True story: I have three crushes going on right now.
Erin Condren – she makes stunning daily/monthly planners that totally satisfy the part of me that craves a perfectly planned life. Give me all the color coordinated pages and themed stickers! One of the highlights of each month is when I sit down to organize the days ahead. It gives me a sense of control as I fill out the boxes with appointments and birthday reminders. It also offers me a chance to have a grateful heart for a full life while giving me an excuse to get a little creative! I can’t wait to share pictures of my planner in the upcoming months! (Good grief, I’m a dork.)
Lara Casey – Her book – Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life – came into my life at the perfect moment. I had been contemplating how I could be more intentional about maximizing my potential and my happiness. Her thoughtful reflections on her own life have helped me carefully consider my own path. The way in which she approaches goal setting (move over SMART goals – you are old news!) sits right with my heart. Bradley gifted me her PowerSheets for Christmas, and I squealed when I opened the package. PowerSheets is like a monthly planner but for goal setting. You can make daily, weekly, and monthly goals along with prompts that help guide you. I will definitely be posting about my experience as I get started!
Emily Ley – I was first introduced to her when my friend Cherie posted about her book, Grace not Perfection. (Are you noticing a theme in my girl crushes? Maybe my word of the year should be “grace”…). I love a good book so I did some research before utilizing Amazon’s deadly “Buy now with 1 click.” While there were parts of that book that didn’t quite resonate with me yet because I haven’t experienced motherhood to actual humans (being a dog mom is 100% a real thing), I loved her perspective on abandoning the idea of perfection. As a woman, I know what it is like to feel there are expectations on how you are supposed to live your life.
Your home should be clean.
Your meals should be fresh.
Your laundry should be ironed.
Your gifts should be thoughtful and wrapped with creased edges.
Your appearance should be put together.
I could go on and on. Emily argues that those expectations are taking up our space, time, and energy. She recommends doing small things to simplify your life for the purpose of having more time to enjoy it. She just released a new book, A Simplified Life, and I cannot wait to read it!
Emily’s goal to help people simplify their lives seems to go perfectly with some of the goals that I have uncovered while reading Lara’s book. Next year is all about me being intentional with my time, which means decluttering my emotional closet of all the things that don’t make me happy. Emily is starting a 30-day Simplicity Challenge in January (because who doesn’t love a good challenge to start the year?!) and I will be embracing the opportunity to declutter and destress! She did this exact challenge in 2017 – you can check out that blog post here to read up on the entire challenge.
I want as many minutes as I can get to spend with the people/dogs/things that make my heart happy.
You don’t have to do the challenge in January. Maybe January isn’t the time for you to focus on simplifying. If you are going to start Whole30 and marathon training and volunteering at the animal shelter…now might not be the time. But if you are a total slacker when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions then give this a try with me! She did all of the hard work for us – you just have to read the daily tips and make it happen!
Below is a summary of the first week of the challenge!
Day 1 of 30: Walk your home with a trash bag. Be ruthless. This isn’t the donate bag. This is the “throw it away” bag. Donate bag comes later. Empty shampoo bottles. Papers. Receipts. Trash. Ready, go.
Day 2 of 30: Set a recurring alarm for every weekday. If you’re letting your kids wake you, set it for one hour earlier. The tone of your morning impacts the rest of your day.
** Spoiler: our puppy gets us up at 5:00 am. I highly doubt I will be waking up at 4:00 am, BUT I am willing to be more intentional with how I spend my time in the morning. Zoning out in front of the TV watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns for an hour is probably not the best way to utilize that time. It may, however, be a great opportunity for me to enjoy my coffee and work on photo editing! **
Day 3 of 30: Do something with all those photos and videos on your phone. Print. Back-up. Store.
Day 4 of 30: Simplify your phone. Delete old contacts and unused apps. Consider moving time suckers to the back. Change that lock screen to something that makes you happy and your wallpaper to something simple.
Day 5 of 30: Put two things on your bedside table that make you happy. You should also have a lamp and a clock. That’s it. Move anything else.
Day 6 of 30: Clean out your fridge. Check expiration dates and throw things away.
Day 7 of 30: Restock anything that needs restocking in your bathroom. Cotton Balls. Q-tips. Toilet Paper. Shampoo. Toothpaste. If you don’t have extra, make a list. Take that notepad into the bathroom with you and take inventory.