13 Ways to Know if Your Planner is the Right Planner For You

You're planner should be a workhorse, slaving away to keep you organised. It should be easy for you to use and you shouldn't feel like you have to change any of your habits or routines to satisfy this book. It's just a thing made of paper after all, it should hold no power over you, however its power is to keep you on top of things!

Your planner is there to serve you, not the other way around. Take this quiz to see if your planner is the right planner for you.

  1. Do you find the boxes are too small? Do you often have to squeeze things in or does your writing often leak out into neighbouring squares?
  2. Are you a lefty and in a coil or rings? Those can really get in the way for us lefties (though if you love rings or coil binding there are work arounds).
  3. If you need to take your planner with you, is it a struggle to get it to fit in your purse?
  4. Is it hard to find things you are looking for in your planner?
  5. Does it need to close when it’s not in use and you just can't get it to shut?
  6. Are you keeping track of things for other people? Children, spouse, parents, co-workers, etc and there just isn't room for everything?
  7. Do you struggle with the layout of traditional store-bought planners but can't seem to find the perfect versatile layout with online printables?
  8.  Are there too many things (elements, pages etc) in your planner that you just aren’t using?
  9. Do you dislike the order of the pages, boxes, lists etc?
  10. Do you need more of a certain element (boxes, lists, etc) on certain pages?
  11. Do you need less of a certain element? For example there are too many spots on your to-do list. You can only do so much in one day! ;)
  12. Are you writing on scraps of paper or backs of envelopes?
  13. Is your planner big enough to plan as far into the future as you need to plan?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, it may mean that your planner may need some tweaking. If you answered YES to many or even ALL of the questions then you really need to change things up!

What ever your answers, your planner should make you smile whenever you open it. Once you've decided on any changes you'd like to make to your planner, next add a fresh look to your planner! A new spread is a quick and easy make-over that you can do today. I've got a really pretty spread that you can easily recreate in your planner.

If you are having troubles changing things up to work better for you, stayed tuned for next week's blog post. I'm gathering a great list of resources for you to explore to help find your Practically Perfect Planner.

Don't forget to consider what IS working in your planner. What are the good and even great things about it? These are the things that work so well you don't even realise they are working for you until they go away. What have you not even noticed in your planner? It’s probably because it’s working, it’s often only the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

There are a trillion different combinations of planners, pages, and set ups, if you don't love the one that you are using now, if it's not working for you the way you'd like it to, then tweak a few things to get it closer to what you need from your planner.

Happy Planning!


4 Keys to Planning a HUGE Event or Project

There are many different types of large events and projects that need extensive planning. If you have one that your are planning, it may look completely different that the one I'm sharing here today, but the steps to planning are basically the same regardless of the actual event. As you follow my plans in this post, keep your own event or project in mind, so that you can adapt the steps to fit your specific needs.


My daughter is making her first Communion in May and if you aren't in Europe you may be thinking 'Cara, That is not a HUGE event or project. Sure, it needs some planning, but it's not huge'. In my corner of Europe, it really is!

We are having a sit down, formal, 7 course meal for over 40 people... wait for it... in my home!

Cooked by me.

Yah, see I told you it was big. I've seen communions that could rival weddings, not only in size but also in grandeur.

My daughter's won't be that big, but there are still a lot of moving pieces. Besides the formal dinner, there are her preparations at school and at the church, there is the mass itself, and other meals and get-togethers through out the weekend, as well as lodging all the people who will be coming. Plus, my favourite part of this whole event, creating the decorations and invitations.

That's a lot to do and a lot to organise. So like the good little planner girl that I am, I've created an entire planner devoted to this celebration!

Communion-dashboard-FBall goodies used in the dashboard are from the March kits from the Hip Kit Club

I've started it out with a lovely little dashboard, grab a cuppa and hit play and watch how it all comes together.

This is only the beginning, There will be many sections, including a place to brainstorm, a to-do list, invitations (guest list, design ideas), seating plan, menus, grocery list, shopping list (I need to buy 40 sets of dishes!) and of course we can't forget the decorations! I'm sure I'll be adding more as I get closer to the big day.

Now your event may look completely different but you should always start by brainstorming to-do's and then prioritise them, schedule them into your daily planner and set deadlines along the way. This brainstorm list will lead to the different sections that you will need in your planner that you set up specifically for the event or project.

