How I Prep for the New Year

The Details

Jacket {wearing xs} | Tank | Similar Jeans | Sneakers | Bag | photography by: Angie Garcia

When I get overwhelmed, my number one trick to feeling more at peace is to schedule out my plans or to-do list. Of course, there is the part of that act that makes you realize just how much you have bitten off and committed to, but it’s also peaceful to me. It almost feels like I’m taking control of my tasks and saying, “I can schedule them. I can achieve them.

But before I go into telling you how I prep for the upcoming year and crank out my to-do list, I want you to be fully aware that I am NOT 100% together. 2018 was the year of grace. It’s funny, I kept thinking this would be my year of “rest.” Remember this post? But God had other plans. He stripped away my perfectionism in completing tasks and really taught me that’s it is okay to go with the flow. I learned that there is a time to finish things and a time to acknowledge that life will go in if you don’t get to that. I mean if I could do it all- what would I need him for?! Thank you, LORD, for making me aware of how weak I can be.

But how do we find this balance? Because if we always go with the flow and never complete anything, we are leaving clothes in the dryer for 3 weeks. But if we always focus on performance and completion, well…we miss out on the beauty of life. Life is not a series of seasons of laziness nor completion.

I have really learned to look at my calendar and say, “These next 3 weeks are slammed. I’m not giving myself outside expectations.” We will all have different outside expectations, yours could be volunteering or they could be as simple as sending thank-you notes. Whatever the outside expectations that you normally give yourself {those extra things on your to-do list not 100% mandatory} label them! Make them in a notes section on your phone and then give yourself that freedom during those hard weeks to ignore them. Then, when you get through that season, buckle down and cross them off the list.

To go into 2019 feeling balanced and ready to dance with the seasons of rest and of chaos, I have a few things I really like to sort out while I take time off. Now typically, I’d try to do these things in conjunction with work and see that is where I was failing! I’ve now learned that I have to take some time off here or there to really sort out my extra tasks and you my friend deserve the same. Maybe you take a few days off of working out or cooking dinner or anything that is carving out a larger portion of your time, and instead, you focus on these things. If you have any time off of work during the holidays, this would be a fabulous time to work on these tasks as this is what I’m doing!


I can’t operate my schedule without my planner. Dare I say I need it more than my phone?! I have quite the system with my planner, my editorial calendar, and then my daily to-do list. Find the method that works best for you! I use my planner to plan out monthly appointments and daily tasks. I use my editorial calendar to plan posts for the blog. I use my to-do list plan to time-block or day-block my schedule. You can read more of my time management tips here. I’m currently using this planner from Target and love how thin it is! Before you go into 2019, make sure you’ve got your planner and then go through and mark your friends’ birthdays, important dates, work commitments, travel, and anything you need to save for!


Speaking of saving, once you’ve gone through your planner, you want to work towards your 2019 budget. I always like to start with long-term when going over a yearly budget as your daily can come from that. While I’m no financial advisor and don’t want to speak to that if this isn’t something you love working on, read the Money Diaries book! While I love the Money Diaries column on Refinery 29 {I am so nosey so they are fun to read!}, this also incorporates fabulous tips to reach your personal goals. I also love to keep a budget binder as I’m a huge fan of the envelope system. This is a great time to reset since the holiday budget always sneaks up on us!


Is anyone else super detailed at keeping their phone organized? If so, please tutor me. PLEASE. I’m always taking photos or videos for Instagram on my phone and before you know it, I’ve got 9,000 duplicate images on my iPhone. Take 30 minutes and delete duplicate photos, sort out the “Notes” section on your phone, delete old texts, and delete apps you don’t use. Also be sure to unsubscribe from any of those subscriptions on apps that you do not use! Remember how you bought a workout app in March thinking you’d use it? If you agreed to a free 7-day trial, be sure they aren’t charging you $1.99 a month! It’s such an easy charge to look over.


While on the topic of 9,000 images- make sure you are printing your images to enjoy! I use Artifact Uprising and make calendars, year-end books, baby books, the works! They also print your square images from Instagram and I keep those in a basket as well. If you went on a fabulous trip this year, try to make a book with the images so you can cherish it for years to come. This is also the time of year to sort through any boxes of photos you have and you can try to sort them. Organizing images is never something you really think to do {or I don’t!} but when it’s all said in done, I think this is the task we will be most grateful we did! You reach for photo albums, not a planner, when you have guests over.


My gift closet is basically naked at the moment. I’ve used nearly EVERY gift in it and I’m so grateful I stock it throughout the year. I actually made a list of everyone we gifted this year and I can’t tell you how many scenarios I had forgotten to purchase for. From random hostess gifts to stocking stuffer swaps, I was able to just go in my closet and grab an item or two to wrap. But after gifting and hosting, your gift closet, linen closet, and personal closet is probably a wreck- mine are. Take a day and sort your closets. I’ll be sharing how I organize Maxi’s bathroom closet, my gift closet, and linen closet all on the blog next year so you can get some storage ideas if that helps. Here is my personal closet. If you get any Kendra Scott gift cards for Christmas, don’t forget to check out their storage solutions as you organize. I have the large jewelry box to store my sentimental jewelry and keep the medium one in my closet to store more costume pieces. The large stand is out of stock, but I may go see if I can hunt it down in store as one of my projects is to have a spot for my delicate necklaces as I live for those second-skin necklaces. I can’t ever have enough. ha! I also use the trays to store my perfumes. As you sort out your closets, I also like to follow the rule “donate per gift.” So I’ll donate the same amount of items I own as gifts I recieve. You want to pass forward your blessings this season!


