

One of the main sources of daily and over-arching stress in our daily lives is directly related to finances, so when we reduce unnecessary expenditures and begin to take back the control that is ours when it comes to managing our money well, we both immediately and gradually reduce permanently unnecessary stress.

And when we reduce stress that travels with us throughout each day in small, yet significant forms, we maintain more will-power, we conserve more energy and more of our focus remains on creating what we love and desire rather than trying to keep up or staying afloat.

In the next couple of months I will be writing more in detail about savvy money management, but in the meantime, there are many posts and episodes to explore on the topic of financial freedom, and one of them was the TOP episode of the podcast last year: How to Find Your Financial Freedom (episode #354).

~Explore all of TSLL’s posts on Money in the Archives.

5. Pay off ‘nesting’ costs and gain mental freedom

Perhaps you like so many people (I am right there along with you!) during the pandemic invested in your home, creating a sanctuary where you love being whether you have to be (during lock-down) or not. And if you made investments, you know they were worth it; however, you may have some debt or loans to pay off as a result. Rest easy knowing you made a sound decision, and as is discussed in episode #354 mentioned above, shift the story of how you view that debt, and then get about the business of paying off these ‘nesting’ costs so that you can be free.

When we shift the story of why we have debt when we know we made the investiture for good reasons, we let go of the shame and guilt and take responsibility with gratitude for what we gained. Because it is the shame and guilt we accept and think is the ‘right’ perspective about our situation that actually loses ground as we think we did something wrong. And we absolutely did not. Whatever or however the debt was incurred, we have been given an opportunity to learn. Now we must take responsibility and perhaps learn new skills and begin to make different choices, but all of this is a gift if we choose to see it as such.


So much of the success we wish to attain in this new year (and in any year) is dependent on our mindset – yet again something we talk about in depth in today’s A Cuppa Moments but in relationship to exercise. And that includes how we view our money and our debt when we have it.

Set a clear plan and prioritization of paying off these ‘nesting’ costs in a reasonable amount of time. Explore this post on how to get and stay out of debt.

Not only will you be giving yourself mental freedom when you reach your goals, but also during the journey toward said outcome because you have changed the story to make it beneficial and more rewarding as you are no longer depleting energy thinking about your task, but rather the opposite in the form of gratitude which strengthens a muscle that nourishes our entire lives.

6. Keep a clear desk, free of non-essentials

What do you need on your desk to work without distraction or interruption?

The answer to this question will be slightly or significantly different for each of us. For example, as someone who drinks tea while I work, I need a coaster on my desk, but I do not need pictures or memorabilia that will take up space and create clutter. However, I do need a desk lamp as I prefer a soft light to work next to rather than an exhausting overhead light.

Do you need certain folders, documents, tech equipment, a bouquet of fresh flowers, or maybe nothing at all beyond your computer? Be clear and honest with yourself about what you need and then create that space for yourself.

Over the years I have written three posts on organizing the desk, making it more efficient as well as inspiring. Find them all here.

7. Find a place for everything, room by room

Again, another aspect of simplifying that does involve the physical and tangible, but yet again, in so doing, we reduce our stress, mental clutter and exhaustion which then frees us up each and everyday to focus on the tasks that support the direction and the outcome we are headed toward.

Likely, many TSLL readers have a fairly organized and tidy home, but if there are closets, drawers or cupboards that while when the door is shut present the errant illusion that all is tidy behind them, but we know better, just knowing the truth can cause stress. Why not each weekend as January and February unfolds give yourself the task of organizing one closet/drawer/cupboard/etc., just one? This will give you time to spend as much time as you need to be thoughtful about your decluttering, but also considerate about where everything would be best stored, or if it needs to be stored at all, and instead donated.

8. Cultivate a regular meditation practice

Often talked about here on TSLL, and for good reason: we cannot become more mindful, nor can we deepen our awareness if we first do not know our own mind, and we strengthen our ability to know our own mind, to see it clearly, through the regular (i.e. daily) practice of meditation.

In order to gain clarity about what is most important to us and then find the consistent motivation to move toward it, we need to find peace within ourselves and that begins with our mind.

