NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic.
Half of 2015 is behind us and I realized that I have yet to post an update on how I’m doing with my theme for the year. In hindsight, I wish I would have done at least a quarterly update, if not more often. It’s very important to keep our yearly themes top of mind, and an update from me may have reminded those who also selected 2015 themes to take a look at how they’re going.
Well, better late than never, as the saying goes. So today I’m going to let you in on my progress with my 2015 theme, which is “deliberate.” Early in the year, I shared this theme and my thoughts on what constitutes deliberate shopping, a deliberate wardrobe, and a deliberate life. While I will touch on all three facets in this post, my main focus will be on the third one, a deliberate life. The reason for this is because I write about my wardrobe and shopping all the time here. You know how I’m doing in both areas through my accountability posts and “Love It, Wear It” challenge updates, and many other essays I write on this blog. Yet I don’t write about my life at large nearly as often, even though the theme of this blog is “Trade Your Full Closet for a Full Life.”
It’s Easier to Address My Wardrobe
I write more about my wardrobe for a few reasons. For one, readers seem to most enjoy reading about wardrobe management, personal style, accountability, and shopping behavior and psychology. I also enjoy writing about those topics, which was a big reason for starting this blog and why I’ve continued it for the past 2.5 years.
But there is also another reason why I have been sticking to those subjects. It’s much easier for me to address my wardrobe and style dissatisfaction than my unhappiness with the rest of my life. While it’s certainly not easy to overcome a compulsive shopping problem, cultivate a workable wardrobe, and define an inspiring personal style, it’s much easier to do those things than it is to build a fulfilling life. But if we are to create lives we love, focus and attention needs to be given to this pursuit. Dare I say deliberate effort? Yes, that’s a key to the process…
Touching on Deliberate Shopping and Wardrobe Management
But let’s touch on my shopping and wardrobe first before I delve into the harder stuff. First, the shopping… While I have made a few buying mistakes thus far in 2015, my shopping track record has definitely improved. I shop much more intentionally and purchase pieces for my actual life rather than for fantasy activities which only come around once in a blue moon. My new pieces are far more likely to quickly make it into my wardrobe rotation than in the past, and many of them have rapidly become closet favorites. I will soon post a purchase analysis for the first half of 2015 in which I will recap the good, bad, and ugly of what I bought this year, so stay tuned for that. But I really do feel I’m becoming a much more deliberate shopper when compared to years past.
In regards to my wardrobe, I’ve made some vast improvements there, too, with the help of my LIWI challenge and my outfit journal. I am wearing my favorite pieces more often and I’m happy with my outfits a much higher percentage of the time. By means of the “KonMari Process,” I’ve mostly pared my closet down to only those pieces which “spark joy.” I plan to revisit that method later in the year to let go of any remaining stragglers that I don’t love wearing.
I don’t have a minimalist wardrobe and likely never will, but my closet is far leaner than when I started this blog and I’m pleased with how far I’ve come. I believe that I will continue to build a more workable and joy inducing wardrobe as time goes by. Being more deliberate about what I own and what I buy is helping to making all of that happen.
Living a More Deliberate Life – The Good News
But now we get into the more difficult part, living a deliberate life. Many commenters have called me out for being too hard on myself, so I’m going to try my best not to do that here. Although I haven’t shared in much detail about what’s going on with me, I’ve had a very rough year. That’s made it far more difficult to focus on the changes I want to make in my life, but I’ve started to rally more as of late. Let’s start with the ways in which I have been deliberate with my life, and then I’ll delve into the facets of my life in which I am still struggling.
Making Health a Priority
One of my greatest challenges is in relation to my health, as I’ve mentioned at least a few times in previous posts. I have a “laundry list” of health issues that strongly impinge upon my quality of life. I’ve pursued more avenues than I can count to turn things around and have come upon dead ends time and time again. But I haven’t given up and have recently embarked upon a full court press to help restore my health. I’ve had numerous tests run, am seeing several health professionals, am taking a list of supplements as long as my arm, and have made quite a few dietary changes – with more to come. I hope and pray that I will see some positive changes soon.
