Three Keys to Living Life on Purpose

New Year's Resolutions

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. Looking back over this past year, I am amazed we are standing alive and well in 2018. Thanks to a Youtube video I glimpsed at in 2015, I really thought the world was going to die last year, which is why I made sure to get married in December of 2016, so I at least got a solid three weeks of married bliss. And this, my friends, is why I generally don’t watch apocalyptic movies.

But for real, I’m excited for this new year, and I am so thankful to be in this season of life Mr. M and I are in right now. Last year was a season of adventure. My word for the 2017 was Be Brave, and I believe I did put that into practice – whether that was going wakeboarding at the lake, enduring a tough summer, or learning how to gently confront someone who kept calling me Tina. I stepped out and discovered that wakeboarding is really fun and terrifying, I can do all things with Christ’s strength, and people respond graciously when you gently ask them to call you Christina instead of Tina.

When thinking about my word of the year for 2018, the first thing that came to mind was actually a phrase: Live Life on Purpose.

Living Life on Purpose

For the past few years, I feel like life has been living me rather than me living life. In 2015, I had just graduated and started a new job, so there was graciousness in that as I was trying to figure out the work/life balance. Midway through 2016 I got engaged and planned a wedding and that was an all-consuming endeavor. And 2017 brought about the navigation of newlywed life. Now here we are in 2018. A little battered, bruised, exhausted, and full of hope for this new year.

When deciding that I wanted to Live Life on Purpose this year, I knew there were three things that I had to do.

New Year's Resolutions

Turn off the TV

Mr. M and I have a really healthy coping mechanism when we are exhausted and it is called “Binge watch Empire.” When we finally caught up to season 4, we turned it off, vowed never to return, and said we needed to check ourselves because we watch WAY too much TV. In reality, we are doing something almost every single night of the week, so when we have a moment to rest and relax, TV it is. But it’s like when you decide to eat a whole bag of Doritos. It’s super tasty and fun in the moment, but then afterwards you feel sluggish and icky.

If you are wanting to live your life on purpose and more intentionally this year, what is one thing you do now that you can do less of? Find that thing, and turn it off – whether it is the TV, your phone, or unhealthy relationships.

Reevaluate My Life

Mr. M and I are both dreamers – he more so than I, but I’m learning. My problem is I have so many dreams that I never implement because I always feel too overwhelmed by the busyness and clutter in my life. Almost every night of the week, Mr. M and I have something going on – whether it’s leading our respective small groups, a church function, or spending intentional time with friends. We love our life, and we love the busyness of it.

But being a goal oriented person who is not accomplishing my dreams, it’s easy for me to be hard on myself.

And so I asked myself why. It’s because I lack discipline.

When I ran a half marathon in 2014, I trained for three months and only took 3 days off. Even when it was 15 degrees outside, I was out running. When a friend asked me why I was so crazy, I told him the truth: I’m truly a really really lazy person, so I have to be incredibly disciplined. Where did that disciplined girl go?

Into a swimming pool of queso. That’s where she went.

I’m tired of dreaming and never seeing those dreams come to fruition. I’m tired of making goals and only making it halfway there.

So it’s time to buckle down and start living life by becoming more disciplined.

When you look over your life, what is keeping you from accomplishing your goals? Spend some time reflecting on what is stopping you, and what you can incorporate into your life to be more intentionally focused towards your goals this year.

New Year's Resolutions

 Become Disciplined 

This year, I’m not necessarily making goals. Instead, I’m practicing a 12 disciplines – a discipline for each month. I haven’t quite fleshed out all my disciplines yet, but I know that I want to focus on my mind, body, and soul. I want to flourish in my spiritual walk, in my health, and in my thought life. When I am healthy in all three areas, I have the capacity to fulfill my dreams.

Over the next year, I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I walk through each discipline (for accountability.) You won’t see an military styled discipline guru over here (because I’m too emotionally weak for that), but each month I will share an update on the discipline I practiced for the month and how I measured up.

And while I’m definitely not a deacon or deaconness, I take heed to Titus 1:8: “Rather, [s]he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.”

I want to be someone who loves what is good, who has self-control, who is upright and holy, and most of all – disciplined.

