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Welcome to JanYOUary; the year of you.

2014 is going  to be all about your health and happiness.

As I get older, I get busier and there is less time for me.  I dedicate all my time to my family, job, and cleaning.  This isn’t a bad thing, but what about me?   My health, sanity, and most importantly helping others (which makes me happy) should also be a priority.

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Here are a few ways to make 2014 the year of you.

1. Take Care of your Health and Hygiene

Last year I was very sick and didn’t make time to go to the doctor. By the time I went, I was so sick that I had to get on antibiotics and had 3 months of follow-up visits. If I would have gone in right when my symptoms  started everything would have been fine, but I got too busy with taking care of everybody else.  After that I declared it the year of me.  It started out as a joke with my husband and me, but then I took it seriously and decided I needed to take better care of myself in order to run my home and office better.

Hint: Get a check up even if you are not sick.

Go to your dermatologist once a year and get your moles checked for skin cancer.  My husband and I take this very seriously.  We have had a lot of family and friends get skin cancer, and we always want to make sure we are being a good example to our children by having them checked out too. Skin cancer is the most common cancer, and melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. However, although melanoma can be deadly, it is usually treatable if caught early.

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Get a workout schedule and try to stick with it for a week at a time instead of a month or a year.  Do it for a week, and if it doesn’t work for you, change things up for the next week.  Then, you will know what works best for your time and energy.

Here is a simple workout plan aptly called the “The No Equipment Workout You Can Do at Home.” 

Hint: Don’t forget to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.  And always try and eat healthy.

2. Take Time For You

My grandmother always said take good care of your feet.  She would often rub our feet and tell us that taking care of your feet is essential to having a healthy mind.  I bought my daughter a pedicure tub for her birthday this year and it was only $20.  We love giving each other pedicures and foot massages.  It is free and feels so good.  Moms don’t always have to do all of the work.  I love that my girls love taking care of me.

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3. Laugh and Smile More

“I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It’s probably the most important thing in a person”.

Audrey Hepburn

A  store clerk once told me I was way too chipper and she asked me what was going on in my life to make me so happy so early in the morning.  I was a little taken aback because I am definitely not a morning person, but I just looked at her and smiled and told her to have a nice day.  Now every time I go to that store she smiles at me and gives me a compliment.  It’s okay to be happy and treat others with kindness.

I love going to comedy movies with my husband. Sometimes he laughs so hard, he starts to cry.  I start laughing harder because he is crying.  Laughing is truly contagious so you should do it more often.  My favorite line is in the movie Steal Magnolias: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion”.

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Try and live simple, give more and expect less.

4. One Good Deed A Day

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Not only does service make you happy but it does a body good.  I know that when I am helping others it helps me feel great.  I get all excited and I can’t wait to serve more.  I found this little gem of a book at Anthropologie on sale for about $8 during their holiday sale.  I loved it so much I bought some for Christmas presents for my friend and family.

Here are some of my favorite good deeds from the book:

-Give compliments.  Doesn’t it make your day when someone says something nice about you?  Try and give someone a compliment today.  It feels good I promise.

-Give a secret surprise to someone.  I love it when my friends come to visit.  They always have a little treat or lotion.  It makes my day.  It doesn’t even have to cost anything.  It is the thought that counts.

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-Tell your loved ones you love them.  I never miss a day without telling my family I love them and they mean the world to me.

-Offer to babysit for a family member or a friend.  I have friends who come and take my kids for the afternoon, just to be nice, because they know I am stubborn and won’t ask for help.  It is the nicest thing ever.  I can clean my whole house and take a nice quiet bath or shower.

“Do small things with great love”

Mother Teresa

5. Save Your Money

This one is  for me.  I am the worst about saving.  I love little trinkets and Kitsch (as they say in Germany.) I actually have a budget, but I know I could save a lot more if I tried.

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When I was in college and just barely married I would round up my check book (remember when we had to balance our check books? ha ha.) So if I spent $30.25 I would write in my book $31.00.  I did this for about 6 years.  When we were done with college and moved I had to change banks.  So my old bank wrote me a check and sent it to me.  I had saved enough money for a much needed car down payment.  My husband was so happy.  I need to spend less and save more.

Dave Ramsey has seven baby steps that I am going to try and follow.  You might not be able to do them all at once.  Try a couple per year.  Do what ever works best for your family.

1. 1,000 emergency fund

2. Pay off all debt

3. 3 to 6 month expenses in savings

4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRA’s and pre tax retirement

5. College funding for children

6. Pay off home early

7. Build Wealth and give

6. Don’t take offense

Try to be understanding.  You never know what someone is going through in their life.  They might be having a bad day and take it out on you.  Try and brush it off.  Next time you see them, kill them with kindness.  I promise they will be nicer.

7. Talk Pretty

Try not to swear or gossip.  ‘Nuff said.


The most important thing to remember for the year of you is love yourself.  Remember no one is perfect.  You can only accomplish so much in a week, month or year.  Don’t try to compare yourself to others and be kind to you.  If you don’t get it right today try again tomorrow.

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I hope you have a Happy 2014 and a Happy Jan-You-ary.

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What will you be doing this year for you?


    1. January 10th, 2014 at 7:09 pm
      Marleah says:
      This is the best post!!! Love all the great tips.
    2. January 10th, 2014 at 8:17 pm
      Jenny says:
      Perfect! This post is a breath of fresh air. There are so many goals we could be doing for the new year, but these are simple ones that we should ponder on each day. Laughing and smiling brings everyone happiness, especially for the people around us. Also, I so agree with your grandmother about feet. Smart lady. Mine need a little TLC right now.
    3. January 11th, 2014 at 8:04 am
      mikey says:
      very cool
    4. January 11th, 2014 at 9:04 am
      Rachel says:
      A few years ago, I made this same New Years resolution. I take it serious. (Cause if mama ain't happy....) It's great to have a reminder every year though. And I'll be making a dermatologist appointment for my husband and I immediately!
    5. January 12th, 2014 at 12:45 am
      Whitney says:
      This post exudes joy! I think the world would be a better place if everyone could do these things. I love laughing too and I love people who make me laugh. This was so inspiring to me and i will be checking back to make sure to do these. I especially loved the book on serving others and giving surprise gifts. Nothing makes my heart happier:). Loved this!
    6. January 12th, 2014 at 7:07 am
      deano papino says:
      JanUary is a great idea! Never been one to think about doing things for myself. I have bad feet, so the feet idea is appealing. Cute pictures. Thanks for the grreat ideas.
    7. January 12th, 2014 at 8:29 pm
      Joanne says:
      I love the hope of new beginnings that the New Year brings. Thanks for helping with the flow of positive ideas. Keep them coming. Love your posts.
    8. January 12th, 2014 at 10:09 pm
      kaydee says:
      Love the good deed journal and the financial advice...Thanks Ashley!
    9. January 13th, 2014 at 2:18 pm
      Jenny says:
      Wow! Loved everything about this article. Very great advise and I loved how simple you made everything.
    10. January 14th, 2014 at 7:26 pm
      Corinne B. says:
      Thank you for that Great post. So many good idea to try in 2014. Also my mother always made my brother and myself take good care of our feet.
    11. January 23rd, 2014 at 5:31 pm
      ger says:
      I love this. But is it a typo on your numbering 6 and 7
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