Paring down and living with less is hard work. If it was easy everyone would have tidy closets and clutter free shelves. But it’s not. Especially in the beginning. In the beginning the road ahead looks long and hard.
You need a spark to make big changes in your life. You need a extra motivation. Something beyond what you have most days.
Six weeks ago I signed on for Faith’s Minimize Your Butt Fitness Challenge. I had big goals: drop 5 pounds, lose some inches off my waist and get back into a consistent exercise program. Oh, and I wanted to cut out eating chocolate during the week.
I didn’t meet those goals. In fact, I only lasted the first two weeks with the no week day chocolate. My sister came for a visit, I lost some motivation and then we went on a short vacation and I pretty much threw myself off the wagon. I also didn’t meet my exercise goal of running 3 times a week and doing 3 body weight workouts a week for the entire 6 week challenge. My waist measurement is the same and the 2 pounds I lost the first week is back on.
I could look at it as a big failure. But I don’t. Signing up, writing down my goals and updating my progress here gave me a spark of motivation. Despite some setbacks that spark is still there. And because of that spark I can say that I:
- ran more in those six weeks than I did in the previous six weeks
- got up to running 12 km – the longest run I have done since the fall of last year
- I went two weeks without chocolate during the week – something I hadn’t done in a few months
So, while I didn’t meet my goals I did make some changes. And I found a spark.
I’ve decided to join a gym and figured out a plan so I can lift weights there 2-3 times a week while Chris is on parent patrol. A half marathon isn’t in my future but I will continue to run 2-3 times a week. I’m also reading more about the effects of sugar and trying to cut it out of my diet. In the last three days I have had my coffee with just milk and, while it’s a small change, it’s a start.
Go after the spark. Don’t think ahead to every room and closet and drawer and how much crap is stuffed into them. It will send you to the couch. Or worse, out shopping.
Instead, do that one drawer in the kitchen that irritates you every time you open it. The one with all the rubber bands, unsorted mail, coins, take-out menus and pens that don’t work.
Just do that drawer today. Every time you open that drawer and feel how easily it rolls open, how nice it looks with just two working pens and a pad of paper for notes in it, every time you see that you’re fueling a spark. It may be another two weeks until you can tackle the front hall closet or finally donate that bag of outgrown clothing, but the spark is there.
Results are great but staying motivated for the long haul is invaluable.
On that note, I would love to hear more about how I can help people get started with reducing their stuff. I’ve seen a few friends get excited about minimalism and then quickly give up. Initial excitement fades and that sale at H&M beckons. It’s hard to keep going with all the paring down and at the same time change your consuming habits.
What would you like to see more of here? How can I help you? I’ve created a short survey HERE but feel free to let me know in the comments as well.