I’m a Minimalist and practice my own Minimalism

Marc Bilodeau/ Health, Minimalism, Self Help, Subjectivity

I believe in minimalism. Yet I have family, friends, possessions, a house, a car, and other modern conveniences of life. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to some people. Everyone knows that minimalist own a few meager possessions, wear all white clothes, live in seclusion, and roam the world. Right? Not necessarily. Although some minimalists choose that lifestyle, the definition of minimalism varies from person to person.

To me, minimalism is returning to more simple living that leans towards experiences then being lost in modern life’s excess and materialism. Over time, I’ve developed a few simple guidelines that help me achieve my own personal minimalism.

  • Healthy Living
  • Have meaningful relationships
  • Always be willing to learn and grow
  • Reduce physical and mental clutter
  • Contribute to others
  • Continuous evaluation

Healthy Living

Staying healthy gives me the desire and energy to tackle my challenges head on. I strive to eat right, exercise regularly, and maintain a work-life balance. I’m conscious of every snack, meal, and beverage that I put into my body. I do not deprive myself of indulgence. However, I find that awareness of what I eat and how often I eat, helps me maintain a balanced diet. I feel healthy and good about myself.

These changes did not happen overnight. This process takes several months to achieve real change. This is done by making small adjustments gradually.

For example, the person who slowly reduces the amount of coffee they drink each day is more likely to succeed then the person who stops drinking coffee altogether in one day. Furthermore, you can replace one habit with another, such as drink more water instead of coffee.

By following this mindset, I achieved my initial health goals just by making small changes in my daily habits.

Have Meaningful Relationships

Although I’m an introvert, a small circle of friends and family with deep personal connection is more important to me then having a lot of acquaintances. I can focus on relationships that matter the most and let the rest go.

I know that sounds cold and uncaring. However, many people I know have toxic relationships. These relationships drain you, are usually one-sided, and leave you with emotional baggage and anxiety. These people, whether friends or family, aren’t helping emotionally. They affect your mood and well-being.

I thought a long time about which relationships are important in my life. I decided to focus on those relationships by being more interactive, getting together when I can, and spend quality time whenever possible.

Now people important to me are simply a positive experience. This positive experience helps me be a happier person and gives me a better outlook on life.

Always be Willing to Learn and Grow

One of my core values is always be willing to learn or try something new. For example, if I see a new word, I’ll use the web and look it up. It’s extremely easy these days. Did I read an article about something that piques my interest? Then I’ll do a little more reading and consider trying it. Do I want to try writing a blog and become a better writer? You’ve probably figured out the answer to that by now.

I’ve learned over time that mistakes are good. I learn something every time, and I can apply the lessons to the next challenge. By keeping myself open to new possibilities, I grow as a person, enjoy new experiences, and have fun. I never know what will happen. Sometimes my ideas fizzle out, or they grows into something more.

Reduce Physical and Mental Clutter

Both physical and mental clutter can really take its toll on a person’s health and well-being. Physical clutter causes me anxiety. I’ve always appreciated clean spaces and sparse surroundings. It gives me clarity and focus.

I make a conscious effort to limit my possessions to the essentials. I’m not in a competition to own as little possessions as possible, however, I only keep possessions that provide value to my life. If I don’t use something after a period of time, I get rid of it. I’ll either give it away or discard it.

This applies to personal or sentimental items with only a few exceptions. I will take a picture of it before discarding. If I have a picture, its provokes the same thoughts and emotions as if I am holding it.

Mental clutter is something that requires more effort to manage. I’m constantly working on focusing on what thoughts are worth holding on to and the ones that aren’t important. Contemplating the what-ifs can have value, but worrying about every possible scenario isn’t productive. It could hold me back.

Practicing mindfulness of what’s happening in my life allows me to evaluate the situation and manage my mental clutter. Its more important to focus on the present. Taking care of the here and now will certainly help manage the future, and I won’t end up regretting the past.

Contribute to Others

When I think about giving back, it’s more about small contributions to others then bigger gestures like donating time or money to an organization. Although donating a day, week, or more to an event or organization is admirable, I personally feel I’m giving more by practicing small more frequent contributions.

For example, some ways I contribute back is by helping my daughter with homework; picking up the kitchen for my wife so she has room to get the cooking done for an event; helping someone at work with their current project; or teaching a skill to someone who is either interested or required to learn. Even something as simple as a smile and hello to people I pass by while I run can improve someone’s day.

Continuous Evaluation

I believe that when one lives by a set of principles, they are not absolute rules. People change and so do their views. The person I was 5 years ago, now, and in 10 years are different. I ask myself the question “why am I doing this?” as part of my ongoing efforts to maintain and adjust my personal system of simple living. When I question myself, I can realize that what I’m doing now might not be necessary, totally necessary, or should be done differently.

I embrace change, even in myself, and adjust accordingly.

Minimalism in daily life

My personal methods and practices are my own. I don’t expect friends or family to adhere to this lifestyle, nor follow my “style” of minimalism. I do it for myself and I feel it makes me better person. A person who can live more in the moment and pursue passions or something new. I can discover my own place in life and focus on living physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. I can own less and do more through creation and personal experience.

This way of living, a more simple living, works for me. I encourage you to at least learn more about minimalism and how others live and benefit from a minimalist lifestyle.