Updated: Apr 4
My family is no longer surprised when I announce that I want to change my life. In the past three years, I committed to Veganism, took control of my health, and became a plant mom. At different points during the journey, I have failed, but I’m still trying.
It's no surprise that when I made my following statement, "I've been thinking about doing an experiment where I don't shop for a while, maybe six months to a year.”
Their reaction was less than enthusiastic.
"Really, mom?” ok, cool. But there is no way you can do it". I decided, if anything, I had to now. If only to show my family that I was capable. I knew there was a problem when my middle-of-the-night online shopping sprees resulted in hiding packages in my car from my husband. My pre-covid remote purchases would be hidden in reusable grocery bags and tactfully placed between the actual groceries when I would bring my haul home. This is the why behind my desire to change.
Since uttering the words out loud on January
1st, 2021, I felt the intention take hold, and the plan begins to form. As a family, we talked about what the experiment might look like, including what I would and wouldn't be allowed to shop for.
I didn't have all the answers yet. I never do when I started one of my experiments. In the same way, I didn't know I was capable of losing 30 pounds over the last nine months once I decided to try Veganism.
Why stop shopping? A form of 'emotional fulfillment’ or a 'pastime spent with girlfriends on a Sunday afternoon?' I probably choose the easiest year possible to do this Minimalist Challenge. During Covid, Work from home, no events to attend. You're probably saying to yourself, "C, mon, anyone can do it NOW!" this is no challenge. I say, don't be wagging fingers while the other hand holds an amazon package.
It's not as easy as you think. And here's why.
The outstanding sales taking place I would typically spend hours online at or slowly graze through the sales racks on a Sunday are selling items close to 80% off. How can I resist the coat I've been eyeing for a year that was well outside my price range? It has now become so accessible; I could probably buy two.
Fashion is changing drastically into the new '90's era (which is my favourite music era), and now clothes are going to be reflecting my Itune list of songs that I sway to daily. HOW CAN I NOT BE PART OF THE NEW '90's rebirth?
This is a hard one for me. I see the fashion, and I start to reminisce on my high school years, and I want to buy bell bottoms so severely. BUT NOPE, I declared to my family that I would not engage in any shopping this year.
After the kids go to bed and my husband and I are doing what every couple does. Watch inappropriate TV and eat their snacks. I pull out my laptop and score the net for things to buy.
What I realized is I am fantasizing about my world pre-covid. It was a coping mechanism to create a façade of normalcy. Recreating or even creating soiree's in my mind of what event I would be attending and how cute I would look in those new jeans and booties that I would buy, which was just a mouse move and a click away. I didn't realize that even when the purchase would arrive, I still have nowhere to wear them. And so they would be stuffed in my closet with all the other items, looking lonely and sad.
I wanted to make a conscious decision to better myself and try to understand where the actual need to buy comes from. I figured by depriving myself of the act of shopping, I would be able to clear the white noise and dig down to where the 'need' came from.
I needed to learn better mechanisms than shopping out of boredom. Turn that time into something that will help me grow as a person and direct that energy to inner growth. I want to be able to heal myself with tools that only reside within me.
Shopping was the most straightforward and most tangible task I could think of changing in my life that would directly help me understand myself better.
I wanted to stop making impulse purchases; I realized marketing strategies were fooling me with their for sale sign. I wanted to stop wasting money on things I thought I needed, only to come home and find I already had more than enough. And I want to stop talking myself into buying something I would never end up using.
I wanted to get to a place where I only bought things I needed when I needed them. I wanted to see where my money was going. Adhere to a budget that aligned with my goals and my values. And I wanted to start spending less and saving more. That would never happen if I continued to make stupid spending decisions.
Rules for the Yearlong Shopping Ban:
What I'm allowed to shop for:
Groceries and basic kitchen supplies
Cosmetics and toiletries (only when I run out)
Gifts for others
What I'm NOT allowed to shop for:
Clothes, shoes, accessories
Books, magazines, notebooks
Any household NON Functional household items (basic knick-knacks)
It's been three months, and I’ve only scratched the surface of my shopping ailments. It has been easy and challenging because of the lockdown.
I have nine months to go, a summer on the horizon, a Fashion Trend that influenced the forgotten generation re-emerges and a vaccination that will bring us to a celebration.
That will be the actual test to see if I can push thru my challenge.
By simplifying my life, I want to start peeling back the layers of excess, outside and in. By removing all the things that have been covering me up and holding me back, I will be able to step into myself and see the real me.
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