Lately, I’ve noticed that “life routines” have been gaining steam on the internet. They are all over Pinterest, the “Successful Woman’s Morning Routine”, or “How I Routine My Night for My Best Sleep” posts. I’ve read through my fair share, wondering if the posts had any tricks that I myself might find useful.
Some I definitely did, while other routines I found far too elaborate for my liking.
But reading through them did get me thinking. There are routines I do in my life that I know I won’t regret, and there are some I know I need to start implementing.
As of writing this post, I’m twenty-four. But whether your age or gender, I know some of these will be helpful for anyone.
This, hands-down, is my most important routine at the moment. No matter how young or old you are, your skin type, how great your parents look at their age…everyone needs a skincare routine.
Your skin is the one thing you’ll have throughout the entirety of your life. Hair falls out and regrows, your teeth can be fixed or altered with veneers. You can buy new clothes, and you can have your lips injected if you find them too small.
But you cannot replace your skin. (Unless, you’re like, a burn victim. But I’m assuming most of you reading this are not).
It’s of the utmost importance that, starting now, right now, you start caring for your skin. The younger you are, the better. I’d rather obsess over it now and thank myself later than grow old and look like a baseball mitt.
And don’t use the excuse of any good skincare being pricey either. The majority of what I use is from the grocery or drug store. It may not come in pretty packaging but works just as well as, if not better, than the pricier stuff.
So wear your sunscreen, take off your makeup at night, and slather on your moisturizer.
Like I mentioned in the intro to this post, having a morning and nighttime routine has been growing in popularity. While it doesn’t have to be planned out to the minute, knowing what you need to do and planning it out will save you time and stress.
So why not?
Getting up at the same time every morning, and going to sleep at the same time every night is good for you. Or at least, that’s what I hear. I try my best to do this, especially because the earlier I go to sleep, the earlier I can wake up to get some writing in (read more about my writing routine here). If you don’t write like me, you could use the time to exercise, or play with your dog, or put the night’s dinner in the crockpot.
It’s the same with nighttime. Plan your stuff out to where you’re washing up before you’re too tired to. Give yourself time to read in bed, or journal the past day’s events.
You’ll thank yourself the next day.
It doesn’t have to be considered mundane or boring to do this. No matter whether or not people may think you’re a bit obsessive, the benefits of having a semi-set schedule are too good to ignore.
A cooking “routine” may not make much sense, but hear me out on this. I’ve been living alone–well, with a roommate–for 5+ years now and meals are always what clean out my wallet. I’m not a huge fan of cooking, don’t know many recipes, and despise going to the grocery store. These three things make the perfect storm that always ends with me eating out.
And that adds up to be hella expensive.
So lately I’ve tried finding recipes that are easy and have a good bit of the same ingredients. That way I don’t have to learn or buy too much, and only have to make the occasional Target run. It’s so much cheaper and so much healthier.
If what I used to do sounds anything like you, maybe you should try out the same thing.
One of the best things about being a twenty-something with your own place is that you don’t have someone nagging at you to clean up. For most people, this ends up being a catalyst for a bedroom filled with dirty clothes and a shower covered in soap scum. You don’t have to be a clean freak, but being hygienic is kind of a must. Except for, you know, if you never want people to want to come over ever again.
One of the best things to do to boost your cleaning is to make your bed every morning. You’ve probably seen this tip countless times, but take it from me, who does try to make her bed every morning and feels a significant difference. IT HELPS. Something about it makes you want the rest of your room to be just as tidy and making your bed only takes one minute from your day.
So just do it.
Managing my money better is one of my main goals for 2018. I have a whole post on my others here. When it comes to money and spending though, I haven’t always been the best. Which is why I have a significant amount of debt to pay off (thank you, college).
But, like many other people my age, I support myself about 90%. I pay my own rent, my car & its insurance, my groceries and prescription medicines. I have expenses and I have bills, aside from also needing to make payments on my credit cards and student loans.
Which is why I have to keep my finances organized–a money “schedule” of sorts. Some people do this in their journals, others use a phone app, and some (like me) use Excel spreadsheets.
