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10 Things That Made the Biggest Difference in Q1

We’re sharing 10 things that made the biggest difference in Q1 (the first quarter) today!

Every Sunday, I ask myself 2 straightforward questions…

  1. “What went well this week?”
  2. “What didn’t go well at all?”

Any time I feel overwhelmed, I ask myself…

  1. “What is one thing you can take action on TODAY to make things easier or better?”

I know these questions seem too simple to even make a difference. Writing the answers down these past 3 months though has really helped me see a pattern of behavior I didn’t even realize was there.

While it can be hard to see and deal with the truth, it’s also an amazing opportunity to make big and lasting healthy life changes.

Here are the 10 Things That Made the Biggest Difference in Quarter 1…

Easing Into the New Year

As someone who prides themselves on being highly organized, easing into the New Year seemed about as foreign to me as waking up with purple hair.

Not impossible but not highly probable either.

After being at the cabin for the holidays though, I came home with a knowing deep in my soul we could not continue to live the way we had been living.

I also knew we couldn’t cut everything out at once without hurting a lot of people’s feelings in the process. So, I made a list of things I knew we needed to change and started tackling them one by one.   

Easing into the New Year without the pressure of having to take the Christmas tree down at a certain time or to have the entire house organized by February 1st allowed us breathing room to figure out the rhythms, routines, and rituals that best serve our family.

It didn’t happen overnight.

There are things we will have to work on for the rest of the year and setting healthy boundaries is something we’ll probably have to work on for the rest of our lives.

But giving ourselves the space to figure out what our best life looks like has been a total game-changer.

Taking Time to Establish a Healthy Morning and Nightly Routine

It took me a while to figure out my morning and nightly routine would slightly change based on whatever season of life I was in at the time.  

I’m embarrassed to say for almost 3 years now, I’ve been trying to “get back” the life we had before S’s accident, before the pandemic hit, before we brought home our rescue Piper, before we realized our aging parents would need more care than we’d be physically able to provide, and before we started working under one roof.

3 YEARS!

Things finally clicked when my Mom sent me a quote from Mike Robbins that read, “Nothing Changes Until You Do.”

That day I stopped making excuses and started revamping my morning and nightly routine.

For example…

  • I can’t do anything about the fact that Piper wakes up at 700 am every day and only naps in 15–30-minute increments but I can retrain myself to wake up at 445 am and be laser-focused on the task at hand while she’s sleeping.
  • I didn’t want to wait until lunch to use the treadmill, so I learned to embrace a morning and nightly yoga practice, and bike workouts on YouTube instead.
  • I stepped up my bathtime ritual to make it easier to decompress before crawling into bed.
  • I started prepping everything I could possibly prep the night before to help make our mornings run more smoothly.
  • We get groceries on the same day each week and gas up while we’re out.

They seem like such small things!

But these past few months, I’ve been reevaluating and revising literally anything and everything I possibly could to help make our lives easier or better.

Again, it didn’t happen overnight.

There was resistance along the way, and it took a while to get used to a new way of doing things.

But every time I get frustrated or disappointed, I think about how good it’s going to feel on December 31 when we’ve been doing these things so consistently, they’re our new way of life.

Gentle Morning and Nightly Yoga with Adriene

As I shared above, one of the biggest gifts I gave myself in Q1 was a solid morning and nightly routine.

For the longest time, my mind would race with thoughts like…

“What does my day look like?” “What should I get started on first?” “What are my priorities?” and “Did I even finish XYZ yesterday?” as soon as my feet hit the ground.

I would be ridiculously busy all day then lay my head on the pillow each night and say, “What did I actually accomplish today?”

It was a crazy cycle that kept me up many, many nights, and I was desperate to get out of it.

At the beginning of the year, my bestie S suggested Bedtime Yoga with Adriene because it had helped her so much.

To be perfectly honest, she’s not really into yoga at all so the minute she suggested a nightly yoga practice, I was intrigued.

While I still struggle with intense seasons of anxiety at times, I can say without a doubt the Bedtime Yoga with Adriene video has helped so much I’ve started incorporating her Gentle Morning Yoga videos into my morning routine as well.   

The Quarter Challenge & Focusing on Healthier Habits

Like a lot of people, I had completely let myself go during the pandemic.

It wasn’t until I saw a picture of myself at my Mom’s birthday party that I realized how bad things had actually gotten though. It still amazes me that a big smile and sparkly dress can mask a lot.

Everything changed after I read Soundtracks by Jon Acuff and realized I had the power and motivation to choose better for myself each and every day.

I’m excited to say we’re 10 weeks into The Quarter Challenge and every time I drop a fresh quarter into the jar, I feel proud to finally be making progress again.

