|Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash|
You don't need to know exactly where you'll end up in order to begin.
Minimalism is not a one-size-fits-all blueprint. It does not look the same for everyone, because minimalism is all about discovering the people, activities, and things that have value for you, and minimizing the things that take time, money, and energy away from what you value.
I can't write a prescription or step-by-step road map for your minimalist journey. I can give you ideas, suggestions, and challenges to help you question, test, and reveal what minimalism looks like for you and your family in your current situation and time of life. I can try to inspire you on your way.
What I have no intention of doing is laying blame on you. Clutter and overwhelm may strongly impact your life today, but clutter doesn't need to define or limit you. It doesn't need to have a say in your life going forward.
You can change that picture.
Watch TV for just two hours, or read one lifestyle magazine, and you'll understand the messages our culture throws at you all day, every day, from so many directions. These messages say you need to:
- look a certain way
- dress a certain way
- drive a certain kind of car
- live in a certain kind of house
- have a partner who looks a certain way
- travel exotically
- buy your kids all they want so they're popular and cool
- eat out all the time (a lot of it crappy food)
- drink with the beautiful people
- work out like an Olympian...
- so you can look a certain way!
It seems that the Instagram life is what everyone has. The fashion and home design bloggers, the fitness gurus, the remarkable home chefs, and all of our friends' amazing vacations, accomplishments, and parties are there for us to compare ourselves to. It's no wonder we feel jealous and "less than" when it comes to being ourselves and living our own lives -- the lives we're missing because we're too busy scrolling.
It's no wonder you start feeling that if you had that body, that outfit, those shoes, that hairstyle, or that house, or car, or job, or partner, or kid, your life would be Instagram-perfect too! You devalue what you have because everything you're looking at seems so much better.
Look. You know you're missing something: the whole story. You don't know what else may be going on in those perfect-looking Instagram lives. They might be happy, good lives. Or they might be hiding a lot of
- shopping addiction
- relationship problems
Have you ever seen a racehorse in training? You'll notice they have blinders attached to their bridles that prevent them from seeing beside or behind themselves. This is so they don't get distracted or spooked by what's going on around them. They can stay focused on themselves and their own race -- their next step forward.
You need your own set of blinders so you can keep coming back to what works for you:
- the level of clutter you feel comfortable with
- the level of busyness you want to handle
- the level of free time you need
- the lifestyle that supports your values and your best possible level of choice, freedom, and satisfaction.
With your blinders on, you
- minimize the time you spend looking at other people's lives (including friends, acquaintances, and celebrities)
- focus on your own choices and goals
- remind yourself that life is a work in progress
- expose yourself to people who have far less than you do
- accept where you are now and acknowledge that you have the power to change if you want to
- take the first step, and then the next, and the next.
Don't let yourself feel overwhelmed by the size of your piles, or the many-years-untouched basement, or the closet you fear to open because it might all fall out and bury you. Don't focus on the mountain, because it will freeze you up and make you feel too defeated to begin.
Start by starting, even if you can't see the end.
Lay aside the outcome and the list of steps to get there, and do something that energizes you right now. Taking action builds your confidence; confidence moves you to your next action; many small actions add up to big change.