Restoring my health is my most important project for the year – and for my life. It is taking precedence over everything else right now. It’s often been said that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. This is completely true. A close friend who is my age (48) is currently losing the battle and it’s beyond tragic. It truly breaks my heart… None of us knows how much time we will have on this earth, so we should never take for granted that we will be accorded longevity. There are lots of things we can do to maintain and improve our health, but there are no guarantees. We can only do our best and that’s what I’m trying to do.
Dealing with Information Overload
I have also written about my issues with information overload, including in this post. I have made some progress in that area. I still subscribe to quite a few blogs and have too many browser tabs open at any given time, but I’m no longer as attached to consuming information. I’m now far more likely to close out a tab without reading what’s there or to not read a given blog post if the topic doesn’t inspire me. And since I switched to using Texture to read my magazines, I regularly skip certain issues without giving it much thought. My next step is to unsubscribe from at least a few blogs, remove some of the periodicals from my Texture feed, and keep my open browser tabs to a minimum. That will bring me some additional peace.
Claiming Leisure Time
Another area of progress is in regards to claiming more free time and leisure for myself. I used to be such a “task master” when it came to my to-do list. I would force myself to remain in front of my computer until I got a certain number of items done. Of course, most things take longer to complete than we think and our to-do lists never really end. So lately I’ve been giving myself more of a break. In addition to my many health-related appointments, I’ve been allowing myself to leave the house more often to take photos, go for walks, or for other activities I want to do when I’m feeling well physically. This has resulted in a lot more peace and joy in my life. Yes, I also feel behind the proverbial 8-ball much of the time, but I believe I can turn that around without being like a drill sergeant to myself. More on that shortly…
Intentions for the Remainder of 2015
So those are some of the positives, the ways in which I’ve been more deliberate this year. But without beating myself up for what I have yet to do, I’d like to share some intentions for the remainder of the year. Here are some ways in which I’d like to be more deliberate in the coming months:
- Go to bed earlier and get more sleep – I have always been a night owl, but I’ve been going to bed increasingly later in recent months, often as late as 2 a.m. Then I usually wake up around 8:00, which results in not enough sleep! I’d like to eventually go to bed between 12 and 12:30 and wake up between 7 and 7:30 such that I will get seven hours of sleep. I know some people need their eight hours of sleep every night, but I feel pretty rested if I get a solid seven.
- Start my work day earlier – I don’t like to rush in the mornings and am fortunate not to have to. I like to take my time with breakfast, read a bit, and exercise. But getting up later and lagging in the mornings often means that I don’t start on my daily tasks until noon or later! I would like to start my “work day” (such that it is…) by 10:30 at the latest each day. That will allow me to get more done earlier in the day, so I don’t have to be at my computer late at night (like I am now…).
- Have 1-3 key intentions for each day – I used to always write to-do lists that would include twenty or more items. That was a recipe for failure and frustration, as it was virtually impossible to get everything done. Not only that, I often left the most difficult – but important – tasks undone. Limiting my daily priorities to one to three items will ensure that I tackle the most critical actions each day so I’ll feel better about my accomplishments when the day is over.
- Improve my social life and develop new friendships – I continue to feel very lonely, but I don’t do much about it. Having a better social life seems daunting, but if I just focus on doing one or two new things each month, such as attending a class or a Meetup event, I’ll be more social while doing something that appeals to me and which will hopefully be fun. I can’t force making new friends, especially as an introvert, but my hope is that it will occur organically if I am out and about and around people more often.
- Improve my existing relationships – I don’t have a lot of friends at present and my family connections are quite distant. I don’t harbor any illusions of having a family that resembles an 80’s sitcom, but I’d like to keep in better contact with my relatives. I’d also like to maintain my connections with the friends I do appreciate, even if they live far, far away. An email here and there, a Facebook chat, or a Skype conversation can help to keep my friendships alive. A little can go a long way, so I don’t have to do anything too overwhelming here. I will just pick one or two people each week to reach out to and do it. It will probably only take a few minutes per person and hopefully it will help both of us to feel more connected and cared for.