If you follow these 4 key points below, you should be able to pull off your event or project with great success!

  1. Plan ahead, the earlier you can start the better! At the very least brainstorm a big list as soon as possible. Having it out of your mind and down on a concrete list will take off a load of stress as well as get your plans started.
  2. Hack away at the projects as time allows. Planning early allows you the time to work on it at a reasonable pace. You won't be completely stressed out by the time the big days comes which would leave you unable to enjoy it.
  3. Give your self deadlines along the way. Working backwards from the day everything needs to come together, decide when smaller projects within the whole HUGE event need to be completed. Mark these in your planner and stick to them.
  4. Decorate your planner early on, it's prettiness will motivate you each step of the way. I truly believe that a pretty planner is much more motivating than a plain one. If you don't have time to really set it up the way you'd like, grab a few clips and dashboards from your stash and put some pretty supplies in the pockets and that's all you need to put a smile on your face when you open the planner.


Happy Planning!

A Sneak Peek Inside Studio Calico's April Planner Workshop

I'm teaching over at Studio Calico all this month! There's a workshop that goes along with each of the kits, and I'm heading up the Planner Workshop for April! The kit is called 'Written in the Stars' and it has a fabulous dream theme. 

There are three planner spread tutorials using the April planner kit and add-ons. The first project is with the Main kit only. This video shows everything that came in the main kit.

Here's a peek at the project for the first lesson: 

Sneak shot

The second lesson is with the main kit plus a stamp set.

Detail shot lesson 3

Here's the stamp set I used and you can get it in the Studio Calico shop even if you aren't part of the workshop.


The last lesson, and probably my favourite, is a tutorial using the the digital add-on as along with the main kit. I helped create this printable for your planner and I'm so excited with how Design interpreted my ideas. This is the result:

Prinable image
 And here is what I did with it!


Happy Planning!

The Secret to Successful Planning and Why I HATE It!

Urg!!! If there is one thing about planning that I don't like, it's reviewing, bleck!! But, to move forward into the second quarter of 2017, it's so important that I review how it's been going so far. I know it's important, so I do it. I teach it in my classes, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it!

Alright, let me go grab a nice strong cuppa and some chocolate and let's attack this thing.


I think the reason I don't like to review is that I'm a starter'. 

I love the blank page, and new idea and all the potential for a new month. A fresh Monday morning gets me jazzed up and energised for the week. However, my motivation wains, I get bored and I move on to start another new and exciting project!

I find 'finishing' very difficult. And reviewing has that feeling of finishing that I seem to be allergic to. It's so much more fun to move onto the next month/project or random fun thing that crosses my path. 

Feathers 1goodies from my March Hip Kits

Here's what I've learned about reviewing over the years:

  • Reviewing allows me to improve upon what I've done with past projects so that the future ones are easier and better executed.
  • Reviewing mid-project, or after each yearly quarter, helps me adjust my path if I seem to be getting off track or falling behind on my 'deadlines'
  • Reviewing allows me to see where I'm slacking off on a long term project and where I need to step up my game
  • Reviewing also lets me see what is no longer working and what I need to stop.
  • Most importantly, reviewing lets me see my WINS! It shows me all that I have actually accomplished, and it usually surprises me.

A lot of us tend to concentrate on the things we haven't done, or haven't finished. That certain craft that turned into a mess, the exercise programme we completely abandoned and all the various balls we've dropped. Reviewing opens our eyes to how awesome we really are.

One year I set set myself to read 24 books, I love reading, but had let other things get in the way in recent years and I wanted to carve out more time for it. Come December I was on book 20 and with Christmas preps I knew I would never achieve my goal. I was upset with myself until I realised that I had read TWENTY books! That was about 12 or 13 more than I had read the year before! I think my goal of reading more often was definitely achieved.

Feathers 2goodies from my March Hip Kits

If you are nervous to review your progress, start with listing the accomplishments. That'll give you the confidence-boost you need to peel back that layers of why you dropped the balls you did.

Here are 5 guidelines to reviewing your progress.

  1. Check what you wanted to have accomplished at this point
  2. List what you did finish, noting especially what you really rocked at
  3. Decide what is still left to finish
  4. What happened? Why did you drop the ball?
  5. What projects will you continue with and what will you leave by the wayside?


