Apply the 365 approach to other areas of your life.

Have you ever felt you need to make changes in your life, whether that be adding something healthy in, or stop doing something that isn’t good for you. Have you ever decided those changes are too hard to make and give up before you begin. Well, just like our small steady steps in decluttering you can also utilise this approach with other good habits you would like to implement.

I am using the 365 approach to cut back on the amount of coffee I drink. My goal is to only drink coffee outside of the house which of course isn’t everyday. I started out by not drinking coffee at home after 4pm for a while. Then I stopped imbibing from midday onwards. At this point I don’t have coffee at home unless I have had it by 10:30, the next step will be breakfast only and after that not at all. Much easier than cold turkey don’t you think.

The same method can be used to give up soda drinks (soft-drinks, pop whatever you call it), processed food, fatty foods, sugar laden treats, fast food, simple carbohydrates in general… whatever you feel is not contributing to your good health, the way you feel or the way you feel about how you look.

You can also reduce the portion size of these treats to begin with rather than, or as well as, reducing the number of times a day you usually imbibe. Cutting back is cutting back no matter which way you go about it. By continuing to reduce you will eventually find you no longer feel such strong cravings for these things in your life. And the joy of feeling so much better about yourself is the extra payoff to encourage you to stay strong.

Also, you may think you need to add a little exercise into your daily routine. You are reminded every time you are confronted with a set of stairs that your fitness could stand some improvement. The mistake a lot of people make is to think they have to do at least an hour of exercise three times a week for it to be of any benefit. They also think this requires expensive equipment or gym fees to accomplish. Approaching it in this fashion is fine if you think you can manage it but if the thought of that is keeping you immobile then once again the small steady steps approach might be the best to get you started. If you can manage to find ten minutes a day at first to go for a brisk walk then that is better than nothing.

You can also choose to take the stairs instead of the lift. Take the parking spot the furthest from the shopping centre entrance (quite often this is actually quicker and saves gas in your car). If it is a rainy day I will often climb my internal stairs twice per trip. That is if I am going up for some reason, I go up, I come down, and then I go up again, do what I have to do and then do the same in reverse on the return trip. It is great exercise and because it is done in short bursts and although I raise my heart rate, which is good, I don’t raise a sweat, therefore not needing a shower at the end of my exercise. Do this a few more times and I have added quite a bit of aerobic exercise to my day. It may not sound like much but the idea is to build on this as you start to feel fitter and keener.

Even things that are, in moderation, fine for you can actually become bad when overindulged in. You have found this out through how your shopping habits contributed to your clutter issues which in turn affected your peace of mind. So imagine how bad for you things are that weren’t even good for you in the first place. It is in your best interest to at least try to improve personal habits whether for health reasons, energy levels, for your own mental well being or perhaps to improve an external appearance that you aren’t happy with about yourself.

We have discussed before that resistance to old habits can be well established by 21 days so why not give it a try. What have you got to lose except maybe potential heart disease, insomnia, gout, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin problems, bowel issues, tooth decay… and even a few pounds if that is your goal.

Today’s Mini Mission

Consider decluttering your second television or the third one if you have that many. Let’s face it how much time do we really need to waste sitting around watching TV or videos.

Eco Tip for the Day

Taking care of yourself can mean consuming less, consuming fresh and consuming natural all of these things are better for the environment as well as you.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Stumbling Blocks to Success Cindy's Weekly Wisdom We all want to succeed. We all want  a clutter-free, clean, and peaceful home. Yet sometimes we struggle. What are some of the stumbling blocks to success? Making […]
  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. This is exactly how I have made my diet healthier! I used to live off fizzy drinks and never drank anything else but slowly I’ve switched and now I drink squash, black tea or various fruit teas and my stomach feels so much better for it! Sometimes when I haven’t had fizzy drinks for a few days and then I have them again they make me feel so awful I wonder how I ever lived off them! That and I am awake all night buzzing from the caffeine… I also took this kind of approach for quitting smoking and haven’t smoked in around a year or so now, likewise when I started exercising it was for 15 minutes rather than setting myself a challenge I knew I couldn’t do. Love this post, exactly how I think/feel about life; in a world where everything has to be now, now, now there’s still something to be said for slow and steady 🙂

  2. Colleen, this is a great post. Too many times we think we have to do ____ NOW. No, we just need to start and take it slow. This is how I have changed many things in my life.

    Have been able to cut from 13 albums down to 7. I think I am going to have to stop there because they are full and they are full of layouts I want to keep. I’m still excited because when I am done I will have 3 more empty sections on the bookcase.

