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How I Plan to Live My Best Life in the New Year

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Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are now ready to take on the world, or at least take on living in the best way you possibly can in all aspects of your life.

I know I am going to try.

Last year at this time I was very intentional about clearing out everything in my life that didn’t feel right for me anymore. I started taking steps to simplify my life a few years ago and liked the benefits I began to see.  Life is too short not to live the best you can, right?

I think it is something all of us desire. I was feeling stressed and had not reached a few goals and had to figure out what was keeping me from reaching them. What I did to begin achieving them was nothing earth shattering, but it worked and new year goals last year were met. I am going to keep doing it all again this new year.

How Did I Start Living My Best Life?

I edited…

…and I am not talking about simple editing, like decorating a mantel, stepping back to see what can be taken away to “make it look better” kind of editing.

I edited EVERYTHING from what I ate, what I bought, what I wore, to how I decorated the house. I am happy to report that by editing the things that were no longer working for me, I was rewarded with a newfound clarity to focus on what really mattered to me. In turn, this made me happier and more productive all around, not just at work.

How to style a table tray for fall decorating raffia tassels.

It didn’t happen all at once, but throughout the year. I questioned everything that filled my day and constantly kept editing throughout the year as I found things and activities I no longer liked or needed. In doing this I found confidence in saying NO. Saying no, gave me the time to say YES to what I really wanted to do but never had time for before I started to deep dive into editing out what I no longer needed in my life.

What is The Best Life?

Everyone has their own version of living the best life they can, but here is what I believe. Your best life is not the same as your perfect life. Seeking perfection is futile.  Your best life is where you feel your best most of the time. Where you are doing things that are meaningful to you. Where you have meaningful relationships.  Where the tasks of daily life become more enjoyable, because you have found your groove, your style, your purpose.

We all wear a variety of hats… female, mother, wife, sister, teacher, friend, doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. The one role we tend to forget about, but that can make all the difference in all areas of your life is that YOU are the Editor-In-Chief. You get to call the shots and edit everything in your life so you can live the best life for you and you alone.

Below I am sharing my list of what I edited in my life last year, but for living your best life “editing” to work its magic, just use my “Edit List” as a guide. Your list will be different to fit your life, passions and goals in all aspects in your life from the deeply personal to the colors you want to paint your bedroom.

Life: It’s About Choices

Sometimes we get so busy, we forget we have a choice in how we spend our time and money. What matters most in your life right now? Make a quick list. It might be one thing, and it might be ten. Write it all down. Now write down what you spent most of your time doing over the last month. What can you edit, change or simply say no to doing to make room for what you really want.

I didn’t do the things on this list all at once, but through the entire year. That is what made my goals doable and more important…reachable.

Edited: Social Media Time

DC Blue Chalk painted sideboard with clock on top

I found I was spending way too much time scrolling though Facebook and Instagram feeds watching others living their best life until I realized I was missing out living mine.  I enjoy seeing what friends and family are up to from time to time, but no longer spend hours scrolling through to find out what others are doing.

I basically turned off the online noise that no longer inspired me.  And stopped worrying about FOMO (fear of missing out) that only kept me from doing what I really wanted in my free time.

Benefit: I had time on my hands to go to a fitness class 3 times a week and to take an online class to learn how to illustrate on my iPad using an iPencil.

Edited: My Personal Style

How to live your best life by decorating a room to fit your personal style.

This is more of a tweak, but I took a hard look at everything from the clothes in my closet to the pillows on my sofa. Styles and trends are constantly evolving. Were they in line with my personal style?  This does not mean I needed to buy new things. It was more about making a plan to figure out what type of decor I really wanted. Before doing this, I shopped on a whim with no real intention. If something looked pretty, I bought it.

Over the last year, I stopped buying impulse purchases at HomeGoods and other places. I stick to my plan and then worked my way through it.  My bedroom is a result of this process. I bought new things, but I did a lot of research to find exactly what I had envisioned in my head to get the room decorated.

Benefit:  Saved money by not buying anything on a whim.

