As the cliché and uber-popular hashtag this time of year goes: New Year New Me! Well, an attempt at a new me - and a new me that can be sustained all year (fingers crossed).
Yes I know, the majority of New Years resolutions don't last. One study in 2007 found that 88% of people who make New Year's resolutions fail, and others say that only 1 in 10 will be successful. In one poll, nearly half of those resolution-makers lasted less than a month! Most resolutions involve people vowing to take more care of their bodies, setting aside 'me time', having a better work/life balance and giving up alcohol. Mine kinda involves all of these... ambitious right?
Well that's why I'm trying not to look at it as a New Years Resolution at all but instead as a lifestyle shift. I'm so used to going pedal-to-the-metal at all times with 4 jobs that I've always stressed over, countless hobbies that I always felt don't get enough of my devoted time, weekends that hardly ever involve sobriety (what is that, right? I live in Newfoundland after all), and pets and people that I wish I spent more time with. Sometimes I feel like I might just burst into flame and I'm not even 30 yet. I'm losing things on a semi-regular basis because my head just isn't in the right place at the time, I'm rushing everywhere and I'm certainly not present. I'm doing this in a search for calmness, a stronger sense of appreciation and 'hygge' (more on this later).
I'm setting myself up to be a minimalist and hygge-ist (I believe the 2 go hand-in-hand).
Complete disclosure: this all started from a documentary originally, I mean what great change of lifestyle doesn't right? I watched Minimalism on Netflix a few months ago and the concept has taken up some brain space ever since. Plus, I have this one friend that seems to be able to live this lifestyle gracefully and I have never once heard her complain AND she just outfitted her new (and perfectly 'small' and cozy) house with a tonne of thrifted items instead of going out and going mad buying and buying and buying to fill the house like I did when I bought mine 5 years ago.
I've also been caught up in the book "The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well" by Happiness researcher Meik Wiking which explains how the Danes have got it down pat. They've been one of the the happiest countries in the world for years now and this comes from their concept of Hygge. "Hygge literally only requires a conscious appreciation, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present. That’s why so many people distill ‘hygge’ down to being a ‘feeling’ – because if you don’t feel hygge, you probably aren’t using the word right." says Alex over at hyggehouse.com.
And of course I've been reading blogs and listening to podcasts on the topic - it is 2018 after all. I'm loving bemorewithless.com and the Slow Your Home podcast.
I've decided to make myself accountable to this project to give myself the chance to Chill TFO, to enjoy what really matters, and to appreciate those things that I do have without wanting more. I'm going to blog about my experiences and accomplishments (and failures) through this process (at least for the month of January) so here goes - I'll start with what strategies I've come up with that have to happen to kick things off:
My Starting Point:
Limit phone time:
This is huge. How often do you find yourself at a red light checking insta or Facebook and when you finally get around to looking up the light is green and you could've been long gone to the point where it was about to turn red again? Or how about when you're out to dinner with a friend and they're all over their phone and instead of trying to start up a good chat what do you do - turn to your phone too obviously! Amirite? I could go on and on and on but this was my first step. I mean how many insta stories do I have to watch to get the same amount of value as listening to a neat and educational/inspirational podcast while playing with my cat? Like 10 million. Or how many pointless things to I have to read about on Facebook to equal what I would get from sitting down for coffee with a friend? Like another 10 million. You get my point. So I'm trying this first - no insta posts for a month unless I'm experiencing something rare and important and no Facebook posts unless I'm looking for something specific and need suggestions. And.. drum roll... turning data OFF! Bam. No more social media at red lights, or at dinners, or anywhere that I'm not connected to wifi.
That's right. Sober January. I mean we're all feeling it at this point. It's January 3rd and we're all still getting kicked in the butt by what was that crazy hectic holiday season and we may all feel like being sober is a great idea. I would typically give up on this that first weekend when my crowd was getting together and I'd bring along a bottle of wine, not this month! I even was tempted to have a glass of wine while hanging out at the house last night, but I can't go against this already. The holidays are hectic and my body needs a break - here's to more exercise and less 'extra' weekends. I'm going to be a social sober party-goer all month.
I got over 400 emails during the 10 days I was away from work. And only 1 was work-related. That is how much I've allowed marketing to rule my inbox and although it took a lot of phone time to do so (this was a valid cause) I unsubscribed from EVERY mailing list that was marketing related - all those weekly sales and daily deals. Boy, Bye. I was a sucker for 'deals' and would constantly click on the ads and end up buying a top or a skirt or a new watch.. or... at the list goes on. Well we're done mailbox trolls.
Set buying groundrules:
I'm aiming to only purchase necessities (food and gas, etc.) and when I do buy anything extra it has to be local or handmade and it has to support creativity, bring new experiences OR save me money in the long run. This may sound vague but I've started a budget diary and will be tracking each purchase. I'll be sure to report on this for quality assurance and to prove that it can be done. It helps that I currently have a sewing room FULL of fabric and I can spend what time I would normally be shopping actually making all those patterns I've been putting off forever. Also, this means no morning coffee on the run - I will be putting my new French Press to good use BEFORE I leave the house, which started today and I actually really loved the extra 10 minutes at home watching the news and cuddling Watson (instead of in the Tim's drive-through).
Although I do this a lot I don't do it enough, I'm coming up with a garbage bag full of clothing to donate each month lately but there's still a lot of 'stuff'. Tomorrow night is dedicated to cleaning out the closets and dresser drawers and getting all that is unnecessary out of the house. I have a 4 bedroom house with 4 bedroom closets FULL and it it houses just Blair and I. Why oh why did I accumulate that much stuff? Well I'll report on the closet-situation as well.
Lastly - Wake up with the sun:
This means sleeping with the blinds open so that the natural sunlight will help me actually get up with the alarm. I'll have you know I did this today, the first day back to work since Dec. 22, and I actually only snoozed once instead off the usual 5 times! Happy Dance.
I've got a lot of work to do, and it's not easy when everyone is talking about the new Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices that I totally want but do NOT need!
Note: I've started off great - yesterday we ran some errands, spent no money and took the dogs on a hike in the most gorgeous sun-filled winter wonderland! #winning #sofar
Here's to hoping this process takes me from overwhelmed and under-inspired to breathe-easy stress-less Cathy!
Wish me Luck
- C xo