End of the Year Minimalism Challenge

I am a huge proponent of Minimalism.

Its a lifestyle that I have been incorporating into my life for about a year now. It has helped me to find clarity, savor quality, experience more meaningfully and of course save money. I love the feeling of having a clean and clutter-free home, mind, and sense of style. Despite my daily practice of Minimalism, I would not call myself a “Minimalist” — I definitely have things! But, I’m happy with the balance I’ve struck between keeping what I need and letting myself have what I want.

Lately, however, I have found stuff starting to build up in different places like my kitchen pantry, my closet, my bathroom cabinets and my car and therefore my life and my mind. To get me back to where I want to be I will be clearing out, giving away, throwing away, donating, and selling my excess things.

My goal is to complete my whole house by the end of the year. I don’t want a single thing left that I don’t need, value or love in my home. This way I will end this year and start 2017 on an invigorated and accomplished note and with some cash that I can use to start a project that I have in mind.

I’m so excited — and only a little scared — to see what these next few months will bring! My mind is already spinning with all of the stuff that I’ll have to post on eBay or otherwise give away and I’ll be posting as I plod along this process.

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Your Life is Your Masterpiece

There’s the simple fact of life that everyone will die one day. No matter what divergences exist that separate our lives from one another, everyone of us will end the same way. However, its no use being glum about it — we might as well have a nice time and make something of ourselves until it happens to us.

That’s what I wanted to write about today — about the middle part between birth and death and the attention to detail that make it mean something.

Some people think that there’s no point in doing anything at all or no meaning in what we do because it will all be for nothing in the end. Our flesh and bones will have turned to dust, our belongings will belong to us no more and our memories and experiences will have gone from us and the world.

I disagree with the last part.

Every life matters and will have mattered when it ends. We do take something with us when we leave this world. We take with us to the grave our deeds.

Your life is the only thing you have and the details that you tend to make up that life. We all need to be mindful of where we place our thoughts and importance on things both big and small because no man is an island. What each of us does with our lives has a rippling effect and has influence far beyond what we will ever know.

You need to know what is important to you and find ways to live that out everyday. If you don’t know, its inevitable that you will allow others to make that choice for you and you will not have lived the life you could have lived and made the impact that you could have made. There is nothing more tragic than a wasted life.

Find your direction, find your conviction. Your life is your masterpiece that will endure long after you.

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How to Live Luxuriously (Millions Not Required)

I love luxury! There are few experiences I love more than walking by all of the boutiques downtown and staying in beautiful hotels with amazing hotel staff. I can’t start my day without my ritual of choosing which handbag to accompany me for the day.

Some people may call me vain, shallow or materialistic or whatever word they have for people that are like me, but I really couldn’t care less. I actually used to feel the same way. I used to have certain opinions about “those people”. It wasn’t because I thought they were bad people, it all came from unsolved issues that I had inside of me. The truth was that I was jealous because they had something I wanted that I believed that I couldn’t have.

I believe it’s important for people to learn how to find and bring luxury into their lives. I believe that once you learn to tap into your desires, learn to turn your work into play and live your passions out, the money will simply follow.

But before any of this can happen, you must first learn to think like a luxurious person which has little to do with what your situation is with the bank. I’m want to share with you how to claim your luxurious life because I know deep down that you want to enjoy the finer things in life — and there is nothing wrong with that! So here are three ground rules before you can obtain the luxurious lifestyle you desire:

1. Appreciate the luxuries you have now

Be thankful for what you have. If you are reading these words that means you have a computer or a phone — which is a luxury many people cannot afford. There is luxury all around you: nature, a significant other, your health and a strong and capable mind that can make life what you want it to be. Wake up and notice it.

2. Believe that luxury is attainable

While it’s probably tempting to wait to live a luxurious lifestyle until you become a millionaire, that’s probably not going to happen tomorrow and waiting is a waste of time, so what is there to do?

You need to redefine luxury to make it attainable right now. If your only definition of luxury is a Bentley and a Birkin — you’re living a lie and setting yourself up for a long time of waiting and disappointment.

Instead, broaden your idea luxury to include quality experiences, relationships, and things. Your life becomes what you tolerate, so once you decide that you deserve more for yourself you will seek out what elevates you and delete what brings you down.

3. Luxury is quality — not the quantity on the price tag

Every Friday night I look forward to watching a movie with my husband all cuddled up on the sofa, every morning I can’t wait to enjoy my cup of coffee in the brisk, cold air. These are luxuries. In fact, these are luxuries that you can’t buy. Money can’t buy a loving relationship or the ability to find and appreciate the beauty and love in your life.

Now that we’ve established those rules of luxury, here are a few things I did to attract more luxury in my life:

  • Dropped complaining whiners like a hot potato. People who always talk about how broke they are a complete luxury deterrent.
  • Found and hung out with people I want to be like. Learn from those who are living the way you want to be and learn to think like them.
  • Discovered what’s important to me. I drove a junk car to put my money into what I really loved — traveling with my family. I did not mind driving that car around but I still cherish those times I spent with my family.
  • Removed and continue to remove low-quality experiences, things, and people from my life. I don’t spend money on crap that I won’t appreciate for long and I don’t tolerate people that bring needless drama into their lives and mine.
  • Dressed and carried myself like a woman of luxury. Everyday that I left my home I felt great about myself and was open to receiving more luxury in my life.
  • Pushed out limiting thoughts about myself. Whenever some thought bubbled up about how I didn’t deserve some thing or that I would never get to where I wanted, I pushed it away. It’s useless nonsense that doesn’t help me or define my future.
  • Slowed down and enjoyed my life instead of rushing through things on a to-do list like a mindless, lifeless drone.
  • Believed I deserved a luxurious life. I stopped feeling guilty for loving the things I did. You are not doing anyone any favors by denying yourself. Some of the most loving, happy and generous people I know live well.
  • Became a valuable person. Instead of being someone who took more than they gave, I found ways to become a valuable contributor to my work and my family. Once you make a habit of paying it forward, you’ll find that your life opens up to more satisfying experiences and people.

As you can see, luxury is yours to define and yours to claim! Think about how you can live a luxurious life and leave a comment below.

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5 Ways to Feel Better About Life

Sometimes we need a good pick me up to make us right again and I’m sharing with you some of my favorites that always work for me.

  1. Get up and get out

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If you’re feeling down it’s so tempting to stay in bed all day watching Netflix and vegging out. But do you ever notice how doing what you want isn’t what you need? The first thing I must do to feel better is to get up, put my make up on and a nice outfit and get out of the house. Once you take a look at your reflection and see how great you look, you’ll instantly feel your mood start to lift.

2. Get a manicure and pedicure

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While you’re sitting and relaxing you can start to unwind from whatever is on your mind. A manicure is so relaxing and afterwards you’re left with clean and pretty nails! It’s just another way to look good and therefore feel good and it never fails to lift my spirits. If you don’t like manicures you could also get a massage or a facial or maybe even a hair cut.

3. Do something for someone else

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Sometimes what you need to do is just get out of your own head. A good way to do this is to stop thinking about your own issues and help someone else with something. This weekend my grandmother was busy making kimchi and I offered to help her since it is a very arduous and time-consuming process. She was glad to have me help and it felt good to be useful for someone. I bet you have some family or friends who can use a helping hand and I bet you’ll feel better for helping them.

4. Sit in a cafe

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Sitting down and enjoying a coffee while watching people in the city walk by can really help you think through your issue. Bring along a book and the change in scenery and fresh air will do you some good.

5. Write about it and make some movement

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Whatever is bothering you — write it down. Sometimes if its something that someone did that is bothering me I will write a letter to that person, describing exactly how I feel and exactly what they did. I won’t actually send the letter because the language will probably be quite strong and hurtful, but it does help to get it out so that when I do face the person I can face them more composed and clear- headed since I’ve removed my emotions from the situation. Once the writing is done I encourage you to take the next step to righting what’s wrong. Whether it concerns another person, your work, or a personal issue, make a positive move towards the direction you want to go. It’s so easy to get complacent about a situation, so if you recognize that something isn’t how you want it to be, then take the necessary steps to make it so.

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Climbing out of “Idea Debt”

Do you know what idea debt is?

If you’ve started different blogs, spent several days to get them to look exactly how you want them and then after a post or two, inexplicably seen the initial enthusiasm for your grand new idea wane away — then you have experienced idea debt first hand.

If you’ve become so enthralled about a new subject and decided from then on to invest all of your energies to learning about it and becoming the leading expert in that area and perhaps publish a few books, only to see your devotion disappear the next weekend — then you know what I am talking about.

The examples above are personal to me but idea debt is summed up as the accumulation of ideas that have seen this progression from ignited enthusiasm to sputtering ember until you are surrounded by all of the cold lumps of ashes that lay around reminding you of your inability to see a project through.

I’ve been struggling with this for years now and I don’t think I’ve completely climbed my way out of my idea debt, but I have a much better awareness of why I fall into it and I know where to start.

The first thing to realize about any project is that not all of it is going to be enjoyable, all of the time. Even if the main work is something you have a passion for, you are going to need to develop new skills and challenge yourself in ways that you didn’t realize going into it. I don’t care if your goal is to become a professional cake taster and all you want to do is get invited to judge cake baking competitions and travel around the world eating the best cake there is — there are going to be days when you are sick of cake, days when you have to judge and taste a cake where the baker felt that the broccoli and asparagus based frosting really elevated the filet mignon infused cake to a whole new level, days when you are asked to be the keynote speaker at the International Convention of Cupcakes when you are terrified of public speaking. You see where I’m going with this? Even if you find the “perfect” passion that encapsulates all of your strengths and combines all of your interests (which is impossible) you will need to do things that you had not planned on. Now, if it gets to the point that all you are doing is tasting disgusting cake, you need to start being more selective about which competitions you agree to judge. However, don’t expect your life to be a daily parade of joyful and inspiring experiences — because that is not life, that is no one’s life.

It has helped me to understand that nothing I choose to do will be easy. It is normal to experience fear, boredom, hesitation, and stagnation, but as long as I choose to do something that I like and something I am good at, it is impossible to go wrong.

P.S. For more (and better) writing on idea debt, take a look at this post at jessicaabel.com (http://jessicaabel.com/2016/01/27/idea-debt/)

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