The Top 3 Ways I Welcome the New Year

The Top 3 Ways I Welcome the New Year

With every New Year comes a rush of energy and thought processes. Resolutions are often times geared towards health, fitness, organization, doing more, giving more, changing habits. Something about the turn over of the calendar year sparks energy around wanting to better ourselves. While I am not a big believer in setting New Years Resolutions, I do think that this is a great time to ride that energy wave and set some goals. There’s nothing like a fresh start, and the first of the year is a natural time to start new.

The top 3 ways I like to welcome the New Year are to Clean up and Downsize, Set up a Calendar, and Set Attainable Goals for January.

Clean Up and Downsize:

Once the holidays are over, my first step is to clean up. Our family celebrates Christmas, which comes with a host of decorations, wrapping supplies and inevitably new gifts scattered all around. Come New Years Day we are ready to pack everything up for next year. Putting away our wrapping supplies, taking down the decorations and removing the tree from our living room can already create a sense of relief. As much as I enjoy Christmas, having an open space back in our living room already gives me the visual sense that we magically have more room! A quick clean of the house always gives me a sense of starting fresh. Just having to vacuum up the pesky pine needles means I know have a freshly cleaned floor…bonus! There’s nothing like a clean floor, or a freshly organized kitchen that makes me want to keep it that way.

My next step is to try and downsize. With all of the new gifts coming in it’s a great time to eliminate and downsize on some of our unused items. If you have children, when you bring in new toys take a few minutes to remove toys that are no longer being played with. This is a perfect opportunity to choose toys for donations and gift to children who didn’t have such a fruitful holiday. As your children get older, encourage them to participate in this. You will be helping them develop a sense of pride and giving. Being aware of what we are blessed to have and how we can provide to those less fortunate are life lessons that will certainly stay with your children. And, it clears up some space in your house!

Set up a Calendar:

I don’t make fancy layouts, but do enjoy using a bullet journal for my list making. Each day I use a new page with my daily to-do list, and then I keep a number of running lists. Some examples might be recipe ideas, grocery lists, on going to-do’s, etc. I try and keep my daily to-do lists realistic, and the running to-do list a list of everything I would like to complete. Being able to check things off my lists is hugely motivating for me, but seeing a list that I barely made a dent in can seriously keep me up at night. If I have completed my daily list, and end up with spare time, I just check my running to-do list and see what else I have time to accomplish. My productivity tends to sky rocket when I feel like I’m really making progress.

Our family has always struggled to sync our calendars, so this year we are going old school and giving a paper calendar in the Kitchen a try. I use my phone to organize my personal calendar and work calendar, but I’m not always able to keep up with my husbands schedule. This year we are hopeful that having something hanging in the kitchen will be the visual reminder we need. It should certainly cut down on our arguments around whether we remembered to tell each other about a schedule change! You have to find a system that works best for your family, and really work to implement it!

Set attainable goals for January:

Look at the year and set a long range goal, then break that down to small chunks. If I don’t have a long range goal, setting goals just for the month is my go to. I then take that goal and break it down even smaller so that I know it is something attainable. When I sat down to think about what I wanted to achieve in January my list was long! Some examples were:

  • Drink more water
  • Use a meal plan
  • Bring lunch to work
  • Track our spending
  • Read 1 book

That’s a lot! Then I worried that I was setting my sites too high and would be setting myself up for failure. So I took each of those goals and I broke them down into more achievable chunks.

  • Drink more water – 8 oz. in the morning, 8 oz. in the afternoon
  •  Use a meal plan – Block off time on Sundays, plan 5 meals
  •  Bring lunch to work – pack lunch in the evenings so that I’m ready to just grab it in the morning.
  • Track our Spending – enter our weekly spends each Saturday rather than at the end of the month.
  • Read 1 book – read for 20 minutes 2x a week

I’m also giving myself the flexibility to know that goals change and adjust and it’s just for one month. By February I will know how well, or not, my goals went and will have a better idea of what comes next.

How do you greet the New Year? Do you set resolutions? If so, are you able to keep them for the full year?

Cheers to a successful 2018!

Erin Condren Life Planner – April 25th – May 1st

Now that work has picked up I’m managing two planner, a life planner – My Erin Condren, and a work planner – a Lilly Pulitzer.  How many of you use multiple planners, or do you merge everything into one?

