When I started my blog, I kept hearing that I needed to find a “niche” to fit into. (If you are a blogger, here is a great webinar to help you get started.) One thing to keep the blog focused toward. That is super hard for me because I am a scatterbrained person by nature and I love learning new things. I didn’t know if I should keep my blog focused on food and health or budgeting and living a simple life. Both of these routes were high passion areas in my life and I couldn’t seem to figure out a way to make them smoosh together. That’s when I realized just how easily all these things go together in a persons life. It’s the minimalist diet and a way of living that has completely transformed my life. You can see my family’s story here: How Downsizing Changed My Family. More than anything I want to share that with people.
Having a minimalist mind set has totally shaped me into a happier, healthier more at peace person than I ever used to be. People hear about the minimalist movement and assume that it is all tiny houses and living with nothing but a bed and a back pack. Let me put these rumors to rest and tell you that it goes far beyond things. That’s the point entirely. It means not letting things have a hold of you anymore; whether those things are materials, foods or even a job status. At the end of the day, we can’t take any of these things with us. At the end of your life you won’t remember the closet of clothes or your super awesome car. Your job title won’t matter. How you lived will matter. Who you made an impact on will matter. Having a minimalist mindset means stress free living, guilt free eating, no more shopping addictions, no more credit card debt, more traveling and more happy days.
Working toward minimalism it is absolutely essential that you know what you want out of life. Get specific and don’t let anything deter you from your goals. Even if that means you want a big house on a lake and a yacht. Yes, even a minimalist mindset can get you tons of stuff.
Personally, I want a life where I don’t spend my weekends doing a ton of yard or house work. I want to travel, soak up my family and friends, feel good in my body, live a long time and do it without financial stress. This coming from a girl who used to buy a new pair of shoes (or more) every month. Shopping was essential to my happiness (although it added to my stress) and credit card debt was something I enjoyed racking up and paying off. It was an endless cycle of temporarily getting what I wanted and never getting what I wanted long term. My family and I would take fun long vacations and I would buy a ton of souvenirs, Starbucks on the credit card every day and going out to eat at all the coolest places. Non of this is bad stuff, but it was ultimately taking me away from most of my goals. After vacation ended, it was like a hamster wheel of trying to play catch up and get the credit card paid off. We had cupboards filled with mugs and shot glasses from different cities and places and they spent 364 days a year collecting dust. My kids grew out of their souvenir t-shirts and now they are sitting in a memory box surviving no purpose.
There is no easier way to get yourself started on a minimalist diet than simply tweaking a few things in your mind. Switching your mind into total happiness mode. This is when your list of goals comes into play and will test your ability to say, “no.” Before you do anything, buy anything, go anywhere or eat anything ask yourself these few things:
Let me show you how these questions work with shopping purchases, food choices and life choices.
Shopping was a killer for me, passing a CLEARANCE or SALE sign was unheard of. I considered myself a bargain shopper. It felt necessary to stock up on something if I was getting it for less. Now I barely give these signs a second glance. My biggest realization was that there was ALWAYS one of these signs up. I wasn’t getting in on anything special. I was actually losing out on cash that could have been spent on bigger goals. Now when I see a pair of shoes or a dress I adore I ask myself those three questions.
Food has been a struggle for me. I think it is for everyone at some point, whether it’s getting too much or not getting enough. Once I started living more minimal, I started to be able to hear my body better. It became clear what wasn’t good for me. Nights used to be spent in front of the mirror feeling bad about myself, feeling bloated and unhappy. When I started to realize that I had food intolerances, I began to realize that feeling bad at the end of each day was a result of eating those foods. Most people who struggle with food have a certain weight goal they are trying to reach and thinking about that goal naturally makes the food aspect that much more tempting. Now when my family orders a pizza (and I can’t eat the gluten) I go through my questions.
As a healthy, clean, whole foods eater, I know my priorities are to feel good in my body and eating well helps me obtain that. It’s no longer about a size or a weight goal. It’s just a feel good goal. Well, one day I spoke with a woman who had been overweight most of her life. She spent life struggling to eat the right foods and workout enough to lose the weight. Then one day she decided she wanted the food more. More than the body everyone said she needed she wanted to the food. So she chose to let go of the guilt and the stress that weight loss was causing her and just enjoy what she ate. I had never ever, in a fitness obsessed world, heard someone say this before. But I realized, my goals aren’t hers and that’s ok. She was able to keep her tunnel vision focused ahead of her and no longer on the scale.
Life brings us a ton of choices. New jobs, new friends, new groups to join, trips to take, games to play… The biggest one for me is probably going out with my friends. I need those nights. Being a stay at home homeschooling mom, I need my nights out and I defiantly get them. I even budget for them. However, sometimes those three questions go a little something like this:
When you start to think of minimalism think of it as a way of decluttering all the stuff that doesn’t really matter in life. The stuff that isn’t important. The more you clear out the clutter from your closet, cupboard or cranium the more perspective you gain. Getting rid of the excess helps you focus directly on big picture. With your tunnel vision focused on your big time goals, you will be totally unstoppable. I promise.