We experience a peaceful state of being, a mind at peace, when we create the conditions for it to be at peace. What are those conditions? We create a framework but then let go. We apply the techniques, utilize the tools without expectations of what they will bring to our lives – one of which is meditation which teaches us how to be more mindful in our everydays – we learn how to savor each day along the journey toward an outcome we have set an intention toward which we are moving, and so it is not about waiting, but rather about delighting in the days and we are not distracted or taken off the path by some new shiny object that detours our efforts. In other words, we create space for our lives to dance, and then they will, our lives, in such a way that energizes us but doesn’t distract us, rather deepens our fulfillment. That is how we create the conditions for our minds to be at peace, and thus create a life of deep contentment.

~Here is a free 30-trial for Headspace (I receive no commission for this; I simply want to share with you what has worked for me for the past six+ years.)

~Read this post on How the First 10,000 minutes of Meditation Has Changed My Life

9. Yoga

Not everyone will want to include yoga in their exercise routine which is why I want to remind, yoga need not be your sole or any sort of physical component to your exercise routine. There are many different types of yoga and no matter how much physical exertion is involved, they are all grounded in the teaching of mindfulness tools that will enhance what was shared in #8 and throughout the fundamental approach to living simply luxuriously.

When you find an instructor who is properly trained in the practice of Yoga (with a capital Y), you know you have found someone who understands yoga’s true purpose – why we hold the poses we do – to unify our inner lives with the outer world, to understand that we are not separate. As well, we begin to understand our mind and come to realize that the body and mind are not separate, but rather influence and affect each other.

~To explore the tenets of yoga, I invite you and highly recommend Debra Adele’s book Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice

10. Stop the Ads! No advertisements

Do your best and with intention to remove, avoid and therefore not view, watch or see advertisements. Whether on television, while you are reading online, listening to the radio or podcasts, limit the unnecessary exposure to ads.

Why? This may seem aggressive, but rather it is about being aware of how we are influenced in ways large and small, knowingly and unknowingly. And if we want to keep our mental space clear to maintain our mental energy (that is finite each day), to keep our mind open to exposing our minds consciously to what we choose more often than the alternative, one of the simplest ways of doing this, and a great place to start, is by turning off/removing the ads.

As I don’t have cable, I choose to subscribe to a handful of streaming services, alternating between various ones based on what programs are available, and I always choose the ad-free option. Yes, it does require I pay a bit more, but I consider it an investment in my mental health and mental clarity in my everydays.

~To explore enjoying TSLL blog ad-free, consider becoming a TOP Tier Member (there are three different payment options to fit members’ budgets).

11. No more horoscope reading (even for fun!)

I know I likely irked some by including this idea for simplifying, but as I shared in this detailed post written over 10 years ago, when we read horoscopes we unconsciously create an expectation in our mind as well as unnecessary fear or worry, and each of these mental inclinations after reading something we have been told (whether we wholly accept or not) is written for us due to when we were born, prompts mental blinders to be established to the entire picture that surrounds us in every moment of our daily lives. In other words, we are not fully present, and we are not entirely engaged, but trying to ‘see if’ such predictions will occur.

As someone who has read her own horoscope far more times than I know have been helpful, I speak from experience when I say I ignorantly would tell myself, ‘it’s not preventing me from living fully.’ Oh, but it is, in small, yet powerfully significant ways. Let life surprise you, and so long as you are living with the intention of showing up each moment to engage with loving-kindness and integrity, it always will in more wonderful ways than not.

12. Become comfortable in your own company

When we befriend ourselves, we give ourselves a priceless gift. When we enjoy our own company, a company that will be with us every single day of our lives, we make better, more loving decisions that enhance the quality of our overall lives. Explore these three detailed posts on the many benefits of solitude, no matter how much or how little you enjoy, making it a regular practice to do so nourishes us rather than depletes us.

