Take a Chance, Make a Change

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simple Life, Simplicity, Yoga

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We have a chance to make numerous choices every, single day. There comes a point though, when maybe our auto-pilot life becomes comfortable. Boring, stagnant, and comfortable. We realize beneath it all something is lacking. Our joy has been squelched due to the day-to-day demands that we dictate to ourselves. We measure our worth based on checking off the to-do-list and then beating ourselves up when we simply can’t accomplish it all.

That’s a rut. It’s a tough one to admit to, and a stickler to dig out of.

That’s where I was just a few short months ago. I started running – not walking – in the opposite direction.

It was time to take a risk: I have to change and take some risks, here. 

This realization and admittance that I am in fact, not Super Woman was a little hard to come to grips with, but there was truth beneath the surface.

I don’t want to be Super Woman.

I don’t want to be living in chaos. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I want peace and joy.

The contrast between the two are pretty drastic.

That means I have to open my mind and try different solutions to my struggle.

Day by day, my slow changes are really easing my anxiety and happiness is finally creeping in. I do things a little differently now by:

  1. Getting rid of excess and clutter for clarity and less wasted time on organizing and picking up.
  2. Removing social media from my life so I can focus on myself and what’s important.
  3. Thinking positively by meditating and appreciating what I have and where I’m going.
  4. Letting go of other people’s behavior and my past.
  5. Changing daily chores: I hang clothes to dry, use less dishes and hand-wash when done, put things back where they belong, and let it go when I want to do something else.
  6. Eating well helps me feel energized and lose excess pounds.
  7. Paying off debt by getting my finances in order and stop useless spending.
  8. Daily Yoga helps my body stretch and tone as well as a great way to integrate balance in my life.
  9. Being conscious of my beauty routine where less is definitely more.
  10. Creating a capsule wardrobe so my style is consistent and less stressful when getting ready and wasting money filling the gaps for sake of fashion.

These 10 changes have taken time. I began slowly and deliberately and have really tried to understand myself and my past along the way. It’s been my saving grace in the stickabilty to a major life change like this one.

Knowing you need to make a change and then taking the plunge can be scary. But there is nothing to fear. You can always go back to the way things were before. I mean, what’s there to lose?

Financial Boss: Part 4

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Gentle Change, Money

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After a long time of digging deep into my financial dependence, and auto-pilot behavior the day had come to come up with a budget and game plan. If we continue to do the same thing over and over we will continue to get the same results.

Well, I don’t like my results.

That means that I have to change how I do things. This can be super scary, but in order to move forward and have a chance for success, we must take risks to get us where we want to be.

I have determined that I have been on auto-pilot allowing my money to rule me instead of me being the boss.

For me to be the boss, I had to take the initiative and create my own financial plan.

My goal is that every month I will be telling my money where to go. Period. 

My plan started after I de-cluttered my wallet and credit cards. I cancelled every unused credit card account. Then, I had a shred party where I disposed of those soul-sucking colored pieces of plastic. Some financial gurus say you still need to keep your unused credit lines open because if you don’t it will hurt your credit score. Well, I have a secret:

I do not care. I want them gone. My credit score doesn’t define me. And, I’m giving up credit cards all together when I pay off the last of my debt. This means that my credit score is not a factor in my money or how I live my life. My credit score no longer rules me either. I rule it because I am the boss and am handling my imaginary “credit score” as if it doesn’t exist. Because from now on, I will pay upfront for everything I want or need. 

I’m not scared anymore. I am angry. I am angry because the little score that pops up took me 20 years to create a ‘green colored’ number. I stressed, fretted, and had anxiety attacks to keep it there. Then, outside of my control, I got laid off from my job and within 2 measly months my credit card number is now ‘red colored’ and it is designed to make me feel bad.

So, if you want to do something drastic just like I am; you have to be ready and willing to let go of a lot of your predisposed thoughts about money.

I totally am, so that’s why I am doing this. And secretly, I know that my credit card number is going to quickly increase back to green without any of my mental chatter and obsessions about ‘keeping it at the top.’ And that’s fine. It’s just a weird game to play anyway and I’m not playing anymore.

My passion from opening my mind and looking at my finances with a new outlook made me motivated.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator and got to work.

Previously:

My bills were auto-payed out of my checking account every week, whatever their due date.

My income is consistent weekly so I get paid a certain day every week.

