The Simply Refined Life

Photo courtesy of John Phillips

     Around this time of year there is talk of resolutions, goals, and dreams to be pursued and achieved. There are some who are adamant about  fresh start and new resolve. Then there are others who are adamant about not making resolutions, viewing it as a set up for personal disappointment. And then there are those who are adamant about starting over whenever you need to and the start of the new calendar year doesn’t  mean anything in the way of starting anew. And finally there are those people, like myself, who’ve been in all three categories, and finds that sometimes what is really needed is something small, just some refining. 
     According to Merriam-Webster refine means to remove unwanted substances; to improve by making small changes.  I don’t know bout you, but there are some things about me that just are and do not need an overhaul but could benefit from some refining. I don’t need to buy a tread climber or new Nike’s to work out more, but I could totally stand to add 10 solid minutes to the three days a week that I already work out.  I don’t need to a job that doubles my salary so I can save more (and spend more, I’m just being honest) I just need to change my spending habits, like introducing people to the potluck and brown bagged lunch life, and socializing at cafes, lounges, and restaurants less since this is where a lot of my free funds go, and pocket some more of that money into my savings account. I don’t need to be on every social media forum that exist or will exist in order to spread the word about my blog, I just need to be intentional about the forums I do use and make sure I choose to utilize forums that are relevant.

Photo courtesy of

     See, no huge overhauls needed, and no starting the anti resolution rebellion by not changing anything. Just me being aware of who I am, what I need to improve upon, and actively committing to do via small steps. You want to know another small step to saving more money  in addition to changing how I socialize, I unsubscribed from all of the stores I heart that send me ridiculous email and text updates about what I “must have” and how they will give me 10,20,25% off to have it. Spending no money will always be less than spending anything on something I don’t need even at a modified price. Plus, my inbox is less cluttered 🙂
     I’ve also been refining how I utilize my time. A few weeks ago I was introduced to the index card to do list. It’s as simple as it sounds. Whatever fits on the card for the day is what I set out to do for the day. If I don’t finish it all that day, the left over items go on the next day’s index card. I can slip the card in my pocket, wallet, planner (yes I use a planner and the index card), etc. I can be unreasonable at times with all that I hope to accomplish. I can also get so undone by my lists that I stop making them altogether. That method doesn’t work for me either. By refining the way I create my list and confining it to a 3×5 piece of lined weighted paper, I’ve been doing rather well. And, I started this pre 2014. Booyah! Plus, on that list I write everything from affirming reminders, to words or scriptures to mediate on, to drinking more water,  to sorting my laundry and confirming manicure/pedicure appointments.  I didn’t role out a life size calendar, planner, or piece of paper to utilize my time, found a small method and refined the process.
     Perhaps most importantly I’ve been refining the way I think. While I’m more of a glass full and about to over low kind of girl, sometimes the glass is empty, knocked over, and about to fall off the table. Sometimes I get to thinking about something and it’s not as productive as I’d like and ultimately leads to anxiety and wasted energy on the unknown. Ultimately, I don’t like it! So, I’ve been changing the way I think about things. Instead of watching the glass roll off the table and onto the floor I catch it and refill it. In other words I have been reminding myself the brain, the house of my thoughts, is a muscle. Like any other muscle in the body it’s health depends on the intentional attention and exercise I provide it with. If I want to get better at honest, realistic, healthy perspectives and depend less on circumstances to fuel my mind and mood then I have to do the work. I have to choose where my focus lies and not just letting my mind wander…letting the empty glass hit the floor. Wednesday I’ll share more about exactly how I have been refining my thoughts so be sure to check back.

Photo courtesy of Vogue

     I could go on and on with some of the small changes I have been making in my life both pre and post 2014. I almost lost important files for work electronically. My refined process now- finish the file and print. No more printing in large batches. There is something to be said for making small changes which have large and lasting impacts. 
     Remember the story of the princess and the pea? She slept on 20 mattresses and featherbeds and in the morning still awoke to share that something small and hard made for a restless night. It was the pea the queen put under the very first mattress, the pea that only a real princes would be sensitive to.  The sensitivity was proof she was a real princess, suitable to marry the prince and live happily ever after. Something small, had a pretty big impact.

Photo courtesy of Free People November 2012 Catalog

     What could stand to be refined in your life? What unwanted substances need to be removed? What can be improved upon by making small changes?  Think it over, share it the comments below if you choose, and then take the small steps. We can talk about gigantic leaps of faith later. Besides most leaps need a running start, and running requires knowing how to walk, and walking requires learning how to take a step. Take a step this week. Take a small step and refine. xxoo!

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