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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers. As featured on: CBS, BBC, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

A Year End Review: How Everything Can Change in a Year

Everything Changes in a Year

The Difference a Year Can Make

We started The Minimalists one year ago this month. Since then almost everything in our lives has changed.

A year ago we both worked for large corporations. Now we work for ourselves and pursue our passions every day.

A year ago we were unhappy with our lives. Now we’re living meaningful lives.

A year ago we could hardly spell HTML, let alone build a website. Now we have The Minimalists, as well as Joshua’s fiction site (the latter of which was beautifully designed with help from our friends at Spyr Media).

A year ago we had zero people reading our words (other than some vapid corporate emails). Now we have over 100,000 monthly readers, and our essays have been read by over half-a-million people in 151 countries this year.

A year ago zero people subscribed to our site. Now over 10,000 people subscribe via email or RSS to get our free essays.

A year ago no one was interested in following us on Twitter or Facebook or Google+. Now we have over 10,000 people who interact with us via those mediums.

A year ago we were really inspired by Leo Babauta, Colin Wright, Joshua Becker, Julien Smith, and others like them. And we still are inspired by them. A year later we’ve met these guys, been featured on their amazing websites, and established great relationships with them and dozens of similar people who have helped shaped our lives in meaningful ways.

A year ago we hadn’t published anything. Now we’ve published three books: an essay collection, Joshua’s short story collection, and our first full-length non-fiction book.

A year ago we had spreadsheets full of goals, and we would beat ourselves up when we didn’t achieve those goals. Now Ryan lives with one goal at a time, and Joshua has no goals at all.

A year ago we strived to make everything perfect. Now we embrace the imperfection of our daily lives.

A year ago we were a couple of guys stuck in Dayton, Ohio. Now we’re traveling the country on a 33-city meetup tour and meeting the most amazing people we’ve ever met. We’ve given away hundreds of free hugs on this tour so far.

A year ago there was a considerable amount of discontent in our lives. Now we’re happy, and when we look in the rearview mirror, everything is different.

A Reason for These Stats

We aren’t trying to impress you with our “accomplishments.” Rather, we want to impress upon you the power of a year. As human beings, we often overestimate what we can accomplish in a short period of time (e.g., six-pack abs in two weeks), but we drastically underestimate what we can accomplish in a year or two.

Most of the above mentioned “accomplishments” weren’t goals we developed at the beginning of the year. They just happened, organically, as we worked hard to add value to other peoples lives. Thus, we discovered that when we add value to other people’s lives, everything else tends to fall into place.

The big life changes don’t happen over night. Give yourself some time. Put in a lot of effort and keep at it. You’ll be surprised with what can happen in a year.

The Best of 2011

Like good music? Check out Joshua’s Top 10 Albums of 2011.

Like to read? Check out Joshua’s Top 3 Books of 2011.