The most important thing to me as I go into a new year is making sure I’m set with my devotionals. Being intentional in scheduling my quiet time makes it become second nature. What’s on my list for 2019?

Life Principles Daily Bible {for daily reading}, Beside Still Waters, Streams in the Dessert {for journaling}

Here are devotionals I have loved in the past!

Reading List

I also like to start a reading list before the beginning of the year and I’ll go ahead and purchase those books on Amazon. I’ll start with about 4 or 5 and keep them in my nightstand. It’s a wondeful reminder to read in the evening instead of scroll on Instagram and that way I can turn my mind off and get to reading!

On my list for next year:

It Ends With Us

The Perfect Couple currently reading! 

When Life Gives you Lululemons

All We Ever Wanted


This is also the best time to unsubscribe from e-mails that aren’t necessary. I get like 14 pizza delivery e-mails a day from when I had ordered online once and I just always forget to unsubscribe! You can use or just take 10 minutes a day during the holiday to go through and unsubscribe from anything you don’t want. The holidays are a great time to do this as you will typically get “Happy Holiday” emails from vendors your sites you don’t traditionally get e-mails from, which reminds you to unsubscribe!


Once you get through that never-ending to-do list you’ve put off for months {or maybe that is just me!}, don’t forget to do a little self-audit. This time of year it is SO easy to be persuaded in New Year’s Resolutions. “Oh everyone wants to workout 4 times a week? I should too!” And I think that’s a huge reason we stop working towards those goals come February or March. We’ve got to analyze what our needs our and align that with our lifestyle. If you work full-time and have 4 kids, well you could 100% workout 4 times a week. You could. But I’m thinking you may not need to put that extra stress on yourself if you aren’t someone who craves the gym. Maybe a self-audit would be that you could cut one evening activity out of your life during the week and instead take that evening to go on a long walk with your kids. For me, I always get caught up in going to sleep early. Since I stay home with Maxi during the day, I’m only able to work in the early morning or late at night when she is asleep. Each year I always say, “Oh, my goal is to have a 10 pm bedtime!” And that goes out the window in 3 weeks. Instead, next year I’m giving myself a goal that 3 nights a week, I’ll be in bed at a specific time. I may still be working on something, but I’m in bed with my makeup off and pajamas on, and that’s one step closer to being asleep. During this self-audit, you also don’t just have to focus on goals. Focus on things you want to grow in with your character. Maybe you want to be more positive or you hate that you feel discontent in your job. Look to those things that rob your joy and work towards making them more positive, if you can! You can download my habit tracker here to help you with this self-audit and your new goals.

How to Implement?

Well, this to-do list sounds fine and great- but how do you implement? I write all these tasks {from planner to self-audit} on post-it notes. I typically give myself 2-3 tasks a note, but nothing that is going to take up more than an hour and a half of your time- this is your holiday and time off so you should be enjoying that! Then, I place the few post-it notes on my planners for specific days. What happens if I forget to do them? No worries. Just take the post-it note off and save it for January. Then, when you’re back in the swing of things, hold on to those notes. Give yourself a rule in relation to your gifts! For me, I don’t let myself use any of my holiday gift cards until I finish these post-it notes. Or maybe you don’t use your gift card to get a manicure until you finish! Whatever it is, having tangible notes with a rule, gets these easily crossed off my list.

Shop My Favorite Pink Coats to Recreate this Look


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  1. I love your plan for the new year! I’m inspired to be better prepped for the beginning of 2019 too now. New year, new start! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Published 19 Dec 18Reply
  2. Anna wrote:

    LOVE this post!!
    Merry Christmas!

    Published 19 Dec 18Reply
  3. Thank you Katey for sharing! Your blog is a real pleasure to read, always on point, and has so many useful ideas! In every paragraph there is something meaningful! Thank you! Tracy Dillard?

    Published 19 Dec 18Reply
  4. Skye wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I always love reading about how you stay organized and the frame of mind you keep to stay so productive! I can be a little bit all over the place but am getting better with each year. Posts like this are wonderful for inspiration and ideas I might not have considered otherwise! Merry Christmas and all the best to you and your family in the New Year! Thanks again!

    Published 19 Dec 18Reply
  5. Tamra Walker wrote:

    This might be my favorite post!
    I love the post-it note idea! It is great to give yourself permission to move things around (life does not always go as planned, as hard as we plan!!)
    I added all of these to my electronic calendar as well and I will review once my holiday hosting wraps up. Once I really review, I can move each segment to weekends or dates that I can really focus on each component. I also love the accountability idea! Brilliant!
    Strangely enough, reading this brought so much peace to my day!!!
    Merry Christmas! Enjoy your precious Maxi!

    Published 19 Dec 18Reply
  6. Taylor wrote:

    Such a great post! You will love all of those books by the way..It Ends With Us is one of my very favorite books..completely gut wrenching at time but it tells a very important story.

    Published 19 Dec 18Reply
  7. Gretchen wrote:

    This is one of my favorite posts you wrote! So helpful and a great reminder to set yourself up properly in small easy ways. Thanks for making the blog expand upon just fashion and style and truly focus on a range of topics that are relatable!

    Published 20 Dec 18Reply
  8. Nicole L wrote:

    I think everyone below said it perfectly – what a great post! Incredibly helpful and motivating. Thank you and Merry Christmas ???

    Published 20 Dec 18Reply
  9. Seriously, my FAVORITE thing to get for the new year is always a new planner! <3

    Published 21 Dec 18Reply
  10. It Ends With Us is one of my all-time favorite books! You will LOVE it!!!!! Happy reading 🙂

    Published 24 Dec 18Reply
  11. Stephanie wrote:

    Loved this post!

    Published 28 Dec 18Reply