I looked at the shirt and had a little regret. It was one of my favorite shirts that I never wear again. The memories came back. The time I jumped off the 30 foot cliff. The time when I had my second date with my wife.
It had a few holes and I just didn't wear it anymore. I didn't like to sleep in it, so it was in my drawer.
I held onto it because of these memories. It felt like I would let go of the memories when I got rid of the shirt.
Marie Kondo suggests that we hold up the shirt and if loving feelings arise, it may be worth keeping them. It's not a bad idea, but it also caused me pain. I wanted to wear the shirt that was not wearable.
That is why we hesitate to make our important decisions. We see the potential gains and pitfalls and we don't know which choice to make best.
Therefore, you should use the 80/20 rule. It is an old concept. That 20% of our work produce 80% of our results. This applies to most things. Think of an important project you have worked on and enjoyed. I bet it gave you the best results. This works in sales and decision making.
You don't have to be 100% sure that you have to get rid of something. You just have to be 80% sure.
You will be much happier when you know that you don't have to make the perfect decision. So I started to develop the minimalist mindset.
I took off my shirt and started getting rid of so much more.
Far from perfect
I still fall back into old habits, but I don't try to be too hard on myself. Creating a minimalist mindset takes time. Joshua, author of Minimalist Home, didn't do this overnight. He started with his garage and started working on other parts of his house and life.
Keeping a gratitude journal can help you on your way to minimalism. You have to be thankful for where you are on your minimalism journey. You may not have cleared the counters or a small wardrobe completely, but that's fine.
It takes time to strengthen the minimalistic neurons in your brain. The best way to do this is with gratitude.
If you are grateful, you can build stronger impulse control. Not through willpower, but through pathway.
Waypower is hoping. The hope that you will be back on track when you buy a nice pair of shoes that you didn't really need. You remember being thankful because it strengthens you instead of weakening you.
Focus on microhabits
You can forgive yourself for having bought another pair of shoes and get back on track.
How far did you get on this trip?
Think of all the things you haven't bought yet. See how much you have donated to charity, friends, family, etc.
The hard part is remembering to do this. Microhabits are so important here. You need to stack one current habit on top of another to get your mindset to the right place. You can slowly build up your positive habit. Try to start small. Every time you brush your teeth, think about how grateful you are when you don't make a purchase. Then feel that feeling. This is important as this is the little celebration that will help you put your habits in order.
If you have the motivation, write down why you are grateful for these decisions. Remember that you are the sum of your decisions, not just the last one you made.
Gratitude helps build self-control because you can take a break. It helps you tie your little celebration together. The next time you feel that your home is overloaded, or if you feel you are losing confidence in yourself, write the choices you made in the past month that you are grateful for:
- I am grateful that I spent time with a friend (lunch and a visit to her favorite shop) and did not have the urge to buy anything.
- I am grateful that I donated 10 shirts and two pants to the homeless shelter last weekend.
- I am grateful that I have opted out of Nordstrom email updates so I don't just go surfing. I only look when I really need something.
This will remind you how far you have come. This is an ongoing struggle. Businesses want you to keep upgrading clothes, furniture, cars, etc. so they can continue to make money.
It's up to you to empower these neurons by being thankful for how far you've come and encouraging yourself to stay on the right path.
If you're interested, take part in our free 30-day bring-free challenge from May 1st to May 30th. This strengthens your mindset. Join us and you will receive email updates and a private Facebook group. If you have any questions, I'm there for you 7 days a week. My goal is to bring the smartest and most caring people together to create an amazing community so that we can help each other learn from our mistakes and build a life that we love.
About the author: Karl Staib is the author of Bring Gratitude and the creator of the 30-day Bring Gratitude Challenge.