What Stops You From Living Simply and Sustainably?

in Simple Living, Sustainability - 8 min read

There is a lot on everyone’s mind lately.

Between politics, real and false statistics, fake and misleading news, should schools open again and why are billionaires allowed to be getting richer everyday… For the average human, however, life is mainly focused on survival. Obtaining enough food to eat (hopefully with nutritious ingredients!), having a decent roof over their heads and engaging in something meaningful to do.

Am I right in thinking that people are bored with the same old thing, tired of working till they get sick enough to take a break – often without pay?

Are we concerned at all, or even in the slightest, that our consumerist culture has destroyed habitats all over the world, including the deepest parts of the ocean with our plastic garbage with bits and pieces of plastic that will outlive the next several generations?

And yet, there are more questions to ask:

Whatever happened to having meaningful things to do with our hands, not just with our minds? Are we seriously waiting around for the internet to get faster, so we can play more games or download more entertainment at record speed? To the detriment of what? Who will suffer the consequences? Us? Nature? Is anyone listening or feeling? Does anyone even care?

If only people were out there cheering for the environment the same way they clap, hoot and holler with passion for their favorite sports players – what a different world this would be.

The ability to change, is within our power.

Are you ready?

10 reasons that may prevent you from living the simple life you truly desire

We have been taught, or suggested, that each generation should achieve more, do more, be more successful than the one before.

Modern times prove that with each decade we are excelling at what we do best – GROWING.

Constantly growing.

Gaining in numbers (overpopulation of humans), producing more food (via “modern” agricultural methods) and accelerating in speed (satellite internet).

None of this is simple, nor is it promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

So, why do we follow suit, if it is not the direction we think life should be going?

There are several reasons for choosing a simpler life lived close to nature, yet these 10 reasons may be stopping you from living a meaningful life that you truly love:


It is often the case that fear stops us from doing many things in life – both good and bad.

Now is the time to take a step back from our irrational fears and use our intuition instead, and decide once and for all that living a simple, sustainable life is in the best interest of every body and every living organism on the planet.

Don’t let that paralyzing fear of being a different kind of consumer prevent you from taking actions in living a sustainable life!

Instead, embrace the necessary changes such as adjusting your life’s pace to become more aligned with nature (mostly this translates into slowing down) and remember to ground yourself every day.

Get comfortable with a little discomfort. Skip a meal to feel truly hungry. Go without a jacket in the rain. Bathe in cold water, or take a cold shower. Give up the internet for a week, or more. Go without electricity for an entire day – or better yet, spend the whole day outside!

Challenge yourself.

That is the only way forward.


If you are starting to experience feelings of eco-anxiety, you must address them now. Not only for your sake, for the beneficial future of your children and grandchildren too.

It is all too easy to say that tomorrow you will start to declutter. Next week you will begin to think about your sustainable wardrobe. Maybe next month you will address the need for some plastic-free options in your home.

Procrastination is a lazy, unhurried and rather complacent way to go about life.

If you feel the need to get something done, don’t wait for others to follow along. You be the leader and become the sustainable change!


Living a simple life comes with plenty of challenges, though they can be exciting ones – depending on your attitude about life and (hard)work, of course.

If you worry about what others will think of you, about how they will react to your strange eco-conscious ways, you are hurting more than just yourself. You are impairing the entire world when you sit back and comply with the greed of corporations and pressure of sales.

Go ahead and grow a garden, harvest some edible weeds, preserve your own produce, make some DIY cosmetics.

Never worry about being different in a sustainable way.

The world needs more of us, now more than ever.

Insecurity/Doubt/Peer pressure

What if I can’t do it alone? Or what if I fail? What if I don’t have the skills necessary for living a simple life?

All of these are valid concerns, yet evidence suggests that we are suited to learning new skills, and yes, some of us can go it alone. The brave people, the pioneers that care less about what people think, and more about what they can achieve.

