Happy New Year!
Yes, I know, I'm a few days late for this post. Over new years, I was at Disney World with my family, and only just arrived home. I didn't know what sort of new years post I wanted to write, either. A reflection, or goal-setting tips? What about a simple coffee-talk? It all felt too forced because, in all reality, the new year doesn't feel like a new year at all. Perhaps it was because I celebrated the new year walking back to the resort from Disney's new skyline because my family and I left the park right at 11:45 in order to beat the insane traffic. We knew that approximately at 12:01 am, thousands of people would be heading home, and we were so beat, we couldn't imagine the idea of enduring any more lines. We stood and watched the distant fireworks, passing out at approximately 12:03 am and we woke up early the next day.
Or, perhaps its because I start new goals and sidequests for myself all the time. At the start of every week, every month, I try to add a new challenge. The new year is just another way to challenge yourself to do new and better and bigger things. And it can be quite overwhelming, trying to reinvent yourself right as college or work is starting back up and the holidays have ended.
So, because my life has recently been all about simplifying my own life, online and in-person, I decided to write a post on that, on making things simple, letting things go, and how to set yourself up for your most mindful life yet. It's not about doing more, more, more, but stepping back and simplifying the many areas of your life so that you can truly enjoy each present moment.
1. Only own one Instagram
This is an entire story that I'd love to go in-depth about on another post. But for now, I'll tell you this: For about 3 or more years, I owned two Instagrams, one for myself and my personal life, and one for my business, my blog, my professional life. It quickly became exhausting, and very toxic. Over time, I realized how silly a personal Instagram really was but still, I posted and kept updating my life. Not to be overdramatic, but I lost who I was, spending so much time trying to build two separate portfolios.
Eventually, I disabled my personal Instagram, and I have never felt more whole, more myself. At last, there is only one account, and that account is ME.
2. Start planning your days/weeks
This may seem the opposite of simplifying, but planning will help declutter all of the dates and ideas in your head so that you can free up your mind and stop struggling to remember things. Start by creating clear to-do lists or daily spreads, and get your life organized!
For more on planning, read: How to begin a bullet journal
3. Create a pie-chart of content
I have an increasingly difficult time finding content. While I can take a break every now and then and let ideas come to me, as stated in my last post, Why it's important to stop giving so much of yourself, this blog is still my business, and posting on my Instagram is a favorite hobby of mine. I've always been an entrepreneur at heart, so these are things that I love doing regardless if I get many views or not.
So, I created a pie-chart of content or pieces that make-up me, my blog, my Instagram, so when I am short on ideas, I can revisit this pie-chart and figure out which piece is speaking to me the most at that given moment. My pieces are college/lifestyle, yoga/health, creative writing, Forsaken and Fifty Days, bullet journal, my blog, and books I'm reading/reviews.
By doing this, finding content feels much more simple, and not so random and scattered.
4. Track books you read, movies you watch, etc.
When I can open up my bullet journal to see all of the books I've read that year, I feel at ease. I even like to track movies and TV-shows. Maybe this is just an odd personal liking, but tracking my books especially helps me to feel more organized, and also guides me to find different reads when I've found that I'm reading too much or not enough of a certain genre.
5. Create your goals by how satisfied you feel in a certain area of your life
I came across a post that said to create goals based on satisfaction. You choose 10 main areas of your life, like family and friends, joy, health, and finances, and you rate how satisfied you are in each area, from 1-10. The results are pretty shocking. You then create goals based on how high or low you rated something. For example, my writing, personal development, and friends were all pretty low, so this year, my goals are directed more toward those areas!
I'll be honest----sometimes my goals are messy and random. But because I organized my goals this way, I feel like each one serves a real purpose.
6. Release the past, once and for all
If you're still caught-up on past relationships, experiences, and actions, it's time to let them go now. Take some time to write out your feelings, and mentally release each memory that could be holding you down.
You are here, now. The past is nothing now but life lessons and faded memories. It's time to make new memories, right?
7. Take up daily journaling
When you write out your jumbled emotions every day, you make space in your mind for new thoughts, experiences, and people. Otherwise, you're trapped with cluttered brain-fog much too often. Last year, I got into the habit of morning pages, and they truly changed my life by freeing up my mind before the day officially began. Because I got busy, the hobby slipped, but I plan to pick up the helpful habit once again this year.
8. Declutter your room/closet
We've all heard of Marie Kondo, right? Well, last summer, I decluttered my room about 3 separate times, taking out loads of random trinkets, books I didn't want to keep, and clothes. So many clothes. It felt so freeing, to get rid of all that junk. Both my physical and mental life cleared up immensely.
9. Put your phone up more often
Being away from your phone is such a freeing feeling. When I was at Disney, the only time I was really on my phone was when I was playing Hearthstone with my family while waiting in lines for rides. Because of that, I was able to take in the world around me and truly enjoy the people I was with. I'd suggest putting your phone up at night or avoiding it first thing in the morning. It'll help you to slowly detach from technology, at least for a little bit.
