Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

It’s time for another 2018 wrap-up post! This one focuses on reviewing my theme for the year, “essential,” and reflecting on the various ways that it has impacted my life. I will also share the key word/theme I have selected for 2019 and my reasons for choosing it.

2018 theme review

Since 2014, I have been selecting yearly themes that encapsulate primary focus areas for improving my life experience. These overarching themes often also highlight what I’m hoping to create in my emotional landscape. Choosing a word or theme for the year is generally a lot less overwhelming than writing out a long list of goals, but it can still be highly effective at moving our lives forward in a positive direction. If you’d like to read more about the practice of choosing a yearly word or would like guidance on selecting your 2019 word, the following articles can help:

Of course, you don’t need an e-course or to follow a specific process in order to find your word, but I’m including these resources for those who feel they could benefit from them. It’s perfectly fine to just go with whatever word intuitively stands out for you. That’s pretty much what I did this year, as I will share later in this post.

Recognizing What’s Essential in 2018

As 2018 began, I realized that I was feeling disjointed and overwhelmed. I was unsure as to my priorities and the best way to spend my time. All too often, I found myself creating lengthy to-do lists and then beating myself up for not getting everything done. I tried too hard to be all things to all people and my health and well-being were suffering as a result. I felt burned out and unfulfilled and I knew that I needed to make some changes.

Choosing “essential” as my word for last year pushed me to look at quite a few areas of my life, including the information I consumed, the people I interacted with and how often, how I spent my time, and my possessions, including my wardrobe. Below are all of the posts I did in 2018 that centered on the theme of “essential,” beginning with the essay that introduced that yearly focus area:

Clearly, I examined what is and isn’t essential in my life quite a bit last year, and I also gained a lot of valuable insights that I’m taking forward with me into 2019 and beyond. As is always the case, I still have work to do on the concept of essential, so my 2018 word will continue to help me to examine my life and will work in tandem with my 2019 theme. It’s not like I’m just going to forget all about “essential” now that I have a new theme on board for this year.

Key Insights on “Essential”

Before I introduce my 2019 theme, I would like to summarize what I learned about “essential” through my focus and exploration last year. I will divide this recap into the key areas of information, communication, time, and wardrobe.

Consumption of Information:

In one of my earlier articles of the year, I wrote about the information overload and fear of missing out (FOMO) that I was experiencing. I committed to decreasing the number of articles I saved in a “to read” folder and to not carrying articles forward from month to month. I kept this practice up into the summer, but then I stopped paring down the queue at the end of each month. However, even though my “to read” folder grew in size, I stopped feeling a lot of angst about it. Instead of fretting about how many articles I needed to read, I instead shifted to periodically reading articles when I was so inclined and deleting other titles that no longer held my interest. I’ve also gotten better at limiting how many articles I bookmark for later reading, as I realize that devoting time to this activity cuts into the time I spend on other types of reading. As a result, I now read more books, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

I still struggle sometimes with spending too much time on my phone, but I started using an app called Digital Wellbeing (for Android, a similar one for IOS is called Screen Timethis article compares the two) that tracks how much time I spend on various apps and allows me to set time limits for programs that I feel are occupying too much of my attention. This app has been a major eye-opener, as I had no idea how much time I was dedicating to surfing the internet and browsing entertainment information on my phone. I removed the Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger apps a while back and now only access those programs from my computer. Smart phones and tablets can be highly addictive and I’m not immune to this situation, so I have to be proactive about how I use my devices. I’m considering getting rid of the Gmail and Reddit apps, too, but I may just use time limits to control how much I use these programs. Either way, I will be more deliberate with how I use my devices, which is a lot of what I was looking for in terms of “essential information.”

The Minimalists have started doing something they call Screenless Saturdays, which is a form of “digital detox” that has three different levels from which one can choose. I think it can be very helpful to avoid screens and the internet one day per week and this is something I often do, although not always on the same day of the week and not every single week. I may opt to become more rigorous with this in 2019, although I will likely choose Sunday as my screenless day, as that works better for me (it’s usually a day on which my husband and I spend the entire day together).

Relationships and Communication:

I used to spend hours each day on Facebook but failed to respond to my emails in a timely fashion and keep in touch with friends and family offline. Social media has long been a challenge for me as strong introvert, as I wrote about in this May post. Over the course of 2018, I made important shifts to the way I communicate and I’m now much better at staying in contact with people. I still don’t keep in touch with some people as often as I (or they) would like, but my current approach is much more balanced than it used to be.