Here are some of my main goals for the year:

read 25 books 
Juliet's first Communion
52 Baking days
teach live somewhere this year
teach 3 online classes this year
1-2 date nights a month
knit and scrapbook more

What do I need to get done in April through June to be able to achieve them by the end of 2017?

After reviewing I found that I'm on track for most things, so far, except the scrapbooking and knitting. But I can totally see why, there's no plan! What does 'scrapbook and knit more' even mean? So I need to address this for Q2. I also have to get moving a little faster on the plans for my daughter's First Communion. I have about 45 people coming to my home for a sit down formal dinner party! Eep!


 Ok, now it's your turn. Let me know in the comments what you could be reviewing. If you are having trouble with reviewing, this lesson from my class Plan Your Dreams is a great place to start: Lesson 6: The Adjustment Bureau


Your Foolproof 3 step Formula for Creating Fantastic Clusters

Clusters are gorgeous, if you can get them right!


 There are lots of tips here for you today so that you can create clusters in your planner. It's a fantastic way to add a lot of product, yet leave lots of room to write, and I know you love your stickers, page flags and washi!! So let's add as much of your favourite things as possible, eh?  I have a fool proof formula for you, along with a free cheat sheet so that you can easily add clusters to your pages today!



One way to add the feeling of calm in your day is to cluster your stickers, die cuts and embellishments together. Like we talked about last week, adding breathing room adds calm. Clustering stickers is a great way to achieve a page with lots of breathing space.

This video will help you create gorgeous clusters everytime. Put the kettle on, grab your planner and your favourite products and hit play.

The key is variety. If you shake it up, you add interest, style and a bit of fun to your clusters. Here are 3 things to keep in mind to get foolproof clusters every time:

  1. variety of shapes
  2. variety of size
  3. variety of texture.

If you add 3 elements in each of the these 3 categories, you are garanteed to have a stylish cluster. Print off your cheat sheet now, it even has a simple formula to get you started. Click here to get the cheat sheet:

Cluster Cheat Sheet


Why does this work? Well, the variety adds interest and the more interest you have the more appealing the cluster. If you have any questions, or are having trouble getting your clusters to work, don't hesitate to ask. You can email a picture of your troublesome cluster to cara@thehootingpirate.com or ask here in the comments! Have fun with it!


Happy Planning!

Master the Use of White Space to Create a Breathable Schedule

When you use white space in your planner decorating you are also creating some breathing room in your daily schedule.


What you see in your planner will dictate how your day will go! 

No, seriously! :D

Of course the tasks and appointments you have scheduled will create the structure of your days and lend to how much breathing room you have in the day, but the decorating counts too!  The layout, the design of your page and the elements (stickers, die cuts etc) that you add, will influence how your day will play out.

Think of it this way; if you see your day's schedule written out in your planner but crowded with stickers and albeit pretty designs, you can still get a crowded feeling, like the day is crammed-full of tasks and appointments, even if it really isn't. But, if there is white space and an airy feeling to the decoration, you will also feel airy and freer as you go through your day.

Did I just get a little too woowoo on you? Just try it for a few days and see if it makes a difference ;)


I'm sure a lot of you want your days to feel less rushed and busy, so first off, you must be careful not to over schedule yourself. Breathing space and calm need to have time on your schedule too. And no, drive-thru coffee on the way to your next meeting or the carpool pick up does not count!

click to tweet: Breathing space and calm need to have time on your schedule too.

If, on the other hand, your days are feeling like nothing but white space, you may want to add more structure to your daily routine, so that all that open time doesn't feel so overwhelming. This way, you'll be able to get a better picture of the time you have available to introduce new things into your day. Check out my post on morning routines, if you'd like more help with that.


What I really want to talk about today is how you decorate your pages!

If it's an eclectic mix of stickers practially overlapping and you are looking for more calm in your day, you probably won't get it. There's nothing wrong with this way of planning, of course, there is no wrong way. However if you are looking to feel less rushed in your day, try adding some white space to see if it makes a differecne. It doesn't actually have to be 'white' it simply needs to be a more open space on your page where your eye can rest as it looks around your page, and your mind can rest too.

