Anyone Can Be A Minimalist

Anyone Can Be A Minimalist

Warning: Minimalism may cause mindfulness, escape from consumerism, feelings of inner peace and freedom.
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Almost a year ago, a friend of mine suggested I watch "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" on Netflix. I added it to my watch list but left it dormant there for some time until I finally finished binging "The Great British Baking Show". The last thing I expected was for it to change my life but when I started to look around my apartment, I realized the ambush of stuff that was infecting my life was becoming overwhelming.

What is minimalism?

The Minimalists behind the documentary, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, define minimalism as “a tool that can assist you in finding freedom.” A freedom from fear, worry, overwhelming, guilt, depression, and consumerist culture. A freedom from the imagined line of success and accomplishment through material means. A real freedom.

It is a lifestyle that leaves the specifics up to the individual. Minimalism runs on a spectrum. The imagery of an empty white apartment with one chair, one cooking pot, and a closet decorated with 3 shirts is one version of it.

Adopting a minimalist mindset doesn’t mean you have to purge every item you own though. It’s a mindfulness of the products we consume and use to create meaning in our lives. If you own 1,000 books, but each one makes you happy, keep your books!

The basic goal of minimalism is to surround yourself with things that genuinely bring you joy and let go of the things that don’t. Isn’t that worth a few hours of eradication and deep soul searching?

The benefits of minimalism:

There are some obvious benefits to downsizing your stuff, like fewer opportunities for your cat to knock it all off tables, but Minimalism goes so much further than that.

1. Minimalism allows you to declutter physically and mentally

Cluttered spaces are linked to anxiety, stress, and physical strain. Excess stimulation creates a wired mental reaction, sending signals to our bodies and creating a sense that our work is never done. Have you ever stress cleaned your entire apartment? It may have taken a few hours, but I’m willing to bet you felt pretty proud afterward. Imagine feeling that all the time.

2. Living our lives for ourselves.

The promotion of mindfulness in our physical commitments can blend into the social. While clearing out your closet, you’re allowed to clear out your schedule. Much like our purchases, we are over-committed to unnecessary social arrangements. If you give yourself more time and space to listen to your head and body, you may find that going to bed early one night is more beneficial than going out. There is a difference between being a flake and reclaiming your time.

3. Consumerism that works for the consumer.

There is a monetary freedom to consider. Without the pressure to purchase the latest and greatest products, hard earned money can be put toward other projects. Think for a minute how many concert or plane tickets you could buy with all the money you’d save not falling into the Target trap once a week. Consumerism doesn’t have to define you if it won’t benefit you.

4. Inner peace and mindfulness.

At this point, minimalism sounds like a hippy revival but stay with me here. The less you have, the more you appreciate what you do surround yourself with. You can start to define yourself by who you are and not what you own. Without the things and commitments to distract you, you are free to be any version of yourself that is the most authentic and beneficial.

Where do you start?

There is no single right way to take this journey. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t touched it in 6 months, it can go. It’s easier said than done. For the first few weeks, I found myself self-rationalizing each past purchase, mentally creating what-if scenarios in which I would need a tea kettle, coffee pot, and Keurig all at once. Go slow and start small. Like with any new task, practice makes perfect. Ask yourself this simple question each time you pick up something new: Does this serve a purpose in my life?

Try focusing on a single room or area at a time and work your way up to bigger decisions. Take minimizing a closet for example:

Tackling the dreaded closest monster

For me, the biggest project was hands down my feared closet. I had to go back to this project several times to wean myself off the “I may want this one day” habit but each time it got easier to be scrupulous toward my possessions.

I found a basic guide that worked for me and went from there, asking questions of worthiness as I went. It was a mantra I trained myself to adopt with each new article of clothing.

Start by bringing everything out in the open. Yes, everything. Remind yourself what you have. Then try everything on! Make two piles: Donate/Sell and Keep.

Does it fit? If not, Donation pile it is.

Do you still like it? You’re constantly evolving as a person and your style should reflect you! Use this as an opportunity to refine your aesthetic. Some things are classic and holding onto basics like well-fitting jeans, a good button-down, or solid colors will be both cost-effective and always in style. You deserve clothes that make you feel like the queens and kings you are! If something makes you self-conscious or doesn’t feel like you it isn’t worthy of being owned by you. Donate.

Has it been touched in the past year? If you haven’t been drawn to something in 365 days, even on laundry days, there’s a reason for that! Unless it’s a special occasion outfit, someone else will likely get more love out of those garments. Out it goes.

