5 Rules of Five

I like the number five….I don’t know why….I just do (one reason I named my website Fiveish).

I realized today, though, that I actually incorporate the number five several ways throughout my day/week/month.

Now, this isn’t earth-shattering advice. It’s not going to change your life in a major way, but hopefully it will help to make your day a little less over-whelming-feeling.

They say we should start our day by making our bed…..do you? I do. I do it because although it’s a very small task, takes me about three minutes, it gives me a small sense of accomplishment.

Likewise, I’ve implemented some changes in my lifestyle with the goal of losing 50 lbs by January 2022. I started these changes earlier this week….and I’ve lost…..drum-roll please……two pounds.

I know. Big deal. Two pounds is nothing. You’re right, two pounds IS nothing….but if I lose two pounds 25 times, I will have achieved my goal.

And, even though my reason for losing weight isn’t because of the number on the scale but rather for my health and how I feel in my body, the scale gives me a measurable clue of my progress.

So yes, it’s only two pounds, but seeing the number on the scale go DOWN instead of UP, again, gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Those are two small examples of what you can do to give yourself that little boost we all love. Now, here are five more.

One – Delete Five Emails

You’ve heard of people hoarding things? I don’t hoard THINGS, but I DO hoard information.

I still have every map I’ve ever received in my life.

I have notes from trips I took decades ago.

I have nearly 90 copies of Cosmopolitan magazines which I started saving in the late 80’s, in anticipation of giving them to my child(ren) when they got to be adults, so they could see what things were like when their Mom was young.

I have an entire (big) binder of recipes….NONE of which I’ve ever made.

I don’t have a TV so I get my news online. Typically every morning I check the news-feed on my phone, skim the headlines, and if any pop out at me, I email them to myself. That’s right, I don’t read the news right away, I don’t have time for that, so I email to myself to read later on in the day when I DO have time.

Some days I might email myself three or four pieces of news. Other days it could be 14 or 15. As you can imagine, this would clog up my Inbox very quickly. So I use the “rule of five”.

Now, I’m not referring to the traditional “rule of five”, which states:

The rule of five is a rule of thumb in statistics that estimates the median of a population by choosing a random sample of five from that population. It states that there is a 93.75% chance that the median value of a population is between the smallest and largest values in any random sample of five.

No, I’m referring to the rule of five that I made up. Which states:

Get rid of, donate, delete, sell, experience, learn, do FIVE things today.

So, in the case of email….I delete five emails every day. If it’s something really important, or something I feel I’ll need to reference at a later date, then I file it in its designated folder…but otherwise, I delete.

Two – Donate five things.

If I buy a new piece of clothing (could be from a second-hand shop/thrift-store, so it’s not NEW, but it’s new to me), then I take one piece of clothing out of my closet for donation.

Now, I’m not buying new clothes every day…or every week….or every month….so it might take six months or more to accummulate a boxful of stuff to donate, but I have a box in the garage and once it’s full, I take it to a thrift store.

Maybe in your case it’s kids toys….or books….or household items….or any combination of those things. If you have more than five things to donate, great, but start with five.

Three – Sell five things.

Look around you. I bet 99% of people reading this have too much stuff. I know I did. I normally do a spring-cleanse (I don’t like the word “purge”, sounds so aggressive) and a fall-cleanse, but last summer I decided I wanted to buy a vehicle (van, school bus, shuttle bus, ambulance) and convert it into a tiny-home-on-wheels.

I have yet to buy said vehicle, but the first step to making such a huge change is in your mind: I have to be ok with what will be a complete lifestyle change….and not just “ok”, but I have to be willing to embrace it, good parts and not-so-good-parts. So that part is done, I am mentally prepared.

Next step is to eliminate all the stuff from my life that isn’t necessary. So I got to it by sorting, organizing, eliminating, storing, and selling, all my stuff. (I am storing my childhood mementos, my daughter’s childhood mementos, and mementos of my Father, at my Mother’s house and my Sister’s house—for now–eventually it will be put in a storage locker, when I hit the road).

I’m in Canada, so we have Kijiji, but I know in the States there’s Craig’s List. Other good places to list your stuff for sale are Facebook Marketplace, eBay and even just having a yard sale works well too! I had three yard sales last summer/fall and made over $1200 all totaled (mind you, that included selling my artwork at drastically reduced prices!).

Four Reach out to five people.

These days it’s so easy to “Like” something on social media, but by really reaching out to someone (phone/text/private message), you and that person will likely feel a much stronger connection.

I did this recently as I know 2020 and 2021 so far have been challenging times. Many people are struggling with mental health, feeling alone even though they’re surrounded by family and friends who care for them. I reached out to about 120 people, about 115 got back to me, every single one thanked me, sincerely, for reaching out to them.

My intention wasn’t to intrude on their lives, but rather to let them know “Hey, if you need someone to talk to, I’m here. And not only am I here, but I sincerely care about you.”

Five – Smile at five people.

Why? Several reasons:

  • When you smile you “trick” yourself into feeling happier, even if you’re having a tough day.
  • From a scientific viewpoint, when you smile, your neurons tell your body you’re happy or excited and your body releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin – the neurotransmitters that make you feel great. There are many benefits to having those endorphins released, but one is that it’s a natural pain reliever!
  • Smiling can also reduce stress, help heart health, lower blood pressure, and boost your immune system.
  • When you smile at someone, that person you’re smiling at will feel seen and will feel better, even if they’re having a tough day.
  • It costs you nothing.
  • And….why not?

And there you have it….five easy ways to simplify your day, week or month. I hope you found some value in this! If you have any “simplifying” tips, please feel free to share in the Comments section!

***this has actually been helpful to me haha! Just thinking about that huge binder with the recipes in it….I think I’ll just snap a photo of each recipe and email it to myself (oh boy, more emails haha)….I can file them in my Recipes Folder, and donate the binder to a thrift shop.

***those Cosmo mags I mentioned….they’re available for purchase. I have one daughter who’s an adult now, but she’s not interested in the magazines. If you’re interested in purchasing them, or know someone who is, please contact me privately to discuss further.


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