It’s whatever is best for you to see your monthly expenses as compared to your income. Whatever method you use though, you need to have a method. Your money is the roof over your head, the food you eat, and the Netflix subscription that keeps you from going crazy.
It’s important, okay?
I don’t care how much of a homebody or introvert you think you are. You need human interaction, some form of it, at least once a day. Being cooped up in your bedroom alone may sound like the best time (at least for me, it does), but it can quickly deteriorate into you feeling alone and depressed.
Not only that, but person-to-person contact cannot be taken for granted. To keep your relationships, familial and friendly and romantic, you have to put time into them. Even if you’re feeling lazy, calling your parents or meeting up with your best friend for coffee are things that, more often than not, you won’t regret.
Your social health is just as important as mental and physical.
But spending time alone and pampering yourself is also necessary. Self-love is necessary for any person out there to live a happy life. You need to be able to enjoy alone time, even if that time only lasts fifteen minutes.
Doing something small every day or something big once a week, only for yourself, isn’t a bad thing. Being selfless may seem like an entirely good thing, but can end up driving the most put-together person insane. Selflessness isn’t always good, just like selfishness isn’t always bad.
Being good to yourself will only make the good you give to others greater.
So take that bubble bath, eat those chocolates, or roll your windows down and drive that drive.
Do what you gotta do.
And that’s that! Obviously one of the greatest things about life is the freedom to be spontaneous, and having routines for certain aspects of your life help with that. Being rigorous about things you need to do can help lead to more free time and less stress weighing you down. Which then leads to having more fun when it is time for fun.
Hopefully this helped some of you! If you have any other life routines people need to try, please leave them down in the comments. I’d love to see them 🙂
It’s the beginning of the new year, so you know what that means…people making resolutions! Some people believe in them and others don’t, and I understand why each feels that certain way.
As for me, I think there is nothing wrong with striving to make some positive changes in your life. Even if they don’t last until February, at least you tried. You can’t achieve anything without trying first, right?
So that’s why I (and others, obviously) make resolutions.
I usually fall short of mine, so I’m hoping that me writing this post and putting it out into the universe may help me accomplish them. That, and I’m sure I have some of the same as some of you reading this!
I love reading through other people’s resolutions, especially when they’re super personal and give you a good insight into who they are. So I figured I could to that for you all 🙂
In 2018, my resolutions are…
to Purge Material Things
I’m a neat freak. I know I am. It’s a blessing and a curse because yes, my apartment may always be clean, but I also can’t relax or focus on anything else if it isn’t clean. So if it’s my designated writing time (see this post for further explanation) but I know there are dishes in the sink, I can’t focus on the writing itself.
So that’s where a purge comes in.
Of course, I won’t be ridding myself of dishes, but for other things that cause clutter? It’s time to go. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle a fully minimalistic lifestyle, but I would like to take some inspiration from it. I will keep trinkets and random things that make me happy, but that purse I never use from three years ago? It can leave.
Not only will it calm my anxious mind, but I can also donate the items or sell them via Facebook/an app/Plato’s closet which will leave me feeling cheerfully generous or with some spare cash.
It’s a win-win.
to Stand up for Myself
For someone with a Pinterest board filled to the brim with inspirational quotes, I’m notoriously bad at standing up for myself. At nearly twenty-five years old, I still let myself be treated as a doormat. It’s lame and as pathetic as it is unhealthy. My fear of confrontation and rejection keeps my dignity from shining through, and it’s time for it to stop.
I’m a grown ass woman.
I need to demand that I be treated as such.
to Promote Myself More
This sort of ties in with standing up for myself, but is more geared toward my writing. I may have briefly touched on my fear of self-promotion in my post about a book signing I did (which you can read here), but unfortunately, it’s still an issue.
I’ve been writing for over a decade now, yet I still blush anytime someone brings it up. I’m terrified that posting anything about my book on social media will come off as boastful and gross. I worry that people will think that because my book wasn’t an overnight success, that I failed. The self-doubt is terrible, and the way I let it affect me is even worse.
