My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 14

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365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 14
368. What is your worst habit?

So this made me chuckle.  What is your worst habit?  It makes the assumption that I just have one!  I have many “worst” habits that are all equally as bad.  I was able to narrow it down to what I believe are my top 3 worst habits.

Impulse buying
I have a terrible habit of shopping on impulse.  I don’t usually take the time to think through a purchase.  If I want something, I just buy it.  Or should I say charge it.  I’m not a “large ticket” purchaser, but believe me, the little things add up just as quickly.  When I was in my twenties, I honestly think that I spent more time at the mall then I did at home.  I would buy bags and bags of clothes and shoes.  Half of which would hang in my closet and never be worn and eventually would end up in a charity bag with the tags still on them.  I also have a tendency to get interested in some type of hobby and have to buy not just the staple supplies to get started, but end up buying way more then needed.  These items would most often then not, end up in a box because I would either be to busy or would have lost interest in doing the specific hobby.  So just like the cloths, the majority of what I purchased would either be given away or thrown away.
This bad habit has had many adverse consequences.  First, it has kept me in a constant state of debt, which I am working on reducing in 2019.  Second, it has been a huge factor in the overwhelming amount of clutter and items that I am now trying to de-clutter from my home and life.

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Stress eating
Stress eating is a bad habit that I am having a difficult time overcoming.  Work is where I seem to have the hardest time with this.  There are two obvious reasons for this.  One is that work is where I usually encounter my greatest amount of stress.  Between the pressures of work load and the stresses of regular work “drama”, I often find myself having the hardest time keeping away from all the junk food that is always around.  There is an open area table at my work where people are always putting food out.  Snack type food.  Nothing healthy of course.  I have to walk by this table every time I need to go to the printer.  When I’m having an exceptionally stressful day, this is torture!  I just want to grab all the candy or cookies and shove them all in my mouth.

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My inability to say NO!
I have a terrible habit of not being able to say no!  When it comes to social situations or work tasks, I have a really hard time saying no to anything that is asked of me.  I tend to hold an extreme amount of guilt when/if I actually do say no to anything.  Which is why I just find it easier to say yes all of the time.
At work, my workload is already over the top.  I am always behind and yet when someone needs something done, I always agree to do it.  I usually end up cursing myself later, but in the moment, I automatically say “Oh sure.  No problem!”.  WHAT?  Of course it’s a problem.  I could probably work 24 hours a day for 6 months straight and still not get done with all the work that is already backlogged on my desk.  Yet, there I go again… taking on more.
Social situations tend to be tough for me as well.  Sometimes I am just exhausted and really need a break.  Yet, I am always saying yes to going places and doing things.  Even if inside I’m beating myself up because I really just want to stay in my PJs and lay on the couch all day and recompress.

Breaking bad habits can be incredibly challenging.  All three of the habits I mentioned here are ones that I am really trying hard to reduce if not eliminate in 2019.  Being accountable and conscious of our bad habits is the first step in trying to break them.

“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us.  We become what we repeatedly do”.  -Sean Covey

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My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 12

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 12
59. In the next year I plan to…..

Oh my goodness…. I have some pretty ambitious plans for 2019.  I guess this probably happens to a lot of people.  The desire to make life changes often happen in January.  That fresh start of the New Year can make us want to reevaluate a variety of different aspects of our lives.  I’ve never really been much into New Years Resolutions.  I cannot recall every saying “My New Years Resolution is…..”.  The areas in which I have made my 2019 plans are pretty much just carry over of changes I started in 2018.  I have just got more specific with what I want and how I want to accomplish things.

