4 Reasons Why You're Failing Your New Year's Resolutions

4 Reasons Why You're Failing Your New Year's Resolutions

We're more than halfway into January, friend.

It's a new year, and it feels like the right time to become a better version of yourself.

New year, new you so to speak.

So you scribble down some ways you want to change. This WILL be the year you finally travel/learn to cook/become a morning person/insert resolution here.

It's the start of my year, you think to yourself.

Until you find yourself failing at these changes.

12 Last-Minute Christmas Gifts They'll Actually Love (It's Easy!)

12 Last-Minute Christmas Gifts They'll Actually Love (It's Easy!)

Sometimes, we spend so much time figuring out what to give that we forget why we're giving it in the first place. Our presents become meaningless, as we rush to find something, anything to give just because.

This was definitely true for me last year.

I gave last year's Christmas presents on New Year's Eve. *shifty eyes*

That last sentence just made me feel like a terrible human being. Or at least a terribly disorganized one.

So how'd I end up leaving things so late?

Part of it was getting food poisoning last December. Being practically chained to the toilet was a memorable Christmas gift! I found it hilarious --- a story to tell when I'm out of this situation, I thought at that time --- but it sapped my energy and meant I had no desire to prep presents.

And a secret part of it?

I was tired of buying presents.

Stressing over what to get people (especially the difficult ones who never seemed to need anything) and calculating how to keep things in my budget over and over and scoring what seems like every store in the city for a unicorn of a present and braving the traffic to the shoping malls and wrapping 30-ish presents and---

Buying gifts that delighted the people I gave them to used to excite me. Last year, it just felt like a chore.

There wasn't any Christmas cheer in my gift giving. Instead, it was all about superficial obligations like following tradition ("Everyone gives gifts at Christmas!") and returning favors ("He gave me a present; I should probably give one back...").

That felt shallow. And stressful besides.

This year, I tried something simpler.

I decided to focus on the why behind my presents: thanking people for being in my life.

My gifts didn't need to be expensive but they had to show I appreciated each person.

If that sounds like a tall order, it's actually much easier than you think!

You can even do it last-minute (like, ehem, this week).

Let me share twelve quick ideas that have been a hit for me this season.

How To Enjoy A Simple Christmas

How To Enjoy A Simple Christmas

You're in the middle of the holiday season, friend.

Your social calendar's packed with parties and get-togethers.

You still have to buy a few more presents (including a friend who's super-difficult to shop for).

There's a Pinterest project you wanted to try to brighten up your living room for the season. Oh, and a new Christmas cookie recipe to bake up during the weekend.

And wasn't there an office Kris Kringle you have to prep for?

'Tis the season to stress out.

Or is it?

How Minimalism For Real Life Simplified My Beauty Routine

How Minimalism For Real Life Simplified My Beauty Routine

Google minimalism and look at the images that come up, friend.

Seriously, I'll wait while you do.

*hums the Star Wars Imperial March and twiddles thumbs while waiting*

OK, so what did you notice about the photos you scrolled through?

A lot of white, neutrals, and wide open space, right?

And if that's your thing, there's nothing wrong with that. I salute people who've managed to live with less than 100 things; it's a difficult thing to achieve.

But what if you looked at those shots and thought they weren't doable?

Even getting rid of half of your stuff wouldn't get your living room looking like that!

If that's what minimalism's all about, you think. it's way too hard.

It's just not practical to live like that everyday.

And you know what? You're right.

Behind-The-Scenes Thoughts On Creating Simple Not Stressful

Behind-The-Scenes Thoughts On Creating Simple Not Stressful

Simple Not Stressful's officially live, friend, and I've never been more excited!

*party hat and dancing lady emojis*

Working on this new site for the last two months has been crazy-fun and super-scary. Fun because of how right this project felt to me as it slowly came together. And scary because putting in the work without knowing what the outcome will be means taking a step of faith.

So before we start, let's pull back the curtain on Simple Not Stressful and see how it came to be. Creating it taught me lessons that made my life simpler during the launch, and I'd like to share these gems with you.

You Get 5 Extra Benefits When You Banish Clutter

You Get 5 Extra Benefits When You Banish Clutter

Another day’s finally over, and you’re home.