    • I made a change in my craft room yesterday too Deb J. I decided to have a trial separation of my whiteboard. I took all the “mess” off it, found appropriate home for that then put the whiteboard in the garage. The wall sure looks less cluttered. It was meant to be there to pin inspiration pieces on and for jotting cutting measurements and the like but all it did was accumulate a mess. We see how I manage without it.

      • Colleen – I’ve been wanting to take away my pin board above my desk for some time – I seem to keep fluffing around and all ‘what will I do with the school time tables?’ ‘what will I do with the after school schedule’ ‘what will I do with my nieces pictures?’ – I already solved the calendar issue right at the start of the year and instead of a pin up one I got one of those flip-over desk ones. But as for the rest, fluffing.
        Maybe if I just took it down I would have to come up with solutions!

  3. There’s so much to be said for routines. If you bicycle to work daily, you already sit on your bike when you notice that the weather is a little cloudy and stick going anyway. When you use the stairs daily, you are already half way up before you question yourself whether you’re tired or not.
    I want to get back to writing more regularly, so I’ll set a goal now to write one sentence each day, first thing in the morning. I think, I should be able to stick to that!

    • I need to follow this advice for my eBook. I keep writing is spurts and then go brain dead for a coupe of day or even a week sometimes. If I set myself a goal for 100 words at least I would be making continual progress.

  4. Funnily enough, when I was out for my walk this morning, I decided that I was giving up diet cola. I only have diet cola at my dance class or at the pub (when it’s more vodka than cola). So two or three times a week. Don’t know what to put in its place though……..the dance class is held in a club so I feel obliged to buy something from the bar and because I’m driving I can’t choose an alcoholic drink (besides which I already banned those to the weekends!).

  5. Fizzy drinks have never sat well with me, and “diet” drinks give me such trouble with the aspertame that I can’t even consider it! I’m not angel though, chocolate is my kriptonite. I used to be happy with one of those little halloween sized bars per day, then it grew to 3 times a day, or even more! I tried “no chocolate days” but the craving was too distracting. Cutting down one per day a week at a time has made a big difference, and chocolate-free days can happen and do happen. I always try the stairs instead of the elevator (if it’s 4 stories or less) and I walk my kids to school every day rain or shine (west coast of Canada is MOSTLY rain of some sort). I walk for myself, the dog and for a bit of mommy-kid time on the way to school. 30 minutes there and back, but it sets a nice tone for the rest of the day.
    Coffee is tougher on the weekend than the weekdays. One cup per morning is good enough to keep away the caffeine withdrawl headache, and I try to stick to that.

    • Sounds like you are doing well with exercise and giving up the odd vice Creative me. Perhaps you could work on cutting down those chocolates a little more. Don’t keep them in the house would be helpful.

  6. I am glad that you discussed this topic today as I think this is the exact point you were trying to make not so long ago concerning clutter and weight. I appreciate your take on this and enjoyed the post today. I stopped drinking sodas for one month about a year or so ago, but unfortunately, they crept back in. I would like to eliminate them for good. Let’s face it, they surely have no health benefits and not drinking them would save money. It would also be one less thing to take to the recycling bin. I got a little discouraged because I did not see any immediate change in my overall health, but I was probably just being impatient. Even if nothing was visible right away, it had to be helping and certainly not hurting me to not drink sodas. I drink coffee only on rare occasion. I used to drink a lot of it when I worked, but one day I decided to stop and that was it. Not everything is easy to let go of cold turkey, so slow and steady, like you say, is the way to go. Nothing happens overnight. Weight gain, clutter, excess debt, etc., takes time for people to accumulate any of them, so getting rid of them takes time too.

    • Hi Jen, did you read the link on how many ways soda drinks are bad for you. If that isn’t inspiration to give them up I don’t know what is. You may not ever notice the change in your health but it will be there never the less. Liver disease was one of the suggested results of drinking them. Best not to wait for that diagnosis to decide to give them up for good. So don’t use the lack of obvious difference to give you an excuse to go back to old bad habits.

      I wish you success on letting them go. And don’t forget there is also the saved cash and the lack of recycling as an added bonus.

      • Thank you, Colleen, I actually overlooked the links when I first read the post. I went back and read them. I had always heard about the bad effects of sugared sodas and had only heard some of the bad effects of diet soda. I drank diet sodas mostly. That was a very interesting article and very eye opening. My mom passed from pancreatic cancer and the article stated that sodas can contribute to that too. Along with all the other things soda contributes too is reason enough to let it go. Before my biggest reason to stop was the hope that I would instantly lose pounds, but now I see that there is so much more that could benefit me by stopping. I like tea and green tea also, so that will help. I am going to do this, it is a no-brainer. It is healthier and saves me money. Thanks again.

