SLT066: Predict Your Future

Abe Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” When living simply, taking action now can help you shape the life you want to live. Back in Episode 38, we talked about the concept of preparation meets opportunity. You may recall a few lines from that show that went like this:

“When you’re working on that Life Plan, or your dreams and goals, prepare for those opportunities you want to come along. I’m a firm believer that you can determine your own destiny if you make your own future. Shape it yourself. You’ll have obstacles along the way for sure, but you’ll also find encouragement and inspiration, too.”

We want to give you a little bit of context for our journey by connecting some dots. Our goal is that it may help you form you own dots to connect later on. So, If you’ve been listening in or reading our blog posts for a while and are familiar with many of our back episodes and posts, now you’ll see exactly why we picked some of the subjects that we did. If you’re new to Simple Life Together (and we have more and more joining us each week…yay!) then this will be a great “jumping on” point for where we are and how we got here! So, the “What’s In It For You” is this...taking deliberate small steps forward from the ideation we talked about on the last show, will help you shape your own journey to live simply. “The best way to predict your future is to create it” is a great way to think about it. So thanks, Mr Lincoln, for that fine quote and the title of today’s episode.  Read more…


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Topic:  The Best Way To Predict Your Future Is To Create It

Like we said earlier, you’ll see how a lot of our past episodes relate to the things we are doing in the “initiate movement” step of the TLPs, to move towards our simple life goals. In no particular order, here are some of the things we’ve done, are still doing, or getting ready to do, to move us forward:

The Edit & Forget It Challenge

We introduced The Edit & Forget It Challenge back in Episode 9. The Edit & Forget It Challenge has fulfilled a lot of objectives for us. Here are a few:

  • It helped us loosen our grip on “stuff”…physically, emotionally, and intellectually. By intellectually I mean that buying became a lazy, default “easy button” that overrode the acts of contemplation (considering whether or not we really needed something), innovation (what else could I use, how can I get access to that?), patience (do I need it now?), and appreciation (caring for what you have now so it can serve you long term).
  • E & F helped us develop new habits toward spending. (why did I ever buy this?)
  • It taught us to be more deliberate about what we buy or allow into our lives (things, circumstances, commitments and events).
  • And, it influenced us to physically downsize our stuff so we can achieve the goal of living in a smaller home, customized to our lifestyle now and long-term.

Edit & Forget It Continues to Challenge Us

We recently did a another full frontal assault on our garage and it felt fantastic! It helped us reach a few key objectives that we had as our goal. Namely, we:

  • Identified our biggest pain points with the garage and finally solved them
  • Eliminated duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates of hand tools. This allowed me to find what I needed so much more quickly
  • Eliminated some “space stealers” without sacrificing storage capability. This opened up a LOT of floorspace that was formerly taken up by yard tools, etc that encroached on the main area of the garage.

We still have more to go in the garage! Not that we have so much “stuff”, but when you’re fine tuning,  getting to exactly where you really want to be it takes time. I still have some files out there that we need to go through with a fine-toothed comb.

The Upside of Downsizing

In Episode 42, The Upside of Downsizing, we took a look at some of the benefits of downsizing:

  • It not only includes downsizing your stuff, but your commitments and obligations too.
  • You’ll save money and time now…and direct them towards others important goals
  • You’ll save time & effort…yardwork, maintenance, etc.
  • In a downsized space, things tend to run more efficiently: less to care for = less stress and confusion….a smaller home means smaller utilities bills, and systems don’t have to work so hard.
  • One thing that Vanessa is always cognizant of when working with clients is that by downsizing now you can decrease the chance of a major inconvenience to loved ones if you have to ask for their help when you wait until you “have to” downsize.
  • Downsizing now can give you a sense of control. You’re doing it on your terms as opposed to waiting until you have to downsize…which, like I just stated, could cause undue stress and resentment.

