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January 2018

How to use the Motivation of Your Resolutions to Plan 2018

How many resolutions do you have written down for Monday?

DSC_9644sneak peek of my project as January guest designer for Studio Calico 

Isn't it great that New Year's falls on a Monday this year, the day of the frest start. How pumped are you to get started on your resolutions and goals? Super pumped I'm sure, if you are like most of us.

Unfortunately, most of this energy and excitement wears off by the end of the first week of January and so our resolutions that we set with such great intentions fall by the way side. What if we used that energy that's motivating us now to do the planning, NOW! If it's planned out and on your schedule, you are that much more likely to actually do the steps when it comes time to do them.  

Why not take out some time this quiet week between Christmas and New Year's to actually PLAN how you are going to acheive your resolutions. It's not enough to simply say that you want to: lose weight, read more, Facebook less, write a book, start a hobby, write more real letters or start a business. You NEED to plan it out. 

It starts with a goal. You need to be specific about what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it, 'I want to lose 20lbs by April 30' and 'I want to write my novel by December 31' are great examples of specific goals.

Once you know WHAT you are doing, you need to figure out the HOW. 'I'm going to excercise 3 times a week, eat less processed foods and, more real food and cut back on sugar,' and 'I will write 2-3 hours a week,' are some examples of where you can start.

Next, you need to PLAN these in to your daily life. There is no magic power at midnight January 1st that will automatically make you a better person - you've got to do the work, so plan it into your day!  'Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays go to the gym or run 3K or go to pilates class.' and 'Write 1-1.5 hours on Mondays and Wednesdays before work,' are places to get you started. Decide on the steps you need to take to get you closer to your goal and write those into your planner.

Now, you simply have to follow the plan. You've got the appointment with yourself, you simply need to show up and do the work. Don't let yourself down!

Project-2-close-upsneak peek of my project as January guest designer for Studio Calico

Dreams always feel amazing and do-able on December 31, and with careful planning they can become reality. The trick is to use the momentum of the excitement and get it planned before mid-January rolls around, when real life sets back in and you start to think your dreams are an impossibility.

If you need more help with goals setting, that planning process or even deciding on what your New Year's Resolutions will be this year, pop over to my favourite class at Big Picture Class, Plan Your Dreams. If you don't have a membership yet, you can take a 2 week free trial which is plenty of time to turn your dreams into goals and get them planned out!

Plan Your Dreams


Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours the very merriest of Christmases. From my family to yours.

Card photo 2017 copy

Card


10 days until Christmas!! Will you be ready?

Did I just stress you out? Not to worry, 10 days is plenty of time! I can help make sure that you are ready, with all your checkboxes ticked come Christmas morning!

Even still, life happens, the weather can get frightful. Things take longer than you thought they would. Unexpected "field, floods, rocks hills and plains" come up and you can get behind, fast!

Sometimes, we simply plug away at our Christmas planning haphazardly without any real focus or direction. Maybe you're late getting your Christmas cards out so you spend all your time on those and baking gingerbread cookies with your children or grandchildren gets bumped to next week. Maybe next week, you'll be late with the wrapping so those cookies get bumped again.

In our house gingerbread cookies are non-negotiable. My 14 year old told me this year, that baking gingerbread cookies is a 'RULE' and if a teen boy is interested in a Christmas activity with his younger brothers and sister then I know it's not one to bump or skip!! We are baking them today after they get home from their last day of school. 

What activities do your family consider a rule at Christmas time? You need to make sure that the non-negotiable activities get done!

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So, what happens if the Christmas cards or the wrapping is taking too much time? They need to get done too! Well I have a few questions that you can ask yourself to help you decide if your are spending the right amount of time on the most important tasks and activities this Christmas Season. Here we go:

  • Is there anything that is less important than your non-negotiables that you can drop from your to-do list? Even if it's only for this year. Do you really need to go to that boring office party when your kids/grandkids want to go skating? Maybe you can buy a ready made scarf, hat and mitten set from the craft stall in the mall instead of trying to rush and finish the one you are struggling to knit in between baking, wrapping and shopping. You can finish it for next year. 

