A Journey to Minimalism – A Force of Habit.

They say that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. It is one of those “truths” based mostly in folklore, but the human hive-mind has picked it up and run with it. Of course, it is probably inaccurate and largely subject to the individual trying to form said habit. But I guess it’s the reason why the Minimalists chose their journey to take, you guessed it, 21 days. Besides being a catchy number… Yesterday I completed my first week and simultaneously hit 25 posts on this here little blog. Writing is starting to become a new habit. And it has been a pleasure so far – even if many of the posts probably make little to no sense, I have felt privileged that some people are choosing to read it and keep up with me! I cannot thank you enough, I just hope you find it’s all worth it… Hopefully I won’t start running out of ideas any time soon.

To me, this is not just a platform to get these ideas across, in fact that’s more of a happy side effect. In reality, I am just happy to have found a space where I can tease out my tangle of never-ending thoughts into some form of readable prose. Because that’s the main point, if I’m able to articulate these thoughts on a page so others can understand them, I’ve found my own mind becomes much more ordered as a result. It’s like having an early morning brain surge, getting out all of my thoughts and opinions that may lead me to procrastinate throughout the day and loading them onto an external brain drive, not to be pondered over or concerned about for the rest of the day. I am not aiming to sound mental there, but truth is, I find it comforting. It gives me more time to actively seek new things out rather than having to think so hard about everything, all the time. Plus, I have always loved writing, want to improve and need to get these thoughts out, simple as. I am so grateful to have this opportunity.

So, on the topic of habits I’ve decided to have a little sneak peek at my Must List. Remember that? It seems like a long time ago now. I want to see if, even if just a week has passed, these so-called “musts” have crept into my life. If I’ve managed to achieve them by giving less time to the other daily crap around me. Here it is again:

  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’ve underlined the ones I feel I’ve managed to work on over the past week. Actually, I’m pretty pleased with the job I’ve done. This has been an active process but it doesn’t actually feel like I’ve had to put in too much effort. I have started telling myself to make fewer wasteful purchases – they aren’t necessary and can be potentially harmful in the long-term. And yesterday I finally pulled my finger out and got in touch with as many people as I could to see them before the holidays are through. I plan to follow through on those meet-ups, too.

The two points of major concern that I have left to work on are the first and last “musts”. I must worry lessI must stop over-analysing everything. I guess, ironically, by writing this I am over-analysing once more. But that’s in my nature – I don’t mind a bit of analysis, it’s just when it makes me feel down and helpless… That’s when it becomes a problem. Over the next week, I want these slightly more abstract concepts to become integrated with the rest of my new habits. That’s where my efforts will go. It’ll probably take a few tries to work out a system that works for me, but I suspect a sort of self-CBT approach might be fruitful. That’s where I’ll look to start. Along with more positive thinking and mindfulness. Feeling my concerns, noting them and being able to tarry them with a little bit of positivity. That should work, right?

People who know me know that I will find this very difficult. But if there’s one thing I am able to do, that’s put a whole heap of effort into something. When I want to succeed, I can drive myself to get there. In the past, I’ve mainly turned this doggedness to academic achievement, but now I want to use it to work on myself. I want to be determined, to motivate myself, to reach a point where I can self-soothe, where self-respect and self-love are just parts of my routine. Because I think when that power comes from within, it only becomes stronger and is self-perpetuating. I want to be on an upward, hopeful spiral, not in a constant vicious cycle. Less berating, more celebration. Less angst, more joy.

I think we could all do with a bit more self-respect and a bit more self-love. So why not start today. I’d love to hear of any techniques or ways people manage their anxieties and worries, please get in touch! In the meantime, I’ll just get back to focusing on my new habits. We’re too far in now to look back after all.

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