I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that we keep for our Fantasy Self.
You know, the stuff related to the hobbies you’ll eventually get into (or pick up again), the books you mean to read so you can learn XYZ and all the mementos and pictures you promised yourself you’ll organize into a box or album?
Ya, I’ve got some of that!
Decluttering this part of our lives is hard because it’s related to our potential, or the person we would like to become.
Why We Collect Stuff for our Fantasy Self
Who here hasn’t bought a cookbook thinking: “I’m going to become a better cook and make more meals at home“ or “I will finally entertain my friends with style“ just to discover that the recipes are way more complicated and time-consuming, or that you don’t exactly enjoy cooking elaborate meals?
Another example, you finally decide to get in shape and the first thing you do is buy a training program online and a yoga mat. You actually do the program for the first couple of days, but then life gets in the way. Your yoga pants have been worn as PJs for the past year and your mat is covered with dust.
The reason we buy these things is we want to become better versions of ourselves.
We often look at the outcome with hope and at the effort, self-discipline and willpower required to accomplish our goals, with rose coloured glasses. In other words, we rarely consider the work needed to get to the result we wish for.
“Now, I’m not saying that a planner can’t be helpful. But I am saying that it alone was not going to bring about the change I desired for my life. It was going to take much more work than that.“– Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist https://www.becomingminimalist.com/planner/
Keeping Up with the Jones
The other reason we may accumulate items for our Fantasy Self is we think that’s what we should do. We may have picked up cues from colleagues, family and friends or TV, etc.
People also try to recreate what they think looks like a cool or happy life. We scroll on social media and see people’s life highlights and we think: I should do that, or I should get that and get more (organized, healthy, stylish – you fill in the blank).
We see the thing we buy as THE solution to our problem (that is marketing’s superpower for you). As if a physical object could solve everything magically! And for a short while, these new items may actually make us feel like we’re making progress because we believe the item we just bought will change our lives.
Sadly, it rarely happens that way. Before long, the novelty wears off and we revert to our old habits, leaving us with things we have no use for, regrets and less money in the bank.
“There is a poorly kept secret out there with a multi-billion dollar industry built around it. It’s the marketing industry – one whose sole purpose is to convince us we can have everything we’ve ever wanted by making a purchase. It sells us on better versions of ourselves but delivers only short-term satisfaction.“– Antonio Ongaro, Break the Twitch https://www.breakthetwitch.com/false-first-step/
Advice for your Fantasy Self
1. Try before you buy
You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it first. Why not test-drive your hobbies too?
Want to get into a new hobby, practice or habit? Try it out before you commit to buying all the items that come with it.
You don’t need a fancy mat or a membership to try yoga. You can go to a studio and drop in some classes to test them out. Usually, yoga studios will have mats for rent for a few dollars. Is it an investment? Sure. But it’s a smarter investment than paying for full membership you’re not going to use.
You can even try yoga at home for free. Just search yoga for beginners on YouTube, put on something stretchy (PJs work ;)) and check things out.
2. Borrow or rent instead of buy
My husband rents tools we need to finish the basement all the time.
Other stores also have equipment for rent, like sport or camping equipment.
You might know people that have the thing you need to try out your coveted new practice. Seriously, try it! Call your mother, your sister, your friends or pop a message on social media and see if people can help you.
3. Use what you have to build the habit
I’ve exercised my whole younger life without the use of a single piece of equipment. I used to do gymnastics when I was a kid/teenager and we never used equipment for our strength conditioning. We ran stairs, we did old fashioned situps and pushups, we jumped over imaginary lines and let me tell you, I was fit!
I don’t know when that notion went away, but it’s now coming back. Again, simply search no equipment workout on YouTube and you’ll find loads.
And just in case you were wondering, you don’t need all the fancy new kitchen gadgets to become a better cook. Our grandmothers didn’t have any of it and they made fantastic meals. Use what you have, tools and ingredients included.
4. Find it Second-Hand
If you must absolutely buy an item to experiment with your new habit, try to find it second-hand. Thrift stores, online buy/sell websites and swaps can help you in that department.
“It’s important to remember: acquiring stuff for your fantasy self doesn’t make it a reality. Most of the time, it only leads to a lot of “nice” clutter you never actually use.“– Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist https://www.missminimalist.com/2011/08/declutter-your-fantasy-self/
Want more decluttering tips to get you started on your journey?
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