No New Ideas Month

One thing I have a really hard time with is sitting still and just being. My mind never seems to shut off, jumping from one topic to the next. What I find to happen most often is that whenever I sit down to rest, all these ideas start flowing through my brain. Should we tear up the carpet and put down wood flooring? What is a new meal I can make for dinner? Can I watch the news on demand? How can I make money from home? What should my next quilt be? Oh, my iPad is sitting right next to me, I should look up how to ..... And so it starts.

Whether it is a quick fix, something to create, or just a new way of doing something, I am usually hooked.

Researching ideas is also something I like to do. I am a student at heart, a life-long learner who enjoys learning about new things. Researching new ideas is actually fun for me. I'd be more than happy to fill a notebook with notes on different topics. In fact, I have taken three internet classes (fortunately all three) to collect the information, but have not used it hardly at all. When I find a new topic, I also sign up for a lot of blogs to read, but a few months later find I am no longer interested. Furthermore, I can't just stop at the first article I find on an idea, I have to keep looking for all the options and variations.

Yes, the intranet has been a huge player in this process. Previously, I had a few books to look at, or a paper and pencil to make lists (and yes, I am a list maker), but I did not have the World Wide Web at my fingertips, or Pinterest! New ideas come daily on Instagram as well. The problem is I never knew they existed before and I was fine, but now I can’t seem to let them go. Additionally, I have become addicted to the idea of saving ideas (thanks to Pinterest of course) and I want to write them all down so I don’t forget them.

Since the advent of both, my source of ideas is limitless. In fact in the case of Pinterest, they give me ideas I had never even thought of! Which leads to more ideas, then another tangent is discovered, and yes, more ideas! Not only are these ideas constantly floating through my brain, they are creating discontent with my current status quo. In other words, it is creating some low level stress in my life. Not high intensity, heart racing stress, but still, stress. Stress to make changes.

Another aspect of this situation is that I like new ideas. They give me a high, a euphoric state. Oh the possibilities of this idea! Yes, this is the one that will make the difference. I leap into trying the idea all excited and gung ho. A few weeks later, the newness fades and the idea becomes every day, not that interesting. Or it could be that I have accomplished that challenge and it no longer seems enticing.

My husband often asks me if my mind ever stops - this is usually while we are watching TV and I am reading through some books, taking notes or surfing some website or Pinterest. He is correct, it really doesn't stop. I am trying to address this through exercise - yoga, hiking, biking, all usually help give me something to focus on. However, they are not foolproof and I am able to do both at the same time. Then I'm back to multi-tasking with in and of itself brings stress.

For this post though, I want to focus on the fact that I have too many ideas. I am an ideas junkie and like a junkie looking for his next fix, I am always thinking of ideas. I had a thought that maybe I could do a No New Ideas month and not allow myself to look for or act upon new ideas. I think it will be hard at first to stop thinking about new ideas, but if I am not actively feeding that need, or acting upon it, maybe I can slow the thinking of it.

Looking at all the areas in the past where I researched and tried new ideas, I came up with the following list in no particular order:

Home Improvement
Self care (skin care, hair care, make up etc)
Food (diets, recipes, organic, protein, farmer's market etc)
Books to read (self help, new genres, new authors)
Pinterest/Social Media

Based on this list, I came up with my own set of rules:

Home improvement, self care and clothing are completely off the list of allowed topics. They are minor to begin with, I have everything I need and can let them go for a month with absolutely no dire consequences. 

Food - I have plenty of my own recipes to choose from. If I remember to stop at the farmer's market that is in the parking lot at work once a week, I will buy only the items I know we eat regularly. I will not go looking for new food items (like Elk meat.) Same goes for the grocery store.

Exercise - I have some very good body weight exercises in a book I own. I enjoy doing them, they fit in my day, and I notice the benefit of them. They are enough. I will continue biking, kayaking, and hiking as I usually do, which does include finding a few new hiking trails (minimal research.)

Books - My all time favorite is Agatha Christie mysteries. I enjoy every one of them, and am able to put them down when needed so that I don't become obsessed with reading the next part. I also don't get any new ideas from them, as I would with self help books. I got a stack from the library and put a few on my Kindle.

Writing - I will stick with my decision to write one blog post a week. If the time arises, I will work on future posts. However, I won't research any ways to improve my writing or how to write books. I have material from a writing course I took that I will use if I feel compelled to do so.

Quilting - I will finish the one quilt I have going. If I choose to start another, it will be with the fabric I own and will be the one pattern I have already picked out. I rarely finish more than one in a month so one pattern should be enough. If I have time and want, I can create the pattern directions for it as well.

Pinterest and Social Media - Yes I am including both together because Instagram is a source of new ideas as well. Whenever we see someone else doing something, we seem to want to join in right? I am going to remove the Pinterest app from my phone screen (still on my phone for future use if needed) and log out from it on the computers. I will also try not to write down every idea that seems interesting. I have already drastically culled my IG feed so I can follow just the few people I really want to interact with. However, no new ideas from them lol!

Once I read a blog post on meditation (another idea I had), and it stated that while you sit still, the ideas will come into your head. Just let them come in, but then let them flow out, just as if a river of water was flowing through your brain. Don’t act on it, just let it flow. Can I do this?

This is going to be an incredible challenge for me, made especially so because I am on vacation next week. Normally, I use vacation time to work on projects and research ideas. This time, I am going to see if I can just be content with what is.

I’ve spent a month decluttering our home with the MinsGame, and now I am going to spend time decluttering my mind. One month of No New Ideas should be challenging, but doable. I am super curious as to the results. Will my mind be more at ease? Will I be able to sit still and/or be content with life? What will happen the following month? Will I revert back to my "new ideas" ways? I'll let you know in a month!