6 Things That Worked for Me This Year

Since 2018, I’ve usually written a post about 5 things that worked for me that year (here’s the 2018 list, the 2019 list, the 2020 list, and the 2022 list if you’re curious!).

It’s nice to look back on the previous year and think about what went WELL (especially before the season of goal setting where it’s easy to focus on what you DIDN’T do well).

And, like last year, I had the Everyday Reading team weigh in on things that worked for them in 2023!

Here are six things that worked for me this past year:

6 Things That Worked for Me This Year

  1. Going to Therapy. Over Christmas break last year, as Bart and I were talking about the year ahead, we discussed the possibility of trying therapy for the first time. We happened to walk by a neighbor who was out shoveling snow and we stopped to chat – we knew he was in the psychology field and we asked for recommendations. He gave us some great advice and a few weeks later we started going. We ended up with a TERRIFIC therapist and we’ve gone in all sorts of combinations this year – Bart and me, our whole family, both of us with one child, children individually – and it is no exaggeration to say that it’s changed our lives. If you’ve been considering therapy, I can’t recommend strongly enough making it happen if you can. (I’ve had lots of questions about how to find a therapist and our therapist, plus many of my IG community members, suggested Psychology Today where you can search in your area and read bios of therapists to help you pick one that’s a good fit for you).
  2. Learning to run. For years, one of my goals at the beginning of the year has been to get better at running. I wasn’t looking to be a marathoner, but I wanted to be able to consistently run a few miles without feeling like dying. This year, Bart suggested that he help me learn to run (he’s a life-long runner) and that made all the difference. We ran together all winter long and into the summer and now I mostly run on my own and it’s pretty amazing to be able to knock out a couple of miles multiple times a week. I wrote a whole post about it here, if you want details!
  3. Having my sister come over on Sundays. One of the things I wanted in my life this year was more time with my sister, Landen, who lives nearby. We decided that she’d come over (pretty much) every Sunday after church and it’s been the best thing. Our kids play together, we have lunch (nothing fancy – usually leftovers on both of our parts), and we sit around and chat. It’s super low-key and I love that we now spend several hours together every week AND that our kids know each other better. It felt so sad to me that we lived close by and yet we often would go weeks without seeing each other – this has been such a great addition to our weekly routine!
  4. Weekly pickleball with friends. When school started up this fall, one of my friends got a group of women together to play pickleball one morning a week. This is the kind of thing that is HARD for me (give up work time?? Do I have to??) but every time I go, I’m SO glad I do. It’s so nice to get outside (or inside, when the weather is cold and snowy), see some old friends and meet new people, and do something active. Plus, I’ve gotten a LOT better at pickleball this year. As a side note to this one, we’ve also been doing pickleball as a family one night a week since the summer and that’s also been absolutely delightful. Ella especially LOVES pickleball and it’s been fun to see her improve a ton this year.
  5. Eating a real lunch. One of my 2023 goals (you can see the list here!) was to have a real lunch. It is so easy for me to work straight through lunch but then I’m starving by early afternoon and end up eating too many snacks and then I’m not hungry for dinner and so on. Prioritizing eating lunch has absolutely improved my life, plus since Bart and I work from home, it’s a nice time for us to connect for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the day instead of staying locked up in our respective offices.
  6. Hiring house cleaners. For years, I’ve resisted hiring a house cleaner because it felt like more work to find someone good than to just do it ourselves, but last year during the holidays (which is by FAR my busiest time of year), Bart suggested we hire someone to help at least until the end of the year. He managed all of it and it’s been the BEST upgrade. I care a lot about a clean house and having our house stay so much cleaner makes me happy every single day. It’s a splurge, for sure, but it’s been worth every penny this year (we did NOT go back to doing it ourselves after the end of the year!).

And here’s what has worked for the Everyday Reading team!


Laundry all in one day. I’ve never had a good laundry system. I’ve tried one load a day – LOATHED IT. It felt like I was always doing laundry. I’ve also tried the “when the baskets are full” method and my definition of full was always leaning toward the hampers overflowing onto the floor. So this year I decided to try Janssen’s method of one day a week and never touching it again until the next week and I’ve got to tell you – it’s really freeing! The motivation to not fold another pair of socks together for 7 more days keeps me going each on my laundry day.

