Two Word Tuesdays
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Sometimes that word motivates me and sometimes it messes with my mind. As if not being productive means I've failed at the day. For the last few months, I've tried Three for Me on those days I need a boost or my brain is too full of the day's to dos. I write down three things that must be done that day or are easy enough for me to feel productive. Doing that a few days in row builds up my self discipline and I become more productive out of the simple habit of naming Three for Me. How do you scrounge up the motivation to get stuff done?
The word "need" is becoming a weird word in my vocabulary. The line between "need" and "use" is blurred for me these days. I can't think of any physical possession in my home anymore that I need and don't use. I don't save things for "someday" or "might need it later" anymore. Things are multi-purpose or repurposed... or donated/trashed/sold/given way. I have been trying to think of something I need but don't use (at least once a year... seasonal decor, for example). My mantra has evolved into:
Use it, love it, need it, or let it go.
The world is full of negativity. We do not have to listen to it. I dare you to not listen to it. You are loved. You are light. I dare you to listen to the positive YOU ARE statements in your mind and from others. I dare you to change the negative I AM statements in your head that are weighing you down. Change them to I AM STRONG. I AM PRETTY. I AM. Tell me... what are you?
I send hope out in every one of these emails and in every video I publish. I hope you are well. I hope you are happy. I hope you have what you need... and need what you have. To me, hope is something you can have and something you can give. Today, I give you the hope you need... you deserve happiness, health, and hope.
Being "minimalish" means minimalism affects some parts of your life while still having "extra" in other parts of your life. I call it practical minimalism, and I choose the parts of my life that would benefit from living with less while not harboring guilt about the maximalist parts of my life. Minimalish does not dictate a a certain number of shirts, plates, or pencils. You have what you need and let go of the rest.
My decluttering mantra started as: Decide what to keep. Ask why. Let go of the rest.
After a year of decluttering, living with less, paying off debt, figuring out what minimalism means to me and to my family, my latest mantra is: Use it, need it, or love it. Otherwise, let it go.
My mantras guide me through decision making about stuff, our schedule, my thoughts, and more. Items need to have a purpose (use, need or love) or they shine as "extra" to me. Sometimes I let extra stick around to be sure it's really extra... and then it finds a new home. Selling, donating, giving away, and repurposing are my standard four methods of decluttering something from my home.
Sometimes forgiving someone helps you as much it helps the other person. Forgiveness can be a form of closure, a way of clearing the air, or a way of lessening the emotions you carry. Holding grudges and holding onto anger and resentment can affect your health, well-being, and mood. One of the hardest things to do is forgive yourself. What can you forgive yourself for that would make your heart feel lighter?
Everyone has one. I edit videos and share parts of my life on YouTube, but you don't see my entire story. Each person that comments and each person that watches has a story. I enjoy our community and the support and kindness it brings for each of you. I believe each person's story is made of chapters, old and new, and an opportunity to create a new chapter is within each of us. Learning new things, being open minded, researching, building new habits, and going on new adventures makes it possible to write new chapters into my life. Hint: share your RV travel tips with me!
Let it go. Seems like a simple sentence demanding simple action. But letting go of items, a busy schedule, a busy mind, takes practice and concerted effort. It can be hard to let go of certain things, and easier for others. Would it help to reverse the thought? Let it stay. Are you choosing to let things stay in your home? In your mind? In your schedule? Is it worth your time, effort and money to let it stay?
Let yourself rest. (See what I did there?) Rest is crucial for brain function, body function, and overall well being. Do you wait until you need rest, or do you make rest a priority? I tend to wait until the signs of "too much" are front and center before I take the rest I need.
What do you seek on a daily basis? Lately, I've been seeking more solitude as I journey on this path of self-reflection. Processing deep emotions requires quiet and space (for me anyway). My oldest child seeks routine and consistency, and finds comfort in the predictability of a routine. What do you seek?
A verb and a noun. Today, I encourage you to think of it as a verb. What actions could you take to limit something that needs limitation? Is something in your life absorbing too much of your time? (I'm talking to my own phone right now). Does your budget need new limits (higher or lower)? Someone commented recently that constantly going over budget with groceries caused stress. Increasing the budget limit to shop for quality food choices while lowering the limit on another spending category created balance.
I had "choice" as the first word for this week, but decided it should be an actionable word. Choose. We are presented with choices all day long and we choose different paths along the way. Right now, I'm choosing to take it all one day at a time and respect my limits. Are you noodling a choice this week? Naming pros and cons might help.
