For Christmas I got a gift card to a local craft store. I went the week after Christmas, and picked up a beautiful new planner set. I got home and opened it happily. It was so blank and so clean. There was nothing in the spots for the coming year. The year stretched before my eyes blank and new. It hit me right then, “What did I went to fill those blank spaces up with?”

new year family planner less stress moreI do not know about your family, but we can tend to fill up days with just stuff or junk. We think we are supposed to do this and that, but does it really make us happy? The new year is just beginning, my kids previous activities had ended before the holidays, and school was still on break, so what do we do now? I sat down that night with my husband to discuss how we wanted to see this year different than the last when it came to what we committed our time and energy on. What will make us feel present in the moments and not just busy?

So, we talked to the children and explained that they may choose one after school activity to try this winter. My son decided he wanted to try martial arts instead of gymnastics again, and my daughter is continuing to look for fun ways to learn more about cooking. Those will be their main focus as we start the new year. My husband and I discussed any groups or activities we wanted to pursue and if they fit in our current life without too much stress or pressure. These activities were the first to go into my pretty new planner; I used fun stickers and stamps to do this (included in my kit). All of those things easily and with no stress fit into our mandatory school and work lives. I felt I would be able to be present in those moments easily.

Now, we still have tons of free days and times, we could fill them with more things or just leave them to explore and enjoy life with freedom. We choose to leave them blank and let us explore more as a family. We will only commit to things that will really mean something to us. We want to allow time to relax, rest, and just be together in simple and easy ways. We want to hike more, paint together, watch family movies, laugh, swing, etc. We want to allow the kids to play and have fun without the stress of constantly be on the move to the next activity every day and night.

My planner will be about being present, not busy. I encourage you and your family to also take a hard look at what you do and why you do it? Make this year less stress and more family.