I wrote a book, got picked up by a publisher, and achieved one of my life dreams.
I need to be proud of that.
My first step? Shameless self-promotion right here on this post!!
Love romance books? Or coming-of-age stories? Or the new adult genre? Check out my book here!!
to Treat my Body Better
It’s one of the most cliche and overused revolutions for a reason.
I’m lucky enough to be genetically predisposed to be thin. My entire family is society’s definition of “normal”. But instead of settling in that easy place, I want to be better. I want to treat my body better. I want to eat less gross stuff, and to feel good about what I put into my body.
Now rest assured, I am a carb freak. Give me a loaf of bread and some butter and I’m a happy girl. That will never change. But nowadays I realize I need to balance that out with a carb-less dinner here and there. Or some yoga in the mornings.
Something that will make me proud of my health.
to Not Be Afraid of Being Hurt
My number one fear in life isn’t death, or spiders. Or anything normal.
I know everyone’s afraid of it, and everyone hates it. But my entire life has revolved around my fear of rejection. I’ve not tried to be friends with people or even tried not to be better friends to my friends. I’ve not truly opened myself up to anyone, and like I mentioned before, I’m nearly a quarter of a century old.
How sad is that?
My relationships, those platonic, familial, and romantic, have suffered because of it. And that’s not okay.
to Go Easy on Myself
This may seem a bit counterintuitive since most of these resolutions are about bettering myself, but still. I am my own worst critic and I need to chill out. Even if I have the most productive day, I’ll still beat myself up about that one stupid thing I didn’t achieve that day.
I need to go easier on myself and give my mind time to rest. Everyone needs a break now and then. I have to remember that.
to Stop Seeking Perfection
As of when I’m writing this post, my perfectionist self is the main reason my creative writing has been suffering. Now that I’ve been published and have somewhat of a real, true audience, nothing I write seems good enough.
I can’t get out of my head and realize that nothing, especially not the first draft of something, is going to be perfect.
It’s a writer’s worst enemy.
to Save Money
This resolution really needs no explanation.
to Journal More
In March of 2017, I started getting into the whole bullet journaling craze. I got the right notebook, the colorful pens, and the tiny little metal ruler to keep my lines perfect. For a few months, I was obsessed. And I did feel as if it lessened my stress. Instead of keeping mental tabs on every little thing I needed to do, I had it written down.
I think my attempts at perfection are what screwed me over here as well. None of my pages looked as good as the ones I saw on Instagram or Pinterest. I’ve always known that drawing and art have never been my specialties, but for some reason seeing that every day when writing down my tasks bothered me.
So I want to get back into it and remember the good it did for me instead of focusing on the bad.
That’s why I made this entire page for my 2018 resolutions! (Totally took inspo from Pinterest on the layout, btw).
to Write More
I’m a writer, and I cannot tell you the last time I felt like one. Like I mentioned before, I’ve been too caught up in my own insecurities to truly enjoy my writing like I used to. It’s incredibly depressing too, and something I’ve been trying to work on for months now.
It’s just easier said than done.
So hopefully me working on the mental resolutions I mentioned above will help this out as well!
And there they are: my 2018 resolutions! Hopefully you all enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better. If not, maybe you picked up some resolutions for yourself! Or, if you don’t believe in resolutions, maybe you just realized some little things you need to work on. I know I did by writing this entire post.
I hope you all have an incredible 2018, and remember that self-love is just as important as any other kind (if not more)!
In my novel, “Back to You”, I never mentioned a specific name for the small town at the story’s core. That was completely intentional. I didn’t want it to be some predefined mark anyone could find on a map. The goal was for it to be adaptable to the reader’s mind like it was to Iris’, to give them the ability to hate it for its faults but then sometimes love it for its strengths. I chose to do it this way for the same reason I think I got into writing in the first place.
And that was the complete hatred I had for the small town I called home during adolescence.
