Starting the New Year as my Best Self

I received the Be Your Best You notebooks by ClassTracker in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own–thank you for supporting The Wise Willow! 

It’s officially 2018! Each time a new year comes, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. This year is no different–in fact, even more so. This year I feel monumentally different than where I started from, as this is the year that I stepped out of my comfort zone the most. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I was actually in my comfort zone. (I have written two posts in the past on stepping out of a comfort zone–one during my journeys in 2016 and one right before my adventures this year). Spending time in new situations and environments has encouraged me to grow in many ways, and I feel ready to return to some normalcy and my life on campus. 

With that in mind, I wanted to think about what I could accomplish this year for my overall wellbeing. In 2017, though it was full of excitement, my wellbeing got put to the side. All of the adjustments that I made had an effect on my health, and before I knew it they all caught up to me. I want this year to be focused on regaining my health, and creating habits that I can take with me on future adventures. 

Set of 5 notebooks, packaged in a beautiful holiday ribbon

ClassTracker, the wonderful company that also produces student planners (which I have been using and loving this year–it has kept me so organized!), kindly sent me their new Be Your Best You notebooks! I have started thinking about the changes that I want to make this year, and how best to track them. 

There are five notebooks in the collection: Habits, Budget, Sleep, Workouts, and Passions. The variety of colors helps distinguish the notebooks when in a rush (as I’m sure I will be when I start classes again!), and they add a pop of color to my desk space! Each notebook includes pages where you can list the month and year, as well as the individual item you are tracking. For example, one of my habits for this year is to start drinking a full glass of water in the morning when I wake up to jump start my hydration. I wrote this down in the Habits notebook, and each day I can check the box for whether or not I did this. In the long run, I can see how well I am progressing towards establishing the habit and it helps to keep me accountable each morning. 

Workouts are something I also want to track this year, seeing that I will be back on campus with access to a gym. I want to add more variety to the workouts that I do, aiming for overall wellness and consistency. This is also something I can track, listing the workout and checking the box on the days I complete it. 

Sleep notebook for tracking cumulative hours over a long period of time

Sleep is probably the most important notebook out of all of them for me. Those of you who know me probably know how much sleep I tend not to get during the school year. I love all of the activities that I do, but they definitely take up more hours in the day than there are available. This past semester when I was abroad, I ended up getting much more sleep than I usually do. I was averaging seven hours a night, when my average last year was usually three to four. I noticed lots of positive changes in my health (I was less stressed, able to remember more, and felt healthier). Something else that changed (which is monumental for me), was my reliance on coffee. Instead of waking me up, coffee gave me jitters and made me feel like I was relying on old habits. So I made the switch to tea (I know…I can hardly believe it too!). I now drink a few cups of different teas each day, and feel all the healthier for that. Some of them are slightly caffeinated when I really need help waking up, but they have helped me feel more balanced and have kept me warm in our subzero temperatures (it has now been over a week of below zero temperatures here!). 

The Sleep notebook allows you to put a check mark by the number of hours that you slept (which I also track with my FitBit), and allows you to see the overall trends in your sleep patterns. This will be incredibly helpful for me this year as I attempt to change the patterns I was operating under to ones that incorporate more rest. 

Budget notebook for tracking income and expenses each month

Budgeting is also something very important for me, especially as a college student. The Budget notebook has spaces to track expenses and income, with predetermined boxes for common expenses (rent, tuition, etc.). I have tried to be better at budgeting this year, but the online worksheets that I found just weren’t making it a consistent practice. 

Finally, I have also been interested in tracking my interests and passions. This mostly relates to my blog and creative endeavors, but also to what I want to do after college now that the time is approaching somehow. The Passions notebook serves as a place I can write down my interests and passions on-the-go. I’m one of those people who will have a business or blog epiphany as I’m walking to class in the snow or browsing grocery store aisles. Because of this, having a small notebook I can always have with me will ensure I never lose those ideas. 