Here are 4 tips to help you add a little breathing room to your planner and your day:

  1. Try adding less sticker, especially if you are just adding them for the fun of it
  2. If your days are busy and you don't want to use less stickers, put them on the lines or corners of the boxes, or group them neatly so that the white space is unified instead of spread out in little pockets around the page
  3. Try using clusters on your spread. (more on clusters coming next week)
  4. Use like colours and patterns

In this video I walk you through planning with white space in my Planner Perfect planbook and then I show some more examples from my Happy Planner and Commit30. You may want to pop the kettle on, it's a long one ;)

Here's a look at the other planners so you can get a feel of how it could look in a planner with boxes.




Get the Look! 5 Planner Styles You Can Copy Today

Are there planner girls out there who knock your socks off every time they post? They have a certain style and way with their stickers that makes you swoon every time. I'm going to break down 5 different planner styles so that it'll make it easier for you to copy them in your own planner. 


No matter what the particular theme or colours a planner girl is using, everyone has their own unique style. 5 planners can be decorated in green with St Patrick's Day themed stickers and embellishments but they will look completely different depending on who made the spread. 

Here are 5 planner styles plus tips on how you can incorporate these styles into your own planner pages.


The Sticker Lover
These pages are covered with lots of little shaped stickers that reflect how the planner girls feels and what she has going that day.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 18.25.15Plannermania

To get this look:
It may seem easy to achieve this look, but once you start placing the stickers down, it may end up looking messy or like the dreaded sticker sneeze. The best ways to get your stickers to look good is to make sure they aren't floating all over the page. You can do this by clustering them together to look coherent or adding them to the very edge of the boxes (even over lapping the lines).


The Hand Lettered or Scripted Style

Lots of bullet journallers fall into this category as well as ladies like Jenny Penton who like to script out their day instead of following the boxes. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 18.46.10viacalligraphy

To get this look:
Practice practice preatice! Handlettering is so pretty, but it's not easy. Try writing a few lines every day to improve your lettering.


The Matchy-Matchy Kit 
On these pages they usually only use one kit and if not, anything else that has been pulled in will being in matching colours and theme.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 18.54.38yespleaseplanning

To get this look: 
Using one kit can be an easy way to get a great looking planner spread. The key is to not go too overboard and leave some white space (that doesn't have to be white).



These pages will be centred around a certain theme, usually a holiday or specific event. Here, it's an adorable rainbow and unicorn theme.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 20.39.25MrsPlannerAddict


To get the look:
Use like colours and motifs when going 'theme-y' otherwise you can risk a hodge-podge-y feel. The unified colours and motifs will pull your theme together.



For me these pages are quite like scrapbooking, and I think a lot of girls who decorate their planners like this have come from the scrapbooking world. Me included!!

Clustersby me!

To get the look:
Use variety in colour shape and size in your clusters to add interest. Plus, having 3 clusters of 3 different sizes and shapes on your spread will balance the spread.

Pop the kettle on and make yourself a nice hot drink and watch this video for an example on how I acheive this: 

I've got a treat for you, coming soon, stay tuned for a cluster cheat sheet! It'll help you make foolproof clusters on any of your paper crafts. Sign up in the tag below to make sure you don't miss out!

My Dirty Little Planner Secret

Before I tell you my little secret, I have a fun announcement! I'm back on the Hip Kit Club Design Team for another term! I'm so excited, their kits are my absolute favourite. Everything is perfect, the colours, the style, the products, I LOVE all of it. And the ladies on the team are all so awesome.

16999149_10155887897939778_1036142389736090113_nHere is the very first project I made for this new term:


Ok, now on to the juicy stuff!

Some people think I have it all toegether, and honestly, I do... for the most part... on a good day! :D However, I can't do it all. I have 6 children for crying out loud!

And so, I DON'T do it all.

If I want to have my cake and eat it too, I'm going to drop some of those katrillion plates that I have in the air. 

So, my secret? 

I abandon the plates before I even think about spinning them. I pass them on to someone else or drop it all together if it's at all possible. I keep it simple doing what needs to get done as well as things I want to add to my life, like planning!

When it comes to planning, I don't decorate everything! Actually, I barely decorate anything... I want my planner to make me smile, I also want to stay productive and actually cross off the tasks that I've written in my planner. So most days, I just don't decorate. 

