The games are about to begin!
And when I say games, I actually mean the ultimate game. The Minimalism Game.
When I competed in high school sports, I usually started getting amped up the night before a big game. I felt antsy, couldn't concentrate, and my stomach was full of butterflies.
It's not quite the same with this game, but I'm excited nonetheless. I'm excited about getting rid of stuff I don't need or use. The stuff I've just allowed to take up residence in my house and have ignored for far too long.
It's time for me to step up and play, and I'm ready.
Each day during March I'm getting rid of the number of items that match the day of the month. If you would like to follow my journey, I will post a picture each day on Instagram. Feel free to follow me @shedenk11.
I welcome anyone to join me and to let me know how you're doing. Post a daily picture and let me know how I can follow you by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm so excited that I don't know whether or not I will be able to sleep tonight. You know, kind of like on Christmas Eve with the anticipation of what will be under the tree on Christmas morning.
Okay, maybe I'm not quite that excited, but I'm all in.
In a recent classroom counseling lesson, I introduced the 4th graders to the word snarky. It might seem pretty counterproductive for a school counselor to teach them a word that means sarcastic, rude, and basically down right mean.
But for some reason, around this time of year a lot of them get snarky. I think some of it has to do with that itchiness to move on to the next phase of their lives. You see, in my school district our 4th graders move on to a new building after this year. So, it's kind of like they start testing the boundaries a little more with each other and with authority. Not overtly, but rather in a sneaky undermining kind of way.
You know, snarky.
I even go so far as to ask them what their end game is by being snarky to one another and/or being disrespectful to adults.
I get blank stares, because they have no idea what end game means. I further explain to them that I want them to tell me what they hope to accomplish by being snarky. What is their goal? What do they want to get out of being mean and rude?
It then starts to sink in. They might be 9-10 years old, but they are more intuitive than we adults give them credit for. When they shake their heads in an "oh, I get what you're saying" kind of way, I have them right where I want them.
It's time to go for the jugular. I talk about kindness and the end game associated with it. We discuss how being kind makes the other person feel and also how it makes them feel when they are kind.
It feels a whole lot better being kind to someone. You kind of get the rush of a warm, snuggly kind of feeling. In contrast, being snarky makes you feel...well, it makes you feel like crap, "icky" if you will.
It's funny, though. When I'm teaching lessons to elementary students, I often think about how beneficial these same lessons would be for adults. Because when you think about it, we adults are modeling for our young people. What they witness, they often mimic. Unfortunately, they are seeing a whole lot of negative in the world today from various avenues.
But we have to continue to fight the good fight. Fight snarky with kindness.
Eventually, kindness will win.
I am a firm believer in one day of the week being a day of rest.
On Sunday, just as I do during the week, I go through my morning routine of bible study, meditation, and social media updates. It happens a little later as I'm not on a schedule like I am during the week.
Sunday gives me a chance to reflect on the week just completed and to plan for the week ahead. I use my 30 Commit journal to take a look at what I did to move myself closer to some goals I have set for myself. I use it to organize my week and to look at what is coming up.
Sunday gives me a chance to sit and read. I take time to read for a longer period of time than I have a chance to do during the week. I take turns between a novel and a personal development book. I like to read a novel, because I don't have to think as much. I can just picture what is happening in my mind as I read. That differs from personal development books that I use to learn, change, adapt, and advance. There's a lot more thinking and applying involved. Having both types of books at my fingertips allows me the chance to make a choice depending upon my mood.
Sunday gives me a chance to write for more focused blocks of time. While during the week, I carve 30-45 minutes a day to write, I can write longer pieces or string together shorter ones for upcoming blog posts. I can do some dreaded editing, important but not as much fun for me as the creation of the piece itself.
Sunday gives me a chance to reflect upon what I'm grateful for in the bigger picture. I try to do this practice daily with the Five Minute Journal app, but Sundays give me more time to really take it all in. During the daily rush, I can get self-absorbed and think that things are tough. When I take a step back on Sunday, I'm reminded once again that I'm incredibly fortunate in all that I have in my life and that it's really, really fantastic.