While investing in our capsule wardrobe takes time, over time when we do so, we begin to experience the benefits and these benefits don’t all have to do with how we look. How we feel, both in how we present ourselves throughout our daily routines and responsibilities, as well as the reduced stress on our pocket books because we have purchased well once rather than discovering we don’t have what we need or what we had no longer looks its best or never actually fit us well to begin with, but almost did, so we go shopping again for what we had thought we had founding the first place at a discount brand, is how we simplify and amplify our style quotient.

In this post shared last year, An Approach to Style that Works, the benefits of investing in a capsule wardrobe centered around quality essentials, we are reminded of the simplicity we bring into our lives when we have the clothes we need and are not incessantly shopping.

14. Exercise regularly in a manner that is enjoyable

My preferred regular exercise is to walk with a weekly power yoga class mixed in for strength of body and mind. I genuinely enjoy my regimen, and I share more specifically why in today’s A Cuppa Moments, but the benefits of exercise, while long and plentiful, include the clearing of our mind, and it is by clearing our mind that we gain clarity.

15. Reduce how often you check your email each day

It has been recommended over the years here on TSLL to include this approach to our daily lives, but it bears repeating because studies continue to demonstrate how beneficial doing so (not checking our email often) is to not only our productivity, but our mental clarity, calm and peace of mind.

Set feasible parameters up in your daily life and work routine that encourage you to check your email less often. The best way I have found to do this is by making the routine or ritual something so enjoyable, I don’t want to check my email as frequently. Part of the reason we check our email endlessly is because we want to know – maybe it is something we are highly anticipating or hopeful for or just the opposite or merely to stay on top of our email, but at what cost do we participate in this unhelpful, no-guarantee-of-what-we-will-discover practice?

In episode #50, 30 Ways to Design a Happy Life, one of the ways is to limit technology distractions. 🙂

16. Refrain from using credit cards

Now of course, this comes with come context, but after #5 was mentioned above, I thought it important to acknowledge the importance of setting boundaries for ourselves until we have strengthened the muscles and systems that support the life we wish to live.

Absolutely, if we pay off our balance in full each month, we are already simplifying our lives out of habit and it is not a new skill we need to learn, but if we have been leaning on our credit cards to accessorize the life we want to live but currently aren’t able to, we need to simply stop. Rest assured, we will be able to live the life we have envisioned after the temporary period of restoring the peace of mind, and freedom, we seek.

17. Schedule, take and enjoy a day of rest

Phew! You have been moving along your journey, applying the simplifying ideas shared so far and are no doubt making progress, every little step counts, enjoying the journey along the way because you have been incorporating #2 above, so now and intermittently throughout your journey, take a day to do what you need to do that makes you feel rested.

Similar to Norman below, stop, just be, and be reminded of how a full day of just being energizes you in ways you had forgotten (or never knew) it could.

This past last day of the year, the Week Between the Years, provides more nourishment than I expect each year it arrives and then concludes, and I am reminded of why we must incorporate just being into our days. Yes, the larger practice of including a full day is on a grand scale of what we need to do regularly in small doses throughout our everydays, and when we do so with intention, it is akin to adding an electric charge to our day, boosting us, buoying us and keeping us nourished.

And rest assured, the world will be waiting for you when you return, just as Norman’s progress along the trail didn’t regress simply because he (Nelle and myself included) stopped to appreciate how far we had come and the gorgeous view as well as we caught our breath.


18. Let your default decision always be quality over quantity

It will spare you headaches down the road, even if you have to be patient as you save up to welcome what you know is best suited for you. When it comes to quality purchases, we are often purchasing quality service as well when things do break down or hit a hiccup, so remember that swift and cheaper aren’t often the stress-relief we think they are.

And the fewer headaches you have regarding the daily routines of life – appliances breaking down, clothes falling apart or not fitting correctly so you aren’t comfortable doing what you need to do or food that doesn’t nourish or satiate, or anything we sometimes forget functions without our thinking but need to function for our days to run smoothly, the simpler our lives, and thus the fewer stresses so our minds are clear and energy preserved.

