Better Than Before, a book by Gretchin Rubin who also wrote the wildly popular The Happiness Project, was devoured in this house in record time. I love the way Rubin researches, writes, and presents real-life solutions. Better Than Before deals with habits-how to break them and how to make them-and I loved the whole book! I especially loved that no matter who you are, this book will feel tailored for you because Rubin spends so much time reminding and helping readers get to the most important part about habit keeping: Know yourself.
Rubin's blog is very hopeful as well, and many things featured from the book are also on the blog. So, while you wait to get your copy of the book(you did just put it on hold at your library or order it from Amazon, right?) peruse the blog.
A few things I learned that are helping me make positive, lasting changes; I'm an obliger, a minimalist, and an underbuyer. Basically, I keep commitments to others better than I do myself, I do not like having a ton of stuff, and I wait until we have half a role of toilet paper to buy more. All interesting characteristics, unless you need to wipe your tush at two a.m.
I am using these facts and many more I learned about myself to help make positive changes using tools that will help me specifically, because the tools that will help an upholder who loves abundance and overbuys are not going to lead me to success.
I started with something I hate to do: shop. For clothes. Post four babies body. Yeah. I'm also a do-it-all-at-once type. Let's just rip the band-aid off and move on.
I hated shopping before I had a gut that makes me look like I swallowed a child's flotation device and it got lodged right around my belly button. I actually do not like to think about or invest in appearance stuff much at all. Give me a book or chocolate over a mirror and shoes any day and I'm good.
But lately I have been thinking about appearance because I've been uncomfortable. Wearing clothes that are either big enough I could fit in them during that trying-to-lose-the-baby-weight phase or clothes that were from the pre-twins-living-in-my-body-together phase, it's not working. It's making me self-conscious. I either have plumber's crack or a muffin top. In this one pair of jeans, I have both.
Then a friend posted on Facebook about wardrobe capsules. It's the idea that you put together a certain amount-20-35 items-you want in your wardrobe and that's all you wear. These items are versatile enough to create many outfits, and you don't have to think much about what to grab from your closet. I'm a minimalist. I'm going to see if I can have maybe 15 items and call it a day.
This appealed to everything in me. First of all, you don't have a ton of clothes or shoes in the closet. The minimalist part of me LOVES that. Tons of anything stresses me out. There are days I stare in our silverware drawer and wonder if life would be simpler if we had less butter knives. The underbuyer in me thinks it's fabulous. Don't buy much, love every item you buy, and just add a few accessories to make these same items work in different seasons. The obliger, well, that side of me can always be tricky.
Obligers don't do things for themselves without outside accountability, because we'll show up when there is someone we would let down if we didn't, but we won't show up for ourselves. Being a parent, I think, made me turn into an obliger. Maybe I always was, but I recognize that side of me now in relation to being a parent. Take care of everyone else's health but postpone my dentist appointment and yearly exam for a year because the kids were having issues I felt certain required my presence that day. Check to make sure everyone else's cups are full but forget to check my cup until I'm in the middle of PMS and wanting to throw my cup at people's faces for no reason. It's ugly. It's not the tendency I would have chosen, but I need to work with what I have.
So I scheduled my first wardrobe capsule shopping event for a night I had plans with a friend. We got pedis-something I find very awkward unless I have a friend but completely awesome when I do because I can focus on good conversation and not the poor person tasked with dealing with my feet-and then I was already out of the house, sans-kids. The pedi and buying a few items were my Mother's Day choice. Linking the buying to a holiday helped me because I justified it like this: I was doing this for Dennis. See, Father's Day will come next month and I will want him to do something for himself. I know if I do something for myself and link it to Mother's Day, he'll have less trouble allowing himself to splurge on whatever he wants for Father's Day. How do I know this? He's also an obliger.
And that's how I ended it up with a pair of shoes, jeans, a shirt, and a very forgiving dress. That is a shopping spree for me, seriously. I feel good about it. This buying is linked to goals-less stuff, less of a need to buy in the future-that I believe in, so I can see it through. Plus, I bought a shirt I love for $5 so when my kids inevitably stain it with paint, puke, or grease, it's fine. Okay, so I probably should have bought more than one of these shirts, but I'm an underbuyer. When the shirt literally has holes in it, I'll go back for more.