        • Good for you Jen, this news alone makes my frustrating day yesterday trying to get this post acceptable to me was worth the effort if just one person gives up the soda drinks.

  7. I 95% agree with this post – definately in principle – but I am a cold turkey kind of girl, only because there is a weak willed part of my brain that is very convincing, so I prefer to let the Sergent Major Drill Master part of my brain set the pace when I need to make changes.

    And for the 2nd time in two weeks I have (a) admitted to talking to myself and(b) having several personalities running loose in my head. Never mind. I’m not dangerous.

    But I do agree that laying the prep work for significant changes is definately a smart idea. One of my daughters was advised last year that the best way to improve her nutrition situation was to change one area or one thing per week. After two months she would have quite a different diet without any radical changes, no body or system shock.

    It is funny you mention fizzy drink – it was something I was talking to Adrian on the weekend. I suggested that initially that its something we could only buy, say, 2 bottles on the weekend, rather than having it available all week. So at least there is something to look forward to, a reward, and slowly wean it out from there.

    On the exercise front, that is something I’m addressing at the moment – I move slightly above turtle. I read a book last weekend (from the library even!) called Short Fat Chick to Marathon Runner – for the record, I don’t intend to run a marathon but its written by a NZ’er broadcaster whose humour I enjoy and could appreciate the metamorphis she had to go thru. Anyway, her trainer doesn’t recommend even beginning jogging initially, he is a fan of sending couch potatos to do a couple of months of pilates first just to get the muscles and ligaments prepared. After going for my first almost-jog recently I can respect his opinion.

    • Hi Moni, there is not doubt that for some people cold turkey is the only way. Stop and never go back. So I have no problem with you disagreeing on that score.

      As for those voices in your head and self conversations, there is nothing wrong with that, I hope. Or else it is confirmed that I am more than a little crazy.

      My son loves Coke and I used to buy it for him but then I decided he was too hooked on the stuff. It hasn’t stopped him drinking it but if he wants one he has to get to the shop and pay for it himself because I will not buy it for him and I certainly do not stock it in my house.

      I like that trainers suggestion of not getting people out jogging initially. This should especially be so if the person is way above their healthy weight. One needs to bring the weight down first or else the jarring on ones joins when running can have a nasty affect, wrecking knees, hips and ankles.

      • Colleen – I did say I 95% agree with you, Adrian says that’s a better strike rate than he gets from me. 🙂

        Sensible Smurf – whoops Sensible Moni, advocates that something is better than nothing.

        I don’t drink coffee, I love the smell but don’t like the taste – and its just not socially acceptable to walk into Starbucks and sniff a cappuccino, so Coke was my substitute for a caffeine hit. Just like smokers aren’t put off by information on cancer or cost, the coin in the coke glass didn’t bother me. I later switched to Pepsi Max but since I’ve trying to shift some K’s, I only have a diet coke if we are out somewhere. I have desensitised to the sweet taste and so it gives me plenty of buzz to forego alcohol, which is also on my no-no list.

        I suggested to Adrian that we start to wean him and the kids off fizzy because (a) I want to reduce our grocery bill further (b) they are happy to drink Raro or similar if it is in the fridge (c) who said you got to have treat items every day? (d) I can save a bit of money if we reduce our recycling bin to the next size down, which means we need to have fewer bottle in the bin (e) and carbon as in carbonated drinks are not good for female (especially) bones.

        Of course, Adrian isn’t happy that I picked the hottest month of the year to begin this idea – he did suggest a soda stream but I feel the cost (they aren’t cheap) wouldn’t be fully utilised as March it starts to cool down and then it will mostly sit idle over Winter. And I still feel reasons B, C & E apply.

  8. Argh, I think I should print this post out and stick it up in my wardrobe to reread every day for the 21 days, for starters! The only good thing is I dont like fizzy pop – I’ve seen what cola does to a 2p coin, lol. The rest of it, ah well, needs work….I don’t think walking to the shop to buy a cream egg counts really, lol…

    • No Fruitcake, like decluttering resistance at the shops is crucial to success.

