Every several months, I notice a sluggishness in my life, a need for refinement of my priorities. I'm of the opinion that generally, conviction has a purpose & should lead to a change in behavior.
The more I look around, the more I realize how I'm surrounded with excess. A particularly challenging area for me is my closet/wardrobe. This is where I actively practice excess and duplication, and I rationalize purchases.
Another primary weak spot for me is social media. As with many things, it can be harmless, but I'm noticing that lately, I will grab my phone, unlock it, open my browser and page to Facebook without me realizing it—almost as if my hand did not belong to me. (I would've opened the Facebook app, but I deleted that over a year ago to avoid this very behavior). Instagram is the same. Heaven forbid I miss a post from someone I've never met. There's nothing innately wrong with Facebook or Instagram, but what I'm observing, with great alarm, is mindless scrolling and the feeling that I don't like what I'm doing but I can't stop. I'm embarrassed as I type this, but I'm not alone in my sentiments. Several weeks ago I read this: Are You Fighting the New Greed? And then, a few days ago, I came across this article: Six Wrong Reasons to Check Your Phone in the Morning. Consider me nudged to conviction.
For weeks, I've muddled over these two areas of my life where I exert little to no self-control. It has bothered me for a long time, but apparently not enough to encourage a change in behavior. Until now.
My new (necessary) disciplines:
- A six-month (self-imposed) freeze on clothing and accessory purchases. The only exception: new shoes for work and a brimmed sun hat (my dermatologist said I need to wear one).
- No social media before ten in the morning.* And only two Facebook and Instagram "checks" a day.
On Friday, I got rid of a few dozen items of clothing, and started the "clothing embargo," as I'm calling it. Until December, I want the focus to not necessarily be "don't spend money," but rather, "don't accumulate what I don't need."
I'm looking forward to the challenge of putting together new outfits from my favorite pieces and the opportunity to see what I actually wear. I can't emphasize how refreshing it is to look at my wardrobe and see only likeable items that fit me well. Getting dressed is way less complicated and more fun. Here is a snapshot of our somewhat-reduced-but-still-full closet: (pardon the poor-quality photo; our closet is windowless, as most closets are).
Overall, I'm struggling a bit with social media. But I'm still seeing improvement. I can usually prevent myself from mindlessly checking it, but I still look to it to unwind when I'm on break at work, when I'm bored, or when I want to procrastinate. I think this will require accountability and persistence to replace bad habits with good ones.
*If I begin my day with Instagram or Facebook before I'm even alert, it sets the pace and pattern of the day: frequent, mindless checking until the moment I fall asleep.
A few other new things I'm introducing:
- Cooking with stainless steel. Nicholas and I splurged on a cookware upgrade and it's supposed to arrive today!
- Less sugar in my diet. I need to be especially careful with the gluten + sugar combination, since I can't remember the last time I ate an excess of both and felt well. I catch myself thinking "This doughnut is worth it." But it's not worth it when you feel sick the rest of the afternoon. An orange LaCroix sparkling water + Summer Harm's cilantro rice salad is a better afternoon snack (plus, a cool, crunchy salad screams summer)
- The She Reads Truth Old Testament study. It has all the components of a good study: it is sound biblical teaching, the daily segments are doable in length, and each day has a "response." It's amazing how differently I read the Bible when I approach it with the intention to respond to it.
Are there areas of your life where you need new/altered habits? Any crossover with my habits? If so, let's keep each other accountable!