Getting It Together In the New Year

I don’t follow along with the whole “new year, new me” cliche. Every day is a fresh start to make whatever changes that you want to make in your life. No matter what it is. With that said, at the conclusion of 2016, I realized that I really needed to get real with myself.

On January 1st, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and wrote a post with that was simply titled “Happy New Year” In that post I made a list of resolutions that I wanted to make for the upcoming year.

I have changed the name of the resolutions to the following;

  1. Life Plans
  2. Promises to myself

Organization- Time Management etc

The first thing that I did for 2017, was to go out and purchase a daily planner.  This seems like a no brainer but it actually isn’t.  Apart from making the purchase, you actually have to utilize the planner by writing the events you need to remember and the notes in which you need to recall.

I also utilize the Google Calendar. You can access this through your Google account. It’s free to use. The smart phone and tablet app(lication) is also available. Your Google Calendar will synch to the app on your phone as well and vice versa. You can color code events and also determine how you want to be notified.

What’s the point of using a planner vs using a service like the Google Calendar? Accountability. You can easily dismiss notifications from your devices. I often don’t even read the notifications. I swipe it away and tell myself that I will look at it later. I may or may not. Often, I will still remember but there are times that I do not.

With the written planner, I write it down. I have the planner sitting out where I can refer to it the night before or the following morning. I have a large block of space to write notes for that particular day. Let’s say that my ex husband was 25 minutes later dropping my son off at our scheduled custody exchange, I can explain what happened that in the notes for that day.

Keeping the Google Calendar also keeps my schedule handy on the go. Obviously, I am not going to lug around my calendar book everywhere I go. I don’t need to do that. If I need to check a date then I can get out my smart phone or tablet and check the app.

I do not believe that this is extra work. For those of us who are on the go constantly, these things  are life savers. Keeping an electronic calendar is awesome but so is the written planner. You just have to decide what works for you and your lifestyle. For me, I am choosing to have both.

I created a space in one of my spare rooms to keep a small desk that I am referring to as my “writing desk”. It’s actually a table that I purchased at the Goodwill and painted a really pretty blue/teal/Robin’s egg color. The original intention was to use it to keep my plants on it. I now have other plans for it.

On my writing desk, I have two organizer boxes from a company called Basketville. One is for supplies, pens, markers etc and that the other is for notebooks, books and part time home for my iPad while it’s charging. I also have an adorable glass vase with an iron branch that homes a small ceramic bird. Lastly, this is where I keep my lap top. It’s big enough to hold these essential items and that is all. It’s perfect for deflecting clutter.

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This is my personal space to sit down and write, blog, journal or surf. Whatever. I have another desk in the den where I get down to business with bills and other things. I wanted to separate my creative space from a work space. Also, my little bird vase couldn’t look nearly as cute sitting on that desk.

I also keep a note pad on my desk to jot down my to-do lists or anything that I need to remember to do before I go to bed or first thing in the morning. Anything that doesn’t make sense to put in the calendar. For example, if it’s “Team Spirit Day” at my son’s school, this will remind me to allow him to wear his orange t-shirt with his school’s mascot on it. I find myself creating shopping lists the most.

Finances

I started using a ledger for my checking account again. Seems like another no brainer. However, how many of us are actually keeping track of our finances the way that we should? We have fallen back into the habit of checking our accounts online and expecting ourselves to just keep track of everything in our head.

Maybe that works for you, it isn’t for me. I know for the most part where my money is going, but it doesn’t hold me accountable all the time for my decision making. In the past I have had a habit of nickle and diming myself and I need to make sure that comes to an end.

I want to build my savings. I have plans for the future. More than anything, I want to hold myself accountable for every penny that leaves my possession. I think that every time you write an expense in your ledger, you pay closer attention to your decision to spend money.

I am also taking advantage of a free service called Digit. Digit is a program that studies how you spend money and determines what you can afford to put into savings in small deposits.  One day it might take two dollars, another day it might take five. It just depends on how much money you make and what you spend.

