What I Learned in 2018

This past year feels like it flew by in the literal blink of an eye. But as I’ve spent the past few days going back through my calendar, my Powersheets goal planner, and photos on social media it’s been amazing to see how full this year was.

On New Year’s Eve all six of us sat on the living room floor around the coffee table and listed out everything we could think of that happened this past year (the good, bad, and different) and we ended up overflowing the page!

So much has happened, some things worked, other things didn’t, and holy moly have I learned a ton.

Here’s what went well in 2018…

Early morning devotion time. Waking up while the world is still quiet and spending that time digging into scripture, praying, worshipping and drawing near to God has been such a sweet and sacred gift that’s made a world of difference in my life.

New skincare products + routines. Who knew that this could make such a difference, but after battling for the past year with hormonal acne (for the first time in my entire life) I’m so grateful to have found a solution that has actually worked to transform my skin 🙌🏻

A relaxed approach to homeschooling. Honestly I’ve been insecure about my approach to homeschooling for the past two years because of all my preconceived ideas of how I thought it “should” look. I have some work to do in the area of being more consistent with our schooling this year, but the kids are learning, growing and thriving…and by God’s grace, somehow it’s all working.

Consistent weekly bookkeeping. I can’t even begin to tell you what a game changer my weekly routine of reconciling our personal and business finances has been. To finish out this year without the mess and headache of months of bookkeeping to catch up on (unlike last year) is AMAZING.

Cutting out or limiting gluten, dairy, alcohol and refined sugar. For the past year I’ve been entirely gluten-free, have had very minimal dairy only on special occasions, went most of the year without having much alcohol (again, only on special occasions) and have made a decent dent in reducing my sugar intake (still the hardest thing for me by far). What a HUGE difference all of this has made. I’ve been feeling so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Listening to the Bible on audio. I don’t know why it took me so long to jump on this train, but about a month ago I got the idea (from my kid!) to listen to the Bible while driving in the car…and I’ve been hooked ever since. I listen on the YouVersion app.

Growing and practicing change WITH our kids. This year we recognized that as a family we were all really struggling in the self-control department (particularly emotional self-control). We decided to study and learn about the fruit of the spirit together, and Andrew and I have been actively working to grow in the same ways and areas we’re currently training our kids in. It’s been so life-giving for our family (and it’s working!)

Saying YES more often. By default I’m much more likely to say no to things than yes. I struggle a little bit with spontaneity and being adaptable, not always because I don’t want to do things, but because my brain just needs a little time to adjust and reroute itself. This year I’ve challenged myself to question everytime I was about to say no…which led to saying yes more often to things that ended up being awesome!

Seasonal meal planning and online grocery shopping. Another big game-changer for us has been picking a set list of go-to meals for the past few months and just rotating through them (a concept I was introduced to by my friend Natasha Red). It makes picking meals for the week, grocery shopping, and prep so much simpler, and being able to hop online to order everything we need each week takes it to a whole other level!! (Also, Costco has changed my life this year too!!)

Ok, now let’s dig into what DIDN’T go so well in 2018…

Exercise. For some reason I had the hardest time making myself exercise this year. I’m not even really sure why…for awhile I worked out at a gym around the corner from my house, and at first I really enjoyed it. But it took a big chunk out of my mornings that I really prefer spending on devotion time. So I tried staying consistent with at-home workouts, but man…I’m just not a fan. I’ve been massively feeling the lack of strength, stamina, energy and flexibility though, so this is getting a high place of priority in 2019.

Working ahead. I had all the best intentions of batching my work and getting ahead so I’d have more flexibility and breathing room…but it just never happened. I was close to making it happen in the early fall, but then I got sick for over a month and well…sometimes things just are what they are! And I’m okay with it.

Social media. The last few months of 2018 really had me struggling with social media. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit like social media has been sucking my soul (and time) which is why I’ve been on it substantially less. I feel a pull to show up there, but am praying through where that pull is coming from, and just holding it loosely with open hands. Some changes, limits, and boundaries are definitely in store for this year.

Supplements. I feel really, really good when I’m consistent with taking good quality supplements regularly. Some months of this year I rocked at this (and using a weekly pill box helped tremendously!) But other months, like the past few in particularly, were just an epic fail. Here’s to changing that in 2019!

Household routines. Okay, I’m admittedly the queen of well-running rhythms and routines…usually. But after being sick so long in October/November I have struggled to get us back on track. Mostly because I’ve let myself be driven by my feelings too often. We’re making some adjustments, and getting into a good rhythm and flow is top of the priority list for this year.

Community. One of my goals for this past year was to cultivate local community relationships…and this one did not happen at all. Honestly, I was feeling pretty defeated and frustrated by this until a mentor encouraged me by saying sometimes God calls us to walk through seasons on our own to grow us in our dependence on HIM instead of others…and I can totally see that characterizing this past season for our family. But I’m hopeful about what’s in store for this next year.

What I Learned in 2018

The real, true, honest-to-goodness secret to becoming better and living a better life is simply following Jesus. Setting goals, being productive, simplifying and other similar things are great…but ultimately, no amount of anything else we can do other than abiding in Christ produces what our souls really crave. More on this here.

Little health changes made consistently over time DO add up to make a real, noticeable difference.

Kids learn and grow best with a healthy balance of rhythm, structure, and lots of time for play, creativity, and practicing new things.

The quiet stillness of the early morning is my absolute favorite time of day, and I never regret getting up early to spend that time with God and take care of myself. I’m loving this Bible study journal.

Physical movement is extremely necessary to live well, have energy, and feel good.

Our family thrives when we work together as a team and encourage each other to grow in the fruit of the spirit.

Good skincare products and routines really DO make a difference! This is what I use and love.

Focusing your efforts on doing the basics well is always the best thing to do anytime you start feeling overwhelmed.

Fun, adventure, and making memories with people you love is extremely life-giving.

Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear in the comments below, what worked, what didn’t, and what did you learn in 2018?