When I was approaching 40, I set a goal to improve my physical and mental health by losing 40 pounds in a year. I took a step back and looked at my lifetime of yo-yo dieting and the myriad of exercise plans I had tried.
I was overweight as a child. In elementary school, I used my savings to buy a rowing machine and an exercise bike. A child of the '80s, I worked out to Sweatin' to the Oldies, while using Deal-a-Meal cards to try to get on track with what I should be eating. Consumerism got hold of me and told me not only could it make me better, but that I should be better.
It didn't help, and good grief, this was my mindset in elementary school. Not healthy!
I kept trying, turning to the ever-popular appetite suppression pills, and getting involved in high school sports, but it still wasn't working.
My young adult years weren't much better. I tried the gym and home workouts, which weren't sustainable, only to come home and eat junk because I was too exhausted from work and life to cook.
Then I began to raise a family, and, at no fault of theirs, I put myself on the back burner. I suppose I felt if I couldn't get myself where I wanted to be, at least I could try to be everything for my family and find worth in that.
I ended up in an existential crisis and with a lot of health issues. Many would call it a midlife crisis. I understand what it is to be faced with not understanding who you are outside of certain roles we take on in life.
And so I began the journey back to myself. It required me to shut out a lot of the noise and distraction and get back to basics. Basics which included exploring my gifts and personality and learning how to live out of that. Basics which included repeating affirmation statements about myself, even when I didn't believe them quite yet.
A minimalist is one who focuses on keeping things simple. In the busyness of the time and culture we live in, minimalism may feel unattainable. Consumerism seems to rule the day, with the constant bombardment of advertising telling us we need something more to make our lives complete.
I invite you to entertain the thought that adopting a minimalistic mindset, at least to a degree, is not only attainable, but in many ways it is essential.
We don't need more products, more things, to be complete. What we need is to look within. To connect with and embrace how we're created, and to allow our doing to flow from our being.
The more we add to our lives while trying to achieve a higher state of joy, contentment, and wellness, the more cluttered our lives become and the more things we end up having to manage.
The more things we have to manage, the less mental and emotional bandwidth we have to focus on what really matters.
The more things we have to manage, the less time we have to focus on what really matters.
So today, my friends, I invite you to reclaim some of your bandwidth and time by shutting out the distractions and clutter, and focusing on just one to three things today that are important to you. In doing so, you'll find yourself benefitting exponentially.
Benefit #1 - Increased Physical Wellness
Did I lose that 40 pounds in one year, after a lifetime of battling weight?
You bet I did! And I did it by focusing on small, simple changes that were sustainable for me. I shut out the noise that told me I needed to work out like crazy and practically starve myself in order to make it happen. Instead, I met with my doctor to discuss my health challenges so we could develop a plan together. I gradually increased gentle movement on a regular basis, drank a heck of a lot more water, rested intentionally, and made a few adjustments to what I was eating. The weight finally came off and has stayed off because I made intentional changes that were simple and sustainable.
Benefit #2 - Increased Mental Bandwidth (and Mental Wellness)
Another thing that was important to me during that time was exploring how I'm created. I realized I hadn't been living as my most authentic self. This was also done with a focused and thoughtful, yet simple, process. I had the mental bandwidth for the process because I had embraced simple, minimal, yet repeated steps toward physical wellness. Biologically, my brain benefitted from sunshine, fresh air, movement, intentional rest, and increased hydration. We're not talking huge steps. This was getting outside for about 15-30 minutes at least three to four days a week, either walking, working in the yard, or doing some gentle stretching. The effects on my mind, the increased mental health and mental bandwidth, were a welcome "side-effect."
Benefit #3 - Increased Time
When we're not chasing around all the distractions, and we're intentionally avoiding busyness in favor of focused attention on a few things that matter the most, it's amazing how we will find more time to dedicate to what matters. Here's where our values come in. When we get back to basics on what we value most in life, we can more easily filter out the noise. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish with some intentional simplicity and focus. We can "find" extra hours during the day to accomplish the things that we value when we are intentional.
What truly matters to you in this moment? Where can you embrace minimalism and get back to the basics of what matters most to you?
With that in mind, let's go crush the day!❤️
If you'd like a free copy of printable affirmations you can begin to embrace about yourself, or to learn more about exploring and embracing your authentic self, go to https://bit.ly/m/Intentional-Growth-and-Wellness.
Have a blessed and beautiful week!
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