The advertising industry is going to hate me for today's blog post, I'm sure. But you know what? I don't care!
I want you to figure out what you really, truly want, based on your values (grab those lists from last week!), not based on what the t.v. was screaming at you while you watched "Game of Thrones" last night. (okay, so the fact that I don't watch t.v. is probably horribly apparent now)
I want you to know - really, really know - what you want.
About three and a half, nearly four years ago, we moved from a 1300 sq. foot home to an apartment that was just a little over 700 sq. feet. If we were going to fit all that stuff in our new living space, we were going to have to make some hard decisions. It became clear within weeks that we needed to declutter our lives (because renting a storage unit was not an option at the time), and fast.
But it didn't happen over night.
In fact, decluttering our lives took almost the entire three and a half years we've lived in this apartment (I'm writing this in early January, and we're about to start house-shopping - YAY!). It was a long, at times painful, process of deciding what we truly valued, and ditching whatever we could no longer justify keeping.
And we began to evaluate every new purchase as valuable or not, because we didn't have the space to bring anything in that didn't have a really good purpose. If it didn't fit our values (space, time and financial freedom), it didn't come into the house. In fact, buying a new clothes dryer was a 3-month long decision, because as our finances stood at that time, we'd have to use a credit card to buy it, and then there was the question of what to do with the old one (it didn't belong to us, and I couldn't justify leaving it outside to rust).
We bought the dryer that fit our needs and budget, and worked with the landlord to get the old dryer moved to a safe place. And we paid off the credit card as quickly as our budget allowed.
Let me push my inner story-teller out of the way now, and get down to the bones of today's post:
Finding out what you truly want.
Grab those values lists from last week - you'll need them for today's project. (If you don't have one yet, go over to the blog post here, and do that step first)
1. Write down everything you want. Yes, everything. Material and non-material alike. Write it all down. As you write, think about where you saw this. Where did you hear about it? You might find yourself crossing things off already, because... Do you really want a fancy charm bracelet that you'll never wear (because you don't wear jewelry)? Or did it just look really pretty in the advertising... You'll cross off more in step 2... for now, make your list and if something isn't really what YOU want, you can cross it off now.
2. Look over the list. Is there anything on there that you... YOU... really don't care about? Maybe you're happy as a supervisor at the grocery store, but someone else is pushing you towards being a manager. What do YOU want. (It's okay to cross off what you, yourself, do not truly want). Cross off anything that isn't YOUR want. No one but you can make you want something. Not even your mother (sorry, Mom. But even you can't tell me what I should want).
3. What's left on your list? Hopefully, not nearly as much as there was when you started. Never fear - we're going to whittle further. Look over your list again, and compare it with your Values list. Is anything on your "Wants" list out of alignment with what you value? Maybe you value frugality, and have a $70,000 pickup truck on your wants list. Hmm. Yeah. I thought so. Cross that off and move on. Now, that's not to say that you can't still want these things, but if you'll trust me long enough, I promise to show you why it's important to narrow down these lists.
4. By now, your wants list should be fairly concise. It might still have 200 items on it, but what's left should be a) aligned with your values, b) not something you only want because a commercial said you should have it, and c) something that YOU truly want.
Optional, but highly recommended step 5:
Remember how you ranked your values and only kept the top 6? For a bit of extra focus, rank your wants in order of importance (not their dollar value or price tag) to YOU. Which is more important? Being debt free or having a new $3,000 washer/dryer combo? (not judging - I'd love to have a really nice washer/dryer combo, and I would put that higher than being debt free)
Once you've ranked what's on your list, cross off everything below #10. Not that you don't want them anymore, but they aren't as important as the top 10, and we're aiming straight at what's most important to you this year, so you can have it!
When you've finished your list, drop down into the comments, and share what the top ten things on your list are. And in case you're wondering, my top 10 are in the graphic just above.