I am a fan of New Years, and I am a fan of resolutions.
A lot of people are down on resolutions, but I think they’re just choosing the wrong things. I have had success with my last several years of new years resolutions and today I’ll chat a little bit about them, and how they have improved my life.
Here’s a little run down of my new years resolutions over the years:
In 2009, I was a new wife and a new mom. I could basically only make ramen noodles when we got married. Seriously. So that year I decided I would teach myself to cook. I watched Rachael Ray EVERY SINGLE DAY and took notes. I would record it, so I could play it back later when I was trying to make dinner. Quite a few of our favorite recipes now are Rachael Ray recipes that I learned on and have since perfected, like this one. That year I got my feet wet cooking, and now I’m one of the better cooks in our families. I also nailed down how to meal plan, grocery shop, and cook completely preservative-free the next year in 2010.
In 2011, I made it a goal to take a picture every single day to improve my photography skills. I had already started shooting professionally, but I really wanted to fine tune my art. I perfected my shooting style, clean editing, and ideal client in that year, which lead to more successful years of shooting for business in 2012 and 2013. It’s true that practice makes perfect, and if you’ve ever had a conversation with me about photography, I will have told you, “Get your camera out every single day.” It’s the best way to get really good, really fast.
In 2012, I wanted to decorate my house. We had been living with a lot of hand-me-down furniture and random stuff put up that was cheap, or just because we had it. Our house looked put together, but I wanted to push my creativity further, and really nail down my personal style. We decided we’d do a mini-make over with each room, one month at a time. I really started utilizing pinterest to find my style and use it for ideas inside my real house. I found that I loved color and black and white, that I wasn’t afraid to take risks and that prints and patterns made my heart happy. Our first real home together is still one of my favorite places to think about. You can see the whole tour of our first home here. I also learned that we could make a home wherever we were, with whatever we had. And how good it felt to nest my own little place – a place I could be proud of. Even, and especially when we were renting.
In 2013, I really wanted to learn to bake. My mom is a wonderful baker, and I have memories baking with my mom when I was younger and I really wanted my girls to have those memories too! Baking seriously overwhelmed me, but after I asked for a kitchenAid that Christmas, I was determined to use it! I started out with one baking recipe a month. Mostly cookies. I made sure EACH MONTH I at least baked one time. I can’t say I’m the best baker in the family for dang sure, but I am at least comfortable throwing together a recipe and keep cookie stuff on hand, always. Just like I predicted, it’s become a favorite thing for my little girls to do with me in the kitchen. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that my kitchenaid made cooking so much easier and now I use my kitchenaid almost every single day. It’s probably in my top 3 most used appliances in the kitchen!
In 2014, we were buying a house and I wanted to make it my personal goal to maintain a tidy home – or at least learn the basics of maintaining a clean house. This was something I never learned before I got married, and something I was constantly struggling with. I tried to make basic goals like having a morning routine, and playing around with a cleaning schedule that worked for us. A few months in, my dearest neighbor, Heather King, told me about FlyLady. That was a game changer! It was exactly what I had been looking for – basically a virtual mother to walk you through the process judgement-free, and step by step. (Heather, I sure miss being neighbors!) That year, we also undertook a massive remodel to our first home, so I decided to keep that goal going for 2015.
In 2015, I decided organization all around! This is something that DOESN’T come natural to me the least bit, but over the years I have really learned that skills can be learned – even if they’re not naturally inherited. If my new years resolutions had taught me anything, they had taught me that. I decided that a day planner was going to fix all my issues – and I wasn’t far off. In it, I would keep track of my house cleaning, my meals, the girls school schedules (which were ever-overwhelming to me as a first-timer), and anything else I needed. Brady laughed that paper planners were so 1994, but to my elated surprise, I found an entire community of paper planner lovers on the internet. Jotting appointments down in my phone and setting alarms just DOES NOT do the same thing for me as writing it down on paper with pen, and being able to look at a week or month all at once. I have been called “flaky” and “flighty” and “ditzy” plenty of times in my life, and even though those things are probably true, I knew I could do something to help this side of my brain. I was right! I got an Erin Condren Life Planner that year, and it drastically changed my productivity. I would jot down my FlyLady routines for a clean home in my planner, check them off as I went, and include any other things I needed to keep track of in my life. (Incidentally, having a planner is one of FlyLady’s suggestions.) I wrote all about that HERE (with how I use my planner included).
I am also happy to say that my efforts in having a tidy home have really paid off. My house is BY NO MEANS tidy all the time, but it’s at least tidied up every single day at some point (usually). And I no longer have cluttered counters everywhere for weeks at a time. Hating a messy house is something that can be learned. Now I feel out of control if my kitchen is a disaster. Although we make at least 2-3 a day in there, it’s almost always picked up after. Of course I’m still learning a lot. I may have found a way to stay on top of my dishes, but laundry is another story…
Which brings me to, 2016. I have gotten a head start on keeping up the laundry this year. I have learned with each baby born into the home, the laundry load doubles (at least). And with another baby on the way, I better get a system to this madness. This last year, I have tried a load a day, I have tried the one-basket method, I have tried to have Brady do the washing and I do the putting away… all to complete disaster still. I have learned in my life as a mother to ask help when I see a strength in another. I wrote a couple months ago that my cousin had posted about loving laundry, so I quickly asked how she did it. (Thank you so much, Bekah! You’re my hero!) I have been trying her method of having one laundry day a week – washing, and folding, and putting away – all done. I don’t leave the house on laundry day. I tried it, and it worked! I got all caught up on my laundry for the first time probably ever in my married life. Then I got knocked out with morning sickness and it piled up again. BUT, now I am feeling better and I am going on WEEK FOUR of having my laundry all completely caught up. (In fact, that’s what I’ll be doing today just after this post is through.) This year, my goal is absolutely keeping up my laundry. If I can do that with four kids, I can do anything.
Some of my readers emailed me about the Mormon Mom Planners that they had been using. I thought I’d check them out for this upcoming year. They are laid out very similar to my planner, but have extra pages that will help with organizing church stuff, as well as household stuff, and overall mom life! They’re pretty awesome, and worth checking out. I’m super excited about it and think it will be a great fit for me this year. I’ll be posting a full review on that soon!
Last year’s post on getting organized HERE.
So I hope this inspires you to make some goals for the upcoming year! Let’s use this as an opportunity to better our lives and the lives of our families. Let’s search deeper for peace in our hearts and order in our lives. I’ll be right here with you, taking things a day at a time in being better tomorrow than I was today.
“Never give up on a dream that will take time to accomplish, the time will pass anyway.”