Since December is the month of excess, it only seemed appropriate to kick off 2017 with a counter challenge of self-denial. Not long ago I completed a research paper on the suffragette movement in Britain, circa 1911 to 1913. Self-denial was a well used strategy for women to gain public attention in their pursuit of the right to vote. This intellection intrigued me and, after closely examining my own overwrought lifestyle of material excess, I felt compelled to attempt to live on only what I NEED rather than within a comfortable cycle of needs, wants and desires.
Here are the details for living in a state of self-denial throughout January:
1. USE THINGS UP BEFORE YOU REPLACE THEM.
Experiment with those random sauces and spices hiding in your kitchen. Wait until you use up your current cosmetics before buying new ones. Avoid stocking up on sale items simply because “they’re a good price.” Take inventory of what you already have and find ways to put it to use. Or, if you can’t, get rid of it.
2. NO FOOD/BEVERAGE “PICK-UPS”.
Set free your Starbucks addiction. (This one is going to be the hardest for me.) Plan meals ahead rather than picking up what is most convenient on the way home. Eat from scratch, not from a batch. At month’s end, notice whether you physically feel better – and if your wallet is a bit thicker.
3. DESIGNATE ONE DAY A WEEK TO NO TECHNOLOGY.
This includes anything that needs to be plugged in or connected to – smart phones, iPads, laptops, video games, etc. etc. – turn them all off for at least one day a week. If you want to kick it up a notch, forgo the TV as well! (And no, I’m not suggesting you only live by candlelight for a day, but then again, adventure knows no limits.)
4. NO ONLINE PURCHASES OR IMPULSE BUYING.
Keep to life basics and the bare essentials – food, water, shelter, clothing – you honestly need nothing else. Put gas in your car and food on your plate. Cover the basic costs needed for minimal day to day living; everything else is just a want, not a necessity.
5. ATTEMPT TWO DIY PROJECTS.
This can be as simple or as complex as you want it. Ran out of body scrub? Make your own. Want to attempt a woodworking project? Go ahead, build that dream spice rack. Rather than immediately running out to replace a broken item or something you’ve run out of, see if you can fix it or make it yourself at home. Channel the days of yore when holes in your socks were a simple sewing project and random kitchen ingredients meant culinary explorations.
Welcome to the month of limitedness.