12 Months Without – what?

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

And the cupboard was bare?

Hi there and welcome to blog #60. If you are new here, it’s great to see you and I hope you’ll stick around and have a look at what I’ve been up to. This blog is written diary-style, I write on whatever’s on my mind when fingers hit the keyboard, and on a variety of topics that relate to being on this challenge.

So you’re new and want to know shat I write about here? All kinds of stuff gets written here! Feel free to read all 60 posts. Some are more gripping than others, for sure. In case you don’t want to read each and every one in chronological order, here’s a high level sketch of some of the things I write about here:

  • Sometimes I write about the fashion world or the marketing/merchandisers who lure us into purchasing new items that we may, or may not, need or even want.
  • Sometimes I write about shoppers and shopping centres.
  • Sometimes I write about various challenges or successes or I’m having on (or ways I’m coping with) the challenge.
  • Sometimes I write about observations I’ve made about shopping from being out and about.
  • Sometimes I write about TV shows (fiction and documentary) or movies and their relationship to this challenge.
  • I’ve been fortunate enough to have some media attention and I write about that, too.
  • Sometimes I write about the building blocks to creating a working wardrobe, like colour and mixing and matching. I’ll be writing more about the other building blocks, too, soon (like conscious shopping and style & shape)
  • Sometimes I write about ways to inject something new into your wardrobe, without buying new (or buying anything). Like here, here and here.
  • Sometimes I write about what I’ve learned or I’ll stop and do a review, just so we can collectively catch our breath.

Doing it Yourself. Today I’m writing specifically to those of you who are seriously thinking about doing this challenge. As in, joining up with me, clicking that big orange button, and having their own Year Without Shopping.

Why do 50% fail? The Great American Apparel Diet is a no-shopping-for-one-year challenge that anyone could participate in (an American lady named Sally started it), and quite a lot of people signed up for it. The GAAD started on 1 September 2009 and (no matter when you started) it finishes at the end of this month (which is amazing timing, because that’s about when our membership program will open its doors. But we’re not talking about that just yet – that’s coming up in a paragraph or two).

The New York Times recently ran an article about PLUs who are doing extreme things like not shopping for clothes for a year, or only existing on 6 items of clothing for a year. Seems to be a hot topic right now.

What the NY Times reported was that half of the GAAD people dropped out of that challenge. Including Sally’s sister. The GAAD website doesn’t mention anything about this, but I am wondering about the reasons why so many people could not see the challenge through.

Here’s my best guesses:

  • the challenge is simply too hard — habits were too entrenched, temptation is too irresistible, sales were too pervasive. Willpower is not just the name of an Australian racing car driver, although it may be just as elusive.
  • the challenge was too isolating — despite there being a good few people who joined the challenge, maybe it felt too Robinson Crusoe to some folks. Not too many of us can remain stimulated and enthused when working in a vacuum. On something really hard.
  • the challenge didn’t offer enough support. It may have felt that the challenge was not just all-on-your-ownsome, but doing it without a net as well. Hard to keep on keeping on when it feels like there’s no-one there to catch you if you fall. Or even notice.
  • there weren’t enough distractions or new ideas. Bribery and distraction work for toddlers in supermarkets, and they work for adults, too. You can’t just take something away and not replace it with something. Well, not if you want it to work. You’ve got to fill up the now-empty space with something else. Preferably something good.
  • the focus was on “doing without”. This feeds into the human fear of scarcity — never having, or being, enough. Which is not a life-enriching or spirit-lifting aura to surround yourself with.

Now, who knows if these things affected any of those 50% of good GAAD people who didn’t make it. Maybe halfway through the challenge, they all got jobs at Calvin Klein and got massive staff discounts. We may never know, and thank Jimmy Choo for a bit of mystery, I say.

So, does this mean that 12 month challenges are too hard to stick with? No, no, no, and no! They can work… (well, they do – 50% of the good GAAD people stuck with it, right? And let’s not forget me – it’s working for me, too). Here are the things that need to be in place to make it work.

1. support. You gotta know that there’s a helping hand, a bit of tough love, and possibly a large polo mallet (gently and infrequently applied) that will be activated to help keep you going. And someone will notice if you fall of the wagon.

2. inspiration. You gotta know that there’ll be new ideas, distraction and large amounts of cavity-inducing chocolate available to get you thinking and feeling differently about your wardrobe, your shopping habits, and yourself.

3. guidance. You gotta know that someone who’s qualified, experienced and has a more than adequate grasp of the English language is going to offer you some juice on how to do things differently. And by that, I mean better.

The 12 month program we’ve got going has all that in spades. I told you a bit about the experts we’re attracting to the program in the last blog. When you join the 12 month My Year Without Clothes Shopping program, I’ll

  • make it as easy as it’s possible to be
  • make it fun and fulfilling
  • make it inspiring and practical
  • be with you the entire time
  • remind you that if I can do it, you can, too

That’s the deal. Check it out. Decide for yourself. Click the big orange button. We’ll still be friends, no matter what you decide. Right?

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