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 – February 1st-7th

I can’t believe February is already here! January flew by us, it feels like I just blinked. It doesn’t help that it was in the high 50’s today. For New England we should be in the thick of snow and winter, not that I’m complaining, but it just doesn’t feel like winter!

We have switched over to a different color scheme, here is the February spread:

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Blank spread for the week of February 1st

I kept it real simple this week, a less is more approach.  I primarily used stickers from Michaels, and then my standard weekly stickers and stamps.  Check out my post from January 25th-31st for where they all come from.

Here is the week before the ink, and a closeup:

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Stickers and stamps added, no writing yet.
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Close up, how lovely!

I didn’t use all the washi tape, and I didn’t glue down any extra’s.  Like I said, simple, less is more.  I love how simple it is and yet still inspiring.  Here is the final spread:

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Completed week of February 1st

Plenty of room and space for me to add to as the week gets underway.  Working on our menu plan now!

What are you up to this week?

Erin Condren Planner

So I’m new to the “life planner” trend, but I’m excited to jump on board!  Many of my coworkers have planners where they go all out with decorating each week.  I don’t know how far I’ll take it, but I love the positive messages that get intertwined with keeping the week organized.  So,  I asked for a planner this Christmas and was pretty excited when it arrived this week!

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Erin Condren’s motivational packaging, love the positive messages!

Before I even opened it all they way there were positives messages waiting for me! “Sometimes the best thing you can do is not thing, not stress…just breathe”.  I love it.  I did get mine personalized, and I love the everyday design, nothing too fancy.

Erin Condren Planner
Personalized cover

I have seen all kinds of people’s different spreads, with stickers, stamps, ribbon, tape and quotes.  It’s really unbelievable how creative people can be.  Maybe throughout the year I’ll get more daring, but for now I just wanted an organized place to keep track of everything.

January starts with a great quote: “Say yes to new adventures”.  Perfect way to start the year.  Theres a monthly overview calendar where you can see the month at a glance and list some of your goals.  Then I chose the vertical layout where it goes week by week.  The pages were empty, but clean and crisp and ready to be filled!

Erin Condren Planner
January week in vertical life planner

I love that she leaves space on the side and bottom for note taking, to do lists or quick reminders.  They aren’t defined so you can really use them for anything.  And on the top left corner of each week there is a small box that says “Thankful Thought”.  What a great way to stop and think of something you are thankful for that week.

So here is what my week spread looks like:

Planner with Stamps and Washi Tape
Erin Condren life planner, vertical spread, week of January 11th-17th

I used the left side for a to do list, which I bulleted with a small heart stamp.  I added some chevron washi tape to the bottom and some pink sparkly tape to the top.  And then throughout the week I used some of the sample stickers that came with the planner for my gym days, pay-day, and my mom’s birthday.  Everything else was just simple stamps colored in and what I wrote for reminders for the week.  I added my work schedule to the top since that changes from day-to-day, and I made a note to myself on the bottom of what my husband’s schedule is like since he is home at a different time every night.

I used my PaperMate Flair Pens, which are my favorite for writing, but they do bleed through the pages.  This just means that next week I will need to put something on those squares to cover up the bleed through.  Perhaps stickers or colored paper that I can tape down.

I did also purchase the snap in meal planner, which I’m really excited about!  One side lets you plan out the meals for the week and the other side is meant for a grocery list.  Here is our menu for the week:

Menu plan for the week
Menu plan for the week

I love how everything can be organized into one place!  I’m excited to see what this has in store for me.  We will see if I get into the creative piece of it, or if I just keep track of our different events and schedules.

Do you have a favorite planner?