How-to-Track-Healthy-Habits-with-Quarters-The-Crowned-Goat

The Five-Minute Journal

I’ve journaled off and on throughout the years, but it wasn’t until I found The Five Minute Journal that I was able to successfully keep a daily journaling habit.

In fact, I love it so much it’s a practice I look forward to each morning and one I credit with providing me the opportunity to look for the little things to celebrate each day.

If you’ve always wanted to journal but keep filling up pretty notebooks only to drop the practice a few weeks later, try The Five-Minute Journal.

The pink one has my favorite series of questions, but my accountability partner loves the questions in the linen-colored one so make sure you look through all the different colors.

Keeping Sunday Sacred by Being Intentional with Our Time, Rest and Self Care

For the majority of last year, our time was spent working 12–16-hour days Monday-Friday and truthfully sometimes Saturday too.

Then we’d rush to get groceries and run errands late Thursday or Friday night grabbing dinner while we were out.

We spent nearly every Saturday out of town at family events, birthday parties, reunions, or other related functions.

By the time Sunday night rolled around, we were scrambling to finish everything from the laundry to cleaning the showers to making sure we hadn’t forgotten vet appointments or dog food.

It was such a stressful way to live yet we thought that kind of hustle was normal.

Determined not to repeat the pattern of years past, I decided no matter what we’d take back our Sundays this year.

It’s another change that hasn’t been easy, especially where boundaries are concerned, but I can say for certain it’s made one of the biggest impacts in our lives so far.

Organizing the Day/Week Ahead

Every Sunday we sit down with our calendars and discuss the week ahead at dinner. It doesn’t take very long at all – maybe 30 minutes or less.

But knowing what to expect from the week allows us to pivot quickly when something comes up.

It also gives us the opportunity to discuss our boundaries and helps us define what is “good for us” as opposed to what is “best for us.”

I currently use a personalized weekly planner from Plum Paper. I used to use the daily layout but last year switched to the weekly layout and I love it!

I also write down my top 3 priorities each night before I leave my office, that way I can hit the ground running when I wake up the next day.

Changing My Mindset

This one is something that I constantly work on every single day. Sometimes I feel like I’ve totally nailed it and other times I just want to hang out in my PJs and eat chocolate cake.

I know I’ve referenced my Mom’s birthday trip to Savannah a lot lately. It was just one of those trips filled with pivotal moments that have motivated me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

One because the trip was so much fun. Two, because the events leading up to the trip and the events that happened after the trip left me with several lines in the sand decisions that felt monumental.

Having an Accountability Partner

If you’ve never had an accountability partner, let me tell you, it’s an absolute gift.

Nearly every Sunday or Monday afternoon for almost 5 years my accountability partner and I have been talking through all the ups and downs of the week. 

She has a completely different personality than I do which is a blessing because it allows me to learn from her in a way I would never have been able to learn from anyone else.

She tells me the hard stuff when she needs to and the sweet stuff when I need a pick me up. She is truly a treasure that keeps me on track in the good times and the bad!

Revisiting Blogging Basics

It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging since 2017 and we’re still ad-free!

There are a ton of things about the blogging landscape and social media that have changed dramatically since I began. So, this quarter, I challenged myself to get back to blogging basics.

A lot of the information in Pursue Your Passion From Home online course wasn’t new to me, but it was a great refresher course for the price.

I’ve followed Andrea from the very beginning of her blogging and Instagram journey and it’s been really inspiring to see her not only welcome new family members (she has 4 little boys) but also be able to take her blog dreams to the next level.

I know these 10 things that made the biggest difference in Q1 seem like a lot.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably read lists like this 1000 times over the years.

They almost seem too simple to even bother with, don’t they?

There are versions of these things I’ve done for YEARS and you likely have too.

The thing is, it wasn’t until I started doing them *consistently* that I realized they were making a huge difference in our daily lives.

And now that I’m through the first quarter I’m so amazed it’s actually working, it gives me the confidence to take these practices into the next quarter too.

If there is a specific area of life or a routine you’re currently struggling through, turn the challenge into an opportunity and get started.

Small changes lead to big impacts.

Take action on one small thing and be consistent.

Then make another change, and another, then another, and another – until you’ve created the rituals, rhythms, and routines that help you live your best life and bring you peace and joy.  

It won’t happen overnight.

You may get frustrated, struggle with resistance, or feel like giving up.

It’s completely normal to feel that way.

Always remember you’re worth the effort and the investment so don’t wait!

