If you receive the HH monthly newsletter, you already know about a little project I’m starting for 2014. In an effort to bring more discipline into my life and break (or make) a few habits, I’m giving myself a new challenge each month. They’re all doable, I don’t have a huge overall end game in mind, just the small things that you know you need to tweak. The things you think about several times a week with a “I really should...”
It’s not a quest for happiness like Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project or an intellectual pursuit like Rachel Held Evans’ Year of Biblical Womanhood, it’s just 30 days to focus on one discipline. One month to quit with the lip service and start with some action.
On my list so far: a social media fast, exercising, vanity, buying local, no eating out, uttering nothing negative, and more. If you’ve got an idea for one of the months, let me know. In the HH newsletter, I’ll announce what the challenge will be for the next month before I post it on the blog. And of course, I’d love it if you’d join along with whatever I’m doing or with a discipline of your own.
In January 2014 I’m taking a no shopping pledge. Candidly, the last few months have been fraught with excess in our household. We went wild and free spending around the movie premiere festivities, and then when the movie was successful, we, um, enjoyed that moment. By the time it was the holiday season (more spending), The Gorilla and I were both worn out and sheepish over the credit card.
So, in January we’re not going to purchase anything. A month of no spending isn’t going to whip us into immediate shape, but I’m hoping to break a few terrible habits. I am so easily entranced by coupon emails from my favorite retailers and I am too quick to buy books for my kindle. I’ve spent the last few days unsubscribing from any retail emails (including flash sites like Gilt and Fab) and I turned off the wifi on the kindle. One click purchase is no longer my friend.
A few exceptions: groceries, gas, toiletries, etc. This isn’t my own episode of Survivor. This is about my personal shopping habit, not my family’s daily living. Also, I’m giving myself permission to buy two things needed for the month: a ski coat and a dress for a special event. I will do my best to put blinders on when making those purchases, no browsing, nothing extra, and both will be knocked out in the first week of the month anyway.
My last caveat is that I am allowed to buy things pertaining to ongoing projects. Like photo books. Or organizing receptacles Not things you have to shop for and make decisions over (see how I’m retraining my brain?), but since I’m anticipating gaining a little bit of time, I’m hoping to put it towards one of the many projects that float around in my brain, and those may require a purchase or two.
So, my no shopping month has rules that work around the habit I’m trying to curb. Yours may very likely look different. Maybe you need to cut the coffee shop latte habit and save $5/day, or maybe you need to ban weekly trips to Target for “just one quick thing.” I don’t know what yours is, but my credit card black hole was the internet, so that’s where I’m applying the discipline.
I’m excited about this because it is needed, but doesn’t feel overwhelming. Goals that you’re ready to sabotage before they even start usually do just that. Of course, I may be eating those words during the month I quit social media. And fast food. Oh, and exercise. Wait, let’s just focus on the month ahead, shall we?
January 2014: No Shopping. GO!
Credit where credit is due: For years I admired my dear friend Cyndi and her husband who did two months a year (six months apart) of no spending. And this meant truly no spending (I think groceries were their only exception). My other inspiration was Elizabeth from Flourish In Progress, a friend who took a No Shopping pledge for a YEAR. These folks are hard core. I’m starting small, but am hoping for a domino effect.
Shop Until You Drop photograph of original Banksy street art via flickr