The idea is to save money without you even noticing that it is gone.  The less painful way to save. People believe that small deposits into savings don’t matter much, it has to be done in larger amounts. That simply isn’t true. It builds up over time and you will be pleasantly surprised.

I would recommend for you to go to the Digit website and read about it for yourself. Again, it’s free and you have total access over your money. If you need to take money out of the Digit savings and deposit it back into your bank account, it usually only takes 24 hours. My experience has been less than 24 hours.

You have nothing to lose in trying this. I turned my boyfriend onto the service about 2 years ago and he raves about it.  I haven’t been nearly as committed to it as he has.  I can’t recall what date I resumed using the service, it was sometime this month.

You can get updates anytime to your phone through text.  I wanted to inquire about my savings since I resumed using Digit.  Side note* You can pause saving up to 60 days at a time.*  This is a snapshot from my phone screen to give you an idea of what that looks like.

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Taking care of my health.

Apart from visiting with doctors for my Lyme Disease, I haven’t been as proactive with my health as I should be. I had the PHA for insurance completed in December. While the results weren’t frightening or even surprising, I have issues that I need to work on. I turned 40 and I realize that I really do need a primary physician that knows me. Taking care of your health is more than just going to the gym. I finally made an appointment to have a real physical completed so I can move forward with taking better care of myself.

I also made an appointment to have an eye exam. I haven’t had an eye exam in almost seven years. I have been wearing the same gas permeable contact lenses since that time. I actually haven’t had new glassses since 2008. The only reason I even went then was because my son flushed my contacts down the toilet. Case and all. He went through a phase where he would flush whatever he could if he had two seconds of unsupervised time to do it.

These are small things. Big to me. Small to others. I know there are a lot of people out there who ignore these aspects of their live and responsibility. I am to the point where I am serious about buckling down and doing things better for myself. More than just what I have to do to get through the day.

Organization is a huge thing for me right now. All of the issues that I think that I have all go hand in hand.  Since I have made these small changes moving into the new year, I actually feel quite a bit better .

Onward and upward.

What about you? Have you made any changes in the new year? Are you sticking with them?

Below is a small gallery of the items I am using on my writing desk. I really love this little space. It’s cute and simple. Not too big and not too small.

Trip Around the Sun

Oh hi!

I managed to live to see 40 years old.

Hold your applause.

I was able to celebrate with Michael and Dom over a fantastic spaghetti dinner. I made the best garlic bread that I have ever wrapped in foil and reheated in the oven. It was delicious.  Michael surprised me with some thoughtful gifts that included a chocolate birthday cake with purple frosting. I like purple.

People always ask you your thoughts when you turn 40. I don’t know why. I don’t know that I am as wise or more wise than anyone else. I have some life experience, good and bad. I think I could write a memoir but it would be mostly filled with what not to do in life. I am an expert in the art of bad decisions.

I meet questions with a lot of shrugging.

I haven’t been horribly worried about my looks or getting older. I feel like my body started rejecting itself after I turned 32. That seems to be about the time that I started to crackle and pop anytime I got up from sitting too long. Aches and pains are just part of life.

I don’t know that I feel any different otherwise. It’s another age. I’m just glad that I wasn’t given black balloons or that anyone made a big deal out of it. It’s just another number. In addition to the usual aches and pains I notice that my body is different, but it doesnt’ bother me. I like myself.

In a way, when I look back, I am almost surprised that I lived to be 40. When I was younger, I used to engage in some seriously dangerous behavior. Jumping horses without saddles, breaking and training horses that were “problems” for other people, driving too fast, working in corrections, on the road as an officer, hiking alone in bear country, hiking alone in general, kayaking without a life jacket. You know, things.

I think I’ve done some pretty great things so far in my life.  I have some good stories. I took risks as a young person and had a great sense of adventure. I liked to explore and in a way I was fearless.  While I am sitting here typing all of this, it almost inspires me to go ahead and talk about the past more on the blog. I struggle sometimes when I consider content. I shouldn’t but I do. I want to inspire other people in life.

