2017 Goals: Mid Year Update of My Self Improvement Journey

2017 Goals

2017 Goals: My Why

Let’s look at 2017 Goals. It’s July which means we are officially halfway through 2017! It’s crazy how fast the year has gone by, and looking back my life has changed so drastically over the last six months. At the beginning of this year I was set to make it a great one. I wanted to work on improving my outlook on life and I also wanted to improve myself.

The first and biggest change is that I started putting myself out there and it has worked. I moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and I spent the last half of 2016 alone and bored. Then in February I decided to start this blog and it has changed my life. Not only has it given me joy and purpose, but it also eventually led me to meeting my friend Chloe from Just a Girl in this World. In a cheesy sort of way I believe that this all stemmed from my change in attitude at the beginning of this year. At the beginning of 2017 I decided I wanted to change my life so I did.

Which brings me to the purpose of this website. My blog is about having a better life. I focus a lot on budgeting and saving money because I know that it can be a stressor for many people in my age group and generation. I think if you are really wise and intentional with your money you will start to feel happier.

Since I talk so much about improving yourself and having goals I wanted to hold myself accountable by sharing what I plan to work on for the second half of 2017. At the end of the year I can come back and share my progress and hopefully share with you some things that have been working well in my life that you can use too.

2017 Goals Overview:

In short, my 2017 goals are:

  • Improve My Morning Routine
  • Create and Implement a Weekly Cleaning Schedule
  • Plan Meals Ahead of Time
  • Cut Expenses/Save More Money

2017 Goals: Mid Year Update

Improve Morning Routine

morning routine

In college I went through the transition of being a night owl to a morning person, and it was not always easy. But I made the transition and you can too. I love my mornings now. They are the most productive part of my day.

You might also like: How to Become a Morning Person (and Not Dread Waking Up)

As much as I love the morning time, I am still always trying to improve my routine to get the most out of my limited time. I would like to make them even more happy and productive. About a month ago I started doing yoga every morning and that has helped quite a bit. Even though I love mornings, I don’t always love waking up and sometimes still feel a little groggy after waking up. Yoga helps to energize my body and wake it up a little bit. So even if I don’t feel like doing my yoga I still do it, and I always feel better after. If you are looking for a great way to get moving in the morning this is a great option. At the very least start your morning in child’s pose. It feels so great to stretch first thing in the morning.

Other than my yoga, I like to spend some of my morning planning my day and writing in my journal. I recently purchased a Day Designer planner and I love it. I spend the mornings writing down my to do’s for the day and tracking a few other things. I also like to write in my One Line a Day Journal. Each morning I write down my entry for the day before. I enjoy this journal because it is so simple and I know I can commit to filling that small space every day. Another feature I like is that you can see up to five years’ worth of entries on one page. I started it in January of this year, and I can’t wait until 2018 to be able to see what happened each day exactly a year ago. My goal is to use my planner more and continue to write every day in my journal.

Weekly Cleaning Schedule

Weekly Cleaning Schedule

So this is a big one: I want to create (and stick to) a cleaning schedule. I am terrible when it comes to tidying up. I tend to make a mess and not clean it up right away like I know I am supposed to. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember and it is a habit I am trying so hard to break.

To combat this I would like to schedule time every day to do one room of the house.

  • Monday: Kitchen
  • Tuesday: Bathroom
  • Wednesday: Bedroom
  • Thursday: Living Room

Then I spend the weekend doing other tasks like laundry or catching up on a day that I maybe had to skip that particular week.

The first week I tried this is worked so well. I was motivated and determined to stick to it and I did. The weeks after that? Not so much. I’m working on it. Taking the time to clean is really hard for me but it is a habit I want to break immediately. If you have tips I would love to hear them. Otherwise I am just going to continue to make myself do it.

Saving

Part of the reason I started this blog was to share my money saving ideas with others. So of course I am always trying to improve my own journey to save and budget wisely. This month marks one year since my move to a new city and being self-sufficient.

It hasn’t always been easy. In fact there a lot of things I wish I would have known after graduation. And while it has certainly gotten easier and my budgeting has gotten better, I still think there are things I can do to improve how much money I am saving. My newest saving goal is to have three months’ worth of expenses saved up. This is just a great cushion for emergencies or in case something ever happened with my full time job. Also I would like to switch to a higher yield savings account so I can earn more on interest every year.

But to save more money you either have to be making more or spending less. I’m working on a combination of both. To make more money I have been trying to focus more on my freelance writing business as well as working overtime at my job. To save more I have been watching what I spend on groceries and using coupons and Ibotta. For the most part I cook my own meals and eat out only a few times a month. I have also been trying hard to not spend money on things I don’t need and taking the time to consider my purchases before I make them.

