Today begins the 2nd week of my 30-Step Minimalism Challenge. Here’s an overview of the tasks I completed last week.
Step #14 – Don’t Nag, Only Give Compliments
I began the challenge on Tuesday, specifically choosing this step because it affects those around me. Creating a positive inner circle is the best way to develop positivity in yourself. My inner circle is pretty small right now; as a stay-at-home mom in a new state, I rarely interact with anyone other than my husband Ryan, our children James and Emma, our dogs Maddie and Kylie, and complete strangers. So it is even more crucial that our tight-knit group stays positive and supportive of each other. I continued my challenge to not direct nagging behaviors towards my husband, especially. He’s not actually aware of this challenge of have set for myself so at the end of the month, I’m going to ask him if he noticed a difference. If not, I’m going to need to more a lot harder to be a supportive, positive wife.
Step #18 – Identify Your Stress Triggers
I felt this step was extremely important to my well-being because stress triggers so many negative behaviors like overspending, poor eating, and self-depreciation. My biggest stress trigger is my skin. If I catch a glimpse in the mirror, and notice a line of pimples down my jaw or big blemish on my cheek, I just spiral into all of the aforementioned negative behaviors. And the stress of overspending, eating junk food, or the worst possible reaction – picking or trying to pop whiteheads, just makes it harder to recover. I’m learning to avoid this stress trigger by not looking in the mirror as much and by taking the time to do my makeup each morning. Heavy makeup can sometimes cause breakouts, but, for me, I just feel so much more confident once I put it on. I smile at myself more in the mirror, and I don’t even think about touching my face.
Step #20 – Bring the Indoors Outside
On Wednesday, I completed this step when I moved my normal baby feeding routine from the dining room to the living room porch. While I love being outside, summer afternoons in Alabama are not very pleasant. It was pretty hot, and I had to chase off a couple bees that kept flying into the porch area. About 10 minutes in, I was already sweating and the babies were getting fussy, so we moved back inside pretty quickly after they finished eating. I’m glad I completed this step, but I know I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t on bee alert the whole time.
Step #22 – Make a Meal From Scratch
I completed this step on Wednesday, and it was just as pleasant and rewarding as I expected. I love baking and cooking, but I always choose something premade like dried spices or a store bought marinade when seasoning meals. The sauteed summer vegetables (squash, zucchini, and tomato) were accented perfectly with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese. I loved cooking with fresh herbs so much, I’m going to purchase a couple plants (probably basil, rosemary, mint, and cilantro) the next time I visit the farmers market!
Step #3 – Identify Your Main Priorites
I didn’t plan on completing this step Thursday, it just kind of came upon me. It was dark and rainy all day last Thursday so I switched into sweats while I lounged on the couch during the babies’ morning nap. I started looking at UF tags on Tumblr, reminiscing about how much I love (and miss) the campus when I realized….I need to make UF a priority. I was sitting there in my orange & blue Gator sweats thinking “Lauren, you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and make this happen”. For my readers that have known me for awhile, I attended the University of Florida from 2005-2009, but I did not earn my degree. I continued living in Gainesville for almost six years after being dismissed. Not earning my degree from UF is the ONLY regret I have in life. And I have been living with this regret for way too long. So I’ve decided to make it my priority to get readmitted to UF. I spent the rest of Thursday emailing and calling different departments and advisors at the university. I’m still trying to find someone who will not just give me a spiel about readmission, but let me know what I need to do in my particular circumstance to be accepted. And as I sit here writing this in my orange & blue Norts and Gainesville t-shirt, I know this is something I can’t allow myself to give up on again.
Step #9 – Evaluate Your Commitments
Identifying my main priorities lead me to evaluate my commitments. I have very few real commitments, mainly my relationships with family and friends. I’m a consultant with Beautycounter, but that’s more of a passion than a responsibility. I’m not involved in any church or organization. I don’t have a job or particular career path. You might be thinking, Lauren, you need to add something to your life! But I’m loving where I’m at right now. I’m basically starting one of those “choose your adventure” books. I’m just going to focus on one committment (outside of my personal relationships) and see where that road takes me.
So far these steps have not been very challenging, but I know there are a few that I’m planning to do this week that will require some effort. I’m enjoying the positive mindset and focus I’m gaining from this challenge. I’m trying to not be too self aware or that will defeat the purpose of simplicity, so overall that is my biggest challenge with these 30 steps. But I’m excited going into week 2! Thanks for coming along with me on this journey!