My first blog post on WordPress. I can’t believe I (finally!) made a move. It still feels surreal, and a little bit scary. It’s a learning curve, and I hope you give me grace while I navigate through it all. You all have been nothing but supportive about the change, and I’m so thankful. And I thought, ‘What better way to start a new chapter than to finish the old one properly’. That’s why I decided to put together and share these 17 things to do in 2017 to help you (and myself) finish off this year more productive, efficient and, most importantly, happier than ever.
Speaking of twenty seventeen, where has this year gone?
I feel like it was August yesterday. Or at least October.
For some bizarre reason November and December just kind of blend in into one long day. And then bam, it’s Christmas time.
2017 was a good year though.
Not without the challenges. But overall it was a great year.
It just hit me what I had said. It WAS a great year.
Hold on, it still IS.
We have SEVENTEEN days to write “2017” whenever we have to jot the date down (please, tell me you’re also one of those people who did this “201
6 7” in January).
But most importantly, we have SEVENTEEN days to make the best of this year.
1. Take a look back.
In my 5 Ways To De-stress & Re-charge post I mentioned how crucial it is to reflect on your successes. It applies perfectly when we go down the memory lane and evaluate the current year.
Think of all that has happened: the good, the bad, the unmentionable. It’s easier to do if you have a diary, a bujo (bullet journal) or a planner. That way everything you need to reflect on is pretty much right in front of your eyes. Think of the main events that happened. What were the highlights of the year? What have you learnt?
2. Learn from experience.
Sometimes we learn the best when we personally have been through the situation. Unless you touch that boiling hot pot, you might not ever know/understand how hot it actually is. Analyse your own experiences from 2017. If you feel like there has definitely been a reoccurring mistake or a successful pattern, take a mental note (or a physical one, if you REALLY want to remember it).
I personally learnt quite a lot of what-and-how-not-to-do this year. And you know what? It’s great! Acknowledgment leads to thinking. Thinking to finding a solution. Finding a solution to successfully overcoming the problem.
3. Start a diary.
Every time I attempted to start one, I failed.
I’m like Rachel from Friends: ‘Dear diary, I’m so excited. My resolution is to write in you every day. See you tomorrow.” Haha, more like “see you never”. But you know what I’ve noticed? This year especially. I WANTED to look back at what happened here and there but I COULDN’T (!). There were many experiences I would’ve loved to re-live, and diary would’ve given me that opportunity. Even a bujo, if you write “One Line A Day”, is a great way to keep those precious memories.
So yeah, I’m starting one. Now.
4. Be thankful for what you have.
Having grown up with very little financially (but loved beyond measure!), I still remember very clearly how it felt.
I also remember working 7 days a week 12+ hours a day and struggling to afford a new winter coat. Life in Ukraine was tough but I am grateful for it. Those memories keep me sober-minded and in check with reality. Even when things were not easy, I learnt a valuable lesson – life isn’t about material things.
Happiness isn’t built on how much you OWN.
In fact, sometimes it’s the opposite. It made me think of a verse from the gospel of Matthew (chapter 16, verse 26): “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Be thankful for what you have, make the best of it, work hard but don’t make material gain your life’s goal.
5. Give back.
Do you know what happens when you have a thankful heart? You want to give back. It doesn’t have to include material things especially if you’re on a tight budget. Volunteering around this time of year is especially rewarding as well as showing a bit of kindness to people in need. Well, let’s be fair, it’s rewarding ANY time of the year. If you don’t have the time or aren’t able to do it, you can help people by donating the clothes, shoes and home goods you no longer need.
If you have a friend whose mental health is suffering at the moment or you know someone who finds it difficult to get through the holiday season, simply be there for them. Offer to be there. Let them know in a practical way that you ARE there.
Give your time. Give love.
6. Re-connect with someone.
Do you know what I did today that makes me smile from ear to ear?
