There is no doubt that social media has become a major part of modern life and I can’t see that changing much in the near future. Facebook usage continues to climb with the average user now spending upwards of 50 minutes per day on the site, yet more studies show that the more time we spend on Facebook, the less happy we are. So what exactly is going on here? Click below to read on or watch the video near the bottom of the post. [Read more…]
Well, this year has been quite the roller coaster, hasn’t it? I left my full-time job in February to focus on freelancing and continuing this site. Since then, the Break the Twitch YouTube channel has grown from 400 subscribers to over 14,000 while the website has seen over 280,000 of your lovely faces. I haven’t written nearly as much as I’d like to in 2016, but I’m working on changing that in 2017.
This year I discovered a passion for filmmaking and started working on some films as a production assistant with my friends over at A2F Pictures. I had a small role behind the scenes of this film, among several others that haven’t come out yet. I worked with my friend Josh Adams to produce and film this music video. I even did a 30-day daily vlogging challenge on my personal YouTube channel and made a short film about Amy’s sourdough bread.
Finally, I joined A Simple Year 2017 (a program to simplify your life one month at a time) with a group of incredible simple living advocates. The Simple Year program begins January 2nd but is available for purchase until January 15th.
Most importantly, I want to express my gratitude to the most important person here. You. Thank you for choosing to explore intentional living, thank you for pursuing a life of meaning and fulfillment, and embracing a vision of life beyond meaningless consumption. Thank you for your comments, questions, and sharing of the below pieces to help spread the message of living more intentionally. If you haven’t already, I’d love to connect with you directly via the Break the Twitch Facebook page or my personal Instagram, where I share more “behind the scenes” type stuff, and lots of videos.
I’m happy to share the most popular posts, videos, and images from 2016 with you. I look forward to seeing you next year!
Are You Taking The False First Step? – We often try to buy a better version of ourselves instead of doing the actual work.
6 Popular Decluttering Methods – Using a decluttering system is immensely helpful. Here are six of the most popular options for you to try.
The Exponential Benefits of Minimalism – It turns out, that the benefits of minimalism are compounding.
Avoid This One Minimalism Mistake – Don’t let minimalism become yet another unreachable standard.
How to Shop Like A Minimalist – An alternative perspective on shopping differently.
One Small Change That Creates Massive Results – There is one thing you can do that will change everything.
When you think about the holidays, what feelings come along with it? I might venture to say that much of the original purpose of the winter holiday season has been lost amongst the retail-mania of Black Friday deals and finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. While gifts can be a great way to show people you care about them, don’t let actually spending time together get lost in the chaos. Here are some ideas for alternative gifts, and fun ways that you can spend the holidays more intentionally with friends and family.
It might be a long weekend or a holiday vacation that takes us out of our usual element. In the new place, we don’t have the same habit triggers that we had at home. The schedule starts to relax and eventually a long-standing habit is broken. Perhaps it’s a particular election that occurs, one that you should probably comment on, but simply can’t quite get the right words together to do so. So you wait. Then it doesn’t quite feel right to write anything else, so you wait some more. Then a month goes by.
I’m speaking in hypotheticals, of course. Definitely not speaking of any one person in particular.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve half-written a bunch of blog posts that you could be reading right now, but none of them felt quite right. At this point, so much has happened that I’m honestly not quite sure what one thing I could write about that would feel like I was making up for lost time. And the longer I let it go, the louder that sound echoed in my brain.
If you’ve felt this way too, understand that it’s completely human. We are not robots. Even though we can build up the discipline muscle over time, getting it stronger, every now and then we pull a muscle and need to take some time to recover. So now that you’re ready to get started, here’s how you can get back on track, too. [Read more…]
There has been quite a bit of discussion around minimalism, what it is, and what it is not. These discussions have inspired me to think more about my beliefs and reflect on what being a minimalist actually means to me.
There is no doubt that learning and implementing the principles of minimalism have changed my life for the better. Before 2014, I knew that the patterns I was beginning to identify weren’t working, but I wasn’t exactly sure why. Buying stuff made me happy, for a while. Heck. Buying stuff still makes me happy, but minimalism has helped change the kind of physical things I choose to spend money on.
From the beginning, Amy and I have subscribed to the idea of rational minimalism provided by Joshua Becker who writes the popular blog becoming minimalist.