- Cultivate 1-2 new hobbies and interests – When I did my post about hobbies besides shopping, I received a lot of excellent suggestions. I would like to try a few of those and see if I might be able to find one or two to add to my regular activity repertoire. Again, I don’t have to do anything drastic. I can devote an hour or two to trying a potential new hobby to see if the interest is there. If not, I will move on. If I feel intrigued, I can take it to the next level.
- Further my photography interest – I am still really enjoying my photography hobby. I would like to learn how to use my new camera, read the photography book I bought recently, and possibly take a class and/or join a local Meetup related to photography.
- Take a few day trips – My husband and I used to travel a lot, but haven’t in recent years due to my health challenges and various other reasons. While we hope to be able to travel again soon, we can still take some local day trips to get the feel of traveling. I can also take a day or half-day trip alone to take photos in a new location. There are a lot of great coastal towns that aren’t that far away, so on a day when I’m feeling up to it, I should just grab my camera and go. Some deliberate leisure time…
- Go on at least 1 trip before the end of the year – I would like to visit my mom and brother in Tahoe sometime this year, preferably when it’s still warm there (the summers are my favorite time of year there). In addition, it would be great to go to Catalina Island (which I wrote about here) for an overnight trip. I would be very happy if I’m able to do both of those trips before the end of the year. Next year, I’d love to visit the San Francisco Bay Area (I lived there for years and miss it) and perhaps someplace farther away.
- Find a way to make dealing with my hair easier – Over the past few years, I’ve really been struggling with my hair. It’s been breaking off and has gotten more frizzy and unruly. It’s too high-maintenance and gets in the way of my feeling free (I wrote about that in this post). While I may not be ready to cut it all off just yet, I would love to find some new ways to wear it that I can do quickly and easily. Perhaps some up-dos or maybe a way to work with the natural texture (wavy and frizzy) instead of flat-ironing it every day (which is time-consuming, damaging, and futile in summer humidity). It may seem like such a silly thing, but it would make a big difference to me if I could find a way to be freer with my hair.
Too Much to Take On?
Now that all may seem like a lot to take on, but I believe it’s doable, especially if I am deliberate about my actions. Even if I don’t accomplish all of the above, I know I will make more progress than if I had not set those intentions. I don’t think any of those items constitute particularly lofty goals, at least not in the way I’ve worded them. They can all be furthered by means of “baby steps” that I can build upon over time. I have no major goals for the year, other than to improve my health. And truth be told, if I make that happen and do nothing else in 2015, the year will have been more than worthwhile for me.
Just today, I received a very thoughtful gift from a wonderful reader in Australia (shout-out to Krysta) that will help me be more deliberate in my life. It’s called a “Reflection Journal” and includes daily pages on which I can capture key things about my day. Here’s a snapshot of one of the pages:
Isn’t it great? It’s simple yet powerful – and absolutely perfect for where I am in my life right now. Thank you so much for the early birthday gift, Krysta (my birthday is August 8th and I will be 49!). I love it and will start using it right away!
I Won’t Wait So Long for the Next Update
I promise not to wait until the end of the year to do another update on my 2015 theme. I will plan to do another update at the end of September, if not sooner. Please remind me if I don’t do it, as it’s very important that I keep the theme of deliberate alive in my mind and furthered through my actions. If I am going to trade my full closet for a full life, it will take being deliberate about both what I want and how I make it happen. I still don’t really know what I want in terms of big picture goals, so that’s why I’m focusing on smaller, more manageable steps like what I outlined above. If I can accomplish those ten things – or even if I only make half of them happen, I know I will be in a much better place by year’s end.
Your Thoughts and Coming Attractions
Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts, either about my theme for the year or your own. If you selected a 2015 theme, I invite you to share what it is and how you feel you’re progressing with it now that the year is half over. If you have not chosen a theme but are interested in doing so, it’s definitely not too late. Please let us know what your intention for the year is and how you plan to fulfill upon it. If you have any thoughts about my progress thus far or on how I can be more deliberate in the coming months, feel free to share those, too.