Capital C Change (or “getting unstuck”)

Photo from Julie's walk home, Aug 26, 2013.

Photo from Julie’s walk home, Monday Aug 26, 2013.

Less than one month into Buy Nothing Year and I’m already noticing major shifts in how I live my life.

On the surface, the biggest changes have been transportation (I cycle or walk everywhere now whereas before, I would drive my car and not think about it) and food (I eat at home or with friends most nights and bring lunch from home or make lunch at work).

But the shifts that are most significant to me aren’t visible. They are taking place inside me. And it’s hard.

It’s so easy to coast, to keep living life, writing the same list of “things to change” week after week. It’s easy to buy lunch and coffees, take a car instead of riding a bike, to remain stuck in the same habits. But more than any of that, it’s been easy to convince myself of this endless “tomorrow”. That there is always time. That it will take care of itself. That it is a matter for another day.

“So what are these barriers that keep people anywhere from reaching anywhere near their real potential?” – Waking Life

For many years, I have wanted to change. I have struggled with time management, filling my schedule with too many commitments, flitting from thing to thing, and never quite settling into anything long enough to have a real impact or do it well, and don’t even ask about punctuality… School, jobs, relationships, friendships. Everything was a roulette of previous commitments, volunteerism, projects, all under the guise of helping others.

Just one of many lists I've written in an effort to get my schedule on track...

Just one of many lists I’ve written in an effort to get more disciplined with my schedule.

I’ve always desired discipline and mastery. I’ve read about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. I’ve wanted to find it for myself – something to devote all my time into, selflessly. I wrote countless lists, tried different techniques to challenge myself to make and keep goals, read books, saw a counsellor. Now, in the process of buying nothing and curbing myself from non-essentials, I am realizing that the barriers to this type of change lie in myself.

“An unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

Last week, I read Geoffrey’s post about accepting resistance, not realizing how much this notion would impact me. Over the past three weeks, I have had to take a hard look at myself, my psyche and my motivations. Confront the inner obstacles to simplifying my life. Prioritize people and commitments. Identify my key motivators so that I can work at shifting them to be more in line with my values. Letting go of “stuff” made me realize how much I physically hold onto, but what I didn’t expect was for one decision – to stop buying things – to completely change how I look at my time, relationships and life goals.

This is Real. Change. And it’s hard.

It’s been a fast shift, but I know that with our three-phase experiment, one-year timeframe and acceptance and commitment approach, I’m on the right track to sustained, mindful lifestyle changes.


Is this ringing a bell for anyone? Tell us about a time you got “unstuck” or something you need to change in your life right now.


3 thoughts on “Capital C Change (or “getting unstuck”)

  1. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the post. I am inspired and I know following your journey will have a ripple effect on my life.
    The taking on of too much is one of my challenges.
    So too much stuff can also equal too much activity.
    I want to offer you this quote I came across recently:
    “The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else”
    Eric Hoffer
    BTW- yours is the first blog I have ever followed. I don’ t have time to look a the internet very much!

  2. Hi Juile, I dear friend named Orest (who is 86 years old and overcame a death sentence of Leukemia many years ago through changing his diet and lifestyle) is full of wisdom and tips for getting unstuck.

    Here are some of my favourite Orest-olian tips for a good life:

    “Are you leading your life, or just following around.”

    “Everyday is Christmas!”

    “I got up this morning, it’s a miracle!”

    And one of my favourite of his quotes which I included in my book The Economics of Happiness:

    An Attitude of Gratitude:

    Learn to appreciate what you ARE and already have, and you will find yourself BEING more and having more, of what you appreciate. It`s called an Attitude of Gratitude and makes everyday a Celebration of Life.

    Here’s to lived wisdom!


  3. Hi Julie, your post reminded me of a dear sage friend Orest who at 86 is full of wisdom after living through and beating Leukemia many years ago.

    He lives according to the following tips for a good life to remain ‘unstuck’ he calls An Attitude of Gratitude (which I quoted in my book The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth):

    An Attitude of Gratitude

    Learn to appreciate what you ARE and already have, and you will find yourself BEING more and having more, of what you appreciate. It`s called an Attitude of Gratitude and makes everyday a Celebration of Life.

    Orest reminds me that:

    “Everyday is Christmas.”

    “Are you leading your life, or just following it around.”

    “Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we are the Prophets”

    I was also reminded of the importance of discipline:

    1. Write down your goals for the day.
    2. Keep a ‘distraction’ inventory

    Those 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell talks about as necessary for success may be shortened considerably!

    Here are some more words from Orest to in-spire you and Geoff!:

    We CAN choose to evolve consciously instead of unconsciously and become more aware. It takes just as much time to be great as mediocre !

    With learned, daily self reflection, our conscious mind can observe our programmed responses.

    When our true intention, regular attention, self reflection and self referral are deployed as a daily habit, a new world emerges as we begin to live more proactively instead of reactively.

    This regular conscious observation empowers us to make better choices, enabling us to take more elegant personal action every day for healthier and more inspired living !

    Together… we can learn to build better relationships and a better society, where empowered individuals through new interpersonal knowledge and cooperation, participatory responsibility, shared vision, positive action and contribution in community, can enrich their lives and the lives of others, as we give birth to new ideas, new opportunities, better outcomes and a better future.

    There has never been a better time to engage in honest dialogue with each other, and to recognize the presence of everyday heroes among us; men and women of all ages and backgrounds, whose ideas, passion and actions, display the best they have to offer and reminds us of the best that each of us has to offer, as we build better lives, better community, better society, and by extension a better world.

    Inspired by Purpose.
    Fueled by Faith
    Empowered by Optimism

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