I am chasing a different type of success this year. Instead of chasing resolutions out of my control or those fueled by unrealistic expectations, I am chasing life-changes that promote rest, calm, joy, family, and spiritual/emotional health. (Read more about that HERE!) When we are operating from a place of joy, living without cumbersome anxiety and pressure, I think we are freed up to be more productive. More and more, I am truly coming to believe that “more” is never really more.

I wanted to share my list of the less and the more I am chasing this year. I hope you’ll join me in setting aside the crazy notions that we’ll all become perfect in the new year, and instead choose to seek out peace, joy, and love.

1. More Quiet Time

No offense to Folgers, but for me, the best part of waking up is quiet time in a peaceful house. When I sacrifice a bit of sleep for a cup of coffee and a some alone time, I find myself more rested, more at peace, and ready to take on the challenges of the day.

I created a “Morning Quiet Time” bin for myself, stocked with everything I need to savor an hour of peace, while the rest of my household sleeps. I was blessed with a handful of super-cute and oh-so-functional organizing baskets from Organizer Logic.  Everything I need is within arm’s reach, neatly (and stylishly!) tucked away. (And these baskets have proven to be life-savers around the house for storing books, Disney Infinity pieces, and more! Get some!!) Here’s what’s inside my Morning Quiet Time bin:

I literally can’t wait to wake up this year!

2. More Reading

I hear from SO many people, “I love to read, I just don’t have the time.” I’ve used the time excuse before. I’m a busy person, and have a lot on my plate. I rarely make the time for leisure – and when I do, it’s equivalent to generic peanut butter cups – not at all satisfying or worth it. This year there will be less crushing of candies, less ridiculous tv, and less of a focus on the molehills of life, and far more reading.

I am so excited to be bringing back the 50 Chapter Book Challenge this year. My two oldest children and I will be “racing” to read 50 chapter books in the coming year. At the end of the year we celebrate by going out to eat – the “winner” getting to select the restaurant. In past years, I cannot tell you how good for my soul and mental health it has been to read a book a week.

I will post a new “Bekki’s Bookshelf” post at the end of each month, letting you know what I’ve read. You can take the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and choose a reading goal for yourself. 

3. Less “In a Minute” 

I’m not sure I want to keep track of how many times I tell my children, “In a minute!” While a wait is sometimes inevitable and not all tasks can be dropped, so so many CAN. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that they come second to my blog, my emails, my facebook feed, how clean the toilet is, what the verdict on Judge Mathis is, or whatever book I’m reading. My kids need to know that they are a priority. 

This year I want to give more eye contact, LISTEN more, show an interest in what interests them (even when I struggle to care!), and be willing to put down my laptop, phone, book, etc when they ask for my attention.

4. More Family Nights

We used to be extremely diligent about our Friday Family Nights. Towards the middle of 2015, we became hyper-focused on our upcoming move and stopped doing them. Once we moved, we never really began the tradition again.

I want to restore “Family Night” as often as possible in the coming year. I want to bring back the kid-friendly dinners, the music, the games, the outdoor adventures, the movies, the treats….the bonding. As a homeschooling family we are together all the time, but there is still something so special about setting aside time to bond as a family – all six of us engaged in the same activity.

5. Less Clutter

We have too much stuff. The sheer volume of our “stuff” can be overwhelming at times, and a cluttered home tends to add to my stress. This year, I want to tame the clutter and live in such a way that allows me to be calmer and happier. Here are the rules I want to follow:

  • If it doesn’t work/is broken, throw it away.
  • Don’t buy something if you don’t have a place to put it.
  • Put things away in a way that makes sense! (No more stuffing things places to just get them out of the way!)
  • Use storage solutions to stay organized and promote calm (I feel SO much better about life if my chargers, unsorted mail, magazines, etc are in a cute container rather than just scattered about or in a dreaded “pile.”)

6. More FUN

I’m a workaholic, driven by acclaim and motivated to achieve. Those who know me well (or even just a little) know how hard it is for me to relax. I rarely choose fun. When given a few spare moments, I tend to gravitate towards a business or cleaning related task. I never cut loose, never unwind, and rarely allow myself a minute to just BE. 

This year, I want to ENJOY my life – not just work my way through it. I am realizing more and more that there is SO much more to life than getting ahead and climbing that corporate ladder. I want to crank up the music, run around outside with the kids, play games, laugh, read for pleasure, write what I WANT to write, PLAY, travel, and create. I want to eat, drink, and be merry.