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More Time, Less Money for Dinner

*This post contains affiliate links.

We live in a chaotic, busy world these days with little to no margin for most people. With the New Year, most are looking for ways to make life simpler. Or at least I know I always am. A time to set up new routines, new goals, new methods to make life easier. Who wouldn’t want more time in their day and to spend less money on dinner?

One part of our life that we struggle with is making dinner at home. We have entered into a new stage of life with three kids and as we still try to adjust, some days dinner just doesn’t get made. The baby isn’t cooperating or the two bigger kids aren’t cooperating.

Some days I am the one not cooperating!

We are on a journey this year to eat better, find time to work out, and be intentional in how we spend our time and money.

We want to focus on what is important to us.

I honestly don’t like cooking all that much and I had heard incredible things about the Instant Pot.

On Amazon Prime Day in July 2017, like many of you, I bought an Instant Pot. When I took that bad boy out of the box I was overwhelmed.

And it sat in the box for months.

This all changed the first week of January. When I learned about this Freezer Meal Planning site, you bet I jumped on it to see what it was all about.

My Freeze Easy offers recipes for all kinds of meals, including slow cooker meals, Instant Pot meals, dairy free, and gluten free, to name a few. I could see the recipes on the site, but the real magic happens when you sign up for the membership. Once you signed up for the membership, you create a meal plan from the recipes that looked good to you (although they have pre-set meal plans if you want to go with what they have), and out comes the most glorious document. It shows you the entire grocery list you need along with how to prep the meals at one time to put into the freezer.

We have completed a couple weeks of using My Freeze Easy and it has been a game changer. On the nights I don’t really want to cook, I have no excuse because I can put a meal in the IP and it is done in 25 minutes. I am even able to put dinner in the IP, work out, then come back to dinner ready to go.

The magic is in prepping 20 meals in an hour and a half for the month which also allows for leftovers.

This is how it has helped us save time:

1. After I create my meal plan, it gives me the exact items I need to purchase.

2. I add the items I need to my WalMart grocery pick up, set my pick up time, and drive to the store where they load it in my car for me. No more wandering the aisles getting more items than I need (money and time saved).

3.I block off a chunk of time to put the meals together. The meal plan gives you instructions on how to prep all of the meals at one time in a step by step way that is easy to navigate. This shouldn’t take more than 2 hours for the 20 meals.

4.Label each freezer bag and put the ingredients together for each of the specified meals.

5.Put in freezer!

Voila! You take the meal out of the freezer the night before to let thaw and cook according to the instructions given.

If it’s not a one pot meal then you have to do sides, but that takes very minimal time, especially if you throw a 90 second rice pouch in the microwave.

If you are looking for a way to save time and spend less on dinner, give My Freeze Easy a shot!

How are you saving time and money this year?

Here’s to the Journey!

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

New Year, New Look, New Goals

New year, new look, new goals.

Life has been insane, especially this past year. We sold our house in 3 days. We bought a house. We got pregnant. We had our third daughter. Our dog had two surgeries. We went on vacation to Hawaii and Disneyland and the beach (three things I really like!). We dealt with illness after illness for about 3 months (thanks to kids and their germs). I continued in my home based business, helping others with both product and starting their own business.

And I dreamed of writing, but never quite found the time.

They say you know what is important to someone by where they spend their money and how they spend their time.


If you looked at how I spent my time this past year you could say I was simply trying to survive. Yes, I had planned times for my priorities and good intentions, but sometimes life just “got in the way.”

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. Life is a little less crazy than it was last year. My intentions are different than last year too.

I hope to see you more this year. I hope you like the new look and the new look that is to come in the next months. I hope the content I provide is worth your time.

Besides, the journey to an extraordinaryl life isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.

Here’s to the Journey!

Why Absurd Goals Demotivate You

I had seven things on my to-do list on Monday. On Tuesday, I had six things. By the time Wednesday came around, I had eight items. All of these items were specific to goals.

How in the world did my to-do list increase when I had accomplished several items?

I sat down last night and thought about this. I like to set goals and make lists and accomplish! One of my strengths is achiever (I will write down something I have already achieved so I can mark it off…sue me). When I don’t achieve what I have set out to accomplish, I become frustrated and down. I wonder why I even set goals to begin with.

Sound familiar?