You’ve also probably noticed the new design on my blog–this is something that I have been working with for a few weeks now once I realized that it was the source of my lack of inspiration. Each year I tend to change my blog theme to reflect what I need. This year, I was feeling as though my blog space was too cluttered and hard to navigate. This inspired a few days of work on a new look, which is where I am at now. I wanted a more minimalistic design this year, as that is something I am striving for in 2018. I also think that simplicity can be one of the best forms for blogging, as I found that last year’s design was inhibiting a few forms of communication (sharing features and commenting were harder to find on that theme). I hope you enjoy the new design, and I have a survey (super fast and really helpful!) you can take to let me know what you think of it! 

The distinct colors make them easier to keep track of and add a pop of color!

I am excited to track my progress this year with these notebooks, and if you’re interested they are currently on sale with free shipping through January 15th! The previous link is an affiliate link, just to disclose. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful start to 2018, and I would love to know what some of your goals for the New Year are! 

(Now that 2018 is here, check out this post I wrote at the end of 2015! It’s fun to look back sometimes! 🙂 ) 

I also went back and looked at a few posts I’ve found relevant for each new year, if you’re interested in giving them a browse! 

The Importance of Change

What it Means to Succeed

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved. 



  • http://whatismaria.com Maria 🇬🇧🇷🇺

    These notebooks look absolutely wonderful! I need help with tracking my sleep as well as this hasn’t been too great recently, so I am considering in investing in these for sure:) Thank you for sharing and I wish you all the best with your goals and intentions for 2018, I am sure you will have a fantastic year xox

    maria // http://whatismaria.com

    • http://www.thewisewillow.com Alyssa DeBella

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Maria! Yes the sleep notebook has helped me so much! I’ve just always been a pen and paper kind of person, so tracking on apps hasn’t been something that I can stick to and remember to check. This has really helped me see where I can improve! I wish you all the best with all you have planned for the year! 🙂 xx Alyssa

  • Jannine

    Those notebooks sound awesome! I like that they have assorted focuses and are colour coded. Good luck with all of your 2018 goals!

    Xo Jannine | http://www.happystylishfit.com

    • http://www.thewisewillow.com Alyssa DeBella

      I absolutely love them, they are already helping me achieve my goals! Thank you so much!! I wish you the same with yours! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      xx Alyssa

  • http://www.plantsandgoodvibes.co.uk Dani

    I’ve never thought about having separate journals to track different things, that’s a great idea! I always feel more organised if I can write it down and I love looking back over the month to see how well I’ve done. Also, love the new blog theme!!

    Dani | http://www.plantsandgoodvibes.co.uk/

    • http://www.thewisewillow.com Alyssa DeBella

      I’ve never kept track of things in separate journals either but I do love how organized it makes me feel! Thank you so much, that means the world! I was going for a more minimalist look for the new year 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      xx Alyssa

  • http://www.serenbird.com/ Serena

    These notebooks are a lovely idea! Tracking sleep patterns and budget expenses are good things. I already track my sleeping patterns with my phone but budgeting could be good… Especially by judging by the state of my bank account ahahah x

    http://www.serenbird.com

    • http://www.thewisewillow.com Alyssa DeBella

      Hahaha I completely understand! I love being able to keep track of things in notebooks, I am such a pen and paper kind of person! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      xx Alyssa

  • Tracy Iglesias

    I could definitely use these Class Trackers in my life, but I already know which book would end up empty – the ‘sleep’ book I am a lifelong insomniac and it scares everyone in my life just how little I actually sleep. The passions book would be perfect for me as I am an avid photographer and really want to pursue that passion a bit more than even my blogging affords me!

    Hopping on over from In Search Of Blog Squad 🙂

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  • Clarinda

    These notebooks looks great and I love your goals for the new year. Especially the one about sleep. Rest is so much more important than we often give it credit. Best of luck to you in 2018 and hope you join us next month for the Ultimate Coffee Date!