  • Is there anything that you don't want to eliminate completely, but you can simplify? You could take the kids skating for an hour and then pop into the office party afterwards. You could knit just the scarf instead of the elaborate hat, mitten and scarf set that you planned to knit back in October. Don't we always think we have all the time in the world in October? ;)  If the Christmas cards seem to be taking a long time, maybe type your message and include it as a letter and only handwrite your signature, instead of handwriting a personal note in each card. If you are making the cards yourself and it's taking longer than you thought it would, simplify the design of it. Even if some of them are finished already, they don't all have to be the same. Maybe you are organising a party, it's ok to buy ready made food if you are short for time. No one will know that you had planned to make it all yourself! 

  • Is there some one who could help you? You don't need a maid, simply involve the kids, grandkids and young neighbours. My younger ones love stamping our address on the Christmas card envelopes and adding the stamps. The older ones write the addressses some years, though they are less enthusiastic about it! Sometimes I wonder if the listening to their grumbling is worth it, but it always is. Is there a teenager in your family or neighbourhood who could help with the wrapping, take your children skating (if you haven't been on skates in years) or help with the baking? I'm sure that she would love a little extra cash to buy gifts for her friends and family.

Don't be disappointed with yourself if your original plans are too time consuming, we all only have 2 hands and 24 hours a day. We can't do it all. I know a lot of us would like to feel like we could do it all  *coughcough raising my hand*  so I'm telling myself as much as I'm telling you.

It's ok to not do it all.

If you arrive on Christmas morning with all your boxes ticked on your to-do lists but so completely exhausted that you fall asleep while you're opening presents, it's not worth it. You deserve to enjoy Christmas too, and not just Christmas day but all the days leading up to it too. If you are too stressed out, you'll end up being a grinch and no one wants that.

I have printable review sheets in Lesson 6 of my Plan Your Christmas class at Big Picture Classes. There are more questions there and they will really keep you on track in these last days until Christmas.

Plan Your Christmas

Leave a comment below with what you are going to drop, simplify or get help with.

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My Secret to Avoiding Stress and Anxiety with Christmas Planning

DSC_9204goodies in the pockets are from PaperHouse Productions

As we head into Christmas, I'm sure many of you have activities, events and/or parties to plan and all the tasks involved can get stressful! How's the planning looking now? If you are anything like me, you got giddy putting all the tasks into your planner, but are starting to get overwhelmed by the amount still left to do. Ok, I realise that it's really weird to get giddy over organising, but if I'm being completely honest, I was beyond giddy with Christmas planning by the end of September. ;) This stuff is really fun!

Now...DEADLINES.

Ick.

Now I'm not so giddy anymore.

I have such a love/hate relationship with deadlines. I work really hard under pressure. I honestly feel that I do better with a little stress. Notice I said a LITTLE stress. That said, I'm a pretty zen person (I kind of need to be with six children). I don't get stressed out and worried when the crunch is on, and I can keep my cool. I have to admit, it's one of my strong points. I also have things planned ahead. I know what needs doing, and I get things done in a timely manner in advance so I'm not scrambling to do everything at 2 am the night before. I only need to feel just that little bit of pressure. 

I wasn't always like this. I used to get so worked up that I'd get panic attacks, so I don't feel bad admitting that it's a strength of mine now. I worked at it, and with careful planning, I was able to overcome the stress and anxiety. 

So, what's the secret to planning to avoid stress and anxiety?

DSC_9156cutie pie hedgie sticker and clips are from PaperHouse Productions

The first step is to add into your planner, all the other deadlines and big things that are going on in your life besides Christmas stuff. The dentist appointments and soccer practices, a busy week at work, or a project, be sure to include anything that will take significant time away from your Christmas planning. 

