What worked for me in 2016

What worked for me in 2016

I love to do a little bit of reflection at year’s end, but I don’t make it complicated. Around my house we use two questions to help us take stock of the year gone by.

They are:

  1. What worked for me last year?
  2. What didn’t?

Today I’m sharing a few of the things (from significant to shallow) that worked for me in 2016. (I’ll share my list of what didn’t work in the newsletter, same as last year. Sign up here if you’re not on the list.)

Much is unchanged since last year; plenty of 2015 favorites are still working for me, like Tieks, decaf, and human maintenance. These are my new (or new again) 2016 additions:

1. Our new puppy. It’s nice to have a dog again. It’s work, but it’s nice. We got Daisy in October, and she’s starting to really feel like part of the family. My average step count is also much better than it was about this time last year, and that’s not a coincidence.

2. School. We made a big change last year regarding our school situation. It was scary at the time, but now? It’s working, for all of us.

3. Back to basics. Simple clothes and simple meals have kept me going through what has turned out to be a very full year. When I get busy, I wear the same thing every day. And when our schedule is full, we eat the same basic meals over and over.

4. The Instant Pot. I’m loving my new impulse buy from Black Friday. I’ve only been using this a few weeks and I already love it because it’s made it so darn easy to make chicken stock, braised vegetables, hard boiled eggs (that I can actually peel!), and cauliflower soup without me having to babysit the stove. It’s also helping me put healthy meals on the table, faster.

5. Saying yes. This year I consciously made my default answer “yes”—to get-togethers with friends, to trips out of town, to cultural happenings. “No” comes easier to me, because I love to stay home. But I’m usually happy when I choose to do the—whatever the thing is—instead.

So this year I went to lots of local author events, had more play dates for the kids than I otherwise would have, took trips to fun places like Nashville and New York and Charlotte, and only occasionally wished I’d stayed home.

6. My flat iron. (Or maybe, my hair?) Sometimes it’s the little things. When my flat iron broke earlier this month, I realized how dependent I was on it. I don’t spend much time on my hair, seriously. I wash it every three or four (or maybe five, in the winter) days and blow it dry.

After that, I just need to spend 30 seconds with a flat iron every morning to have ready-to-go hair. I’m not ready for a fashion shoot or anything, but it’s good enough for me. But when my flat iron broke I had a difficult time making my hair behave without it! It made me realize how much I relied on it, and how I’ll need a different hairstyle (read: no bangs) if I ever go off the grid for longer than a few days.

(I’d had my old Chi flat iron for five years, and when it finally broke I upgraded to a GHD. I can’t believe how much easier it is to use, and suddenly understand why my friends have been able to pull off flat iron curls for years while I could not.)

7. Shelves. After two exasperating trips to IKEA for closet organizing systems, which resulted in the purchase of a whole bunch of stuff that didn’t work (and which, 8 months later, we finally returned), we paid someone to put shelves in our closet. And then our other closet. They look good, they work great, they were cheaper than IKEA, and it’s so much easier to keep things organized now.

8. Bullet journaling. I finally tried it this year and I’m a fan. (Read more on how I got started and the tips and tricks I use and love.)

I’d love to hear what worked for YOU in 2016, and what didn’t, and why. Tell us all about it in comments.

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64 comments

  1. Karen says:

    I read this title and thought “not for me!”
    Then I opened my BuJo, wrote down “2016 – What Worked?”
    And came up with a list of 5 things:
    1. Bullet Journal
    2. Instant Pot
    3. Smaller House (better location; less work)
    4. Progress on Intro course (an introduction to language learning using the GPA approach)
    5. Using the Library (again) & learning to use Overdrive

    I think this is the first time in my 62 years I’ve done this!

  2. Claire Oman says:

    Shelves in the closet, happy thought indeed! 😉 Someone had to say it…
    I am just starting a Bullet Journal this year after thinking about it for years (fellow INFP here, can you tell?), pretty excited to get going.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Would LOVE to see a post showing your closet shelves. Our closet is building basic wire and I’m trying to figure out a better way. Would love to see what’s working for you!

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