I create a to-do list based on my goals. When I don’t accomplish them, I feel like…

A failure

A fraud

A hypocrite

Because I am supposed to be good at setting goals. When I don’t achieve them, I lose a bit of motivation. Not accomplishing my goals day after day leads to greater loss of motivation. Absurd goals demotivate you. Period.

I realized that the daily tasks I was creating for myself, such as reading a chapter in my almost completed book, reading a chapter in my current personal development book, working on my other business, are not attainable.

I was setting goals based upon what I wanted to accomplish without thinking about my time in the day. I have two little ones who are constantly seeking my attention. Goals are good, but if I don’t have specific times in mind for when the items can be completed, my list will become demotivating.

I know that some hate the concept of a SMART goal. However, setting SMART goals allows for greater achievement and motivation to keep moving forward.  A SMART goal helps the individual to see if it is Specific, Measurable (how will you know when it is accomplished), Attainable (my current issue), Realistic, and Time specific.  A SMART goal, or task, gives you the foresight to know if what you set out to do will actually take place.

smart goals my own (1)
A SMART goal, or task, gives you the foresight to know if what you set out to do will actually take place. Click To Tweet

Today, I’m throwing out my current task list and evaluating what I want to accomplish that is realistic given my time constraints and the needs of my little people. When you have goals that are big and audacious, but create steps that are attainable along the way, your goals will encourage and inspire you instead of demotivate you.

I challenge you to do the same. And if you don’t achieve what you set out to, there is always tomorrow.

Remember, you have one life to live. Make sure you enjoy it from here to there.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

The Worth and Wellness Journal: A Review

There are so many new planners and journals available today, that it is hard to determine which one is right for you. There is the Purposeful Planner and the Passion Planner and the Erin Condren Planner. These are all great to get your life planned and organized. And I settled on one this year I love.

When I started looking at journals, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for. I knew I wanted a guided journal. I knew I wanted a journal that lasted a certain number of days and was not too long. I also knew I wanted a journal that helped with my health and wellness. My health is something that was put on the back burner due to our insanely busy lives. I hate using the word busy, but there really was no time to make my health and wellness a priority until I left my 9-5 job.

I am a part of an amazing online group where people are dreaming and building and taking chances to be the best they can be. I was intrigued when I saw a post from my friend Amy Latta about her Worth and Wellness Journal.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek and to use the journal!

I love that the journal is based on the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy model. “Circumstances are neutral, it is your thoughts about them that make them good or bad. These thoughts lead to feelings; feelings lead to actions; and actions give you your results, which often confirm your original thought.”

Circumstances > Thoughts > Feelings > Actions > Results = This is the heart of why we do what we do.

Sow a thought, eventually reap an action, which will either positively or negatively impact your circumstance.

Amy Latta _ Worth & Wellness Journal

The 30-day Worth & Wellness Journal is a workout plan, nutrition guide, self-care advisor, and therapist. It is designed to bring a greater level of self-awareness in various areas of your life and to help you discover why you self-sabotage your goals, in particular, your own weight loss goals. Health and fitness education will only get you so far. You need the tools to help you mentally choose, and sometimes fight, to become healthy and understand your worth.

This journal provides practical nutrition, fitness, and self-care tips for better wellness, and daily writing prompts to help you become more aware of the thoughts and feelings affecting your mindset.

As in all things, awareness is the key to any change. When you change your mindset you have the ability to change your body.

Each day focuses on two areas, your worth and your wellness. The Wellness Focus focuses on 3 sections: Nutrition, Fitness, and Self-Care. In the fitness portion, you are given 3-5 exercises to do that day. This journal provides practical steps to do immediately. The Worth Focus asks several questions to help you dig deeper to understanding why you do what you do. Each day has an area to brainstorm, sketch, or mind-map.

If you are looking for a simple tool with great impact, I want to encourage you to pick up your own copy of the Worth and Wellness Journal today. Click here to get your copy.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

The Upside to Change

Change is known as a four letter word. It is feared more than it is accepted. It is the unknown that is before us. Yet there is an upside to change.

“The only thing that is constant is change.” Heraclitus

The change has only been in effect for 6 days. Yet I can tell you it was the best decision yet for our family.

You know when you know that you know you are supposed to do something, or make a specific decision, but you don’t know how you know that?

I left a secure 9-5 job last week. That is how a lot of those older than me view what I have done. A secure job. Is there such thing as a secure job these days?

