New to minimalism?  Looking to build a healthy habit of living simply?  It takes 21 days to build a habit, so I suggest this method to be intentional about living simply.

The task is simple.  Spend 21 days focusing on developing a habit, skill, or breaking a bad habit through a positive solution that will support your minimalist lifestyle.

21 days?  That’s a long time!  That may be true in the moment, but 21 days is approximately 6% of a year, which really is not very long.  In perspective, 21 days is the real deal if you stay focused and committed because you are making a powerful investment very efficiently.

Give 21 days a chance.  Whether that is 21 days to break a spending habit, 21 days of eating healthy, or 21 days of cleaning out your office.  Living simply is more than just getting rid of excess clutter.  It is about developing your skills, investing in what you are passionate about, and building a new outlook on life.  21 days can help you find your priorities or fine-tune the journey you have already started.  The choice to approach it is yours.

If you are struggling for creativity, I suggest finding one obstacle, and using it as a basis for your challenge.

For example:

  • For 21 days, focus on why you became a minimalist.  Write down one reason a day.
  • For 21 days, spend time reflecting on what minimalism strategies has worked for you.  After the 21 days are up, move forward with the helpful strategies.
  • 21 days of gratitude.  It seems that personal struggle often arises out of discontentment or frustration.  Spend 21 days focusing on gratitude.  By gaining a sense of thankfulness for what your progress has been, you will become more receptive to creativity and problem solving.  Do not let the struggle define you.  Focus on finding a solution.

If you are new to minimalism but are concerned about starting off too fast, use your 21 days to pace yourself.

For example:

  • For 21 days, get rid of one item a day that does not have a purpose or bring you joy.  Every item is a step.  Remember that minimalism is an ongoing process, so practice disciplining yourself to a steady system that prevents rash decisions or getting off track.
  • 21 days to study.  Spend 21 days before implementing a minimalism to brainstorm ideas, strategies, and reasons for your quest.  Just like we should do our homework before making a significant purchase (like a house, car, or stock), we should do our homework before implementing a lifestyle change.

If you are unsure if 21 days really works, here are some reasons that I discovered to support it.  Note that this list meant that I would proceed with 21 days even if I was not 100% on-board with the idea:

  1.  21 days is a short term commitment.  Like most goals, we divide them into short and long term categories.  It is better to start off small than to jump in unprepared.
  2.  21 days is a testing ground, but holds a lot of value.  Maybe you think 21 days is not difficult at all!  I suggest that you proceed, treating the 21 days as a testing zone for a habit you think you have developed.  You will soon learn if you are on the right track or if you need to make adjustments.
  3.  You will discover your real priorities.  21 days are helpful if you do not know where to begin.  I suggest using it as a tool to discover your priorities, especially if you reached a stalemate in simplifying.   Perhaps you are starting a bullet journal.  If you are trying to define what you want your life to be about, start by using 21 days to narrow down your list (see: bullet journaling).
  4. You will learn about your strengths and weaknesses.  When I started by bullet journal to work my way into minimalism, I discovered that I have a strength in sticking with a consistent habit of reflecting on my experiences.  However, I also discovered that I often over-complicate my day-to-day tasks.  I used 21 days to limit myself, thus simplifying my to-do list and opening up space for much-needed free time.

These are just a few ways to use 21 days to begin or enhance your journey in minimalism.  Feel free to test out my ideas, change them, or come up with a new solution – minimalism is all about ingenuity and infusing your life with creativity.  Pass it on!


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