What if you had a chance to reset the year?

First published in my newsletter on 30 June 2024

I have big plans for tomorrow morning – to wake up at or just before sunset, make a cup of tea and a rusk, and do a few reflection exercises.

Honestly, I feel sad, lonely and like nothing is working out but I’m still going to sit with myself and do a proper reflection over the next few days. I also have a milestone birthday coming up which is always a good time to take stock and change course.

Join me on one or more!

1. Mid-year review

  • What has worked?
  • What could be better?
  • What have I learned about myself?
  • What needs to change?
  • What delighted me or energised me?
  • How am I living my values?

2. Word of the year review

I have never changed my word mid-year before but I might do so this year.

A few questions for your word of the year review:

  • How is my word guiding me?
  • Am I living out my word?
  • Is my word helping me make decisions in line with my values?
  • Do I need to change my word? Why?
  • How will this new word support my current circumstances?

3. 24 in 2024

I wrote about my decluttering efforts which are some of the items on my 24 in 2024 list.
Here’s my Q1 update.

I am 42% through my list as at the end May and I want to take a whole bunch of things off that I have no intention of pursuing. More in the next couple of weeks.

4. Work/ Career review

The company I work for happens to have a financial year-end of June and I’ve just finished performance discussions (and had mine) so this is the perfect time to reflect on the past year.

  • To what extent did I achieve what I set out to do?
  • Am I still making a difference?
  • What is working? (with exception reports and the like, it’s important to stop and notice if anything is working)
  • What do I need to change?
  • What do I need to finally accept? (hybrid LOL)

5. Financial review

Just because I’m on a money kick…. (are you listening to The Broke Generation podcast yet? It’s money + psychology)

  • Did I set any financial goals this year? (get out your list)
  • Am I where I thought I would be with these financial goals?
  • What is going well? (did you automate savings or transfers into an investment account?)
  • What is not going great? Why?
  • Do you need to stop and reset your goals?

Please note – these are all OPTIONS. I certainly do not mean for you to feel overwhelmed by reading this list.

What to do

  1. Pick one or two on the list.
  2. Make a cup of tea or coffee
  3. Block out 30 minutes
  4. Get writing

(Bonus – think about the prompts while you’re having your shower or bath, or even making that cup of tea – and then get writing when you sit down)

Meals, meal ideas and meal planning

When I first wrote down this blog prompt, it was summer/ autumn and we definitely had warm weather.

Now, blessedly, it is winter and I actually am somewhat inspired by meals again.

This is my favourite meal when we go to Clarens – the local golf club restaurant makes these delicious meat pies. Yum!

A few questions for you to consider before we start chatting:

  1. Do you meal plan? Why or why not? If yes, which frequency do you use?
  2. How do you get ideas? Or do you have a system?

On meal planning

  1. I still meal plan and I will say that some weeks are easier than others. I love cold weather and cold weather, comfort foods so I am always more inspired in winter.
  2. I also still have a “eat from the freezer” week once every four to six weeks. It is very useful for finishers like me as occasionally, it is really satisfying to have absolutely nothing in there because you’ve eaten all the food. It also fuels my creativity when I have to use up random ingredients in the freezer and pantry.
  3. I have always been a weekly menu planner but very occasionally, like in the freezer week, I might make a menu for 10 days to use up things.
  4. I have a friend who makes a monthly menu plan and then shops monthly too. That is hugely impressive but I am 100% sure the teens in my house will scupper those plans by eating food since it is there.
  5. How I do meal planning – part 1 and part 2. These were the two most popular posts on my blog in 2017 😉

Another benefit for the hybrid worker – time and money

Plan so that you have leftovers to take to the office. I spoke to a new colleague in our team recently who said that she and her fiance consciously cook with leftovers in mind so that they’re not tempted to buy food. They are also saving for their wedding and I think that it is so clever and disciplined of them.