Anyway, I made it to 40. Here’s to another 40 years!

What about you?  Did you feel different at 40 or after? What was different?

Happy New Year!


2016 flew by for me. In addition to the rough year that law enforcement faced with 139 line of duty deaths and the loss of Prince, Glen Frey and Carrie Fisher, it was fairly hectic and busy. I started out with my blogging project thinking that I would be able to allow myself enough space and time to work on it, since it is something that I enjoy. I appear to have failed a bit.

I am just like everyone else in that I create a list of things that I would like to change or implement into my life. While every day is a brand new day, I can agree that starting anew on the very first day of the year is also appropriate. New Year’s Day is only second to Easter in being my favorite day for “new life”.

My biggest issues revolve around time management, stress and organization. As you can tell, they’re connected. It only seems obvious that I work out ways to better myself in these areas. One step at a time. I have a list.

1. I want to get my house more “put together”. I live in an older home. Apparently, back in the day, nobody thought that organization or closet space was as important as we do today. I really don’t think that in the early 1900’s people had less outerwear vs today. Yet I have no lower level closet space in my house. I have a rack nailed to my wall.

While I will confess to having too much stuff, I also have nowhere to home items that I actually need. I am going to work on that also. Shelves, cabinets etc. I haven’t invested in proper storage for things that I want to keep either.  Working on that as well.

I have already began the purge of clutter. I went through my closets and gave one of the women who lives on my block. She was incredibly grateful too. I think that was a better choice than donating it to Goodwill. I boxed and bagged it all and left it on her porch and sent her a text.

Everything else though, I am either going ot throw away, give away or sell.  I used to have an issue with selling stuff and I don’t know why. No shame in selling things for extra cash. I need to stop being generous in a way. Weird thing to say but I do have a bad habit of giving away stuff that I shouldn’t. I could always use the extra cash.

2. I am going to work on eliminating some of my presence online. I spend too much of my time perusing websites or social media that early doesn’t serve me at all.  I have at least ten accounts that I don’t use and for some reason feel like I am obligated to keep up with. What is that all about?

I am going to keep my Facebook and Instagram but I am likely not going to use it as much anymore. I am not a fan of deleting social media accounts because I do like to check in with friends and my extended family. I also want people I grew up with or went ot college with to be able to locate me.  Since life is so busy also, it’s the only way I get to keep up with everyone.  Deactivating accounts also upsets people. Not that I have a problem upsetting people, but it really does make more sense to just tune in or out when you feel like it.

I also still plan to keep up with Twitter. Since my return, I have discovered a niche that serves a purpose. I have gained approximately 300 followers. It’s nice to have like minded people in my field to discuss the job, frustrations or to just share a laugh with.

3. Time management. I am going to set aside time to write. I haven’t decided on how often or when yet. I am going to examine how I am using my time in the morning vs time at night. I am working on a plan to ensure that I am keeping my bedtime. This also means that I need to better manage my morning routine. I need to have things set up the night before to make my morning plans run smoother. It may take some practice.

For example. I am back in the gym. I prefer to go after I drop my son off at school since I am already up. I can make a protein shake the night before and have my gym bag ready to go. That way all I have to do is load up my kiddo and I am off. This also helps since I am recovering from Lyme Disease. If I work out until 10 or so, then I can still nap if I need to before I go to work or whatever I have going on.

I haven’t focused on myself in a really long time. I finally got to the point where I was pretty unhappy and asked myself “what do you need?” Aside from camping, hiking, kayaking etc. I used to feel like I really had it together and lately I feel like I have just been spinning. Some of this is due to my job and what has been going on there for the past two years, but also in the areas I have been neglecting. I think this will help eleviate my stress too. I chase my own tail a lot.

These three things I listed are the big ones that I think will eventually even out everything else and make it all come together.   What about you?

Did you make a list of resolutions for yourself?

Do you think that you will keep them?