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Love Your Life

The First Week of 2014 is Done– Here’s How it Went for Me

The 1st Week of 2014

The first week of the new year has come to a close and for many of us, we still haven’t had a full week back at work (even though today is the 8th).  Is 2014 living up to your expectations so far? 

The first week of the new year always has that magical sparkle to it.  It’s the time where all new things are achievable, the impossible is possible, and surprises lurk behind every hour.

Christmas is Over!

I admit it to myself now and I have agreed to move on to spring and Valentine’s Day on the horizon! 

I managed to get all of my Christmas decorations taken down and put away (today), and now my house looks bare and institutional with its white walls and lack of holiday colors everywhere.

New Year, New You Plan

Plus, I’ve been working through our New Year, New You 2014 Plan along with the readers for my own personal development.  January is the best time to be introspective and really do some soul-searching for both your personal and professional dreams.

The big thing is that I’ve vowed to post every day this year.


A Post a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

It’s true, I’m going to make sure that not a day goes by without publishing at least one blog post on Home Ever After.  Am I crazy to undertake this?  I used to do this and way more, but that’s when I had only 1 child and a much smaller company.

Isn’t this a huge commitment?

Yes, but here’s why it’s important to me:

  1. Because you guys are important to me and I don’t want to hear echoes in the hallways around the site!
  2. Because it forces me to stay creative even when I’m feeling blah.
  3. Because  it makes me stay motivated to write great posts, create great printables, take awesome photos, and design great graphics for all of our fantastic readers, even when I’m not feeling motivated!

You don’t want to miss any of this steady stream of posts, videos, posters, printables and more this year – trust me.

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How was your first week of 2014?  Let me know in the comments!

New Year, New You 2014: Commit to a New Start

New Year, New You 2014: Overhaul Your Life!

If you’re ready to start on the New Year, New You 2014 Life Overhaul Plan, this is the all-important step 1: commit to a new start.

Did you miss the beginning of the series?  Go to the New Year, New You 2014 Plan

The decision to change things with new year’s resolutions and really mean it can be the sticking point for a lot of us, because committing to a new way of doing things means hard work.  It takes diligence and hard work to break old habits and form new ones.

Whether the hard work of your new year’s resolutions is physical (like exercise) or mental (like breaking a habit of negative thinking), the effort that you put in will be worth it.

Luckily, I know you’ve got what it takes to make this commitment because you’ve already started this series.  You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t serious about changing your life!

Make Your New Year, New You 2014 Plan Binder

Before you can start the plan, we need to get organized.  It’s time to make the home where you’ll be storing all of your worksheets from the New Year, New You Plan.  Choose either a 3-ring binder or a folder to put these pages in so you can keep them in order as you work through the plan.

I’m going to ask you to do two things next:

1)  Decide right now that you will commit to the New Year, New You plan and actually complete the entire thing.

2)  Print and sign the printable Commit to a New Start letter (shown below) and have an accountability partner sign it too.

Print the Commit to a New Start Letter

Once you’ve decided to commit, the next step is to print this letter, choose your accountability person, and get the letter signed.  Click on the letter below now to print or download your copy.  Get this letter signed and 3-hole punch it right away to put in your binder.

New Year, New You 2014: Commit to a New Start Printable Letter

Why Do I Need an Accountability Partner?

Your accountability person is someone you trust to help you stay strong when you feel like giving up.  Your accountability person can be your husband, wife, sister, brother, parent, grandparent, boss, coworker, friend, pastor, or anyone else who will help keep you on track.

It’s important that the person you choose isn’t now (and hasn’t been in the past) someone who enables you to be destructive with bad habits.  Don’t pick your enabler to help you with a fresh start.  This means no one you used to have late night ice cream binges with and no former smoke break buddies from work.

Don’t pick someone who will coddle you or give in to you when you feel weak.  If you say, “I could just have one little brownie and then I’ll be good on my resolutions tomorrow, I promise,” you need to know that they’ll say “No”!

Make sure you are subscribed to our free email updates so that you get each new installment of New year, New You 2014 delivered right to your inbox.

Now you’re ready to move on to the next part of the plan – congratulations on completing this important first step!

Next, read New Year, New You: New Year’s Resolutions.

Feeling Down or Depressed? Watch Grey Days.

Grey Days by SimDanelleIf you’ve ever had a bad day that just stayed bad and led right into the next bad day and then the next, you know what I’m talking about when I refer to grey days.  Some days are just bad and you feel down or depressed, maybe even for no apparent reason.