I messaged an old friend who I haven’t been in touch with since August.
For some (unknown) reason I became AWFUL at getting back to people right away or as soon as possible. It’s never my intention to do that but it happens. I open a text when I’m in the middle of something, scan through it and take a mental note to reply as soon as I can. And then I forget about it. 5 days later I could be scrolling through my messages, see it and remind myself One. More. Time to reply. I usually forget about it again.
So I made a conscious decision to REALLY make an effort and keep in touch the best I can and become better at replying or writing first. It’s a work in progress.
Have you ever been through anything similar? Is there anyone in your life who you’d like to re-connect with? Do it now, in 2017.
7. Write a few extra Christmas cards.
If you’re sending any Christmas cards this year, why not add a few more to the list?
Think of someone who you haven’t sent a card to in ages. Or drop one through your neighbour’s letterbox.
As you might remember, we moved house only a few months ago and only got to meet a few people in the area. So I am also writing cards to all of our new neughbours just to let them know that we are friendly and that we are here for them if they ever need anything.
8. It’s okay to finish Christmas shopping & wrapping when you can.
I remember that feeling of panic when I was scrolling through my social media and saw that 90% of people I follow were finished with their Christmas shopping and holiday prep before December even started.
I honestly thought I was failing majorly.
But guess what – does it really matter if you got your Christmas presents in August or in December? No. As long as you put your thought into it.
So instead of feeling guilty for not being ready with all things Christmas by December 1st, I took things at my own pace. I am perfectly happy to admit that there are still a few things I need to get (we get multiple “smaller” bits and bobs for each other in our family). It doesn’t make me a bad or an non-caring person. It just means that sometimes the pressure of getting something done according to someone’s else idea of “perfect timing” is too stressful and overwhelming.
Finish your shopping and wrapping whenever you feel it is right, comfortable and less stressful for you.
9. Develop a routine.
This point might seem like it contradicts the previous one in a way. But it doesn’t.
Routines help us function better and get things done. However, sometimes you can be utilizing the best routine and still be under a lot of pressure. And, as a result, you put something off (like Christmas shopping).
I vouch for an effective routine. I personally thrive off having a routine, and I am much more productive when there is a pattern I can follow.
Think what you need a bit of help with. Maybe it’s your sleeping or eating habits, your work ethic or time management skills – routine is beneficial. Make up a routine that works for you, play with it, alter it if needs to and make the best of your day.
10. Give yourself grace.
In the last 6 months I heard this phrase everywhere.
Mostly from mothers (read: superwomen) who juggle looking after their babies, being a wife, making sure the house doesn’t fall apart, working, maintaining a social life and not going crazy in the process of doing all those things.
We always have things to do. No matter how ambitious and strong we are, and how long (and exciting!) our to-do list is, the key is to remember that it’s OKAY to just be.
A duvet day. An eat-all-the-chocolate-you-can-find-in-the-house day. A nothing-is-done day. Those days are perfectly fine. YOU know you’re doing your very best. Keep hustlin’ but make sure to give yourself grace.
11. Get inspired.
You absolutely don’t need to wait to the start of the new year to get inspired and go after your dreams.
If you happen to be in a bit of a slump or you find yourself not being motivated enough, inspiration is exactly what you need. But Pinterest alone won’t cure all of your troubles. You need to work through this by, first of all, asking yourself one question.
What is my “why”?
Why did you sign up for this course? Because you wanted to improve your skills. Why did you take up this sport? Because you wanted to get fitter and be a part of a team. Why did you start blogging? Because you love to write, connect, share, learn. Whatever your answers might be, go back to your “why”s.
Also, read. A lot. Listen to good (!) podcasts. Learn. Find joy in the small things.
12. Finish the unfinished.
Even though there is not much time left of 2k17, go back to those goals / aspirations / resolutions you jotted down 11 months or so ago and read that list.
Was there something you achieved 100%? Or something that you ignored 100%?
