30-Day Minimalist Challenge, Part 2
If you missed the first part of this series, you can read it here.
11. Evaluate your commitments
I wasn’t quite sure what could be considered a commitment in this context. I could have chosen to focus on work, or I could have chosen to focus on promises I made to other people. Since my priorities were all personal, I decided that I would define commitments by groups of people. I chose to commit myself to self, family, friends, my significant other, and work. I purposely put work last, even though it ties into self. I have decided that people are more important to me than my job; I don’t want to be the kind of person who gets so wrapped up in work I forget my relationships.
12. Define your goals for 2017
I did this challenge throughout the month of July, which made it the perfect time to re-evaluate the goals and resolutions I made at the beginning of the year. I took each category of my priorities and listed one or two steps I can take towards improving myself, my life, or my relationships in those categories. The major categories are: religion, health, finances and dreams. My goal planning became the beginning of a longer, multi-year plan.
13. Clean out your dresser
I clean out my closet every year and donate the clothes I no longer wear, but I rarely go through my dresser. It took me several hours to sift through the three drawers, and I discovered tee-shirts and underwear that date back to kindergarten. Talk about embarrassing. I gave the tee-shirts to my mom so she could have keepsakes from when I was younger, but I donated the vast majority of the pajamas, socks, and miscellaneous clothing items.
14. Take a step towards a new skill
As a multi-potentialite, I want to try out and become proficient in a number of different skills. Though people like me have been historically called Jacks of All Trades (and masters of none), Emilie Wapnick suggests it isn’t always necessary to have “one true calling.” Since learning Blender (a 3D graphics engine) was next on my list of projects, I watched a few tutorials and made donuts dance. I also worked on an embroidery project I’ve had on the back burner for a while.
15. Examine your daily habits
My daily habits suck, I’m not even going to lie. While I do get in a fair amount of reading and blogging, I also spend entirely too much time watching television and scrolling through social media. I only really watch TV when I’m in my parents’ house, but trying to kick the social media habit has been a serious challenge for me. Mindless scrolling makes me blissfully numb. It’s cathartic to scroll through everything while looking at nothing.
I’m also trying to balance my social media use as a blogger. I feel like we have to use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc more and more to be successful. To be honest, I haven’t yet seen the fruit of my efforts, so perhaps its time for me to change tactics.
16. Don’t buy anything for 24 hours
This one was easy. I don’t buy much anyway. I bought bus tickets to New York for my friend’s engagement party, but that was it.
17. Practice single-tasking
I’m not even sure I properly completed this challenging. I single-tasked while doing a tea tasting, but I was taking notes and mentally drafting a post. Does that count? I set aside separate time for reading and watching TV, instead of reading during the commercial break which gives me a bit of a headache anyway.
18. Leave today unplanned
THIS WAS THE ABSOLUTE WORST CHALLENGE. Leaving the day unplanned gave me so much anxiety because I kept feeling like I was forgetting a really important task. I have a questionable short-term memory, especially when I’m stressed out so I have to write things down. Without my to-do list I felt lost all day. I prefer to have my day planned and allow for spontaneity. I don’t mind abandoning the list if I have one, but I can’t do without writing the list in the first place.
19. Go for a walk and practice mindfulness
I don’t go for walks in my neighborhood. Instead I waited until I was in New York to complete this challenge. I was walking around Times Square at around 6:30 AM and I must say it was an absolutely wonderful feeling. At that hour there is almost no traffic– neither pedestrian nor otherwise– but you can still experience the sights and sounds of the city. I felt the breeze on my skin, I heard far off traffic. It was exhilarating.
20. No TV all day– read instead
This one actually wasn’t too hard for me. I was traveling to New York so I didn’t have access to television anyway. I don’t really stream things on my phone, so I had no choice but to read. I think I was reading The Prophet and the Messiah at the time, but I eventually put the book on hold to read Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.
I truly enjoyed the minimalist challenge. The tasks gave me something to focus on during my long, uneventful summer days. Look out for the third and final part in a couple of weeks. If you’ve tried any of the tasks above, or if you have ideas for a new challenge, let me know!