30-Day Minimalist Challenge, Part 1
Originally, I planned on writing another tea post for today, but my general lack of inspiration forced me to change my plans. I came across a 30-day minimalist challenge a couple months ago, and I’ve been working on the mini-challenges throughout July. I’ll share the first 10 challenges today, and post the remaining two-thirds in a couple of weeks. I invite you to try this challenge for yourself, I’ve found it quite relaxing. I took pretty pictures for the post, but since I didn’t plan to post this while traveling, I left the photos at home. Please forgive my plain text post~
Stay off social media all day
At the time I started this challenge, I was using my phone more heavily than usual. Without school or work to keep be busy, I spent hours texting friends or aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It happened to be a Saturday when I started the challenge, and ever since I’ve been trying to create media-free Saturdays. I had so much more free time on my hands when I wasn’t using my phone of scrolling through feeds. I started learning a new skill. In the future, I’ll be more strict about my media-free Saturdays.
Meditate for 15 minutes
To be honest, I kind of failed at this one. The first time I attempted the challenge I forgot to meditate; the second time my mind as racing. I eventually just started counting my prayers as meditation. Considering there are at least 5 in a day, and each one is at least 5-10 minutes, I get about 40 minutes of “meditation” in each day. I find that the regular prayer/meditation punctuates my day and helps me mark the time.
Declutter your digital life
My phone and desktop are already organized. I don’t like to see too many icons on my screen. I make extensive use of folders and only keep the most frequently accessed folders and apps on my screen. To further declutter my devices, I went through every folder on my phone and got rid of apps I don’t use anymore, then I went through each folder on my bookmarks bar and deleted the bookmarks I no longer needed. I had bookmarks dating back to high school. Some of them were of recipes and clothing. I used Pinterest to save the items I wanted to keep. Now all of my bookmarks fit neatly under my browser’s search bar. I never have to hunt for a link anymore.
Don’t complain all day
This challenge reminded me of one of my friends. She’s constantly complaining about something, be it work, school, or social life. I listen to them like the dutiful sounding board I am, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes get annoyed at the constant complaints. Seeing as I spend most of my time around the house these days, I don’t have much to complain about. To make Day 4 more challenging, I decided that I would not even express dissatisfaction. If I thought mom kept the house too cold, I would simply put on a jacket. If I thought my meal needed more salt, I would just add it. After doing this I realized how many unnecessary complaints there are in a day. Most situations are simple fixes. If we spend less time vocalizing the minor complaints, people will take our major complaints more seriously, and will be more willing to help us solve the problem.
Identify 3-6 top priorities
I decided to name broad categories of commitments for this challenge. In relative order, they are: religion, health, finances and dreams. By narrowing my focus, I can funnel any other additional commitment through this lens, and determine whether it will advance me in one of the categories. Under each priority, I listed a few ways I could improve myself or other in those categories.
Follow a new morning ritual
I tried and failed this one so many times that I gave up. I don’t really like following a ritual first thing in the morning. There are things that I do pretty much every morning though. I’ll check for any important messages and make a note to respond to them first when I’m ready to start my day. Afterwards I usually get up, drink water, brush my teeth, and have breakfast (sometimes I have breakfast before I brush my teeth). I consider my day officially started when I have made my bed, and I always make by bed after I’ve eaten. Folding the covers makes me less likely to go back to sleep (it doesn’t stop me from sleeping on the couch or the floor, but at least I think twice about sleeping once my bed is made).
Streamline your reading list
…Pahahahaha telling a bookworm to streamline their reading list is like telling an child to stop using their imagination. I didn’t streamline my reading list. Rather, I selected a few that I absolutely wanted to get read by the end of the summer and made a list in order of importance. I’ve been chipping away at the list ever since, and posting the reviews here (hence the seemingly random selection these days). Having a shortlist has kept me focused and relatively on track. If I didn’t have to handle business in other cities this past week, I’d probably have knocked two more off the list.
Take more time for solitude
I’m alone pretty often, but for this challenge I decided to block out time where I wouldn’t answer my phone. My friends are already used to the time lapses between my responses, so they weren’t too bothered by the strange new gaps. This particular brand of solitude felt forced, though. I think I should try to have more regular, focused solitary time.
Downsize your beauty collection
I don’t wear much makeup as it, but I threw out makeup that I don’t wear or that was too old.
No email/media until lunch
The email part was pretty easy, because I don’t like to check my email until I’m on my computer, but resisting the urge to look at Twitter first thing in the morning was a struggle. I managed but I definitely felt the pull. I tend to scroll in the morning to see if I missed any important updates during the night, and I scroll throughout the day when I’m bored. I realized that I’ve become hopelessly addicted to social media this summer. I’m better about it when I’m busy, but when I don’t have a schedule to follow, I tend to waste a lot of time. I’ve made a note to change this habit.
Evaluate your commitments
I grouped my commitments into two main categories: self and others. Under myself I listed my priorities and chose one action item to focus on for each priority. I’ve been working on these solidifying these new habits and completing the action items throughout the month. The “others” category has three subgroups: friends, family, strangers. I essentially wrote these out to remind myself to be kind and patient with everyone, no matter who they are or what their relationship is with me. In both the friends and family categories I listed one action I can do that will improve my relationships. For the sake of privacy, I won’t list the items here, but I think I’m making pretty decent progress.