      • Aye, cheers Colleen 🙂 Seriously though, this post and the comments have really got me thinking and taking a fresh look at what I personally need to declutter. Just like when I first came across the blog I thought I was reasonably ok re my stuff but when I took a fresh look, I realised, actually there was plenty I could let go. This post has pointed out to me that one area where I have failed to declutter (although I have tried) is the food situation. It’s a bit like the excess furniture I now find we have – its our first proper grown up house and it has plenty of storage so we got carried away. The kitchen is a reflection of this. Did I really think we were ever going to work our way through 3kg of chick peas? Natural progression decluttering still has a long way to go on that one. Btw, despite having been through the kitchen and chucked out all food older than 2 years out of date in january, I have since found some herbs dated 1999 and a jar of mustard dated 2009 which didn’t taste all that great either, honestly. I am going to take myself outside for a serious talking to! Both of us deny ever having bought lemon grass and it must have been flitted (moved) at least twice!
        Thank you all for being so inspirational x

        • Hi Fruitcake, don’t be deterred by the things you missed the first few times around. That is the beauty of slow and steady decluttering eventually you see everything for the clutter that it is. It can take a while but we get there in the end. And because it has been a slow and steady occurrence it becomes habit, replacing the old bad habits of accumulating in the past. I would say you are doing splendidly. Keep on keeping on.

  9. I love this, Colleen. Only recently I read a post from Gretchen Rubin on establishing if you’re a Moderator or an Abstainer.

    http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2013/01/want-to-be-free-from-french-fries-or-why-abstaining-may-be-easier-than-you-think/

    She maintains most people are a mix of both – that is, sometimes they need to go cold turkey and other times moderate and change habits slowly. It’s worth a read if only for the examples of self-talk she uses.

  10. Colleen I love how you have linked the eco tip with today’s post and certainly agree with all the points you make. Like you I go up and down my internal stairs many times a day and always take the stairs rather than an escalator or elevator if there’s a choice. Jen made a good point too about changes taking time to manifest and this is something our “instant gratification” society often finds difficult to accept. Moni you had me chuckling again with your talk of being a cold turkey kind of girl (I understand that this does work for many people though) and moving slighly above turtle (not when there is a mouse loose in the house I’m sure 🙂 )

    • Megan S – you have made my day! Yes I did get in my exercise allotment after all! Surely running on the spot on tippy-toes, frantically waving hands and all teary eyed talking in high frantic voice had to have burnt up something!
      Yes, I’m short and everyone else in my family is tall and so I end up looking like a frantic pekinese trying walk along side a great dane when we go anywhere, so when I go for a walk for me it is strictly my natural pace : turtle.

      • Moni you have given me more chuckles – “frantic pekinese trying to walk alongside a great dane” and in your later post – “mouse-a-size”!!!
        With regard to the dancing – it’s a great idea and you could try it while your daughters are not around if you prefer. Just put on some of your favourite up-tempo music and dance for the sheer joy of it 🙂

    • Hi Megan S, that eco tip was as much out of desperation than anything in the end. I had been trying to write this post all day, between my monday house cleaning chores, without much success. I thought I was doing well but towards the end I wasn’t happy and changed tack. So much so that I abandoned the first effort and started again. When I got to the bottom and saw the eco tip space empty I still had enough brain power left to realise that the post subject could be incorporated into the tip. I went to bed at around midnight.

      • Colleen I’ve always been impressed by your ability to produce these quality posts on a more or less daily basis and now I’m even more impressed that you have brain power left to make links like that at midnight 🙂
        Caring for the health of one’s family and oneself goes hand in hand with caring for the planet – one complements the other.

        • Hi Megan S, if only I could get my s*&t together and get posts written a month in advance so I wouldn’t find myself in situations like last night. What is it they say ~ fly by the seat of your pants ~ well that is my blogging style. It was quite handy that the post fitted well with being eco friendly.

  11. For someone whose last ‘binge’ consisted of 2 glasses of white wine and a Cherry Ripe, I’m quite moderate in my eating/drinking habits. But like you Colleen, I decided to give up coffee this year too! I only ever had it when I went out anyway, as I make tea at home, so I was down to about 2 – 3 a week. I used Lent as my incentive, and decided if I didn’t have any for the whole period of Lent, I wouldn’t need it afterwards. Haven’t craved a cup yet, but then, it’s been so bloody hot here anyway!!

    • Yum, Cherry Ripe, now there is a naughty sweat treat that actually does have a lot of healthy fibre in. Not that that makes it a good thing to be eating. A little treat occasionally is pretty harmless though. And wine is actually much better for you, in moderation of course, than fizzy drinks. Red more so than while, although the sulphates give me an allergic reaction. I never drink alcohol when I go out to dinner because I run the risk of losing my ability to taste which would be a shame when enjoying good food.

      I have no intention of giving up coffee altogether just at home. It is one little indulgence that I am happy to go out for a few times a week.

