Yesterday I was at the grocery store, picking out some yogurt. As I looked at all the rows and dozens of choices, my eyes started to swim.

“So many choices!”, I thought, shaking my head. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to refocus. Huffing, I grabbed one of the many choices and moved on. 

How many times have you said this to yourself when looking for something in a store? Think about the vegetable aisle. There aren’t 18 different kinds of broccoli to choose from, there are usually no more than 3 (organic, conventional, and crowns are typical). You just pick a bunch that looks fresh, colorful, and nice, and off you go. Easy peasy. 

I decided to experiment and started limiting my daily choices. Soon I noticed a decrease in my levels of stress and anxiety. That irritating “monkey-mind” began to fade a little. The pace of life seemed to ease towards the slow lane. It became clear – as humans, we really do thrive on simplicity.

How can you limit the number of choices you have when there are a multitude of choices staring you in the face? There are so many choices, so much to choose from, so many things to consider! 

This is where the power of 3 comes into play. Here’s how to do it:

  • At the grocery store: Decide if you normally shop based on price, brand, or something else. Once you know how you make most of your choices, narrowing them is easier. For example, if you are a price conscious shopper, then focus on the tags identifying sale items. After you see 3 items, just stop looking. Yes, there might still be something cheaper. Decide which of those 3 you want, grab it, and move on!
  • At a restaurant: (Dear Cheesecake Factory, you’re killing me with your massive menu) Before you go, decide what you’re in the mood for. If you want pasta that day, go directly to the Pasta section of the menu and pick from the first or last 3 choices.
  • On your phone: So many apps. So much distraction. Such a time hog! What to do? Try creating category folders. Then limit yourself to 3 apps in each folder. Go further by limiting yourself to 3 pages. Get crazy and delete all the apps you haven’t used in 3 months!

It may take a little minute to train your brain around this concept, so be patient with yourself and remember your objective – to decrease the clutter in your mind, increase your mental clarity, and allow for more time for the things that really matter to you.

The power of 3 can be applied to many areas of your life:

  • How many coats do you have? Pick 3 and donate the rest.
  • How many frying pans do you have? Pick 3 and recycle the rest.
  • Ladies, how many tubes of mascara do you have in the bathroom? Guys, how many towels? Pick the 3 that you use most and get rid of the rest!

It’s all about conserving your brain power for the things that matter most to you. Relationships. Health. Education. You get the idea!

Want to take it deeper?

Here are some more ways to use the power of 3 in your life:

  • Take 3 deep breaths to calm yourself in a stressful situation
  • Adopt 3 powerful words to inspire yourself 
  • Think of 3 things you are grateful for every morning.

3’s may even start to hop over fences in your dreams!

You’re probably saying – it doesn’t apply to everything. True enough, it might not. You certainly have more than 3 pairs of shoes, but what if you broke your shoes down into categories? 3 for each season, 3 for each occasion, etc. Look around and see where it DOES apply, and how your capable, clever, and creative mind can apply it. Soon more and more possibilities for simplicity will reveal themselves to your willing, eager mind.

So next time you’re at the grocery store, eyes glazing over as you scan for the best product/price/choice, put the rule of 3 to work. There is great power within this method of 3 things – see if you can unleash it in your life!