Want to know something? I originally wrote this post in the beginning of my minimalist journey. Right after we downsized our house and moved into a “starter home” that was 2,000 finished square feet smaller. Then I let all of those outside voices make me second guess everything I had written. It was one of my most-read posts and still, I changed it into a typical “diet” post. Simple ways to be healthier. Blah, blah blah. Now, I’m taking it back. We’re talking minimalist life diet. How the power of minimalism has the potential to spill into all areas of life if you allow it to do so. I promise, it will be the best thing you ever do.
What is minimalism?
The minimalist lifestyle is about living with only the things you need. Minimalists are free from the desire to buy and accumulate more. Instead, they find happiness in relationships and experiences.-Becoming Minimalist
So am I now living some enlightened Buddha-type life? Not quite…but also…way more than I ever did before.
Minimalism and clutter
When people start a minimalist journey it often begins here…with the clutter. The material things that we’ve allowed to clutter-up our lives. I get it and it makes sense to start here.
Learning to let go of the items we’ve allowed ourselves to believe improves our value is one of the most freeing things we can do for our own sanity.
As a former shopaholic, I used to justify spending money on clearance racks all the time because they were “on sale.” I never thought to ask myself if I wanted any of the items in the first place.
Your things don’t define you
One of the most profound life lessons I ever learned was from Wayne Dyer. In one of his books, he made the message clear that it is a waste of our time on earth to define ourselves by anything that could be taken away from us.
If someone were to say to you, “Tell me about yourself…” how much of what you respond with would be items or titles that could be taken away?
- “I am a
- “I’m a
- “I’m a
- “I’m a
- “I’m a
lawyerat a law firmuptown.”
When we allow ourselves to be defined by things, or titles, we open ourselves up to losing who we are when those things are taken away.
Maybe it’s because I learned great loss at an early age that the reality of losing things is not a foreign concept to me. After hearing this bit of wisdom from good ‘ol Wayne for the first time, I started instantly reevaluating my life.
How much of what I owned was I allowing to dictate how I felt about myself and who I was as a human being?
Must read: 5 Traumatic Events That Create Minimalists
Start with your ultimate goal and work backward
The best way to begin clearing away physical clutter, I have found, is by imagining your end goals in life. What do you ultimately want? What’s the big-picture you see playing out for your life? Are the things that surround you helping you get there?
For me, when it came to evaluating things like our “big house” the answer to this question was no.
What I said I wanted:
- Good marriage and a close family — the house and all the space was driving us apart
- Traveling with our kids — and yet so much of our money went to paying for, and maintaining a big house
- Not being stuck in jobs we hate — yet we were bound to our mortgage payment, therefore stuck in our jobs
If you are saying you want something in life and yet your actions and your spending habits aren’t lining up to make it happen…it might be time to take serious action.
Minimalism and your body
Raise your hand if you’ve tried a crazy complicated dieting plan!? I think I just saw all of the women’s hands shoot up in the air. Maybe a few dudes too.
A new diet plan might sound a little something like this: “I’m going to start eating Keto. All I have to do is make sure that X equals the sum of two parts of Y so that my body can go into ketosis!“
Before you get all up in arms defending the Keto diet, what I’m saying is, sometimes we overcomplicate things that don’t need to be so damn complicated.
First, what can most of us agree healthy eating looks like?
Healthy eating looks like:
- Unprocessed foods
- Low sugar
- Moderate alcohol
Can anyone argue this? Maybe. We do live in a world swarming with argumentative, highly opinionated people. However, I would hope most of us could agree on MOST of these.
Minimalism and working out
One of the best things I realized before going to the gym was that a workout didn’t have to mean breaking a sweat, grunting like an animal and maxing my weights.
Answer me this…
What do you like to do that gets your body moving? Are you in the zone in your garden? Do you prefer leisure bike rides? Maybe you love dancing while you brush your teeth! Actually, that sounds like it could be lethal. Maybe don’t do that one.
But…dance, damnit — without a toothbrush in your mouth. Dance like no one is watching. Dance even if they are — and then tell me how you got so brave.
Get in your garden. Go for a walk. Moving your body doesn’t have to be torture. When you do the things that you LOVE to do, you feel great and exercise becomes easy.
More than anything our biggest battle with exercise is a battle happening in our brain.
What do you want for your body and health?
So since we’re on body talk, how can you apply minimalism to your body and health?
You probably know where I’m going with this by now…
If you are saying you want health but are chowing down Oreos under your covers every night and feeling ashamed every morning, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Your better bet would be to silence that crab ass in your mind that is telling you Oreos are the devil’s food anyway.
Minimalism and your mind
Do you think if you just allowed yourself the peace of eating Oreos, and allowed yourself to grab 2 at a time whenever you felt like it during the day without shame…maybe the Oreos would lose their power and your body wouldn’t punish you for them anymore.
This is the same thing as dragging yourself to the gym to do the elliptical while screaming inside your head things like, “SOMEONE END THE MADNESS!” “I JUST WANT A TACO!”
Do you want to feel good in your body? Because I’m willing to bet a long walk with your dog and eating 2 tacos with homemade seasoning and less sour cream is going to make you feel a whole lot better than an hour on an elliptical and a dry kale salad.
Your health, your body and your fitness do not need to be as complicated as you imagine. Start simple. Start small. Just start. And don’t let your mind run the show. She’s crazy.
Minimalism and your life
“Yeah, I can volunteer that day!”
“Sure, I’ll make it for that brunch!”
“I would LOVE to sit at your 3-year-olds clown-themed birthday party!”
Chances are you have said one of these three things or something close to it at some point in your life.
Somehow, by nature, most of us seem to feel this obligation to show up for everyone. To agree to everything we technically could fit into our schedule.
Applying minimalism to your time means making your mouth say, “No,” when that’s the answer your gut is screaming.
It means no longer justifying running yourself ragged just because someone might be disappointed.
It means choosing to disappoint other people before disappointing yourself. And this isn’t selfish by the way. There is a reason we were all given an internal compass…because we are supposed to follow it! The crazy thing is that we usually hand over our compass to anyone anytime they ask which usually leaves us feeling like we have no clue where we’re going and leaves our friends so busy fiddling around with our compass that they forget they have one of their own!
Do you have time clutter?
Are the obligations filling the calendar things that are going to help you or hinder you from being the person you want to be and achieving the things you want to achieve? Maybe. Right? Maybe you’re working to keep your kids happy, your significant other happy, or even get that promotion that you want.
Take the time to truly consider whether or not one of your goals in life is to be happy. Legit happy. What does happiness look like?
Does it look like you’re at rest in bed with a dog and a book?
Does happy look like a vacation?
If this is what happiness looks like to you, are you making time for any of it?
When I started this blog I toiled away at it day after day because number 1, I LOVE it and number 2 I wanted to create an income that allowed us to travel full-time!
I kept telling myself I needed to make the blog profitable because, I want to get outside more. I want to travel more. I want my kids to learn stuff hands-on.
Yet day after day I was inside behind a screen allowing myself to believe that was the only option.
If you have a goal of reading more, make time for it in your schedule. Not in addition to everything else, I’m saying you QUIT one thing and make time for another thing that will truly enhance your life.
The power of the minimalist diet
The minimalist diet has the power to completely change your entire life and allow you to begin living with more passion and purpose. By applying the do less, own less, think less principles to every area of your existence, you stand the chance of totally transforming your life for the better!
It’s really that simple.