If 2015 was the year of learning how to tidy up our lives, 2016 is the year of learning not to give a f*ck. Or at least for me. Last summer, I picked up a copy of Marie Kondo's bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with the intention of giving it as a gift, but as I paged through it in my rather messy room, I decided to keep it for myself. Aside from her advice of getting rid of books you don't need, I followed Kondo's KonMari Method and donated nearly half of my clothes and left a beaten down dresser on the curb. The key to her philosophy is to figure out whether things bring you joy or not, and if something doesn't, it's time is up.
Enter Sarah Knight's The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck , "a practical parody" of Kondo's book. Where the KonMari Method is concerned with possessions, Knight's NotSorry Method — "deciding what you don't give a fuck about [and] not giving a fuck about those things" — is about all the cares we hold onto that stand in the way of our best lives. And just a few days into the new year, we're still very much in resolution mode, so now may be the perfect time to resolve to give fewer f*cks about the things and people that bring us down. Think of it as clearing your own mental house, but instead of using the metric of joy, you're throwing out your cares based of what annoys you. Knight writes,
I've developed a program for decluttering and reorganizing your mental space by not giving a fuck, wherein not giving a fuck means not spending time, energy, and/or money on things that neither make you happy nor improve your life (annoy), so that you have more time, energy, and/or money to devote to the things that do (bring joy).
Despite it's definitive R-rated streak, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck is not about rudeness or being jackass. In fact, being honest and polite are your key concepts for embracing your best life with as little f*cks to be had. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to race into 2016 with a little more concern and care for myself than the things around me. Let's dive in.
1. Make a F*ck Budget
Your time, energy, and money are precious; so are your f*cks. They're a limited resource, and the best way to manage them and the energy you invest in caring about the things and people around you is to create a F*ck Budget. "In order to maximize your potential for happiness, you need to consider outcomes before committing to giving your fucks," Knight writes, advising that you divide your budget into four categories: things; work; friends, acquaintances, and strangers; and the most contentious and difficult of all, family. Like you can only figure out your monthly budget, only you can figure out the best way to allocate your f*cks. Remember, it's about minimizing dealing with what you don't enjoy to make room for more joy in your life.
2. Don't Get Caught In The Likability Vortex
Wanting to be liked is a desire we all have, but often it interferes with our own well-being, especially when it comes to work. Maybe you're a people-pleaser and you're all about extending yourself and bending over backward to take that conference call or attend that early morning meeting. Getting caught up in this desire is something Knight calls the Likability Vortex, which "occurs when you care more about being like than being worthy of respect." Oof. Ultimately, in the workplace, it's not going to be the most-liked employee who gets ahead, but the one who have the most respect. Save your concerns for getting things done at work, instead of wasting them on trying to make your co-worker really like you.
3. Abide By Your Own Personal Policies
As Knight points out, we live in the days of 1,001 Kickstarter funds and donation pages, made by friends and stranger alike. If you're like me, it can be tricky to decide who to give to without seeming like a jerk. But Knight has a solution that can be applied to a whole host of issues you may run into during adulthood: a personal policy. "Personal policies are an excellent way to conserve your fucks swiftly, efficiently, and with an extremely low risk of hurt feelings," she writes. So with Kickstarter, for example, she offers this standard statement: "I have a personal policy against donating to Kickstarter campaigns, because if I donate to one, I feel like I have to donate to all of them." Life-changing, right? Try applying it to other things in your life, and it may just be your new go-to.
4. It's OK to Skip That Destination Bachelorette Party
With the recent passing of engagement season, we know that an onslaught of wedding invitations will be coming our way soon. While some may be from high school friends, which may not come with as many obligations, some of your closer friends may be sending out more extensive invitations, including destination bachelorette parties. A trip like that could be fun, but I'm not sure my bank account would agree. And with a limited amount of vacation days, a tough choice may have to be made. But as Knight points out, you can choose to reserve your f*ck with politeness and honesty, and simply explain that you can't afford it.
5. It's Also OK to Skip Your Friend's Toddler's Birthday Party
Another landmark of adulthood looms ahead: your friend's toddler's birthday party. It may not be on top of your list of things to do, and while some would argue that you should attend, Knight makes the case for not attending. If your f*cks are a limited resource, and you should be giving them over to things that make you happy, then skip it. After all, as Knight notes from her survey results, "even parents don't always give a fuck about kids other than their own."
6. Your New Mantra Is "It's Just Not Worth It"
All of those everyday stresses you encounter — the wait at your favorite cafe or dealing with a difficult call with your insurance company — definitely don't deserve your concerns. But this doesn't mean to go and tell your insurance rep or local barista, "I don't give a..." ... you know .... It's a more mindful and quiet approach of telling yourself, simply, "It's just not worth it." In the end, most things aren't worth really upsetting yourself over them. Reserving your energy for the more important things like your work, your friends, your significant other, your family is key.
7. Your F*cks Are Yours, Period
Maybe some of Knight's advice is a little too radical for you — how can you stop caring about so many things at once? But that's the beauty of the NotSorry Method: those f*cks are all yours, and you keep and hold as many or as little as you want to. As Knight concludes: "One person's joy can easily be another person's annoy. And that's OK. Your fucks are yours — to value and prioritize and give as you see fit." So go forth and give all (or none) of them you want.
Images: jane_dolan/Instagram; Giphy (7)