I picked “slow” as my 2018 motto for a number of reasons, including the wish to be more thoughtful about things. I don’t want to set rules, but I do want to set out a few manageable intentions to keep me moving forward. So, here are the areas that I’ve decided to focus on this year:
I mentioned in my original post that I’d already planned to slow down my reading. I’m attempting to read or remove most, if not all, of my unread books by the end of the year, but I don’t want to take part in the competitiveness or need to read more more more that I feel when tracking on Goodreads. So, I’m reading what I want, when I want and I’m only sharing select updates: the occasional review and my monthly unread shelf project update. I track my reading at home in a notebook and in a spreadsheet because I like making charts.
I’m also going to stop making myself finish books, regardless of how much I’ve already read or how great the reviews have been. I’ll be more patient with non-fiction books as they can often be a bit more dry and because I picked them to learn something new. But, as a general rule of thumb, if I’m not enjoying a book, I’ll find something else to read.
I’ve already found a better way to do this. I no longer use pen and paper because that creates to many limits for me – I have to be at home or have my journal with me and I have to print or draw things if I want to add a pictures. Keeping it digital means that I can access it anytime and I can even copy my blog posts in to keep track of my thought processes in a month.
This has also helped with time: instead of rushing to jot something down before bed, I use the time I have in the morning before work or during my lunch break to write my thoughts digitally. This has already allowed me to reflect and explore ideas and issues more fully.
While I still want to continue my daily sketching habit, even if it’s just a silly doodle or a “crappy” sketch, I also want to give myself more time in case I’m in the mood to sketch several images or work on something more complex. This will also help me to find time to sketch ideas, practice techniques, and make notes about inspirations I’ve found throughout the day.
We all need to exercise, but this year I want to focus on building habits instead of pushing myself to be stronger, faster, better. I also want to rediscover my love for walking and taking my jolly sweet time exploring the trails or my neighbourhood. Once I started to treat all my walks as fitness events, I started to feel like I had work harder, walk longer, and use every walk as a means of improving my fitness. Well, that backfired because I stopped enjoying it and stopped walking as much. I want to get back to a point where my walk is focused on enjoying being outside and not on trying to get in shape.
I’m trying to work towards a more eco-conscious lifestyle. I used to be pretty hardcore about the environment, but I let other priorities and “busy-ness” get in the way. Slow living works well with this because it encourages thoughtful consumption. For me, this means buying less, finding eco-friendly alternatives, and making my own things.
Reduce, reuse, recycle – reducing is the first and most important part of being eco-friendly. That’s why you see people who are trying to live zero-waste. I doubt I could ever be dedicated enough to be zero-waste, but I can slow down my consumption to be less-waste.
Tying in with the idea of reducing consumption, I also want to continue to work on simplifying my space. I know that there are still some areas with room for improvement (i.e., things that I don’t need to keep), but I would like to end the year with the comfort of knowing that I have purposely and thoughtfully made the decision to keep the things I have. This is partly because I’ve discovered that I really value living a more simplified life and partly because I want to set a good starting point for next year, when I will be working on redeveloping habits around things like book buying (i.e., not letting myself get back in a place where I have nearly 200 unread books).
That’s 6 things! They’re all things that I’ve already started to work on, things that support where I want to be, and things that will help me with some intentions I have for the future (being more eco-friendly, refocusing on my health, etc.).
I’ve already started to implement some practices that I think will be helpful. For example, I recently borrowed a cookbook, The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright, from the library and immediately wanted to buy it. Instead of ordering it on the spot, which had been my usual habit, I took some time with it. I reviewed the recipes, the types of ingredients needed, and even the author’s website. I then considered if I really needed it. In the end, I decided to buy the book – yes, I’m buying a book, but I came to that decision slowly and thoughtfully. Also, I’m getting rid of two old cookbooks that I never use.
Each month, I’m going to make a short (very short) list of things that I can work on to help me live by my motto and each day I’m going to try and remind myself to slow down, breath, reflect, and live more intentionally. This month, my list includes:
- Remember to weed things with thoughtfulness and purpose, not just out of frustration
- Have a nice hot bath with those bath salts you’ve been saving for a cozy night
- Consider sketching with purpose, even if a piece takes more then one day to complete the picture
- Take a few evenings to fill past sketches with colour, because colouring is fun
My list isn’t too serious, but it does help me work towards my goals. The challenge for me will be remembering to do these things.
Do you have a motto? If so, how are you working towards keeping that motto in mind over the year?