The Need for Sustainable Minimalism


Sustain: To keep up or keep going, as an action or process.

I love that minimalism is becoming an increasingly popular trend. It should be obvious that I think it is a very positive change for people to adopt in their lives. However, it is very important to follow a policy of sustainable minimalism.

What do I mean by sustainable minimalism? I am not referring to environmental sustainability, although that is a great byproduct of minimalism. Sustainability is achieved through a continual, ongoing effort and not a one-time whirlwind of activity.  As with any habit or personal change, a movement toward minimalism needs to occur in a gradual and steady pace in order to have a lasting effect. By undertaking a slow shifting of values, you will be more likely to stick with a change long-term. Replacing consumerism with minimalism doesn’t have to be like ripping off a band-aid. Ease yourself into it and make changes at a pace that is comfortable for you.

Here is how to achieve sustainable minimalism:

  • Remember that the goal is progress, not perfection. It is easy to look at pictures of beautiful small, minimal homes and see your own house as a cluttered disaster. Instead, ask yourself if you have been steadily improving and judge yourself only against your own progress.
  • Minimalism does not require you to own less than a certain amount of items. Yes, much has been written about the 100 Thing Challenge, and while I think it is a valuable exercise, you are not “failing” at minimalism if you don’t participate. No one is going to come to your house and count out your possessions. Do not feel like you cannot adopt a minimalist mindset if you still currently own a lot of stuff. Just evaluate whether or not your belongings are truly enhancing your life and furthering your goals. I think you will find yourself slowly losing attachment to the unimportant items surrounding you.
  • At its core, minimalism should be about realizing that what you have right now is enough. You don’t need anything else to start practicing minimalist values. You can get started on your journey to minimalism today, this very second. And every choice you make throughout the day can be weighed against your new minimalist values.

Whether it is adopting a minimalist approach to life or beginning an exercise habit, the best method is steady, gradual change. Excitement and enthusiasm are great, but make sure to take things one step at a time in order to achieve a lasting impact on your life.

How do you keep yourself focused on slowly and steadily adopting minimalist values?

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