A Minimalist Mindset
"You must learn to master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be."
Wow, it's 2017.
I can honestly say 2016 was the absolute FASTEST year of my entire life. Going into my freshmen year of college, I remember looking back at my 4 years of high school thinking, "wow, it really does go by as fast as they say.." Then I looked back at my 4 years of Under Graduate, then 2 years of Graduate School, Then 3 years of working as an LPC Intern. Time has flown, but not nearly as fast as 2016. By the way, don't do the math, I know I'm steady creeping up on my old age ;).
So, 2017. Let's talk about you for a moment.
New Years resolutions are full of cliches, I think we can all agree with that. Some people stick to them, some don't...I am one of those people who has never been the best at sticking with your typical new years resolution. While I have the intention of doing so (because let's be honest, it would better me) I don't.
Back in October, I really started checking-in with myself and doing some self-exploration trying to figure out why I just never could commit to a New Years Resolution. To make a SUPER long story "short" (because we know I have a tendency to ramble), I discovered what I needed in order to commit was a resolution that changed me from the inside out, something that had depth, meaning and purpose far beyond myself. I needed something that would seriously CHALLENGE me, that would face me with TEMPTATION, something that I would truly STRUGGLE with (as if working out and running 5 miles a day in the hill country wasn't challenging enough *eye roll*).
My 2017 Mindset:
- 3 months without spending money: Yep, you read that correctly. For 3 months, my money will only go to groceries, toiletries, mortgage, utilities, gas, and childcare. Cable has been cut, Starbucks runs and yummy gas station powdered sugar donuts are dunzo, those cute baby shoes that are on sale at target for $3 will not come home with me, and Zulily and Hautelook will no longer rob my bank account. My husband and I keep a pretty tight budget and manage our finances on Mint (if you don't have that app, get it now!) so it will be easy for me to keep track of the money I have.... saved? ... Not exactly:) let's move on to #2.
- Give until it hurts: Part of our budgeting includes an "envelope" of money that is a certain percentage of our income that is strictly for giving. This is the one and only envelope my husband and I try to make sure is empty at the end of every month. I am challenging myself this year to give more than what is comfortable for me. While our giving and tithing is planned and developed around scripture, I want to give until it hurts. I don't necessarily mean until we are in a financial strain, but I want to look at my wallet and truly feeling uncomfortable with how empty it feels.
- Project Jordan Click: Okay, this is where we head back up to my #1. I have committed to donating the money that I do not spend between now and April to Project Jordan Click. I went to high school with Jordan, so her story has a place in my heart. When I came across her project, God told me in that instant that "she will be there." I knew immediately it was my place to help.
- Finish what I start: I am the QUEEN of starting something then moving on to the next best thing without ever finishing what I started! I am talking about books, tv series, home projects, organization, to-do lists, cleaning, conversations, BLOGGING. Ugh. I either get bored or I find something that I like more and move on without hesitation and whadya know, I have half painted base boards, 5 "draft" blog posts, one more chapter left in a 500 page book, a text that has been written but not sent, and the list goes on...because I never finish it...get it? hahaha. Okay, back to what I was saying. Finishing what I start will challenge me to stay focused and persevere. I know, you're laughing at the thought of painting unfinished base boards teaching perseverance. It is the little things that help us develop the skills to master the big things. Trust me, this will work.
- Purge: It means exactly what it says. I am always cleaning out and organizing our house, but somehow I feel like we still have so many "things." A few months ago, when I started my whole self-exploration journey, I really started focusing on each item in our house. I discovered that I have a lot of things that I think are "cute" or "fun to have." That's all dandy, except we have A LOT of that kind of stuff and half of it doesn't get used. I have begun going through our house and purging everything that does not serve our family a purpose. Home decor, kitchen appliances, clothing, toiletries, you name it. I plan on having a garage sale after my home is completely cleaned out and donating the money to Project Jordan Click!
- Read my Bible: WAIT! Before you close out of this post because #5 is a "cliche" resolution, stick with me while I explain how this is the key to me staying committed to my new mindset. Earlier I talked about challenge, temptation, and struggle. Going 3 months without spending money will be CHALLENGING because this is something I have never done before. I will be TEMPTED to "just buy that because it's ONLY $1.00!" I will STRUGGLE because I will have to completely re-define what is a "want" versus "necessity." Giving until it hurts will be challenging, again, because it is new, it is different, and us humans don't like different! It doesn't feel good! Finishing what I start will be ALL OF THE ABOVE. I will especially struggle with the temptation to just quit. I am bored, I found something more interesting, more inspiring, plans changed and I don't have as much time as I thought to work on this, etc. Purging will be especially challenging for me because I will be tempted to hold on to something "just in case I need it." Interesting to see how all of these things are connected. When I feel those three things, challenged, tempted, struggle, the only thing I have to help get me through those and stay committed is the Bible, God's word, the truth. Reading the bible more is something I need to do anyway.
I am choosing to put myself in a difficult position that forces me to do what I know I need to do.
I am approaching this year with the mindset of "less is more." The less money I spend, the less money I "save", the less tasks on my to-do list, the less "things" I have, the MORE strength, perspective, knowledge, creativity and faith I will gain.
Happy New Year, Love