When a potter throws clay onto the wheel, it doesn't magically take shape on its own. It takes the artist's hands to mold and shape the vessel into a work of art.
It's a process. And while I don't possess this artistic talent, I would hope the potter enjoys the process. Through the misshapen pieces and throwaways, eventually a masterpiece evolves.
Most of must do a poor job of enjoying the process. We get so fixated on the goal and the end of the journey that we forget the steps it will take to get there. We forget the challenges and obstacles along the way. We want to quit when things get tough rather than reflect and learn along the way.
The process is the most important part of the journey.
I recently (like four days ago) finally got serious about getting back into shape with regular exercise. I made a promise to myself to do a 30-minute workout five days this week. Today was day four.
I set myself up for success with this process by purchasing an online membership so the workouts would be ready to go and all I have to do is push play. Secondly, I made it an appointment with myself that I can't cancel out on.
While I have an end goal, that's not important. The focus right now is on the process and I'm definitely enjoying it.
Photo by Jared Sluyter on Unsplash
I’ve admittedly gotten fat and sassy.
Six months ago, my husband and I went through a lot of changes.
We downsized from a 2,300 square foot home to an 835 square foot one-bedroom apartment.
We moved from our village of 1,200 people to a city of nearly one million.
I switched jobs and my husband got used to a longer commute.
We got rid of a lot of stuff.
And we started enjoying more experiences in our newly adopted city, along with getting to spend more time with our adult children and their significant others.
It’s been a whirlwind.
And it has been amazing.
But now I’ve gotten lazy. I’ve been enjoying too many episodes of Friends. Instead of working out, I’ve been reading. In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. However, I’ve let reading replace working out rather than letting it complement exercise.
I love our apartment and I struggle to want to leave it once I get home. It’s so comfortable.
In other words, I’ve gotten REALLY lazy.
Keeping it fresh.
While it is great to have gotten rid of so much stuff, having a lot less to clean, and not having any outside work has been tremendous, I let myself plateau.
I got fat and sassy.
So, here are some ideas I’ve been doing to keep minimalism fresh:
Join a group to continue to be motivated. I’m part of a group on Facebook called The Clutternators. We have been together for a year and a half, and we encourage and support each other as we work through the clutter in our lives. That clutter can be physical, digital, emotional, etc. Being in a group of like-minded people is a wonderful experience, and I make sure I post 2–3 times a week and comment on what others are doing. It’s great to have a healthy exchange of ideas.
The 10-minute rule. I take 10 minutes each day to pick up or clean one room in the apartment. Since we have a much smaller space, sometimes I can get to two rooms. I set a timer and then it’s “Game on!”
One activity each week. To keep us from getting too comfortable in our apartment, we make a promise to ourselves to get out to do something at least once a week. It might be going to our favorite comedy club or a hockey game. It might be going out for appetizers or going to an art gallery. At the end of the year, we will have gone out at least 52 times.
Set a movement goal. If you’re so inclined, set an exercise goal each week. However, if you aren’t a workout junkie, give yourself a movement goal. If need be, set a timer to go off each hour and then go for a five-minute walk.
Remind yourself that minimalism is a continuous journey. It isn’t a destination. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Watch a documentary on the topic. Get re-energized when you hit a plateau.
It’s okay to take a rest. We all need one from time to time, but the key is to make sure that rest doesn’t turn into a hibernating slumber.
Get out of the tree and get back at it! After all, you’re not a koala bear. ;)
Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash
Have you ever done something you're so proud of that you simply want to shout it from the top of a mountain? A rooftop? Okay, so maybe your deck?
This is exactly how I feel about GTI Wednesday!
I call it the five-minute weekly positivity boost. It comes out in the middle of the week when we could all use a little nudge. It provides a nugget about something you can see, listen, or do, and a health, fitness, or productivity tip. The cherry on top is a quick-hitter in the form of a picture and a quote.
The aspect I love so much is the feedback I get from people who enjoy what they get out of it.
And that's precisely why I do it. My goal is simply to continue to add positive vibes to the world through simple living. As I work to build my writing career, GTI Wednesday is one way I can give back when others have been so supportive of me. Week in and week out, writing and putting this newsletter together gives me so much joy.