Postpartum depression for new moms can seem like it lasts forever.  Overworked and sleep deprived moms can have grey days that honestly last for months or even years without letting up.  Feeling down from depression is definitely not a trivial thing or something you can just “get over”.  It can affect every area of your life and turn your days into drudgery from morning to night.

Everyone has a grey day now and then, and that’s normal.  Even though I personally don’t suffer from bipolar disorder or chronic depression, there are many moms, dads, and even teens for whom grey days are their normal days.  I also have family members who have struggled with depression and bipolar and I know it’s not easy.

If you have an ongoing problem with depression (or postpartum after having your baby), go see your doctor for help.  It’s a must for you to be able to feel better!

Back in September of 2012 I made this video short called Grey Days.  In fact, I felt so bad when I made the video that I turned the webcam feed grey while I was filming it and writing across the screen because that was the only way I could show just how singled out under a dark grey cloud I felt.  I was tired, overworked, and even had my kids screaming non-stop in front of me and banging toys loudly on the hardwood floor while I taped the video!

I never published Grey Days until a few days back, because I just wasn’t thinking about how much it might help somebody to see the video and read the words.  For someone out there, this video is just what they need to see right now.  If you have a friend who struggles with feeling down, please share this post with them.  Here is my video, Grey Days:

If you don’t see the video above, click here to watch the video.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional and this post is not meant to diagnose or treat medical symptoms and should not be taken as medical advice.

New Year, New You 2014: Overhaul Your Life!

New Year, New You 2014: Overhaul Your Life!

It’s a new year, and as always at Home Ever After we like to focus on helping you create and refine a brand new you! Do you need a new you for 2014? Have you been looking forward to a fresh start for the new year? Welcome to New Year, New You 2014!

What is the New Year, New You Series?

Each year in January our New Year, New You series helps in all the areas of your life you might want to overhaul. This is the version of all your previous attempts at New Year’s resolutions that actually gives you methods to get what you want.  New Year, New You walks you through each area and helps you make choices, decisions, and make step-by-step plans to achieve your goals!

Also read:  New Year, New You: Getting Myself & My Home Organized for the New Year

What areas are off in your life?  Is your body a wreck?  Are your finances less than perfect?  Are you buried in clutter?  Is your house disorganized and chaotic?  Is your career path taking you where you want to go?  Is your mental state as healthy as it can be?  Are you always distracted, anxious, forgetful, and stressed?

Maybe you started a new year’s resolutions plan last year and got the basics in place and just need to fine tune now. If so, that’s great and we’re glad to have you!  If you felt like your life was a mess last year and need a full-on life boot camp, this series is for you too.

Make sure you are subscribed to our free email updates so that you get each new installment of New year, New You 2014 delivered right to your inbox.  Just type in your email address below.

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What are you waiting for? Start at the beginning of the series or jump in at the area that is most urgent for you right now!

New Year, New You: Overhaul Your Life for 2014!

Step 1:  New Year, New You: Commit to a New Start

Step 2: New Year, New You: New Year’s Resolutions

New Year, New You: Making a Punch List. What was wrong last year? Looking at the trouble areas from last year can show us what we need to focus on improving.

New Year, New You: Making a Plan. How many times have you made steps to help achieve your new year’s resolutions? You’re going to now!

New Year, New You: Focus Areas

  • Personal Development.   How was your quality “me time” last year?  Put yourself back on the priority list for 2014.  It’s time to make a bucket list.  Plus, we share the biggest secret of all to creating the perfect you.
  • Healthy Habits.  Need to sleep more?  Need to drink more water?  Learn how to integrate healthy habits with small tricks that stick.
  • Faith.  Did you remember to put spiritual goals on your New Year’s list?  This will help you plan for attainable individual spiritual goals and family faith habits as well.
  • Family.  How has your family time been lately?  Do all your family members work together towards the family goals?  Do you even have family goals in place yet?  Start now!
  • Marriage / Relationship.  Was your relationship put on the back burner when things got busy last year?  It’s time to set some plans for your couple time.
  • Home.  Is your home where everyone wants to be or is it a chaotic mess that you can’t wait to leave?  Let’s examine the home problem areas that are driving you nuts and get them whipped into shape.
  • Organization.  Do you have trouble finding things?  Does it seem like your home lacks the proper systems to keep it running smoothly?  Getting organized isn’t daunting when you start with the basics and don’t skip steps.
  • Clutter.  Clutter is sneaky and can be strangling your productivity and robbing your time and space.  Our clutter plan will help you create an ongoing plan to get rid of the clutter and keep it at bay.
  • Food.  Does your family’s menu plan need an overhaul?  Have your eating habits come under review and need a makeover to include healthier foods?
  • Money. Whether you want to make more money this year or just do a better job of budgeting to spend it intentionally, this section can help.
  • Savings and Frugal Living.  Even the best frugal intentions and saving methods can get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.   Get back on track with savings outcomes and actions to keep you accountable to yourself!
  • Career Path / Education.  Are you doing what you love?  It’s never too late to change directions and start a new career.  Let’s put together an action plan to see how simple it can be to go back to school or change careers.
  • Work.  If you love your job but feel you’ve been in a rut, maybe a work plan will help you get the joy back in your 9 to 5.
  • Blogging. Since so many of us are bloggers now, maybe it’s time for you to overhaul your blog for 2014 to be more intentional with your purpose, content and time.

