5 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Christmas is just a few days away, which means that the new year is right around the corner. And with the new year, comes new year’s resolutions. For most of us, we make our resolutions with all the best intentions of keeping and achieving them, but within a few weeks they’re long forgotten, and we’re back to our old ways.

But, it really is possible to keep your resolutions. All it takes is a little planning, some support from your friends and/or family, and a continual reminder of your goals. So in the next couple of weeks, when you sit down to create you resolutions for the new year, make sure you put these five tips to use to help you achieve your goals!

1. Write Them Down

One of the easiest ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, is to write them down. But don’t just write them down and then toss it in a drawer never to be seen again. Write your goals down, and then hang them somewhere that you will see them on a daily basis. Having this constant reminder will really help you remember what your goals are, and why you made them, which will in turn help you stick to them.

2. Rely on Your Support System

Sticking to a long term goal can be hard, but having someone there to support and encourage you will make it so much easier. If you have a goal to lose weight, find a couple of friends with the same goal, and work together to achieve your resolutions. Work out together, share healthy recipes with each other, encourage each other when you’re feeling discouraged, just be there to support each other. It’s really amazing what a good support system an help you achieve!

3. Break it Down

A big resolution can seem daunting, but breaking it down into steps, or smaller goals can make it seem more obtainable. Say your resolution is to save $10,000 by the end of the year. But rather than just leaving it at that big goal, divide it up and figure out how much you need to save each month, or from each paycheck to reach your goal. This will also help prevent you from putting it off and thinking that you can make up for it later. With that goal to save money, if you know how much you need to save each month, you’ll be better able to avoid making unnecessary purchases, because you’ll have a specific goal to stick to for that month, rather than just thinking about the final goal.

4. Keep the List Short

You know the saying quality over quantity? Apply that to your New Year’s resolutions. Ten resolutions are going to be a lot harder to keep than two or three, so keep your list short. Instead of giving yourself a bunch of (for lack of a better term) half-ass resolutions, chose just a couple of resolutions that are truly important to you. This will allow you to really focus on them, and not be distracted by the other goals. Plus, if your resolutions are truly important to you, you’ll automatically be more likely to stick to them.

5. Reward Yourself

Once you reach your goal, or even as you reach your smaller goals along the way, make sure you reward yourself! You worked hard to get where you are, so make sure you recognize that hard work! Buy yourself that new dress you’ve had your eye on once you’ve lost your first five pounds. Treat yourself to a manicure when you reach your monthly money saving goal. Enjoy a cookie once you’ve had your 15 servings of veggies for the week. You get the picture! Having a reward waiting for you at the end of the finish line will help push you to achieve your goal!

Office Makeover on a Budget

My husband travels a lot for work, but when he’s here, he works from home. This week while he was gone I decided that I wanted to surprise him with an office makeover! Other than hanging a few things on the wall, we hadn’t really done anything with his office since we moved into our house, so I thought it would be nice to make it a little more “him.” 

I didn’t want to spend too much money on this makeover, so I set myself a budget of $300. I will say that there are definitely a few things that I would have done differently, or that I would have liked to add, if I had a larger budget, but I made it work with what I had. I might still make a few more changes later, but I’m very happy with what I was able to do within my budget.

I started with an accent wall in the color Bunglehouse Blue from Sherwin Williams. This is such a pretty blue and I really think it’s the perfect combo of masculine and modern, with just a touch of beachy. The rest of the walls were already a basic white, but they needed a touch up, so I just gave them a fresh coat. 

For storage, I picked up two of these six cube shelves from Target. I had originally planned on a bookshelf, but I wasn’t able to find one that I liked in store anywhere, and didn’t have time to order anything online. These shelves were only $30 a piece and they work perfectly for this space! 

He already had the Ikea chair, the dry erase boards where he keeps track of his trips, the autographed posters in the black frames, the wood sign with the fish, and the framed flag, and I knew he wouldn’t want to get rid of any of it, so I had to tie it all together somehow. The blue wall helped tie in the framed flag and the fish painting, and I picked up the blue pillow at Wal-Mart for $8, which helped tie in the chair a little bit.  I wanted to replace the black frames with wood ones to make them match the fish painting, but in the end, that was something that I ended up leaving out because I couldn’t find a matching set of the right sizes in the store anywhere. If it were up to me to choose the wall art, it probably wouldn’t have been this combination of things, but they’re all things he wants in there, so I made it work! 

The gray curtains were $20 per set at Target, and the curtain rods were around $15 a piece at Lowe’s. Other items I picked up were the cube baskets, the trays and the pencil holder for organization and the lamp, the globe, the timer, the dive helmet, and the picture frame for decor. I was going for a bit of a coastal/nautical theme, but also wanted to keep it neutral enough that he could make changes or add to it in the future if he ever wants to. 

I would have liked to have a rug to add a little more pattern and color, as well as a floor lamp, and maybe some floating shelves, but these were all things that I decided to leave out for the sake of the budget. If he decides he wants any of these in the future though, they should be very easy to add! 

As far as sticking to the budget, My total came in at right around $330. I did go just a little bit over budget, but if you don’t count the white paint, which wasn’t only for this project (we use it in the whole house,) then I came in right on budget.

The final result isn’t exactly what I had envisioned, but my husband loves it, so I’m pretty proud of it! 