So I’m saying NO to being a couch potato and YES to productivity and moving towards my dreams.

Where can you become more disciplined in your life? Think about those areas, write it down, and commit to spending a certain amount of time practicing discipline in that area of your life.

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In line with the New Year, I’m looking to make some exciting adjustments for 2018 on Hugs & Lattes. I would love your input and advice! Please fill out this survey; if you put your name and email address at the bottom, you will be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!

Plum Paper Planner Review

Plum Paper Planner Review

You know how Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S gets excited about a label maker? That is me. When I think about planners. I start picking out my new planner for the year in August. I spend months and months deliberating which planner I will purchase – what are its features, price, aesthetics, etc.

When I am considering a planner, I have four things I keep in mind:

1- Space 

I want to have enough space to doodle if I need to. I want to be able to write down a to-do list, add some fun washi tape stickers, white out cancelled plans, and doodle when I am bored. Over the past two years, I’ve used a Passion Planner and a Purposeful Daily Planner. What I loved about the Passion Planner was that I had a week layout, so I was able to see a week at a time. That was important for me as an admissions counselor, because my schedule is rarely the same. The Purposeful Planner was nice in that it had a daily schedule, but there was almost too much space. It had a 6-9 hourly layout, a brain dump, prayer and praise section, retail therapy, etc. I never needed to use the retail therapy section, so I would just throw some washi tape on it and use it for my  blog section.

Neither the Passion Planner nor the Purposeful Daily Planner had too much/not enough space for what I needed.

2- Aesthetic

I am a) a girly girl and b) a blogger, so I take pictures a LOT. Having a cute planner is a must. When I first purchased a Passion Planner, they were a fairly new company, so there were not many options beyond the black planner. (Now they do have several color options.) The Purposeful Planner did have several designs that were cute, but nothing was exactly ME.

3- Accessibility

I need a planner I can carry with me day in and day out. It needs to fit in my purse, and stay together. I loved that the Passion Planner was leather bound, so it stayed together. The coiling in the Purposeful Planner came undone and the back of the planner came out. I was able to snap it back in, and thankfully, Corie Clark sent me a new Purposeful Planner. But two days after I received my new planner, it got knocked off the couch and the backing came out of the coil of the brand new planner. So I was not interested in a thick coiling.

4- Customizable 

I am a bit of a control freak, so I want things to be done just the way I like them. What I didn’t like about either the Purposeful Planner or the Passion Planner is that they mandated my sections. I want my planner to work for me and my life. Ultimately, it would sound like a Bullet Journal would be the way to go for me, but I am too much of a perfectionist to be that creative.

So that’s where the Plum Paper Planner came to the rescue. I stumbled upon the Plum Paper Planner a few years ago and I absolutely fell in love. This planner is seriously everything I could ever want and more. I’ve been carrying it around for weeks, showing people, and making all my friends do a self-guided tour of my planner and all its features. And today I’m going to make you guys join me. Now I have to forewarn you – I got a camera for Christmas. . . and I don’t quite know how to use it yet. So the pictures are a very low grade quality, so just pretend they’re gorgeous and like I know how to adjust aperture and ISO.

What I love about the Plum Paper Planner is that it has everything I need: It is 100% completely customizable, it has the perfect amount of space, it is big enough to write down a TON of things and small enough to still fit in my purse, and it is gorgeous.

Plum Paper Planner allows YOU to build a planner that is exactly what you need – whether you are a busy mom on the go, a school teacher, or a college student, Plum Paper Planner has options that perfectly fit into your life.

I received the Plum Paper Planner in exchange for a review, but I would never promote a product I don’t 100% believe in. Also I’m obsessed with planners, so I was super stoked they agreed to partner with me! 

The Cover

Plum Paper Planner Review

To start with, I was able to pick out from 1,000 different cover options. OK it wasn’t really 1,000, but it sure felt like it. I experienced the paralyzation of too many choices for a hot second. I ended up deciding to add my M monogram on the front with a phrase I want to use to guide me for the year: Live Life On Purpose.