Edited: Where I Shopped

Closet organizing ideas to help you live your best life.

Clothes Closet Organizing Ideas

Last year made me realize that I no longer felt fulfilled by the purchases I made. Going to the mall and big box stores left me uninspired. I edited where I shopped and tried to search for more small businesses and thrift stores for my shopping. I knew they were around and just had to do some research to find them. Moving to SC, I have been very focused on updating the house and didn’t take much time to explore the towns around me. I plan to do even more of this year.

Benefit:  Find more unique items to wear, give and decorate the house while helping small businesses.

Edited: What I Stored in My House

Live your best life tips. Small pantry closet organizing ideas that are doable on a budget. Plus free printable labels to use to label and organize the contents of your pantry.

Reorganize a Pantry

AKA as decluttering. I have been working on this for a few years now and with each passing year, I have less and less to have to declutter. Decluttering is not a once and done thing, but when you constantly edit, decluttering to clean out is so much easier since you won’t have as much clutter.

One of the last areas to tackle in the decluttering realm in my house is a section in my attic where I store my decor items including pillows, Christmas decorations and more. I have never shared this space with you, but soon will. So stayed tuned. It is a total mess and I can’t find a thing making my passion for decorating frustrating.

Benefit: Shopping for food and basics to everything in my house is so much easier now that I can see everything at a glance, I know what I need to buy. When everything was crammed in, cans and jars were hidden and I would end up buying items we already had.

Edited: What I Ate

Sausage and lentil soup in a big orange bowl is delicious and homemade. Eating it adds to living the best life.

Hearty Sausage and Lentil Soup

At my age, I know everything there is to know about every kind of “Diet” out there. I have read or tried them all. I have bought supplements, adaptogens, nutritional enhancements, teas, powders, fancy greens that promised to make my skin glow or have more energy.  Words like Matcha, Keto, and Probiotics filled my head. Nothing ever thinned out, except my wallet.

Last February, I threw out every book, supplement and stopped listening to all the noise. I made a list of the foods I enjoy and plugged them into the WW app on my phone. I started eating all of them, in moderation of course, but if I felt like chocolate, I let myself have a few pieces and do you know what happened… I lost 22 pounds in 2018 and felt better than I have in years! It took 11 months, but I did it by eating foods I love…some with sugar,  bread and the things we are told not to eat. I am so happy that I threw out all the hype and marketing and simply ate what I liked.

Benefit: Weight loss and better health.

Be True To Yourself

We all have ambitions and goals, inevitably complicated by a variety of obstacles. It can be all too easy to come down hard on ourselves when we feel we’ve failed something we so desperately wanted to achieve. Make a promise to invest in yourself and start editing what no longer feels right in your life. The benefits are not all instant, but will build up to long-lasting changes that can truly make a difference in every aspect of your life.

What will you edit to start making this year be your best year yet?  You are the Editor-In-Chief... start editing.

Idea on how to live the best life you can by doing this one thing.

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38 Comments

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. I saved it and just read it again as I was ‘editing’ my many emails. It reminded me of the editing journey I’m on and why. I’ve done many of the things you mentioned and am really working on this social media part. I’ve gotten so sucked into it and don’t want to spend a long morning and evening keeping caught up with every single story and post. Life is too short.
    Thank you so much!!!

  2. I loved this post! I have also been working to edit all of the stuff I have accumulated over time as well. I found an added bonus to this process too. In my quest to purge, I have run across several treasures that I realized I wanted not to get rid of, but to bring back into my life. In removing the extraneous items, I have been able to make room for things that bring back happy memories and also to remind myself to stop saving the “good stuff” for a special occasion. Life is too short!

    1. Hi Bonnie -I love that by editing you have found things with happy memories to bring back into your life. Good stuff needs to be used and or seen everyday to bring a smile to our faces. Enjoy your good stuff. :-)

  3. I’ve been following you for 2-3 years and almost always enjoy your posts – even tho’ I don’t do much of what you discuss! :)
    It appears from the MANY, MANY comments this was probably one of your most successful posts. Certainly one of my favorites. I’ve come back to it several times and mentioned “editing” to friends. And speaking of which…one of my first editing projects has been to “edit out of my life” people that are not helpful, friendly, encouraging…those just taking up space in my already busy days. And, also, “editing In” some favorite people I haven’t kept close.
    Thanks for the great post.