Anniversary Trip to Key West

On September 30th, my husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. Earlier in the year, we had actually booked a trip to Jamaica to celebrate our anniversary, but we unfortunately ended up having to cancel it due to our move to Florida and my husband starting his new job (can’t really take a vacation when you just started three weeks ago!) We still wanted to do something special to celebrate though, so we decided on a weekend in Key West.

sunset3

From where we live, Key West is about a six hour drive or a 3.5 hour boat ride on the Key West Express. We thought the boat ride would be a cool experience, so we hopped on board and got ready to set sail! The boat departs every morning from Fort Myers, and returns every evening. We were going for the weekend, so we booked our tickets to depart on Saturday morning, and return Sunday evening. Round trip tickets for both of us were $280 ($140 a piece,) and we got a small discount for booking at least eight days in advance. There was also a $26 parking fee to leave our car while we were gone, which we paid online when we booked our tickets. The entire booking process was very simple and we received an e-mail with our boarding passes and all of the information we would need. If you’re ever in Florida and looking for a quick way to get to Key West, I definitely recommend the Key West Express!

boat

Once we arrived, we decided to go ahead and take our bags to our hotel so that we didn’t have to carry them around. We stayed at the Truman Hotel, which is an adorable little boutique hotel located right in the heart of Old Town Key West. It was located just off of Duval Street (which is the main street where all the bars and shops are,) so we were very close to all the action, but not right in the middle of it, which is exactly what we wanted. We had a great experience with this hotel and I would definitely recommend it. The office staff was very nice and helpful, the room was nice, modern, and clean, and the pool was perfect for an afternoon cool down.

pool

After dropping off our bags, we headed straight to Margaritaville for lunch.  We spent the next few hours walking up and down Duval street, just taking everything in. We’re not big drinkers, so we didn’t really stop at all the bars along the way, but we did check out several of the shops. We knew we wanted to go to the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square before dinner that evening, so after walking around for a while, we went back to our hotel for a quick swim (it was HOT, and we really needed to cool down) and to get ready for the evening.

whistle bar

marg ville sloppy joe's

Sunset Celebration is something they do every evening, and it was amazing. Mallory Square was packed with street performers, vendors, and of course, people. If you want  get good photos of the sunset, I recommend getting there early to get a spot right up front because otherwise people WILL sit in front of you and block your photo-taking view. The sunset that night was absolutely gorgeous, and the whole thing was just a really cool experience.

sunset celebration sunset2 sunset1

After sunset, we went to Duffy’s Steak & Lobster House for dinner. We honestly just chose it because it was right across the street from our hotel, and we were exhausted, so we wanted it to be easy to get back afterward. But, it was actually really good, so we lucked out! After dinner we just went back to our room for the night. We had been up since about 5:00 a.m., had been out in the heat all day, and had walked about seven miles, so we were ready to crash!

mile 0

The next morning we got up nice and early and headed straight to the Southernmost Point. We had tried to go the afternoon before, but the sun was not optimal for photos, and there was a long line, so we decided to wait. I definitely suggest going early in the morning, because there were only a couple other people there and we could take our time getting photos.

sm point

After the Southernmost Point, we headed to breakfast at the Banana Cafe. This was probably my favorite place that we ate the entire trip! The food and the coffee were both delicious, and the atmosphere was really fun and laid back. We had originally wanted to go to Blue Heaven because we heard they have an amazing brunch, but we found out once we got there that were closed for the week. The Banana Cafe was great, but we will definitely be giving Blue Heaven a try next time we’re in Key West!

cat3cat1 cat2

Our next stop of the day was The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. This was my favorite thing that we did on this trip, and is a must-see in Key West! They offer a guided tour, which I highly suggest if you want to find out more about the history of Hemingway and his home. After the tour, we were able to walk around on our own and you are allowed to take as many pictures as you want! Fun fact: at the time of our visit, there were something like 56 cats on the property, all of which are descendants of the original cats that Hemingway had while he lived there!

hem house6 hem house5 hem house4 hem house2 hem house3 hem house

After the Hemingway House we basically just spent the rest of the day walking around the area near Mallory Square since we hadn’t gotten to see much of that area the day before. We checked out the shops, took a stroll through the Maritime Museumstared in amazement at a huge cruise ship that had just pulled in, and spent some time taking photos of the scenery. We chose to walk everywhere on this trip, but I don’t suggest this. We walked somewhere around 15 miles in two days and our feet were so sore and covered in blisters by the time we left. There are tons of places to rent bikes, scooters, and golf carts, and we will definitely be doing this next time. Because we walked so much though, but the end of the second day we were definitely ready to go home. While we waited for the boat to start boarding, we had a couple of drinks at Dante’s which is an outdoor restaurant and pool bar. The pool party thing is not really our style, but if you’re into that, I would definitely suggest checking this place out!

 ship

The water was extremely rough on the boat ride home, and I (along with most everyone else on the boat) got sick. If you’re someone who gets motion sick easily, this is definitely something you should take into consideration before taking the Key West Express. The crew was very helpful, and did everything they could to make the ride as smooth as possible, but hey, you can’t control the ocean! 

water

Overall this was a great trip and it was the perfect little anniversary weekend getaway! We had a lot of fun, learned a few things that we should do differently next time, and we will definitely be going back!