Like Iris in the story, I grew up in a small town in Louisiana that was just a short drive away from its capital. I had neighbors that knew things about my family we didn’t tell them, places to go where I knew I’d run into people I didn’t want to, and an experience at school that made me feel like a loser for wanting to get good grades.
I was shy, painfully sarcastic, and despised where I lived; all things I now ironically attribute to my being a published romance author.
Not only did my childhood inspire the setting in “Back to You” and the reasons why Iris left home for college, but it also gave me plenty of alone time to write and realize just how much I loved it. If I would’ve spent those school years at the movie theater or mud riding like a lot of kids my age did, I might not have fallen so deeply in love with writing.
Now that I’m older I realize some of my hatred for the town was self-inflicted. That’s why, in “Back to You”, I also wrote about the good that can accompany life in a small town. The same good I overlooked simply because I already hated a few things about it, so why not hate everything? And that’s the abundance of care; the Saturday spent over a table of boiled crawfish, drinking beer and talking about the upcoming LSU football season. And there’s the people, the love, that make staying in a place like that worthwhile.
In the book, Iris had to take a step away to realize all of that.
And in real life, so did I.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find my own Weston to keep me there. Instead, I moved in with my best friend in a tiny apartment in a much larger city, but I think that I’ve been able to find the same peace with growing up there that Iris did. Would I ever want to move back? Probably not. But am I able to talk about the town without getting angry like I used to? Absolutely.
And now, whether living there actually helped me or not, I’m living my dream. I’m a published author and doing things that that introverted, awkward little girl I used to be, the one who spent weekends typing away on a crappy laptop, never imagined possible.
If this post looks at all familiar, it’s for a reason. It’s because it’s the guest post I wrote for several different blogs that were kind enough to feature it. I’m proud of this post though, so I figured why not feature it on my site as well?
Anyways, I hope whoever reads this realizes that there’s beauty in every struggle. So much good can come from so much bad, if only you don’t let the bad defeat you.
I’ve seen it time and time again throughout my time as both a romance reader and writer.
It’s the giggles when you tell teenagers you’re reading a romance novel, the resounding “ohhhh…” from adults when you tell them the same thing. It’s the less enthusiastic congratulations when you tell people your first published novel is a love story.
And it’s absolutely ridiculous.
For some reason unknown to me, romance is seen as less intellectually significant and culturally important as other types of genres. Romance books are noted as mindless fluff or trashy mom porn when the vast majority of them are anything but. There are those books, of course, as I have read my generous share so I’m not entirely uninformed. But they’re still just as enjoyable as any other genre. If it makes the reader happy and gives them an escape, why is it so easily written off?
Romance novels, to me, are an exploration into the most vulnerable and truthful part of a person.
They are as psychological and important as any other type of genre, as romance tells stories about one of life’s greatest emotional roller coasters. It shows how a basic and primal feeling can affect a person’s world in unimaginable ways.
The emotions characters go through in love stories are as exciting to its readers as fight scenes are for fans of action stories. The thrill of romance may not be as obvious or straightforward as in other genres, but it has just as much impact.
Not only that, but romance can have just as much effect on today’s culture as anything else. Love stories usually show the truest form of a character, shedding light on why some people are who they are. It opens people’s minds to what someone else might be going through behind closed doors. Other genres do the same thing, of course, but it’s as if it’s written off for romance.
Romance novels are so much more than the stereotype they’re given. Of course I may be incredibly biased because of my love for both reading and writing in this genre. But I still think what I’ve said here needs to be put out in the world. There needs to be a realization that there is nothing inferior about love stories, that they are just as mind provoking and exciting as any other type of story that people enjoy.
They can be sinful, they can be sappy. But romance novels can also be some of the greatest insights into a character’s mind.
So, anyway, I hope this post doesn’t seem like I’m rambling so that people will take me more seriously as a romance writer. I could care less about that, honestly. I just want people to realize that enjoying one genre doesn’t make someone any smarter than the people who enjoy others.
I’m C.J., and I believe everyone deserves to live out their dream. So that’s why I’m here to share the things I’ve learned while becoming a published writer.