You might also like: The Simple Tip You Can Use to Spend Less Money Each Month

Meal Planning

Meal Plan

In addition to being terrible at keeping a tidy apartment, I am not the best when it comes to planning out my meals. I tend to be a more spontaneous cook. While fun at times, it leads to unused produce and wasted money. I keep track of my budget and categorize where all of my money goes each month. I found out I was spending way too much money at the grocery store so as I mentioned above I decided to cut back on expenses here.

My goal is to plan out each week’s meals then go to the store and only buy what I need. This is another thing I use my Day Designer for, there is a space for dinner each day and I use that to keep me on track. I also keep a journal of what meals I want to eat that week and what ingredients it will take then from that I make a list of what I need from the store. I’m currently researching different ways to save money at the grocery store, so if you have some recommendations please let me know in the comments!

The Bottom Line

New Year’s resolutions are fun but far too often we forget to check up on how we are doing with our goals once the year gets started. This post is a great way for me to keep myself accountable with my goals as well as share with you all the things that I am working on in my life that I hope to turn into upcoming posts.

What are some goals that you are focusing on for the last half of 2017?

Continue Reading

How to Become a Morning Person (and Not Dread Waking Up)

Morning Person

If you were to have told me five years ago that I would become a morning person I probably would have laughed in your face. All the way through high school I considered myself a night owl. Summers were spent staying up until 2 am then sleeping in until noon. Then struggling to get back into the rhythm when school started.

 

The hard truth is that the world revolves around the “8-5” model. Those are the operating hours for many businesses, and that is when most people are expected to be most productive. Therefore it is advantageous to be a morning person. I am not saying I agree with this model (it seriously gets annoying at times), but you will have a hard time fighting it. Many people believe that being a morning or night person is a trait they are born with and cannot change, but the good news is that you can. Being a morning person is a state of mind and a choice. If you are ready to choose to be a morning person, I have a few tips for you.

The Night Before

One major key to becoming a morning person is to do everything that you can the night before to streamline your morning routine. Pick out what you want to wear, pack your lunch, prepare the coffee, etc. I like to do as much as possible the night before so I can spend more time doing enjoyable activities in the morning instead of starting my day stressed out.

Choose a Wake up Time

Being a morning person means waking up early and enjoying your morning. Find out when you need to be awake for school, work, or whatever it is and wake up even earlier. You can ease into this at first. Say that you know it will take you an hour to get ready before work. Start by waking up an hour and a half before you need to leave. Or you could even start off with an extra fifteen minutes instead of 30. Part of the reason we begin to hate mornings is the rush and stress they sometimes become. Having more time to yourself to relax makes them far more enjoyable. As your body acclimates to your new wake up time, you might want set it even earlier.

Set One Alarm

Once you figure out your new wake up time set one alarm. Try your very hardest not to hit snooze. The quality of sleep you get during that in between time is poor and you are just losing time in the morning. The extra annoying alarm sounds put us in a bad mood as well. As soon as you hear your alarm get out of bed.

Do an Activity

Get up and get moving. Whether it is a full workout, a walk around your neighborhood, or some yoga. Yoga is my favorite, I do some great stress relieving poses to get my day started the right way. Either way, get the blood flowing as a signal to your body that it is time to start the day. If you are not sure what to do you can always go on YouTube and search for morning workouts. They are free and you can do them at home. Here is my favorite quick yoga routine for my mornings.

Plan Your Day

Planner
My Day Designer planner

Put yourself in a motivated mindset by planning out your day. List all activities you have planned and the things you need to get done. My time spent planning is one of my favorite parts of each morning. I sit down with my coffee and breakfast and put pen to paper. Having goals for the day motivates you to get more accomplished, and start the day feeling inspired.

Another great way to start your day is by writing down some things that you are grateful for. Reflect on the day before and write down all the good. Studies have proven that gratitude journals lower stress and promote calmness. Here is a great article about the benefits of showing gratitude if you want to learn more.

Sit Down to Eat

Take the time to sit down and eat a meal. Whether you want to whip up some eggs or just grab a yogurt. Find what breakfast you want to eat and sit down to enjoy your meal. I usually eat my breakfast while I plan my day. For me it’s a great time to separate myself from technology and enjoy the peace that comes with the morning.

Bottom Line

Being a morning person is a choice. Preparing the night before, waking up early, exercising, and taking time away from technology will help you to enjoy the beginning of everyday. I really want to encourage you to do some calming activities and to slow things down. I’ve come to appreciate the quiet times in the morning more than anything else.

Have any other tips I did not mention? I’d love to hear them!

 

Continue Reading