10 Things I Did to Streamline/Improve my Life This Year

faux fur jacket + graphic tee
faux fur coat with a captain's hat
As I've been reflecting back on this year (how it's gone so fast I have no idea), I made a little list of positive changes I've made and good life hacks I've found. It's crazy how those small changes really add up! 

Now, I'm far from perfect and my house really is messy a lot and I'm usually stressed. BUT... it's important to always try to learn and grow from where you are. My goal isn't to be perfect, but to be happy, positive, productive and successful in day-to-day life. 

So, I thought I would share these changes I made, and how they impacted my year!

faux fur jacket, graphic tee, black jeans, captain's hat
how to style black distressed skinny jeans
fall textures: faux fur + suede
I Cut Down on Push Notifications
We get so used to constant notifications, that we forget how disruptive and distracting they are. Since I manage multiple social media profiles for work, for my blog, and for personal use (5 on Facebook, 2 Instagrams, 3 Twitter accounts), I can't cut out push notifications completely. However, I did make an effort throughout the year to go through each app's settings to really pare down what I needed to see on my phone.  

I Cleaned up my Cleaning Products
I make such an effort to eat clean and organic as much as possible, and realized that I needed to apply that mindset to more areas of our home. The more I learned, the more I didn't want bleach and nasty chemicals being used in our home, especially if they could harm my kids pups. As I ran out of products I replaced them with green + clean alternatives. Our home smells better, and I also feel really good every time I clean. I still have products to replace and much more to learn, but I made big headway this year. 

I Started Using a Timer to Get Stuff Done Efficiently
I've always been a rather inefficient person. Don't get me wrong, I work really hard and am constantly busy with something, but I'm not always the most proactive. I've always needed to work smarter, and not harder, but that doesn't come naturally to me. One way I've gotten my act together around the house (which tends to be messssyy) is to set a timer! I got the idea from this post on Somewhere, Lately, and it's been a game changer for me. If I have 10 extra minutes on my lunch break or before the gym, I set a timer and hustle around the house getting something done instead of looking at Twitter or Instagram stories. After dinner, I often set a timer for 20-30 minutes and I get the kitchen and dishes cleaned up, and pick up around the house and do other small cleaning tasks. During this time I don't look at my phone and don't allow for distractions. It keeps me on task, and I like the challenge of doing as many things as possible before the timer goes off. My house looks so much better (and isn't a shit show by the weekend) + it gets my lazy ass up and off the couch, and makes me feel so much more accomplished/less stressed. Now I just need to do this every single day with no exceptions!

I Took my Dogs on More Walks
This really should be something we do every day, but we haven't always been good about it. This year I made an effort to take the dogs on a walk (beyond just walking around our yard a few times a day) nearly every day. It's healthier for them and for me, and Russell tends to be better behaved when he can get more of his energy out too (he's a naughty & hyper little guy).

I Started Using a Planner Again
Ever since I've worked at my current job, I've used Google calendar for everything, but always missed having a paper planner. I bought a Ban.do planner  + some fun pens over the summer and am absolutely loving having a place to jot down my thoughts and blog ideas/dates! I'm using my planner for my blog and Google calendar for work and photography scheduling, but even just using it for my blog has been so so good. It's also such a cute planner (with stickers!) so I look forward to writing in it! 

edgy fall/winter outfit
faux fur coat over a graphic tee and ripped jeans
I Got into a Regular Workout Routine
When I lived in Springfield (Missouri) before Trey and I got married, I had an awesome gym membership and took workout classes after work 4 days a week. I also did Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide before our wedding, and I was killin' it! I was super lean and overall in such a good routine. Then came getting married and moving to a small town and two years went by without a workout routine or regular classes. Woof. I wasn't healthy and didn't have muscle, and therefore was super sluggish. I'm sad I wasted some of my good years that I could have looked really good and felt better! In the fall of 2016 I joined a spin class, and then over this past summer and fall I got really into it and now absolutely love it (I go twice per week). Over the summer I also added in barre and yoga classes (which I haven't been able to go to lately, but will be resuming soon). I also got into the routine of doing some toning exercises at home on my non-class days so that I'm at least doing something. Having a routine has made such a difference for me! I don't know that anyone can even tell a difference in my photos, but at least I feel WAY better about myself. This year I'd like to add in a little more strength training, and maybe tackle BBG again. I want to be super toned and proud of my body before the kid/pregnancy conversations start to come up more!    

I Listen to Podcasts While Getting Ready in the Mornings
This small and easy change has been so positive for me! It gets my days off to a good start - either with some good laughs, something entertaining to wake up my brain, or something educational and inspiring. I shared some of my favorite podcasts in this post, and will make sure to share more in a future post! 

I Doubled my Veggies
I don't know this officially because I don't track my food, but I truly feel like I've at least doubled my vegetable intake! Most days I'm eating at least one serving (if not two) of veggies at all three meals. I have a smoothie nearly every morning (I follow the Fab Four smoothie formula by Kelly Leveque), which always includes a big serving of greens (usually spinach for me). At lunch I'm eating leftovers, which include a veggie, or eating something simple (like scrambled eggs) along with veggies + hummus and a kale salad on the side (massage the kale with your dressing and it's 👌). At dinner I've been trying to plan my meals around my veggies and protein to place a greater emphasis on vegetables. Cook a veggie + serve a salad (loaded with extra veggie toppings), roast a pan with a variety of veggies, or make a soup loaded up with vegetables. I feel better and leaner, all of the fiber is SO healthy (listen to episode 90 of this podcast!), and I don't feel guilty satisfying my teenage boy appetite when I'm eating a ton of vegetables.  

I Stopped Looking at my Phone in Bed
This was a terrible habit that I developed back in college and continued into adult life. It's soooo tempting to get cozied up in bed and to scroll through social media. However, not only was I sleeping less, but I also learned that looking at all of that light before bed is not conducive to healthy, deep sleep. I also used to sleep with my phone next to my pillow, but now it's out of the way on the nightstand and I tap the "do not disturb" option after I set my alarm. I do this while I'm still standing and once I set my phone down I get into bed and don't look at it again. Obviously there have been exceptions, but I really have been good about it and it's been good for me to fall asleep right away since I don't get much sleep as it is!

I Scheduled "Shoot Days"
I've always been a fly by the seat of my pants kind of blogger, and still kinda am. But this fall I made it a point to schedule a block of time to photograph multiple outfits and posts at a time. Being able to plan ahead more has been AMAZING for my content and my sanity. Now, I still throw in a last-minute outfit or lifestyle shoot here and there, but I really have gotten better at this, which has made blogging still possible for me, even though I'm busier than ever.   

faux fur jacket, ripped jeans
suede captain's hat
Hat (c/o)  |  Similar Jacket  |  Tee  |  Jeans (c/o)  |  Boots

I hope you enjoyed this post! It was a good way for me to reflect, and to keep me motivated as we roll into a brand new year soon! Again, I am far from perfect and am not the girl that has my life all together. Who knows if I'll ever get to that point. But I made some really positive gains this year that I feel really good about and want to continue building upon. I hope some of these inspired you!

I'd love to know if you made any of these same changes this year, or implemented something else, so please share below or with me on social media! xx

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xo, Jacy