I am very proud of this weekly newsletter and the traction it is gaining.
If you currently subscribe to GTI Wednesday, thank you! Forward your newsletter to others and invite them to come to Everyday Life Uncluttered to subscribe.
And, if you're reading this blog post and don't currently subscribe, I invite you to go to the home page and scroll down to the bottom of the page to sign up. Find out exactly why others enjoy it so much.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading out to my deck to shout why I love GTI Wednesday so much!
When we think about setting goals, the middle of November isn't typically on our radar.
January 1? Of course!
The beginning of the month? Yep!
Monday? For sure!
But the middle of November? Not really.
Think about it. We are on the cusp of the holiday season, and you probably won't believe me when I say this but it's a great time to implement a goal.
Here's the deal.
Sure, we might be seemingly more motivated at the beginning of the year, month, or week. However, the time frame doesn't matter.
What does matter is the goal itself and it's purpose. (If you need some ideas, check out 58 Resolutions for Anytime in the Year.)
However, the goal isn't usually the problem. The problem is three-fold: making sure the goal is specific and purposeful, the time frame is realistic, and the overall implementation happens.
For example, I decided last January (but I could have easily started it at any point of the year) that I wanted to read 25 books over a period of 12 months (specific and realistic time frame), and I wanted to do it to broaden the scope of learning through what I read (purposeful). I used Goodreads.com to track how many books I read throughout the year, and I made a commitment to read 30 minutes each day (implementation).
How am I doing? With a month and a half left, I have read 23 books. Most of them have been in the self-help genre through personal growth and development and a few have been on writing. However, I sprinkled some fiction in with young adult literature and children's literature.
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." - Zig Ziglar
Even though I am not quite to goal achievement, I can certainly say I've learned a few things about myself along the way.
First, by reading more I'm developing into a better writer. I have gained and improved my vocabulary, I find more topics with which I feel comfortable writing, and I've been willing to take more risks.
Second, reading some children's literature reminded me that there is an inner child in me. Part of that inner child is simply enjoying what I'm reading. Even though the plot is predictable, don't make predictions. Just take delight in it. And I did.
Third, this might be the first time I have stayed committed to a goal for an entire year (a close second was 295 straight days of guided meditation). What has made the difference is giving myself time to read each day. I don't always read books during the 30 minutes. I might be reading articles/blog posts, magazines, or online news pieces but I'm still reading.
Having an accountability piece has helped as well. By tracking each book on Goodreads, I have been able to keep an accurate count of how many books I've read. It also helps me stay on track by letting me know if I'm head or behind on my overall goal. That has motivated me to stay ahead by one or two books.
"Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor." --Brian Tracy
When we want to make changes, goals have no idea what time of the year it is and they don't care. They are just waiting for us to jump aboard and get going.
It's time for you to take control of the direction you want to go.
What's stopping you?
There are some days when we just need a win. We can't seem to get out of our own way. One negative turns into another, and before we know it, we are spiraling downward.
While logically we know it's a phase or we're just in a little funk, it still sucks. And by golly, we just need a win!
Enter simplicity. Enter the routine to-do list.
I'm not kidding. Sometimes just being able to knock off a few routine chores is all that is needed to kickstart the winning streak and will get us back on track.
After an incredibly frustrating week professionally in which I came home and cried on three different days (in a five-day week, and one of those days was a sick day...so four days, friends), I needed a win terribly.
This is what I've accomplished so far today:
*Made breakfast and got dressed
*Dropped off recycling
*Filled the car up with gas
*Bought two birthday gifts, a book, and picked up Starbucks coffee for us
*Walked to pick up the mail
*Updated my job search
*Dusted the bedroom
*Sorted and started laundry
*Conversed with my husband while watching the Husker football game
*Updated my calendar
Have I done anything monumental?
But do I feel better?
Sometimes we need to check off the mundane tasks to see that we're being productive. Not in a deep work way, mind you, but in a way that makes us feel productive nonetheless.
On those days when you feel like nothing is going right, make a list of all the little things you've done no matter how mundane or routine they might be.
Because sometimes we simply need a win.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.