New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 – Living With Less
An activity suggested in the book Mindfulness for Everyday Living by Christopher Titmuss suggests making a list of things and then contemplating what we could live without. The idea is that we can actually be content with less. A simpler life can be a much happier one, while all of the clutter causes us additional stress without us even realizing it. As well as this, it’s good to try and be appreciative of the little things from time to time, rather than always wanting more. This is a sentiment I have seen reflected elsewhere, such as in gaming (My new year’s resolution is to play fewer games) and photography (Why I believe in photographic gear minimalism).
To live with less is incredibly difficult because of all of the emotional attachments we have formed. Somehow we can end up fooling ourselves into believing that having more of something is good for us. So for the start of this year I have decided to make a list. We don’t all have to cut back completely and how far one goes is a personal decision. I’m still a compulsive geek that to loves collect things and I doubt that’ll ever change. Still, there are areas that I feel I could be happier if only I could manage to live with less of it.
- Chocolate – I think I struggle with sugar cravings. Every time I consider cutting out chocolate I find myself walking towards it without even realizing what I’m doing. I can’t live without chocolate completely, but I could try to reserve it to weekends only.
- Fizzy drinks – I love Coca-cola and Irn-Bru, but it isn’t good to have too much of this stuff. Already been making some efforts, such as going for fruit juice at the pub instead.
- Alcohol – I don’t actually drink that much now anyway, and when I do it’s only during the weekend. I already started to cut back on alcohol over a year ago, as my boyfriend got ill after having too much. Usually I was the one that got ill while he looked after me, but the shock of being on the other side caused me to re-think. Not only this, but I can save a lot of money cutting back and put it towards other things that I enjoy more.
- Eating out – My partner and I really enjoy eating out and like nice food, but we probably do it a little bit too often. Not only that, but we go to fast food places as well. I’ve found that it’s not easy to control what you eat because you don’t always have that many options depending on who you’re with and where you are, but if I can go for a healthier alternative from time to time I should probably give it a go.
- Pizza – It’s no secret that I’m hooked on pizza. I don’t want to cut back altogether, but perhaps I could have one every other week instead.
- Takeaways – Final bad habit on my eating list. I associate having a takeaway with feeling good, and it seems to be a part of programming culture. Yet I often feel guilty afterwards for doing it.
- Playing games – Ok, so I love games and I’ll probably still want more time for this than your average person, but there are times when I can’t concentrate on more productive activities because I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to get back to that game. Arguably, in the long run I’ll feel happier if I can spend just a little more time working towards my goals without the distraction.
- Buying games – I already have tonnes of games in my backlog that I haven’t gotten around to playing yet, so do I really need to get more? I’ve decided that I want to list up all of the games I want to get and wait until a sale starts. It’ll seem like I’m spending a large amount at once, but I bet that overall I’ll be saving a lot of money. This doesn’t count for major titles however, like Dark Souls for example. Plus my boyfriend has a tendency to buy a lot of games for me.
- Buying books – I think I’m addicted to buying books. I’m desperately running out of space to store them however, and I haven’t even read them all yet. I managed to talk myself out of buying one the other week and I felt uneasy for a good while afterwards. I’m going to question whether I really need a book before I buy one from now on.
- Watching TV – It’s so easy to just fall in front of the TV when you’re feeling tired, but then I usually regret not doing something more productive with my time later on. I’ve been trying to cut down on TV time for a while now in favour of doing more of what I enjoy. Like getting through that huge pile of books.
- Complaining – I think if we’re not careful we can fall into a bad habit of complaining too much. Sometimes it’s cathartic, but other times it just keeps those annoyances running around our heads while irritatating those that have to hear it.
- Moaning about other people – It’s not great to bottle things up, but we also have to try being forgiving and lenient too. We’re not always going to like other people’s behaviour, but how we handle this is important. Plus, how can we expect others to trust us if we come across as the type that will start to complain as soon as backs are turned? Gossiping and jumping to assumptions about others are also worth considering.
- Feeling guilty – I feel way too guilty for silly reasons too often. It’s not an emotion that’s serving any real purpose, so I need to try and train myself to stop feeling this way. Reducing the amount of self-criticism and worrying are good things to work on too.
- Needing control – I get anxious if I don’t feel like I’m in control, but trying to alter the inevitable or wishing for change only causes us more stress. We have to accept that life is challenging and bad stuff can happen to everybody.
- Reliving the past – Getting upset about things that I can no longer change isn’t helpful. I need to learn from the past, but live more in the present.
These are just a handful of things I think I could work on. I don’t really expect myself to be able to succeed at this whole list right away, but it’s an interesting activity to try. Doing this has helped me to realize a few things about myself and what’s really important to me. My main resolution is just to be more content with trying my best, which is all any of us can do.