Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Coffee Chats: Goals and Simplifying


Welcome to our first Coffee Chat of 2012! Today we're talking about making New Years' resolutions and simplifying our lives. Enjoy!

Holly: So, how was your Christmas?

Nicole: It was fantastic! I got to spend a whole week with family, which was a blast! You?

Holly: It was really nice. I was sick the whole time, but still had fun.

Nicole: Blech!

Holly: Are you sad the season is over, or are you looking forward to a new year?

Nicole: Well, I never am ready to leave family, and I do love Christmas, but there is something about new beginnings (aka, the new year) that is exciting as well!

Holly: Absolutely!

Nicole: What did you do to kick off the new year?

Holly: Organized!!! I talked about some of it in my blog post the other day, but we literally spent all weekend installing shelves and organizing closets. It was amazing! We're kinda geek-y like that :)

Nicole: I saw that, and I am soooo jealous! You did a fantastic job!

Holly: Thanks. I love it and can't stop looking at it! (or using it)

Nicole: I'm sure!

Holly: What did you do?

Nicole: Oh well you know....un-decorated (is that a word?) the church and the house, cleaned and organized my bedroom, exciting stuff like that. I have to say, its soo nice to see my bedroom floor again!

Holly: I'm sensing a theme here....

Nicole: Me too. I am sure a lot of people start the new year with a bunch of organizing! In fact, it has been one of my resolutions for a few years in a row! Funny thing about that...every year I find more that needs to be organized and purged, haha!

Holly: Yeah, crazy how that works. I actually don't make resolutions. I guess every year I'd say that I wanted to do this or that better, but no firm resolutions. This year I've been reading a lot about setting goals instead, so I'm giving that a try.

Nicole: What do you think the difference is between goals and resolutions? I think I use those words interchangeably sometimes.

Holly: I think a resolutions is saying "That would be a cool thing to try..." and a goal says "Here's what I want to accomplish and here's how I'm going to do it." That's my two cents anyway.

Nicole: Sounds good to me! What are some of your goals for this year, then?

Holly: Wow. Too many to list, for sure! I actually have 10, and they are things like: do a one-month freezer cooking session, organize all our photos, focus on giving to others, homemade craft projects, etc.

Nicole: Sounds fun! I think I am going to try some "12 in 2012" stuff....12 books, 12 DIY projects, 12 Pinterest projects, etc.

Holly: Cool! I have the 12 books down, and wrote down a few DIY projects, but I don't think I have 12 for that. I like the Pinterest thing though, that's cool.

Nicole: I figured I pin so much, why not try to take one thing each month and do it? It might be a project or it might be a cool tip or something.

Holly: Very nice. I like. What do you think the key to keeping goals/resolutions is?

Nicole: REVIEW!! Did I say that loud enough, because if not, I'll say it again. I think you must review over your goals often and keep them fresh in your memory! That can also include breaking them down in smaller chunks and working on those chunks each week or whatever. That way you are always focused on your goals and getting them done.

Holly: I agree. Jon Acuff is doing that every week on his blog, and that's inspired me to do that too. Nerdy, I know, but I have a spreadsheet that has my goals listed out, and each week I type in what I did for each goal that week. Hopefully that will keep me motivated. I also think accountability is great too.

Nicole: Yes it is. That is why I decided to post weekly goals on my blog. Getting them out there is a big motivation to actually do them!

Holly: Oh yeah. Kinda embarrassing if you don't.

Nicole: um, yes. One thing I really want to focus on this year is simplifying my life. I talked about it a little before, but I’ve discovered in recent months the beauty of living a simpler life, and I hope to do better at it this year.

Holly: Do you have any steps to get that done?

Nicole: Well nothing concrete, but taking little things at a time as I come across them. For instance, I went through all my clothes and purged, purged, purged! It was fantastic. And I am slowly taking a smaller section of my bedroom (a drawer here and there) and purging/reorganizing as well.

Holly: Yay for you!

Nicole: The biggest thing I do is just toss stuff. I just remind myself, I don't want to hang on to this! And

Holly: Isn't that hard? I had to do that with some stuff last week and it's so freeing once you decide to finally do it.

Nicole: Yes, I haven't felt sorry about it yet!

Holly: I read a quote and it's my motto for stuff like that now: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Nicole: What a great quote!

Holly: It gives good perspective when deciding what to throw out. For sure.

Nicole: Moving twice in 6 years really helped to give me a perspective of how much I hate having a lot of stuff.

Holly: I hear ya.

Nicole: Its easier to throw/donate stuff when I think, would this be worth moving?

Holly: That's a super question. We moved from 900 square feet without any extra storage sheds or anything to 1000 square feet with a storage shed and crawl space, and I was amazed at how much we had managed to fit into 900 sq ft. Stuff really piles up!

Nicole: Yes, it sure does. I am always trying to find small ways to help keep stuff simplified as I go, too, not just one big purging fest. For instance, when I get a note from someone, I use it as a bookmark for a while. Then I 1) don't feel bad about keeping it and re-reading it and thinking about the sweet person that sent it, and 2) have just eliminated the need to keep a thousand old high school bookmarks. When I finish the book or don't need the bookmark any more, I can toss it.

Holly: Oooo, nice idea. That's one thing that I hate to throw away: cards. But, I heard the coolest ever idea from a mom of one of my daycare babies a couple years ago. At her baby shower, in lieu of cards, the people each brought a kids book and wrote a note in the front. Isn't that the neatest thing??

Nicole: Love it! I also love what some people are doing these days and making books out of them. Neat idea!

Holly: Some people are so creative.

Nicole: It’s not fair.

Holly: I hear ya. But that's why we stalk them on Pinterest. :)

Nicole: Absolutely! Do you take any specific action to tame the simplifying monster?

Holly: Well, I love to use the 3 R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. Many times when we need something, such as a box to put craft supplies in, we can find it among things we already own, can reduce our craft supplies so they fit in another box, or recycle a paper box or something to put them in.
Another thing I've learned is that each person has their own way of organizing and simplifying. We can't exactly copycat a great blogger or a friend, we have to find our own way that fits with our family.

Nicole: Very true.

Holly: And I think we'll both agree on the biggest enemy of simplifying: procrastination. It will defeat you every time if you let it.

Nicole: Absolutely. Nothing will ever get done unless you get to it.

Holly: Cue the Patch the Pirate song: "Do it now, don't delay..."

Nicole: That is why even the first step of actually making goals is important in and of itself. It sets a standard and proves to yourself, I am going to do this!

Holly: Right.

Nicole: Do you have a way that you motivate yourself to accomplish things?

Holly: I am a super bad procrastinator. Really bad. So this year is the year of "do it now". When I go to set something down thinking that I'll put it away later, I stop and go do it right then. Or if I look at a bunch of papers sitting on my desk, I take five minutes to deal with them immediately, instead of letting them pile up. So far, it's working.

Nicole: Good! I always try to catch myself, too, before setting things where they don't belong. It takes a little discipline, but once it becomes a habit, its way easier. My hardest thing is actually getting something started. Often I feel I need to wait until I have a large chunk of time to say, clean a room, when really, I can get a lot accomplished in just a few minutes.

Holly: Right. Something that helps with this is setting a timer, turning on some music, and spending 15 minutes on a project. It's amazing what happens.

Nicole: Yes. Fun music is key to getting things done. :)

Holly: It sure helps!!

Well, hopefully we've encouraged you all {and each other!} to keep some goals and simplify things this year. Let us know in the comments section if you have any other tips and tricks you use for that!!

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