Challenge Update: Week 49

Three more weeks to go!

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

I bought nothing. Yay me.

On the other hand, I have been having deep, deep, deep thoughts about the idea of coveting: what is the line between appreciating and coveting? Is wanting what we don’t have inherently wrong? Under what circumstances does aspirational wanting make us miserable, or conversely, motivate us to positive change? I am going to spare you the details for now, but I am fairly certain that I will be diving deeply into the topic soon.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

My Cost-Per-Wear (CPW) for 2020 was 0.55€. My CPW today is 0.24€. I hadn’t set a number-value goal, but I can guarantee you that I didn’t expect to see it go down that much just by purchasing no clothes in 2021.

The joy of watching my CPW inevitably get smaller and smaller every day has sparked its own series of deep thoughts (although not nearly as deep as the ones about coveting) about familiarity, newness and desire, memory-making and affection, affection and contentment. I’m sure I will not spare you those thoughts in the new year, either.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

I wish I had taken this rule more seriously earlier in the year. It really is such a simple thing.

At the risk of sounding crazy (who are we kidding. We’re past that now!), this week, as soon as one of my Go-To outfits was dry, I didn’t fold it and put each element away in its designated home. Instead, I put each part over one hanger and stored the whole thing away in my closet for the next time I would wear it.

Now, will this cause a problem if I go looking for one part of it and it is not in the designated home? Maybe. We’ll see. But it sure made the zombie olympics go more smoothly!

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

I didn’t plan way ahead this week, but I did plan a day or two ahead. I moved up the moment of Mise en Place from just before bedtime to an earlier quiet moment, when I was in the mood to think about it.

For all that I have been raving all year about Mise en Place, it really hadn’t occurred to me to do it at another moment, perhaps because I didn’t have a ton of other routines to attach it to. It’s just another routine to establish, and once that routine is in place, it can be moved around to different moments in the day and remain as effective.

Clustering routines is a technique for developing good habits, and it’s true that there is much to be said for the mental and emotional space that is created when our decisions become automated.

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

Aside from a button here and an unraveling hem there, I didn’t do much mending or any altering. I had thoughts and ideas, but did not have the motivation (or time) to get them done.


I swear these last weeks of the year are going thirty times faster than the first weeks went. I wish all the good lessons weren’t getting jammed in at the last minute…but I am glad that they are happening.

In other news…

This weekend is concert weekend!

I won’t hide that I have been having reservations about bringing this many people together for something as frivolous, in this pandemic context, as a concert de salon.

But I want to sing. I want to get dressed up and sing and celebrate the end of my challenge, and I want to believe that everyone will have the wisdom to be responsible for their own health. I hope I won’t end up regretting it.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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