      • Did you know that you can buy special drops to put in your red wine to stop the sulphates affecting you? A friend who adores big, ballsy S.A. shiraz told me that recently; it really works 🙂 I prefer red wine over white, but cannot face drinking it when it’s so hot. Like you I loved my latte treat when I went out, but I am so over the coffee culture and the snobbery that goes along with it (yes, even down here in the country!), it’s doing my head in.

        • I had never heard of those drops. God knows what is in them though, but I will google it. Can’t say I have had a problem with Coffee snobbery but I do love a good coffee and won’t be giving up completely.

  12. 6 years ago, my parents decided they both wanted to lose about 50 pounds. They did lose the weight and have kept it off. One aspect of their approach was that they weighed themselves each day and plotted their weight over time in Excel. I have been somewhat overweight for years but the weight has been stable and I haven’t felt like doing anything about it. But decluttering has made me feel more energized about my entire home life, so a few weeks ago I set a weight loss goal for this year and I’ve started exercising and made some diet changes toward it. I’m taking it one day at a time, but it is exciting when my weight is down. Suddenly losing weight and making the lifestyle changes to keep it off feels doable.

    • Rebecca J – you go girl! I do the daily weight check and have a paper that I write my daily updates but haven’t done an excel spreadsheet – I have teenage children and if they found such spreadsheet they would be just as likely to put it on facebook or something similar.
      I have a friend who is a counsellor (though I’d like to say she’s not my counsellor, though if she read my comment above she’d probably have me lying a couch talking about my childhood quick-sharp) and she has made call it “letting go” of weight – if you lose something, you go find it again. Just one of those messing with your subconscious hints. She said letting go is a skill that can be learnt and can be strengthened and whether you use that skill to let go of clutter, weight or emotional issues it is the same principle, just the techniques might need to be adapted a bit obviously.

      • I like that interpretation Moni! Recently my daughter told me she had lost five kilos, I said ‘I hope I don’t find it!’ she looked at me strangely . ‘ Mum we don’t all know how you think’ she said. So make room on that couch Moni, I think I need it too!
        Great post Colleen. Love the Eco tip!

        • Hi Wendy, my children tell me I think in my own special way to. Last night Bridget flicked by a hoarding show on TV that she wouldn’t allow me to watch because she said I would never shut up while it was on. As we looked at the mess the house, on the show was in, she said ~ “They need to make one of these shows for people like you who have gone crazy in the opposite direction.” I vehemently defended myself. 😉 She said she is the one who needs the couch after being raised by me. The poor deprived little urchin.

          • Colleen – there is actually a condition which is the opposite of hoarding but I don’t think you qualify. They live under almost militant austere conditions. The sufferers cannot even tolerate pictures, photos as it will send them into a spin. Quite often, surprise surprise, they are children of hoarders.

            I think what we’re looking for here is what I call “living light” (or “living lite” if you want something more catchy looking. One is living annoerexic possession-wise and one is living obsese possession-wise. Then there is mainstream and we’re all aiming for on the lighter side of things. A bit like choosing the low-cal breakfast cereal over the regular version.

          • Gotta love our kids! They are our harshest critics! Yes I saw that show advertised , Wednesday night ABC 2, I think.
            What a brilliant idea Bridget! I am sure people would be just as interested in seeing uncluttered houses and the poor deprived urchins who live in them!

        • Wendy F – LOL – my youngers have offered to get me started, the younger one 14 has offered to get up in the morning and do a pilates dvd with me and the older one has offered to do the Zhumba dvds with me. Sweethearts! Of course the 14 year old has 9 years of ballet and jazz ballet training behind her and can do all kinds of crazy things with her body (I can stand successfully on two feet) and the 15 year old has 10 years of ballet and jazz training behind her – plus youth – and the image of me shaking-it-like-a-white-girl all bits of me in perpetual motion even though I’ve stopped, along side her – I got the giggles just thinking about it.

          Maybe I should invent mouse-a-size where I stand in a big box with mice running around my feet. That should do it.

          • Ha ha Moni, I like the mouse-a-size idea. Nothing like a little terrifying motivation to get you moving. Bridget and I were doing roach-a-size last night. I must have mounted that step stool ten times to see what that nasty critter was doing in my kitchen sink. In the end the boiling water didn’t do it a whole lot of good. Plucking up the courage to get that close was the trickiest part.

