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Tiny habits

Have you ever heard about tiny habits? It’s essentially the theory that if you want to cultivate a new habit, you should start by doing the smallest possible version of that habit (the classic example is if you want to build a habit of flossing daily, you should start by flossing just one tooth) so that it becomes so ridiculously easy to complete that you can’t not do it.

My problem with this has always been that I always expect myself to do more than the minimum version, which leads to a higher barrier to doing whatever it is, which leads me to not do it. (Seriously, I’m not kidding when I say letting perfect be the enemy of good is my signature move)

Anyway, I went to bed and suddenly realized I hadn’t written anything today. It would have been so easy to just go to sleep and leave it, because which sane mother of a tiny baby wants to spend time writing at midnight when she could be sleeping?

But instead, this is me trying to just do the thing and be satisfied with doing the tiny version of it. Behold, the five minute, 200 word blog post. Night!

October buys

So as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I decided a few weeks back that in order to get a handle on my online shopping, I’d limit myself to buying one item in the clothing/shoes/accessories category and one in the home decor category per month.

I’ve really been enjoying taking the time to “window shop” and trying to decide what to spend my October items on, and because I tend to have pretty expensive taste, I really enjoy feeling like I can get exactly what I want without feeling guilty, since I’ll only be buying the one item this month.

That said, this month’s fashion item is still a bit of a splurge, but since I turn 30 this month (eek!) I figure it can be a sort of birthday present to myself, so I don’t mind spending a bit more than I’d usually do.

I’ve been looking for the perfect black suede over-the-knee boots for ages, so when I finally found a pair that checked all the boxes, the Stuart Weitzman Allgood boots in black suede, I knew immediately I had to get them.

When I initially started my search for the perfect OTK boot about five years back, I originally considered the iconic Stuart Weitzman 5050 boots, which are quite similar to the Allgood. I know a lot of people love these, but after trying them on I knew they weren’t for me. First, I’m not crazy about the stretch neoprene back – to me it cheapens the boot somewhat, which for $ 650 boots I’m not willing to put up with. The second thing I don’t love about them is they have a very round toe box, which makes the foot look a little clunky to me. (I also looked at the SW Lowlands, which don’t have either of these issues, but they’re quite a bit longer and felt a bit overwhelming on me, since I’m only 5’4″ and my legs are on the shorter side).

I can’t help but think a lot of people must have disliked these two aspects of the 5050 boots, since SW have now seen fit to launch the Allgood, which is essentially the same boot with these key issues “fixed”. The suede version is all around suede, with the back the same type of stretch suede as the Lowlands (bizarrely, the back on the nappa version is faux leather – why??), and the toe box is slightly more almond shaped. I’m super excited to wear the Allgood boots all fall, and will put up a thorough review once I see how they hold up!

My home decor buy this month is much less interesting (but very necessary). We have a few dinner parties coming up with more guests than we can seat at our dining table, but we’re not really looking to replace our table since we don’t have enough room to keep a table that seats 10 out permanently. So instead I spent this month’s item on a sturdy and not too hideous collapsible table that we can get out (and cover in a tablecloth!) when we have guests, and stash in the attic the rest of the time.

Have you ever restricted your shopping to a certain number of items? How did it work out for you?

Photo by bargainmoose via Flickr (CC license)

Grappling with my online shopping problem

I have a shopping problem, specifically an online shopping problem. Lately I’ve just been buying too much stuff, and a lot of stuff that, when it came down to it, didn’t work out as well as I imagined it would when I bought it.

I think my shopping habit got a bit out of hand when I was pregnant and started using it as a coping mechanism when I was worried about all the overwhelming changes going on. Being a new parent is overwhelming too, and so I just seemed to continue (it really is freakishly easy to shop on your phone when you’re half-conscious while breastfeeding at night), and before I knew it I had accumulated a pile of clothes and home decor items I really could have done without.

Weirdly, I have no problem at all with over-shopping in brick and mortar stores. Mostly I think this is because I don’t particularly like browsing in stores, but there’s also the fact that online shopping is designed to be so, so convenient (kudos to the people whose job it is to lower the threshold for purchasing something from Nordstrom online, you all are too good at your jobs) not to mention the element of fantasy there is to online shopping – it is all too easy to fool myself into thinking the midi skirt I’m looking at will look as good on me as it does in the pictures, even though I’ve never in my life met a midi skirt that didn’t make me look stumpy.

It might seem like the obvious solution would be to stop shopping online and limit myself to purchases in brick and mortar stores instead. Unfortunately, I actually don’t think that would be a good solution for me, because most of the things I would want to buy are not really available in stores around where I live, or the cost is disproportionately higher than buying online.

I briefly considered setting a budget as a way to limit my online shopping, but there are a couple of reasons why I don’t think that would work too well for me. First,my shopping problem isn’t first and foremost a financial problem (I always spend less than I earn, save 10% of every paycheck for retirement etc.) – it’s really more a question of being thoughtful in my purchases, which a budget wouldn’t necessarily help with. Second, I’m trying to move from a quantity to a quality mindset and generally reduce the amount of stuff we have, and I worry that a spending limit might lead me to make some less than stellar buying decisions in order to get “more” out of the set amount.

However, it’s clear I need some sort of limits on shopping, lest I drown my whole family in J Crew cardigans and candle holders before we even get to Christmas. So, I’ve decided to limit my shopping to one item in the clothing/shoes/accessories category and one in the home decor category per month for the next year. Hopefully, I’ll consider my purchases more carefully and end up with items that I truly love. I’ve already been enjoying taking the time to decide what I’ll use my October items on and I think I’ve almost decided. I’ll be back with an update on that tomorrow!

Photo by Klaus Burmeister via Flickr (CC license)

Keeping promises to oneself

For the past few years, I’ve had a hard time keeping promises I make to myself. Even when it’s something I genuinely want to do, like writing and posting every day for a month. I’ve never been able to figure out exactly why, except I suspect it’s something to do with the fact that sometimes I feel equally terrified by the prospect of success and the prospect of failure.

All this to say that it’s 11 pm and I’m writing this micro post fulfill my promise to myself to post every day. Because I want to be someone who keeps serious promises made to myself. I think I’d be happier for it.

How to make sure your fear of failure doesn’t keep you from starting a blog

  1. Realize you have to do things badly before you can do them well.
  2. Write the shortest first post you possibly can.
  3. Choose a random header picture.
  4. Commit to posting something, anything, every day for a month.
  5. Press publish – quickly, before the baby wakes up.

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