I’m trying to aim for quality over quantity, which is hard to do on social media, which seems to be focused more on the latter. After all, these programs make money by having as many eyeballs on the screen as possible for as long as possible. But just because there is a sort of “culture” around how to participate in social media, it doesn’t mean we need to adhere to those norms.  I still experience pangs of guilt if I go days or even a week without checking my Facebook groups and notifications, but it’s getting easier to do what’s right and best for me. As we make shifts to how we interact, others will usually adjust and if they don’t, maybe those friendships aren’t a good fit for us anyway. It’s still hard for me to feel like I’m disappointing others by my lack of engagement, but I’m working on letting go of these worries. This is something I will continue to strive to improve upon this year.

How I Spend My Time:

Time management has long been my Achilles Heel. It’s exceedingly rare for me to feel satisfied with what I accomplish on any given day.  I beat myself up all the time for not doing enough, but I’ve learned that it’s not about doing the most things, it’s about doing those things that will add the most value to our lives. Back in March, I shared Tim Ferriss’s practice of selecting one key item to work on for two to three hours of uninterrupted time each day.  On the days when I implemented this strategy, I definitely felt calmer and more accomplished, but I let the practice fall by the wayside. Now that I’m revisiting my “essential” posts from last year, I’m going to recommit to focusing on maximizing efficacy over efficiency.

Daily routines can make or break how we feel about the way we spend our time. In July, I wrote about how I tracked my daily rhythms for a week while trying out various routines in order to best take advantage of my optimal work patterns.  Although I identified two routines that were most in line with my natural rhythms, I didn’t usually follow those schedules in the later months of the year. As a result, I continued to struggle with either feeling unproductive or out of balance (and sometimes both).

Recently, however, I started to experiment with different daily routines once again. I have found that what I do in the morning sets the tone for the entire day and needs to be attended to appropriately. If I get up late and lollygag around, I end up feeling unhappy and unproductive. There are always trade-offs in terms of how we spend our time, but it makes sense to structure our days in ways that will lead us to feel better about ourselves. It’s also helpful to look at what’s on our plates and what we’d like to do more or less of, as I wrote about back in August. Although I did well at increasing many of the activities I value (e.g. reading books, watching movies, keeping in touch with people, and meditation), I still need to work on decreasing time-wasters and improving bad habits (e.g. staying up too late, internet surfing on my phone, and buying and returning things).

My Wardrobe:

I took on two essential wardrobe challenges during 2018 (I will be recapping my fall challenge next week as part of my 2018 wardrobe wrap-up).  These challenges involved limiting what I wore by means of spring and fall “out and about” and at-home capsules. Working with these limitations helped me to better identify what was and wasn’t working with my wardrobe. I came to better understand the pieces that add the most value to my life and those that I need to minimize and deprioritize in the future. I learned that although I love wearing neutrals, I also crave color, especially on the top half of my body. Likewise, I discovered that I needed more bottom pieces that are looser and more “forgiving” to increase my comfort level and accommodate menopausal weight shifts.

I also came to realize the degree to which “closet churn” is an issue in my wardrobe and that it is where I need to focus rather than on the number of items I own. I also defined what a “just right” wardrobe is for me and outlined a few exercises that will help me (and anyone else who does them) get there. Doing one of these exercises – the “plate exercise” – showed me that I would purchase roughly two-thirds of the pieces I own again today. Although I would like to improve upon this number, I know it represents great progress over previous years, which is a testament to the hard work I’ve done on identifying what I love, wear, and need. I will share more of my wardrobe insights in next week’s wardrobe wrap-up post.

My 2019 Theme, “Freedom”

When it came time to select my theme for 2019, I originally chose the word “healing,” as I definitely want to heal my health, as well as other aspects of my life. However, it soon became clear that this wasn’t my best choice and that “freedom” was a far better option. Freedom is one of my top values (along with love, growth, contribution, and spirituality, as I wrote about back in 2013).  I am fortunate in that I have a lot of freedom in my life, but I don’t always embrace it. I would like to turn this around such that I appreciate and celebrate my freedom far more in terms of the way I spend my time. I want to spend more time in nature and doing the things that bring me joy and less time and energy on being a “taskmaster” and beating myself up.

