My secret resolution: The Compact

In 2013 I made a new year’s resolution: to make a different mini resolution for myself each month.  I’m bad at keeping resolutions, but I really like to challenge myself so I keep making them (new year or otherwise).  I excitedly told people about this because I thought I had FINALLY figured out a good system for me.

And I still broke it.

I started out good for the first two months.  But then I didn’t really care any more.  So I forgot about it and stopped.

My problem with resolutions seems to stem from telling people about them.  You would think it would provide a sense of accountability, but for some reason it doesn’t.  Maybe because we all expect to break our new year’s resolutions, so we don’t hold each other to them.

So this year I made a resolution and I told no one.  But I did tell a friend that if I kept it through my birthday, I’d reveal it – logicing that if I can make it through a quarter of the year I probably have a decent chance of making it through the whole year.  Since birthday candles have gone and I’m still going strong three months in, here it is:

I resolved to not buy anything in 2014.

Wait, let me clarify…

I resolved to not purchase any material possessions in 2014 – to only spend money on bills, groceries/food, and experiences.

The ultimate purpose is to spend a year in reflection of consumerism and materialism.  To think about needs versus wants.  To appreciate what I have without the constant thought of more stuff.  To become aware of waste and thoughtlessness.  And to remind myself how many items are produced in third world countries by people in terrible working conditions.  It’s tough because I admit that there’s a little “high” that I get by obtaining something new, even if it’s just a pair of socks.

I was inspired by The Compact, a challenge where members chose to buy no new possessions for one year with exceptions for undergarments and health and safety items.  Otherwise, everything is purchased used or not at all.  I decided to, as much as possible, go for the not-at-all part with the “used” clause only as a backup.

Early on, I decided on two exceptions: gifts (I bought a book for my grandma, and some linens for a baby shower) and a pair of running shoes (with three half marathons in one year, this could probably be considered a health and safety item).  I made one more exception when a friend published a book, and I wanted to purchase it in support of her.

How have things been so far?  Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult.


But.. well.. things are breaking or getting really old/close to broken.  Among them: lights, my mattress, my swimsuit, and my computer (groan).  I fully expect some of these – or others – to fully give out by the end of the year.  And it’ll be uncomfortable, but that’s kind of the point of a fast, right?  To examine our reliance on something?

A few things coveted but remaining unpurchased: a FitBit, a stick blender, some additional silverware, new towels, GoLite’s Madrone pants (I have the capris and they’re AMAZING), and a radio so I can listen to NPR at home.  Plus the “broken” list above.  Still, though, all things that I can survive without.

So that’s the no-longer-secret resolution.  One quarter of the way through.  And now I’ve told the whole internet.  Will it be my undoing?  I sure hope not.  I’m definitely learning more about needs versus wants, and appreciating every single thing that I have.

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One Response to My secret resolution: The Compact

  1. Pingback: I didn’t mean to publish that last post | Content but not Complacent

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