I went to work each day, and I didn’t love what I did. We rushed out the door each morning for me to be drained by sitting inside four walls. When I got home each night, I didn’t have energy to work out or play with the kids. I definitely didn’t want to make dinner. It isn’t that the job was bad, in fact, it was pretty good and I worked with some really great people. The problem is I wasn’t working with my people. My little people.

Life is too short and should be lived well.

A change would do you good.

Change can be hard, even when it’s a good change.  There is always an upside to change, yet we don’t normally focus on what we are gaining when we make a change. Often, we focus on what we are losing and wondering if it is worth it.

Whether the change is drastic (as is the case with my situation) or small, I have already seen 3 specific upsides to change.

1. Fresh Start

When you leave something behind and make a change, you are, in many ways, given a fresh start. A clean slate so to speak. Starting a new stage of life? Starting a new job? Decide to change your health and wellness?

A fresh start is granted when we make changes.

2. New Routines Established

Change allows you to establish a new routine. This routine can look so many different ways. Your morning can completely change. How you plan out your day. Adding in a workout time or social time. Routines allow us to move through the day with purpose and intentionality.

3. New Perspective

When you decide to stop doing one thing and start doing another, often it is due to a change in perspective. Life altering events offer this new perspective. Small epiphanies help establish a new perspective as well.

We had a life altering event when we found a lump in our daughters chin. Our eyes were opened and we gained a new perspective on life. This was life altering.

My friend sent me a text the other day about a small realization that offered a huge shift in perspective during this lent season. It was a small thought with huge implications.

When you decide to make a change, it is usually because you have been granted a new perspective on a particular situation.

There is always an upside to change, yet we don’t normally focus on what we are gaining when we make a change. Click To Tweet

In the words of the great philosopher, Sheryl Crow, a change would do you good.

What have you been putting off, afraid of change? Maybe a change would do you good.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

What is a Coach?

“I’m a life coach.”

I sometimes shudder when I hear this statement. I heard someone say this recently but since I overheard it from another table, I decided not to interject in the conversation. Being a coach these days is used flippantly.

While there are many coaching certification programs, the profession of coaching does not have any regulations. What does this mean? Anyone can call themselves a coach. During graduate school, I was trained under the Core Competencies of the International Coach Federation, which is as close to a standard currently in the profession of coaching.

There is a skill set associated with coaching. It is not only about encouraging. Sometimes, a coach must call out the hard stuff or lack of action in order to keep the client accountable to the goals they set. It is having the ability to be an active listener, asking powerful questions, hearing what is not being said outright, and communicate those truths back to the client.

Coaching is about maximizing your potential. Seeing the vision and helping you get there.

What exactly is coaching?

Coaching is about maximizing your potential as an individual while utilizing the gifts and abilities you have been given. In this professional relationship, the coach helps the client achieve extraordinary results in the areas of their life that are important to them, whether that be relationships, business, or taking care of themselves.

A coach will help you move beyond the mediocrity of your current situation. We often get stuck in our own head, putting limitations on what you can achieve in life.  A coach draws out what is inside of you that you didn’t even know was there. A coach helps you discover what needs to be changed, and then helps you come up with a plan to make those changes. Without a coach, you will never become the best you that you can be.

In the simplest terms, coaching is a client-centered relationship based upon goals set by the client. The coach acts as a facilitator, sounding board, and provides accountability to help the client achieve success.

Effectiveness and Importance of Hiring a Coach

No great athlete has become the best they can be on their own. They always have a coach pushing them towards greatness. The athlete understands they must be ever learning and changing to become better. There is no athlete or team who is without a coach. The coach sees the larger picture while the athlete can only see what is in his scope, including position on the team and mindset.

This is the same for a life coach. A life coach enters into the relationship with the best interest of the client, helping them see the larger picture. The coach is able to see the larger picture due to the fact that they are not in the midst of the current situation. To help understand your situation, questions should be asked that bring moments of clarity and the “aha” moments to get you moving forward.

Coaching is about expanding your capacity as an individual.

Coaching is about expanding your capacity as an individual. Click To Tweet

If you are in a place in life where you are stuck, hiring a coach may be the next step you need to take.

I would be honored to help you sort through what is important to you and how you can make the changes necessary to get from here to there, to live your best life now. You only have one life to live.

Why not you? Why not now?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.-If you would like more information on the coaching relationship, send me an email at stephanie @ stephaniegerman (dot) com. You can check out my coaching page here

I’d love to continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Your Word of the Year: Why It Matters

The infamous word of the year. Are you “engaging,” “thriving,” “loving,” or “dreaming” this year? The word of the year concept became popular a few of years ago. The idea behind this is you pick a word that is going to define the coming year. Sometimes it is about a change you want to make or a specific way you want to live.