I ball-parked estimated what discretionary money I had each week for gas, groceries, and anything else I wanted.

Nothing into savings, and nothing left over at the end of the month.

Now:

do not auto-draft. Ok, this is a big deal to me because I have ALWAYS auto-drafted. Now I am in control of paying my bills individually.

I pay my bills the first week of the month. Every single bill that is due that month is paid in the first week. So right then and there I am current.

I have three banking accounts:

  1. Bill account
  2. Spend account
  3. Savings account

Bill Account: I have figured up how much I owe each month in fixed bills. I divided them up weekly. Every pay day I put that amount into my ‘bill account.’

Spend Account: This is the amount of money I can spend on gas, groceries, and anything else I need/want. I have figured out how much I will allow myself and will deposit that amount into this account.

Savings Account: I have pre-determined how much I will save each week. I will be paying myself now. This amount will be deposited into this account each week on payday.

This way, at the first week of the next month, my ‘bill account’ will have the money need to pay my next month’s bills. I will then use that money to pay bills the first week of the month.

I have a separate debit card for my spend account. This will be the only debit card I use for purchases.

My savings account is going to grow really quickly. I will be using money here to build my emergency monies and pay off current credit card debt.

The formula is simple (and I am no math whizz that’s for sure!)

  1. Add your monthly fixed bills (car, house, insurance, credit card payments, etc.) and get the total. Divide by 4 (4 weeks in a month).This is the amount that you need to put into your ‘bill account’ each week.
  2. Determine your spend account. This is the amount you have to spend on things like gas, food, snacks, clothing, or whatever is not a fixed expense. Set a cap on it and divide by 4. This is the amount that goes in your ‘spend account’ for the week.
  3. Whatever is left over goes into your savings account. I am separating my money among these three account on payday which is the same day every week.

This is my new, drastic way of telling my money where to go. When I do the math and split my accounts this way, I have plenty leftover for my savings. I have savings because, well…you never know what can happen and I don’t plan on working in a career for someone else until I’m old, feeble, and dead.

There are a billion different ways to handle your finances. There are spreadsheets and programs and so many opinions.

I am not at all saying this is the BEST way to handle finances; it’s just the best way for me now.

Are you in a financial crisis? Do you hate the way your finances are ruling you? Is it time to be the boss? If so, and you are prepared for action, discover why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, then for god sake grab a pen and paper and get to work!

I wish I had done this sooner. I really, really do. But there is no better time than today to be the person we want to be. And sometimes, that means a drastically different approach to something and an open mind.

Financial Boss: Part 1

Clarity, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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It totally happened yesterday.

I am now in charge of my finances aka THE BOSS.

Financial advice is totally rampant on the internet because so many of us live reactive to our money.

I want to share with you how I went from reactive to proactive in 24 hours. Sounds to good to be true? Well, it is and it a’int. It was a long day yesterday getting my finances in order:

but I went to bed PROactively in charge of my money last night. 

I’m going to break up this explanation in parts because it is a little lengthy. I want to share my personal history and background and then tell you how my strategy changed drastically.

It’s not a magic potion or fix-all. It’s just a financially lazy, simple girl’s way of shaking up the way I do things and TELLING my money where to go.

You may be in the same place, but scared to make a change. It is kind of scary, but when you have your mind made up that you must do things differently, take risks, and are in an energetic, positive mental state: It can be done.

So, follow along if you want to hear about it. It’s time for change and it’s time to be the boss.

For starters:

That picture above was my stack of credit cards as of yesterday. Wow. Let’s just say that it has reduced drastically as of today, only 24 hours later.

Item Placement that Makes Sense

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Simplicity

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The way we live truly is an art. We are all different and execute our days in the way we feel best. But what if we can execute more efficiently? What if we can use our time and resources even better?

Making better use of my space and time is another reason I am de-cluttering and really thinking about how and where my time is spent. My focus is not to fill every minute in my day with busyness; rather, I just want to spend it well.

I used this concept while I was de-cluttering my kitchen this weekend. I decided to move my food and dishes to a better placement that actually makes sense. It’s amazing where I put things just to put them when I first moved in. If it was a kitchen item, I just put it in a cabinet somewhere in the kitchen.

Now that I am really thinking about logistics: it doesn’t make sense to me and my movements.

So, I moved my canned good near the stove instead of the pantry. Now, that doesn’t seem logical offhand, but now – I can just reach up and grab some veggies right from the stove top.