Every year we have a great time doing this New Year’s resolutions overhaul!  Our planning articles are designed to do just that: help you find the resolutions that really matter to you and create a plan to get you what you want.

How are you doing on your planning so far?  Has this series helped you?  Let us know in the comments below.  Happy New Year and remember – you can do this!

When the Seasons Change, it’s Time to Change with Them

When the Seasons Change Home Ever After

When the seasons change, it’s time to change with them.  We’re not only talking about when the seasons outside change.  It’s not just switching to warm weather Autumn clothes and bring in fall home décor that’s important.  I’m also talking about when the seasons of life change.

It’s not always apparent when you end one chapter or season of your life an enter another.  Sometimes a major life event closes the curtains on one act to usher in another and you’re fully aware that life is changing forever.  But other times the change is more gradual and you just can’t see it when you’re in the midst of day-to-day life.

The seasons of life for moms often depend so greatly on the people depending on us: the kids, the spouse, the aging parents, the teachers and troop leaders.

Babies grow into toddlers, tweens turn into ever-more-independent teens, your spouse may even take on hobbies that don’t interest you.  You may find that even though the last stage of your life had you spending 7 hours a day holding, feeding, changing and cuddling a baby, you now have a lot more time on your hands since your baby has grown into a preschooler and wants to do everything for himself.

The seasons of life for moms often depend so greatly on the people depending on us.

It’s also possible that your personal needs for fulfillment or career or volunteering will change as time passes and you grow as a person.

Realizing that Things Have Changed but Not Knowing Who You Are Anymore

It’s somewhat of an eerie feeling as you realized that the normal everyday routine has changed and that you must change along with it.

You obviously knew who you were and what your role was for the last 6 months or 2 years or 10 years or however long your life has been in its same familiar “safe” routine.  But what do you do when the seasons of life are changing and you feel like you don’t know who you are anymore?

This question is not so easy, because a person’s identity can easily be tied to their everyday activities.  When those activities stop being the focus of your time, you’re left to really look inside and find something more personal to be about.

Think back to a time before you had to focus most of your time and energy on other people (kids, spouse, elderly parents, students).  Once you’ve remembered this specific time in your life, get out a notebook and write down as much as you can remember:

  • What did you like to do in your free time?
  • What kind of music did you listen to?
  • What kind of books and magazines did you read?
  • What kind of stores did you browse and shop at?
  • What kind of TV shows and movies did you watch?
  • Did you like to travel and explore new places?
  • What did you “want to be when you grew up”?
  • What career did you have before?
  • What career  or projects did you dream of doing?
  • What education programs , degrees, or courses were you involved in or wanted to do?
  • What kind of clothes did you wear?
  • What kind of friends did you spend time with?
  • What kind of volunteer organizations, charities, or community groups did you work with?

Harvesting all of this information from a slower or calmer time in your life can be a great starting point for how to start being deliberate as the season of your life is changing.  Of course, it’s not likely that you’d ever be replicate a time in your life exactly.

However, pulling from the things that once were important and enjoyable to you can help you to discover new directions your life can take you.  This information can help you decide on new activities, careers, projects and so much more that you’d like to concentrate on.

The Seasons are Changing – Outside and In

Don’t be afraid to change with the seasons, whether outside in the world or inside in your personal life.  Autumn, harvest and winter are really about things coming to an end.  Maybe that’s why it’s such a time of reinvention and personal reflection.  Fall is a time for some things to end and make way for others.

When the seasons change, it’s time to change with them.  Spend some time talking to your spouse about the changes to get their input and insight.  Make time to pray about the situation.  For some people it even helps to write in a diary, journal or blog about the process to make better sense of your choices.

Always remember that being deliberate with your choices can seem hard or confusing in the beginning, but choosing what you want your life to be about is a worthy project to tackle.