January Check-In: Supporting Your 2022 Resolutions

by: Danielle Ternyila

The whole purpose of a New Years Resolution is to start new and fresh again focusing on your biggest goals. The most common resolutions surround self improvement, weightloss, career, and financial aspirations, but these resolutions don’t make it past January sometimes.

If you visit the gym throughout the year, you’ll notice a significantly less amount of people the more months go by since January. Once life starts getting back to normal after the holidays, it’s easy to just forget your New Years Resolution and continue doing what you’ve been doing, which just leaves you wishing you could have done it, regretting the past, or convincing yourself these things aren’t important to you anymore.

At the start of every month, I write down how I did in the last month, what my goals are for the next month, and the steps to achieve those goals in the upcoming 30 days. Instead of trying to plan a whole year and 52 weeks of good behaviors and crushing goals, focus on the next 4-5 weeks ahead of you at a time. It’s easier to plan, and gives you room for growth as you continue learning what works for you and what doesn’t.

Checking in monthly is important for adjusting and realign your goals. Are you on track or do you need to make a change? What went well this month and what didn’t? These questions can pinpoint particular challenges you have to overcome, plan around your constantly-changing schedule, and help you figure out how to do better the next month.

Some months will be easier than others, and some might be overtaken by vacations or holidays! This is the perfect time to plan ahead for those times. You can’t predict every event from the start of the new year, which is why monthly planning is better!

Ready to start preparing for your best month yet? With February here, take time to write down and reflect on the last 31 days. Answer the questions below to help you figure out what to do next, and feel free to print more planning pages to start this month strong!

  • What was my goal last month? Was this achieved or a work in progress?
  • What did I do well to achieve this goal?
  • What challenges came up during the month?
  • How can I improve next month? What changes should I make to overcome the challenges of last month?
  • Looking ahead, is there anything I predict will be a challenge this month? How can I still succeed?

I already can see with Valentine’s Day and a few birthdays in February that I will have some obstacles when it comes to staying true to my healthy diet. To be prepared, I’ll plan to bring my own healthy appetizer or dessert, and I’ll plan to stay on track the rest of the month to ensure I don’t feel guilty if I have a few bad days!

Share your January successes and challenges in our Facebook group to celebrate and connect with people with big goals just like you!

10-Week Holiday Cleaning Challenge

by: Danielle Ternyila

The holidays always come up quick, and you never believe me until it happens. Don’t let these next 2 months slip by! Plan ahead using this simple 10-Week Cleaning Countdown to the Holidays! Each week, take on just one task, which you can get done in one weekend or dispersed over the course of 7 days.

By the time the holidays are here, your home will be clean and clutter-free. How amazing would that be? Think of it as a little holiday gift to future-you, from past-you! Isn’t past-you the best?

Week of October 17 | Purge Day!

It’s time to let go, let go of everything you and the fam haven’t touched in a long time. Look in your closet and toy bins (but don’t worry about clothes for now!), think about those books and games collecting dust. “Grab a garbage bag and start tossing,” as my mom says. Take out the bag and check out all these hiding spots around your home and throw out as much as you can.

If you can’t let go of everything, you could also make a storage pile. Pick up some boxes or totes and pack them up for storage. Either way, get it done this week to begin your holiday cleaning countdown.

Week of October 24 | Donation Time!

It’s time to rip through the closets and dressers to see what clothes you don’t need anymore. Sort through it all, and start tossing it all in a garbage bag again, this time everything you haven’t worn or can’t think of where to wear again.

I told you to skip clothes last week, and that’s because those are easy to donate! If you have clothes in decent shape, there’s nothing to lose (and if you’re like me, I’m sure you have a few unworn pieces with tags someone else deserves after all this time in your closet). Find your local donation bin or organization. If you have children under 10, consider looking into a local mothers group for the clothes your little ones don’t fit in any more! Many organizations are always in need of clothes for kids, like Moms Helping Moms Foundation.

Go through your summer clothes too! Now that you are done with them, add in your bag all the pieces you really never wore. They’re just wasting space, anyway! Sift through the winter clothes and toss any jackets that won’t fit this year in the bag. Leave no article of clothing left unquestioned! You’ll really be thankful for all the closet space in the end.

Week of October 31 | Car Clean Out

Before the weather gets any colder (and perhaps after all the candy and Halloween parties this week), get outside to clean out the car. If you’re the kind of person who has their sh!t together and their car is spotless, good for you, but I’ll be tossing all the old water bottles and gum wrappers, collecting hoodies lost in my backseat, and vacuuming all the dog hair this week.

I tend to collect a lot of stuff in my trunk over the summer between all the road trips and beach days. Now is the time to get all of that stuff out, make space for transporting gifts around, but especially for all the upcoming holiday shopping that comes first!

