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2024: A Year Without A Plan

January 04, 2024

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Every year, during that quiet week between Christmas and New Year's Day, I seem to sit back and take stock.

Like so many others, I reminisce, and think about all the people, places and things I encountered in the previous three hundred and sixty five days.

A quick peek in the rearview mirror to help me decide what I'd like more of, and need less of, before I turn that calendar page and venture into the new year.

January Calendar Self Care

In my younger days, I used this information to map out my plans for next 12 months. You know, those pesky resolutions we're all supposed to make.

Every December, I'd sit down with an empty notebook and list all the ways I was going to create a brand new me.

I filled it with bullet points and journal entries, color coded blank pages where I was going to record daily menu ideas, grateful thoughts and exercise plans.

Exquisitely Unremarkable Journal

Of course, as I got older, and slightly wiser, that habit changed. It didn't really go away, instead it morphed into choosing a word or intention for the year.

Then it was one for each month. 

I was still trying to better myself, I just had a much less organized plan of attack.

All those lists and intentions, the ones that never came to fruition, just made me feel bad about myself and those unfed journals cluttered up my house.

Journals on a table

And my mind.

So honestly, I'm not even do that anymore.

Nope. This year, after all the presents had been opened and the crowds were all gone, I sat in front of the tree, during those last days in December, rocked in my chair by the roar of the fire, took in all the information I gathered about the previous year and I stowed it away for future use.

Why I No Longer Choose A Word Of The Year  And What I Do Instead

I scanned twelve months of memories and made a mental list of:
  • The interactions that made me smile
  • The activities that brought me joy
  • The people who made me laugh 
  • The exercises that made me feel great
  • The friends who made time to stay in touch
  • The family members who made me feel loved
And vowed to do more of them. To say yes to them. To fill my days with them.

Faux Pink Peonies

I also made note of:
  • The interactions that saddened or aggravated me
  • The activities I did not enjoy
  • The people who gave me grief
  • The exercises I hated
  • The foods that didn't agree with me
  • The people who treated me poorly

And I vowed to avoid them. To say no to them, without explanation. To leave them in 2023.

It's as simple as that. No journals or lists, no paper trails, Etsy printables or apps to keep track of my streaks. Just my gut feelings, memories of smiles versus frowns, cravings for more and desires of less.

That is my guiding force for the days ahead.

I'm not sure why living a life that feeds me always seemed so complicated before.

Make it simple or make it significant text

Maybe, it's that I'm older now and have less patience for those people, places and things that don't serve me. Maybe, with an empty nest, I have time to hear my own thoughts a little clearer.

And the time to honor them.

Whatever the reason, I just know that now, in this new year, my goal is to stop making lists, to stop hoping and dreaming about being a better me.

And just go out and do it.

Live each day in kindness and gratitude, as my mother raised me to do, and with that list of memories in my pocket.

kindness isn't measured by the dollar, it's the thought that counts quote

Which is exactly what I've been doing these first few days of 2024.

I said no to going out and stayed in, cuddled up and quiet. Just because I wanted to. No guilt, no explanation, just a simple no thank you.

I reclaimed and redecorated the bathroom in my hallway and swapped out the shower curtain just for the fun of it.

I signed up for a reading challenge at my library, took out a few books and actually read for an hour last night by the warmth of that fireplace.

Something I haven't done in months.

Reading By The Fire

And it was glorious.

I threw out some old magazines and covered my old date book with contact paper so it matched my updated decor. 

I walked in the cold, at high tide, on the dock, after dark, and it was spectacular...and yes, it was exercise and good for me, but I went without a checklist or a steps counter.

Seagull On The Dock

No resolutions, no intentions, no lists, no shoulds or shouldn'ts....

Just me.

In the new year.

A girl without plan. Or planner.

And boy, does it feel nice.


How about you? Do you have a plan?

For 2024 My Simple Resolution is no more resolutions

Happy New Year, Friends!!
Kim Signature

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  1. I think that sounds wonderful, Gina. I can't wait to read them all. I'm so behind with everything blogging...I'm off to catch up on my reading! Happy New Year!

  2. A plan....mmmm....My life does not allow motto is Man plans, God laughs. I'm sure it's a Bible quote. 😉 I guess I am following a similar path as you enjoy the moments, the sunrise and sunsets, the good chocolate and let the not so good other stuff not take up so much head space.

    1. Love it, Margie, love it...especially the part about the good chocolate!! 🤣 Happy New Year!!

  3. No plan or planner sounds like the perfect 'plan' to me, Kim. I gave up resolutions years ago and have never looked back. I read every day - at least a book a week and do the things that please me. As for the the things/people that give me grief, aggravate me, and treat me poorly, I move on from them. Life is just too short. Here's to a new year filled with joy, smiling, laughter and love!

    1. Sounds like you have this no plan thing mastered, Ann. If I run into trouble and feel a pull toward my planner, I know where to go for an intervention!! Happy New Year, my friend!

  4. Thanks Diana!! It certainly took me long enough to get here. Haha! That old saying, with age, comes wisdom, definitely applies. Either that or I’m just too tired to do any kind of planning!!

  5. Kim: Perfect plan! I have tried doing it this way for awhile and it does work most of the time. Remember where you came from and remember who you are and remember the best way to live and you can't go wrong..Happy New Year my friend..xxoJudy

  6. This! THIS is what I needed to read. It's so helpful and makes me feel like I don't have to be pressured into making all these lists and goals. I just feel different this year, so just doing more of what makes me happy and brings me peace and less of the things that don't is going to be top priority!

    1. I think the world is complicated enough lately. Peace sounds like a perfect goal, Mandy...I hope your new year is filled with it!!