Next, add in any Christmas dates you already know. For example, School concerts, tree lighting, Santa visits. It's good to know when you can and can't work on the preparations for your event or party. Having all this in your planner will give you an overall view of what blocks of time are free for the tasks for your event or party.

Now, we're going to add in smaller deadlines for different parts of the event preparations. Unfortunately, there is just ONE BIG DEADLINE—the date of your party or event itself. It's too much and too overwhelming to try to do it all for this one date, so we're going to break it down and get intermediary deadlines. 

That's the easy stuff...

The hard stuff is making sure you hit those deadlines. Some of us are better at hitting deadlines than others. If you are one of those that struggles with sticking to a deadline that you've imposed on yourself, here are a couple of tips to keep you on track, stress and anxeity free:

  • Trick yourself. Set the deadlines for earlier than you think you'll need it. For example, if you want your decorations up by December 15th so you can start the rest of your planning, give yourself  December 13th as a deadline. If you're a couple days late, you'll hit your "real deadline." This works best for us forgetful ladies.
  • Tell someone. Have a friend or family member hold you accountable. Maybe invite a friend over to help hang up the decorations on December 15th so that you'll need to have all the preparations done before she arrives.

I've learned to impose deadlines on myself, but I work better with external accountability.  When I set deadlines for myself, I rarely meet them. However, if I tell someone my deadline, I'll definitely have that task done for them by the time the deadline I've set comes along.

If you have an event or party to plan and you are overwhelmed and stressed out, or you just need some helpful tips, pop over to my latest class with Big Picture Classes, Plan Your Next Event.

I've got time-tested method for organizing and implementing a process to make event planning simple and easy. At the end of this class, your event guests will be begging you to plan their next event

 


Doing it All versus Doing it Well

When you’re scrolling IG or FB and you see all the fantastic Christmas activities and crafts and parties and baking that people are posting, you may be tempted to add these to your to-do list. Which is completely fine if you have room on your to-do list, and in your schedule this busy season, to do so.

On the other hand, if your to-do list is already bursting with never ending Christmas tasks, you’ll have to check it twice, and think twice about adding new things!

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There are 2 solutions that can work for you when you see a fantastic Christmas thing that you just have to do/buy/have/make/attend. You can either bump something else off of your list, to make room for this new and exciting thing, or you can forget about the new shiny thing and save it for next year. 

Maybe next year, there will be more time, maybe not… probably not ;)

When you try to do EVERYTHING, something is going to give. Often times it’s a tradition that you absolutely love that gets bumped for something shiny and new, because you no longer have any time left for that wonderful tradtion. Otherwise, it’s your sanity that gets up and leaves when you’ve spread yourself so thin, trying to squeeze in more and more into the very short Christmas season. 

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To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s a good idea to take a real good look at the activities, crafts and tasks that you are already doing, plus those that you want to add. Prioritise those things that you and your family really love, the things you really want to do this Christmas. Ditch the ones you don’t. It’s ok to let go of traditions and things that you are no longer enjoying, or never actually enjoyed in the first place. It's ok to let go of the things that you don't enjoy but do each and every year because you simply felt that was the way things had to be. Just because somehting is done every year, doesn't make it good or enjoyable. If it doesn't make you happy and you can skip it, then go right ahead, I give you permission!

Think of it as decluttering your closet, get rid of all the things that no longer serve to make you happy this Christmas, just like you get rid of the dress that’s no longer trendy and the jeans that are too tight. Fill your Christmas season with the things that make you happy and get rid of the stress that builds up so easily and so quickly. 

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If you need any help figuring out how to get rid of the unwanted Christmas to-do's and need a hand making your Christmas the best it can be, pop over to my class Plan Your Christmas. I walk you through the process of deciding what to do and how to plan it out so that you don't end up a stressed out mess come Christmas morning, instead, you'll be fresh and ready to enjoy the day.

PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS