Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.
I have found the best way for me to overcome a bad habit and cultivate a good habit is to participate in a challenge. Sometimes that’s a challenge that I’m doing alone. Sometimes that’s a challenge I’m doing with others. Regardless, I love having a goal to focus on and a set time period to push for it.
It can be overwhelming to try to overhaul our life for forever, but we can make changes for a set period of time and see how it works. Usually it sticks or at least moves me closer towards the ultimate goal.
Spending money used to be a major bad habit. I would mindlessly spend (usually on a credit card), but it was never fulfilling. The moment of opening a new Amazon package would bring a moment of happiness and then that would fade. I’ve come a long way, but I’ve noticed that shopping still has grips on my heart and happiness. The social media comparison certainly doesn’t help.
I’ve been wanting to do a challenge like this for a while, but I always thought “oh this isn’t the best time.” As with anything, there will never be a perfect time, so might as well go for it! So here we are: The Flourishing Contentment Challenge.
To put it simply, this is 30 days of no new stuff and minimizing the stuff you already have in order to make space for peace, joy, and contentment. I was inspired by Nancy Ray’s Contentment Challenge and The Minimalists’ Minimalism Game and thought it would be brilliant to blend the two and put my flourishing spin on it.
- I commit to not purchasing anything new for 30 days. I am blessed and already have all the things I need.
- I commit to decluttering my home little by little for 30 days. I am blessed and have way more than I need.
Read the guidelines below for more information about how we are going to make these two commitments happen.
- Determine your why for completing this challenge
It doesn’t have to be anything grand (although it can be), but having a why will help carry you through the 30 days. It can be something simple like “I want to see if I can do it” or something deep like “I use shopping as a way of coping with stress or sadness and I want to break the chains.” This is totally up to you, but take some time to think about what’s drawing you to this challenge.
- Prepare in advance
Prepare your heart and your actual space. Do any last minute shopping. This is not a last minute splurge shopping trip (we’re breaking up with that habit, remember?), but an opportunity to get items you actually need. If there are others living in your home, have a discussion with them about your intentions and goals for this challenge. Set a date to begin and put it on the calendar.
- Choose something inspirational to consume
This may be a book, podcast, blog, or YouTube channel. Whatever you choose, try not to purchase it. Maybe it’s something you already own or you can borrow from a friend. The library is an incredible resource! Podcasts, blogs, and YouTube videos are free. Some of my favorites are The Joy of Less by Francine Jay (book), A Simplified Life by Emily Ley (book), and The Rachel Cruze Show (YouTube).
- Gifts + necessities are okay
Please continue to purchase food and needed items from the grocery store. Buy your mother a thoughtful gift for her birthday. The point is not to completely cut down your lifestyle or refrain from celebrating loved ones, but to reset your heart when it comes to stuff. With this challenge in mind and the shift it causes, I can pretty much guarantee you will shop differently.
- Replace your tendency to shop with something fulfilling
When we’re trying to cultivate a new habit, it’s important to replace the “bad” with something “good.” We’re taking away shopping from our life for 30 days, so that’s going to leave a hole that will be filled. Lets fill it intentionally. This may be a hobby, prayer, journaling, a walk outside. Whatever sounds enjoyable and fulfilling to you.
- Simplify your space
Each day of the challenge you will declutter an item, but this will increase each day. For example, on day 1 of the challenge you will declutter 1 item; day 2 = 2 items; day 3 = 3 items; day 9 = 9 items; day 30 = 30 items. Make sense? Anything, big or small, can go! Donate, sell, or trash.
The less clutter, the more breathing room you have for what matters. -Emily Ley
Are you ready to truly cultivate peace and contentment? Let me know in the comments below when you will begin this challenge. I believe it has the power to shift your heart and create a happier home.