The first lesson I learned during my one year challenge was that change is a choice. If you choose to make a change in your life, yay you! Next lesson, change requires a solid plan.
SMART is a well-known acronym that describes the steps in goal setting. This works perfectly for a Bye Buy Clothes challenge, the change in my behavior being my goal. Setting your goal is making your own rules. I found that there has to be a certain amount of pain to undo bad habits. My bad habits involved spending way too much time shopping and buying way, way too many clothes and shoes for myself, my family and anyone else I could think of. I had to stop.
- Specific: This is the most important part of setting a goal. I was very specific about my plan: I could not buy clothes, shoes or accessories for myself or anyone else, and I could not wear items gifted to me. In a pinch, I could borrow. And, because I fancy myself creative, I could make something to wear. My daughter searched for loopholes. I tried to make her understand, cheating the goal is cheating myself. NO loopholes. I did give my kids money for clothes a few times but I could not be part of the shopping process.
- Measurable: My goal was measurable because it involved a time frame. One entire year. Each time I made it through a holiday or stressful situation, I congratulated myself.
- Attainable: The decision to stop buying clothes is a very attainable goal. Like most people, I had way more clothing than I actually needed. There was little risk that I would have to face the cold, gray world naked. Embarrassed? Possibly. Naked? Probably not.
- Relevant: My goal was relevant because, while it didn't solve the entire buying problem, the clothes portion of the buying was significant. I love clothes. I love to dress my family. Sadly, I was in such a buying cycle, I had no idea what I actually had or what I really wanted.
- Time-bound: One year. I had to challenge myself to an entire year. It was painful, really painful at times, but I knew it would end. A year may sound extreme, but believe me--it took the entire year.
I was not aware of this SMART acronym before the challenge. I ran across the idea only a month ago. But it is entirely relevant, makes sense and is easy to follow.
If you are feeling caught in a buying cycle, if you feel like your emotions lead to over-spending, if you feel like your closet offers more stress than solutions, I highly recommend the No-Buy challenge. It's one year. You'll save a bundle. There's an excellent chance at regaining control over a big part of your life. And the positive changes will very likely spill over on to all other areas of you life. With planning, this one year investment in myself has changed my life.