I’ve never really been one for new years resolutions. They’re just so “meh” to me. They always sound good in theory, but I rarely follow through with them for a long amount of time, let alone for the entire year. I love the idea of self-improvement and planning to make purposeful change, but I knew resolutions just weren’t going to do it for me.
I’ve toyed around with making a different goal for each month and really committing to that goal, but then I feared as the months went on my previous goals would fall by the wayside. After all, I’m interested in long standing life changes, not necessarily small bursts of change. But this approach didn’t seem to fit me right either.
Then I thought about deciding upon a single word for the year. Another blogger I really admire picks a word each year and tries to live her life by that word. One year her word was brave. Another year her word was simplify. I had really bought into this method, but I could not for the life of me think of just one single word that suited me.Then I started reading a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I am literally only one chapter in, but I have already stumbled upon a phrase I know will stick with me. Not only will it stick with me, but I feel it’s exactly the advice I need at this point in my life:
Less, but better
I’ve been on the less is more bandwagon for a few months now. I’ve parted with trash bags and trash bags and trash bags full of clothes. I’ve gotten rid of books, shoes, make-up, accessories, anything and everything – I’ve trimmed down my supply of it.
Maybe the crazy baseball life of moving 3 times a year has finally gotten to me — after all, the more stuff you have the more stuff you have to move — but I truly love the feeling of owning just what I need. Once I decided I wanted less, parting with the things I no longer want really hasn’t been hard.
But getting rid of the things – the “less” portion of my new mantra – is just the beginning. The second part is just as important – Better. It’s not about purging just to purge. It’s about purging to make room for better.
My Less, but Better mantra goes further than just “things”. It means, friends, commitments, clubs, nights out, books, time on my phone, time in front of the tv, everything.
I’m a people pleaser by nature and I really actually like being busy, so this is truly against my nature, but I’ve also spent a lot of time feeling like I’m doing a little bit of everything but fully accomplishing nothing.
It comes down to this: do I want to have loads of friends, but none that I can really open up to when things get tough? Or do I want to have a handful of friends who would walk through fire with me?
Do I want to have a schedule full of happy hours and random commitments, but secretly hate 75% of them. Or do I want to have fewer commitments and really enjoy them?
Do I want to start 10 projects, but only finish 3, or finish more but half-ass them? Or do I want to start 3 projects and finish them all, giving it my best work?
Do I want to read 100 books, but only enjoy 30 of them? Or do I want to read 30 books, and find value in all 30 of them?
When I laid it out like that, the answers seemed extremely easy to me. Would you be willing to get rid of the excess in your life if it meant you could make room for better?
How I’ve Started
So have I stared implementing this on my life so far? Well for starters, I’ve continued to completely purge my closet. Because of baseball season my clothes and belongings were always scattered between at least 3 different locations (and I’m not talking down the street from one another. I’m talking 1/4th my closet in Wisconsin, 1/4th, in Florida, and 1/3rd in where ever we were located for the season – last year it was North Carolina). I have officially moved all of my clothes to ONE closet. Just getting it all in one place made me realize how much I really had. From there I continued to purge.
I’ve stopped reaching for my phone to do the mindless scroll anytime I have a spare moment. I hop on social media 2-3 times a day and when I’m there I make it a point to interact and comment intentionally (not just mindless scrolling).
I’ve been putting more time into choosing the books I read. I no longer wonder the shelves and pick up anything I see. I also don’t run after the first recommendation I receive. I have learned a lot of people just won’t have the same taste in books as I do. Getting recommendations from people who share my taste has been such a game charger for me in the reading department.
I’ve gotten rid of all of the random make-up I had lying around that I never really used but always held onto. Everything in my make-up bag now is what I use on a regular basis. Same thing goes for body and hair care. I’ve thrown out everything that is expired or passed on anything that I just don’t like or haven’t really used. I’ve kept only the products I love and use on a regular basis.
I’ve started thinking through possible future commitments instead of just saying yes willy-nilly to please anyone and everyone I can.
I’ve started only watching TV when there’s a specific show I want to watch on. For example, Tuesday if Fixer Upper day. At 8pm, I’m on the couch ready to watch, and when it’s over I turn the TV off instead of letting myself be sucked into whatever show follows it.
I’m looking forward to applying this mantra in other areas of my life, and I’ll be sure to report back on Essentialism when I finish reading it.