10. Create a consistent morning and night routine
If you've been on here long enough, you should know that I adore routines of all sorts. They help get your life in order, and as simple as they are, they can make you feel increasingly more productive. For more on morning routines, read 5 things to add to your morning routine, and why you should start one.
11. Move your body every day
Whether it's yoga, 10k steps, an hour-long gym workout, or some jumping-jacks, it's important to move your body every day. Any sort of movement can get your juices flowing and your mind turning, and it will help you to feel more awake and motivated! Sitting around all day will only cause you to feel lazy and heavy. Of course, lazy days are important, but even so, I suggest at least doing some stretching to get you feeling healthy.
12. Grocery shop with a set intention
One thing I learned while living in an apartment is that it's so easy to overspend at the grocery store. Everything looks good, and you assume you're going to eat everything within a week, but then you end up eating out a few times, or you just eat your roommate's food because they've offered and you don't feel like cooking. Try planning meals ahead of time, and learn your eating habits so that you don't over or underbuy. This will save you money, and will also limit the aggravating late-night grocery store runs on Thursday nights because you ran out of nutritious dinner food.
13. Stop watching so much Youtube (stop wasting time)
My obsession with Youtube certainly peaked this year. Time I could've spent reading, writing, working on my blog, or getting real work done was mostly spent watching random girls telling me all about their buying habits or routines. And when I was done watching Youtube, I was so stimulated that I was exhausted... so I watched more Youtube.
Try to manage your time in a way so that you get important things done first while saving just enough room for a fun video. That way, you're actually watching the video, not just dazing through it or turning it on for background noise. This will help stop procrastination and will fight that icky feeling of laziness and mental fatigue that one gets with too much Youtube.
14. Drink more tea
Okay, so I love coffee with every bone of my body. Gladly, I'll drink four cups a day. But lately, because I've been cutting back on unnecessary sweets (and excess coffee), I've been drinking herbal and green teas throughout the day with a teaspoon of honey. I've grown to love tea just as much as I love coffee because tea offers so many benefits and really helps to refresh your mind and body. Tea is a not-so-heavy pick-me-up for your late afternoons, as well.
I plan to cut out soda and sugary drinks altogether and reside in hot tea instead.
15. Stop talking to toxic friends
I don't mean hold grudges, but putting space between you and toxic people is a must. I've always been a little too loyal, once again leaning into someone for friendship, after they've hurt me, because of one apology. If people are negatively affecting your life, be strong and let them go. It's okay! Take this as a time to find new, awesome friends who love you for you, and compliment you nicely.
16. Schedule chores, dates, and shopping trips in advance
Rather than randomly doing laundry, grabbing groceries, going out with friends, try to plan them out according to your work-week. Last semester, I vacuumed, did laundry, dusted and cleaned the cat-pan once a week, every Saturday morning. I grocery-shopped on Monday nights after work. I made date-night with my boyfriend Saturday nights. Game-night and Dungeons and Dragons with friends were on Friday nights. I set aside time to write on Tuesday nights. If someone wanted to make plans with me on those times, I'd either say no or re-schedule.
This made my life feel more structured and organized, so I wasn't feeling so overwhelmed all the time!
17. Text people back, initiate plans and make it a point to grow closer to the FEW people around you
My freshman year especially was spent bonding with way too many people. I had about 30 acquaintances, but no real friends, and I felt so busy juggling everyone. Find about six friends MAX, and grow and bond with each of them. Text them, hang out with them, grow with them, and make it a point to have awesome people in your life. At many points, because I never had any incredibly close friends besides my boyfriend, I found myself longing for a group to consistently hang out with. A group that loved and accepted me.
But, sometimes, you have to make the first move.
By having a few close friends, your life won't feel so chaotic, and you'll have more consistent people in your life. Reach out to others more often, and try attracting great people into your life.
18. Find a hobby, and practice it every day
It's important to live your own life, separate from anyone else. Start by finding a hobby (for me, it's writing) and practice it every day, or often as possible. Allow yourself to be creative and do something fun, outside of school or work. You will probably feel much more confident if you have an interesting hobby that you tend to on a regular basis.
19. Keep a water bottle at your side, always
Last summer, my dad bought me a YETI for my job as a swim coach, and I carry that thing everywhere. My boyfriend calls it, "Brittney's YETI," and whenever it's not with me, he gets incredibly confused, aha! I almost always have it with me, at home or out and about, and I sip from it every minute or so. This way, I never go thirsty, and I can stay hydrated and healthy throughout the day. Having a water bottle makes life so simple.
20. Slow down, and be mindful
The most obvious way to live a simple life is to live simply. Take your time with life, and enjoy every bit of it. Try finding the beauty in every situation, the lesson in every problem or heartbreak, the gift in every moment. The entire universe formed just so that you could be born so that you could live and enjoy living. Do things with intention, and compliment people, and listen more, and watch the birds fly overhead. Live moment to moment, day to day, and allow your life to ease.
I do hope y'all enjoyed this post! I certainly had fun writing it, and cannot wait to implement some of these tips into my own life.
And please, go out and have a fantastic new year. You deserve one!