If your friends don’t appreciate your ability to live lightly on the Earth, maybe it is time to find new friends. Once you find a tribe, or community of like-minded others, you can then share your love for living simply and sustainably with them, as you grow your environmental awareness together.

Not all growth is bad – happiness and meaningfulness in life is always beneficial.


If you imagine yourself as having little to no experience in living a sustainable life, think again.

Depending on your age, and the older you are the easier this is, go back to your childhood and think about what you had (or didn’t have) compared to your life today.

What did you go without?

A telephone? A computer? A refrigerator? Running water? Books? A safe yard to play in?

In present time, ask yourself: what am I willing to do without?

If previous, simpler years, brought you more happiness, try to discover where those joys came from – and recreate them in the here and now.

As for lack of experience, you can gain that through workshops, online sustainable lifestyle design sessions, and naturally, life experiences.

You must, however, be willing to accept change.

It is too hard

We get it, living simply isn’t always the easy way out. You have to enjoy it, for it to become easy.

We chose to move to Hungary, and later to Romania for a simpler life. In this time, we’ve had our ups and downs – and certainly have been in our share of storms. Yet, we wouldn’t change it for anything.

We don’t have running water inside our home, the tap is outside.

Electricity and internet we have, yet we consciously choose not to own a fridge, freezer, microwave, washing machine or a smart phone.

For us, life is possible without them and quite enjoyable too. We work from home, don’t own a car, walk most places and cut wood with a two-person crosscut saw.

Many people consider that hard work and almost certainly a waste of time too.

We consider it meaningful activities that keep us all fit and healthy. Where are we rushing anyway?

Living simply is all about perspective. If you live in a place you love, and do work that you enjoy day after day, then naturally you’ll have something to keep you busy and creative, but never to the point of over-working yourself.

Not enough money

You may think that by living simply you could get rid of money, or perhaps live off of less.

There may be a time and place for this, though it has been our experience that living simply (and well!) does take a sufficient income.

Just about everyone makes enough money to simplify their lives in some way.

You can buy few, better quality clothes.

Replace your plastic containers with thrift store stainless steel, Pyrex and ceramic finds.

Refuse to buy any more chemical body-care products and make your own, or trade for things you do not have.

To say you don’t have enough money is just an excuse, the same as not having enough time, or being in the right place at the right time.

Not in the right place

Are we ever really in the right place at the right time?

Or is it simply okay to be in a place because it fits the series of events?

Perhaps you feel it is too difficult to live a sustainable life in the city – and that it would be easier if you moved out to the countryside. That may be true in the grand scheme of things, but it should never stop you from doing all you can to live lighter on the planet.

In the city you can walk more, purchase locally grown food from farmers markets, pick up trash in a park, maybe even go to a zero-waste store. Examples to the latter certainly do not exist in the countryside any more.

Use your location to your advantage, taking the best of what it has to offer.

When you are ready to take simple living a step further, move out of the streetscape and into a place where green is more abundant.

Never feel stuck where you are, but do go with the flow of life.

Not enough time

If you think living sustainably is time consuming, imagine the consequences if we all choose to do nothing.

Climate temperatures are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, so if you even have a few minutes to spare each day to do something positive for the Earth, please do.

Every positive action, no matter how small, adds up.

We all have time to help the Earth today. Even if it means staying at home and doing nothing. No television, no internet, no noise.

Just be.

What if it is already too late?

Some say we have reached to the point of no return, while others burst forth, proudly saying we have resources for years to come.

Neither is right.

We can always make a difference if we try. It is the lack of trying that will harm us the most.

It is never too late to start living simply – and it is never too late to, once again, appreciate our wonderful and vast environments here on Earth.

If any of these 10 reasons are preventing you from stepping into that sustainable lifestyle that you know is good for you, your family and for the entire world, let’s talk!

Cheryl Magyar

Cheryl is a freelance writer and content creator on all things related to simple living, ecological minimalism, organic gardening and foraging. She is the co-creator of the Earth Gratitude Journal, a monthly downloadable journal that focuses on having greater appreciation for living on this incredible planet.

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