Important Details

Plum Paper Planner Review

The Plum Paper Planner ensures you have all the details you need for your year at the beginning. With a Special Dates page, you now have NO excuse for forgetting a birthday or an anniversary. I’m using Special Dates to write down birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.

Plum Paper Planner Review

The Plum Paper Planner is perfect the goal oriented planner. With a 12 month layout for ideas, plans, and goals at the beginning of your planner, you get to brainstorm, dream and plan what you want each month to look like.
Plum Paper Planner Review

I have SO MANY variations of the same password for every area of my life that I seriously cannot keep up with my passwords, so when I found that there was a passwords page, I knew I was in for a treat; maybe now I won’t have to change my password every time I want to log into Netflix.

Plum Paper Planner Review

With cell phones, contact pages are outdated, but this is a perfect way to keep up with addresses! (I couldn’t tell you how many times in a row I’ve had to ask family members for their addresses.)

Monthly View

Plum Paper Planner Review

If you know anything about plans is that they always get cancelled. Recently Mr. M and I made plans to babysit our godsons in January. However we recently found out that the weekend isn’t going to work anymore, so I’ve already had to use white out in the planner. I am even more in love with the Plum Paper Planner because when I used my white out, you could hardly tell the difference in color and texture.

The Weekly Layout

When I built my Plum Paper Planner, I knew I wanted to have more space to dream and plan for my blog. I purchased the Large ME Planner in a weekly layout with 7 customizable sections. While you can choose to define your sections, I left mine undefined so I could play around with what kind of template I would want to use.

Plum Paper Planner Review

When I got the planner, I played around with a few optional templates that I wanted to add into my planner. As you can see, I had several different options including adding a section for each part of my life, morning/evening/night, and etc. I ended up using a variation of column 4 for my first two weeks of January: Setting My Purpose/Self-Care/Important & To-Do/Morning/Afternoon/Evening and then a free section. This allows me to be intentional with my day, making sure I take care of myself spiritually and emotionally, and then scheduling out the rest of my day. If this works well, I may switch it up over the next couple weeks/ months. I’m trying to be less perfectionistic and more realistic in how I manage my planner.

Customizable Sections

Once you pick your layout, you can add in sections that you want/need. I chose 4 different add-ons to fit into my life.

Blogging 

Plum Paper Planner Review

I love love love that each month has its own page with post ideas, publishing schedule, stats, and income expenses. At the end of the Blogging Section, it also has a year end report where you go over what your year looked like for your blog.

Meal Planning  

Plum Paper Planner Review Plum Paper Planner Review

I love cooking, but I also love going out to eat. Mr. M and I need to be more intentional with our spending and out eating, so having a meal planner and a grocery list is just what I need. I’ve started meal planning by the week rather than by the month, so that has helped immensely in my spending and my consuming. Planning a month ahead is too stressful. I love that this meal planning section is broken up by weeks and has a weekly grocery store list as well.

Gratitude 

Plum Paper Planner Review

In the past few months, I’ve made a little gratitude calendar in my personal journal to use each day to reflect on one specific thing I was grateful for in that day. So I added a gratitude section at the back of my planner to use daily or weekly to be intentional in my thanksgiving.

Brainstorming

Plum Paper Planner Review

Mr. M is a big dreamer, and I’m a bit realistic, so I am learnign a lot from him about dreaming and planning. I have a lot of ideas in my head that I can only get out if I write them down, so I added this brainstorming section with thought bubbles, milestones, and actionables to help my dreams come to fruition.

Extra Note Pages

Plum Paper Planner Review

While the Large ME Planner comes with note pages dispersed at the end of each month, I wanted a few extra so I could try my hand at semi-bullet journaling. One thing I love that bujo people do is a habit tracker. I decided to try one for the month of January using an extra note page to keep track of habits I already do/want to get better at.

So there we have it – a fun Plum Paper Planner Review. Planners always make me excited for the new year. I love how planners are like little journals – you get to look back on the end of the year, see where you’ve been, and see what you have accomplished.

I am so excited to dive deeper into the Plum Paper Planner in 2018. I think this one may be a keeper. . . 🙂

Are you a planner? What kind of planners work best for your life and schedule?