I personally love the concept. In fact, I myself picked a word of the year for 2102, 2103, 2014, and 2015. My word had real meaning the first three years. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t even remember what my word was for 2015 (it might have been priorities, since that is what I focused on, but your guess is as good as mine).

The word you choose for the year should not be a stand-alone concept. This becomes a meaningless word, almost like your New Years Resolution without the action steps to accomplish them.  Everything you do that is of importance should have this word, this concept, weaved into your actions. Your word should be a focal point for your year.

Want your word to be meaningful?

word priorities goal

Your Word of the Year

Some people say you don’t choose a word, a word chooses you. I don’t quite believe that. I do think our circumstances help us in choosing our word and how we want to move forward in the following year.

For example, in 2011, I was barely surviving. I worked full time, had a new baby, first time mom, and was in grad school. At the end of that year, my soul was tired. I decided I needed to make some changes in how I spent my time and that I would THRIVE in 2012. I made sure all of I did helped lead me in that direction, to thrive instead of simply surviving.

Your circumstances and who you want to become help you choose your word.

Your word can morph half way through the year as well. Circumstances change. Pick a word that is good for now, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Set Your Priorities

Your word should help shape and set your priorities. If you don’t know what your priorities are, I encourage you to check out this tool to help you discover them. Your priorities should dictate your calendar.

You choose a word to shape all of your experiences. This could mean you want to Thrive or Focus or Dream or Intentional. Your word should then set your priorities.  Your priorities should then dictate your calendar.

These Impact Your Goals

Your word and your priorities should directly support your goals. You have dreams and plans of books to write, people to spend time with, work to accomplish. As you look towards the year to come, your word and your priorities should directly impact your goals in a positive way.  As you set your priorities and goals, your calendar should be filled with actions to support your goals.

Your word should be weaved seamlessly into your world.

It really is simple.

When you don’t set it up this way, your word, the meaning and specific intentionality behind that word can get lost. It was important to you for a reason, so don’t forget why.

Say Yes

Remember, in all you do, make sure you say yes to the things that support your priorities and goals.

If your word doesn’t support your priorities and goals, you may have picked the wrong word.

Do you have a word for 2016? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

As I sat looking at my computer screen I hesitated to push “Publish.” My first website, created by me, for my writing and coaching services. When I pushed the “Publish” button, a wave of anxiety rushed over me. What if it isn’t perfect?

What if I wrote the wrong thing?

What if I don’t get my point across completely in the article I need to write?

What if the website doesn’t look professional enough?

What if I don’t brand myself in the right way?! (There is a lot of pressure these days to brand yourself just right on the web)

That was 10 months ago. I am still anxious at times thinking about how my website could look better or how I should tweak this or that. But the reality is, what I have created is pretty dang good for never building a website before. If I waited until it was perfect, I would have never pushed the “publish” button.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good.

Perfect Paralyzes

I have grand dreams and grand plans. I know where I want to go, but I am often paralyzed by fear. I fear that if what I do is not perfect, then no one will see (fill in the blank) or it won’t have the impact that it could have if it were perfect.

Often I mull over decisions I need to make. I know that what I need to do, should do, and ultimately want to do, but often my own fear of failure stops me from moving forward.

If I waited until everything was perfect, I would never do anything. No one writes the perfect article or song. No one has the perfect website. We are all constantly trying to improve on our craft. Wording can be updated. Websites can be reconfigured. Paragraphs can be reordered.

Don’t be caught doing nothing because you are worried it is not “perfect.”

Instead, move forward with good enough. I’ve learned I can be excellent in what I do without hinging on being perfect in what I do. I can give it my all each time and know that good is good enough. You can give it your all and know that good is good enough. As long as you are always trying to improve your craft.

Good is Good Enough

Today, let your “good” be good enough and take steps towards your dreams. Create action steps to accomplish your goals. Don’t let the fear of it not being perfect stop you.

Remember, perfect is the enemy of good.

What are you not doing today because it isn’t perfect in your eyes? Tell me below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Why Your New Year’s Resolution Will Fail

The New Year’s Resolution. The time of year that everyone sits down, writes unattainable wishes, and then forgets about them by the time February hits.

