When I first began this minimalist journey it did not occur to me that this was going to be an evolutionary art. As in my values, my goals, my vision for my life would always be changing.
Intentional living is work. Initially engaging in it is overwhelming, living out your values is both fulfilling and challenging and continuing the work is sometimes draining.
I dove into minimalism years ago, with no research or plan other than I knew I wanted to declutter my home, and that I wanted to live smaller in order to gain financial freedom.
After my second son was born and watching The Human Experiment on Netflix I was in it, deeply … e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g was gonna change. I realized that my desire to live minimally was connected to my desire to be free, and to be the best version of myself. But the best version of myself was not about these chemicals. So I did what all good newly charged documentary watchers do and spent hours researching. Y’all there is dangerous shit in EVERYTHING – even the couch has some fire resistance chemicals.
This is also during a time where breastfeeding was not going to work out, I had switched to formula AND had this new discovery of chemicals so I was a mess 🤦🏻♀️.
But this is the reality. Rather it be minimalism, zero waste, no chemicals, vegan/plant-based diet, you will go down the rabbit hole, you will flip your entire life upside down and you’ll never be the same. You cannot unlearn the things, so once you start doing the research you’ll be living in the space of, “Does this align with my values,” and if not what next?
It was clear to me that after the mounds of research and documentary watching that the way I was living my life was not in alignment with my values. So the what next for me was about goal setting. Simple yet flexible goals that could help guide me as I made these lifestyle changes.
Here are examples of my goals I’ve made in the past:
It’s important to be clear about why you are making goals. As well as to identify if they align with your values, if they are flexible and if they can evolve. Intentional living is a lifestyle and lifelong commitment in which you will fall, get back up, come across new research, and EVOLVE.
As important as it is to be clear on why you are setting these goals, it is equally as important to check in with yourself. Every Sunday when my husband and I sit down to do budgeting/bill paying for the week we go over our goals and discuss what went well, and what we found difficult. Sometimes I have goals completely separate for him. Eating less meat was never a goal of his, but it doesn’t mean I can’t check in with him. As a matter of a fact for me it’s helpful. I really need people to hold me accountable especially on the days I just want to hide under my covers and order Chinese food.
This really is all a journey, it’s not a one day to the next, it takes time to unlearn hundreds of years of colonization. I cannot stress how important it is to be easy on ourselves. As women, as women of color we carry a burden that is so heavy already. This is about lessening that burden. It’s about freedom – figuring out what our values are, thinking about how we want to live our lives, setting goals, checking-in, and finding accountability partners. It’s time for us to take back slow living, and to free ourselves of some of these burdens.
Minimalism is about that freedom. That freedom to be our authentic selves, to walk in our purpose, to be liberated. So set some goals this week and remember to say no to the things that clutter your life. This is about creating the space to be free.
Check in on my next post where Jenni Rivera Bell will answer questions about her minimal lifestyle.