A Journey to Minimalism – A New Path.

I cannot lie, I am still pretty pleased with the effort I made the other day to reduce down my wardrobe. The last couple of days, getting ready has been a sleek operation, I pick out what I need (and actually want) and don’t feel the guilt or the need to convince myself that I should be wearing anything different. I still have the bin bags, in case I got any of my choices wrong but they have a 14 day expiration date. If I don’t pick anything out of them over the next two weeks, off they go.

I thought once I’d done my first clearout I’d be full of ideas for what could be sorted next. I did do my electrics but that was fairly easy and I didn’t feel that warranted a full post. As I said before, these are of minimal sentimental value and are quite easy to part with. I know I need to look under my bed, but I can’t quite face that yet because it will mean having to make a decision about all my old school stuff and I’m not ready for that commitment. Just in case I’ve made some sort of horrible mistake. Plus, there’s probably something living under there, I haven’t checked for so long!

So I’ve looked around a bit elsewhere for some ideas, I probably need to take a step back and not try to do it all at once. After all, I’ll probably be more likely to not be as committed if I do it in one and just start filling the space I’ve created. I feel like I need a more gentle path to minimalism, one that will be habit-forming and hopefully last for life. I’ve searched out the Minimalists, the guys who claim to know the most about this ironically expansive subject. I’ve followed them for a while (yet to see their very popular doc though) and I’m keen to try out their 21 day program. Having seen the changes brought about by simplifying my wardrobe I’m keen to see what they suggest so I can finally get down to de-bulking my life!

There is no reward in procrastination.

This is the key phrase that struck me as I read through the plans for Day One. What a fantastic truth. But not one that is often remembered – after all we’re all driven to procrastinate by the society we live in and the technology that surrounds us. But, as with so many things I write about, that’s another story for another time. For today I want to focus on limiting my procrastination – actually pulling my finger out and getting on with things. Day One of their journey focuses on the power of emotional investment in your goals over intellectual feelings towards them (i.e. emotions drive us where mere understanding can limit us). I am a chronic over-thinker. That’s partially why I felt the need to start this blog to try and gain order to my thoughts. So reading this has a lot of relevance to my current position. I do think about how I should change – all the time – but I rarely pursue these changes. And if I do, it’s rarely for long enough to see them become habits.

The Minimalists claim there is a need to turn these “shoulds” into “musts”. Even that simple change of action will, supposedly, set me on a more realistic path to achieving my goals. It implies more empowerment and control over the changes I want to make. It conveys passion, motivation and determination. What a smart Jedi mind trick…

For Day One all I have to do is write a list of the things I must change. I’m umming and ahhing over whether I should publish this or not – is it too personal? But, for accountability’s sake (and for the sake of reducing the amount of damn paper in my life), I think I shall. After all, Google knows everything about me anyway – they could probably predict my list for me! So here goes – my Should List vs my Must List:

  1. I should worry less
  2. I should be more patient with people around me
  3. I should spend money more wisely
  4. I should invest more time in my interests
  5. I should put more effort into my relationships
  6. I should improve my writing
  7. I should consume less
  8. I should care more about the environment
  9. I should be more grateful for what I have
  10. I should only make plans I intend to follow through on
  11. I should stop relying on the internet to solve my problems
  12. I should stop being bored
  13. I should work smarter, not harder
  14. I should read more
  15. I should take more interest in the world
  16. I should stop over-analysing everything
  1. I must worry less
  2. I must be more patient with people around me
  3. I must spend money more wisely
  4. I must invest more time in my interests
  5. I must put more effort into my relationships
  6. I must improve my writing
  7. I must consume less
  8. I must care more about the environment
  9. I must be more grateful for what I have
  10. I must only make plans I intend to follow through on
  11. I must stop relying on the internet to solve my problems
  12. I must stop being bored
  13. I must work smarter, not harder
  14. I must read more
  15. I must take more interest in the world
  16. I must stop over-analysing everything

I figure that’s it for now – there’s probably 30-40 other changes I’ve not even considered yet. They’ll probably feature later on. I feel reasonably motivated by this list (even if I feel it’s got less motivational clout than physically going through my stuff, that’ll come later I guess). I hope it will now act as a guide for what I can focus on for the rest of this challenge and beyond. I can’t say I’m fully convinced this will work yet, but I’ve got to have faith in their system and myself to work towards it. Even if this isn’t quite what I envisaged, change often comes from the most unlikely places.

Right, that’s it for today – I’m going to have a sneak peek and see how I can prepare for Day Two. Being super keen, as per. Oh, and it’s time to put the sourdough on again…

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