I’ve already seen those that consistently go to the gym complain about the New Year’s Resolution crowd that is sure to join them starting today, Monday.

I’ve been there. I know you have been there.

You have the best of intentions and you just know that this is your year. You are going to achieve your resolution.

In the past, I was the same way. One year I decided I was going to work out 6 days a week and was going to stop eating fast food as much. Yet when the time came to make that change, I did not have the structure in place to achieve those goals.

If you are like me, then you have had the following New Year’s Resolutions:

-Lose 10 lbs.

-Write a book.

-Be more intentional with your significant other.

-Be more intentional with your kids.

-Not have your phone in your hands certain times of day.

The New Year is a great time to for a fresh start. A clean slate, a new calendar, new goals.

The New Year is a great time to for a fresh start. A clean slate, a new calendar, new goals. Click To Tweet

Why Your New Year's Resolution Will

It’s not that you don’t want to be successful. You made the resolution for a reason, on some level it is important to you. Yet when it comes down to it, only 8% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions are successful in achieving their resolution.

The odds are not in your favor friend.

Only 8% of those who set NY Resolutions will achieve them. Click To Tweet

What normally happens is you are super excited and in that excitement to make healthy changes, you plan to do too much or don’t have the structure in place to achieve your goals. You might not pace yourself, making incremental changes that lead to lasting change, so the changes you do make you are not able to sustain for the long haul.

The reality is you have created habits over a lifetime. When you are trying to change those habits, it takes purposeful planning and attainable action steps.

Another reason you may not be successful is you may not have told anyone your goals. If no one knows your goals, they can’t keep you accountable. To achieve a resolution you have to put structures in place in your daily life.

While many will not achieve their New Year’s resolutions, you can defy the odds.

Here are 4 steps you can take to help your New Year’s resolutions become a normal part of your daily life.

Write Out Your Goals and Your Why

Goals are great. We love hearing an inspirational quote about achieving goals. These are some of my favorite quotes:

“Don’t let life change your goals. Achieving your goals can change your life.”

“Action without planning is fatal, but planning without action is futile”

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau

Feel inspired? I know I do. The reality is that goals are great, but if you don’t have a reason as to why you have set the goal, you won’t achieve it. You will have a set back or hit a bump in the road, and you’ll give up.

When you write out your goals, make sure you follow the SMART model. Is your goal Specific? Is it Measurable? Is it Attainable? Is it Relevant? Do you have a Time when you will complete it?

Action: Write out your goals and your compelling why. Also, set an initial deadline for your goals.

Tell Someone Your Goals

Rarely is anything achieved when it is kept to oneself. We need encouragement and accountability from one another. When it comes down to it, when it starts to become difficult, we need others to kick our butts back into gear.

Action: Tell two people your goals

Create Action Steps and Put it in Your Calendar

Goals will stay goals on a piece of paper unless you create action steps. The action steps that you create need to be specific to your goal.

Want to lose weight? Then you must decide how you are going to work out and when you are going to work out. And then make appointments with yourself in your calendar.

Want to write a book? You have to put all of the pieces together, from research, to development, to time to write.

Want to spend more time with your kids? Decide what that really means to you, then come up with a plan.

Knowing how you are going to get from point A to point B is the only way you will achieve your goals.

Action: Create appointments with yourself as to when you will work on your goals and what you will do during that time.

Hire a Coach

Sometimes, no matter what you try to do on your own, you just will not achieve your goals. This is where hiring a coach comes in.

Often the very thing you need is a person who is far enough from your current circumstance to ask the right questions to help you gain a greater level of self-awareness to set the right goals with the action plan that you need. These insightful conversations will leave you with concrete action steps to take before your next coaching appointment.

You would hire a coach to help you achieve your weight loss goals at the gym, why not hire a coach to help you achieve other goals that are important to you?

If you want to achieve your goals but aren’t sure how to get from A to B, then its time to connect with a coach.

Action: Hire a coach.

You can be a part of the 8%. It won’t always be easy; in fact, it will get to the point where you will want to quit. But don’t. Don’t give up on what you wanted. Look at your Why. Remind yourself why you set that goal to begin with. It takes courage to make a goal, tell someone, and then chase after it.

What are some New Year’s Resolutions that you have set in the past but failed in accomplishing? See mine in the comments below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

How You Can Thrive This Holiday Season

I was at the end my proverbial rope.

It was the middle of December and I could not wait until it was January.

