Anyone who knows me well, or has been following this blog (thank you SO much if that’s you!!) will know how dedicated I’ve been to bettering myself in 2018. When you have a year like 2017, where you feel as if you’ve been to hell in a hand-basket & back numerous times…you either end up on the down-slide…or you focus your energy in to cultivating happiness within yourself. I chose the latter! Usually, at the end of every month, I lay out my following months “Happiness Project” resolutions…but I have to say that I don’t find that format to serve me any longer. Why? Because the changes I now want to make within myself focus more on the broader spectrum. ‘Happiness Resolutions’, as taken from one of my beloved inspirations–author Gretchen Rubin, are things that you can measure daily; you either accomplished them that day, or you didn’t. You get a “gold star” on your chart, or you don’t. Black & white, plain & simple. While I loved that the first few months of 2018, I am now finding that the things I am focusing on cannot be measured day-to-day.
I’ve been fairly open, both on this blog and with the people in my life, about how addicting online shopping has been for me in the past. It was a way I wasn’t even consciously aware of to help myself feel more confident & content with who I was. If I bought that certain thing for our kitchen, I might be a better cook! If I wear this piece from Lululemon, I’ll feel more attractive! If I have this baby item, I’m a better mother! Those were just some of the default messages that played through my brain for years on end…without me even realizing it!! For one reason or another, Evrett’s journey has taught me so much about who I actually am, and how to love every piece of myself, even my flaws. Being a mother means giving your best, your ALL, to the tiny humans that you created…and as mother’s so often find out, you cannot do that if you don’t care for yourself as well. As the saying goes: you cannot pour from an empty cup. While I have been dedicated with my physical health for years now, my inner emotional health wasn’t up to par. I realized on the day that we found out Evy’s brain is built differently that if I were to be at my best, for him, as well as for our other 2 angels (and for MYSELF), I would have to face some demons. With the self-exploration that ensued, I finally began to see not only what I wanted to alter within myself, but why and how to do so.
Amongst the many books I have read this year (more than I have read in any given time-frame in my life! Funny how cutting tv almost completely out of one’s life can give the gift of MORE TIME…), the numerous podcasts I listen to regularly, and the audiobooks I have downloaded…there is 1 that spoke to me in regards to online shopping. Cait Flanders’ wrote an eye-opening book called “The Year of Less” in which she tells us about the time in her life that she intentionally decided to live with less, and to find resourceful ways to STOP SHOPPING. I wasn’t sure what I would think of the book when I ordered it…but my skepticism melted away as I began to see much of my own journey in her words. A flame ignited inside my heart, and I knew that I wanted to try something similar!! Not only in the interest of owning less (as many already know, I have found so much benefit from a living a more minimal lifestyle!), or of bettering my own self, but also in the interest of: developing skills that I have always felt myself “unable to do” (in my mind), reducing the waste I produce, and giving more to others.
So, rather than simply laying our resolutions for June only, here is what I propose for myself moving forward:
- I will bake healthy muffins weekly (Evy has difficulty with different foods–he used to eat muffins, so I am dedicating myself to making muffins every week with veggies, fruit and protein hidden in them! Not only for Bug, but for all of us to have something super healthy to grab & go with. I started with whole grain zucchini chocolate chip!! Mmmm….)
- I will re-dedicate myself to my health & fitness (I actually JUST re-signed up this very morning as a BeachBody Coach! I did this as a business for a couple of years a while back, and while I have not signed back up with the intention to “work” the business side of it again, I am now using the accountability and monetary discount to rip my core back up the way I like it!! Surgery, procedures and 3 babies won’t stop me!!!)
- I will plant & grow 1-2 items of food in our own backyard
- I will donate 1 item per day to our Garage Sale box for our upcoming fundraiser for the daycare
- I will institute my own SHOPPING BAN
Yup, I’m diving in!! Let the Shopping Ban begin!! I’ve been mulling it over ever since I finished Cait’s book last month, and I think it’s a healthy idea for me. As I do with most ideas/theories I read about, I am going to make it MY OWN; I won’t be starting out with the intention of doing this for an entire year, as Cait did. I want to set myself up for success; for me, the best way to do so is by getting a series of smaller victories under my belt. Those victories are what motivate me to continue one. So I’ll start with a goal of 3 months; for June, July & August, my “shopping ban” will be in effect!! And if it is serving me/our family well, I will extend the goal moving forward.