  7. Judy, love it. Words to live by and so eloquently stated. I wish you a fabulous New Year filled with only the best! xxoo

  8. I love this -- especially about the 'with age comes wisdom'. In my early 60's I kept thinking...Okay, I'm older now. Where the heck is my wisdom???" It took a while but it did finally show up. Finally! And what a relief, as you describe, to see the view from the top of the mountain. All of a sudden there's so much clarity about what is important and what is not. Resolutions? New goals? If that's what you want, you CAN start on Tuesday, July 12. There is nothing magical about Jan 1. As you say, when you are clear about your priorities, you simply go about simply doing them. With clarity, focus and purpose. I so look forward to reading about all your projects and adventures in 2024! Cheers!

    1. Happy New Year, Kristine! "The view from the top of the mountain"...I love it!! You're right, there's a bit of clarity that comes along with that perspective and I'm going to lean into it.

  9. Kim, I agree with you, no plan is the best for me. No resolutions either. Just living my life to the fullest. Getting rid of toxic people is good for everyone. Life is short, so enjoy the life we have. Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year, Linda!! I've been planning for far too many years and all it did was stress me out. So I'm ditching that habit!

  10. Last year instead of detailed plans I made a vision board and put pictures of things I wanted to strive for. Kinda like an old timey collage from my high school days but instead of things I’d done, general pics of things (and people) I wanted to do or do more often. I looked at it occasionally and was pleased to see I was moving in those directions. I did have a couple big unexpected roadblocks but such is life, so by year’s end I was content with how I’d spent my time overall. Also, I changed my new year to Feb 1st and took Jan as a “Mop Up” doing all the things to clean up and organize my life and calendar plus some fun crafts and decorating. I’m doing the same this year as it takes ALL THE STRESS off. Pamela

    1. Oh a vision board!! I love that idea. I'm a very visual person and I could see myself having fun making one. It could include places I'd like to go and things I'd like to do this many pretty possibilities! Thanks for the inspiration, Pamela, and Happy New Year!!

  11. A line from my favorite movie, Jeri!! Happy New Year!!

  12. Kim,
    Thanks so much for stopping by!! I don't really have a plan but I still did chose a Word for the year like I have in the past and also a theme...Will be posting about it on Monday...So you are finally an empty Nester!! Will you be repurposing those rooms that you now have to yourself???Looking forward to seeing what you will be doing in the New YEar!!

    1. Happy New Year, Deb!! I can't wait to read all about your word and theme. I wonder, does it involve being a grandma? How exciting!! As far as those rooms go, for now they're going to remain as is, until I know if this moving out thing is going to take. Haha!! You just never know with kids...but I will admit to moving a card table and few craft supplies into one of the rooms. I mean, it would make a lovely crafting space!

  13. I have made no plans for the new year either with resolutions or goals and I just want to live and enjoy each day. Wishing you a happy new year Kim.

    1. Sounds like we're both on the same page, Julie! Happy New Year!

  14. I feel much the same as you, Kim! No resolutions, no word of the year. Just taking stock of what worked for me last year and what didn't. Reflecting. Working on decluttering this month and simply taking one day at a time.

    1. Same here, Melanie. Decluttering, cleaning up and out, making room for whatever comes my way...Enjoy and Happy New Year!

  15. This is what I do. I don't choose a word anymore, either. Just move forward every day, caring for my family and home, helping others, walking with God. I gave up trying to do what other people were doing. I'm happier.

    1. I wish I'd figured this out sooner, because those lofty goals were always so draining! No more. It's only been a few days, but so far I'm happier, too!

  16. It is quite freeing to let go of the expectations that we place on ourselves! I am thankful to say that life is wonderful when you learn to enjoy every single day, the little things, and while it is always good to have dreams, hopes and wishes - to not base your happiness on the fruition of those things - rather enjoy what you have now. In time, the things you desire will come to pass, no doubt in a better way than you anticipated. That's been my experience. :) Have a blessed New Year Kim!

    1. Day by day, living in the moment and enjoying whatever that may be is the way to go, I agree Marilyn! So far, so good, no expectations or plans...and no snow, which is a lovely bonus in my neck of the woods! Of course if it shows up, I'll make the best of it, it's just not quite as pretty as the flakes you see up north!! Happy New Year!!

  17. Hi Kim, a fantastic post. I also have decided to say NO to the ....

    The interactions that saddened or aggravated me
    The activities I did not enjoy
    The people who gave me grief
    The exercises I hated
    The foods that didn't agree with me
    The people who treated me poorly
    I am a people pleaser, as I 'grow up', I see how that has been very stressful for me. I have decided NO MORE, in fact I just had a discussion with my husband about it last weekend.
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    1. I’m the same, Carla, and I doubt you and I are alone. I think a lot of women, as nurturers and caregivers, tend to stretch themselves thin and say yes to please others when our guts tell us no. Hopefully, 2024 is the year we find balance. Thanks for your thoughtful words, it’s helpful to know I’m in this with a friend!!

  18. I like this. It makes perfect sense. I'm on board too. - Briana from Texas

    1. It's very freeing! Happy New Year, Briana!!

  19. Happy New Year Kim. Its always great to come to your blog for a good bit of no nonsense advice. I too am not having any of those words or resolutions of the year. Goodness knows after all these years I know they do not work. I'm going to wing it this year and what comes may unfold. Oh I had a lot of plans, but right now I'm nursing a cold and not feeling particularly productive. I'm also looking forward to seeing what you do this year with your home and crafting. Health and Simplicity for the new year Kim!!

    1. Happy New Year, Mary! You're so nice, your sweet words just made my day, thank you! I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I really hope the rest of the month truly is filled with nothing but health and simplicity!! Be well, my friend!