I saved this topic for last, on purpose. Getting your heart in the right place before embarking on a new year is so key. I love using my Power Sheets for digging in to how the current year has gone and what my hopes and dreams for the new year actually are. I feel really focused after digging into its pages. Primarily, I like to look back at the year that has just passed and identify what worked and what didn’t work. For me, 2017 was a much slower, calmer year than 2016. I spent much of 2016 frazzled, anxious, and just trying to keep up. But embarking on 2017, I committed myself to a major overhaul. I was tired of living a life that felt like it was on fire. I wanted my kids to see happy mommy. I wanted them to see the version of me that has time to sit and play—but more than that, I wanted them to see the version that genuinely has the brain space to be interested in the Lego creation they’re building. I knew that meant I needed to learn to rest and I needed to learn to embrace margin. I also needed to simplify our lives. And thus, the journey of writing A Simplified Life began. It was that commitment—that sincere, gut-wrenching craving for something MORE and LESS—that brought me to this day, now in late 2017. And oh my heart, do I not regret it. I don’t regret that moment when I said, “everything may fall apart, but there are worse things.” I don’t regret the hard work of saying NO. I don’t regret the pain of letting people down. I don’t regret the bravery I had to muster up to step into a gym and learn to build outer and inner strength. I made a lot of hard choices, and I found myself with four very grateful people in front of me—Bryan, Brady, Tyler, and Caroline. And life was never the same.
I don’t have a quick three tips for you on this front. Because simplifying your heart, getting a clear focus on what you want, and doing the hard work is anything but simple. But my best advice is to write. Begin writing down the way you feel.
Last year, I felt anxious. Tired. Frustrated by everything. I felt overwhelmed, overworked, and overcommitted. Things that should be fun didn’t feel fun. I was on the fast train and I wanted off.
Have a good cry if you need to at this point. I know I did. Then begin by writing out the life you want to have.
Last year, I wrote, “I want a life that is lived in real time. I want a home that feels calm and welcoming. I want my kids to love being here and love being with me. I want to look and feel strong and healthy. I want to have the brain space and margin in my life to really, truly savor this precious, precious season. I want to be ME again.”
And so it begins. Set your sites on something higher than where you are. And put one foot in front of the other. What will you say YES to this year? And what will you say no to? Commit and be ready to overhaul a few parts of your life. Your home, your schedule, your routines, and even your heart.
If you haven’t read A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living, I hope you’ll give it a try. It’s the story of my journey from fast, frazzled living to slow, intentional life. Throughout the ten chapters, we dig into simplifying ten key areas of life we all find overwhelming. Reading is one of my favorite brain breaks. I identified that as one way I would care for myself this year back in January 2017. And I read 30 (!!) books this year. Some were physical books, but many were Audible books (I listened to them in the car, on road trips, while falling asleep, even in headphones while drying my hair, which takes forever). Here are my favorites:
MY 10 FAVORITE BOOKS I READ THIS YEAR
- Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa Ross
- The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson
- No Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel
- The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown
- Of Mess & Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
- Cultivate by Lara Casey
- Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Check out Part 1 (Simplifying your Home), and Part 2 (Simplifying your Schedule), and Part 3 (Simplifying your Routines) of our Simplifying 2018 series. And, if you haven’t picked up your Simplified Planner yet, now’s the time! Orders over $100 get FREE domestic shipping until January 2! Get yours before they’re gone! AND my new book, A Simplified Life, is available here! Looking for more inspiration this week? I had a blast on Jen Hatmaker’s podcast this week as well as Jesus Calling!
Also, check out our new FREE Community Group! This has been on my heart for a LONG time. The process of simplifying your life is a BIG one. It’s so freeing and exciting and it’s HARD WORK. But it’s best done in community. With friends who can cheer you on, hold you accountable, and give you ideas. Friends you can ooh and ahh over before and after pictures with! Friends who can remind you it’s worth it to keep going when the clutter seems like too much (both physically and mentally). I’m THRILLED to announce we’ve just opened a FREE Simplified Life Community Group on Facebook (I know, not everyone is on FB – but its the easiest, *simplest* place to host such a thing – so get on FB even if just to join us). I’ll be there too and just can’t wait to get to know you all better. Hop in before we start our Simplicity Challenge January 1 and introduce yourself! Join here.
Win one of 40 (!!!) prize packs, including special-edition “Joy + Simplicity” pencils and an EL notepad! Giveaway winners will be contacted on Monday, January 2. Open to U.S. Residents only (sorry, International friends!).