As you know, our time in beautiful Southern California is fast drawing to a close. Our last day in our apartment will be December 15. The plan? A life of freedom, travel, love, and happiness! The problem is that two of those things: freedom and travel are not free. And that brings me to the topics of this post: minimalism and self-improvement.
Our goal is to be completely location independent while earning enough income to sustain us on the road, or wherever we may settle down. Unfortunately, we are a long way from that! Michole’s work schedule has been pretty insane since we have been in California. It was not uncommon for her to go months at a time without consecutive days off. Furthermore, including the commute, her workdays often reached 10 hours.
What was I doing during that time? Working a couple of part-time jobs, and trying to turn side hustles into full-time income streams. But frankly, I could should have done better. I am a guy with ups and downs. I fluctuated between working furiously, putting in 80+ hour weeks to develop online businesses, to drifting aimlessly, feeling as though I were unable to accomplish anything.
I truly believe, that if I had only been more diligent and consistent during the last 2 years, we would be fully financially free today. But there is nothing I can do about the last two years. I can’t change it. What I can change are my habits going forward.
But how often do we hear people say, “I’m going to do better,” or “I’m going to be more productive,” only to do well for a short time, before returning to their usual ways? I have been down that route many times myself. I am sure that most of us have. Simply declaring that our behavior will be different in the future is unrealistic, if our habits and methods do not change, how can we truly expect our results to?
For some time I have studied successful people, their business models, their methods, but I have always brushed aside their habits. Things like morning routines, journaling, meditation, etc. Habits shared by so many successful people, I brushed aside as goofy, unnecessary, etc. But no more.
I have resolved to change my habits, not simply put more effort into my old ones. I have made my bed for two days in a row! “What difference does that make,?” you might ask. And that is a question I have asked many times when successful people insist that it is how you should start your day. And frankly, I still don’t know exactly what difference it makes now! But I am resolved to ask “why” less, and simply test things out more.
What does that mean exactly? It means that I have started journaling, specifically, I am using Heath Armstrong’s “the sweet ass journal,” I am developing a morning routine, practicing affirmations, minimizing my physical possessions, and setting goals for each day to hold myself accountable.
Seem like small steps? They sure do, but at least they are steps. I think a problem that I have often had, and one that many others have is that “more” is extremely difficult to quantify. If I wanted to “get more done,” or “be more productive,” it would be almost impossible to measure my success from day today. But by setting a series of small, attainable goals each day, I can easily measure my success. Together, I hope that these new habits lead me to the life filled with freedom, travel, love, and happiness that I so desire.
Interestingly, Heath Armstrong (He of the sweet ass journal) is a huge advocate of minimizing. Me? I’m more of a packrat. I’m always “going to have a use for that…later.” Meanwhile, Michole has been trying to minimize for the past few months, selling off a few things, and taking several garbage bags of clothes to the goodwill. And with our immediate future likely to be out of a backpack and a suitcase, and our distant future possibly involving van dwelling, I knew that minimalism was a ship that I needed to be on.
So it seemed perfect when I stumbled across a Zero to Travel podcast interview with Heath Armstrong. He offered a journal, which I had been wishing for a better method of just the night before, and a path toward minimalism. His method was simple, and from what I understand a fairly common technique used to minimize.
It is a 30-day challenge. Get rid of one thing the first day, two the second day, three the third day, and so on, until you get rid of 30 things the 30th day! Today was our first day, and we sold a bicycle, a cat scratching post, a surfboard rack, and a bicycle helmet, all on Craigslist. Still, I think it only counts as one thing a piece!
Maybe this entire rambling post, a look into my state of mind at the moment is completely crazy, and maybe I am too. All I know is that I feel more energized, happier, and more productive than I can remember. I will continue to document this personal journey, along with our physical journeys, so if you are interested, come along for the ride!
Do you have daily routines that help you be happier or more productive? Have you tried minimizing yourself? If so, tell us about it in the comments below. And if not, just say hello. We would love to hear from you!