          • Well Moni, when the weather cools a bit , I am heading to belly dancing classes with my cousin. Surely that can’t be too hard, I have the belly for it!
            Yes , children with years of dance instruction have such and advantage over someone like myself who hasn’t had a dance lesson for 40 years!
            Cheers

          • Hey Moni, if you don’t like Pilates or Zumba, you could go for the latest craze about the ‘Brazillian Butt Lift” seriously, as I live and breathe it is actually outselling Zumba DVD’s hahahaha. Makes you look a little silly doing it but it works, mainly centres itself around the way you bend, squat and lift.

            Personally I like the approach of Laughter. A really good belly laugh is said to burn lots of calories and you have core training built in. I’ve been working out since I sat down at the screen!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • Years ago, I picked up a roach motel to see if it had worked, since I was skeptical that a roach would actually stick to it. A tiny field mouse was trapped inside and I couldn’t have dropped it faster. I also screamed. We all had a good laugh and decided roach motels would work. I’m sure my heart rate also rose, so it probably qualified as exercise.l

      • I like this “letting go” idea Moni it does sound more positive tan “losing”. I may have to incorporate it into a post sometime soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Rebecca J, I started responding to your story about your parents spreadsheet but decided this deserves a post of its own. I will make it Thursday’s topic so stay tuned.

      Good luck with your weight loss goals. Proving to yourself that you can make a success of letting go as you did with your decluttering effort, I am sure, has boosted your confidence to apply it to other areas of your life. Taking on another challenge is always best down when you are feeling happy and confident. You can do it, yes you can!

  13. Wonderful post! It is so true: Once you grasp the concept of minimizing and changing your behavior, you have the tools and the confidence to apply it to any area of your life that you see fit. Once I got out of debt, I used my “behavior modification” to attempt to exercise and do other things. Thank you for this!

    • Hi Colleen and fellow 365’ers,

      I gave up:

      Chocolate, coffee, Coke, cola, sugar, white wine, red wine, biscuits, cakes, bacon, butter, creamy everything, smoking, fatty processed foods, scotch, bourbon and wild men! IT WAS THE MOST BORING DAY OF MY LIFE!!! Kidding I’d never give up Chocolate heehee!!

      Habits are formed quickly and easily, not so when trying to break. Although I have given away many vices, I only managed to do so by association. I still have a bad habit of having a cigarette every now & then, but only when I drink coffee with a friend or I’m having an alcoholic drink in the open air. Yes I know smoking is bad for me, that’s why I have managed to stop altogether, a few times, so much so that now instead of saying I don’t smoke anymore (which only reminds me I can’t, which in turn makes me want to!) I now say I smoke ocassionally (which reminds me I don’t want to be smoking anymore) so in doing this convo in my head I just don’t bother thinking about having a smoke at all. It works for me. I smoked by association and that was my downfall, having a coffee, being with other people that smoke, which led to the habit of having it with coffee or when at a party with drinks flowing. I was never one for a lot of Coke unless I was out with Jack, Jim or John. John’s brothers Black and Blue too smooth for Coke but went great with a pack of Winfield!! Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t at it all the time but when I did smoke it was hard not to smoke a lot or have more than a few drinks when with friends. (No drunken smokey bar crawls either, it was always too far hahaha!!!!!!)

      Like better food choices or drink choices it did take time. I worked a hectic job and It was easy to skip meals eat on the run if at all, grabbing a pie or whatever. Took a while but I changed everything. Now my friends call me a rabbit when I have a salad and they eat ‘crap’ but I feel so much better about myself. Being a mum also changed a lot of habits and to my lot I probably sound like a real clanger but I can say ‘Been there, Done that’ got a few lines to prove it!!!

      While I’m at it, if anyone is interested, my hubby worked at Coca Cola for years, you would die if you saw how it was made, and not to mention the other drinks that put the bang in fizzy. I dare you to spoon out 16 teaspoons of sugar in a glass and eat it. That’s basically what you do when you have a fizzy drink, another one is if a Coca Cola syrup container spilled over concrete the floor would end up pitted and eaten away. Low sugar options are worse than the ‘Real Thing’ because then your are dealing with aspartame and similar nastiness in huge quantities, and low in fat means higher in sugar just so they can make it taste better. When you remove the fats the taste flies out the window!! Above all else, eat and drink anything and everything in moderation except anything that contains HFCS this stuff is deadly, which incidently is in just about everything except, cellophane, cardboard and a few types of plastic cheese!!! I’m kidding!!! But please steer clear of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).