Erin Condren vs. Lilly Pulitzer
Erin Condren and Lilly Pulitzer

They both serve very different purposes, and right now I need that.  Perhaps eventually I will merge the two, but for now it is much easier to keep work and home separate.  Work is full of all the meetings and calls I need to keep straight, as well as where I need to be.  Currently I am working remotely, sometimes at home sometimes at other locations, so I need to keep it all straight.  The Erin Condren I keep updated with daily happenings, meal plans and personal to-do lists.

This weeks meal plan was:

Monday – Chicken Patties and Tater Tots (Guilty pleasure, I was at a CPR/First Aid class until 9pm and wasn’t coming home to cook…)

Tuesday – Meatloaf and Potatoes

Wednesday – Crock Pot chicken tacos

Thursday – Pasta and Pesto Sauce

Friday – Chicken Sausages and Sweet Potatoes

Erin Condren vs. Lilly Pulitzer
Home life vs. Work life…the struggle!

I don’t want my work planner to be full of washi tape, stamps and stickers, but a little flair and motivation here and there never hurts!

I was excited to see that my local Michaels is finally starting to carry some Happy Planner supplies.  I scored some great stickers on 40% clearance this weekend.  And I have already put them to use!

The Happy Planner Stickers
The Happy Planner stickers from Michaels…40 percent off, score!

Does anyone else find that they have to actually schedule time to plan?  What is that nonsense!

Happy planning all!

Erin Condren Life Planner – February 22nd-28th

Hello!  Back from a short hiatus, lots of happenings going on around here!  I did my favorite kind of shopping this weekend, gift card and coupons in hand…spend $0 of my own money!  They BEST!  And I got all kinds of cute things at the dollar spot at Target:

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Target goodies!

Among my haul were Easter Stickers, stamps, 2 packs of Gel Pens, adorable little clothes pins and binder clips.  My favorite was this phrase it stamp set:

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Phrase Stamp set from Target, $3 bargain!
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Comes with a blank ink pad and everything, target bonus!

I used my own stamp pads, but for $3 it was a total bargain!  Perfect for my Erin Condren planner.

Here is the blank weekly spread:

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Blank Spread – February 22nd – Erin Condren Life Planner

Definitely loving the winter we have had, it was in the mid 50’s all weekend, and it’s not even March!  So I was channeling Spring for my layout again.  I started with some fun Teal Washi Tape from…yep, Target.  And then I used the Phrase Stamp set to add a few highlights, and then just added in a few fun springy stickers.

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Layout before the writing, Washi Tape and Stickers

A little closeup because I really do love the Phrase Stamp so much, I’m already getting my $3 worth!  And I didn’t even have to spend any money thanks to gift cards!

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Closeup with Stamping

And I added my new Gold Butterfly clip, such a simple but elegant touch.  I love it.

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Ready to start the week off! – Erin Condren Life Planner

We are also so excited that we can finally see our Debt Snowball paying off!!  We made our final payment on the first loan we tackled this weekend.  It is an incredible feeling!  Check out the beginning of our journey here.  I will be updating again in a few weeks to share how the first two months have gone.

Well, we are gearing up for another busy busy week here.  Hope you all have a great one!

Lunch prep for the week

don’t know about you, but I am not a morning person.  It really doesn’t matter how early I go to bed, or how much sleep I’ve had, mornings are still always tough. Especially now that it’s not just me trying to scoot out the door.  There’s a puppy that needs to be walked, fed, and given attention.
One of the things that suffers for me, is having the time left to pack a lunch.  When I don’t pack a lunch I end up grabbing something quick and unhealthy on my short lunch break.  Not only is it unhealthy, but I also end up spending more than I would have if I had just packed a lunch.
Every week when I grocery shop I’m good about picking out fresh produce and healthy snacks. But I’m just as guilty at throwing them out at the end of the week, untouched and limp.  I can’t stand what a waste it is!
The best way I’ve found to solve this problem is to prep my healthy choices at the beginning of the week.  I usually make a veggie and a fruit choice and have them all ready to go in the fridge.
This week I have my five containers of red, yellow, and green peppers with carrots ready to go.  How colorful are they!  I grab a side of hummus and I have a healthy, and delicious snack for the day.
I also try to have a fruit option ready for the week.  This week watermelon and raspberries were on sale, so I stuck to the color theme.

I pack everything up in one of the crisper drawers, and each morning I just grab a fruit, and veggie container and I’m halfway done!

For the rest of my lunch I tend to vary between making a sandwich the night before or packing leftovers from dinner.  This has made life so much easier, and now I don’t have to worry about leaving time in the morning.  And since I rarely leave the time…now I don’t have to worry about spending the extra money for an unhealthy meal that I end up eating on the run.

What do you do to help make your morning routine smoother?