I know there have been many times in my life when I have thought, “Once I buy ____, I will start ____.” It might be, “once I buy a gym membership, I will start exercising.” Or, “once I buy a new set of cookware, I will start to cook healthy.”
In almost every example, you have enough to start accomplishing your goals right now without buying more. Consumer marketing has bombarded us with the message that we need to acquire more and better stuff to achieve our dreams, but this is almost never true in reality.
We live in a remarkable time where information on almost any topic imaginable is freely available on the internet. The quality may vary widely, but there is literally a near-infinite amount of information available for free 24 hours a day.
You have enough to start exercising.
- Body-weight exercises are a fantastic way to tone and build muscle and do not require a gym membership. David Damron recently wrote an informative post about simple muscle development where he argues a case for gym memberships for those serious about weight-training and strengthening. When you are just beginning fitness training however, I think that there are more than enough body-weight exercises to start training.
- A great resource for a totally free workout is the 100 Push-Up Challenge. Push-ups are a fantastic full-body workout and the 100 Push-Up Challenge is a great way to make incremental, sustainable progress. The site also has links to sit-up, squat and pull-up challenges.
- I (obviously) believe running is one of the best workouts possible. Many other minimalists seem drawn to it as well. With almost no equipment required to start it is one of the easiest fitness activities to begin. Complete beginners can easily get started by following the Couch-to-5k plan.
- Yoga is another minimalist activity to train and tone the body. There are many websites that explain it in far better detail than I possibly could.
- The fitness ladder is a body-weight centered fitness plan that focuses on a measured, achievable progression.
You have enough to start eating healthy.
- There are an amazing amount of recipes available on the internet, more than enough for any dietary preference.
- I am passionate about vegetarian cooking, and find it to be a very cheap and relatively idiot-proof form of cooking. Vegetarian (or flexetarian cooking) is relatively cheap, incredibly healthy and much better for the environment.
- A great blog focused on minimalist cooking is the Stone Soup Blog.
- Your local library is another great resource to learn how to cook. My library is relatively small and still has hundreds of cookbooks available.
- Even in terms of cookware, there are relatively few items that are absolutely essential. I know when I was in college almost all my cookware came from hand-me-downs from my parents and it was perfectly functional and adequate. Don’t fall into the marketing trap of believing you need a $100 chef’s knife to dice an onion or an expensive cookware set to make a pot of spaghetti.
You have enough to start a small business.
- The old methods for establishing a small business are rapidly becoming antiquated. Today, nearly anyone can start a low or no overhead business and pursue their passion. I hope that more and more people start small side-businesses and that business becomes more and more democratized over the near future.
- Not only are there no longer as steep of capital and paperwork barriers to business entry, there are far fewer barriers to selling products. Artists of all sorts can sell their goods via Etsy and anyone can start a small eCommerce website and be selling their goods within minutes.
- Everett at Far Beyond the Stars has put out an amazing series of articles about minimalist businesses and is about to launch an eBook called “Minimalist Business: How to Live and Work Anywhere” that I am sure will continue his streak of fantastic information.
- As always, the local library is a wonderful, free information resource. If you need inspiration, I recommend “Crush It” by Gary Vanyerchuk or anything by Seth Godin.
You have enough to start a hobby or artistic pursuit.
- If you want a completely free hobby, writing is the perfect choice. If you are fiction reader, start writing your own short stories or consider trying NanoWrimo and completing a novel.
- The gatekeepers who previously controlled the publishing industry are rapidly being rendered obsolete. Anyone can publish anything for next to nothing now.
- With any hobby the main difference-maker is practice and not equipment. Yes, Jimmy Page didn’t play a $25 pawn shop guitar but fundamentals and muscle memory training are vastly more important for a beginning musician than expensive equipment.
There are many more examples I could list, but the take away point for all of these is that information and action are the key to improvement in any area, and not possessions and fancy equipment.
I know this article was a bit long, but the overall message is: attack your goals with information and action and not with possessions and spending.