des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

2018: Year of Simplicity


Goal setting, vision casting, resolution making. The majority of us have seen these phrases splashed across our screens and social media the past few months as we rang in the new year. While I enjoy doing all of those things, when January hits the calendar pages, I am usually a bit behind on the new page of my own. And that’s ok. So, here I am, almost a month into the year and ready to talk to you about the year ahead. My year of striving for simplicity in all facets of our home and business life.

Every November or December for the past six years, I have sat down and started to dream up the next year’s vision, both personally and for the business. It is usually a two to three month process for me and this year was no exception. In fact, this year took a bit longer because of the joys and challenges of motherhood splitting my attention, in the best way. Before we delve into 2018 visions, it’s always important for me to look back. So, cuddle up on the couch with your softest blanket and a warm cup of your coziest cuppa in your favorite mug. We are going to get to the heart of some things and I want you to feel like I’m sitting right next to you delivering a healthy dose of real talk.

I am a firm believer that we cannot move forward and grow without taking some time to reflect on the past and glean lessons from it. My word in 2017 was ‘rooted‘. As always, when I prayed over that word and claimed it, I had no idea just how I would be called to live it. I chose rooted because I wanted to focus on laying a stronger foundation, find more contentment and take a step back from some things to get clarity. Whelp, God certainly delivered. Our pregnancy, after two miscarriages the year before, was such a surprise and shifted the entire rest of the year. It became all about being called back into our home and family and a bit away from business and busyness. I gave myself permission to slow down and take on less. To take more time for myself and our marriage in preparation for this big life change. All the while, deepening my faith and spending more time with God. I can honestly say that last year brought a lot of confusion, overwhelm, clarity and peace by the end. I am starting 2018 with a fresh perspective. One of conviction, laser focus and gratitude. I’ll elaborate on that more in a bit.

First, I am changing the structure of these goal setting posts. Like I mentioned, I want these to feel like heart talks on the couch with your bestie. I want this blog to be a place for us to start and have real conversations; to connect. For what I write to serve you and encourage you. In an effort to do that better, I am promising to be more vulnerable with you. To get honest and into the deep, real life topics.

In years past, I have shared a few bullet points and an overarching idea each month. This year, in an effort to be held more accountable and truly live out my vision and word of focus, I’ll be taking a slightly different approach. I would like to share one overarching idea each month that aligns with my bigger goals. My hope is that this will allow us to have more of a candid conversation about the ideas and not add to the noise that can sometimes come with more lists. It will also allow more grace to see progress of a vision instead of a checklist. Amen? With that in mind, today I simply want to open the conversation on paring down. Which is exactly what 2018 is going to be about for our family and business.

As we add more responsibility and intentional joy to our daily life, I am constantly hearing an echo to let things go. To strip things down to the basics and create space to breathe. There were many words that came to mind when casting my vision for the year, but I ultimately arrived at this one — Simplify.

When I start a laundry list of ideas each year, ultimately I look up definitions and synonyms to focus in. To simplify is to streamline, reduce, bring order to, make clear, let sunlight in, make plainer or easier, less complex. Yes, yes, YES to all of it! Do you ever get overwhelmed by everything buzzing around you in this day and age? Let me tell you, we have a lot of expectations as women (admittedly, many are self imposed) and people vying for our attention and energy. I don’t know about you, but I need space and time in my life to just be. In order to get there, I need all of the above – to simplify and streamline my life wherever possible!

Now, there are many, many ways we could simplify our life and this year will be a journey to do just that. I’m excited to share that journey with you! I won’t lie, it has crossed my mind multiple times to delete all of my social media, move to a remote island and spend my days reading and spending time with our family. Alas, we do not live in this fantasy in my head. So, instead, I have attempted to align my goals and action items with this vision for the next twelve months.

For starters, I am trying to stop overthinking things and do what innately comes to mind. If I know I want to spend my Sunday, no phone time or TV, with Adam and Ainsleigh, why would I go further than that to map it out? Exactly what playlist we will dance to, what order things will happen in, what time I will begin cooking dinner, and so on, deeper into the black hole that is my brain. How many of you do that? I see you, my type-A friend. I do that on a daily basis – I’m a structure lover. However, sometimes the structure I crave is contradictory to the joy and simple, slow life I equally crave (maybe even more so!). Let’s wake with a sense of joy and excitement on those days. If you leave white space on your calendar, truly leave it open. Embrace the natural unfolding of your day.

As we embark on this journey to simple, one thing I have to remind myself of is that simple does not mean easy. I have a feeling I am going to have to fight for simplicity. It is not natural in society anymore to leave things unscheduled, go with the flow or to say no in lieu of being still. However, those are things that I am going to fight my calendar for. We are going to find a simple, joyful and life-giving rhythm for our family this year. What does that mean? I suppose you’ll have to check back over the next nine months. That’s right, I only set 9 goals this year (some overlapping).

For now, let the idea of simplicity sit with you. Let your heart welcome it and explore what that might look like for you. Leave me a comment telling me your vision or word of the year and one way you might embrace simple in your life.

I’ve left a few links below that might help you, if you are also on a quest for the slow, simple life this year.

xoxo, Jenn


Resources | Powersheets; A Simplified Life; Cultivate; Present Over Perfect; The Best Yes

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