1. I started using my library's website
Maybe might seem like a no-brainer but I had a hard time tracking down my account information in order to log into my library system's website. and procrastinated endlessly. Finally one day this year I was brave and asked the nice lady behind the desk to re-set my PIN and promptly went home and set up my account, auto-saved my password and bookmarked the site. Now I log into my library's website at least every week. It has saved me from accruing as many fines as I did last year (I might as well have been paying a monthly membership! It was totally embarrassing) and I've used the website to request dozens of books that I would never have read if I'd just walked in. I also started requesting lots of books and only reading/finishing the ones I really wanted to. Sometimes I have too many books at once and can't read them all but that's okay. I have read way more this year than any other year and that has been very good. I didn't finish even half of the books I requested but since they were from the library (free!) I have no problem with that. Starting a book and then abandoning it because I'm not enjoying it has just been part of my process of finding the books I enjoy reading. It's better than not reading at all. Way way better.
2. My girls started doing chores
Let the angelic choirs sing! My kids have finally started doing chores on a semi-regular basis without needing to be closely monitored or endlessly hounded. I can now say "Beth, please go empty the dishwasher" and voila! it is done. I say "Emma the bathroom needs to be cleaned" and it gets done. One day a couple of months ago I told Beth to go fold a couple baskets of laundry since she was so desperately bored and she did it in record time. All she needed was some music to listen to and she Knocked. It. Out. So I just want to give a big shout-out to all of you mama's of littles - I know it feels like it's never ever going to happen, and some days you live under a mountain of guilt that rivals your mountain of laundry waiting to be folded. Trust me, one day - it will happen, and that day will be glorious but you might be so busy with everything and everyone else that you just have to stop for a second to appreciate that you made it to this landmark moment. Also I want to mention that Beth is 13 and Emma is 11. My 7 year old makes his bed and my 9 year old occasionally helps me with random chores but it is mostly my older two who have become dependable and genuinely helpful. Maybe that decidedly places me into slacker-mom status but it's what works for me. This whole chores-thing didn't click into place at six or eight or even ten, but it did happen. Eventually.
3. I kept my stroller in the van
This year I started walking with my best friend once a week. The first time she asked me I wasn't so sure how this would work but it has turned out to be one of the best things that has happened this year, as far as good habits go. We walk and chat while I push Eli in the stroller. Now I also try to walk twice a week in addition to the walking I do with my friend. I walk around my neighborhood, I walk on the trails at our park. It's fantastic (free!) exercise for me and now that Eli has accepted that he has to stay in his stroller while I walk it's been great. By keeping the stroller in the van it is easier to take advantage of every possible opportunity to walk. It makes things more complicated on grocery-shopping days but it's so worth it.
4. Spotify, Evernote & Dropbox
I started using these wonderful services more this year for listening to music, keeping my notes consistent between multiple platforms & sharing files. These sites/apps have been wonderful and made my life easier.
What worked for you?