What about things you started but haven’t managed to finish because something else kept coming up?
If it’s important and it’s a manageable goal (read: achievable in 10 days), you should try and get it completed. You will feel so much better when you can tick that one more thing off your list before going into the new year. That’s an inspiration on its own.
You know how they say that the appetite comes with eating? Once you’re on the roll, your productivity will inspire you and help you ride that wave.
What’s that one thing you could try and take on before the end of 2017?
13. Start a new project.
Out with the old, in with the new.
If you have nothing “unfinished” to complete, or you do, but you find it unnecessary and/or not very urgent, maybe it’s time to start a brand new project?
I was toying with the idea of moving from Blogger to WordPress since 2016. First, I didn’t know how to do it and the unknown was scary. Then, I found the company who could do it for me but I didn’t want to splurge. Finally, I thought, ‘It would be so nice to do it in 2018 and start the new year on a new platform with a new look’.
Guess where it left me? Uninspired. Out of love with my own blog.
So I decided that I didn’t have to wait for the new year to begin in order to start a new project.
And here we are. Welcome to Miel and Mint 2.0.
I’m still tweaking things and there will be changes made throughout the next few months but I am so happy I went for it. It was one of my best “things to do” in 2017.
14. Invest time into your loved ones.
This one should be an obvious thing. We all do it. So why do I have to remind myself and you about it?
I think around this time of the year we are so overwhelmed by things we have to plan/buy/do that we forget about the very ones who mean so much more than anything this world can offer. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work responsibilities, social commitments, personal plans that people we love are sometimes made to hop over to the backseat.
Think about how much time you dedicate to your family, friends, loved ones.
When was the last time you made a conscious decision to do something THEY wanted to do?
Invest in them while you can. Those close relationships we build with our family and friends should never be taken for granted. They need work, time, patience, grace and a whole lot of love. And it’s worth it.
15. and yourself.
There are so many articles out there nowadays that preach “self” everything. Self-development. Self-care. Self-love. I completely agree that we ought to nourish and look after ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Although, it’s vital not to get too absorbed with “self” and become SELFish, SELF-centred, SELF-obsessed.
It’s great when you know which side of that fine line you’re on. And it’s even better when you practice self-care, self-development and self-love for non-selfish reasons.
Not to dig too deep into this, all I want to say is: educate yourself, treat yourself, look after yourself, accept yourself, challenge yourself but make sure you do all those things while not causing any hurt or harm to others, and ultimately, yourself.
This is a very deep topic but I hope I managed to get point across.
16. Plan ahead.
When is the best time to make plans for the new year? Yup, before it starts. That’s why it might be helpful to revise your planning methods of 2017 and wether they worked for you or against you.
Personally, I have learnt a huge lesson from my planning mistakes of this year: I have to have everything in one planner.
I used to have a notebook for my routine to-do’s, a planner for “bigger ticket” tasks and plans + work and another notebook for blogging. It got to the stage when I realised I haven’t written in one or two of those notebook for weeks. So I’m changing things up about how I am going to plan next year. I am putting everything together into one planner and including a Brain Dump / ultimate things to do list (read my tips on How to declutter your mind and create a Brain Dump list) + everyday / weekly to-do list in the form of post-it notes. I look forward to testing it out properly. So far so good.
17. Live in the now.
Last but not least… Towards the end of the year we always think about what’s to come next. It’s perfectly normal to be excited about the “fresh start” and make plans for the new year. But more often than not we forget about the current year we live in. Why wait to live your best life?
Start now. Live it out now. Enjoy it today.
This post was written in collaboration with JewelleryBox* who kindly sent me a few of their beautiful dainty rings, earrings and necklaces.
Content isn’t sponsored and all ideas, opinions and thoughts are my own.
Leave a comment and let me know how you’re making the best of what we have left of 2017.
What do you think of my new layout?
Your feedback always means so much to me.