2019 theme freedom

Freedom isn’t just about the way we spend our time; it’s also about the way we think and what occupies our minds. I spend far too much energy on worrying about what other people think and being concerned about their opinions towards me. I often fret about whether or not people like and approve of me, even if I don’t particularly like and approve of them! I want this to stop! I really admire free-spirited people who march to the beat of their own drums and I would like to emulate such individuals.

I also would like to be free of pain and suffering, both physical and emotional. I know it’s not realistic to aim for a completely pain-free life, as pain is inherent in being human, but I can definitely improve upon my current level of discomfort. I know that I can’t control all of my health issues, but I also know that the way I think, my daily practices, and the people with whom I regularly associate can help to decrease my suffering. I have been meditating and journaling on a regular basis lately and that has been helpful in terms of calming my mind, improving my sleep, and decreasing stress-related symptoms. I will share more about this when I finally write the second half of my series on essentials for happiness and peace.

Conclusion and Your Thoughts

I don’t know how much time I have left to live on this earth, but it’s highly likely that my life is more than half over (not too many people live to be 104!). I don’t want to continue living in other people’s minds, being a slave to my to-do list, feeling frustrated with myself and my life, and suffering from myriad symptoms day after day after day. This is no way to live and I want to be free of all of this B.S! This is why I know that “freedom” is the right and best theme for me in 2019. I look forward to writing essays related to this theme in the coming months and reading your thoughts and insights on what I have to share.

But now I would like to hear about how you fared with your 2018 themes and goals and what’s in store for you in 2019. It doesn’t matter whether or not you selected a theme for last year or have outlined one for this year. I always like to read about what you’ve learned and what you’re up to in life.

  • If we fast-forward to December 31, 2019, what would you like to be able to say about the way you’ve lived this year?
  • What would you like to have changed?
  • What would you like to have experienced?

I invite you to share your thoughts with me and your fellow readers. I’ll be back next week with the last of my 2018 recap posts (read the first one here), which will be focused on my wardrobe and will also summarize my fall wardrobe challenge. Until then, I wish you a wonderful weekend!

18 thoughts on “Debriefing the Year of “Essential” – and What’s Next for 2019

  1. Krissie says:

    Debbie, for me the closet churn post was the best read for me, not only had I never heard of the churn concept bit it also opened my eyes to how apt this phrase was with what was I was making happen in my wardrobe. I think that those 2 words will stay with me for a long time. Thank you for making me aware of this.
    I’m loving your new word for the year too, and I wish you a very happy new year for making it happen!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad that post and the concept of “closet churn” had an impact on you, Krissie. I had known about the concept for a while, but I guess maybe I wasn’t fully able to look at how much it applied to me until I wrote that post! Thank you for your kind words and wishes for my 2019 theme. I wish you a wonderful year, too!

  2. Jenn says:

    So lovely to wake up and find your post, Debbie. I can easily relate to your struggles.

    Among them… what you said about worrying about what others think, even when you don’t think much of them—totally resonates with me!

    When I look back on 2018 with a critical lens, I see a lot of procrastination with writing (something early retirement in 2014 gave me time to finally do). But after completing my first novel in 2017 and feeling (knowing) it’s not quite good enough, I spent too much time independently studying plot and structure (thereby avoiding failure? and overwhelming myself!), and not enough time on the practice itself.

    But what took me by surprise recently is I also see a lot of personal growth. I know myself better. I still care too much what people think about me, but I care less than I did before. I have put myself “out there” in ways this highly-sensitive introvert never imagined, and overall, it’s done wonders for me.

    I think I mentioned in one of my recent comments that my word for 2019 would be “contentment” and I intended to start my own Happiness Project. I’ve created a list of habits that I want to tweak or try on (like meditation). For this month, my theme is “Get a hold of yourself, Jenn!” This includes eating in a way that feels “right” for me, spending a number of hours in my chair writing, but an even tougher challenge for me has been to not buy any clothes, accessories, or books for the month of January. Instead, I’m to build and evaluate outfits from my overfilled closet and read from the books on my Kindle, bookshelf or my local library.

    It’s January 25th, and I am reading my seventh book for 2019 (no writing books!). I have two or three I’m itching to buy and—after careful thought—I will buy in February. As for clothes and accessories, I haven’t been perfect, but close enough, I’ve purchased three pairs of underwear. I do miss the dopamine rush of the mail truck, the UPS truck, looking through the latest catalog from a favorite store. But I need to remember my pride is worth so much more.

    As for the future? I think I might establish a very small budget to include clothes, accessories, books, and non-essential office supplies. And limit myself to one book for every two I delete or donate and two items of clothing for every three I get rid of. This will take some fine-tuning.