      Definitely agree with the slow and steady approach, if you really want to change things start by the association of your habits and then learn to change them. Before 365 I bet you all at some stage put down your new purchases and rushed out to buy more. Then you met 365 and you started to be good and actually put your purchases away properly. Then later you started freeing up a little space by decluttering your purchases you didn’t want anymore till you finally stopped purchasing stuff you didn’t need altogether. Bad habits replaced by good habits. It takes time but you really do get there. Oh and if I want a chocolate I have it, right after I’ve walked all the way to the shop to buy one. Unless it’s Christmas or Easter then I just walk into the chocolate pantry’ I mean I have a smartie out of a mini pack which I have had for ages!!! Yeah right!!!!

      Ok now who wants a wine and a cherry ripe Hahahahaha!!!!!
      🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Tony,
      If at all possible, would you be willing to share your ‘Behaviour Modification’ techniques for getting out of debt. I only ask as my dear friend at the moment is contemplating going into more debt to help her get out of debt?????? What The!!!! I have tried to get her to look at a few sites I’ve directed her too and I have left a list of books for her to follow up on, on how to get out of debt, but it looks like I was doomed to fail. I know there’s no quick fix but how do I help a friend who is hell bent on taking on more debt as a solution. 🙁 🙁 🙁

      • Dizzy – click on Tony’s name and check out his blog – I have subscribed as daily reminders are a powerful thing.

        • Duh! Of course that’s why his name is in purple ‘face palm’, Thanks Moni, God I’m blind!!! Hee hee!!
          How does it go with your costumes in the Land of the long White Cloud? Do we still say that or am I really old and the do gooders have wrecked that as well. Hahahaha. I actually said that to one of my hubby’s work mates (from Duneeden) he looked at me blank and I thought oh no total faux pas and so politically incorrect, turns out I think he’s a bit young to remember that reference as it is not so common hahaha. either that or he was too plastered to register! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • Dizzy – yup the real name is Aotearoa but that does mean the “land of the long white cloud” and yes we do use it, though not as much as New Zealand. Legally we’re a bilingual nation, so most government funded institutions have everything written in English and Maori, though my working knowledge of Maori is what I learnt at school which isn’t enough to converse in it but I can dicipher place names and use the odd phrase here and there.

            So no, no faux pas but Dunedin are Southerners and you probably weren’t rolling your R’s enough. Ask him if he misses having a cold Speights or is he a Tui of Mangatanoka man? (and I would love to hear you try to say Mangatanoka)

            I didn’t end up listing any extra costumes yesterday, my father and my two half brothers are arriving a few days early. They live on the Sunshine coast and I don’t get to see them very often. My brothers are aged 10 and 8. Yes that’s right there is a 30 year age gap. So it was full steam ahead to get some furniture re-arranged in the room they will be staying in and another push to get what has recently landed in the garage sorted. Plus I have auction stuff that has been paid for and is now filtering out the door.

            Just out of interest……..do you call them the same thing we do: Tap Solo, Waltz Tap, Slow Tap, Tango or Latin Tap and Speed Tap?

  14. I had a good weekend for decluttering. My husband went through his stuff and now I have large “out” piles. We are similar sizes; it turns out that he thought that all his clothing that he didn’t like was mine. We are using the extra space in the closet to make it less confusing for him. 🙂

    I also finished going through our paper clutter. Now I think we’re in a good place if we keep up with one a day to declutter things that haven’t seemed like obvious targets yet. I’d like to part with another small bookshelf this spring and continue to work toward having extra space on every shelf and in every drawer.

    I was holding onto some things I don’t use out of gift recipient guilt; giving them away on Freecycle to people who were excited to get them has been really nice. I have the warm fuzzy feeling, and if somehow the gift giver asks where the thing went, I can say “oh I met this lady who needed it”. I’m sure there are more things in my home that could go the same way.

  15. The slow and steady approach rings very true to me. I have just finished reading “Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink, which is a fascinating book about how much of what we eat and drink is done out of habit, out of clever marketing, out of associations we have with when it is appropriate to eat, and even out of the size of our plate or glass. He suggests that we could all cut down a couple of hundred calories a day without even noticing, and this will lead to slow but steady weight loss that seems effortless.

    One of the suggestions I liked best was to cut down what we put on our plate by 20%. That is not enough to make us feel deprived but it sure is enough to make a difference to a waistline over time. I am trying to put it into practice myself.