You just want to sit on the couch, turn on Netflix, and have the evening to yourself.

But the sink’s full of dishes. The table’s stacked with mail. You have stuff that collects in various places that never seem to get used.

It’s a struggle keeping on top of the house work. It feels like extra things to do on top of everything else happening today.

If you only had a magic wand you could wave to put everything away in a flash. You’re definitely too tired to do it now.

Maybe this weekend. You’ll have more time then.

Well, that’s what you said last weekend, right? And the weekend before that.

Or you might have cleaned up a bit before, and it felt easier just to give up. It’s not like the clutter’s so bad anyway.

But what if I tell you decluttering can change your life for the better? And I’m not only talking about having more space.

Here are 5 great things that naturally happened when I decluttered (that can happen for you too!)

6 Ways To Have A Simply Special Summer

6 Ways To Have A Simply Special Summer

Woohoo, summer is here!

And being the fun-loving lady you are, having a great summer you’ll look back on with joy is high on your list.

Long sunny days, bright runny popsicles, and long road trips await!

But what if you can’t do all that?

Maybe you’re bogged down at work and can’t take a long weekend off. Or maybe trips away are too expensive for your budget right now.

I so get where you’re coming from, friend.

The summer is practically over for me — March to May in this part of the tropics, if you’re curious — but my day job’s busiest during those months. I also had less money saved up than I liked, so a long trip was not in the cards.

But I still had a simply special summer, and I was sad to see it end.

Because a summer spent well isn’t about wallpapering your Facebook profile with shots of trips to make your friends jealous. It’s not required to spend a lot of money to make things fun.

Instead, I found the essentials of a special summer were simpler than that.

How An Earthquake Made Me A Minimalist

How An Earthquake Made Me A Minimalist

Why's the bed shaking?

That was my first thought when I blearily opened my eyes three years ago.

I stared at the shelf across my bed for a few seconds before I realized everything was shaking.

It was like someone had zapped me fully awake. I whipped around and locked eyes with my sister on the other side of the bed we shared. We were silent, listening to the cracking of the plaster on the ceiling.

The next second found us rolling away from each other and diving on the floor. I pulled my quilt along with stiff fingers and crouched under it.

"Where's the dog?" I yelled. I couldn't see his bed from here.

"I don't know!" My sister's panicked voice was muffled by the loud shaking of the windows.

Suddenly I felt something burrowing under my quilt. I sighed in relief when my shih tzu climbed on my lap.

"He's with me!" The door opened.

"Daisy? Da--"

"MOM, GO HIDE!" my sister shouted.

I huddled and made myself as small as I could. The sounds of falling debris crowded in. My dog shivered against my stomach.

Please stop. God, please make it stop.

How To Fine-Tune Your Game Plan In The Middle Of The Year

How To Fine-Tune Your Game Plan In The Middle Of The Year

My planner just told me we’re starting the 24th week of 2016.

Think about that: we’re almost 50% through this 52-week year now. Weren’t we just writing down New Year’s resolutions yesterday?

Time runs by like an overspeeding car chased by a patrol officer whether we like it or not. We’ve gone halfway through the year without blinking, it feels like.

And speaking of resolutions, how are yours?

If that question made your stomach sink to the floor, I feel you.

I’d planned to learn to scuba dive this year. It’s now mid-June and I haven’t even joined a diving class.

So what do we do about these failing resolutions?

Yep, I said failing, not failed.

Because if your year hasn’t been a win so far, we still have six months — ok, technically six and a half — to turn this ship around.

As I’ve been telling my email friends, the year’s not over yet.

We just need to whip out our list of New Year’s Resolutions and have a powwow session together. So have a seat with that list, a pen, and extra paper, and let’s dive in!

Why Clutter Stops You From Focusing On Life

Why Clutter Stops You From Focusing On Life

Someone stuffed my head with straw this week.

Like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, I've spaced out at the wrong times and seem to be looking at the world through a fog.

It's No Mess Monday next week, I thought to myself. How can I write an update when my focus is shot?

I'd made progress with my hoarding habit (*hint hint* my closet) but hadn't done any decluttering in the last few weeks.

I felt stuck. I needed my head unstuffed so I could clean house and write about it.

So I Googled ways to get my act together and guess what I found?