2021 was easily my best year for personal development. I was, by far, the happiest and most content I have ever been in my entire life, and I don't say that to brag because believe me– I have walked through some really, really awful and hard seasons.

While I am someone who makes New Year's Resolutions, mine typically focus around something fun– like this year, I'm vowing to make time to learn to hand letter! So, while I'm sharing these habits at the new year, these were things I started adding into my routine throughout the year and were never part of a resolution.

5 habits I started in 2021 that have made my life a much happier place—

Morning quiet time– This single habit has the power to set the tone for my entire day. Like many moms, I am "on" all day long. Once my house wakes up, there is always someone or something that needs my attention. If I don't get up in the morning before the rest of my house, there is a good chance I get zero time for myself, and I personally don't operate well like that. What I can tell you is that I am not a morning person so doing this is a struggle for me, but my day is significantly better if I have even 30 minutes to myself before Jake and Hattie get up. I like to read my devotional and drink one cup of coffee in my own, silent presence. I'm much more patient and a way better mom, wife, and friend. I have been out of my routine since we went to Ohio in mid-December, and it shows (and not in a good way😬).

Setting my coffee maker before I go to bed– It's the little things, right? We have this Ninja coffee maker, and it is one of our favorite purchases to date. We got it right after Hattie was born (because one k-cup a day as a new parent is quite laughable), and the delayed brew feature is my favorite. It makes my early morning alarm clock much more bearable when I know there is a hot cup of coffee waiting for me downstairs.

Intentionally slowing down– Everything in my life used to be fast-paced and hectic, and, honestly, I thrived that way. My workouts even used to be intense. There wasn't one aspect of my life that wasn't 100 mph, and I am the first to admit that I wore it as a badge of honor. So, I REALLY, really struggled when I was forced to slow down after Hattie was born and I chose to stay home with her. I spent the majority of 2020 fighting it, and all of 2021 embracing it.

I have found an abundance of MUCH needed peace in embracing a slow, intentional life. I started practicing yoga again and have become so mindful and more in tune with my body than I ever have been before. It’s very rare that I can’t tell you exactly what my mind, body, or soul needs. I just shared with my life group a few weeks ago that for the first time in quite possibly my whole life I feel so grounded and so outrageously grateful and joyful, and I credit it all to slowing down (and therapy– but more on that later).

Un👏🏻fol👏🏻low– I’ve cleaned up my Instagram habits so much, and it has been such a breath of fresh air. I consolidated my personal and business accounts and muted everyone’s stories who I don’t know in real life (with the exception of *a few* of my fav influencers!). Along with that, I stopped fretting over my follower count as a new business in a city where I know *few* people. Instead I remind myself that the true joy is in the journey and for the first time in a long time, social media feels good again. 

Cleaning up my photos each month– This probably sounds really silly, but I hate clutter anywhere. It makes me anxious. This even goes for my phone. We use an app called Family Album to share photos of Hattie with our family each day. It is amazing, but it results in A LOT of unnecessary photos. Paired with one-too-many screen shots, and I was frequently getting the full storage space message. I was to the point I couldn't even take a new photo without deleting one– completely unnecessary. So when I did have to go through and delete, it was a nightmare and SO overwhelming. So, now I try and go through each day and delete duplicate pictures of Hattie doing the same thing, but I set an alarm to go through an do it at the end of every single month. Religiously. I'll start reminding you, too! PS- you can always back up to an external hard drive if you can't bear to delete for good!

My thoughts on therapy–

While all of these habits are great, I also want to be completely transparent with you in my love for therapy. If you have been around me for an extended period of time, you're probably well aware of this because I preach it from the rooftop.

I saw a therapist for the first time when I was a freshman in college and have continued to see one off and on since then. A good therapist can be life changing, and I absolutely love it. I love it personally. I love it to be a better mama. I love it for our marriage. I love it for learning to set boundaries. It’s a complete game changer. Someday when it is in my budget, I will see a therapist bi-weekly because it is that therapeutic to me. Even when life is more than good, the world is still heavy and parenting is hard. At the end of the day, I just want to be the best version of me, and, for me, this means working closely with an unbiased professional whose values align with mine.

And, in case you need a mindset shift, therapy does not make you weak, friends! In fact, I think the complete opposite. We have all been affected by this pandemic in some way, and you owe it to yourself to see yourself to the other side. 

You also owe it to yourself to make time for things you truly love. This life is way too short.

All my love– Meredith

PS- keep scrolling to peep some of my happiest iPhone memories from this year!

Meredith Maag Photography is a Kansas City newborn photographer and specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography in the Kansas City area, including Mission, Westwood, Brookside, Waldo, Country Club Plaza, Crossroads, Westport, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Prairie Village, Leawood, Independence, Lenexa, Olathe, and The Northland.

Meredith has a passion for connecting and helping moms through community, support, friendship, and kindness. In addition to using her blog to showcase glimpses and full sessions, she also enjoys writing and sharing products she loves. Some posts may contain affiliate links.


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