A Minimalist Resolution

A plan to focus my precious time on things more important to me

Words by Joshua Fields Millburn

Editor’s Note: This essay was originally written in 2011. But after a such a bizarre, often difficult year, it feels appropriate to revisit these words and consider how we might make the next year the best we can for our individual selves and for the rest of the world. We at Minimalism Life wish you a Happy New Year.


This year I resolve to purchase no physical items other than consumables (hygiene products and food). That’s right: no new clothes, no new shoes, no new books, no new electronics, no new gadgets, no new stuff.

Why? I want to prove I already have everything I need.

Don’t get me wrong: I will still spend money on experiences—concerts, movies, meals—just not on stuff. Now, I’m not conducting this experiment because I can’t afford to purchase new things; I’m doing it because I’m certain I can do it: I don’t need more stuff to be happy.

This resolution will help me focus my precious time on things more important to me: health, relationships, writing, reading, and other priorities.

If I fail, I will confess my failures—but I don’t intend on failing. Plus, telling the world about my resolution is a public reminder that people are counting on me to resolve.

A year without buying stuff is a long time (and I will certainly buy stuff after this upcoming year); thus, I realize this type of resolution is not for most people, at least not for a full year. But why not a week, a month—a quarter? I’m certain you can do it, too. And there are many other life-changing resolutions available to undertake:

Maybe you want to lose weight.
Maybe you want to get rid of your television.
Maybe you want to travel, get in better shape, and create more.
Maybe you want to quit your job.
Or maybe you’d rather start a revolution than have a resolution.

So, what do you want to do this year?

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Inside Minimalism is our series of exclusive essays on simple living. Each essay is written by our team of writers who are passionate about helping you craft a simpler life. Supported by their own personal experiences, we want to inspire and encourage you to clear the path of life’s stuff, so you can get to where you really want to be.

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