Ahhh, now that makes better sense.

All of my bowls, cups, silverware, plates are now right above my dishwasher. All of them. This is so I just reach up or down to load and unload instead of all over the place in separate cabinets.

My pots and pans are below the stove so they are easy to grab.

Tonight, I plan on moving the kids snacks in an unfamiliar cabinet: down below. It was a space that used to house unused appliances. But when the kids snacks are moved to this space, they can just grab the food themselves instead of getting me to get it from up high in the pantry.

This is basic stuff I realize, but have you thought about where you are keeping your stuff?

I can say that, without a doubt, when I cooked dinner and cleaned up last night it took me almost half the time as it normally does by simple item placement in spots where I need them to be.

So, my challenge to you is: are you aggravated in a work space in your home? Could you set it up to benefit and assist you rather than work against you? I did, and am so glad.

Things to Remember as You Change (for the better!)

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism

We all have a tendency to build emotional walls, develop coping mechanisms, and hone in on our fight or flight survival skills. I’ve learned that with time, all of these things defenses build up emotional plaque.

I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, and neither are you. Our experiences have changed us – either for the better or worse. Perhaps we have baggage and negative energy we have bottled up inside. It never gets dealt with because we don’t make or have the time for it.

As we shift and change through time, this bottling up can become a very stressful situation.

If we let it go long enough without dealing with it and changing our behaviors, issues will eventually surface. The daily grind can become overwhelming simply because our inner primal instincts tell us to run from the lion, even if there is no lion.

This is the effect of busyness, stress, frustration, clutter, and simply not taking care of ourselves.

Because my health is now suffering, it is time to do the work and deal with it.

I have attempted to de-clutter my possessions and simply for many, many years but I always end up stuck and giving in. I will donate, then binge trying to fill the void.

Life is full of lessons and I have learned a few things so I can adapt and change:

1. Take it slow. Although I am doing a panicked de-cluttering of my possessions, I am really feeling and experiencing the weight this has on me this time. Instead of just taking my unused possessions out of my living space and downstairs for later or labeling it ‘may use in the future’ it goes straight to the donation center.

2. Be patient with yourself. When we face reality, it can be tough. Especially if you are like me and have just pushed issues inside without the time to deal with it. All of it will eventually surface. It’s worth noting, looking into, and letting go.

3. Celebrate. Yes, de-cluttering and simplifying can be daunting. You will come to realize a lot more about yourself than you may even be ready for. But, this is time to celebrate! You are facing your demons and changing for the better. It’s a celebration!

4. Grace. You and I have made a lot of mistakes. We are human after all. But, everyone has and everyone has to own up to it. By hiding behind the curtain of denial, nothing is accomplished. We can not change unless we bring it all to the table. I’m learning with time, that I forgive myself. Not everything is my fault; whether it was someone else’s doings or my own: what happened has happened. There, I said it. Now, let’s do something else.

5. Live for now. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter anymore. You learn from it. You have permission to let go and be your best today. Tomorrow hasn’t happened; and quite frankly, may not ever happen, so let’s not worry. Let us live our lives for today in this moment. We better make dang sure we live the life we want because we only have 1 shot at this.

You will know when it’s time to make a drastic change. You may be lurking here for some inspiration or someone to relate to. That’s what I do. Know that you can’t change until you are ready to do the work. Start now. Be the person you want to be. Don’t focus on the end result, focus on what you do right now and what your next decision will be. All the littles make the bigs in the end. It takes daily tries and choices – not just one big bang! Get that momentum and do it.

That’s where I’m headed; imperfectly perfect.

Consent: Making my Personal Life Personal Again

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism

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Social Media has really taken over, hasn’t it? I remember when Facebook was just for college students, it was a whole lot more private, and didn’t take up so much emotional, mental and social energy. Well, I opened my account in 2004 when I was in college. I’ve been through all the waves and curve balls and here recently, I have just had enough.

I have had enough ‘social posting responsibility’ and people micro managing what I post, who and what I respond to, and the like. Not only that, I notice that the more time I was spending on Facebook the worse I felt. It’s like I was watching a train wreck, but couldn’t quit looking.

I’m not against people who want to use Facebook by any means. But, by hearing my close family and friends chatter about it – it seems they are getting a good fill of it too. Jealousy, frustration, feeling less-than, and constantly comparing their lives with someone else. I mean, we all know deep down that people only post their highlights mostly, but it still can be a real drainer of energy if we don’t control it.