Cheering you on as you create a life you love,

CoCo

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19 Comments

  1. As I sat here on a chilly, rainy day, I felt very much like shouting out, ‘Well done you !!!’ You have really worked it all out, my word it took me a lifetime of dashing about and doing for everyone before I realised I am still here and I also need a break some times. The key really is to have a plan, like you say, start small and go from there. Absolute brilliant post Coco, bless you to stay on your track.xx

    1. Aww, thank you for the extra cheers, Janette, I really appreciate them. I’m definitely a work in progress but I feel like I’m getting there. It’s never going to be perfect because life is not perfect but it feels good to actually be a priority on my own list for a change. I’m glad you’ve made yourself a priority as well. It’s so important. Wishing you a week filled with lots of tea breaks and all your favorite things. Big hugs, CoCo

  2. Thank you so much for sharing all of these great ideas/tips Coco! Getting into a routine has definitely been hard for me (esp since losing my fur baby) and these are some great ideas and such great inspiration.

    1. I completely understand, Lisa, and I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved member of our family is not an easy road to navigate so I’ll definitely be keeping you in my prayers. Remember to give yourself lots of grace and take small steps along the way. You don’t have to do it all – you just have to do what is best or most important to you when you’re ready. Sending you tons of hugs, CoCo

  3. Coco, thank you, thank you, thank you. First, let me say as a fellow extrovert, your blog is one I look forward to and never scroll past. This article was especially helpful for me as I struggle with anxiety. Again, thank you for being so open and honest.

    1. You are so welcome, Dorothy! Being an introvert with anxiety is not easy so I really appreciate your sweet support and your kind and thoughtful words. They mean so much! Sending you hugs and all good things for a happy week, CoCo

  4. I love the quote – Nothing ever changes until you do! That is so enlightening and comforting at the same time. I need to do some changing for sure. But girl, I’m not about to get up at the crack of black like you. I won’t even tell you what time I actually get up or go to bed at night. The only routine I have is taking care of our last little old dog, Cooper. He’s my shadow and he’s my routine. Oh wait, I do have my TWTL. But again, it’s not in the dark. LOL. Always love your encouragement. Big hugs.

    1. I know what you mean, Cindy! I thought that quote was pretty powerful too. I’m naturally a morning person but I have to say waking up at 445 was not easy. Thankfully, I’m used to it now and it’s worth every minute but it was a huge change. It sounds like you’re a night owl, so when you’re ready, focus on more on your nightly routine than your morning routine – that way it totally takes the pressure off and you can stay up as late as you want and party 🙌 BIg hugs and thanks for all your encouragement, CoCo PS: I’m in bed by 8 pm. PPS: I have NO IDEA what TWTL means 😂

  5. Just today I was thinking how I was craving for my routine to go back to normal. I was referring to my routine before having my second kiddo. Obviously my routine won’t ever be the same. I need to embrace current life and adjust ha ha!

    1. This is so relatable, Marie! I kept thinking I was going to be able to go back to how things were too. I finally realized that with a few tweaks I could embrace all the good things that were taking up extra space in my life and it helped so much. I think we just have to give ourselves grace for this season and find a rhythm that works. It won’t be perfect by any stretch but it can be just as beautiful. Hang in there! You’re doing a great job, CoCo

  6. I enjoyed reading about your daily routines! I will be tweaking my daily routines this summer! Consistency is the key and I struggle with that at times! Thanks for all your encouragement and inspiration! Blessings, Donna

    1. Speak to my heart, Donna, not being consistent was one of my biggest problems so I can totally relate. It’s really easy to let life stuff, our crazy schedules, or being tired get in the way. Once you find a system that works though it’s a total game changer! Cheering you on as you make adjustments from one season to the next. Big hugs, CoCo

  7. These are such SUPER helpful tips, CoCo and I’m definitely bookmarking and pinning the post. I’ll be starting a new job in less than two weeks and it’s going to require some MAJOR changes in my current routine. I’m afraid I’ll need all the help I can get, LOL! Thanks as always for sharing your heart, amazing advice and tips, and of course, constant support and encouragement!

    1. That is so exciting you’ll be starting a new job, Christine! I know you’re going to be amazing at it. Whenever I feel super overwhelmed or like I have a lot on my plate, I ask myself “What is one thing I can do TODAY to help?” It seems super small but taking action no matter how big or small is HUGE. After all, one small change leads to another and then another until you’re living the life you’ve always dreamt of. Can’t wait to cheer you on lady and I’m so happy these tips and tricks have helped. Big hugs, CoCo

    1. You are so welcome, Sue! They have so many different ways you can personalize your calendar. Hope you have the best weekend, CoCo

  8. Coco,
    I loved reading about your process of change. I definitely need some discipline in my routine. I have a hard time accounting for what actually got done each day. Drives my husband crazy. Thanks for your inspiration.

    1. I totally get it, Rachel! When I started keeping track of where I actually spent my time and then determined if it was a good return on my investment I was totally shocked. Always remember you don’t have to do everything at once. Small changes lead to lasting impacts. Big hugs, CoCo

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