Put away your clothes reward. This is something that is working for me as a parent. My kids struggle quite a bit to put their clothes away when they take them off. I like their rooms to be clean-ish, not spotless, but the amount of effort they spent towards putting their clothes away was close to zero and it was driving me bananas. I am not above handing out rewards for good behavior and something that motivates my kids the most is getting to stay up late. So I made a super simple chart they each put in their room with 30 squares to check off when clothes are put away the second they come off. Once they fill out the 30 squares, they get to stay up 30 min late and spend some extra time with me and my husband playing games, chatting about their day, doing legos, extra reading time, etc! I cannot tell you how motivated my kids have been to get that chart filled out! Plus, finding the time to spend one-on-one time with each kid can be challenging with our busy schedules, so I feel like this has been a two birds with one stone situation. Clean rooms and built in one-on-one time – WIN WIN!!

One more note on this – I know the feeling of being tapped out by bedtime and having kids stay up later can feel daunting/exhausting. Here’s how we solved this. We always shoot for an 8:00 bedtime, but 95% of the time it ends up being 8:30 – except on those nights when someone has earned their stay up late reward. Those nights the other kids are in bed by 8:00 on the dot. Trust me –  the child that gets to stay up late is the biggest enforcer of this!


Getting a Rec Center Membership + Child watch pass. For years I worked out at home and it worked for me. I felt like I got in a good workout regardless of my husband or childrens’ schedules. But this last year I found that I would get interrupted ten times during my workout, or if I tried to do it early before my kids woke up, they would just wake up earlier and interrupt me. This made me very grumpy and felt like I was erasing all the benefits of the endorphins I was hoping to gain. We don’t have a dedicated home gym and it got frustrating to not feel like I had space to workout. We are fortunate to live in a city with a really great community rec center. The annual membership was actually more affordable that I previously thought and they offer a really great schedule and variety of fitness classes. I found a strength training class that I attend three times a week and I absolutely love it. My kids get to go to child watch and socialize and  play on the giant indoor playground. This is a win win for everyone- I get a great workout in and they get to play and get a lot of their wiggles out first thing in the morning. This was especially so nice last winter during one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent history.

Getting a quarterly mobile car detailing service. I don’t need to drive a fancy new car, however, whatever car I might drive, I need it to not be a mess. My car had reached a bit of a scary state with sticky cupholders and too many cracker crumbs smashed in the carpet. Toddlers can really do a number in the backseat. After a friend recommended a mobile car detailing service, I decided to give it a try. They came to my house and cleaned my car in the driveway. When they were done my car looked better than it did the day we bought it! I drove around with a smile on my face for days! I love driving in a clean car. Plus it was much easier for me to maintain it and quickly vacuum it every week or so to keep it clean. They did a better job and clean it more thoroughly than I could in half the time. I used to never outsource tasks ever, and now I’m starting to understand the practicality and also the economics of a decision like this.


Embracing audiobooks.
I really struggled getting into audiobooks, I was a print book person through and through. In my current season of life (two toddlers), I have a lot less time to actually sit down and read uninterrupted. And at the end of the day when I do have time to read, I am so exhausted I fall asleep with a book on my face. This year I finally gave audiobooks a real chance, and I haven’t looked back. For me, the narrator makes ALL the difference. I have read 30 books this year 70% have been audiobooks, compared to last year I only read 13 books – all print. Audiobooks are fantastic for multitasking, I can do dishes, clean up, pull weeds, all while listening to a book. I cannot do that with a print book!

Reworking our entryway.
We do not have a mudroom that is hidden away from the rest of our house, so all of our shoes, coats, and backpacks are stored right when you walk in the front door. And typically they all end up all over the floor. This year I knew it needed to be changed for my own sanity and there have been two things that have made all the difference! The first thing that has made a HUGE difference is the addition of a peg rail. Ours was built-in, but there are tons of affordable and cute options out there. Everything gets hung up and off the ground, and I can actually think! The second thing that has helped immensely with getting ready in the mornings is we now store all of our socks WITH our shoes in the entry, instead of in the dressers in our rooms, like they were. It cuts down on running back and forth across the house and we save several minutes in the morning rush.


if you liked this post about what worked for me in 2023, you might also like these other posts:

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  1. I loved your idea of identifying what worked well in 2023 (plus I went back to 2022) and used those ideas to build on for resolutions for 2024. That felt so much more meaningful than just coming up with brand new ideas or feeling pressure to “reinvent” myself. Thanks!

  2. I love seeing that your team members shared some things that you’ve shared over the years. They’re learning from you just like we are 🙂

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