I took it upon myself to go on a Facebook hiatus the last few months and it has been lovely. Yes, I have missed out on a few social updates; like someone had a baby or got married. That’s awesome and all, but I don’t need to continually ‘stalk’ other’s daily lives anymore. I have a lot on my plate and I am changing and rearranging my life – and really don’t have time for that.

So, I deactivated my account today. Although I wasn’t logging on, I feel better knowing that I am unsearchable. I know people are going to notice, and when they do, I will just inform them to text or call me if they need something, no biggie.

I remember the days before social media. It seems like I knew a lot about what was going on around town anyway without logging on to read other people’s business. And also, obsessing over posting MY OWN business. Do I really want everyone to know what I’m doing? No, I don’t.

My personal life is now that. Personal. And I’m already liking it better that way.

What Consumes the Mind, Controls Our Life

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

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Simplifying our lives has many aspects to it; and it varies from each person to person. For me, I am not an extremist by any stretch, but I want to remove the excess that is weighing me down so I can be energized and focus on what truly matters to me.

As I am constantly de-cluttering my possessions and spending less on consumerist spending, I am also de-cluttering my mind. When I first began simplifying my life, I knew I needed to get rid of physical clutter to have more brain space and clarity to get down to business on my insides. It was only natural that at some point, a lot of my mental clutter began surfacing as I was decreasing the amount of possessions I owned.

This is my favorite part of a minimalist lifestyle!

For me, “you are what you eat” translates not only to actual food consumption, but also to what I take in to my mind and thoughts. My focus is to remove the negativity that keeps clouding my thoughts and turn it in to positive affirmations.

I took a few weeks to really listen to my thoughts that rattle within. My inner voice was speaking; and it wasn’t pretty. Self doubt, worry, frustration, anger, and incessant chatter seemed to never end. After meditation and letting go of this mindset, I knew there were some changes that I would have to make to clear the mental clutter.

This became a priority and still is.

1. Social Media: I am off of Facebook. Period. I was comparing myself to others, and then other people’s constant questioning about my personal Facebook activity was a major trigger in anxiety. Now, all of my closest family and friends know to contact me directly via telephone or person if they have something to communicate as I am not on Facebook for the drama anymore. It was weird for a few days because I would unknowingly pick up my phone to check Facebook as a terrible habit. But, I had deleted the icon app as a reminder not to log on. I don’t miss it at all.

2. News: I love the news and shows like Nancy Grace (my hero!). However, I feel very agitated, angry, and defensive after soaking in updates from around home and the globe. Truly, I was getting to where I felt hopeless and sad. So, I simply just don’t watch it any longer. Now, I know they say to keep up with cultural events and such; and I do get info from my Husband on events that I am interested in so I can stay in the loop on what matters to me. But guess what? The world hasn’t crashed and I haven’t become an obsolete being just because I am not ranting over politics and the like.

3. Diet: I can’t think well if I don’t feel well. My eating habits have changed and I no longer include sugar in my diet. I feel more energized and can focus on what matters – like having fun – instead of feeling guilty because of what I have eaten during the day.

4. Drama: Other people have a way of sucking me into their drama. I am by nature a very empathetic and compassionate person, so I take on other people’s burdens as my own. This drags me so far down and makes me collapse with exhaustion. This is probably one of my #1 soul suckers. I have to consciously choose not to be involved in drama anymore and it’s making a huge difference in my positivity.

I want positive, hopeful, happy thoughts. Along with my possessions, I am de-cluttering the gunk as well. We think what we take in. We speak what we take in. We feel what we take in.

Isn’t it time we put a barrier to the negativity so we can embrace our true selves? If you want to feel energetic, you must take in energy. If you want to think positively, you must consume positivity. Let’s use our energy for positive vibes instead of the negative, shall we?

What gunk to you need to get rid of to add some light into your days?

Other People and Our Inner Peace

Clarity, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Simplicity

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How many times has someone else ruined your day? They didn’t do what you thought they should do. They didn’t compliment you when you thought you deserved it. They looked at you the wrong way. They didn’t pick up after themselves. Basically every one else is ruining your life!

I keep using the word ‘your’ but I am actually talking about myself.