When I do decorate, I really make it count. It's go big or go home! It's often things that will stay in my planner for a long time, like an insert cover or a dashboard, so that I see it every day, compared to daily pages or even a weekly spread that is seen once and then often forgotten. 

So what does my planner actually look like? 

Let's pull back the velvet curtain and have a look shall we?
eeep, so embarrassing!


Nothing glamourous here! Lots of scribbly scrabbly bits, but to me this means PROGRESSI love looking back through my planners and seeing things crossed off! It's such a great feeling to know that I've accomplished all those tasks. Little tasks that bring me closer to the big picture, the big dreams. I know that nothing happens over night and by crossing off one little task at a time I can get there in the end.

Ok, so back to the pretty eye candy ;)


Do you like the cutfile I created? I had a dashboard in mind when I came up with the idea.


Here's my process video so you can follow along and make your own dashboard.

Design Team Badge

7 Steps to Create a Morning Routine that is Peaceful, Powerful and Perfect for YOU

Creating a Morning Routine can be TOUGH!!


Having a morning routine has made my life run smoother and I'm happier in my day to day life. Gretchen Rubin writes in 'Better Than Before' her book on habits that she wants us create an :

"...everyday life in Utopia. Everyday life with deep, loving relationships and productive, satisfying work; everyday life with energy, health, and productivity; everyday life with fun, enthusiasm, and engagement, with as little regret, guilt, or anger as possible."

There are so many experts out there telling you to create a morning routine, which sounds a lot easier to do than it actually is. I've been there many times, creating and recreating my morning routine and now I'm here to help you create your own morning routine! And I have a free workbook to help you do it! It seems to be the biggest trend right now, there are lots of tips on what to include (meditating at 4:30 anyone? no? ok.), but not a lot of help in actually creating one that suits your unique life and how to implement it.

Most of those morning routines consist of getting up at 5:15, doing an hour of yoga, reading a spiritual book and then meditating. Now, I'm not knocking all of this stuff, I even do some of it myself, just not at 5:15 in the morning. The problem with this routine is that it would just not work for me! And it probably won't work for most of you. Most other people's routines won't work for me or anyone else. We must create our own morning routine that is as unique as we are.

The key is to create a routine that flows easily for you, that makes your life easier and to do the things you want to accomplish. The goal is not to try and cram as many things into the shortest period of time, you don't want to be a slave to a constaining, demanding schedule. It should serve you and make your day run smoothly.

Here's my rountine that I shared a few weeks ago. 


I absolutely LOVE this routine, but I'm sure it would NOT work for everyone! Or even ANYone else. Heck, it may not even work for me in 6 months' time ;)


Let's create a personalised routine for you shall we?

Here are 7 steps to create your perfect MORNING ROUTINE. It doesn't matter if you work from home like me, or outside the home of if you don't work at all. These steps will work for everyone. We are going to set the first 3 hours of your morning so that you can get your day off on the right foot to make the rest of it run smoother.

  1. Look at what you are already doing in the mornings. We are going to start slow and work on the first 3 hours after waking up. If you have a rough base of a morning routine already, then feel free to build a longer rountine, but if you are starting from scratch, don't go over 3 hours. If there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to what you are doing in the morning that's ok! That's what we are going to fix!

  2. Analyse the good and the bad, in other words, what you want to keep and what you want to change. One thing I highly suggest is getting up at the same time everyday, even on the weekends (give or take an hour)!  It will set your internal clock and you'll get more consistent sleep and feel a lot better. My Dad doesn't need an alarm clock because he's gotten up at the same time everyday for years. I wake up at 5:45 on weekdays and about 6:30 on weekends. I honestly cannot sleep later unless we have been out really late the night before. You can get up at 9am or 4am, it's all up to you, but just make it consistent throughout the week and weekend.

  3. Make a list of the things you would like to do in the morning. Estimate the amount of time you need or would like to spend on each task. Some of the tasks will be things that need to get done and already take a certain set amount of time. ex: shower, breakfast dishes or the drive to work/school etc., so allot the time needed to finish those tasks.

  4. Look at this list realistically and compare it to what you are already doing and want to keep. (from step 2). How much of it is actually doable first thing in the morning? Can you tweak the timings so that it'll work? If you have to cross some things off of this list, it doesn't mean that you can't add it in a few months from now or that you can't do them later in the day. It just means that they don't fit into your morning routine right now. That's ok!

