I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I am straight up ready to close the door on the dumpster fire that was 2016.
I know. I know. For a lot of people, this was a good year. (
show offs.) Friends got married. Babies were born. There were totally good moments, but for me? 2016 was not a productive year, personally or as a blogger, so I’m setting it on fire and walking away. 2017 is going to be a better year.
The good years don’t come by accident though. If you want your best life, you gotta plan for it.
Push for what you want. Appreciate what you have. Remember why you’re doing it all. Which is why I am crazy excited to announce my pet project for 2017. (See what I did there? Huh? HUH? “Pet” project that is actually about pets?? #DadJokes4Life)
My 2017 Best Life Pet Planner:
Part day planner. Part Memory Book. Completely Awesome.
My goal is to create a week by week planner that not only pushes me to work on developing my relationship with my pets, but to work on improving training, grooming, pet-related cleaning and that captures my very favourite parts of living with pets along the way. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, I’d love for you to join us. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be artistic or creative (though you totally can be!) I’ll be sharing cheats and tips along the way. You can customize your own plan for the week or follow along and duplicate mine (or one of the other amazing bloggers who I hope will be joining in!)
Before we start? A confession:
I have never once, in the history of challenges, completed a year long challenge. But, I’m an adultier adult than I used to be and sometimes, I actually catch myself acting like a real adult. I think I’m kind of, maybe, sort of ready to tackle a grown up challenge, but I’m also giving myself space to fail along the way. For example, I meant to post this announcement two weeks ago. If we’re being honest? Without the help and urging of the amazing Maggie from OhMyDog!, this project may never have come to life.
We’re all busy people. There’s no guilt here if you miss a week or fall off the planning wagon. It’s totally fine if you don’t discover this challenge until March. Or if you’re super excited to finish January, but the Feb gets busy and you drop the ball. Start where you are. Come back when you can. Embrace what you love. Leave what you don’t. The key to making this challenge work is only doing the parts that speak to you.
If you love photos, make your book super pet photo heavy.
Love to journal? Write down all your favourite pet memories.
Need a challenge? Set weekly or monthly goals for yourself and plan how to achieve.
Or, be like me, unfocused, totally scattered and with the plan changing on a whim.
There are NO rules.
Are you ready to jump in? Here’s what you need:
- A day planner
I’m using the Happy Planner system which I bought at Micheals. (They’re on sale right now!) You can also get them online from Me and My Big Ideas. I snagged a 2017 Seasonal Planner box set because I liked that it already was partially decorated for holidays, but literally any of their planners will work. The original size is perfect because I think the mini would be too small to really record much. The large would totally work though! (As a bonus the boxes in the BIG perfectly match to the Poloroid Zip photo printer size and you can print extra pages at full size and not have to trim them.)
Don’t feel like you have to use a Happy Planner though! You can absolutely do this in ANY day planner, even an affordable one from the dollar store – if you’re into bullet journalling, it can even be done that way.
- A set of pens you love
I’m currently girl crushing HARD on the PaperMate Inkjoy Gel Pens (affiliate link) NOT the ballpoints, which I bought first, by accident. *insert annoyed face here* Other fan faves include the erasable Frixion pens or, seriously, whatever you can pick up on your local office store’s discount rack 😉
Totally Optional Supplies you MIGHT want along the way:
Full page labels (or plain paper and a glue stick) – If you miss a week a long the way, we’ll be sharing printable, non time critical pages you can print and use to cover your missed weeks. Like I said, no guilt here! I’m gonna miss week, you’re going to miss a week, we’re not going to beat ourselves up about it. Deal?
Avery 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 Labels – These are the absolute perfect size to sticker over the monthly calendar boxes in an Original size HP. We’ll also be sharing a printable set of pet holiday stickers perfectly formatted for this label.
Discbound Punch (or whatever punch works with your system) – We’ll be sharing some fun add on printables throughout the year. You can TOTALLY do this on the cheap using a standard single hole punch, but I am lazy at heart and I just bought the punch. For the HP discbound system, I chose a travel sized Levenger punch over the HP branded one.
