19 Jan Dull Kitchen Knives and a Shiny New Year
Along with a new year can often come some reflection. It’s hard not to see all the “Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!!!! and “Goalset Your Way to a New Body” posts all over the internet. They can be inspiring and yet to me they reek of quick fixes, inflated expectations, and short-term wins.
How can you turn all that new year intentionality into lasting, healthful change?
I am going to take you on a different journey than my regular blog post and share with you my process of how to make changes.
When I decided to start blogging and creating a community about Creating a Culture of Wellness, I had to make changes in my life and schedule so I could put the information out in the world. When I decided to declutter, I joined a minimalism group online. The way I do change is slowly, methodically, and not in one big burst. Big bursts can be thrilling but that kind of energy isn’t realistically sustainable.
I approach change by applying two ideas. Perhaps these can help you create change in your own life and family. Try them on.
1. Begin by sharing your intention with people around you.
When I started to blog and build a website, I told my family, friends, and practice members. I also began talking about it on Facebook. I’m more accountable since people ask about it and I have to tell them how it’s going.
When I decided to start decluttering, I gave myself the gift of joining a group focused on minimalism. We each had to post our “why,” the big motivation to reduce our clutter. And this is what I posted:
Ode to the Dull Kitchen Knife
I finally find you at the bottom of the overflowing, crumb-filled, barely-able-to-open-and-close drawer.
My love, my Santoku chef knife.
As I grasp your aged wood handle I anticipate the smooth slicing of the red pepper on the board.
I bear down with your blade.
You do not cut!
The lovely skin of my veggie remains unpierced—only slightly deformed.
Dinner is delayed. I search for another instrument—and another.
Each fails to cut.
I cannot find the sharpener in the cluttered kitchen.
They all go back in the drawer.
I sign up for this course.
And smile at the community I have found!
In this group, I enjoy hearing about why others want to live a more minimalist life and feel like I put my stake in the ground around my own intention. It’s out there, baby!
I have found that sharing my intentions brings focus and accountability to my project.
2. Plan reasonable chunks of time to complete the goal and its steps.
Very simply, I work in 90 day cycles. I decide on one or two things I want to accomplish and think about it being a 3 month process (and yes, sometimes one goal requires several segments — building my website and blog took nearly a year!).
With my decluttering, sometimes I’m on it and focused and purge like crazy, and sometimes stuff goes back in the drawer. The key here is to set an intention over a time period that’s long enough to absorb slippage and short enough to keep me going.
Something I read by the author Stark a long time ago has stuck in my mind ever since. Her advice on cleaning out your closet was to take microsteps. She recommended on Day One to do the following: Open the closet door. That’s it!
I have found that when I give myself space and time I can have days where intend to declutter but just don’t get much done. But then another day syncs up and I end up with a few bags of clothes to donate.
90 day chunks, microsteps, 5 year plans — the point is to choose a chunk of time that makes sense to you and works for your individual (and family) rhythms.
Lasting change is within your grasp, whether at the first of the year or from your chosen moment forward. When you’re ready to make changes that matter deeply, like improving your family’s health and wellness, following these steps will make the change not only possible but real.
Whether it’s eating more vegetables, hiking as a family more, or simply eating up the bits and pieces of beans and rice in the cupboard — speak the words and give yourself a simple timeframe. It’s amazing how these simple steps can make all the difference.
P.S. I’d love to know what you want to shift in your life and family this year! Share your projects in the comments below so you can publicly declare your intentions.