  5. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and write your tentative schedule. Leave some space to write in edits and tweaks as you live with this schedule.

  6. Live with the schedule for some time to see if it is working well for you, I suggest 3 weeks. Feel free to tweak and change things as you see whether they are working or not. Give yourself some grace in the beginning. It's hard to change old habits. Don't worry about sticking to the schedule to the minute, this isn't the military! However, if you find that you are always 15-20 minutes late for the next step, ask yourself why and maybe tweak the schedule.

  7. After you've been able to follow the schedule to a T, with no more tweaks, for about a week, then you are probably ready to set it in stone... or at least in your planner! D

Ok, that is a LOT to tackle right? Well, no worries!! I've got a free workbook that walks you through the steps!

Click Here to get your Morning Routine Workbook!

Here are a few extra tips and tricks!

*If you have children, I highly suggest that you wake up before them. There is nothing worse than a child with endless energy bounding into your bed to wake you up. You will be bleary eyed and still sleepy and his energy will be a dramatic contrast, making you cranky and reluctant to cater to his needs first thing in the morning. Instead if you are awake even 5 minutes before his arrival, then you are ready to meet him with love and kindness instead of dread and resistance. Ideally, I like to be up and dressed before I greet them, because then I'm fully awake and ready for hugs and cuddles.

*If you want to get up earlier on a regular basis, give yourself some grace, it may be hard to do at first. Make sure you are going to bed at a decent hour to get the sleep you need. If you are finding the shift difficlut then maybe setting the alarm 15 mins earlier each week until you reach your desired time might be a kinder way on your body.

*Remember that you are the boss, this routine is supposed to help you start your day off right. If you feel like you are a slave to your schedule, and that it's the routine that is ruling you, then that's a sign that something is not right and needs to be tweaked. Are you rushing to finish all the tasks in the allotted times? Then give more time for each one. 

 *As you learn to live with this new routine, give yourself grace and don't expect to be able to follow your routine every single day. There will always be exceptions, appointments, emergency calls, last minute costumes to finish, etc. This past week, for example, I had something come up every day and I wasn't once able to complete my routine, that's ok! I did what I could and next week my routine will still be there. The point is to be as consistant as possible to get your day started on the right foot. 

I told someone just the other day, that my whole day feels off if I don't get those first 3 hours of my morning routine done.

Remember that this routine can work well for you now but, life changes and evolves so don't feel like you need to stick to your routine longer than it is working for you. 

Download this worksheet right now, to help create a Morning Routine of your own!


Click Here to get your Morning Routine Workbook!


Here is an example of the Morning Routine worksheet filled out. This lady, let's call her Abigail, decided to try this method to come up with her own morning routine and this is her workbook:


hmmm, she seems to have similar handwriting to mine and the same Cyberman mug as I do ;)

In this video, I walk through a blank version and then the one that's been filled out:

After a while your morning routine will become second nature and you'll simply do it without thinking.

Right now, the second  half of my morning routine is still pretty new to me, so I've got it listed in my planner reminding me to keep up with it. As you can see in my planner perfect planbook here, I remind myself each day to check it and crank it out. 


I've got a quick video walking through my thought process of decorating these pages (which you can also use to decorate your morning routine page or any planner page).

Or there is this video, where I decorate my morning routine.

You can also check out the blog post from a couple of weeks ago where I walk you through the evolution of my current morning routine:

2 Lessons I Learned from Being Jealous Over an Instagram Post

Once you are settled into the first 3 hours of your day, feel free to add to your morning routine. Then, you can move on to evening and afternoon routines. Don't be worried if these are different for each day depending of activities, just try for as much consistancy as you can. Let me know how you are getting along! Feel free to email me pix of your worksheets and routines at cara@thehootingpirate.com. You can also email me if you have any questions at all. If you post your Routines, please use the hastag #hootmorning on IG and tag me @caravincens. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Where will you be in 2018? How to get where you want to be.

Let me tell you a story.


