Monday, September 26, 2016

Monthly Goals Update

Obviously I completely failed at this. September is only a few more days long and I haven't yet posted the update for my monthly goals. Double fail for not posting in two weeks. Do I really suck this much? Well, let's see how I did on my goals:

Post on this blog regularly: Absolute fail.

Film and edit videos: Filmed three videos, edited none yet. Editing software is overwhelming. Semi fail.

Read five books: Two non-fiction and two fiction down, one to go. Check!

Walk at least 5,000 steps a day: Check! 

So at least I don't suck 100%. Phew. But let's look a littler at those goals I set, why I set them and how I'm really doing at them. 

I really wanted to make this blog a priority this month but it didn't work out as well as I had hoped. I did think about it a lot but I didn't actually do anything. In part this was because my life was just pretty busy and I just always have a million things on my mind that I want to do and research and learn about and I just get distracted. A lot. Also I think that maybe my goal was set a little high. Maybe I need to start smaller and slowly build up this habit. That also wouldn't make me feel like a loser as much for not reaching my goals. So in (almost) hindsight, I am glad I set this goal, I am glad I failed it and I am glad I am still making this post and not giving up right away.

Next up, the youtube goal. I've been wanting to have a youtube channel for a long time now but I just can't seem to get it started. First of all, editing is freakin' impossible to figure out right now. Also, there are just so many amazing and high quality youtubers out there and since I am a perfectionist, I feel like having to live up to those impossible standards. I know that's stupid and unrealistic but so far haven't been able to convince my entire self of that. But I will also not give up on this one and just keep taking one tiny step at a time. 

A goal I had almost no problem with was the reading goal. I love to read so it is just a matter of finding the time (and space, one of the books I read entirely in the bathroom). If I come across any amazing, life-changing books I will definitely do a review on them, but this month it was nothing super special, so I won't.

And lastly, the walking goal. I work as a waitress right now so on the days I work (about 3-4 times a week) I have no problems reaching this goal anyways. But I wanted to make a point of moving more on my days off and I think I did really well. I just downloaded a step counter app onto my phone and recorded my steps every day. I did an average of around 8,000 steps a day, my record was 13,900 and I only had one day each week where I didn't make it to 5,000. I'm really happy with those results and will definitely continue walking more. The hardest part for me was actually having to have my phone on me all the time.

So all in all, I am pretty happy with how I did, I'd give myself a 2.5 out of 4 so far and I definitely learned something on the way.

Hope you enjoyed this. I am open to any feedback and suggestions!

Read you soon,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Minimalism - 10 things I don't buy anymore

Minimalism means something different to everyone and while I would not call myself a minimalist just yet, I try to apply a minimalist eye and mind to my lifestyle. I hope to get to the point one day where I am only surrounded by objects that serve me and/or bring me joy. I am definitely not at that point yet, but striving for a simpler lifestyle has already changed my life quite drastically in the past two years.
One aspect of this has been the decluttering part of it. I have gotten rid of an incredible amount of things over the last months and years. The other aspect of living more simply for me has been to be really mindful when it comes to what I bring into my life now. I have always been a conscious consumer in many aspects, but with everything I know now it has just gotten to a whole other level. With that being said, let me share with you some items or products I don't purchase anymore:

1. Plastic bags
Let's start with an obvious one. Humans produce five trillion Plastic Bags a year. That's 5,000,000,000,000! Or 160,000 bags that are used every second!  I haven't purchased or used free plastic bags in years. I bring my own bags with me whenever I go shopping, I especially don't use single-use plastic bags for produce and if I ever need to get or use a plastic bag, I will use it over and over again until it literally falls apart.

2. Bottled water
Like plastic bags, we use an insane amount of plastic water bottles every year. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that 50 million Water Bottles are thrown away EVERY DAY!  I just have a reusable water bottle and take that with me whenever I go out.

3. Coffee to go
Making your own coffee is a lot cheaper and better for the environment than getting coffee to go in a paper or plastic cup. I make my own coffee at home using a French Press or a simple coffee maker for filtered coffee. If I ever want to get coffee on the run, I bring my own mug and let them fill the coffee in that. Here in Germany, lot's of places even charge less if you bring in your own cup!

4. Newspapers, magazines and paper books
I've had an e-reader for many years now and while I still own a few books, I do not purchase any more paper copies of them. I might pick up a used book at a thrift store a couple of times a year if I've been looking for that one for a while, but in general all newspaper, magazines and books I read are on my e-reader.