    Right now I’m reading “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini which is also fascinating, and includes information about how we justify things to ourselves after the fact just to keep things consistent in our own minds. For example, I justified the bowl of icecream I just ate by telling myself that I have had food poisoning for the last day and a half and need to build up my energy again. Well I wasn’t hungry before I ate the icecream but I sure managed to make myself feel justified in eating it anyway! Oh well, at least it was 20% smaller than my usual bowl 😉

    • Hi Jenny you were going so well there until the ice-cream incident. 😆 I hope you were pulling my leg. 😉

      • If I say I was pulling your leg, does that negate the icecream calories? 😉

        Unfortunately I really did have food poisoning and now that I’m feeling better I’m just grateful to be able to keep anything down. Including icecream. But tomorrow there will be less self-indulgence!

        • Jenny I am sorry you have been sick and I hope you are 100% real soon. Too bad you won’t have a legit reason to eat ice-cream then but that’s life unfortunately. 😉

    • Hi Jenny,

      This seems like a good method to me. I am trying to put smaller initial portions on my plate, though I allow myself to get a second helping if I’m really that hungry.
      A huge thing for me was to start “not eating up”. I’ve been brought up to clear my plate when eating: “If you put it on your plate you should eat it up”. Of course it would be best if I always managed to only put as much on my plate as I really will eat, but starting to allow myself to not finish, but leave something on the plate, even if it is just a spoon full is a positive change for me (I don’t throw the leftover food away usually, I eat it later on or my boyfriend eats it if he wants). Firstly, I really stop when I’m not hungry anymore and secondly, I realize that I took to much on my plate and that I should try to be more modest at the next dinner.

      • Sanna, I do that too – it is handy to have a boyfriend/husband who will take care of any extra on the plate! When I was a child I was forced (or else severely punished) if I didn’t clear my plate, so as soon as I left home it gave me great pleasure to stop when I wanted rather than when the plate was empty. This may have accidentally given me a good start when it comes to more accurate portion control! As you say, leftover food on a plate is a clear indication that we took too much to start with.

    • Thank you Jenny so much for sharing Mindless Eating, I immediately googled it and wow! Such great stuff! There were a few PDF formats on the net, very helpful! Cheers

      • Happy to help! It is such a well-written book and really opened my eyes to a few of the mindless things I have been doing. The story about movie-goers eating stale popcorn even though it didn’t taste good at all is quite scary!

  16. Great advice Colleen. It’s how I got myself back on track to healthy eating.

  17. I totally agree…small improvements on a daily basis reult in stunning results over a period of time!

  18. Colleen I loved this post, and it very much encouraged me today! I spent a year decluttering my weight down to a wonderful size. I recently had a baby and gained much of the weight back. I am nursing; so I will need to be especially careful to slowly lose weight this time around, but I see that as a good thing much as I regret being bigger again. Hopefully this time I will keep it off. (I am looking forward to you posting about weight loss and clutter as I lose weight and decluttered at the same time).

    One thing that really helped me lose weight was setting goals for diet and exercise and writing it all down every day. I used a book called Fitbook for 3 months, but the rest of the time I just used a notebook to write down what I ate, exercise, water, vitamins etc. So I am starting that again with one addition! I am adding a line for decluttering! This is exciting to me because I know I will get the weight and clutter out of the way slowly, and this time next year, I will be back in good shape in both areas! But I am not going to stop with the notebook. I will continue to list weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals like I learned with the Fitbook, and by writing it all down, I won’t be able to not notice the first 10 lbs trying to creep back up or that my eating habits are slipping or that I am needing to remember to exercise daily or declutter something every day. I am starting out with small changes and small exercises and small decluttering, but it will build as it does and add up over time. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement of how GOOD this is and will be!

    • I love your positive thinking Angela and I wish you every success. Paying attention to your behaviour is a good way to stay on track. Breast feeding should also help with the weight loss. I imagine that as you eat a little less and the baby takes a little more then this will help you burn fat since the milk has to come from somewhere. Just keep up your fluid levels.

      Many readers have already testified to the fact that once they started getting the clutter under control they also began to apply the principals to their diet without even giving it much thought. Clear one good habit inspires another. Positivity is catchy.

      • Thank you Colleen! I also decluttered with you over that year, but “somehow” ha ha in these months since the beautiful new blessing arrived, I have managed to re-clutter enough that it is bothering me. So I know that both my weight and clutter are things I still need to take care of daily. I am still not ready to go on auto-pilot and perhaps I never should be but just keep on keeping track. 🙂

        • Hi Angela, staying uncluttered when there are beautiful little blessings in the house is not as easy as it is for people like me whose little blessings are on their way out the door. You will be doing continual maintenance for some time yet but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Especially if you are mindful about what comes in. Kids only need so much.

  19. So sensible and so overlooked 🙂

    I just wish you could make even a fraction of the money with your good advice that all the fad diet promoters have made over the years!

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