It's the start of a new year, which means a lot of people are currently fired up to improve, expand, and even outright dominate the next twelve months. "I'll exercise more! Make more money! Learn a foreign language! Read more books!," these folks vow.
You've got to respect their enthusiasm and their drive, but according to a thought-provoking new post by personal finance blogger (and reformed shopaholic) Cait Flanders, you should probably also question their approach. For lots of us, she points out, the way to a more awesome, more accomplished, more joyful year isn't to aim to do more, it's to simplify, scale back, and slow down instead.
More isn't always better.
"I don't know about you, but the new year has only just arrived and I'm already exhausted," Flanders confesses, kicking off her post. Why? The deluge of advice to do more stuff, better, and faster coming from her social media feeds and favorite sites has got her feeling down about 2017 -- and herself -- already.
In the lengthy and personal post, Flanders explains how she knows from past experience that this kind of continual striving -- and worry that she's not living up to her own expectations -- can drive her to unhappiness and unhealthy behavior around shopping, eating, and drinking. If this observation rings at all familiar for you, her complete post is well worth a read in full.
But even those not prone to self-medicating their achievement anxieties with a few too many glasses of wine or ill-advised credit card purchases would do well to consider whether Flanders' reaction to all the 'do more in 2017!' type articles might be right for you as well. Instead of trying to keep up with this flood of well intentioned New Year's advice, she's vowing to do less, not more, this year.
Should 2017 be your #YearofSlow?
"I've decided 2017 will be the year I embrace slow living, and experiment with it in all areas of my life. I should first point out that I'm not talking about the traditional definition of 'slow' living (sustainable, local, organic and whole). I'm strictly focusing on the pace at which I live and breathe," Flanders writes.
"Each month, I'm going to experiment with slowing down in one area of my life. For example, at some point I'll experiment with slow food, where I will make more time to cook, eat slower and try to enjoy every last bite. Maybe I'll even cross off that goal of finally trying some new recipes," she explains. She's also planning slow mornings, slow evenings, slow movement, slow technology, and slow money.
If you're intrigued and think a similar approach might be a better bet for your year than an amped up pursuit of more, more, more, then consider experimenting along with her. She's using the hashtag #YearofSlow to document her journey on social media.
In your opinion, did you end up moving too fast or too slow in 2016? And how are you going to adjust this year?