  4. This was a wonderful post! So glad I decided to check you out. It’s been awhile since I read any of my favorite blogs and I hope to get back to them more in 2019. I am already making some PLANS for what I want to do and accomplish this year. I want to get more out of life than I have for the last two or three. Your post has given me lots to think about:) Happy New Year and I feel sure you will meet all your goals…you have your head on straight and your heart in the right place!

  5. I’m a new follower and love your blog! I was wondering what class you took to learn about art with your iPad and iPencil as i received them as gifts and would love to learn more about them.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Jett – Thanks for following. :-) The app I use to draw on my iPad is called ProCreate. It is a paid app, but so worth it. I think it was around $10. You can find it in the app store. I looked at a lot of courses and found one that really helped me understand how to illustrate using the iPad and pencil. It says it is for comics, but the steps are the same no matter what you draw. It was under $20 and you can get a discount code to make it even less expensive. Here is a link to it:

      https://www.udemy.com/drawing-and-painting-on-the-ipad-with-procreate/?couponCode=COMICCOLORING

      Also on YouTube check out the How to Use ProCreate videos. So far I like the ones by Brad Colbow (same instructor as the course I took) and Teela Cunningham, but there are many. Once you start watching a few you will find the ones that you like how they teach. Just search for “ProCreate for iPad video tutorials” on YouTube.

      It is so much fun. If you are new to working with layers in digital art you will be amazed at all you can do. If you ever have any questions about it, just let me know and I will try to help.

  6. Diane, you hit the nail on the head with this post! For the past year, slowly but surely, I’ve eliminated so much from my home and way of living. Just being neat and making our home attractive was no longer cutting it for me. Little by little I’ve pared down, thrown out, donated, sold, and basically, gotten rid of so much “stuff.” And now, you’ve given me so many more ideas for fine-tuning my home and life. Thank you!

  7. Diane, I am a long-time follower of your blog, though I found myself too caught up in yours and other blogs, so much that I was spending too much time dreaming and not enough doing. I’ve weeded out a lot of those blogs to just a few, but I find I enjoy your Blog, “In My Own Style” too much to let it go. Happy 2019! Patricia

  8. I have read your post yesterday and again today, and the response from your readers. I am one of the ones took care of parents and now taking care of 1 parent. With 2 grown sons out of college and working, living at home trying to pay college debt, a husband unemployed since July, 2 dogs and 2 cats. I want to simplify my life and alot of my social media is being deleted. Thank you I needed to read your post it has helped me see I could leave somethings behind and new things I can do

  9. I really enjoyed your post today because I am in the process of eliminating things so it was nice to hear how well you have done with that. I am currently working on our garage, then will move to my closet & then other closets. I know it will take awhile and hearing how rewarding it was to you is a good incentive. When we moved here 9 years ago, I had eliminated everything that we didn’t need or want and it was so nice. Things have accumulated since then & it’s time to eliminate unnecessary things again. I have already made several trips to a donation place and plan on many more. Always enjoy your posts and your happy colors.

  10. Great post! Thank you for the inspiration, going to try to buy things with a purpose not just because I like them.

  11. Great post! Thank you for the inspiration, going to try not but random items but to buy with a purpose!

  12. Thank you so much for this Diane!! I’ve been working hard at bringing less into my home, getting rid of more and being able to ’breathe’ if you will. I’ve also realized that I spend way to much time on IG, FB, blogs etc. they suck up way too much valuable time. I’ve been trying to figure out my ‘word’ for 2019…almost decided on ‘simplify’ but now reading this it needs to be ‘edit’! of course! Thank you for this inspiration!!! Now to make a sign to look at every day.

