As October draws to an end and November rapidly approaches, I feel a renewed sense of self. Although I always try to live each day the best I can, making little improvements here and there, I’m feeling the urge, the NEED, to do a full court press on life.
November is hereby declared, MauiShopGirl’s minimal makeover month. My makeover will be focused on areas that will improve my life from the inside out.
Through summer and early fall I struggled with a few things in my life including health and relationship issues. I’m now single and alone and it’s scary but also exciting. I’ve spent most of my adult life being someone’s wife or girlfriend and this time around I’m just gonna chill for a bit. It’s time to work on myself and I’d like to make the most of it. You can work on yourself with a partner in life but there is something special about having the opportunity to go it alone.
Why is this post included under my Minimal Me series? Minimal living is not just about stuff. It is about living life with intention. Our lives can be cluttered with material possessions but we can also lose our way to an intentional life with poor use of our time and fear of change.
In recent months, I haven’t been writing, practicing photography or even taking the time to appreciate the creative efforts of others. Creativity is very important to me. It feeds my soul and I’m not the same person without it. The lack of a creative outlet in my life often manifests in excessive shopping or unhealthy eating so it needs to be taken care of.
To get back in the blog of things, I’ll be taking an online course, Blogging Your Way – Intention & Style by Holly Becker. Holly is an American writer living in Germany. Her blog, decor8, is one of my favorites because it offers a unique perspective on design and features European artists, designers, crafters and products I may otherwise never be exposed to. decor8 is also very visual, beautiful and full of creative inspiration. Holly began the Blogging Your Way series of e-courses in 2009 “for bloggers with a focus on using your blog as a catalyst to live your best life”.
While this Blogging your Way November course won’t teach technical skills like how to use WordPress, Holly and her fellow instructors will focus on improving photographs and styling. Also on the agenda is examining how branding comes into play and works for top blogs, current trends in blogging and growing your audience.
I’ve taken a few of the BYW courses and they are addictive because they rejuvenate and kickstart your creative spirit. Rather than focusing on the how to blog, they instead focus on developing your content in your voice and harnessing your creativity.
The instructors are experienced and successful bloggers and the environment is a nurturing and private community. Each week, several lessons are presented online and you can login to participate on your own time. I love that BYW uses different media to present the lessons. Sometimes it’s written and other times it’s a video or a podcast. Each lesson is “cooked with love” and the instructors are genuine, knowledgeable and passionate. Students participate and interact in forums and through exercises presented in the material.
In the past, I haven’t kept up with the rest of the class although I have completed all the materials by the end of the course. This November, I will keep up so that I can gain the full benefit of interacting with both the instructors and fellow students.
The November course is open to all levels of bloggers and there is still space available. You can view the course outline and register here.
In November, I will be simplifying my eating (more on that in a later post) and will also exercise at least 30 minutes per day. I’ll do more on some days but I know I can commit to at least 30 minutes each day.
I will also begin reading (again) “The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size” by Julia Cameron. Julia is also the author of The Artist’s Way. Although The Artist’s Way was written over a decade ago, many artists and writers still refer to it as a guide to unleash one’s creativity by working through internal blocks like fear, lack of confidence and focus. During her teaching of the course presented in the book to a live class, Cameron began to notice physical changes in her students. As her students participated in activities intended to increase creative productivity like morning paper journaling and solo walking for reflection, she noticed they also began to lose excess weight. The Writing Diet is a guide based on those observations that includes many activities also recommended in The Artist’s Way but with explanations on how these daily routines can relate to weight loss.
Drum roll please…no shopping in November for any housewares, clothing, shoes or accessories. I will still be selling my no longer needed wardrobe and accessories on poshmark but not purchasing. You may be wondering why this is listed under time. Shopping is a time suck as well as a wallet suck. When you don’t shop, you find other ways to entertain yourself (like writing, reading and exercise perhaps? see how this all works together!). Managing too many things also takes up valuable time, which could be spent with more intention. I will allow myself the occasional book (but not too much!) and a fun camera lens I’ve been eyeing because going cold turkey on anything always seems to backfire on me.
I will limit my time on social media by remaining logged out of FB and Instagram for most of the day. I’ll still pop in once a day or so but will use my lunch, break and waiting times for reading, not checking social media. I’ll still be checking my Poshmark closet a few times a day to reply to buyers and pay it forward to other poshers but with a time limit and schedule.
I will make the effort to be social, meet new people and meet up with friends and like-minded acquaintances for a bite to eat or an event. I do have the tendency to isolate myself at times because I’m such a homebody. Before I moved to Maui, I didn’t fully realize how much I was giving up in terms of regular interaction with friends and how that would affect me. I’ve never replaced my weekly tennis get togethers and my quality of life on Maui is not as full as it could be because of a lack of a social life.
My plans for a minimal life makeover in November are challenging but achievable. I’m looking forward to revisiting how I’ve done at the end of November.
Anyone care to join me?