Plan #1:  Work on Simplifying life (non-extreme minimalism)
This plan is already in full swing.  I have become disillusioned with “things”.  Those feelings of desire to buy more and more things and have drawers full of makeup and closest smashed so full of clothing that you barely can even tell what you have are becoming a thing of the past for me.  I wish I could say I made a magical transformation overnight and that I never want to buy anything ever again, but of course, that would be a lie.  What I am trying to do is be more conscious of the things I have and not impulse buy so much.  At the end of 2019, I don’t want to end up with shelves full of unused hobby supplies or random gadgets that I’ve never touched.  So this sort of accomplishes two of my 2019 plans.  This will help eliminate clutter and help me life a simpler life, but will also keep my wasteful spending under control so that I can focus on paying off debt.
As I mentioned, this plan is already underway.  24 days ago I started a 30 day minimalist challenge.  I started day 1 back in December by de-cluttering 1 item.  Day 2, I de-cluttered 2 items, and so on.  Today is day 24 and I still EASILY found 24 items to discard.  The goal is to go to day 30 and at the end de-clutter 30 items from your surroundings.  This will be a total of over 400 items gone from your space.  The plan is to do this challenge several more times, focusing on specific areas of the home.  This first challenge was focused on our spare (junk) room.  The 2nd challenge will focus on the bedroom, bathroom and hallway closet.  Challenge 3 will be spent de-cluttering the kitchen for 30 days.  Challenge 4 will be our garage (which is just a holding space for anything that does not fit in the house).  By the end of the year, the plan is to have completed this challenge at least 4 times, which will have eliminated about 1800 items.  These items will either be donated, giving to others we know will use them or if they are garbage, thrown away.
I have other blogs that specifically focus on trying to live more minimal and also show photos and progress of the things I am getting rid of.
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Plan #2: Work on getting out of debt
How beautiful would it be to live debt-free?  I cannot really answer that (maybe some of you can let me know in the comments how wonderful it is and give me encouragement).  I’ve never in my adult life or even my teenage life been debt free.  I got my first credit card when I was 15 and have been in debt ever since.  There has not been one time in my life since I was a child that I have not had numerous credit cards and fairly large balances on each.
I have set into motion this year an actual debt payoff budget plan.  I’ve been watching tons of YouTube videos on others that have paid off debt and have gotten some pretty great tips and tricks on living a more frugal life so that I have extra money to put on my debt-snowball.  I’ve just started this a few months ago, so I am still trying to figure out all of the specifics.  I’ve never been one to limit myself on buying things I want.  Even if I had no money (which, lets face it, with all my debt, I rarely have any extra money to buy much of anything), so I would just charge it.  I’ve never put myself on a budget.  As simple as it may sound for most, this is actually a little frightening to me.  I don’t want to restric us from living life and having fun.  In contradiction to this debt payoff plan, I am also a firm believer on “tomorrow is never a guarantee”.   So what I need to do is find that fine line where I can be happy and comfortable with both aspects of living.  I need to try and not go extreme in either direction.

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Plan #3: Spend more time on things I enjoy
Which is what brings me here to this blog.  I enjoy writing.  I like to document my story of life.  The problem is life it self tends to get in the way of doing those things we really enjoy.  We focus so much on doing what “needs” to be done that we don’t do a lot of what we “want” to get done.  Which is what brought me to the 365 day blogging challenge.  If I challenge myself to something, I feel more accountable and am more likely to stick to it.  So far so good, as I’m on day 12 and still really enjoying this!

Plan #4: Project Life/Ali Edwards scrapbook
I have always loved to scrapbook.  Part of that stems from my love of taking pictures.  I’m that person that every knows as the “picture taker”.  I take pictures of everything and at all events.  To me, pictures are memories.  One day I want to look back and be able to look through pictures of all of our adventures and remember fondly the joy they brought to our lives.  My plan for this year is to get back into scrapbooking, but with a different approach.  This “project life” scrapbooking idea attracted my attention when it talked about a more simplified scrapbook process.  I’ve purchased all of the supplies, now it’s just seeing if I can stick to my plan of actually creating these albums this year.  I often get overwhelmed with pictures and get to a point where I don’t know were to start, so I simply don’t start at all.  I am hoping that does not happen again this year.