Week of November 7 | Toy Swap

This is such an important one for the families with kiddos! The swap is simple: put some toys away in storage and keep a few others out for the kids. With the holidays approaching, it makes room for the new stuff, then in a few months you can swap out some of these with ones that have been in the closet a while. You don’t want to overstimulate the kids with too many options, and it’s easier for them to just have a few to pick from at a time.

This is also great for when you have bored children on your hands! After a while when that first set of toys is boring, throw it in storage (toss everything broken or that has missing pieces), and take out the other bunch of toys you tucked away. They’ll look shiny and new all over again, trust me!

Week of November 14 | Bathroom Scrub

Three priorities in the bathroom when you clean this week: medicine cabinet, makeup drawer, and soap bottles.

Take some extra time this week to declutter your bathrooms from top to bottom. Don’t forget to check out old prescriptions, empty bottles, the toothbrush holder, and the mascaras and eyeshadows you don’t use any more. Some things can get thrown out, some things cleaned. As long as you do a little each day, you won’t have to waste too much time each day this week in the shitter!

Week of November 21 | Pantry Clean-Out

Your pantry, snack cabinets, the fridge and freezers…. Chuck everything old, expired, untouched, and undesired. They’re just wasting space, and your fridge will be full of cookies and big meals before you know it! If you have canned goods, it is easy to find a local organization to take the donation. At this time of year, cans are in great need!

You can also use this week to organize any of these areas as you need. After I declutter and free up space, I will reorganize everything to keep everything in order for the holidays. Future-Me will appreciate this! Yours will too.

Get back in the kitchen this week, and clean this time. I’m talking about the stovetop, the oven, your fridge, the spice rack… Get a deep clean in now (and after the big feast of Thanksgiving) so you have a lot less to stress about next month’s end!

Week of November 28 | Deep Dive in the Kitchen

Again, don’t go crazy and try to fit it all in in one day! You have the whole week, so make your to-do list and check things off as you go! Make realistic goals for yourself, like deep clean stove one day, instead of deep clean the stove, toaster, air fryer, sink, and dishwasher. You can’t always be Super Girl!

Week of December 5 | A Little Pixie Dust!

Time to dust and make this place shine. The holidays are coming, after all! Break out your feather duster and Swiffer. Dust everything and everywhere in your home, and take a few extra minutes to clean the windows around the house too. Break out the glass cleaner, and you’re almost to a completely mess-free home for the holidays! 2 weeks left.

Week of December 12 | Laundry Week!

This week, take some extra time to do some extra loads and get ahead before next week. You know it’s about to get so busy, so wash the linens, flip the mattresses, and power through! Don’t forget to separate your whites and colors.

Week of December 19 | Finals – it’s crunch time!

With less than a week now, let’s get those last-minute jobs done! Vacuum the house and the furniture, mop the floors, wipe down the counters and bathrooms… Quick tip! Try writing down what you need to get done this week and try checking off more and more each day. It’s never a bad idea to split things up so there is less stress on you each day. Plus, you won’t worry about getting it done at the last minute.

Conquer the Stress of Back to School

September for most of us is a reminder: back to school!  With that brings a lot of stress for parents. All the extra expenses of school supplies, new clothes and backpacks, getting the kids up early and out the door while still getting to work on time. Add into that the daily fights for homework, showers and bedtimes… Here are some tips for conquering the “Back to School Stress” from a mom who has survived it, 20 years in a row.

The one part of back to school that I enjoyed was the organizing. I am a nut for organizing, and although my kids were not all as enthusiastic about it, I know it made their lives a little easier.  

