Lagom: The Swedish Approach to a Balanced Life

It’s the new year and so many exciting things lie ahead. I started off 2018 by writing about the theme of doubling down – my desire to focus more on the quality of the things I love, rather than the quantity. I didn’t get the chance to fully elaborate on my thoughts in that post, so I’m aiming to write a few more posts on what doubling down means to me.

Lagom Sweden

Recently I came across an interesting word describing the Swedes’ approach to a balanced lifestyle called lagom, which means “just enough.” Another phrase describing it is “perfect-simple,” which I particularly like, because it encapsulates the ethos behind the word.

The premise behind lagom is the commitment to a middle ground in life. It runs counter to overconsumption and the “more is better” mentality. At the same time it also avoids the complete rejection of comfort and consumption. It’s just the right amount of simple, in all aspects of life.

How is lagom applied? At home, it translates to not buying things just to fill the space, but being intentional about creating a comfortable, just-right living environment. At work, it equates to finding a better balance by taking vacations and avoiding job creep. In other areas of life, it means not upgrading to the latest car, technology, or fashion items if the current ones still look and function well.

Personally, I’d like to continue applying lagom to my living situation. That means doubling down on renting my current apartment unit in an old building from the 1920s, instead of moving to a newer, nicer place. My 10×12 ft. room is perfectly comfortable, has everything that I need, and keeps me from acquiring too many unnecessary things.

I’d also like to start applying lagom to my purchases, especially on the latest gadgets and gizmos. I’m definitely guilty of frequently looking to buy the newest tech toy, even if I already have something similar that still works perfectly. By taking a more moderate approach I can clear more clutter at home and also free up mental capacity.

Conceptually, lagom aligns with my desire to double down and dive deeper into my existing passions in 2018. Rather than pursuing an endless array of new activities and splitting up my limited time in all directions, I’d like to be more intentional about building up additional skills and experiences for my current hobbies and activities.

Goldilocks had the right idea by picking the “just right” option. In a society where overconsumption is often encouraged, we could all use a little more lagom in our lives to eliminate excess, avoid mental burnout, and increase balance.

Additional reading:

Lagom life at
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