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Happy New Year, friends! I don’t know about you, but there is something so wonderful to me about this time of year. I love the feeling of a fresh start, the opportunity to reflect on a year gone by, and the time to set aside to really consider what your goals and intentions are for the year to come.
It’s refreshing and re-energizing to consider all the possibilities of new-ness of January 1. This is an especially exciting new year for our family as we continue to prepare for the arrival of our newest one in just a few short weeks.
One of the things I like to do at the start of each year is to choose one word that will be my focus word for the entire year. I first came across this idea from Lara Casey, the author of Cultivate & Make It Happen, as well as the widely popular Powersheets for intentional goal planning. The point is that you choose one word that will be your guiding word for the upcoming year. I think of it as the spring board for my goal planning for the year. It doesn’t take the place of a list of goals, but it is helpful to focus those goals and my work throughout the year.
So then, what is it?
My Word for 2018: SIMPLIFY
That’s it. Simplify. Google defines the word simplify as follows: “make [something] easier to do or understand. That’s it. Make things easier.
This word came to me last week as I was reading Brooke Sailer’s book, (I’m failiing at) This Thing Called Home. I actually received this book for Christmas and could not put it down once I started it. To say it has been inspiring to me would be a HUGE understatement. In it, Brooke makes the argument that home is something that we create and that homemaking is a learned skill rather than a talent. It is full to the brim with encouragement and practical tips to get your home in order and running in a way that allows those in it (including yourself) to thrive. I’m hoping to do a full post on some of the lessons I learned from the book, but if I’m honest, I still need sometime to go back through my underlines and notes and really process all of it. (Side note: If you are feeling at all overwhelmed or discouraged at home, I cannot recommend this book enough!)
I’m learning that while I do have a lot to juggle with being a wife, a mom, a friend and neighbor, and managing the blog, that I am able to create systems and processes in our home to reduce the chaos and increase the calm and I am committed to making that happen in 2018.
SIMPLIFY in 2018 – Applying it Practically
Our family is about to enter a season of transition, and I am working hard to create some systems in our home that will make that a little easier and give us something to work back towards after we come out of the fog of newborn life. As I said before, the word of the year should act as sort of the spring board for the rest of your goals and intentions for the year. My overarching goals for this year can be broken into two main areas – home & work (aka blogging).
Simplify our Home
The home is our place. It’s the place we live and make memories. It’s the place where we come to get refreshed and refueled for our work outside. As a stay-at-home mom, many aspects of maintaining and managing our home becomes my responsibility. It’s important to me that our home be a place of calm and not chaos. I want it to be a place where my Hubs and I can relax together after long days and where our children feel safe and loved. In 2018, I’m hoping to apply this in 3 ways:
Simplify our Things
I’ve written about decluttering here before, in fact, that post was the most popular post on Live Well Play Together in 2017. One of the points I mentioned was that decluttering your home is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. This is something that I’ve been practicing for a while, but I have recently begun to understand just how much all the things in our home cost us. As I’m going through our things and reorganizing for baby #2, I’ve stopped asking myself if something could be useful. I’ve stopped asking if something could be fun. Instead, I’m asking myself why I haven’t been using the thing in question.
Is the benefit of having it greater than the cost of storing it, organizing it, looking at it? If the answer is no, it’s just going out of our home. I can’t afford to keep moving things around that don’t bring life into our home.
- Go through each room in the house and get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose in our home.
- Evaluate the organization of remaining items to make sure it is practical and useful in our daily life.
- Carefully consider any new thing that comes into our home.
Simplify our Routines
Another goal for 2018 is to simplify our routines. On a daily basis, this looks like taking the time to tidy up the kitchen after dinner and working with Little to put toys away before bed. On a weekly and monthly basis, this looks like having set aside days for things like laundry and cleaning the bathrooms and creating a meal plan that allows us to eat at home as often as we can. My goal is that by having a more predictable routine for this important jobs, we can better plan for them as a whole family unit, which will make my life easier.
I’m also hoping to get into a better morning routine for myself that includes some quiet time in prayer and planning for the day ahead. That said, this one will have to be laid down once we have the new baby while I focus on healing and resting my body as much as I can to best care for our children after delivery.
- Write down how often we currently perform various chores in our home.
- Identify pain points and chores that cause me dread.
- Create a written schedule for each chore and be willing to be flexible as needed.
Simplify our Calendar
This means going through each of our commitments and evaluating if they are the best use of our time. Personally, it’s important for me to build time my calendar for rest, managing our home, and getting in some exercise. For our family, it’s important that we build in time for rest, one another, and serving others together. Finally, it’s important that we leave time to build and strengthen our relationships with others. Margin is important so that we can have the capacity to love others well. To do this, we need to intentionally embrace “no” when it comes to adding some things on our calendar.
- Write down all current commitments – personal, family, & work.
- Determine how much time is spent on each commitment.
- Schedule down time for self & family.
Simplify My Work
I don’t think it’s a big secret that as much as I love blogging, it’s work. It takes a lot of effort to regularly create quality content and there is ALWAYS something new to learn. While the truth is, blogging is simply not my first priority, it is a priority. It has become a great creative outlet and a way to engage with others and share information that I hope is encouraging and helpful.
I love this journey of motherhood so much – all of it’s ups and downs and I love sharing it here. That said, one of my big goals for the 2018 is to create a simpler, more efficient process for blogging. My goal is to find a balance that allows me to better engage, create quality content, and grow the blog.
- Create a schedule of work that allows me to have (somewhat predictable) time to focus on the blog.
- Create an updated editorial calendar to keep tasks focused and on schedule.
- Implement a system of batch working to increase productivity.
- Create and send a regular (bi-weekly or monthly) newsletter to readers to keep them up to date on things happening on the blog and in our lives. (Be sure to sign up for this newsletter in the subscribe box to keep up!)
- Identify activities with highest return and focus on those.
- Identify areas of improvement and create a plan for learning.
- Find an appropriate balance between personal posts and evergreen content.
I could write a whole series on blogging and blogging goals, but these are some of the big things I’m working on over here in the new year.
And that’s it. Simplify – my word for 2018. Do you have a word for 2018? How do you go about setting your goals and intentions for the new year? I would love to hear your thoughts.