But we’ll tell you this…watch out for some unexpected positive side effects, too! Downsizing has a funny way of simplifying your life overall. When you simplify, you’re more focused of your life goals, more deliberate with your purchases, and more in-tune with what’s important to you like family, relationships, your health and on and on…

 Setting Limits to Simplify Your Life

Other concepts we explored back in Episode 38, Preparation Meets Opportunity, and Episode 54, Setting Limits to Simplify Your Life, have worked and are continuing to work for us:

  • First and foremost we developed 5 pillars (Faith, Family, Fitness, Finances, and Freedom) and goals within those pillars to keep us on track and focused.
  • Selling our land was a huge step in our “initiate movement” phase. It freed us up to purchase the Guidon, our tiny teardrop camper. That act alone fulfills alot of our goals and priorities. We reached a few financial goals as well as our goals to travel more and spend more time as a family.
  • In preparation for living small, we’ve established some boundaries there as well:
    • Limiting how big our home will be
    • Editing our possessions now (almost 5000 things gone in a year and a half!?!?)
    • Preparing to go down to 1 car as soon as we can
    • Getting rid of cable, data plans on tablets, etc…
    • Editing our obligations and commitments as well

Other Ways We’ve Set Limits for Ourselves (aka, “Keeping Us Honest”)

We also limited ourselves to a smaller camper for our travels. Traveling is one of the primary reasons for us wanting to live simpler lives. Living small would allow us the opportunity to travel more. Originally we thought the answer to our traveling dreams was to get a big Class A motorhome. But after further contemplation we realized it would be more restrictive (in regards to cost, time to maintain it, and places we could actually visit). The RV would have required us to find a place to store it, pay lots more in fuel costs, and even restricted the kinds of campsites and parks we could go to. It was way more than what we wanted and needed.

Instead, we decided our teardrop camper was a better fit for us. Although, by design it limits us to what and how much we take, it gives us way more freedom in regards to our time, money and places we can travel to and visit.

An added benefit to our tiny camper is that it has really given us a taste of living small which is our end goal. We mentioned that we actually camped for 3 weeks in a 50 square foot loaner teardrop camper last summer and it was fabulous! We learned how to plan simple meals, how to pack even lighter for the trip and how to create simple routines just as we would in our normal home…they were just a little different and on a smaller scale. We honestly didn’t miss all the luxuries our 1800 square foot home had to offer. Matter of fact, the only thing Vanessa missed was having her own bathroom…but that’s it. We didn’t miss having our laundry room (we just made weekly trips to the laundromat which was awesome because we could do a bunch of loads at once!). We didn’t even miss our big kitchen, or our backyard or home office shedquarters because the views out camping were way better than our backyard. Not having a home office actually helped us curb our digital addiction! So basically, the camper solidified the idea that we can live small and still be happy.

And the same thing goes for our Jeep. We knew eventually we wanted a 4 wheel drive that would be beneficial on our travels and in different climates. So we ended up getting one (a little sooner than we planned but hey…preparation and opportunity helped us out here. Even on short notice!). The Jeep is small, but because of it’s restrictions in storage space, we are much more deliberate about what we bring on trips. Actually, that makes things so much easier when it comes time to pack up and go!

Wrap Up

So, all of these things things are just examples of how we used the tools of Strategic Simplicity and what we call “systematic ideation” to move us forward in our journey of living simpler in different areas of our lives. From ideation to initiation, you can see how systematically looking at things in your life, can really help you move forward…no matter what your goals or dreams are.

Now, the next phase for us will be the “Conduct Reconnaissance” phase! We’ll be doing some recon this summer on our trips out east and west…and probably for the next couple of years as we explore and hone down the places we’d like to live. We developed some criteria of the ideal place for us (which we discussed in detail in Episode 65) and now we’re executing part of the plan by visiting places before we move on the the final troop leading procedures steps, “Complete The Plan” and “Issue The Final Plan”…which of course is moving to a place we’ll call home. From there on out, it’s “Supervise and Refine” for us!

Major Takeaway:

We’re far from the “destination” of our simplicity journey…but it feels great to be on the path. So the major takeaway here is this: You don’t “find” your path to living simply. You make it. You predict your future by making it happen! Our path certainly won’t be yours, but we can share some tools, some experiences, and some support to one another along the way to forge our own path. And it all starts with some ideation, determination, and some deliberate actions to not only make dreams a reality, but make your journey a whole lot of fun, too. As Mr Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Start creating the future you want, today.


So, what are some things you’re doing to predict your future by creating it? Are you downsizing? Prepping for a new career? Starting a side gig business? What are some things holding you back from getting started? We’d love to know.