    One of the books I read recently is called Atomic Habits, by James Clear. And let me just say it’s amazing. One of the things he said that I love is to remember it’s not about perfection, it’s about what you do the majority of the time. I could go on and on about that book, but I feel I’ve already taken up too much space.

    Thanks for getting my day off to a good start, Debbie! Freedom is a magnificent word choice, and one that I’m sure will guide you in so many directions. I can’t wait to read about them!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yeah, Jenn, that piece about worrying about what others think even when I don’t even like those people is HUGE for me and something I really hope to turn around this year. I’m glad you were able to shift your perspective around your experience and growth in 2018. Sometimes we focus so much on our accomplishments that we fail to look at other important ways that we can move forward. Our internal process and progress are just as important as what happens externally! As a fellow highly-sensitive introvert, I can really appreciate what it took for you to put yourself out there in the world.

      I love that you are doing a “Happiness Project” this year and I’m wondering if perhaps I should do the same… It sounds like such a positive and helpful thing to do and it sounds like you’re off to a great start. Reading 7 books in one month is quite an accomplishment! I have heard of “Atomic Habits” and it’s definitely on my list of books to read soon. I heard the author interviewed twice (by The Minimalists and by Rich Roll) and was fascinated by everything he had to say. I wish you the best of luck with your “contentment” theme and your Happiness Project. Please keep me posted…

  3. Tara C says:

    This reply will be short as I am in intense pain due to excessive use of my iPad! Yes, I have given myself a repetitive strain injury from holding my iPad for hours a day in my right hand. I now have it set up on a stand at my kitchen table, but this is a big wake-up call. I knew I was overdoing it but now it has to stop. Freedom is a great word! I want to be free from anxiety and free of my damaging bad habits. More later when the pain eases.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your repetitive strain injury, Tara. I have been there and I know how awful it can be. I hope you will feel a lot better soon and I look forward to hearing more about how you want to approach this year. I’m definitely on board with you about wanting to be free from anxiety and damaging bad habits! Take care of yourself and best wishes.

      1. Tara C says:

        Hi again! Doing a bit better with the shoulder. My word for this year is Surrender: allowing life to take its course without trying to force it along a certain path, being in the moment, being open and curious about things rather than anxious and trying to control everything. I am a control freak so this is contrary to my natural tendencies, but I really need to make this change in my life. I have also been hiding behind mindless hours on the internet, trying to escape my feelings of depression and frustration, which I want to deal with by being open and curious about what I have to offer the world. I feel lost and stuck, and I want to transform that into something positive. I have some ideas but will wait and see how they play out.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Hi Tara, I’m so glad your shoulder is improving. Thanks for coming back to share your 2019 word. I love the word “surrender” for you! As a fellow “control freak,” get that this is big for you. I have also spent many mindless hours online trying to escape my feelings, but then I just ended up feeling like life is passing me by. I also feel lost and stuck and am hoping to make positive shifts this year. I will be rooting for you and hope the ideas you have will flower into something that feeds your soul.

  4. Terra says:

    Debbie, wishing you joy, laughter, love, abundance of creativity, ease and much freedom.

    2018 was “The Year of Change” for me. This year it’s “Sabbatical” with a focus on education, exploration, rest and renewal.

    May beauty and peace surround you. ~Terra

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your kind wishes, Terra! I love your theme of “sabbatical” for this year and what that involves for you. Wishing you all the best with your theme and sending the wish for beauty and peace right back to you, too! xo

  5. Katrina B says:

    Your summary is such a great example of why journaling, blogging or any kind of tracking is so helpful at the end of the year. It is awe-inspiring to see how much you accomplished in regard to “essential.” My 2018 word was Launch and although I did sort of launch a business and some changes to my diet and health, I didn’t track my activities throughout the year so I can’t really produce a satisfying list of accomplishments as I did in some previous years.

