the 30-day minimalism challenge

“Less is more” is all the rage as evidenced by recent obsessions with normcore fashion and getting back to basics. I applaud efforts to shop locally, get kids outdoors and conserve time, energy and resources. But there’s a difference between making a lifestyle change and adopting a trend for the fifteen minutes it’s hot.

By way of example, I recently came across the 30-day minimalism challenge. “Looks interesting,” I said to myself. “I think I’ll try it.”

I didn’t tackle the tasks in order, because “define your goals for this year” was number 12 on the list, but it made sense to put it first. The next day, I meditated for fifteen minutes (longer than my usual five to ten). And the day after that, I decluttered my digital life. But then one day I was supposed to “unfollow and unfriend” which I already did under digital decluttering.  Number 28 said to let go of a goal, but I had just defined them.

Go one day without makeup. Read a book instead of watching TV. Clean out your junk drawer, closet, beauty supplies. Learn to enjoy solitude. I relish downsizing, reading and solitude. I found myself less and less inspired by the tasks. After six days, I slacked off, not because the challenge was hard, but for the opposite reason. Frankly, changing my behavior for one day didn’t feel particularly meaningful.

In my opinion, it’s more impactful to pick one item and own it for a sustained period of time. Last year I vowed to not drink bottled water unless it was my only thirst quenching option. I not only succeeded in curbing an expensive habit, but I saved an itty bitty corner of the ocean at the same time.

I don’t mean to dis the 30-day minimalism challenge. Addressing one’s inherently bad practices for one day is better than not at all. Some might even use it as a launchpad for long-term change. But this particular challenge feels like fast food minimalism; it’s one thing to embrace tenets of less is more because it’s en vogue and another all together to do so purposefully and with clear intention.

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