But I want to simplify it even further.
I want to live with more intention.
I want to truly notice how I spend my time, energy, money and heart.
I want to make more mindful choices and decisions.
For the year of Twenty-Sixteen:
I will only wear clothing that is black, white, grey or blue. (Sooooooooooo sorry Green Coat!).
I will post all of my Happy Day photos to Facebook in B&W.
I won’t buy any books (I can’t believe I’m willingly going to do this for Another Year!).
I will finally read ‘Simplicity’ by Edward de Bono, which I bought at least five years ago.
I will keep the emails in my inbox (work and home) to less than twenty.
I will back-up my laptop at home once a month (this currently happens every three (aka, four or five) months or so).
I will make self-care a priority.
I will make joy a priority.
I will make my dreams a priority.
I will think about my intention whenever I say or do something (as much as is humanly possible).
I will think about my intention with every purchase I make… do I need it? do I love it? how much will I actually use it?
I won’t keep text messages in my phone unless I need them or they make my heart smile.
Each month I will choose four items of clothing to give away so at the end of the year I will have eliminated almost 50 items of clothing out of my wardrobe! (No Green Coat, you won’t be one of them, I promise).
I will continue to eliminate the word ‘busy’ from my vocabulary.
I will partake in some Colouring-In Joy every day.
I will let go of the unimportant.
I will write from my heart.
I will nurture those relationships which are good for my soul.
I will declutter my home and my mind.
I won’t say ‘yes’ to anything I truly don’t want to do.
I will not multitask*
In addition to all of this (as if that won’t be enough) I will do or give up something each month For the Duration of That Month. These are in no particular order; I will decide which one to do at the start of each month and they may even be replaced with more fabulous ideas along the way. (Note to self: Add ‘I will be flexible’ to previous list):
I won’t watch Netflix and I can watch movies on DVD but not TV shows (i.e. no binge watching!) [Side note: Even though I now probably have a fully functioning TV antenna after moving to my unit, I still haven't plugged it in and have now gone almost three years without watching regular TV.]
I won’t use my hair straightener - people with cowlick-afflicted fringes will understand why this one makes it onto The List.
I won’t eat any chocolate, lollies or ice-cream - oh dear, stay away from me that month.
I will give up coffee - just kidding, I don’t drink it so that would be blatant cheating!
I will only use my uber fab new iPhone 6S for making phone calls, texting and taking photos – no Internet, no Facebook, no Instagram, no nerdy notes, no music, no apps of any kind.
I won’t drink any alcohol - yes, including champagne.
I will only use one pair of reading glasses - I have four pairs – one in my bag, one beside my bed, one in the kitchen and one in the living room (which is hilarious if you knew how small my home is).
I will write in my gratitude journal and meditate every day.
I won’t use Facebook.
I will go to bed on Sunday to Thursday nights at 9pm.
I will watch nothing but TED talks. (Well, I won’t watch them continuously ALL month or anything because that would be ridiculous, but they’ll be the only thing I’ll watch if I do watch something.)
I will listen to nothing but The Beatles or classical music.
And last but not least, throughout the month of December I will do whichever one of the above challenged me the most, for another entire month.
Having said that, I haven’t necessarily chosen things that will be too challenging (for instance, I’m really looking forward to listening to nothing but The Beatles and classical music for an entire month), because my goal isn’t really to challenge myself for a whole year, as that would be exhausting.
Being present is where the gold is.
When I’m mindful
I’m more relaxed
I’m focused on creating joy,
and finding happiness in The Little Things
I’m feeling positive,
and hopeful about the world
I’m aware that worrying won't change the outcome,
and I make better decisions,
which in turn mean my actions and words are more authentic
I feel more alive,
and I see the beauty in life with ease.
And the impact was significant.
Significant for my sense of self
For my physical and mental health
For my relationships
And for my soul which felt a bit battered and bruised.
Something happened which inspired me to embark on another 'The Year of More' adventure, which I'll explain soon, but before I get to that I want to say that I learnt an incredibly valuable lesson from the experiences I had last year.
I can’t control the events that take place around me or across the world.
But I can control my reaction to them.
I can’t control the actions, behaviours or words of other people.
But I can control my reaction to them.
I can’t control Life’s Little Frustrations.
But I can control my reaction to them.
And most of all, I can learn from the challenges, experiences and frustrations that Life brings my way.
If I choose to.
Okay, so on to the story of what happened to inspire me to do this. (I just love love LOVE where little kernels of ideas come from).
I got a new iPhone in December and I had trouble – lots and lots and LOTS of trouble – transferring everything from one phone to the other. iTunes just wouldn’t play nicely and I finally decided to pay some uber nerdy guy to transfer it all across. And even he had trouble and all I got were some of my contacts and random bits of my calendar (he didn't end up charging me as even his nerdy powers weren't quite super enough).
So I was left with No music. No messages. No nerdy notes squeezed onto those tiny little virtual sticky notes I adore so much.
I was frustrated I couldn’t use my fabulous new and expensive gadget straight away. I felt decidedly unsimplified carrying around three iPhones (I use my old old iPhone as my work phone), until I got it all sorted out. And I was ready to trade them all in for an old fashioned address book and notepad when I updated the operating system on my old phone (thinking that may have been the problem with iTunes not wanting to play with it), and lost all of the nerdy virtual-sticky-note notes I’d made since 2013! I use the notes section of my iPhone All The Time. I make notes about my Happy Days photos so I can keep track of which number I’m up to. I have super looooooong lists of books I’d like to read. I make notes for blog posts if I’m out and about and am Inspired by Words. And I use them for lots and lots of other nerdy things I'm a little too embarrassed to share with you right now.
And they were all gone.
Lost in cyberspace forever and ever and ever.
Somehow we seem to accept and welcome some of these complexities into our lives without ever questioning their existence in our little world.
So I figured I could either forget all about it once my phone was sorted out and all was well in My Little Nerdy Phone World again OR I could learn a little something from the experience.
And just like that...
I just love how we can learn from our frustrations and turn them into something positive which we will continue to learn even more from. It's like Life's domino effect.
So at the end of each month, I shall write a little (haha… we both know I don’t do short blog posts!) update on what I noticed during that month by giving up or doing something differently. And as usual, I'm sure there will be A Plentiful Supply of Random Thoughts shared with you along the way as well.
Perhaps I’ll find that some of these activities don’t simplify my life or make me more mindful At All. But hopefully others will.
We are so used to doing things a certain way and living life a certain way that we actually need to stop occasionally to ask ourselves if this is how we want to spend our time, energy and resources on the planet, so that's what I'm doing.
‘Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.’ Isaac Newton