Simplifying 2020
Simplifying 2020
Show Notes

Over the past few years, I’ve written a series of blog posts at the end of each December. Our Simplifying 2020 (or 2013, or 2014 . . .or whatever year we were in) series has been something I’ve looked forward to time and time again. It gives me a chance to recap the year a bit, and to provide some bite-sized tips for giving yourself a fresh start in a few key areas. This year, when I sat down to write, I started thinking about some of our favorite memories from 2019. It wasn’t an easy year. It was busy and challenging at times, but a LOT of growth took place in the Ley house over the last twelve months. Our kiddos grew a lot. Brady started 2019 as a seven-year-old and is now almost nine (goodness gracious, someone hold me). Tyler and Caroline were only three in January and are now approaching five. FIVE. Four has always been a favorite age for Bryan and me, and this year didn’t disappoint. But what we didn’t expect was how fun eight would be with our oldest. What a joy it’s been to be his mom. Bryan and I also celebrated 11 years of marriage in October and one year in our house in Pensacola!

2020 is a big year, wouldn’t you agree? And, if you’re like me, by this point in the year you’re looking forward to it. Ready for a fresh start. In writing When Less Becomes More this year, I started to think about ways we can approach the tactical parts of simplifying (meal planning, decluttering our homes, managing our schedules) not just by addressing complication superficially, but by digging deeper into the underlying causes. 

I love learning about functional medicine, so I’m a believer in addressing root causes before putting a band-aid onto a problem. For instance, instead of organizing our collection of 50 pairs of shoes, let’s address the fact that we own 50 pairs of shoes. If we remove some of that clutter and pare down to say, ten pairs of shoes (or even 25 pairs of shoes), we’ve made a lot of things easier; cleaning up our closet, keeping shoes organized, selecting shoes when getting dressed. It even becomes easier to care for our shoes. We find that we value our shoes more because we truly enjoy each pair. Our problem wasn’t that we didn’t have the best, fanciest shoe organizer or the largest closet, our problem was that we had a LOT of shoes. 

This concept of simplifying applies to all areas of life. Think about it. Your home (clutter). Your schedule (commitments). Your routines (rush). And your own heart (distractions and noise). More than anything, next year, I want to live out the less is more philosophies I dug into in When Less Becomes More, specifically in each of these areas. I want to wholeheartedly be able to say YES to quiet afternoons at home, margin on my calendar, simple routines and traditions, and time to care for my heart so that I can be the very best Emily Ley possible. Before we kick off the Simplifying 2020 series tomorrow, I want to walk through an exercise with you first. Before we address any of these four areas, we have to stake our claim on the kind of year we want to have. The kind of life we want to have. So dig into this with me:

What does the good life look like?

Notice I didn’t say the great life. I said the good life. The good life is rich, and slow, and sweet, and flawed. It’s imperfect and bumpy sometimes, and it’s connected and smooth during other times. The good life for me looks like meals shared around a table, maybe even with a candle lit in the center (What? On a Tuesday? A candle? Yes—what a sweet idea, right? A little warmth and “special-ness” on an ordinary day.). It looks like time outside digging in our little 4x4' garden with my kids, planting seeds, watering them with our watering cans, and watching life bloom. It looks like choosing the analog way for the experience, when the simplest way seems more convenient. It looks like abandoning the chase that is fueled by fear and discontentment in favor of digging in, growing deep instead of wide, and being really, really, really grateful for where we are right now. 

In each of these upcoming posts (or emails, however you’re receiving this), I’m going to give you a few quick action steps to kick-start your fresh start:

Set aside some time to reflect on this year. If you are using a 2020 Signature Simplified Planner, this is a great time to dig into your Prep Work (found in the front of every edition). What worked this year? What didn’t work this year?
  1. Write out your own definition of the good life. Type it in the Notes app on your phone or jot it down on a piece of paper. Maybe use a notes page inside your Simplified Planner so that you can keep it with you at all times. This will be the standard for 2020. This is what we’re after—what the good life means to you. Every decision you make will be measured by this statement.

  2. Choose your “word of the year” for 2020. Let’s play on words a little and call this your 2020 vision (get it?! get it?!) word. For myself and for team Simplified, our word is “fresh.” To achieve the fresh look and feel we’re after with Simplified, we’re elevating quality and detail in even the tiniest of areas, adding even more polish to our patterns and visuals, and digging deep into the underlying causes of complications, burnout, and overwhelm. We’re banishing those words in 2020! What’s your word of the year? 

I’ll be back tomorrow with Simplifying 2020: Home. I love digging into this area first because a) it’s the most tactical of the four areas and b) you will feel the biggest impact here with even just a few small changes. Every day we’ll have a fantastic giveaway too, so don’t miss it! 


Having a tool to help you kick-start the new year is so important! It’s a place to put it all; your schedule, your to-do list, and big ideas about the new year. We created the 2020 Signature Simplified Planner minimally on purpose: to give you a fresh start, no matter your season of life. To celebrate 2020, we’re giving you 20% off your NEW Simplified Planner with code NEWYEAR. Some cover options are selling quickly, so get your favorite before it’s gone!


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