How To Start Thinking Like A Minimalist

This month I wrote a lot about cultivating a minimalist mindset.

For me, minimalism began with changing my mindset about consumption, relationships, and letting go, and less about the act of decluttering (although we will definitely get into that!)

Here is a super actionable list of things to do to start thinking like a minimalist:

On building better consumption habits:

  1. Recognize your most harmful or time-consuming consumption habit. Is it social media scrolling, frequent trips to the mall, or online shopping?
  2. Create a system or action to stop this habit. Unsubscribe from email newsletters that sell you things you don't need. Delete apps off your phone. Turn off all notifications. Set a shopping budget and take out that amount in cash as a physical reminder of your spending limit.
  3. Get introspective by exploring where your consumption habit originated. Usually, it stems from childhood or the way our parents talked about money.
  4. Don't make any purchases until you've thought about them for at least a week. Make a list of things you want to buy and add to it. Let items sit in your online shopping cart.
  5. Eliminate ego-fueled purchases by telling yourself "I love you" before buying. Take a deep breath.
  6. Write down what you're grateful for. Write until your hands hurt. Make it scribbly and fast or slow and meditated. Repeat daily.

On saying "no" with confidence and ease:

  1. Say "no" to obligations that aren't creatively fulfilling. Say no to the people who drain your energy. Stop going out for drinks when you'd rather take a writing class.
  2. Schedule a "no obligations" weekend. Plan one entire weekend in the near future where you will spend two entire days creating. No other activities allowed. Call it a creative retreat.
  3. Batch tasks like chores and cleaning into certain days of the week.Delegate tasks to other family members. Allow yourself certain days to not worry about household demands.
  4. Unfriend toxic people. Remove unhealthy relationships from your life. In real life and on social media. It's okay to have enemies. (This one took me years to master, and it's still a work in progress. Be patient with yourself. But DO take action. Right now.)

On focusing on your priorities and getting comfortable with sacrifice: 

  1. Determine what you want most right now. Determine what you need to sacrifice or subtract from your life in order to make that thing happen.
  2. Sacrifice money, time, comfort, and energy to get that one thing. This might mean hiring a financial coach or taking a writing workshop and having less money to spend on fun activities. Or it could mean losing friends by eliminating alcohol.

If you’re not willing to put the time, energy, and money toward your priority activities, then you must not actually want it as much as you think you do.

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I'm calling this the Minimalism 101 series, and you can read the three full posts here—

Minimalism 101: Habit-Building Strategies To Minimize Desire and Consumption

Minimalism 101: Setting Boundaries and Getting Good At Saying NO

Minimalism 101: What Are Your Priorities? What Are You Willing To Sacrifice?

    In my next posts, I'll go more into tips and resources for actually decluttering your home, office, and digital spaces.

    How To Think Like A Minimalist