19. Eat well, foods from nature

Many phrases abound regarding how to approach eating, but remember to nourish not restrict. In other words, feed your body well, looking at how we eat as a way to savor both the moment of eating what we have before us as well as savor a mind and body that functions at its optimal best because of how we have nourished it. Explore this detailed episode/post (#336) to find many concrete nutrition choices to nourish your brain, thereby elevating the quality of our entire lives. And this episode/post (#8) sharing 10 Simple Tips to Love Food and Love Your Body.

20. Practice gratitude everyday in your own way

We talk often here on TSLL about how we need to relinquish the pursuit of happiness and instead cultivate contentment; in so doing, we actually provide opportunity for more happy moments to be enjoyed. A very specific way to open our lives up to experiencing more happiness is to practice gratitude.

This need not be the physical act of keeping a gratitude journal (although that can definitely be a practice to utilize when you are inspired to do so), but simply a verbal statement of thanks even if nobody is present besides yourself. I often do this when I walk into my house, step out into my garden or am snuggling with the pups. I look around me and say thank you for very specific things so that I don’t forget to notice them, appreciate them, savor them.

You can also simply stand still and look around you, mentally extending gratitude for all that captures your awe.

When you get in the habit of noticing, seeing all that is enhancing the quality of the life you are living, you see more of it, you delight in more moments that make you happy and you stop pursuing and instead are fully present thereby enjoying your days all the more.

So there you go, 20 ways to simplify your life in order to create the opportunity for you to bring to fruition what you wish 2024 will bring into your life journey to savor.

The wonderful awareness that we will each discover is that if we travel in such a way as described above, we realize savoring the journey is the key to staying the course along the road we have set ourselves upon. I shared in yesterday’s Monthly newsletter with subscribers Rumi’s words of reminder that “what we are seeking is seeking us”; however, so often is the case that when what we seek doesn’t materialize fast enough, we step off the path that would have eventually lead us where we wished to go.

Because the road is often a windy and not-short journey, when we enjoy our everydays, properly utilize the tools shared above, however long it takes doesn’t matter. And so long as we have put the priorities for our lives accurately in order, when we arrive at the outcome we had intended, we come to discover that how we travel makes all the difference in the quality of our life.

As much as I drank up the arrival at the destination of the Tumalo Falls (see below), to where our hike on the new trail was taking us, it was the entire trail, the beauty savored along the way, the people we met along the way (who Norman and Nelle made sure to say hello to, each and every one), that made the entire morning of walking a genuine joy and delight.

Knowing where we wanted to go, stepping on the correct trail, being properly attired and leaving enough time in our day to enjoy all that unfolded was how simplifying came into play in this instance to ensure a successful outcome and a most enjoyable experience.

You have all the capability of arriving where you wish as you look ahead to 2024. May you enjoy the journey and the discoveries you make along the way about how capable you truly are. Bonne année 😌


~To watch a video of our walk to Tumalo Falls, be sure to become a TOP Tier Member as in February’s (2024) A Cuppa Moments w/Shannon, it will be one of the walks I share with members.

Explore more posts on topics of your interest in TSLL’s Archives.


13 thoughts on “20 Ways to Live Simply and Fully: How to Make Space for Your New Year’s Intentions to Materialize

  1. Perfect advice to set us off on the right path for 2024! Happy New Year to you, Norman and Nellie!! 🥰 May 2024 be filled with many blessings!! 😊

  2. Best wishes in 2024 for you Shannon and all the members of this community. A comprehensive post to start the year, this one stuck many notes for me. I have had many years to get to know myself, what I like and don’t like, and how I have chosen to live at this stage is quite different and required some significant decisions. About a year ago I had mostly reached the end of the changes I needed to make to accomplish my goals. However, the items outlined in this very interesting read, have provided lots of room for growth. No matter how content I think I am, an inherent restlessness in my character always has me searching and testing.
    I must say that your walks with Norman and Nelle are one of my favorite parts these days, I was a walker and loved it. As I attempt to type this Miss Lola is booping me with her button nose because dinner time is approaching and one cannot be one minute late! I am looking forward to all the wisdom of TSLL this year. Be well, be happy, and be the person you choose to be in this long journey called life. (I don’t know a bit of French or I would come up with something profound, in French:)

    1. Lucy,

      Ahhh, the journey of continual growth. A winding, wonderful, curious and delicious one, non? Thank you for sharing that this post suggested ideas for growth for you, someone who has consciously been choosing to grow throughout her life. The journey is ongoing but the gift is that we bring a wiser self to each new lesson. Give a loving pat and snug to Lola for us here in Bend. Grateful you have each other. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words as we step into this new year.