To declutter means you'll need to remove the chosen items from your home. There are many ways to declutter and rid yourself of things: sell, donate, trash, or give away. You can even repurpose something and give it a new life. Lately, I've been giving second thought to how I declutter items. The Goodwill near me mentioned how much they trash every day from donations. What do you do with items after you declutter?
As living in the... moment. Soaking it all up, and making sure you hug the ones you love. I hope you are well, and can find time to live in the moment this week. For me, a kid's laugh or request for a hug reminds me to stop everything and soak up the moment. What does that look like for you?
We build a life for ourselves. Maybe a life with someone else. Maybe even a life for others, like children. A new build for me this year is building space in my day for self-care. It takes practice and I have to deliberately build it. It doesn't come natural to me to prioritize myself. I've been trying a "Three for Me" approach to each week, and have to sometimes think hard about what will me make happy and what I need to make those three things happen. For example, drink more water. Sure, but what do I need to change to make it so I can do that? I had to get my water bottle out of the back of the closet. I have to actively commit to filling it up each morning and have to leave it in plain sight to even remember to do it. Small little changes over time create habits. Habits build routines.
How can three letters create complicated layers of thinking? Why do I keep this? Why did I buy this? Why do I have this still? I've learned to extend that train of thought into deeper "whys" -- why do I want space? Why do I need (not want) this? Do you ask yourself these deeper questions when decluttering?
I am still gaining comfort with open space. After unpacking all the bathroom goodies and towels, shelves still sit unused. We just have less stuff and now that means more space. The thought "what can I put here?" still creeps into my head, like a comfortable default mode of organization. Living with open space is an adjustment and I'm still getting used to it. Do you create open space in your home?
Sometimes life forces us to pause and take stock. A sick kid, a hurricane, destruction in another part of the world. When you look for them, small reminders to pause are everywhere in your world. Pause and enjoy the moment. Pause and enjoy the company you share. Pause and take a deep breath to conquer a task (hello, decluttering).
Recalibrate your expectations. I often (ok, daily) need to recalibrate what I want to get done in a day. Lately, I've been setting a "big three for me" each week... what do I need to take care of myself... what would make me happy. When we expect too much, we are set up for disappointment. I keep a brain dump of tasks in my journal so I don't forget to do something, but I have recalibrate my expectations each day. What can you recalibrate in your life? How you budget? How you wake up? How you downshift before bed?
Taking a deep breath (or 2... or 10) can change your day, your mood, and your mindset. In vinyasa yoga, we teach deep breathing at the beginning of the practice, and the end of the practice. Gentle reminders throughout class connect your movements to your breathing.
Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Take a deep inhale through your nose, hold it for 2 seconds, and audibly let it out through your mouth. Hear the breath leave your body, and acknowledge any stress that left with that breath.
After months of decluttering, I changed my approach. Instead of deciding what to trash, sell, or donate, I decided what to keep. Letting go of the rest became easier after I changed my mindset. Deciding what to keep can make the chosen items feel important, meaningful, and special in your home.
The word "keep" is important in 2020, too. We keep going despite the obstacles this year has put in our paths.
My husband and I watched the Good Morning America interview with Alex Trebek. T.J. Holmes asked the 36-season host of Jeopardy: "Did it ever cross your mind that you had already hosted your last Jeopardy?"
Alex Trebek: "That thought has never crossed my mind."
Us: We are buying his book RIGHT NOW.
Having the "right" perspective about daily life, beating cancer, or whether your coffee cup is half-full or half-empty, can change how you cope with challenges. Applying this to making life simple and minimalism, how can adjusting the way you feel about your belongings change what you own? For me, something as simple as a ravioli press felt different in my hands after an adjustment in perspective. Thinking about who I am, and not some idealistic version of myself, the ravioli press didn't belong anymore. I'm not a homemade ravioli kinda of gal. Hanging onto things with the idea of becoming some future version of myself just accumulates clutter for me. (Are you a fan of Mr. Trebek? Buy Alex Trebek's, The Answer Is... here: https://amzn.to/3hVw04X).
Committing to small changes can lead to big changes over time. When committing to getting better sleep, you are committing to stop doing the things that are preventing you from glorious sleep. You are committing to putting your phone away. To climbing into bed earlier. To reducing caffeine. Committing to small changes can help you reach your goal. The systemic habits that need commitment and change are core to achieving long-term, sustainable results. It's about the journey, not the destination. My YouTube video tomorrow is about committing to a lower waste lifestyle and the small changes that are helping us lower waste.