Overhaul: 12 Months, 12 Habits

Bad habits are tough to break. I try to check off seasonal goals and bucket list activities, but that doesn’t do much for my bad habits. I got the idea to challenge myself in September with waking up early on time every day, but then thought, ‘Why not keep this going for 12 months?’


So here we are. All twelve months highlight things I’d like to change. My hope is that by altering my behavior for a solid 28 to 31 days I will foster some new (good) habits. So here’s what the next year looks like:

September: Wake up at 6am on weekdays
October: Don’t yell at/lose temper with Lylee
November: Wash my face every single night
December: Go to church every Sunday
January: No trips north just to shop
February: No eating past 8pm
March: No fast food (unless necessarily while traveling)
April: Go for a walk 4 times per week
May: Read for 30 minutes every day
June: Water the plants EVERY DAY
July: Cook 4 good edible meals (not all Asian) per week*
August: Yoga, three times a week, in the studio or at home
*K helped with the July goal, lol. And he’ll BE helping that with goal in July #GrillKing

Some of these are self-explanatory: getting up on time, not losing my temper with Ly (who can be incredibly frustrating/headstrong/stubborn/defiant), reading every day. The no eating past 8pm hopefully helps me curb bored snacking at night- which I’m guilty of. January’s habit is a mini-shopping ban. Unless I drive 30 minutes north I don’t have access to Target, Old Navy, HomeGoods, etc.

When we travel I won’t be holding myself to these things. I take food & sleep whenever I can get it on business trips. Ha.

I’m kicking off the 6am wake up call on Monday. Wish me luck! I’ll probably mention this monthly just to keep myself accountable 🙂

Things I’d Like to Learn to Do

On Tuesday Stephanie posted about vintage skills and it got me thinking… there are a handful of things I’d really like to improve or learn. And since I’m a blogger I figured the next step in my education would be publicly sharing those things with you.

Grow a garden.
My parents are awesome at growing and tending to vegetables and flowers. I hated the outside chores when I was a kid so I didn’t bother learning anything from them. But now I’m feeling that grow-it-yourself vibe and I’ve decided I want a gorgeous garden.

I’m going to start small. I’ve planted some indoor seeds already (and they grew!!) and soon K is going to build me a table garden like this one for the backyard. Right, dear?

…these are called seedlings, right? Pumpkins, zucchini, tomatoes, & peppers!

Learn Improve my German.
I have a very basic understanding of German. I took three years of it in high school but the only words/phrases that have stuck over the years have been the things my mom taught us before we went to Switzerland when I was 7. Numbers, yes and no, please and thank you, hello, goodbye, I love you, etc. (well, not the word et cetera…).

Play an instrument.
I spent 4 years playing saxophone and then five years behind mallet instruments (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone). And then I stopped playing music. I don’t know that I’ll ever get back into it, but I wish I had some piano skills- and it’s depressing that my ability to read music has suffered since I stopped performing.

Improve my sewing.
I have ZERO excuses. My aunt owns a fabric shop, offers different lessons and retreats and workshops multiple times a week, and she BOUGHT me a sewing machine. She’s amazing and she can literally make anything out of anything. I need to tap into that resource and spend some time with her.

Last time I went to her weekend retreat she (and my mom) helped me make this Halloween apron!

Decorate cakes.
My grandma and my husband’s cousin and my mother-in-law’s best friend are all star cake decorators. I’m not shy when it comes to baking or cooking new things, but the last step- the decorating- almost always frustrates me.

Down the street from my house there is an adult education building where they teach cake decorating. This one feels like a no-brainer…

Five seems like a good number to end on, right? Considering I’ve been trying to make ice cream for 9 months I think learning these skills will carry me into retirement. Lol

What are some new skills or hobbies you’re hoping to try? Any tips for me on these five??

Trying to Be Nice

Let’s get real today. There are women in this world who we’d all “love to hate.” Of course, in all actuality, we have no reason to dislike these women- they’re kind, beautiful, honest, friendly, and- in some cases- God-loving. On top of that they’re usually ridiculously creative and they always have the perfect messy bun. Their coffee is always warm and abundant and in a cute little mug that reads, “Stressed, Blessed, and Coffee Obsessed.” Their children are adorable and polite. Their rescue dogs are the perfect blend of Australian shepherd and husky, and their husbands bring them gorgeous white flowers on a random Tuesday to display on their Pottery Barn desk.

You have someone in mind right now, don’t you… Maybe it’s Joanna Gaines. Maybe it’s another blogger. Maybe it’s someone you know in real life. Regardless, it’s a woman who always seems to have it totally put together. And even when she doesn’t, there’s a beautiful smile on her face and she’s asking you what’s going on in your life and how can she help.

So often I wish I was that woman. I wish that I could look at my mantel and just know that a copper bucket with an old wooden spoon and two small succulents would fit perfectly. I wish that I could apply my make-up at 5am and still look like a put-together adult by 3pm. I wish that I was quick to offer grace and mercy to others, instead of the sarcasm and judgement that tend to fly from my lips.

Kind 2

I’m not trying to get down on myself today… I have quite a few qualities that I’m proud of. They could all use some perfecting, but I like to think that goes for everyone. It just seems like these “perfect” women never slip.