Plan #5: Travel/Adventures
Due to my wanting to focus on paying off debt this year, I don’t imagine we will go on any extravagant trips this year.  I am hoping however to have some fun weekend getaways or even day trips.  We have our week long trip to Vegas later in the year but have nothing else really planned out yet.  We have not been camping in a while, so I would be happy planning a camping trip for this summer.

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So I guess that’s about it for my 2019 plans.  Maybe a little over ambitious to hope that I will have time to complete all of my forecasted plans.  But that’s okay.  I will just have to do my best!

Minimalist? Can I do it?

20181221_075647I have been very intrigued recently with the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle.  I wonder however, if I could possible pull it off.  Although I am starting to love “things” less and less, I still think it would be a difficult transition for me to give up everything all at once.  Is it possible to be a partial-minimalist?  Or a lazy-minimalist?  Maybe it would be okay to adopt portions of the minimalist lifestyle at first.  Sort of like a baby-step type of situation.  I am not big on New Years Resolutions, but I have committed myself to at least try and be a “beginner minimalist” for a year and see how far I go.  Maybe this will be something I can embrace fully… maybe this is something I adopt partially… either way, I don’t think it can hurt to at least try.

The decision to consider a minimalist lifestyle came about when doing research on getting out of debt.  I’ve had a large amount of debt for a very long time.  I’ve recently had my “sick and tired moment” when it comes to my finances.  I make a pretty decent living and yet I never seem to have any money left after paying all my bills and monthly living expenses.  I am tired of living paycheck to paycheck.  So here we sit, at the start of my debt free journey, considering minimalism as part of the equation to get me to my goals.

I find the idea of simplifying life very intriguing.  Being someone that deals with pretty severe anxiety as well as traces of ADD and OCD, the idea of a much simpler life sounds amazing.  Part of living a simpler life involved not buying so much STUFF.  Not only does it involve not bringing in more stuff, but also removing the clutter  of the stuff we already have.  And this is my friends is my commitment to the my minimalist lifestyle.  I am going through my life and simplifying and decluttering.

WE HAVE TO MUCH STUFF!!

 

Step one?  Clothes.  We live in what I call a tiny house.  It’s a small 750 square foot home with 1940’s style closets (in other words.. no space).  Yet, I have managed to pack in so many items of clothing in this tiny closet that I can hardly tell what I even have anymore.  I actually end up wearing the same thing over and over again because I tend to just pull out whatever is in front.  I can not say that I am ready to try the “33 items of clothing for 3 months” strategy.  What I will do is agree to empting my closet by at least 20 items (as I said earlier, baby steps).  Included in this purge will be my dresser.  Does one person really need 30 pair of leggings and sweatpants with coordinating t-shirts (I wear these as pajamas and usually change into my “casual” clothes as soon as I walk in the door after work, which is how I have justified my need for such a ridiculous amount)?  As you may notice from the pictures, my dresser is so packed that it is actually flowing over and I have to stack things on top.  5 years ago, this would have zero affect on me.  Today, when I walk by this exploding dresser, it causes me stress.  I don’t like having so much “stuff” that it’s spilling out all over my home.

With all that being said, why haven’t I simply gone through and gotten rid of things?  The simple answer would be that it frankly is hard for me.  I cannot explain why I feel the need to have all of this.  If I had to justify the reasoning behind having all of these “things”, I can honestly say I couldn’t do it.  Yet, when it comes to letting it go, I feel protective and defensive over my “stuff”.  It’s the oddest thing.

Step #1 in progress.  Step #2 is going to be going through all the miscellaneous items I have around the house that I really don’t need or care about.  Those are next on the list of items that must go.

I guess ultimately we are all works in progress and this is just the next step in my journey of learning to live a happier and more productive life.  As it says above, it’s time to start collecting moments instead of things.  Life is so short…. are the pajamas really that important?

(any suggestions from anyone that has been through this journey are much appreciated and welcomed)