I’ve flirted with minimalism for at least eight years. I know this because Leo Babauta started ZenHabits.net in 2007 when I first discovered him. To quote Leo’s own story, “He started Zen Habits to chronicle and share what he’s learned while changing a number of habits, including:
- Quit smoking (on Nov. 18, 2005).
- Became a runner.
- Ran several marathons and a 50-mile ultramarathon.
- Began waking early.
- Became organized and productive.
- Began eating healthier
- Became a vegan.
- Eliminated his debt.
- Simplified his life.
- Lost weight (about 70 pounds).
- Wrote several best-selling books and ebooks.
- Started a successful blog on simplicity.
- Created a leading blog on minimalism.”
I find any one of those life changes impressive. Leo achieved them all by tackling one challenge (quitting smoking, for example) a month and devoting all his energy and attention toward changing his behavior around that activity.
While I greatly admired Leo and have followed his lead in fits and starts over the years, I’ve allowed distractions such as work, entertainment, chores and a general lack of priority in my life get in the way of changes I truly want to make in my life.
In a few months, I’ll turn 43. If I don’t prioritize things to improve my life now, when will I?
A few of the changes I’m working on (some individually and some with my wife, Courtney) include:
- Simplifying my wardrobe
- Going on a spending diet to pay down debt and really start saving money, inspired by Blonde on a Budget’s Shopping Ban.
- Mindfully eating to better appreciate the food I consume and to choose food that better nourishes my body
- Get out and move more
- Meditating regularly
- Writing regularly
- Intentionally choosing how to spend my time so every day feels valuable
I’ll write at least one in-depth post on each of these topics in the future.
I know Leo’s advice to tackle one bad habit at a time works, but I feel like I’ve ready to make a course adjustment in my life. I’m taking things easy and not beating myself up if I miss a goal on any one thing as long as I’m making progress on the list as a whole.
Even though I’m just now writing about it, I started on this path a few weeks ago after we returned from summer vacation. While I haven’t blogged, I’ve meditated several times each week and recently started a daily Morning Pages practice.
Each little win adds up, building habits and a mindset that reinforces my ability to grow toward the person I want to be. While I don’t plan to stop this work after a year, I’m looking forward to what changes my year of living intentionally will bring.