Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver is this month’s book club selection. Did I mention I started a book club last year out of loneliness? Soulful Simplicity is not a book I would have selected on my own but it certainly came into my life at the right time. I was just starting to feel as if I had too much stuff. Everywhere I looked, there were more things to see. No rest for my weary eyes. Look at the counter, stuff. Open the cabinets. Stuff. Some stuff never opened and out of their boxes. Open drawers and find so many overwhelming possessions. I like clean, tidy, and organized.
I vowed after the remodeling of our house that I’d only let the things back into it that brought me joy. At the beginning, it was easy to follow-through on that idea, but after nearly 2 years, my normal self is creeping back. My normal self buys a lot. I have 10, 14, 20 (can’t remember the number) moisturizers. Who needs that many moisturizers? I sure don’t. I vowed to stop buying more things until I used all the old. So far I’ve been successful with shampoo. I have one bottle of shampoo. Sure, I still have three bottles of conditioner, but it’s progress, I guess.
When one of the book club members suggested Soulful Simplicity, I thought it was a good idea and the timing was certainly right for me. I bought the book almost immediately and even though it appeared in my life at the right time, there it sat on my night stand for at least two weeks. Every time I picked it up, I put it back down. The student wasn’t ready.
At a recent pet-sitting gig, I decided to bring the book along because I know there’s not much for me to do while spending 24/7 at someone else’s home with their pets. I never suddenly decide that cleaning or laundry are better options for my time when it’s not my stuff to clean and launder. I clean up after myself and whatever the dogs do, but that’s usually it. No using cleaning to conveniently avoid reading.
On a Friday night last week, I sat at the client’s outdoor patio table on a warm evening and started reading Soulful Simplicity. Before I knew it, I was plowing through like I hadn’t been fed a book for a week.
The woman who recommended Soulful Simplicity alerted the members that homework is assigned by the author so I was prepared. Chapter 6 is where the homework began. The chapter focuses on doing things you don’t want to do as a way to get to the life you want. Ms. Carver says “Over almost a decade of massive change, it’s become very clear to me that you have to do things you don’t want to do so you can do things you want to do and have the kind of life you really want.”
The homework for Chapter 6 is to “make a list of 10 things you don’t want to do that you know will help you…Choose one thing from the list that you don’t want to do and put it into action immediately.” You can even start small, very small, because the idea is of consistency. If you want to eat more greens on a daily basis, start with a forkful and work your way up from there. Ms. Carver said that her changes came over the course of 10 years and not overnight.
I like her idea of listing 10 things I don’t want to do that I know will help me, so I’m going to list my top 10. By doing so, I hope I will change for the better. Or, if I don’t change, I hope I’ll feel better.
My Top 10 Things I Don’t Want to Do Today–I’m adding in the word today because I know there are many more things that could be added to the list on a daily basis. I know that even if I conquer all 10 of the things I don’t want to do, there will always be 10 more ready to replace the completed tasks. Some tasks will remain on the list for a while because they’re not something easily completed in one day; however, some of the items on the list can easily be checked off.
Without further ado, the following is my list in no particular order.
1.) Drink at least a gallon of water every day–I absolutely hate water. I hate drinking water. I hate the effects of drinking a lot of water (numerous trips to the restroom). I used to drink 100+ oz per day and then I fell off the wagon when I had to leave the house for extended periods of time. When you don’t know where your next clean bathroom is, you tend to be less hydrated. True fact. I fall off the wagon every time I travel.
2.) Diet–I need to pick a diet and stick with it. I’ve been following so many different ones and not sticking to one in particular. I need to figure out which one I can do for the rest of my life and get rid of the rest. Or, even if I only pick one for the rest of the year, I’ll be happy.
3.) Exercise–Between back pain and boredom with my fitness routine, I’ve stopped exercising except for walking. I walk many miles per week but I need to do something more than walking. I need an effective combination of weight training and cardio for physical and mental health.
4.) Schedule–I need to create a daily schedule I can follow, or at least loosely follow. I’m walking through life flitting from one thing to another without any focus or goals. I found a schedule I created back in January. It was so quaint. I don’t think I followed it for more than a week. The desired outcome back then was complete mental and physical dominance of myself.
The only thing consistent in my life is the time I get up and that’s only because my dog, Brody, is consistent in his wake-up time. He’s pretty persistent when he wants to get up.
5.) Meditate–Meditating used to be part of my daily routine. I’d sit on the chair in my bedroom with hot rollers on my head (forever multi-tasking), shove the headphones into my ears, and listen to a guided Headspace meditation. What do I do now? The worst thing possible: I scroll through Facebook. Facebook is the opposite of meditation. It’s soul crushing. It’s time to get back to things that soothe me rather than aggravate.
6.) Study for my real estate license renewal. UGH. I don’t practice real estate at all but I’m unwilling to let my license go in the event I want to start selling again in the future. Unfortunately there is a time limit on this to-do. I have until August 13th to submit the classes and the money to renew my license. Double ugh since I’ll be gone most of the summer. I should probably mention I could have started last year or the year before. Alas, I did not and here I sit with less than two months to go until license expiration.
7.) Create my new blog–I have a new idea for a blog. I purchased a new domain, a subscription to a hosting company, and I will soon purchase a theme. After getting the set-up completed, I need to write content. None of this might seem time consuming but I estimate several hundred hours of which I’ve spent 10 minutes as of right now. My dreams of success aren’t going to come by doing nothing.
8.) Gather things for my upcoming Iceland trip–I’m leaving with two of my kids in 12 days to go on a tour of Iceland. Talk about a trip of a lifetime. What have I done to prepare? Well, I printed out the sheet of what to pack, got overwhelmed, and here I sit. I did buy an international hairdryer, though. I hope to goodness it works because my hair doesn’t do well without serious daily help.
9.) Write a book–Yep, this doesn’t seem like a tiny task I could take care of in less than a week but I’ve had a very serious case of procrastination as it relates to a book I started a year ago. A writing coach gave me a writing prompt for a short story. It evolved into a 30 page beast with no end in sight. I’d like to go back, organize it, add more dialogue, and finish the damn thing. Even if it totally sucks, I just want to finish it.
10.) Create a week of dinners–There’s nothing like the full panic that sets in when I have no idea what’s for dinner. Some days (more and more lately), I’ve been telling my family that they’re on their own or we’re going out but I know that’s not the healthiest choice. I’ve been using The Fresh 20 for some of their recipes and finding others on All Recipes dot com but I know that in order to make sure my family has a decent meal every night, I must make at least a five day plan ahead of time.
Those are the Top 10 Things I Don’t Want to Do Today. Watch me as I work on a couple of them right away.
What are some things you don’t want to do but help you with your best life if you did them?
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