December continues to slip on by, and I’m reminded that Christmas is not the only thing I want to savor.
These last days of the year are opportunities to get ready for a fresh start, and prepare our hearts and lives for what God is eager to do in 2018. I like ending the year with a bang, and a sure sense that I lived this year, I really lived, and that thing I said I wanted to do? Well, I did it. It’s not too late to get to some of those goals on your list, and it certainly isn’t too early to start setting yourself up for success.
My prayer is that we would all end this year with a deep sense of peace and contentment, releasing the “could have beens” or the “should have beens”, and bringing what we’ve learned into the new year. Because we serve a God who makes all things new (Revelations 21:5), a God who is able to do abundantly more than what we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), I know that 2018 is full of promise and dreams becoming reality.
So as 2018 quickly approaches, I have a few things I’ll be doing this month to get ready. Stephen Covey says, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” These priorities are going in my personal calendar, and they are the small things that make up a big difference in the beginning of the year. Join me in getting a head start, and feel free to add whatever goals or priorities you have to this list too!
Blogmas Day 19: Ten Things to Do Before December Ends
#1 - Print out your favorite photos from 2017 and frame the best ones.
Printing and framing photos is becoming a lost art. Nowadays, our favorite snapshots of the year simply live in our camera roll or on our Instagram feed, but not in our homes or on our walls. Go through your camera roll before the year is up, and print off your favorite pictures of the year! Frame the ones you absolutely love, put some on your fridge, and place the rest in a photo box to look at throughout the year.
#2 - Send Christmas thank you cards - but make them personal.
As you write and send out thank-you cards for the gifts you receive this Christmas, take a moment to note how much that person means to you and speak words of life and blessing over them. Add a verse to the bottom of the card, or note a favorite memory you shared with them. This is a great opportunity to not just thank those who have blessed you, but to end the year blessing them with intentional words.
#3 - Give your house a good deep clean.
The end of the year is the perfect opportunity to give your space some real attention. Clean your home from top to bottom, wash all of your linens, refresh your cleaning supplies, donate clothes or household items you don’t use anymore, and diffuse some refreshing citrus essential oils while you’re at it! If you don’t have a lot of time to tackle this kind of project in one day, space it out. Make a list of the rooms you have and places in your home that need the most attention. It’s not about getting it all done in one day, it’s just about getting it done. You will feel SO good knowing that every corner of your home is clean and in order.
#4 - Bookmark some recipes you want to try in 2018.
Every new year, countless people aim to give their diet a facelift. There is nothing wrong with that, I think the new year provides a sense of closure for the year past and an opportunity to do better! Whatever your diet hopes may be, read some of those cooking books you’ve never really read, and bookmark some recipes that sound delicious and maybe even challenging. Pick a few to try in January and then as January comes to a close, do the same for the next month! You’ll never regret improving your kitchen skills, and who has ever regretted eating delicious food?
#5 - Pick up a 2018 planner.
Call me crazy, but last month I transferred all of the important 2017 birthdays and dates into my new 2018 planner. As a church staff, we also sat down and planned all of 2018, which I added as well. My favorite method is to function with both a physical planner and Google Calendar. The physical planner is super helpful for the day to day planning, and Google Calendar keeps my life in front of me if I need to plan or schedule something with a friend on the go. Whatever your method, pick up a planner or download an app, and enter those concrete items you do not want to forget! (I like these ones: 1 / 2 / 3)
#6 - Host a dinner party.
Before the year ends, have some friends over! Whether it’s for a Christmas-themed get together, New Year’s Eve, or you simply just want to spend time with people you love - plan it! Make it special by planning the menu, or make it potluck style if cooking overwhelms you. Whatever you do, end the night with everyone going around the table sharing their favorite memory from 2017!
#7 - Pray for a theme or verse for the year.
Ultimately, I want for 2018 whatever God wants for 2018. However he wants to use me, bring dreams into fruition, or challenge weaknesses in my life - I am open and ready! Let’s not be so quick to assume on knowing what’s best for our goals or our year’s theme. I’m committed to waiting before the Lord to get direction, some key passages to cling to, and for him to speak to areas of my life where he wants me to make goals. Join me in this! Before you plan, pray!
#8 - Update budget.
Money is complicated and a place of frustration for so many. As the year ends, sit with a trusted advisor or your spouse, and revisit 2017 moments when finances were not as you wanted them to be, or spending got out of hand. Implement strategy for 2018, set realistic goals, and pray for increased stewardship, generosity, and wisdom.
#9 - Make a New Year’s Eve playlist filled with all of your favorite songs of 2017.
I love New Year’s Eve! It’s always such a fun time of celebrating...and champagne! As you prepare for whatever your plans are, reflect on the best music you listened to in 2017 and make a playlist with all of your favorites. If you have a Spotify account, they put together personal, Daily Mixes, and they have compiled the songs you listened to the most in 2017. If you’re anything like me, when you love a song, you listen to it over and over and over. Get all of your favorites in a playlist, press play, and enjoy!
#10 - Schedule a workout you’ve always wanted to try for 2018.
Next year, I really want to challenge myself in the area of fitness. This year was about overcoming fear and getting past what I felt I could not do, and generally working out more consistently. I’m so proud of what I have worked towards this year, but I know next year will be even better! I want to schedule Soulcycle or kickboxing class…something that will push me and add a new, fun element to working out. Join me and schedule that class or get that yoga mat. Whatever you’ve been dying to try, get everything ready!
It is wild to think the year is almost up, but I am anticipating an incredible new year ahead. Which of these ten things will YOU be doing before December ends? Share in the comments below! Merry Christmas, and I’ll see you tomorrow!