January check in – #OEASIMPLIFY19

My slowest month of the year has drawn to a close. Long summer days with no set schedule, no work responsibilities and the luxury of time. Lots of wonderful, unscheduled time. As we have now entered the year’s shortest month, it’s time to review January’s goals, check in and reflect on how I went. How did you go with yours?

To recap, my goals for January were a retail cold turkey, daily meditation on God’s word, daily exercise and self-discovery. Although progress was made in all areas, some ended up looking very different to planned.

I really do have enough – starting to become a more conscious consumer

I used my mantra “I have enough” to cut back on purchases and prevent buying most unnecessary items. Although my planned retail cold turkey did not eventuate, I did think carefully about purchases, asking myself questions like “Do I really need this? Can this purchase wait? What could I use that I already have at home instead?” Items purchased included:

  • Charity donations, purchased during sales to maximise contributions.
  • A few baskets and a rack to better organise storage spaces, make items visible, easily accessible and reduce everyday organisational stress.
  • Items purchased with birthday loyalty card vouchers, making sure these items were ones I would use immediately. I had a mini victory when I shopped at Kikki K, purchasing only a folder to use for my Happiness Project Experience and spending only my voucher and not a cent more. That’s pretty impressive for me! I felt empowered and did almost the same at Review, buying two belts with my loyalty vouchers with an extra spend of only $7.

Part of reinforcing that I have enough clothing (and more) was Konmari-ing my wardrobe, as explored here. This enabled me to get rid of clothes I didn’t wear or like, made what was left clearly visible and easily accessible and even led to the rediscovery of some forgotten favourites – it was like having new clothes without even having to go shopping. I was reminded of exactly what I did have and it became clear I have more than enough.

As a general rule, I stayed away from shopping malls, popping in quickly for items on my list and avoiding aimless wandering or browsing. I walked right past my favourite stores with sales displays, telling myself, “I have enough. I don’t need any more.” It felt good.

I made several natural body care and household products, have been using them ( laundry liquid, bath salts, sugar body scrub, shower melts) and really enjoyed the experience. Again, a change of thinking was required to stop myself rushing out to buy replacements and a small amount of research needed to find suitable recipes. Some of the recipes I used can be found here.
I was reminded how much I enjoy creative projects and DIYing and have decided to participate in creative workshops as well as being more creative at home this year.

During January, I read several recommended reading lists and joined an online book club, making a long list of ‘to read’ titles, both fiction and non-fiction. I chose books from the lists, searched my local library catalogue online and reserved copies; something I hadn’t done in quite a while. So long, in fact, that my library membership had been deactivated and a phone call was required to reinstate it. My first thought was to order copies online, but by reminding myself “I have enough” and thinking outside of my usual box, I was able to find an alternative, with the added bonus of saving money.

Spending time with God, every day

This was the crux of my meditation goal and I have been spending some time most days in reading the Bible and prayer. I haven’t managed to do any journaling yet, and am letting that go; although I love the concept, I’ve decided maybe it isn’t the right fit for me right now. I’ve been using a combination of a mini devotional book on the topic of contentment, which just happened to be sitting on my bookcase, unread (very suitable and no coincidence whatsoever that I found it now) and a Bible reading app which I loaded onto my phone.

You Version Bible app can be loaded onto your device in the translation you prefer and you can sign up for daily Bible verses, either in written or visual form. The daily verse then offers the choice to access the entire chapter to discover the context and go a little deeper. It also offers thousands of Bible reading plans and devotionals to suit almost any need. I enlisted the help of a friend for the first few days and using the app, we signed up for a three day plan, keeping us both accountable.

Discovering more about what makes me tick

As part of the Happiness Project Experience, Gretchen Rubin encouraged completing at least one reputable personality quiz. The thinking behind this is the better we know ourselves, the better we can work on improving and changing ourselves; setting goals to move forward. I completed several assessments and reflected on the findings. Each one of the results was truly me, now to work through the implications. Finding an accountability group and partner will help me stay on track throughout the year and provide insight into how others approach shared tasks.

Other projects for this month included drafting monthly happiness goals and writing 19 for 19, a list of individual tasks to accomplish this year.

Moving Forward – February ‘Energy’ Goals

February’s theme in The Happiness Project Experience is Energy, so all my goals fit into this somehow or other. After all, without enough energy, no goal can be successfully achieved.

Spiritual care – daily time with God, focusing on blocking out distractions and searching for personal application. After recommendations from two friends, I have downloaded Soultime, a Christian meditation app, to try out this month, in an attempt to quieten and focus my mind, which is incredibly restless at the moment. I’ll let you know how I go with it.

Self care – relaxation bath every week and one massage. Daily limit for time spent on phone, purposely switching tasks to laptop to enforce a scheduled time.

Happiness Project Experience – continue my daily walks at least 5 days each week. Devise and establish a screen-free ‘wind down for bed’ ritual and get at least 8 hrs sleep each night.

Simplify – continue my clothes and accessories shopping ban. I’ve found a couple of online groups to help me work towards this goal – it’s amazing the resources you can find when you start looking!

“Appreciate the little things”

This is February’s mantra of the month.

In other words, appreciate the little things, the everyday. (Although, let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing ordinary about this summer sunset I captured in Corniglia, Italy last August!)

How did you go with your January goals? Will you continue with them in February or set new ones? What are your goals going into February? I’d love to hear your thoughts, your successes and challenges.

Anna xo

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