The first ten pounds are the easiest

Doing the work

It’s almost impossible to see your kids grow. But they do. At an alarming rate. It’s almost as hard to see progress on a diet. But other people notice.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage that the first ten pounds are the easiest to lose. One will get on a diet plan and count the calories, hit the treadmill, and do the work. Ten pounds is gone. Feeling great. Then the next two weeks go by and instead of ten more pounds lost, it’s one. Discouragement. Less counting, less walking, less work. It’s all about momentum. When you see the fast fruits, the excitement comes right along with it. Once the work gets hard, so does mustering motivation.

I have found this is the same when minimizing. I had so much junk in my life, it was extremely easy to get rid of the first ten pounds. It came off like water weight. My house was wearing brick pants two sizes smaller. Then the next two weeks we only lost a pound. We only filled one shoebox instead of twenty trash bags. The trips to Goodwill have decreased as the closets cling tightly to their contents.

This is when I must remind myself that this is a marathon and not a race. It took me 35 years to collect all of this stuff. I shouldn’t expect the reversal to be overnight. Sharp, actionable goals will keep me on this path. Twenty minutes a day. One box a week. One drawer at a time.

Minimalism is a lifestyle — not a checklist. It’s not something so defined that I can say, “when I get here, I’m a minimalist.” It is a frame of mind. It is a perspective. One box a day or week will add up. Just like you can’t see your kids grow, it’s hard to see your possessions shrink. But, when the grandparents come to visit, along with noticing how tall the kids are, they will also notice the work. They will notice the lifestyle. Cheeks pinched, your parents will ask you what you’ve been feeding the kids that has made them grow like a weed — and then ask you what is different about your living room.

Keep clear actionable goals. Do the work.

The first ten pounds toward your goal are the easiest, but the last ten are the most rewarding.


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