    For my 2019 word, Freedom was a strong contender, as was Safe. Both are crucial to me now because I feel trapped in my situation but afraid to get out. However, I finally chose the word Love based on the book Real Love by Sharon Salzberg. This is not the hearts and flowers kissy kind of love. It’s about everything from dealing with imperfection and criticism, to one-on-one communication and conflict, to having compassion for strangers and people we just can’t get along with. Almost all of the concepts are easy for me to understand but incredibly hard for me to put into practice. My lifelong communication style is entrenched in sarcasm and cynicism. So for now I’m using my word – Love – to remind me each day, in each interaction I have, to be mindful of what I’m feeling, doing, and saying. A challenge!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      It was really helpful for me to review my posts on “essential” from last year, Katrina. In fact, I didn’t realize the progress I had made until I did that, so I’m definitely in favor of keeping a journal about one’s word of the year for non-bloggers. Congrats on launching a business and making positive changes to your diet and health last year. I really like your word for this year and how you’re defining it. I haven’t read Sharon Salzberg’s books, but I have done some of her meditations through the 10% Happier app. I’m very interested in reading “Real Love” now after what you wrote and I love the intentions you set for yourself around love. Wishing you the very best with this and I hope you will comment throughout the year on how it’s going for you! I plan to check in on my theme from time to time and I hope some readers will do the same (although you’re welcome to weigh in on this anytime).

  6. Jerilyn B. says:

    Dear Debbie,

    There are a couple of “take aways” from this article, I can see using soon: Choosing a digital detox day and blocking out 1-2 hours of uninterrupted work time with a specific goal year day. I have to give those ideas some thought.
    Like you, I have timing issues and health problems. I don’t like to admit I need a nap each day. I have to-do lists that I pull myself through, medications to schedule around and ever-changing symptoms.

    My word for 2018 was Awaken defined as being more energetic, spontaneous and open to opportunities. It also came to mean not defining myself by having chronic health problems. Just when I felt I was zoning in on this through doing dance, tai chi and yoga, symptoms came back and sent me into a chase that lasted 3 months. The major part of that is resolved now. I’m back at dance and I’ll start Tai Chi again in February.

    I took on a Project 333 capsule for the first time as a tool to manage my wardrobe. Throughout my life I’ve has a sense of style. I’ve retired and I’ve had to redefine my style. I’d fallen heavily into denim and black boredom. I didn’t make any purchases for the capsule and interwove my denim and black with favorite colors. (In August I did an art piece based on those colors.) I found out I needed some things –I didn’t own a pair of skinny jeans. I also need to revisit my closet. It’s as if nothing but the capsule exits. A bought a black tunic, forgetting I already had a nicer one. I enjoyed the Project, but I’m free floating for a while. I don’t need a newly defined wardrobe for a zero degree day.

    My word for 2019 is Beauty. I’m attempting to respond to the beauty the world much like you want take advantage of the opportunities as you find them. To date, I’ve been posting beautiful photos of my neighborhood and other snippets of wonderful things from the Web. I never thought this would be a route I’d take but it’s easy and people like it. I don’t know where this will led me. We’ll see where life takes us.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you got some good takeaways from this article, Jerilyn! I’m also glad that most of your symptom relapse from last year has now resolved. I have been working on not defining myself by my chronic health problems, too. We are SO much more than that! Good for you for taking on Project 333 and getting some good learning out of it. I don’t think it’s necessary to do this challenge on an ongoing basis, although it works well for some people. I love that you did an art piece based upon your capsule wardrobe colors and I also love your word for 2019 and what you’re doing with it! It’s great that you’re doing what resonates for you and taking things day by day. Wishing you all the best in 2019!

  7. Julie says:

    Hi Debbie. I’m glad I found this blog. You seem like such a sweet person and thank you so much for sharing your experiences on a blog. Here is hopes you’re having a wonderful new year.

    Up until early 2018 I didn’t keep a budget or track anything very well as I have a natural tendency to be disorganized. I’d much rather be out living life than indoors rattling about a budgeting spreadsheet.
    This is especially true in spring/summer. The bad affects of this are finding a stash of makeup that is expiring (money wasted) so I started working towards figuring out how much of everything I consume so I know when to replenish. Years ago I would buy when I ran out of a item and found myself in the store all the time because items are always running out. I would also wear/use an item until it practically disintegrated.

    For 2018 I started tracking what I was spending money on so I could set a realistic budget for myself and increase my savings amount. I have a bit of a pack rat mentality and will often buy 2-3 (or more of an item) at a time instead of 1. The problem with this is 10 rolls of paper towels and 20 rolls of toilet paper take up lots of space.
    This wouldn’t be bad as it decreases the frequency of shopping. However, developing a sudden allergy to eye makeup caused me to throw out the 6 eyeliners I had purchased for the year in early 2018.
    I also realized I use way less makeup than I have been purchasing so I’ve been able to slow this way down.
    This made me start budgeting so I could become aware of my consumption rate of items and what a realistic replenishment stock would be.

