Updated: Nov 5, 2019
So it’s a new year. Are you tired of the resolution questions every year? Me too.
I have never kept a New Year's resolution. Strangely, I did accidentally break a whole bunch of habits all at once.
It started one January when my sister “accidentally” left a book at my house (typical), The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Like a true sister, I borrowed it without asking. I have always appreciated a good organizing tip.
The simplicity of the KonMari method resonated with me, perhaps in part due to the over-indulgence of the holidays. I knew this was something I had to try. Like that sloppy kid in school that had her desk dumped by the teacher and an old apple core rolled across the floor, that’s what we did with our house...and life.
Never one to rest on an idea, I immediately started the method with my own possessions. I asked myself “Does this spark joy?” as I handled every article of my clothing, which is the first category of the Konmari method. Soon my husband took notice of my side of the closet and caught on. We donated a lot of clothes that didn't make the grade. It turns out this is a contagious, addictive, and freeing process. Onward we continued with the rest of the categories. Along the way I had such realizations as, “Boy do we own a lot of pairs of scissors!”
The process is an undertaking to say the least. Kondo recommends completing the entire house in six months or less. It’s like ripping off a band aid. Because it was over relatively quickly, the upheaval (mess) was not drawn out more than we could bear. Our family’s mission became very clear in what remained. We developed new habits quickly. This no-rebound method works for this very reason. Change comes swiftly and completely.
In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains how changing what he refers to as keystone habits can have a domino effect. Keystone habits give you a small sense of victory (I went for a walk), encourage other habits to grow (I had a healthy lunch), and give you energy and confidence to do more (I will volunteer at the shelter).
These are “keystone habits,” and they can influence how people work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate…The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns.
The benefits of the process reach far beyond making it easier to clean the dust and dirt in your house. So many keystone habits are changed in this process. In fact, just as Duhigg predicts, our new keystone habits have given my sister and me the energy and confidence to start Dwell Happy. Some of the changes in my life are more patience, gratitude, healthier eating, more intentional spending, working on relationships, and better use of time.
Make the resolution to live with less. It could be the last resolution you’ll ever need to make.