5. Hardcopies of DVDs, music or games
Just like with books, I don't purchase any hardcopies of CDs or DVDs anymore. With netflix, youtube, spotify and games I can download online, no films, games or music have to occupy physical space in my life any more.

6. Cable TV
I haven't watched TV in years. I do have a netflix account and will occasionally binge-watch some of my favorite shows, but that's all the TV I watch. No cable or pay-per-view necessary.

7. New clothes
Except for underwear, I get all of my clothes second-hand, whether that be at thrift stores, online, through friends and family or at my local swap store. I've been doing this for around three years and so far haven't had any problems finding the items I needed or wanted. 

8. Hair dye, spray, foam, gel or hair cuts
I haven't dyed my hair in a few years, I recently started cutting it myself and I don't use any products in it. I've never been someone who styled her hair a lot and I just feel that my hair is healthier and my life easier if I just don't use any of these extra products.

9. Nail polish
This falls into a similar category. I've never worn lots of nail polish, mostly because I've been working in the service industry for the past ten or so years and it's just not that appropriate to wear bright nailpolish in that profession. But in the last few years, I've completely stopped wearing nailpolish even on my toes and it just feels right this way.

10. Period products 
I just recently got a menstrual cup and don't have to buy tampons or pads anymore. It took a while getting used to and figuring it out, but now I love it and would never go back! Saves so much money in the long run and I produce no more trash while on my period. 

These are some of the things I no longer purchase. Ask away if these brought up any questions or if you have any suggestions. I will probably do a follow-up soon, as there are at least ten more things I don't buy anymore, but for now this should suffice. 

Have an amazing day, read you soon,

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monthly Goals: September

Don't forget the important things!
Even though we are already quite a few days into the month of September, I wanted to share my first “Monthly Goals“ now. I want to do these posts to remind myself of what I am focusing on that month, as well as hold myself accountable at the end of the month as to whether or not I completed or at least attempted my goals.
Before I formulate my goals for the month (which I actually did on August 30th), there are two 'concepts' that I keep in mind:
The first one is used in management and is called S.M.A.R.T. goals. It's a tool to help you set goals that are: specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time-bound. So a goal like 'I want to read more' would not be a S.M.A.R.T. goal, whereas 'I want to read four books this month' would be one. I think this is a really helpful tool and I try to always keep it in mind, even if I don't end up applying every single letter to every single goal.
The other tool that I use comes from some of my favorite internet people, The Minimalists. They've come up with five categories and if an action does not fall into at least one of them, they will usually not do it. The categories are: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution. I want to apply this one by trying to set goals that fall into at least one, better even two, of the categories each.

Alright, so after this quite lenghty introduction, let's finally get down to business.
Here are my goals for the month of September:

  • Reactivate this blog and post at least three times per week as well as every third day.
  • Film and (figure out how to) edit at least two videos for my youtube channel.
  • Read five books this month, at least two of which must be non-fiction.
  • Be in bed between 12 am and 8 am.
  • Walk at least 5,000 steps a day.

I think these are all pretty self explanatory and I will not go into any more detail at the moment. I am planning on doing some weekly and or monthly challenges, but for now I want to keep it simple and give myself a chance to actually accomplish the goals.
I hope you all have an amazing, productive week full of joy, sunshine and laughter!

Read you soon,

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My blog is a toddler and I've been a horrible mom

South Sea Sunset
Eighteen months ago I started this blog and after just two weeks, I lost my drive and focus to work on it. There were a lot of other things going on in my life (a breakup and a trip around the world being just two of them) and I just didn't have the time or energy to put out regular blogposts. But that doesn't mean I'm not on my journey towards a simpler and happier life anymore. On the contrary, that journey has continued throughout the entire last year and a half. Sometimes it was subtle, at other times a major focus. And now I've come to a point in my life where I've created enough space – physically, mentally and time-wise – that I really want to start sharing my story again.

So, what can you expect from this blog in the future?
I already have a couple of posts in the works that I will be uploading soon. One of them will be my “Monthly Goals“, which I will be doing at the beginning of every month now.
I am also working on a few “Minimalism“ articles, such as “Things I don't buy anymore“ or “How Minimalism has changed my life“, so look out for those soon.
My goal for this blog is to post at least three times a week. I'm not sure if it makes sense to stick to a schedule, because my working hours vary, but I will try to post at least every third day and not do all of my weekly posts in one or two days. If anyone has any suggestions concerning topics, the schedule or anything else, feel free to leave a comment!

Happy and excited to be back, I'll read you soon!