Jan. 6th, 2019 2018 In Review – Here’s What Worked and What Didn’t

For my first post of 2019, I thought it might be fun to share some of my “what worked/what didn’t work” list with you. 

I got this idea several years ago from Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy). It’s simple and filled with grace. This isn’t a “beat yourself up over your mistakes” method, but a calm approach to evaluating what is or isn’t working so that you can work to eliminate the negatives and repeat the positives. I like to use this method of reflection to help me think well about everything from vacations to book launches. (If you’re a writer, you might find this post interesting- it’s about how I use this method for my writing life). 

Here are a few things that made my lists for 2018.

What worked, and what didn’t work for me in 2018. #NewYear #DiveTeamInvestigations Click To Tweet

What Didn’t Work for Me in 2018

Scrolling. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but my phone and I have an unhealthy relationship. It’s just so easy to scroll—when I’m tired, when I’m frustrated, when I’m bored. How many hours of my life have been lost to … what? The latest Instagram post? Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy social media and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting your mind disconnect and scrolling aimlessly. For a little while. But I found that it was becoming my default—standing in line at Costco, waiting on my kids’ during sports practices, at the end of a long day. There are much better ways I can spend that time. 

Not Reading Enough. I love to read. I was a reader before I became a writer. Books are my first love and best friends. Oh sure, I read my own words over and over and over again, but I didn’t spend enough time reading other people’s words. 

Traveling. I love to travel. But this fall I scheduled too many trips in too short a period of time. It wasn’t good for me or my family. Lesson learned. 

Running on Empty. I’m a very task-oriented person and it’s hard for me to give myself permission to relax when there’s work to be done. But when I don’t take the time to recharge my tanks—creatively, emotionally, spiritually, physically—I can’t do anything well. 

What Worked for Me in 2018

Audiobooks. I’m a visual learner and audiobooks are not my favorite way to consume stories and information, but they totally count as reading, and in the last half of 2018 I finally jumped on the Audible bandwagon. I’m so glad I did. Not only did my kids and I enjoy listening to books as we ran errands and zipped back and forth from ballgames, but I was able to “read” while I did laundry and cooked dinner. 

Saying No. I hate to say no to people. Truly hate it. But 2018 was the year I learned to say No more than I said Yes. Finally. There’s something very freeing about knowing your calling and knowing when saying no is the right thing. 

Learning New Things. I learned to scuba dive (barely – you can read my thoughts on the beginner life here) and I learned to crochet (you can read about that here). There’s something both terrifying and frustrating about being a beginner, but it’s also so rewarding. 

Choosing to Fuel My Creativity. My sister and I purchased season tickets to the Broadway series at our local performing arts center. It was a splurge and it felt very indulgent, but three shows in (and five more waiting on me in 2019) and I’m already planning for next year. I know that live performances are one of the best ways to recharge my creative well. Having set times to do that, already on the calendar and paid for, has already proven to be a true investment in my career. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun! 

As we dive into the new year, I’m contemplating all of these things (and many more) as I prayerfully consider what 2019 needs to look like.

I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey! It’s going to be fun!

Grace and peace,


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  1. One thing I have learned to do is to say “no” when I need to do so. Saying yes can be easy, but saying yes to too many activities causes me not to give 100% to anything. 🙂