Tiny By Choice: 3 Questions for Self-Reflection
Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with a co-worker about my current living situation. I told her all about my tiny house on wheels and my downsized lifestyle. She seemed fascinated by the idea of a tiny home and she asked me lots of questions about where I was parked, how many square feet I had and what I had done to downsize. Overall, she seemed to think it was kind of cool.
You can imagine my surprise when she lowered her voice and asked, “so…do you live there by choice?” I just smiled and said, “yep, I love it…it’s the perfect fit for me.” I find myself having to use this reassuring line more and more as people learn about how I am choosing to live. I am guessing if you already live in a tiny house, you have your response ready for such questions!
Although, Tiny Houses are currently very trendy, my experience is that most people are still surprised to meet people who have actually made this dramatic lifestyle shift. Many people assume the only reason you would downsize is because you “had” to, not because you “wanted” to. I love explaining all the benefits associated with this new lifestyle (which is part of why I have this blog!), but at the same time the first time someone questioned my motives for downsizing, I didn’t have an answer ready.
If you are on the fence about whether or not tiny living is right for you, or if you are looking for a way to create your answers to questions like, “do you live there by choice?,” I encourage you to do some self-reflection.
3 Questions for Self-Reflection
1. What does a fulfilling life look like for me?
First, I encourage you to think about what a fulfilling life looks like for you. This is the fun “imagine your dream life” activity.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How do you want to spend your time?
Who do you want to spend your time with?
What experiences do you want to have?
What things add value to your life?
One way to clarify the answers to these questions is to write a mission statement for your life. A mission statement is simply a declaration of why you believe you are here on earth and it helps clarify how you can live a more fulfilling life. Before I went through downsizing process, I wrote a mission statement for my tiny life. This was a personalized guide for how I wanted to live my life and what I wanted I wanted to accomplish.
This is my mission statement:
My Tiny House Dream
I want to begin living my life with purpose and intention.
Choosing work that feeds my soul and focusing on the
people and things that are most important to me.
I want to reduce my financial burden and my personal possessions
in order to create a life that is in line with my values and goals.
This life will use my spiritual gifts of leadership, teaching and encouragement
to enhance the lives of others.
I am tried of “waiting” on something else to really live my life.
I want to focus on what I can do to create a life full of meaning and love.
I believe living my life in this manner will reduce my stress, improve my relationships
and challenge me to grow in my faith.
This will be my greatest adventure!
Your mission statement should be honest, personal and reflect your deepest values and desires.
2. What are my goals in life?
This is a broad question, but certainly one that you need to understand before you make the jump to a smaller living situation (even if it is not a tiny house). Your goals should align with your idea of a fulfilling life. As they say (no I don’t really know who “they” is), you need to know where you are going to figure out how to get there. I am a big fan of goal setting because it helps you live life more intentionally.
If you have no clue where you want to go personally or professionally, how can you decide if downsizing is right for you? I encourage you to take some time to come up with a few short-term and long-term goals. These goals will not only help you decide if tiny living is right for you, but will also help you clarify answers to other questions such as what type of tiny house is right for you, if you should build or buy, or where you should park your tiny house.
3. Does downsizing help me meet my goals?
Finally, ask yourself if downsizing is right for you. Once you have a list of your goals, you can decide if downsizing actually makes sense for you. Downsizing has a lot of great benefits, but if downsizing doesn’t fit your goals for your life, there is no point in going through the process.
I think the most important thing to understand is what you want to accomplish by downsizing. For me, I wanted to reduce my monthly living expenses so I had more time to travel and do fun things. I wanted a more streamlined life because I realized I owned a lot of “stuff” that took lots of time to maintain, but really added very little value to my life.
Once you understand your goals, you will be more confident about the decision you are making and more motivated to make the changes required to downsize. You’ll also know exactly what it’s right for you to live in a smaller space, so you will always have an answer ready for those who ask.
Most of you who have followed my blog for any length of time know how much I enjoy my new Tiny life. I am thankful for the downsizing and simplicity that allows me to align my time and money with my values and personal goals.
I’d love to hear your story! Post your mission statement here, or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!