Leo from Zen Habits: Quotes on Change, Letting Go and Contentment

Zen Habits is one of the blogs I’ve been reading for a long time.

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The main philosophy of each post is simplicity. It’s written simply, gives practical advice, inspires, answers a question or gives a solution to a common problem.

Leo Babauta is the creator.

He’s simplified his life a lot, got rid of debt and many bad habits, got fit and changed his lifestyle completely.

And he shares how he did that, what the hardest obstacle was, his exact steps, how he stayed motivated, what he learned from all that and what we should do to get the same results.

His writing taught me a lot about letting go – the beautiful process of freeing yourself from the burden of the past and worries about the future, about change – that the idea of it is often scarier than the action itself, and about contentment – that we can fully experience life, find peace and be happy if we learn how to live in the present moment, appreciate everything around us and thank for it.

Here are some quotes I’ve collected from his posts and eBooks that will inspire you to make your life a little simpler and more peaceful, and to do something about your habits today:

40 Inspirational Quotes by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits

1. The root of all of our problems is our inability to let go.

2. I smile, and breathe, and let go. And one step at a time, become the person I want to be.

3. Being happy with yourself means that when you meet other people, you don’t need them. You’re not desperate for them to
like you. You can be happy with them, or without them.

4. Yes, you’re busy, tired, overwhelmed, lacking time … we all are. I would get up at 5 a.m. to go for my runs or write my blog, because I knew I’d be busy later in the day. I didn’t have more time or energy — I was motivated, and I prioritized. You can make that happen too.

5. The end of procrastination is the art of letting go.

6. In my life, I’ve learned to be better at the skill of contentment (not that I’m perfect, but I’ve learned). I am happy with my life. I am happy with myself. I’m happy with where I am professionally, and don’t seek to add more readers or pageviews or income. I’m happy wherever I am.

7. Letting go first came to me when I was quitting smoking. I had to let go of the “need” to smoke, the use of my crutch of cigarettes to deal with stress and problems.

8. If you’re overwhelmed by a large change, or a bunch of large change, just focus on one small step. What small action can you take today that will move you forward?

9. If there’s one thing we all have in common it’s that we want to feel happy; and on the other side of that coin, we want to avoid hurting. Yet we consistently put ourselves in situations that set us up for pain.

10. I’m going to lay down the law here, based on many many experiments I’ve done in the last 7 years: nothing will change unless you make a daily change.

11. Letting go is a skill that can be practiced. It’s not easy, but it can be learned in a practice of just 5 minutes a day. Amazingly, this
short 5-minute daily practice, as easy as it might seem, adds up to great things.

12. You won’t make any changes if you don’t create a small space for the change. When will you start making the change? In the morning, in the evening, during your lunch break? Don’t wait for the change to happen — make it happen.

13. The truth is, the reality of ourselves is not bad, it’s only in bad in relation to the ideal that we have about ourselves. When we let go of the ideal, we’re left with the reality that can be judged as perfectly great.

14. When you stop trying to grasp, own, and control the world around you, you give it the freedom to fulfill you without the power to destroy you. That’s why letting go is so important: letting go is letting happiness in.

15. If you’re not willing to make it a daily change, you don’t really want to change your life in this way. You only like the idea of learning to draw/speak Japanese/play guitar/program in php/etc. You don’t really want to do it.

16. The only way to let go of the ideal is to see the pain that it’s causing in yourself and realize you want to end that pain, and letting go of an ideal that’s hurting you is self-compassion. Watch the pain. Be compassionate with yourself and stop causing pain in yourself with this process of comparing yourself with ideals.

17. So can you change self-destructive behaviors? Can you stop yourself from doing things you can’t seem to stop?
I can unequivocally say yes, these behaviors can be changed. I’m living proof of that.

18. We are all constantly evolving and growing. Define yourself in terms that can withstand change. Defining yourself by possessions, roles, and relationships breeds attachment because loss entails losing not just what you have, but also who you are.

19. Letting go of possessions meant letting go of what I thought those possessions meant to me. It meant letting go of the self that
I was when I had those possessions. It meant letting go of the life I had when those possessions were in my life.

20. The best way to make change happen is to surround yourself with others making a similar change themselves, others who will support your change.

21. One of the key learnings I’ve had since starting Zen Habits is that everything I need to be happy is already within me.

22. If we remember the impermanence of life, perhaps we could appreciate its gentle passing with as much appreciation as a cherry blossom.

23. What I learned is that I already had all I needed for happiness, but it was buried beneath my insecurities, my discontent with my life, my loathing of my body and myself. I already had it, but it was all covered up.

24. Let go of wanting to control people, of wanting to change them. Their resistance is natural. Instead, focus on yourself, and be the shining example.

25. Often unexpected changes come up to our day that cause frustration. A crisis, an unexpected visitor, an unplanned event. We can resist these changes and be angry, or accept that life is unpredictable, full of changes, and appreciate this ever-changing nature of life as part of its wonder.

26. You can’t have a simple life if you’re unwilling to let go of what you’re used to.

27. We don’t tend to make changes unless we are motivated to do so. Sometimes seeing other people make changes gives us inspiration. But sometimes we just need to be in a painful place that we’d rather get out of.

28. Noticing and appreciating the goodness in a cup of coffee causes us to be happy about living. And the more we notice and appreciate about our lives (and ourselves), the happier we are.

29. We want things to stay the same, and yet they never do. This is why we suffer.

30. Letting go can be difficult, but is easier if you do a one-month challenge. Let go of something for a month and see whether you like it or not.

31. One of the biggest problems with making life changes is that we tend to avoid thinking about the problem. It gets worse and worse, and yet we distract ourselves, because looking at the problem can be scary and painful. But this only makes the problem worse.
If you want to get out of the cycle, you have to let yourself think about it. Look at the problem. Acknowledge it. Accept that it’s the way it is, with the understanding that it can change, if you acknowledge it.

32. Happiness is the uncovering of what you already have.

33. I keep my days mostly unstructured and unscheduled so that I have room for the little things that are so important: reading with my child, going for a walk, taking a nap.

34. Once you’re ready to start making changes, just pick one. If you want to change your eating, you can’t change it all at once. It’s not realistic. So pick one change, and be specific: eat one fruit at lunch each day.

35. Once you begin to pay attention, and to look, you’ll find some amazing things.
All around us are examples of beauty, creativity, inspiration, triumph, pain, joy, life.

36. We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.

37. When you travel lightly, you’re freer, less burdened, less tired. This applies to life, not just travel.

38. In the beginning, you will probably have doubts that you can stick to this change. That’s OK — start on it anyway.

39. You can consciously change the slope. Create your own greased slope, so that it’s structured toward the direction you want to go in.

40. You have all you need for happiness, right now. You don’t need to change anything about yourself, or your life. You just need to see what’s already there.

***
There’s so much wisdom in his words and yet it’s presented in the simplest way possible, right?

Let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, stop by ZenHabit.net to check out the massive number of posts in the archives.

See these too:

The pain & beauty of life changes
A guide to practical contentment
How to change your life: A user’s guide
The letting go eBook, Free
Finding peace with uncertainty
Finding the motivation to change your entire life
Smile in each moment

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

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