Throughout the month of January, I am doing a 30-day minimalism challenge in an attempt to start the year off fresh by practicing mindfulness, learning to enjoy solitude, and embracing simplicity. Feel free to join in if you want, I posted an image with all the challenges for you at the bottom of this post for reference.
Minimalism and Zen go hand in hand. Minimalism is about not making life too cluttered, nor too busy. Minimalism is about not being wasteful. It’s about figuring out what true happiness is, not what advertising tells you it is. Anything that is unnecessary is wasteful, and in a world where the trash is piling up and none of us is any better for it, maybe it’s time to try a new way.
I’m starting with doing 30 days, just to give it a try. What I like, I’ll keep, what I don’t, I’ll toss.
Due to an spending an entire week recovering from a nasty bout with the flu, I have had to condense this challenge. I have chosen not to do posts for assignments that do not apply to me.
Identify your 3-6 main priorities
Above all, minimalism is about figuring out what matters most to you in life and how to add more of that to your day-to-day routine. Today: Dig deep and make a list of your 3-6 top priorities in life.
When I first looked over this challenge I was most confused by this assignment. I know about choosing goals, but it doesn’t say choose 3-6 goals, it says priorities. I’ve never been asked about my priorities before. Priorities were just an abstract concept, something grown-ups are supposed to have and you better have them in order. I’ve only ever heard them mentioned when talking about parenting, and the person being talked about was the father, and he usually had his priorities “fucked up”.
I’m not sure I even know what priorities are exactly.
Priorities: What is most important and meaningful in your life today (activities, values, beliefs, lifestyle, principles, standards, hobbies, integrity, etc.) that you are not willing to compromise or sacrifice in pursuit of something else (a goal).
Goals: A future based anticipated expectation, possibility, end result or experience you are working towards creating, achieving or bringing to fruition that has not yet been realized in the present.
Present Focused vs. Future Focused
What Is Happening vs. What Will/May Be
In The Present vs. In The Future
So it sounds like priorities are about right now and not the future. They are about what is important to me today. What do I care about in generally? What kind of life do I want to have? What do I think my life is all about?
Experiencing a life of love and adventure with my family. To be honest, I mean the little family I have that consists of just me and my girlfriend, for now. I want to experience more with my parents, my brothers and sisters, and my nieces and nephews, but they all have their own family units and spending time with me is secondary to that. That’s ok, that’s as it should be.
Just because my family only has two members doesn’t mean it should be any less of a priority for me. So far my girlfriend and I have spent a lot of our adulthood worrying about work. We haven’t done enough to see the world and enrich our lives. This year that changes. This year, and for the rest of our lives, we want to make sure that the life we have together is about more than just waking up and going to work all day, only to come home, go to bed, and do the same the next day. We want to spend more time loving each other and enjoying the time we have.
Exploring the art of mindfulness and simplicity. I have thought a lot about what kind of life I want to live and I think taking control of your emotions and thoughts, marking every moment, and taking care to only spend the little time you have on this earth doing what really matters to you is of the utmost importance. I can say that a wasted life is my greatest fear in this world and to avoid it I am learning not to let time pass by unnoticed.
Mindfulness means breathing in and acknowledging this moment. Mindfulness means breathing out and being grateful for the moment. I’m not perfect at this and I cringe thinking of all the minutes I let slip through my fingers. I cringe when thinking about all the moments I rushed through and can never get back.
Simplicity means filling those moments with only what is necessary or what brings me joy. Of course, I have to do things I don’t enjoy doing, but I must always make sure there is a reason I’m doing them. Going to work every day isn’t fun but with the money I earn I keep a home for my family and fund the fun things we do when we aren’t working. I take care to maximize that money by not spending it on things I don’t need or that only clutter my life and distract me.
Promoting a lifestyle of kindness and compassion. When I look around at greater society and humans as a whole my heart hurts for all the cruelty and indifference I see being inflicted and promoted. I hate to see people harden themselves against other people just because we are taught that the world is and always will be a hard place. I wish to show people how to have empathy and how it can benefit us all if we do. I wish to at best increase the amount of happiness and security in the world, if even just a little, or at least not increase the suffering at all.
Working toward a fulfilling career in writing and art. I love to create things. I don’t do it as much as I dream about doing it, mostly because there are not enough hours in the day but also because I am scared too. Failure is a scary thing. Still, creativity holds a special place in my heart and I do believe it is where my fulfillment in this world lies.
Keeping my sense of wonder and curiosity alive and promoting the same in others. Related to the above, realizing we need more compassion and kindness comes from learning about the world and us. Knowledge and rational thinking lead to less anger and action based on selfishness and instinct. I also think that just like it is important for every human life to be lived to it’s potential, it is important for humanity as a whole to do all that it can in this universe.
We should cure cancer, find immortality, travel through space, travel through time, and solve all the mysteries of where we come from and where we are going. If there is any point to all of this I have to believe that this is it.
These are the things that are important to me. These are the values and beliefs I will not compromise no matter what. These are the things my life is all about. I choose goals that are in alignment with these priorities and when I am forced to do something I believe is outside of these values I feel bad and wrong.
In the past, I have done a lot of exercises where I thought about my goals but after doing this, I think that writing down your priorities is much more informative. Your priorities give you a the why of all those goals. I think in the future, when I am setting goals, it will help to look back on this and make sure that all my goals are in alignment with my priorities. This assignment is a way to remind yourself what is important so that you don’t find yourself off course and doing things that aren’t important to your aren’t important to you, your family, or your beliefs.
The idea for this challenge came from Into Mind. The rules for the challenge: Do one assignment every day, the order is your call. Don’t skip a day. That’s it.