 Be sure to leave a comment below.

Qs and Comments, iTunes Reviews

We had some terrific iTunes reviews! Thanks to:

TClongLPC, Prankstr45, and Sherry from!

And some great website comments, too! Thanks to:

Don Hamilton, Tania of, and Jenny Thompson, Sara Grafton from Stamp Across the Miles, Hope Griffin from, Sheryl Balthrop from and Toni Scott from

So yeah…Episode 65 was a pretty popular episode so check it out if you haven’t already. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write in!


  • Possible Meetup in Phoenix?

    • We’re speaking at the National Association of Professional Organizers Annual Conference, so we’ll be in Phoenix, AZ from 27-31 May. If you’re in the Phoenix area and are interested in a meetup, email Vanessa and maybe we can set something up in Eventbrite. It would be great to meet you!
  • SimpleRev Tickets:

    • Early Bird tickets are now available for SimpleRev! Only 50 tickets will be offered at the Early Bird pricing so make sure you lock yours in today.
    • SimpleRev is being held on Oct 3-4, 2014, in beautiful downtown Minneapolis on the University of St Thomas campus. To get your tickets at the lowest price that will ever be offered, just go to I’ll also put a link in the shownote to the SimpleRev podcast in iTunes, as well. Or just search iTunes for SimpleRev, all one word.
    • There will be some great workshop leaders there, including Joshua Becker from, Mike Vardy from, Brooks Duncan from, David Delp from, and others.
    • And be sure to check out the All Things SimpleRev podcast as well. There’s a link in the shownotes, or just search iTunes for SimpleRev, all one word. On Episode 3 Joel and I talk with our friend Joshua Becker about…you guessed it…simplicity! So have a listen.


You can download a PDF of our show prep, too.

Resources and Links:

 Photo Credit: Yours Truly (adapted from Wikimedia)

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “SLT066: Predict Your Future

  1. Some words from this podcast have been ringing in my ears since my run with ya’ll yesterday 🙂 Dan, you mentioned that shrinking your life gives the gift of freedom and control. It really is a shrinking, I’m realizing—no way around it and sometimes that is so hard! Especially with teens in the house. I’m feeling motivated and the epic garage sale that’s coming in June is all I can think about. So. much. stuff. How can this be?! I had an “epic garage sale” two years ago. The Creep must be kept in check if the shrinking is going to continue.

    BTW, I recommend Portland, OR for you guys—if you can deal with a little (um..maybe a lot) of rain, (knowing that the gorgeous summers are worth it), you guys would be the ultimate Northwest transplants!

    Best to you both–Lara

    • You’re so right, Lara…”stuff” has a way of being so insidious. It’s like dealing with insurgents, it’s a game of “Whack-A-Mole.” We participated in our neighborhood’s “community garage sale” last weekend (on a whim). We thought we didn’t have much to get rid of, but we ended up selling over $200 worth of stuff in about 2 hours!!!

      Regarding Portland…now THAT would be something. We’ve been to Portland three times for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit and had a blast all three times. We’re not going this year, but every past time it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL weather. Chris kept telling us how lucky we were to have such good weather as it’s usually a coin toss. Still, if I got to eat breakfast at Mother’s Bistro on a regular basis, I could die happy!

      Thanks, Lara!!!

  2. I enjoyed this episode. I am continuing to downsize my wardrobe and it is easily 1/3 smaller since I took early retirement from my job as a college administrator almost 3 years ago. Vanessa, I sympathize with you and at this point don’t want the stress of artificially living with 33 or even 100 items. Instead as items get worn out or I find I no linger wear them, then they are eliminated. Replacements are bought only if it is an item I use a lot. For example, I just buoy some Crock flip flops because my old ones wore out. I love these for the beach because they are comfortable and washable and I found on sale for $11 instead of the original $40!

    • Ginger…Great deal you got on the Crocs! Seriously, I love mine too…and I don’t have the cute mary-jane ones…I’ve got the clumsy, bulky originals…ha!

      I too am where you are…I let go of what I don’t need, use or love, and (now) only buy what I need to replace. It really isn’t about the artificial number…it’s about the right number for you!

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