Minimalist Backslider: Rejuvenating the 30-day List

I’ve been backsliding hard, and I’m here to admit it. On December 29, 2015, I put in place my first ever “30-day list,” a list which I told my friends, family, and co-workers would “allow me to put distance between the impulse [to purchase an item] and the…[actual] purchase,” in hopes of “ultimately kick[ing]..consumer addiction.” The end goal was to find value and happiness outside of mere physical possessions.

This was a successful endeavor…for six months.

Then, as often happens, I was sidetracked from my goals by a tsunami of turmoil in my personal life, leaving me hanging on for dear life (sometimes literally, as I struggled through severe change and grief, which only made my depression and anxiety worse). I drank and I smoked cigarettes and I cried and I raged and I hurt. But also…I began to spend again. Superfluously, as The Minimalists might say.

The not-so-amazing part that I found so amazing was that I didn’t even notice. It took months before I realized I’d stopped using my 30-day list. It took even longer to realize I was spending in an effort to cling onto some kind of happiness in a time of great personal crisis. We do this sometimes—we try to fill the voids of our life with physical possessions and it never, ever, ever…ever, helps long-term. It never produces the happiness we seek.

It was December again, almost exactly a year later, when I realized I needed to bring the 30-day list back.

I need to hold myself accountable again. I need to create that separation between the impulse to purchase an item and the actual purchase of the item. The space—a mere 30 days—has proven time and time again to be all the time I need to determine if an item is something I actually need or want (a want that will bring value to my life, of course)…or if the impulse to purchase was simply an impulse with some other, often subconscious, ulterior motive.

To keep myself honest, I am making my 30-day list public. It can be found on my website (you’re already here!), by visiting the “30-day List” link in the main toolbar. Or just click here. On my list, you will find the item, the date I added it to the list, the links or pictures (if relevant), and the date I finally purchased the item (if applicable).

I encourage you to take this challenge with me. It was rewarding and taught me so much about myself the first time I established the list. Now, as I rejuvenate the 30-day list, I expect it to be just as rewarding and insightful as before.

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