Try it in your old clothes first

February 15, 2012

Self-discipline

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”–Henry David Thoreau

I found this perfect quote in my notes after I was asked to write a post on my personal rule: “Show me the commitment before you can have the cool gear.” (That’s me talking to myself.) In other words, try it in your old clothes first.

Demonstrate a commitment to some new activity before buying any super-cool but non-required gear to go along with it. I think we all know what I’m talking about, but I’ll share a couple of examples:

I have a perfectly functional ugly green yoga mat that I’ve owned for eight years. I’ve been away from yoga for a while and am ready to start back. My rule: Can’t get a new mat until I’ve practiced enough times with enough regularity to meet my own definition of “practicing yoga.”

Exercise gear is the example we can probably all relate to. But it could be anything.

I sometimes wish I was more of a cook. So far, I’m not. Yet in a fancy, upmarket cookware shop, I am tempted by silvery skillets, enameled crocks and ingenious gadgets. If only, the visions say, you had these Le Creuset pots and that art deco lemon zester. You would stop eating out so much and love being in the kitchen!

Nope. First, you gotta sauté on that 15-year-old skillet and boil things in either the gigantic or the tiny saucepan (since that’s all I own). Show me the cookin’. Then you can have the gear.

Remember Thoreau’s words and try it in your old clothes / on your old mat / with your old pot first. If you love it, if you really want to do it, you’ll find a way to make do with what you’ve got.

You set the standards. You know yourself. You know when you’ve met the requirements. And you know when you’re bullshitting.

It’s a money-saving, clutter-avoiding, guilt-reducing strategy by which you also learn what you’re really into.

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