Watch The Minimalists' TEDx Talk: A Rich Life with Less Stuff

The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Minimalism Is Healthy: How I Lost 70 Pounds

“I don’t have time to exercise. I’m just too busy!”

We’ve all told ourselves this lie before: if we had more time, we could get into shape; if we weren’t so damn busy, we could lose those extra 20, 40, 90 pounds; if there were more hours in the day, we’d make the trek to the gym.

I used to tell myself that same lie. I was 70 pounds overweight in my early- and mid-twenties. I avoided mirrors because I was embarrassed when I saw myself. I was fat and out of shape and I hated it.

Then there’s another lie we tell ourselves. We say, “I’ll start exercising next month or next week or tomorrow.” But tomorrow never comes, does it? That’s because we’re just as busy—or even busier—tomorrow or next week or whenever, and so we put it off again and again until it’s no longer on our radar at all. But of course tomorrow never comes. There is only today.

Did you know that both of these lies are essentially the same exact lie? You see, we tend to manipulate time: We think that we don’t have enough of it today, but somehow we’ll magically have more time tomorrow, that somehow—even though we don’t change anything that we’re doing—we’ll be able to exercise and eat healthier and get into better shape tomorrow.

It’s funny, we don’t do the same thing with food, though—do we? If you didn’t have enough food in the house to eat this week, do you think you’d say, “Oh, it’s okay, I’ll just start eating again next week.” Of course not.

The first stop on the road to better health is to stop lying to ourselves. I’ve found that there’re two things that helped me get on track quickly:

Musts. Don’t make change a should—make it a must.

Minimalism. Get rid of life’s excess so you can focus on what’s important.

It took me a couple years to lose those extra pounds of (disgusting) fat, but that was seven years ago, and I’ve kept the weight off and am never turning back. I’m in my thirties now, but I’m in the best shape of my life—by far. And it’s only going to get better from here.

How did I do it?


Seriously. I focused on my diet and exercise (obviously), but in a way I knew I could maintain: I began exercising eighteen minutes each day because even the busiest person in the world has 20 minutes to focus on his or her health each day. And I simplified my diet.

That’s it.

After about six months of consistent exercise, I started to look forward to it, I started to enjoy it, I even started to crave it. Before I knew it, I was lean, and I felt better than ever.

Additional reading: Health Is a Vehicle, Not a Destination.