Ideas for meal planning

  1. Plan around the proteins or the carbohydrates. I still plan around the carbs for my nights and I write some ideas down for Dion’s two nights too. It doesn’t always work as we even recently had two pasta nights in a row. Apparently I’m the only one who is bothered by this!
  2. I follow a few instagram accounts where the people make meals that are relatively easy to throw together. When I find one I like, I take a screenshot and here’s the trick – I make it in the next two weeks. Beyond that time, I can’t actually get motivated to try it. I imagine this is the same for people who try organising tips and tricks. I find that the Australian content creators cook similarly to South Africans.
  3. I still have my calendar list for ideas. For those reading this for the first time, I printed out two calendar sheets years ago – one for winter and one for summer. I then wrote all the meals everyone in my family will eat (maybe not happily, but they will all eat it). When I’m stumped for ideas, I look at these two sheets to get ideas

The argument for spontaneity

I have to address the matter of spontaneity which is the biggest objection I hear from people.

You can be spontaneous and you can meal plan.

If you want to be spontaneous on a random Tuesday, go for it. The benefit of having the meal plan is that you know you can pull together a meal because you have those ingredients in your pantry or freezer. I almost never completely stick to my plan 5 days a week unless I’m on holidays. And then, I make a plan so that I use up all the food we’ve bought and there is little wastage.

Do you meal plan? If yes, how frequently? Where do you get ideas? Do you keep the same menu year in and year out?

My 5 favourite travel tips

I’ve just returned from our annual beach trip so I’m fresh from thinking about things that worked and things that could use a tune-up.

I thought I’d share some of my top travel tips:

1. Know your travel style and live with the consequences

I used to be a traveller who liked lots of options and also imagined that my life while on holiday was far more exciting than it usually is, which is plenty of relaxing. As such, I had a bag with just books, and about two bags full of clothes. I’d end up with half the things unworn (but wrinkled!) so they needed ironing anyway.

Then we went to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in 2008 and the thought of lugging around suitcases on The Tube and through Heathrow terrified me and I determined to travel with one small backpack and a small suitcase… for 21 days. I did it! What is even more impressive to me now is that it was during autumn (basically a South African winter) so I had jackets, jerseys and long pants and tops. And somehow, I made it work.

That was my turning point and since then I always travel with just one bag. I can even do a short work trip with just my rolling laptop bag (for toiletries and a change of clothes) and a big tote bag.

The consequences are that I travel with very few options and some items have to do double duty and… it is all fine. A client once told me (in the pre-days, when we travelled to meetings in other cities once a month) that she had two dresses for those travels and so far nobody had said anything to her about it because probably no-one paid that close attention to her outfits.

If you’re a heavy traveller, enjoy all your options but do know you’ll be lugging around a lot of stuff you probably don’t need. On that note…

2. Plan your eating out and staying in days for lunch and supper

One of the things I despise is the eternal question, “what’s for supper?” I cannot stand it at home and also on holiday. I therefore like to plan my eating out times. For work travel, it is easier because I’m mostly only considering myself (or friends, if I plan to see friends in the evenings).

For personal travel though, we are all happier when we have a rough idea of the meals we want to cook/ assemble and the amount of lunches/ suppers we want to eat out. This might not be a thing in your family but we used to end up with one day left and have 4 places to still try. So now we plan and it’s much nicer that way.

We actually found a new place this time in Ballito and we liked it so much, we went back for a second night. On that second night (a Friday), we also discovered they do live music (80s) on Fridays so next time we will definitely be visiting on a Friday and staying a long time (I love live music over supper!).

3. Travel light and wash some laundry if necessary

I do recommend that you travel as light as you can and rather wash some laundry if necessary.

I like holidays of 7 days so I travel with my Eco egg and do a load at around day 3 – 4. This is probably not necessary but I also don’t like knowing I have dirty laundry (and work) waiting for me once I get home. It’s much easier to throw on a load in between watching Wimbledon or going for a walk on the beach.

