That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. – Steve Jobs
Eric was good to me this past Christmas. He lavished me with Starbucks gift cards, gave a beautiful Precious Moments ornament, and topped it off with an Ancestry DNA kit – something I have wanted for years. It made my Christmas! However, as much as I loved the coffees, the ornament, and the chance to understand where I get my crazy curly hair, those gifts do not compare to the greatest gift Eric provided me – a gift which will keep on giving. Eric (with my input and agreement) decided that our 2018 family theme will be: simplify. We are going to simplify our lives in 2018 and I am so ready!
Four known key areas (as more often emerge throughout the year) we are on a quest to simplify include:
- Our Health
- Our Scheduling and Routines
- Our Communication
- Our Home
And, as excited as I am to simplify our eating, our schedules, and our emotional connection, I am stoked out of my mind about simplifying our home. For years, I have wanted to go through this place and declutter – getting rid of items I have found unnecessary, and create a less is more, calming, welcoming space. On January 2nd, I am ready to rip everything out of our closets and only put back those pieces which are truly loved and needed.
What do you want to simplify in 2018? As you begin seeking a simpler way of life, you will uncover areas which have been overcomplicated such as fitness, finances, friendships, or food. Our goal, this year, is to help you and your significant other think of new ways to simplify your lives and relationship (as we seek to simplify our life and our relationship)!
And, since it is New Year’s Day, what better place to start than with our new year resolutions?
Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. – Cavett Roberts
Tips for Simplifying Your New Year’s Resolutions
- Analyze why your previous resolutions failed. Do you have the same resolution year after year, but it never quite comes to fruition? Do you think of new resolutions each year but forget about them by the first January snow? Do you plan too much, get overwhelmed, and then say, “Forget it!”? Take about ten minutes and think through your previous resolutions. Jot down the reasons you believe your wishes went unfulfilled.
- Refrain from overdoing it. Such advice is easier said than done when the year is new, your pants are tight, and you have a strong motivation to change poor habits. For the last several years, I have resolved to lose copious amounts of weight in the New Year. Guess what? I still weigh roughly the same as I did last January and the January before that. Maybe I felt the unction to work hard on January 1st because my stomach was full of scrumptious food and decadent cupcakes. Anybody can resolve to eat healthy before those first hunger pangs hit! Sadly, each year by mid-January, my eating and exercise routines revert back to normal – too much sugar and not enough exercise; so, this year, instead of setting myself up for failure, I will focus more on changing habits and less on striving for a meaningless number. At my current weight, I know I can easily take off thirty pounds if I make wise decisions, so my number is extremely doable and does not encourage crazy diets or resolution burnout.
- Have a plan. And, if your plan requires extreme changes or a seventeen step process, back away and create a smaller, more digestible plan which leads to our next tip…
- Turn each resolution into a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based). We have discussed this method in previous posts and we mention it again today because it works! It is easy to say, “I want to lose thirty pounds this year,” but saying so without a plan in place means nothing. But, what if instead I say, “This year I am going to walk three miles a day, four days a week. I will eat my final meal three hours before bed and keep my carb intake at 100 grams a day or less. Additionally, I will allow myself one free day per week to eat up to 300 grams of carbs as long as I consume them three hours before going to bed.”? Am I more likely to complete my thirty-pound weight loss goal with these specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-based mini-goals in place? You bet I am! In fact, I might even exceed it! How cool would it be to outdo our New Year’s Resolutions this year? That would be crazy awesome!
- Bring a friend into the process. At times, I feel overwhelmed with the tasks before me, but after sharing my thoughts with a friend, I realize the projects at hand are not nearly as overwhelming as they seemed when I was processing them internally. When we hold onto our ideas and goals without sharing them, we can create unnecessary anxiety within ourselves. We are social creatures and need support from others (though, one person’s definition of support may look different than someone else’s). If you are dating someone, this is an excellent opportunity to see how well you work together and to discover which types of support you both respond to best (e.g., praise and encouragement, practical help, affirming touch, giving space, etc.).
- Seek out others who are making the same resolutions. A friend of mine is also interested in decluttering her house, so today we talked about encouraging one another through the process. Knowing I have someone to walk through this process with me makes the mountain in front of me seem far more climbable. ~smile~
- Have a short, weekly meeting about your resolution progress. If you are writing your goals, (which we hope you are), change the name of your document or worksheet from New Year’s Resolutions to 2018 Goals. New Year’s resolutions do not have a good reputation. We associate them with short-lived success and long-term Then, whether you take ten minutes on a Saturday morning to review (tweak, etc.) your progress, or meet with your accountability friend over coffee for encouragement and goal-setting, never go more than seven days without checking in on your journey.
Accomplishing goals does not have to drain the life out of us. The simpler the process, the more likely we are to stick to it! If anything in this world drains my motivation and irritates my raw nerves, it is when someone takes an uncomplicated process and makes it harder than it needs to be. We can make so many great changes in our lives if we first take the time and energy to declutter the process. Maintaining a clean home is difficult when it is crammed wall-to-wall with odds and ends. Similarly, it is impossible to “clean” a relationship which is swimming in negativity and unresolved conflicts. The first step in the simplification process is cleaning out the junk. Let’s start that process today.
Simplify, simplify, simplify… and then sit back… and enjoy the calm.
Happy New Year!
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. – Benjamin Franklin
How will you simplify your New Year’s Resolutions?