  13. Excellent post, very practical and encouraging. I look forward to making changes in 2019. We’re all at different places in our life. I recently downsized and still need to purge. So this was very timely. Thanks!

  14. One huge thing you did some years back is decide where you actually wanted to live the rest of your life. You spent a long time researching different areas and got your former home ready to go on the market. You put a lot of effort into planning and researching and selling your old house to better fund the purchase of your current home. That’s very proactive and inspirational.
    You’re making this house a gem. And it’s fun to see you bring it up to your standards bit by bit and room by room. I’d call that living your best life for sure.

  15. Good advice. There are two things I will not have in my house…a coffee table and a kitchen desk. Both are junk/clutter magnets. As for the tidying up program, I think a lot of the problem was not only too much stuff, but too lazy to clean. How much effort does it take to make a bed?

  16. This is one of your best posts. Love, love, love it. Being real and honest with your readers is what we want. For 3 years I was caretaking of my very needy mom while living 700 miles away. She passed away last March and I’ve realized I’ve not taken care of me or my home very well during that time. 2019 is going to be my year to edit and focus on what I love. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.

  17. Wonderful post, wonderful blog. I really enjoy reading your blog. You seem like such a “real” person. Happy New Year!

  18. Hi, this is my first time ever to comment on a blog! I have been following your blog for years and I have implemented many of your ideas into my own home. I just wanted to tell you that I love, love, love this post!! We all need to give ourselves “permission” to live our best life ~ Happy New Year, Diane and thank you for your constant inspiration!!

  19. Thanks for another great post. I have been slowly working on this in my own life and house. It takes time, but I enjoy the process and the fact that I am getting rid of clutter and helping someone else in return with my donations. You have inspired me to keep at it. One room at a time..l

  20. What a great post! Just what I needed to hear as I begin the new year with new hopes and plans. Thanks for the Inspiration and motivation. I’m feeling enthusiastic about what I plan to achieve this year! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  21. Perfect read for me at this time! Editing and simplification are exactly what I want to do but honestly feel a bit paralyzed to begin for fear of not getting it accomplished in my self imposed timeline thanks for reminding me there really is no need for an exact timeline…. slow and steady wins the race! Happy new Year Diane! I enjoy your blog and look forward to it each day.

  22. I need to lighten up & edit in many ways. I’ve recommended the new Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to family this week, and they’ve sent me pics of their progress after watching a few episodes! It’s very motivating.

  23. This is what I needed today. I have recently moved (due to the passing of my beloved husband) and while I made the move, I was too consumed with grief to make wise choices as to what I should get rid of and what I should I keep. So almost everything came with me. Now I am going through boxes and with a somewhat clearer mind am making better decisions i.e. why do I need 4 spatulas? I know you get it. Thank you for this. It has truly inspired me! And Happy New Year!

    1. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I just wanted to mention that on the new Netflix show Tidying up with Marie Konda that I watched this week, one episode dealt with a wife making changes to her home after her husband had passed on, and sorting through his belongings. You may find that episode worth watching. It was quite emotional.

  24. Enjoyed your story, Diane! Thank you for that. I have also made some changes in 2018 and most of them were in my home. I took bags and bags of stuff to Goodwill–mostly craft stuff that’s out of date and that I no longer want to work with, but some clothing. My rule of thumb for most all things is, “if I haven’t used/worn it in 2 years, it goes OUT. Now I have to make space for an antique trunk that I upholstered and will bring home in about 6 weeks, so more organization will occur.
    Thanks for being so inspiring, practical, down-to-earth in your blog, Diane. You help make life feel more “on keel”. Hope you have a ridiculously wonderful New Year!

  25. I really enjoyed reading this post, Diane. I’ve been through a couple of very busy years caring for my elderly parents while trying to work, manage a vacation rental and help remodel a home for my daughter. All of that said, alot of “me” things were put on the back burner. I’ve already begun my own editing process.. wish me luck! Happy New Year!

  26. Great and inspirational post. I did a bit of this last year, but you’ve encouraged me to push forward with more intention. Thank you.