It's about two women, named Mandy and Eliza. They are the same age, each have 3 young children and work full time jobs. This past January, without knowing, they set themselves identical New Year's resolutions:

  1. Lose 20 lbs
  2. Redecorate the Living Room
  3. Sleep and eat better
  4. Knit and scrapbook more


Come February, this is their progress:

Mandy has set herself a plan for her resolutions. She know that life is busy so she's given herself some grace and decided slow and steady is better than nothing. She realised that 20lbs in a year is less than 2 lbs a month and if Rome wasn't built in a day then the living room redecorating could take a few months too. 

In January, she realised that she had a few too many brownies after school with her children as they recounted their day to her and decided to cut back.  She has made a Pinterest board of ideas for her living room make-over. She decided to go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night and so far it isn't happening most nights, but she has made it once or twice a week. She is also paying attention to where she is wasting time and where she can sneak in some crafting instead.

Eliza on the other hand has lost her list of resolutions. She started off the year by deciding that she would only eat salads. She lasted 3 days, and she was starving so she ate 3/4 of a pan of brownies, declared her diet a failure and now that she's eaten all those brownies feels like it's too late. She started browsing online for living room makeover ideas, but quickly got sidetracted down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. She thought to herself 'Oh I really should go back to the Living room ideas' but Buzzfeed quizzes were calling and instead she found out that she is Pheobe from Friends, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones and Miss Piggy.  Taking all these quizzes in her bed, she's stay up way too late... again! She clicks over to Facebook and writes a grumbling post, complaining that she's always tired.


March is in like a lion and Mandy is still chugging away at her goals, slowly, but steadily.

Mandy has started doing yoga for 20 minutes, twice a week, while her baby naps. She has found and ordered new light fixtures for her living room. She is consistently going to bed 15 minutes earlier, give or take a night here and there. She's able to do this by cutting back on Facebook and instead doubling up and watching one episode of The Crown on Netflix with her husband while knitting on the couch or scrapbooking on the nights he is away on business. 

Eliza on the other had has completely forgotten all about her resolutions.  She complains about her ugly, dated living room on Facebook and then scrolls through her feed many times a day watching cat videos and then posts again saying that she wishes she could find time to scrapbook. Then she stays up until 1am binge watching The Crown on Netflix.


By April Mandy has lost 3 lbs, has installed the new lights in her living room and added some new cushions and a pretty new tray. She is trying to go to bed another 15 minutes earlier and has knitted a hat for her daughter. Nevermind that it's too warm to wear it now, it turned out a bit big, so it'll be perfect for next fall and winter. She has also scrapbooked 4 pages.

Poor Eliza has gained 3 lbs, her sons were jumping on her couch and have ripped it, so she just turned the cushion over. On Instagram, she posted a photo of the new scrapbooking supplies she bought while late night online shopping early in the month, however they are still in a bag on the floor in the corner of her bedroom where she crafts. 


These months will pass whether you plan them or not.

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."  -Earl Nightingale

Mandy went slow and didn't do things perfectly. It's not about perfection, it's about progress! Because of her commitment and planning, come December, Mandy will have made a big dent in her resolutions if she hasn't nailed them completely. She can then make new resolutions for 2018 while poor Eliza will repeat the same resolutions only to fail at them once again. 

Continuously failing at resolutions really eats away at our self esteem. A lot of people no longer set them, which I do find a lot healthier than setting random resolutions that feel more like fantasy then something that's actually do-able.  You don't need January 1 to set yourself some resolutions. Instead, set yourself a plan of action, make those resolutions into goals and chip away at them when you have the time and energy so that they will come true.

"What matters is to be moving in the right direction. There's a great satisfaction in knowing that we've made good use of our days, that we've lived up to oue expectations of ourselves." -Gretchen Rubin

If you want some help with your dreams, goals and resolutions check out my class at Big Picture Classes Plan Your Dreams. You’ll learn how to figure out what your goals actually are (big ones and small) and how to break them down into manageable steps. My tips and tricks will help you work these steps into your schedule and get you on the right track to achieving your dreams!

In this video I walk you through how I've decorated the insert where I put my dreams, goals and plans for 2017. This book stays in my traveller's notebook all year long and having a pretty book like this cheers me up everytime I open it and motivates me to open it often to review and plan. 

Don't forget to pop over to Plan Your Dreams if you want some guidance in making 2017 the year where you cross those resolutions of off your list!