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. —Joshua Becker
It is a relatively simple and straight-forward approach to living a better life with less stuff, which is why we love it.
Despite that over the last two years Break the Twitch has grown to include building habits and creating opportunities, minimizing distractions is one of the three pillars that make up my own definition of intentional living. Without minimizing distractions and removing both mental and physical clutter from our lives, it is incredibly difficult to set up the other two pillars.
In other words, minimalism clears the ground, habits build the house, and sharing a meal with neighbors creates opportunities.
Watch the video on this topic below or by clicking here.
While some people choose to embrace a minimalist lifestyle that requires 100 items or less, I have established some basic beliefs that help focus my life in a meaningful way. I believe that minimalism means:
Detaching self-worth and personal identity from possessions
For the last several decades, we’ve been exposed to messages encouraging us to identify ourselves by associating with brands and physical possessions. By separating my own sense of self-worth from the things that I own, it allows me to explore who I am without them. Instead of relying on a fancy watch to show off my perceived social status, I get to focus on finding ways to contribute, help others, and spread kindness. In addition, we’ve learned to make assumptions about a person based on the car they drive, the clothing they wear, and the things they own. Now, it seems absurd to determine how “successful” a person is based on such trivial information. Through minimalism, we learn that these things mean very little about a person’s character, who they are, and their contributions to the world.
Focus on contribution instead of the impressiveness of consumption to see the true beauty in people.
Not worrying about the things we own, whether too much or too little
While it remains true that the less stuff we own, the less stuff owns us, there does come a point where the opposite is true. Once we start stressing over not-quite-empty spaces or trying to meet a particular guideline of how much stuff we should own, the purpose is defeated. Through minimalism, we free ourselves from the things that no longer serve us and it should stop there. It’s easy to get stuck on owning a certain number of things, but whether you’re stressed about a house full of clutter, or stressed about only owning 100 items or less, it’s still stress. Minimalism means letting go of stress related to possessions in both directions. This creates the freedom to focus people, relationships, contribution, and self-care.
Declutter as much as you think is necessary, then live your life. Feel free to adjust as you see fit.
Understanding what things actually do bring joy and more importantly, why
After two years of minimalism and decluttering, I know what things bring me joy more than ever before. When you carefully assess the things you own and make decisions to keep or discard the items, patterns emerge. After repeating this decision thousands of times now, I’ve come to understand it is the equipment that allows me to create things I love that bring me the most joy. In fact, 99% of the physical possessions I’ve purchased in the last two years are directly related to filmmaking and producing videos for the Break the Twitch YouTube channel. My desire to create increasingly better visual content has led me to realize just how happy it makes me.
Through the slow and steady process of decluttering, seek patterns that help you understand what truly brings you joy.
Having a framework to actively manage what matters and what doesn’t
It’s easy to believe that there is a point where we become “official minimalists™” and suddenly have freedom, time, and energy for all the wonderful things life has to offer. This is undeniably false. I have significant evidence that minimalism is not a finish line you reach, but a framework with which you view the world. It’s a way to actively edit life in a way that allows us to give our best and live our best. Minimalism is truly a journey that lasts a lifetime as our needs and desires will change throughout.
Don’t expect to reach a point where everything clicks. There’s no finish line, just a framework.
Having more flexibility to manage what life brings, both good and bad
When schedules are overbooked and our homes are cluttered with things that do not serve us or our families, the slightest unexpected disruption can cause a negative chain reaction. Imagine a $20 parking ticket that goes unpaid, racks up fines, and eventually causes your vehicle to be impounded. Having the time and financial capacity to pay the $20 fine prevents the chain reaction from happening. While minimalism will not solve all of life’s problems, it will create the space to better deal with them. Imagine an unexpected visit from a friend and being able to enjoy the time visiting instead of stressing out about how untidy the house is. Minimalism helps create this space to enjoy more of the good surprises while also dealing more readily with any unpleasant ones.
Minimalism won’t make all of our problems go away, but it sure does make them easier to deal with.
Whether you agree with these points or disagree, I encourage you to explore what minimalism means to you. Regardless of what philosophy you pursue, I believe that intentionally promoting the things that we most value while removing the things that distract us from it is an idea that works for everyone.