March 2020 – 4 challenges

A few years ago I decided to follow the basics of Minimalism.

I made a decision to do this. I decided to try to create a more intentional life for me, and like ripples in a pond, for my family too. I wanted to change my life from living on autopilot to living more consciously.

I have found that I am productive when I set myself – or join – challenges. It’s like my version of a to do list, which helps me commit, see change, and hold myself accountable. Challenges are for me the place where I can more easily change my habits.

And because I am trying to make life changes, I need a list from which to work. Challenges help me work down my “life list.”

This March I am testing different areas of my life with 4 self-imposed challenges. These all support the my chosen creation of a simple and beautiful life, based on those basic principles of Minimalism:

  1. Considered spend month (finances)
  2. Meditation every day (spirituality)
  3. 4 Sun Salutations a day & at least a glass of water (health)
  4. A 10 minute pause of play or rest every single day (perspective)

Finance – Considered spend month

I chose February to try out a no spend month as for me February is when my year routine begins. Although I did not spend much, I did not manage a totally no spend month.

What I did however, manage, was to pause and consider purchases before I made them.

And this is where I choose to focus in March. Before I spend, I aim to pause and think about why I need to buy an item. I will extend this to groceries too.

I intend to use what I already own first, and to purchase new only if I decide after consideration, that it is useful and right for my situation, to do so.

Spirituality – Daily Meditation

I now have a fairly regular meditation practice.

Some days are hard, some easier, but I am enjoying the fruits of regular meditation, like more patience, more empathy and more consideration.

I am finding daily meditation to be life-changing in the way I live and how I act. Adding 10 minutes of silence to my day seems to be giving me more compassion, peace, and headspace.

Health – Daily 4 Sun Salutations & Water

Owing to a bad back, wanting to start running again, and the need to strengthen my core, I chose to do 4 sun salutations every day throughout February – as gently and slowly as I needed them to be.

And I did. And I feel as if I am developing some arm and core strength. And I am running again. And I am looking after my back and listening to my body and going slowly and in small steps.

So I will commit to another month of doing the same. No more, not more strenuous, but just an ongoing low-key practice.

I will commit again to drinking at least 1 glass of water each day too. For harder habits, I usually restrict and then reward myself – for example I have to drink a glass of water before I can drink my morning coffee. This technique helps to keep me on track.

Perspective – Daily Pause – Play or Rest

I recently read articles about allowing some space and pause in the day.

Leo Babauta wrote a newsletter about giving ourselves permission to pause after having accomplished something, rather than rushing straight onto the next thing. He talks about allowing ourselves the space to rest and recover, or to celebrate, learn, reflect, or to integrate what we have learned.

Joshua Becker wrote about busyness being a form of laziness, as we race from activity to activity without pause for thought. The distracted way of living that keeps us from living a fulfilled life.

So I decided to add a random 10 minute pause into my day. It is a staged and regulated way to do it. But when I am trying out something new, I find a forced rule helps to get my behaviour change moving.

In time I hope I am able to pause mindfully, even if only momentarily for reflection after each completed task.

In this new 10 minute pause, I can rest (lie on the floor & stare at the ceiling), or I can play (with a dog or a child – something active).

But I have to stop, look up, look around, take a few breaths, and maybe smile.

That is it for March.