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Happy New Year! 2017?! This one is a bit tough for me to grasp. My oldest child is a member of the Class of 2017. My mind is screaming, "We’re here already?!" "That’s not possible!" But, it’s a fact and so I’m going to use the ticking clock as a kick in the pants. I’ve decided this is the year I make some real headway in becoming the very best version of myself. It’s time to take a good hard look and refine my life.
I began this journey in earnest last October and I’m proud to say that I’ve made solid progress in many areas...however, there are things I haven’t tackled yet. It's time.
What better time than the start of a new year?
In the past, turning the calendar to January was usually a bit daunting for me. I always loved the lead up. I was filled with anticipation during the final days of December...
Anxiously waiting to meet the new year and the new me.
But then...the confetti settled and the balloons deflated and I felt a sense of disappointment and resignation that the next twelve months were not going to be much different than the last.
I’d fall into the same patterns and habits. Discouraged, I’d find myself making due until the following December when I was certain I’d make real changes.
This was not an effective system.
For decades, I was a notoriously dreadful goal setter. It took me a long time and the patient help of my awesome husband to finally realize the art and power of setting goals. Here's the full story.
I'm finally on-board with defining and declaring what I want and then devising a plan to make it happen. I’ve also become more gentle with myself regarding my expectations.
So, we're in it now. The first week of January is almost over.
Are you still on the fence about what you want this year?
Do you have a clear picture of where you’re heading and how to get there?
Well here are 5 steps to get you started...
I believe the most important thing we can do when we’re eager to change is to look back. Take a bit of time to examine the year that’s just passed.
This 50 question survey (from Anuschka Rees, writer and super cool girl with awesome minimalist style) arrived in my inbox just as I was beginning to feel the panic of January’s arrival. It's quick and easy. Eye-opening, for sure.
Consider what matters-
Who are you going to be this year? How does she look, act, live, feel? Pay attention to recurring themes and nagging feelings. My survey showed me that I don’t laugh enough. Sad, but true. This needs to change.
Spend time really deep diving into what works and what doesn't in your life. Doing the research and groundwork allows you to really take action and make changes.
I’ve long had trouble with taking the time to actually make a plan. Ridiculous as this sounds to me now, I honestly struggled with seeing the value in taking time to flesh out a real path forward. It seemed like a waste of precious hours.
For some crazy reason, I’d just hit the ground running, using a very fly by the seat of my pants approach.
Guess what? That approach is junk. It rarely produced any amazing results...and if it did, it was completely by accident. No way to live my one and only life!
Here’s another area where I’d fall incredibly short. As in, leave out this step entirely. For decades:-)
I’d create an amazing list of things that I wanted to do, change, handle...and then the list would sit. Until I neatly rewrote it again. And again. Never actually doing what was on the list.
Enter my scheduling god of a husband… “Kristen, you have to put the things that are on your list onto your calendar. They must be scheduled into your life in order for them to actually happen”. This isn’t a direct quote, but it’s basically what he said (repeatedly).
Well, I finally get it. I schedule and then complete what’s on my list! What a novel concept. Thanks again, babe.
This part comes down to being realistic. Pay strict attention to your time.
How long a task will take has often been the downfall of my careful scheduling.
Be honest with yourself about what you can fit into a day or a weekend. Schedule accordingly. It’s self-defeating to cram too much into your schedule and then not be able to complete any of it.
Take focused action-
Here’s the tricky part. Once it’s on your schedule, you have to actually do it.
Laser focus gets things done. Another productivity truth I failed to realize for decades. Not proud.
I'm there. I see the results of concentrated attention and forward motion.
Take care not to get sidetracked or distracted. Stick to one task at a time and finish it!
Keep growing and changing-
If I'm honest, I like things to be once and done. If I could go to the grocery store one time for the entire year, I’d do it! I like things crossed off the list. Done.
I strongly resisted the constant shifting that was required as my children grew from babies to toddlers to elementary school age to teens. As soon as I’d have their spaces and systems just right...they would change and their needs would too.
It took me many years to settle into the reality of constant change.
Nothing stays the same. And neither should we.
Seek out something new. Learn something. Do things a different way. Break free of old ways that no longer serve you.
As I move deeper into January 2017, I have a few things topping my list of stuff that I want to tweak.
Here’s a peek…
A writing space. As I type, I’ve enlisted the help of my boys (who have a snow day today!) to basically empty and reorganize our basement storage area so that I can create a writing nook. Yes, they're thrilled:-)
I’ve realized that in order to do my online Together Act work properly, I need a quiet space. This has been an issue for a while, but I wasn’t doing anything to fix the problem. Today, I am.
Wardrobe changes. I have a great wardrobe. Working at Anthropologie has done wonders for the basics and the specialty pieces in my closet.
However, I still have items that I rarely wear. I have several pieces that don’t feel authentic to me anymore. It’s time for some changes. I want less stuff! I want a smaller wardrobe that works for my lifestyle. I know what needs to be done. It’s time to do it.
2017 Live List. Link. This practice is new to our family...remember, I never set goals before. Our first Live List was really successful and we’re all ready for another one. I love that this simple activity brings my family together and sets our sights on some common goals.
My wish is for loads of quality time with my children and husband this year. That clock is ticking…
Show up on Instagram. I’ve been kind of stingy. I'm not contributing to the relationship. Instagram is definitely my favorite social media site. I try to limit my consumption...but sometimes I get lost in those little squares.
However, I've been taking far more than I give. So, I’d like to start regularly sharing more of my own life in my feed. I’ve been asked to offer outfit of the day photos, more styling info and ideas for simple organizing. I’m ready. I want to give back to the community that I enjoy so much.
What are you ready to change?
I'd love to know. Comment below.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a year of accepting inevitable changes and implementing a few of your own. Thank you so much for reading.
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P.S. A little info about the orchid pictured above. When we moved last February, our new next door neighbors gave us a beautiful orchid plant. Its blooms were gorgeous.
As they faded, I considered throwing the plant away. I don't usually have great luck with helping green things thrive. But, I decided to keep it around as long as it still looked like it was alive. It sits in a sunny (but chilly) window and I water it occasionally. I basically ignored it for months. A while ago, I noticed new shoots growing and hooked one into the clips...since that seemed like the right thing to do;-)
Today, this bud began to open. Mid-snowstorm. I'm inspired and reminded that great things can happen if we show even a little care and patience.