We are not strong believers in resolutions - mostly because they always seem temporary and fizzle out after a time. We’re more into goals. Because a goal is something that gains momentum and changes as it develops. We have found that there is more flexibility in working toward a goal than there is in setting a resolution. Instead of resolutions, goal setting can come without expectations.
It’s good to set expectations for ourselves, as long as they aren’t shaped by the world’s expectations (just saying the word “expectation” leaves an annoying aftertaste in my brain). Standards, however have much more meat and much like goals, they are flexible. So, I’d like to catch you up to speed on our goals, how they’ve changed over the past year, and how they’ve shaped our standards for the future.
Goal #1 - Be Intentional
To be intentional is to be right here, right now. It’s giving ourselves permission to accept difficulties and know that problems get resolved over time no matter what. It’s about giving ourselves to others even when it might inconvenience us. And it’s about standing up for ourselves even when it might not be what the world wants to hear. We made a goal to be more intentional with the people close to us and to give them pieces of our life in the currency of time rather than things. Being intentional isn’t just some hippie BS, it’s a mindset that grows and strengthens like a muscle when it’s used.
Goal #2 - Love People, Use Things
This piggy-backs on Goal #1, but has a more personal standard to it. Over the past year, our home has become 70% more livable. I say 70% because I know we still have a lot of work to do with minimizing, but we have more space, more time for each other and our friends, and clearer minds to develop our marriage and calling as parents and caregivers. We also read and podcast like A LOT now which is a lot like feeding ourselves with wholesome information and spiritual oomph. We use what we have, and have more time to give to the people we care about.
Goal #3 - Start a Blog
Well, you wouldn’t be reading this post unless this goal continued to develop.
At first we felt vulnerable and definitely had some mind blockage because we didn’t want to offend anyone or embarrass ourselves, but lately the goal has taken a turn where we not only add a tremendous amount of value to our own lives through it, but we’ve been adding value to the lives of those who read what we have to say. Our blog has been one of the most fruitful jobs we’ve ever had. We have an outlet where together we can pour what is in our minds and hearts out to a public audience.
Goal #4 - Spend Less Than We Make
Anyone who knows us well knows that we love to be on the road exploring or tasting beer and food from every town we visit (we could go on for hours about our tricks in traveling super cheap, but we’ll save that for another post). They also know that we still have student debt to pay back and that we live simply. We don’t have a lot, but we’ve managed to spend significantly less than what we make. We’ve had to make sacrifices along the way and we’ve managed to live simply because getting out of debt is a standard we’re striving toward. With less focus on the new, shiny, things and more focus on what we’ll actually find value in, we’ve become less dependent on stuff, and more dependent on God’s plan for us in the time He gives us.
Goal #5 - Don’t Give Up
Something that attracted us to each other was that we both are open to always trying something new. Hobbies, trails, food, routes, books, and destinations are a few of the things that spark joy in our marriage. With adopting a minimalist lifestyle, we’ve really allowed it become a part of us. Our identity is always in Christ, yet minimalism gives us freedoms that we never imagined were possible. We made a goal back in June 2018 when we started writing about our experiences to not give up. Not matter how bored we might get, or content we might run out of (as if), we could not let ourselves give something up that was adding so much value to our life from day 1. In retrospect we are so thankful we committed to allowing minimalism to change our outlook on the world and our place in it that giving up would almost seem cowardly.
We are rounding year two of marriage, and this year has been the most peaceful year either one of us has had in our entire lives. Even through the difficulties of becoming parents and adulting in general, we’ve added structural freedom through minimalism that continues to allow us to grow closer to each other, our people, and most importantly, our God.