    After reading your blog I was inspired to do a Kon Mari on my wardrobe (got rid of about 50 pieces of clothing but mostly organized what I had, especially a chest of drawers). Most of what I eliminated was either too dressy for my life, boring, or a little old. I now have an inch between most of my hanging clothing and the back of the closet has my out of season clothing in it. Before reading your blog I never gave any thought to caring if my clothes were stuffed in my closet and coming out the sides. It still feels like I have too many items so once I put away the fall/winter/early spring clothing and have the late spring/summer items out I’ll likely do another elimination.

    I’ve also been working on getting rid of the mentality that calls for having a certain amount of X (such as heavy sweaters) and realizing if I wear a coat then I don’t need many heavy sweaters. I chose cold evenings to do this organization so I could be outside during the weekend day hours. I’m moving toward having about 75% of my shirts/sweaters to be washable, low maintenance, no wrinkling lightweight sweaters or long sleeve shirts that have me comfortable at room temperature.

    Have you tried Long Tall Sally for pants/jeans? They have a 34, 36, and 38 inch inseam in most of their pants and jeans.

    I think there is a balance factor in what we purchase and consume and there are so many variables (storage space, usage, habits) that it can be tough to find a balance without actively tracking it. I have a bunch of hobbies and not enough time to indulge them all so that can also lead to unchecked clutter quickly (books, photography equipment, cooking equipment, painting, drawing, and outdoor equipment for hiking, working out, archery, skiing, fishing, etc.).

    Looking forward to reading your posts for 2019.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Julie. I appreciate your sharing part of your journey with us. I’m glad you decided to track your spending during 2018, as it sounds like you learned a lot from that effort and have made some positive changes as a result. It’s great that you also took on the KonMari process with your wardrobe. Good for you for passing on 50 pieces of clothing and placing more attention on the way you organize what you own. That’s wonderful that you now have an inch between your hangers! I’m not there yet myself, but can see the value of having that much space and being able to see everything clearly. I love that you’re moving toward having most of your items being washable and low maintenance. I can’t remember the last time I dry-cleaned anything and I’m happy to be able to easily maintain my clothes at home.

      Tracking is a great way to increase awareness and make changes, which is why I often recommend doing this, at least for a period of time. I’m happy that you have so many hobbies that you’re passionate about and I wish you the best of luck with finding time for more of them and keeping the clutter in check. Thanks for the recommendation of Long Tall Sally for pants and jeans. I have looked at this site before but have always been hesitant to order these items online when I’m so difficult to fit. I see that shipping is now free with over $30 orders but returns cost $8.00. So it will still be a risk to order from them, but it may be worth it to find pants that work better for me. I will definitely keep this option in mind.

  8. Sophie says:

    Hi, Debbie and thank you for such a great post! There is a lot to think about here and I have read it several times; each time, I find something new to reflect upon. When reviewing my past year (which was a tough one), one of the topics of a previous post proved to be extremely helpful. That is the concept of the “power pause”, which is one of the very best ways I have found to help me curb my impulse buying. Debbie, I can’t tell you how many times I have been poised to hit “place your order” and thought back to your post. Just during 2018 alone, this simple and very effective tool has helped me save so much money and stress. I am learning that I can walk away from a potential purchase, think it over carefully in terms of needs vs. wants, and, 9.5 times out of 10, I never buy the article in question. Even more amazing, I find that I forget what the item was (and why I wanted it)! Thank you so much for this wonderful tool and I am so happy you are back to blogging. I truly enjoy all your posts and appreciate the time and effort you put into them. Your chosen word of “Freedom” for 2019 is a wonderful one for me, because, thanks to your suggestion of the Power Pause, I now have freedom from credit card debt and am able to save more money. Here’s to a new year of learning and appreciating our freedom!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m so pleased that you liked this post, Sophie, and have gotten a lot out of reading and reflecting upon it. I can’t take credit for the “power pause,” as that concept originated with Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe,” but I have certainly shared it a number of times and have used it myself for a number of years. I don’t implement the pause EVERY single time I shop, but I try to do it much of the time and especially with online purchases. It has saved me a lot of money and stress, too. I’m happy to learn that you are free from credit card debt now and are saving more money. Not having to stress about money goes a long way toward our experiencing increased freedom. I wish you all the best in 2019 and I’m all for more learning and freedom this year and beyond!

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