It’s amazing how easy it is for someone else to impact my life. I don’t know where along the line this because such a huge problem for me, but it has.

Basically, I just think other people should know how to act. Simple.

Well, it’s not so simple in reality, now is it?

When I change the way I view others and take back the power they have over my life, I am happier. I am in control of myself and my reactions.

  • Should I choose to not let someone else bother me, that’s just that: they don’t bother me.
  • Should I choose not to be emotionally invested in someone else’s drama: I’m not in the drama.
  • Should I take responsibility for what I want done: it gets done.
  • Should I not let someone else’s bad mood be my mood: I’m in control of my own mood.
  • Should I not wait on someone else to make me happy: I make myself happy.
  • Should I not blame other’s on where I am in my life: I realize I am responsible for my own life.

This is important because when we take responsibility for our actions, we can align better with who we are supposed to be. There’s no more waiting on someone else, or some miracle to be happy. We choose to be happy. We choose how to live out our days. Do we have to stay stuck where we are today? No, we don’t. We can change our circumstance with simple, deliberate choices fueled with positivity.

How can we do that?

To simply start.

Make the conscious effort to change, and start taking responsibility for where you are now and where you want to be.  Be realistic, but be deliberate. Pick one thing today that you are unhappy about and do something about it. It doesn’t have to be monumental, major, or life changing. Start small. Is your car messy? Clean it out. Did you eat too much over the weekend? Eat light today. Are you in debt? Don’t spend any money today, and make do with with you have. Little choices add up to the big things in the end. Take back control. That’s what I’m going to do.

Tending to Your Soul

Clarity, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

Yoga isn’t about executing the poses perfectly or having the best balance. Yoga is connecting with yourself. Yoga is like learning to breathe again, or that moment when you jump out of bed in the morning, rush outside to do the sun salutation, and you’re utterly blinded by how brilliant the world can be. Yoga is taking a moment from your stressful, up-beat life and remembering you have a soul that needs tending to. ~ Unknown

The world truly can be beautiful and brilliant when we take the time to slow down and enjoy it. This has always been so hard for me: just as it is for so many people.

I feel that it is selfish and un-productive if I stop to breathe and do a few stretches.

Since I have began my yoga journey, I see how important it is to take the time to look within yourself. Yoga is not about being a pretzel, it’s about being deliberate. Being deliberate in loving on yourself every day. It’s about letting go of house chores realizing that it’s OK to take a break, get healthy, and press on within. When sticking through yoga, the to-do list shows up in the mind, but you learn to see it, and let it go. You begin to understand that the dishes will still be in the sink when you get done. They will. And it is perfectly fine.

It’s a daily practice of peace.

Whether you do yoga or not, it’s important you find something that allows you to be still, get healthy, and focus on yourself. It could be a walk, a bubble bath, a jog down a trail, gardening, drawing, watching the sunset. If it means you check in with yourself for at least 20 minutes or so to allow your self-worth to come forward: then you have found it! When you find it, do that and do it every day.

Give Yourself Permission

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

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Have you ever just taken a few minutes in the quiet to listen to your thoughts? Seriously. Have you heard what that voice in your head tells you? The negative chatter can be immense sometimes. What’s sad is that if that negative voice inside me was a real person, I wouldn’t even be their friend! And I LIVE with that voice in my head all.the.time.

It’s time for it to shut up and have a change of attitude.

Hard to describe, but you know what I’m talking about? I sure hope you do, otherwise I must be a crazy person.

Well, I’ve listened to my own thoughts long enough. The voices that tell me I’m not good enough, strong enough, or able enough. Not only is it important to de-clutter physical possessions, but it’s even more important to de-clutter the mental and emotional madness.

I have been working hard on turning my wishes into reality. Those voices that tell me ‘I can’t’ are being told that ‘I can.’

It’s really time to hone in and give yourself permission to be the person you want to be. There are limitations, yes and everyone’s situation is different, I realize this.

But, are you the one telling yourself you can’t do this or that?

After a lot of soul searching, I come to realize that I have been the biggest barrier in my life as anything. So, today that barrier is being lifted:

I give myself permission to be happy.

I give myself permission to be my true self.

I give myself permission to make mistakes and learn.

I give myself permission to change, today: right now.

I give myself permission to forgive and move on.

I give myself permission to enjoy this day.

And may nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING stand in my way.

What do you need permission to do today? You have to power to grant it, if you will give in and allow it.