In fact, I was so stressed that I wanted to sleep for the next eleven days, but I knew that couldn’t happen. Apparently it would have been frowned upon by my husband and child. And potentially my mother, mother-in-law…well, you get the picture.

The holidays are full of joy for most, hard for those who may be spending them without a loved one, and stressful for all. The holiday season really begins in the middle of October, planning and preparing for Halloween, and lasts all the way through the New Year. If you don’t plan it well, instead of it being a joyful and fun time of year, it can be stressful and full of regret.

The holidays are full of joy for most and stressful for all. Click To Tweet

I finally got smart (well, smarter than I was at least) and decided to plan out our time. Starting in November, we have family birthdays, my best friends birthday, Thanksgiving, my birthday, my husband’s birthday,  Christmas parties (and holiday parties, not to be confused with Christmas parties), and New Year’s. And of course finding a time to meet with Santa (the kids, not me…maybe).

Instead of spending two months in pure chaos, I decided I was going to thrive this year.
Instead of spending two months in pure chaos, I decided I was going to thrive this year. Click To Tweet

Here is how you can thrive this holiday season:

Planning Traditions and Parties

First thing you need to do is pull up your calendar. I did this a couple of weeks ago and decided to make appointments for myself and our family. That is how I get everything else done, so why change a proven method? You will need to do the same.

First let’s start with Traditions…

Does your family have traditions? When I hear the word traditions I used to think it had to be something elaborate. Traditions are the things we do every year around specific events.

Since we got married and had kids, there are several things we have done each year that I had not really considered traditions, until last year. These are things we love to do and always cram them in. This year, I made a long list of the things we have done in the past and decided on a few we would do this year:

Baking for our neighbors

We don’t see our neighbors often and this is a fun way we can interact with them. My husband loves to make toffee and caramels while I love to make cookies. We have our oldest daughter help with the cookies, until she gets bored, but she loves handing the goodies to our neighbors!

Decorating sugar cookies

This one is for the kids. I like to make the cut out cookies and then give the kids everything they might need, or want, to decorate the cookies. We usually give these to family members (because grimy little fingers).


Yep, we go see Santa. In fact, this year we will be going on December 9th if anyone wants to come with us!

Walk Down Christmas Tree Lane (or the likes)

We have two awesome neighborhoods in our town that decorate their houses for the holidays. We grab coffee and hot chocolate, bundle up, and make an evening of it. It is so much fun to see the creativity and all the beautiful lights.

Action: Make a list of your favorite traditions and put them in your calendar.

Now let’s talk about Parties…

Parties, parties, and more parties seem to fill up the months of November and December. I make sure to know in advance when birthday parties or dinners are happening. My people are extremely important to me and I want to make sure they know it!

We have a couple of good friends who have Christmas parties. I make sure to find out the dates so we don’t plan something when they are happening.

My husband’s birthday is 4 days before Christmas so I always make sure to make his birthday a big deal and separate from any Christmas activities.

And of course my birthday, which I would celebrate all month long if I could, but apparently I have to share with my husband and Jesus.

Action: Between the traditions that are important to you and your family, and holiday parties, make sure you put them on the calendar. This gives you the opportunity to make sure you do not have too many events going on in a two week span, but ensures you give yourself some down time.

Learn to Say No

Boundaries are important even during the holiday season. You will be invited to events and others will place expectations on you that are unreasonable. I’m going to say this in the easiest way to be understood as possible…

Just. Say. No.

This season is busy and stressful enough. Often I wonder how I get through it. I learned this gem last year. If it doesn’t fit into my priorities, or if it adds to my stress, then I say no. You must know what your priorities are and be able to say no when it is going to cause undue stress on you.

Action: Know your priorities in advance so you can say no.

Don’t Wait to Buy or Make Presents

One year we waited until Christmas eve eve to buy my in-laws their gift. This was not intentional, as we knew what we were going to buy, but couldn’t find it. The day before we were to be at their house we went on hunt to find it. And we did, by 9 pm.

Make your list NOW of everyone that you want to bless by giving a gift to. If you are going to make it, plan a time now to make those items. If you are going shopping, plan a time for when you are going to go shopping.

With a little bit of forethought and planning, you won’t be scrambling to get gifts for your loved ones.

Action: Plan out your gifts now and get going!

In Conclusion…

The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Put in the effort on the front end to plan out the next month. Your blood pressure and family will thank you.

Here’s to the Journey!

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