Goal setting for a new year can be overwhelming, but in 2020 I’m committing to one thing; living a year of less.
As 2019 comes to an end and I start thinking about what I want the new year to bring, I can’t help but go into full-on goal planning mode.
I’m a bit of a planning fiend you see. Setting intentions is something I’m pretty good at. But I’m going to be honest here and say that seeing them through is something I royally, royally suck at.
So this time I want to do things a little differently. Instead of setting dozens of unachievable goals, I’m committing to an ethos. A way of living, if you like, that will guide me through the year and towards the few goals that will really make a difference.
That ethos? Living with less.
Recently, as I’ve gone about my daily life, one word hast kept circling back in my brain (well, two if you count wine) and that word is less. Just a few of the things I’ve thought…
“This kitchen would be so much easier to cook in if it had less stuff in it.”
“I’m sure I have another Liz Earle cleanser somewhere but I guess I best go buy a new one (for £25 fucking quid) because I haven’t got time to search through all my toiletry drawers.”
“I bought a fab book of motivational stickers for my diary last year but I’ve no idea where they are.”
“I could hit my half-stone weight loss target if I just snacked on the office goodies a bit less.”
“I wish I could see Jenny for a coffee but I’ve overcommitted my weekends. This is the only one I have free for the next six weeks and I need some time alone for my sanity.”
And so the list goes on… so you can see, just how important stripping things back is to me if I’m to have a successful 2020.
But what does living with less really mean? And how the hell will it work in practice?
What is a year of less?
I stole the name of my ‘year’ from the Uber-popular book ‘The Year of Less’ by Cait Flanders. The premise is that Cait – tired of buying things that were supposed to make her happy (but didn’t) – embarked on a plan to not shop or spend money unnecessarily for a whole year. She also wrote a book along the way. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list for the new year.
I’m not proclaiming that 2020 is going to be a whole year of spending nothing for us, that just doesn’t feel possible right now. But I do want us to get by with less than we do now.
Cait had rules around her year of less, such as only buying essentials from an approved shopping list, and I’m going to attempt to set some boundaries here too. I firmly believe that with no rules, the likelihood of achieving things is pretty miniscule. And I would know, I’ve failed to reach far more goals than I’ve actual achieved over the last few years.
Why a year of less?
So aside from the word ‘less’ calling to me like the smell of Domino’s on a Friday night, there are four main reasons why I want 2020 to be a year of less. Including…
Firstly, we need to save money. I’d really like to finally get on the property ladder in the next few years. Yet with the way we spend, its’ almost an impossible feat right now.
The saving grace is that we know where our money goes; supermarket shops, ASOS hauls, pub runs, KFC’s and lots and lots of holidays. Although we don’t particularly WANT to say goodbye to any of those things (especially the travel) we know we have to if we want to reach our bigger goal.
Secondly, I’m fed up of being surrounded by ‘stuff’. Our house is over-cramped, we’re forever tidying up and I buy things I already have because I can’t find them. I’ve found being surrounded by things quite stressful in 2019, and I want to spend time sorting through the crap so that the things I keep and own are the things I truly treasure.
Thirdly, I want to eat less. Or at least if not less, then better. Losing weight has been on my list of goals for as long as I can remember. But after getting to the bottom of some health issues this year, I feel like I have most of the tools I need to achieve this one now. The only thing left to do is to do it.
Finally, I’m starting to feel a level of responsibility for doing my bit for the environment by living more sustainably. If that means eating better quality meat less often, swapping cotton pads for a re-usable alternative or hunting new books out in charity shops, I’m dedicated to starting my sustainability journey in 2020.
My year of less rules
So it wouldn’t be a year of less without a few ‘rules’, here are the parameters I’m putting in place to ensure I truly do have a year of less:
- No new items of clothing – unless it’s replacing something broken, something that doesn’t fit or something we need in order to reach another goal (i.e. trainers or workout gear)
- No takeaways or fast food at home – there’s no doubt about it, fast food and takeaways (including a Subway lunch run) are toxic for both my wallet and my waistline. I’ve added the ‘at home’ caveat because there are some times when a Maccie’s just can’t be helped – on a hen or stag do for example – but where we have control, we’ll be avoiding them
- No crisps or white bread – if I really assess, like get real honest with myself, crisps and white bread are the two things I could cut out tomorrow that I think would have the biggest impact on my weight loss. I’m an absolute crisp fiend and could easily eat four bags without batting an eyelid. I’m also partial to a slice of Warburton’s Toastie slavered in Lurpack with a dash of bovril. So yeah, they’re in the bin in 2020
- Only go away if we have the money in the bank – we’re pretty bad at booking holidays before we know if we can afford to pay for them. I don’t want to ban all trips in 2020, but I do only want to go on ones we have the physical money in the bank to pay for
Don’t get me wrong, there’s also plenty of things I’d love to do more of in 2020… UK travel, yoga, swimming, reading, walking, date nights, lunch with friends, phone-free evenings and cooking being just a few,
But for now, this is why my 2020 is going to be the year of less.
Are you planning to be more conscious of what you’re consuming in 2020? I’d love to hear your plans in the comments below.