I know that’s not true, but when they do slip they don’t bring anyone down with them. They’re not vengeful. They’re not nasty. They’re not hurtful. Those are three things that I know I can be and have been in the past. Those are the traits I’d like to weed out. As of late, I’m consciously trying to delete the words “jealous” and “hate” from my vocabulary. Do I wish I was participating in the trip/experience/etc. that you are? Yes. But more than that I am genuinely happy that you are getting to have that vacation. Instead of saying, “I’m so jealous of you” I’m trying to say, “I’m so happy for you!” And I’m really meaning it.

Personally, my faith plays a role in this change, too. In the past I’ve never uttered or typed the words, “I’ll pray for you.” But I’ve said it a lot lately- and then I really have prayed for those people. I told K a few weeks ago that I often pray for him. You don’t have to be religious to be nice; it just tends to go hand-in-hand for me.

Kind 1

I don’t believe that I will ever master effortless beach waves. My dogs are a weird mix of under-bite boxer and scrawny whippet. (Which I wouldn’t change for the world.) I hope that my future kids will be polite, but I don’t think they’ll ever sport a top knot or keep a cardigan on for more than a minute. (It’s too hard to climb trees in a sweater.) I’ve been drinking coffee for +3 years and I still can’t figure out how to keep it warm.

But that’s ok. These things don’t bother me; I don’t feel a need to change them.

I’d like to be nicer, though. I’d like to extend understanding and grace to those who deserve it- and more importantly, those I would have formerly felt don’t deserve it. People won’t stop being rude and nasty, but I can change my reaction. I can stop that cycle of anger and judgement. I can say “thank you” to the waitress who made us wait 20 minutes to order our drinks. I can smile politely at the scowling woman in Wal-Mart who’s shooting daggers from her eyes at me for no reason. I can refrain from gossip. I bet Joanna Gaines doesn’t gossip.

I’m not in the business of comparing myself to others- really, I’m not. But when I see traits in other people that make them shine brighter (inside and out), I tend to gravitate toward that behavior or outlook or lifestyle. It’s my path to self-improvement.

Then again, if anyone has the secret to perfect hair and well-behaved dogs I’m open to that, too… Just saying.

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Ways to Challenge Yourself

As a blogger I am constantly looking for a good challenge. I’ve tried my hand at Ember Grey’s 12 months of bliss challenge and Erin’s reading challenge and Jenn’s movie challenge. I watched Laura and Chelsea torture themselves with the Whole 30 and my friend Kayla brave her way through the 21 Day Fix. It seems like we’re always on the lookout for some way to better ourselves or experience more- especially via challenge.

Right now I’m working on a few challenges- some that last several months, others that span the year, and a few that I attempted for a week. If you’re in the market to challenge yourself, start with one of these:

Water Challenge
I am terrible about drinking water. I go days without it. I love coffee and tea and some pop, but I rarely finish 1 glass of water, let alone 8. So this week I challenged myself to only drink water. No coffee. No wine. No nothing- except water. This is probably dumb, but it’s effective.

Skin Challenge
In the same breathe, this week I decided to skip the make-up. I have been wear foundation and powder forever… my acne and scars are a real b*tch. But this week I decided to skip it and let my face have a break & heal. I’ve felt very self-conscious all week, but my skin has seen some minor improvements. #WorthIt

Book Challenge
I’m always doing a book challenge because it motivates me to turn off the TV and read. Right now I’m doing this challenge until April and I’m tackling this one all through 2016. My goal is to read 42 books this year!

Movie Challenge
I don’t know of any going on right now, but in fall I did this film challenge and under my 30 x 30 tab I have a goal to watch all the Academy Award winning movies from the year I was born (1990).

Eating Challenge
I hate diets. I would rather hit the gym 7 days a week than restrict myself from eating certain foods. (And that’s saying something because I hate working out.) But challenging yourself to forgo pop or give up fast food for a month is definitely do-able and beneficial. Start small if you’re like me and you hate wheat bread.

The Whole 30
Then again, if you really want to throw yourself down the rabbit hole & experience crazyland wonderland, try The Whole 30. I believe the rules are no sugar, no dairy, no grains, no beans, no alcohol, and no cheating. All of that means no Audrey… but maybe it’s something you’d like to try!

Meatless Mondays
Another food challenge… This is something I’d like to try. Honestly, I think K and I wouldn’t even notice one meatless day a week… the only problem is I lose track of the days and forget when Monday comes around. #oops

Exercise Challenge
Let me reiterate: I hate working out. That said, K has been pretty vocal about joining a gym together and waking up early to work out in the mornings. I’m much more successful when I have some challenge or routine to follow, so I guess I’ll be pinning a few new exercise tips and tricks to this board.

Money Challenge
Have you seen those charts that build your savings account by telling you to put back a dollar, then two dollar, than five dollars, etc. every week? I’ve never tried one of these with success, but I’d like to!

Organization Challenge
I love organizing my space, but Stephanie is a BEAST at organization. She’s taking 2016 by storm. From decluttering to minimalism, she’s got you covered. I love the idea of tackling large parts of your house each month- I feel so much better when I wash the couch cushion slips or the window treatments.

What types of challenges are your drawn to? Have you ever participated in any of these? What new challenges would you recommend?

I love doing challenges through my blog- I think it keeps me honest and accountable. What about you?

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