How do I start? Well, lucky for me, Cait Flanders laid out steps at the end of her book about how to do this for yourself!! Here are her first 5 steps (which I am paraphrasing):
- Make an Essentials List (for me, these are things that I use daily/regularly, that I am allowed to continue with)
- Make a Non-Essentials list (a.k.a. my “do-not-buy” list!)
- Make an approved shopping list (these are items NOT on my essentials list, but that IF the NEED should arise for them, I am approved to buy them without breaking my shopping ban)
- Open, or re-name, a savings account as “shopping ban” (already done!)
- TELL EVERYONE!! (in case you haven’t guessed it…this is precisely what I am doing by writing about it here for you all 😉 )
Without further adieu, let’s get in to the details of my shopping ban!! (*I think it’s important to note that these lists do not include anything involving our little ones, or my hubby. This experiment is just for my own self, it doesn’t encompass our entire family.)
Essentials (a.k.a items I use daily/regularly)
- “Complex 15” (a hypoallergenic lotion for the face)
- Deodorant (& a few other daily toiletry essentials like this, no need to bore you listing all of those. Do you really want to read about the brand of toothpaste I use? I don’t think so…ha!!)
- Medicated Blistex (my poor lips, always dry, even in summer. Regular lip products don’t help a bit, it has to be the medicated blistex in the blue jar)
- Essential Oils-ONLY “tranquility” & “liquid D” blends
- Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
- Clarisonic Brush Head Refills
- Monthly Audible Subscription (self-growth is ALWAYS a necessity in my books!)
- Minimalist Make-Up Essentials: L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara, NARS Multi-Stick in “Maui”, Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer, NARS concealor stick
- Experiences: eating out or ordering in once per week, family trips, night out with the gals once a month, wine/beer on occasion with my sweetie-pie
- Tea: only the type with a stimulant in it, or the Lemon Cayenne Cleanse.
- Yoga Class: up to 4 times per month
Non-Essentials List (a.k.a things I am NOT allowed to buy)
- new music
- new books
- essential oils other than the specific ones listed above
- hair products
- extraneous tea other than the types specified above
- face masks & exfoliates
- any accessories
- make-up or beauty products (other than those listed above)
- salad dressings
Approved Shopping List (a.k.a. items not on my essentials list, but if they are NEEDED do not break the “shopping ban” rules)
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There it is! All of the things I am allowed to buy and NOT allowed to buy over the next 3 months. For June, July and August I will strive to stick to these lists, and will document it here on the blog for accountability. So please stay tuned!!
As I mentioned earlier on, this is not just about keeping our number of possessions to a minimum, or just about saving money either. It’s about proving to myself that I am more resourceful and creative than I give myself credit for: can I make it without buying books? YES! I can work through my social anxiety about going to the library, and take steps to get comfortable with that experience!! It’s about re-using and re-purposing the items we already own, and minimizing our production of waste on this earth: why not buy salad dressings? Because I plan to learn to make my own out of HEALTHY ingredients. I also plan to plant a few things in our yard to grow us a bit of our own food for salads! It’s about getting even deeper in to the intentionality of WHY we buy the things that we do. For example: do any of us NEED more than 1 pair of sandals? No, not really. It comes in handy when our children get mud all over the pair they own, yes!! But is a second pair a NEED? Nope. That’s what this project will help me uncover and capitalize on.
We can truly live with less than we think, people all around the world do it every day. (There are people who actually live on less than 1 dollar a day, in their own frequencies. Check that out at “Living On One Dollar”) We can reduce the waste we contribute to this world more than we think. And we all have more time & resources to GIVE to others than we think.
With all of that said, here we go!! Onward & upward…
Happy June all!!
~Thank you for reading, and for supporting our darling Bug on his journey. It would mean the world if you would help show support for our darling Evy, and help raise awareness for rare diseases, by following & sharing. If you have a helpful, positive, or supportive comment in mind, please leave one for us! We deeply appreciate you taking the time to be here.
Warmest wishes on your own journey.