Damaged goods? If the hole in the seam of the armpit has kept you from putting on a shirt for months, despite only needed a few basic stitches, you don’t need it. If it was once white and now, well, isn’t, it doesn’t need you. Donate what you can and recycle the rest in other ways: reusable kitchen rages, glasses cleaners, testing fabric for your newest embroidery project. Don’t throw things away unless it’s a last resort.

Still on the fence? Ask for opinions of your “maybes”. Make a fashion show of it- Sex in the City style! Bring out your inner Carrie. Be critical! And remember, items don’t have feelings, they won’t be hurt if you pass them on. Only the clothing that actually fits and makes you feel good to walk out the door in the morning should be taking up your shelves.

The closet is a pretty solid place to start. And after you get the hang of the process, adapting the questions you use to define usefulness for all products will become commonplace. (Who needs 27 Bath and Body Works lotions?)

It all counts, even if you can't count it all

You don’t have to be able to count all your belongings on one hand. Just becoming conscious of the items we allow in our lives can do wonders. The man gives power to his possessions, the possessions do not give power to the man.

Think of the items in your life in terms of friends. We’re skeptical of the people we let into our lives. We only keep the ones around who brighten our lives for the better. Why should our belongings be any different?

See for yourself where this journey could take you!

Just because something doesn’t have a place in your heart or home anymore, doesn’t mean it won’t for someone else! Donate, sell to secondhand stores, reuse, reduce, recycle, be mindful, and help the environment!
Cover Image Credit: Becca Tapert on Usplash

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.
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It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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10 Ways To Keep Your Workout Motivation According To A Personal Trainer

"ALEXA play 'Work Bitch' by Britney Spears."

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Keeping your motivation for working out is one of the number one reasons why I think people fail to achieve their fitness goals.

Now I am no "fitness guru" by any means, and I have lost my motivation many times and worked back up.

No one is perfect when it comes to working out, and everyone can have different methods that are successful but from what I have seen, and talking to a few personal trainers, these are some of the best ways to keep your motivation and not lose track of your goals.

If you stick to these 10 ways, you will definitely have a better mindset when it comes to working out, and that will help you push yourself hard because you know that you are capable of much more than you think!

That is the last piece of advice I will leave you with, you are so much more capable of than you think. I recall so many times in the gym, I've thought I was gonna just collapse or crumble cause I was so tired, but time and time again I persevere and finish a set, and see that I can really push myself to the limits, and this is when I've seen the best results.

1. Talk about your goals.

You have to speak your goals into existence. Also speaking about them to others can help hold you accountable and you are working so hard for them, don't give up and let what you accomplished so far go to waste!

2. Get a consistent workout buddy.

This is something that I have found helps me out a lot, my roommate Jordan and I are always checking in on each other to make sure that we've worked out!

3. Want better for yourself, not to impress someone else.

This is also very important, if you have fitness goals solely to impress someone else, you will never be satisfied, or never feel like enough.

4. Want it more than you say.

You really have to want your fitness goals more than you are saying. If you have this goal that is driving you constantly in the back of your mind, your motivation will keep coming from within.

5. Have a scheduled workout plan.

If you have a workout plan that a professional or yourself has constructed, it gives you something to follow and not break. Having a plan for yourself will help keep yourself on track.

6. Take pictures every week!

Seems cheesy, but taking photos of yourself every week can hold you accountable but more importantly, you are able to see results, big or small, if you aren't seeing them in person, you'll be able to tell through the photos.

7. Know what your plan is before you go to the gym.

You should know what your plan is before you go to the gym, try not to just wing it. If you are winging it, who knows if you are really pushing yourself and constantly challenging yourself every gym session.

8. Try your best to maintain a healthy diet during the week.

This can be difficult of course, meal prepping is someting that can always helps! BUT if you don't have time to meal prep, then just go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of healthy snacks to eat throughout the day to keep your motabalism working. Get foods to fuel your body so all your hard workouts don't go to waste!

9. Stick to a plan, it'll be hard at first, but it only gets easier.

Once you get into the swing of things, get into a routine, you'll get used to it. And then you will truly enjoy it, feel great, and have more energy!

10. Surround yourself with others that also have the same goals as you.

As cliche as it is, you do pick up the traits of the people you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with overachievers, hard workers, who have the same fitness goals as you, you'll all work hard together and encourage each other along the way!

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