Sunday gives me a chance to rest my body. I get up a little later and sometimes take a nap. This morning I got up a little before 8:00 and then laid down for a respite around 10:30. I might even take another one this afternoon, who knows? But it's nice that I have that option if I want to take it.
As the day draws to a close tonight, I will make sure that I'm ready to go for the week. I will know what meetings are going on, where I need to be on certain days, and when I can work out. Meals are loosely planned and I know which days I will be able to hit the gym.
I think the most important thing that each of us needs to realize is that we need one day a week to rest, reflect, and recharge.
Sunday is that day for me.
This is me.
This is me creepily excited!
This is me creepily excited about playing the Minimalism Game!
I've been routinely getting rid of stuff for quite awhile, but now it's getting serious. I've thought about playing the Minimalism Game, but every time it pops into my head it's the middle of the month. I could start there, but I like a fresh slate.
The game is a way of getting rid of the excess, the stuff that no longer adds value to one's life. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists, created the game for this purpose. On the first day of the month, you get rid of one thing. On the second day of the month, you get rid of two things. You get the picture. By the end of the month, you will have gotten rid of 476 items (in a 31 day month).
What I think is cool is that Joshua, his partner, and her three-year-old daughter are doing it this month as a family, and they are already minimalists. If they can still find excess, then I should be able to do it quite easily as I know I still have so much that just takes up space.
The thing about me though is that for now it will be in a holding place. I plan to have a garage sale this summer and then whatever doesn't get sold will be donated. We have a village-wide garage sale in June, and so I'm thankful we have a room in our basement to stash what we no longer need. We don't even use the room and so it is definitely out of sight out of mind. I'm not tempted to go in to grab something back out.
I also keep reminding myself of the bigger picture when I think about playing the Minimalism Game. When my husband and I decide to downsize (in potentially a year or so), it will make our move so much easier. In fact, we were even talking this morning about selling most of our furniture in our house instead of taking it with us. Then we can furnish our new place with what we absolutely need.
Again, it all comes down to the reason for doing something, the why. For me, the why is simple, I want to have more experiences rather than being tied down to stuff. That's a big enough reason to periodically go through what I have and really focus on whether or not I've used it. If I haven't used it in 30 days, I'm probably not going to and I will get rid of it.
I will take pause when it comes to seasonal items. However, once that season is completed, I need to make sure I do a "cleanse" on those items. If I didn't use them, then they go. Once we get into spring, I will go through my winter clothing items and see what I wore and didn't wear. If I didn't wear it, then it will go. I've already marked my calendar for the first day of spring, March 20, because that's when I will do it.
We need to give ourselves deadlines. If we don't, then we are more than likely going to continue to put things off. So, stop putting things off. Join me in the Minimalist Game beginning March 1. Email me at email@example.com to let me know how you're doing. And while you're at it, subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter. Just say, "Sign me up!", and I will add you to the list.
About a year ago, I dipped my toes into the water and attempted a weekly newsletter. I had eight wonderful subscribers who stuck with me while I sporadically sent tips their way. And then I fizzled out.
I put together an actual plan this time and went back to those original subscribers to see if they wanted to be included in my re-branding efforts. I've heard back from four of them so far who have given me a firm, "Yes."
When I thanked Zak, one of my former students, for his support, he said, "Always happy to support positivity and growth."
Zak has hit the nail on the head when it comes to my overall vibe. I'm a positive person who wants to share what she has learned in order to add value to others' lives. Everyday gives us a chance to learn and grow from each other. I have learned so much from articles and books I read, podcasts I listen to, and experiences I've had.
Writing gives me the opportunity to share with others. I would like to share my writing with you through a weekly newsletter called GTI (Get To It) Wednesday. The content of the newsletter is a positive quote; a section on something I've either read, listened to, or done recently; a health, fitness, or productivity tip; and a link to my latest blog post.
The best part is the subscription to the newsletter is absolutely, 100% FREE!! All you do is send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you want to subscribe or you can do the same thing on the home page of this website. Just scroll to the bottom of it to enroll. Either way, I want you to get the latest and greatest on positivity and growth (as Zak put it).
Sign up as soon as possible so that you receive the first newsletter on March 1!
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.