Stickers, Washi Tape and other Decorations – Y’all planners are cool right now, which as a planner nerd is a sentence I actually never thought I would get to say, and that means there are SO MANY cool products on the market to help personalize them. I’m low key obsessed with Washi Tape, but I know someone who has never met a sticker she didn’t “need”. You do you with this one. You can take it over the top with decor or stick to paper and pen. I ain’t judgin’.
Since I didn’t post this sucker a few weeks ago, today’s post is a 2 for 1:
I’m jumping in and getting started with my first monthly and weekly spreads:
Our 2017 Intro Page:
Our January Page Opener:
I’m a huge advocate for rotation diets, whether your dog is kibble or raw fed, so I’ll use the “eating” section to track what proteins we’re on.
I’m totally accepting pet-centric podcast and radio show suggestions for the “Listening” section.
I’m leaving “celebrating” blanks for now because I want to go back at the end of the month and fill in our biggest achievement or win for January.
I’ll keep adding goals as I figure out what they are.
Doodle tip: I’m the worst at drawing. I googled “dog doodles”, pulled the page out of my planner and laid it right on my computer screen then traced this gem. I highly recommend this short cut.
Our first weekly spread:
This week features:
- Our TOP FIVE Favourite Dog Tricks – (Thank you Maggie for suggesting this!) January is Train Your Dog Month, so I loved the idea of identifying what my dogs love to do best and then choosing a new trick to learn. I’ve split the top row of boxes, so I can choose 5 tricks for Koly and 5 for Fe, since they don’t generally love the same tasks.
- Our city recently changed when you renew your licenses, so I have a BIG reminder to make sure I do that. I should probably figure out how much I owe and who I send it to and like, make sure I know where both the boys actual tags are. (Don’t judge me, if you know all of these things offhand, you might be a witch.)
- I’ve left spaces for a few photos – I’m joining Kama from ChiPets for her newly created Pet Photography Challenge and I’ll be printing and pasting the photos in this book. (I really, really want a mini portable photo printer, so I’m putting it out to the universe and hoping one finds it’s way to me, lol).
This week’s prompt is:
- I’ve left a space to record something I’m grateful for this week. It will probably be that my dogs keep me from becoming a total slug on the couch. I’m fairly sure I’d be a hermit if they didn’t make me go out a few times a day.
- #TBT – Because Instagram isn’t the only place to throwback. I’ll use this space to record a favourite memory or paste in an old photo.
- Challenges – I’d like to push myself out of my routine and my comfort zone this year. It’s so easy to go for the same walk every day, but there is huge mental and emotional value for letting your dog sniff out a new walk route. We’re going to explore more.
- 2017 Goals – OK, so I’m not really a resolutions lady. I feel like they’re made to be broken and I’d like to stay the same snarky, irreverent jerk you’ve all come to know, but Kol and Fe on the other hand, THEY HAVE SOME THINGS TO WORK ON. *sigh* OK, whatever. I could work on somethings too. Mainly more doing, less planning.
- Plan downtime – I’ve been off work for a week and one thing I noticed was that every time I sat down the laptop or tossed my phone aside, a dog climbed into my lap. If you’re wondering if this has triggered a huge guilt ridden shame spiral deep in my soul, the answer is OF COURSE. It’s all very “cats in the cradle”. I’m making time to unplug and just hang out with my dogs.
- Blank space – The best moments in life tend to happen in the small spaces where nothing was planned. I’m saving these spaces for impromptu adventures, the little moments that make up a life (like how the way Fe sighs as he snuggles up to me in bed and it brings total peace to my soul or the way Kol smothers me with love after a snack he loves.) I know something will come up this week that I love about these little monsters, so I want to leave myself the freedom to record them.
I have an overwhelming urge to break out into 525 600 Minutes, a la Rent style.
I am super excited about this project and I hope you’re excited to join me on this journey. Make it your own and I really, really hope you’ll share it with us. Tag @kolsnotes in your posts on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, use the #BestLifePets hashtag or even post it on our wall or drop us an email. We can’t wait to see what you all do.
♫ How do you measure a year in the life? How about loooooooooveeeeeeeeeee. Measure in Love. ♫