Just like that, 2023 has come to an end! At the end of each year, I like to think back on how things went throughout the year. I don’t set resolutions on New Year’s Eve, but I do like to start the New Year with an understanding as to how what habits to continue. With so much happening around me at all times, I make it a point to keep life simple enough that I can focus on what and who matters to me.

This year turned out to be much more difficult than I’d imagined. We experienced some high points, but also lost two family members and faced difficult situations. As much as I was tempted to let the productive habits go at times, I stayed committed to them. I knew that in the long run I’d be happy I had, and at times it was even exactly what I needed to keep things feeling normal. So, throughout the year I was intentional with the habits I was keeping and the way I spent my time. None of these habits are ground breaking, but the benefit comes from keeping them throughout the year.

Here are five habits I maintained this year to keep life simple:

Daily Bible

At the beginning of the year, I happened to come across The Bible in a Year podcast. I committed to listening to the podcast each day, and am proud to say I completed all 365 days. As I mentioned, this year was a lot more challenging than I’d expected, and I’m grateful that I had the consistency of scripture every day. Even when I fell behind by two or three days, I made sure to catch up by listening to those episodes I’d missed. I listened to the podcast on my phone, and made sure to listen to the podcast before opening any apps. Beginning each day with the Bible podcast was a simple way to set a positive tone to my day.

Meal Plan

I’ve been using a Meal Plan system for a few years. The system I created for myself simply consists of using an online calendar, which I keep updated at least one week in advance. In spite of the obstacles we faced this year, I kept up with meal planning. I kept it a priority, because it’s a sure way to simplify meal times, grocery shopping, and healthy eating.

Reminders App

This year, I stopped using a paper planner to track my daily “to-do lists”, and switched to using the Reminders app. I used to use the Calendar app to track events, the Notes app for shopping lists, and my paper planner to track my things to do. With the difficulty of this year, I found it overwhelming to track my things to do on paper. If I couldn’t get some things done on the day I’d been planning to, it was annoying to see them undone, and at the same time discouraging. So, I switched to using the Reminders app for my to-do lists, scheduling recurring tasks, shopping lists (groceries, household items, etc.), and things I need to bring to events. The Calendar app is still what I use to track events. This streamlining is exactly what I needed this year.

Email Control

Last year, I decided to take the time to clean up and organize all of my email. It was a big task, but the benefit was that I no longer felt overwhelmed by unread emails. This year, I stayed committed to managing my emails. I’ve continued unsubscribing, deleting, and managing email preferences to reduce the number of incoming emails.

Calendar Control

To spend time on what matters, I was careful not to let my calendar get filled with unnecessary events. I continued keeping one day a week as a slow day for family time. Sunday is the day that works for us. We spend some of the day together, some doing our own thing, but we always end the day with a special family dinner.

Interested in how I use our family calendar to keep life simplified? See my 5 Tips For A Simplified School Year post.

How about you? What was the most significant change or habit that helped make 2023 successful for you?