  3. Shannon, lots of great food for thought. I am really focusing on simplifying this year so am embarking on a declutter at the moment. I will definitely come back to this post as there are so many great insights. X

  4. Bonne année, Shannon!

    What a wonderful list to help bring us all a successful 2024. Many of them I already adhere to, while others I will strive to implement in the days ahead. Last year I began enjoying a “Sabbath”, which is a day that I try to do as little as possible. I put aside the things that I feel I must do, and instead do the things that bring me joy. I try to observe it once a month, but it does not always work out that way. Some may think it odd, but it may not be a Sunday and if it is, I usually don’t go to church as it truly is a day of rest. I have found myself looking forward to these days and have one on the calendar for this Sunday.

    Wishing you the most fabulous 2024!


  5. The rain is falling, the birds merrily chirping in the azalea bushes while enjoying their seed, and the cats and I are cozied in, them in their baskets, and me with a cuppa whilst I catch up with all things TSLL–ahhh, what a lovely morning it is! Bonne annee, Shannon, and thank you for this rich and inspiring post, definitely one to add to the favorites. This year, instead of setting intentions, I took a different approach, one well-known, and decided to choose a word to help direct me for this year. It is Flourish. Flourish in all aspects of my life: mental, physical, spiritual, financial…everything. Then I asked myself how? The list literally came pouring forth, like a dam had burst. Focus, fine tune, fix the frayed edges, being a friend to myself, through fun, forging ahead and judicious filtering. You are absolutely right, mindset is EVERYTHING. And I am soooo enjoying re-reading your 2018 book, ‘Living the Simply Luxurious Life’ in daily morning snippets. Wow. So salient for me right now in this moment, in this year. Anyone reading this post, I cannot recommend Shannon’s book more highly, especially as we begin our next new adventure into this year. Thank you, Shannon, I am so looking forward to a new year spent with TSLL! Much love & tasty treats to Norman & Nelle.💖 xx~Rona

  6. Une très belle inspiration pour bien démarrer, structurer et maintenir nos intentions pour 2024. Chaque point a fait écho et certains ont été notés précieusement pour ne pas les oublier au cours des mois à venir.
    Très belle nouvelle année à vous ainsi qu’aux adorables chiens !

  7. Happy new year and thank you for this post.
    So much here resonates with my plans for the new year and also provides much needed guidance / inspiration. I love the beginning of a new year to reset and re-evaluate and simplifying is something I always strive for.
    I have one big new challenge for this year ahead but still look forward to getting back to “me” with the new role of “mother”..
    yoga is definitely a practice I plan to incorporate when I am able to, I have already found some great postnatal classes I intend to make my own time each week.
    I look forward to returning to this post over the next few weeks.

  8. This was a very enjoyable post to read. Many good points to consider. I nodded a lot while reading. 🙂

    For this year, I have not set resolutions/ intentions – I have plans for the year, yes – but resolutions/ intentions are, in my understanding, a more personal and intimate matter. This year I have a word to remember and live by: “Enjoy!”. From the verb “to enjoy”, that’s right, but also the imperative enjoy! addressed to myself. 2023 was a difficult year for me, mainly health wise, and so I found myself lacking enough mental energy to actually and deeply to enjoy things, all the things of life, the daily ones and the extraordinary ones. I hope and I am determined on a better outcome in 2024, so “enjoy!” is my motto. 🙂

    I like the idea of organizing one, and only one, shelf/ drawer/ cupboard every weekend during January. I never did that, so I will give it a go. Considering how late I have come to this post I might need to extend the activity until February…

    I practice Qi Gong, and can absolutely recommend. It is wonderful to de-stress mind and body and its health benefits are similar to those from Yoga.

    Still wishing everyone Happy New Year! – still on time, right? 🙂

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