  • Calendar – One trick I learned was hanging a dry erase calendar in the kitchen. Each family member had a different color marker so we could track activities and appointments, then later as they grew: all the work schedules. There are apps that also will do this and share electronically to all members if that works better for you, but having everyone on board to see what is going on is great.  Often with after school activities, one parent is running around with the kids, so it’s good to be able to look to see where others may be at and when you will get home.  You can also plan in advance when you know days are going to be crazy, so plan an easy dinner or set up a carpool schedule to help.
  • School supplies – The schools have at least gotten better about giving you the list before school begins so you can bargain shop before everything is out of stock. Nothing was worse than the night after the first day of school, everyone is in the store fighting for the last 5-subject notebook.  I know when I would see deals on 1 cent notebooks or dollar store composition books I would buy them to keep for the next year. After school starts if you see the sales, pick up some extra supplies and keep a box in a closet. You will always need extra. 
  • Color coordinate – I would try to color coordinate notebooks & folders for the same subjects for each kid…green would be science, math would be blue, etc. It made it easier for them to grab in their lockers. 
  • Inbox – Have one spot in your home for all papers that you need to see and complete. If you have more than one child, perhaps a wall box with folders for each kid that they can put papers for you to sign and you can put back for them to put back into their bags.
  • Routine – Setting a routine is key to sanity. Setting the expectation with kids is also important. Each kid was different when it came to needs. Some needed more hand holding and some were very independent. So not all routines and expectations are the same. Have a time that homework needs to be done by. My oldest liked to get it done and not think about it about it but my youngest needed down time after school and was better if she did her homework later. A slower schedule, especially if you have more children, will help keep the peace. My youngest, since she was slower in getting ready in the mornings and prefered to sleep as late as possible, would be on a night shower schedule. Right after dinner she needed to get in and get it done, as she also did not like going to bed early so she would drag it out.   Finding what each child needs and how to build a structure for it will make everyone’s lives a little easier.
  • Lunches – One of my least favorite things was the lunches, so everyone knew I would make their lunch with resentment. And it showed.  Since I did not like to prepare lunches, my husband would take that role over for me. He enjoyed making their lunches special by cutting their sandwiches funny or leaving notes for them with a joke or an “I love you”.  This task did not bother him so it worked out better that he would handle that. The key here is to prep the night before instead of waiting for the morning, or delegate.
  • Communication is key – Talk about what is overwhelming you and find a solution. You don’t have to just keep feeling that way. It’s good to talk with the kids on what they can do to help you. It’s also good to talk to them to see if they are feeling overwhelmed and if there are things you can do to help them out too.  Some routines just need adjusting until everyone is in a good place. When something isn’t working, change it up.  Work as a team. There were days when I did not have the patience for the homework sit-down and my husband would take over.  Some tasks were more stressful for me than him so we would work that out.
  • Life/work balance – Set aside some time for yourself, walking with a girlfriend or going out for coffee to just have some “me” time is crucial to the life/work balance. Because let’s face it, being a mom is a full time job so you have to make sure you give yourself time to yourself.

I don’t miss the days of the busy school mornings, shooting like a drill sergeant every morning, get up, get dress, get your shoes on, get your lunch, grab your backpack…lets go out the door. 

September, as I see it, is a time to get back to a schedule. Even though my kids are all adults, I still look forward to getting organized and back on a routine again. We are more than half way through the year, we just made it through the summer. Time to regroup and focus.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Sticky Note

by: Danielle Ternyila

A brief reminder hanging on the door has really saved the day a number of times for myself, and there is no shame in the sticky note game! But do you use these to the fullest to continue motivating you and keep you on track for your goals? If not, you should consider putting pen to the pad and writing down your goal right now.

There is something to be said for putting pen to paper when it comes to your goals. It makes it feel real, and when you have that reminder to drop 10 lbs before Christmas hanging on the fridge or that you are stronger than you believe taped next to your coffee pot, you are doing yourself the favor of being your own accountability buddy.

I use sticky notes to keep me on track with my goals, and they’re actually so helpful. Sometimes I make challenges for myself, like I want to plank every day for a month. I’ll stick the note right next to my light switch as a reminder to get it done. It’s also the perfect place because it’s guaranteed I’ll be standing up and walking away from something else when I see it, and so I’m usually able to take a minute and get down to do it before I head out.

I keep these little notes in places where I will not only see them but also most likely in a time when I will be able to fill through on the call to action. Reminder to buy more dog food on the front door, a note to listen to a new podcast I heard of hanging on my purse for my next car ride, or that little yellow paper can sometimes be found next to the TV remote telling me to get up and drink some water!

These notes don’t always have to be bulleted items that you need to get done. I’ll hang them here and there with words of affirmation, motivational quotes, my goals, and other things that keep me going throughout the day or week. I have one up in the kitchen as we speak reminding me of an upcoming wefigs in 8 weeks and a beautiful dress in my closet that I hope fits. Keeping this note where I can see it in the kitchen every day ensures I am always keeping my goals in mind, especially when I enter the kitchen because that can sometimes be my biggest weakness. I update it weekly with the next countdown too, so I never get tired of seeing the same thing.

Do you leave yourself reminders or words of affirmation on sticky notes? You can use these to help create healthy habits, concentrate on what’s most important to you, and boost your self esteem. Leave yourself a note on the bathroom mirror with a new inspirational quote, or tape one up by your night stand to remind you to do self care and relax properly before bed. “Future You” will appreciate the reminder and thoughtfulness!

If you want to take your notes a step further, check out our Inspired corner where you can find a few different printable sheets to keep you on track for maintaining your goals! I use these and even make up my own with a piece of printer paper and a pen. During my weightloss journey, my favorite tool was coloring in circles for every pound I lost. It made it fun, and it was great to see a visual display of my accomplishments taped onto my dresser I go in every day.