Fun fact – one of my team at work said to me that I probably travel with lots of stuff because I have my own desk and I have one drawer full of food, another full of stationery and the credenza with a spare pashmina, deodorant, hand cream, kettle, etc. I like to be prepared! I told her that I don’t and could be ready to leave for anywhere in 30 minutes because of my lists and my packed toiletry bag.

4. Packing lists are your friend

This will come as no surprise but I love a packing list. I have a packing list for me for…

  1. work travel
  2. personal travel to Ballito (beach), Clarens, Drakensburg and PE (my home town)

I also have packing lists for the kids for summer and winter travel.

My own packing lists include sections for clothes, toiletries, tech, stationery and if we’re driving, kitchen stuff.

Here’s the trick: update the list the minute you realise you want to make a change. With my Use up 24 in 2024, I forgot to replenish my face wash so I had to buy a bar of soap (no biggie). We were in the Drakensberg once and even though it was the heart of summer, those mountains get very cold at night so now I know to travel with long pyjamas, not “Jhb summer pjs”.

I also have a list of goals for any time I travel and I check it every couple of days; otherwise I forget because I’m in holiday mode. My list includes things like 1) read 4 books 2) see friends X and Y 3) Try Rivers Church 4) go for a beach walk every day.

My lists are all paper-based and in an A5 flipfile… but I scanned the ones for the kids and store those electronically. It was also so easy to just Whatsapp it to them and say “here you go – your packing list”. What a change from having little children!

5. Keep a packed toiletry bag

I think that this is my true spark of genius. I have doubles of everything – toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth, sponge, etc. When I return from a trip, I dry out everything and check what I need to replenish. This may take a day of that toiletry bag being out on my bathroom vanity but when I pack it away, I am ready for the next trip.

I do have a small bag (a little bigger than a make-up bag) with a checklist inside – medication, speedstick, moisturiser, BB cream, eye pencil, lip liner, nail clippers, nail polish. This is “morning of” packing because I don’t want my stuff getting old inside my toiletry bag while it waits for me to go on a trip. E.g. we returned from Clarens on 2 Jan and left for Ballito on 28 June, nearly 6 months later. I prefer to use up my stuff and just pack the latest items that morning.


Packing cubes

Packing cubes are my new favourite things. I love that I can use the cubes for categories – pyjamas & underwear, warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes, beach wear, or whichever categories you like. When I went on a work trip in November last year, I tagged a weekend onto my client meetings so I had a cube for weekend stuff, one for day 1 of work, and one for day 2 of work. So easy to just grab one cube; the rest of your suitcase stays neat because you only need to access that cube.

Here’s the best: I just pack the cubes onto the shelves, hang what I need, place shoes and I’m unpacked in about 3 minutes.

I do the same in reverse and packing is super quick.


Hope these tips helped!

Tell me, do you naturally travel heavier or lighter? Do you have packing lists? Do you keep them digitally or printed out?


Declutter update on my projects – 6 months in


I did my last declutter update at the end of March. Read more here.

Another 3 months have passed and while, I’ll give you an update, I also want to add some thoughts about my feelings on this project.

General decluttering:

I have just finished batch 8 of 24 items – that’s 192 items that left my home. We’re on a net lighter item number because some of the things that left were lovely big things like a bed, a car seat and two booster seats, as well as all the other bits, mainly clothes, etc.

Use up 24 in 2024

I have finished this project and continued on. I particularly want to use up all the little sample sizes of things like Advent calendar goodies, many half-used lipsticks, etc.


13 items used up or donated, and I’ve given 7 gifts made up of several stationery items. If I donate another 4 stationery items, I’ve reached my full goal and we’re only half way through the year.

What I’m learning:

General decluttering

This is already a well-established habit and I probably don’t have to focus on it for it to continue being a fixture in my life.

I have good systems – my one in, one out rule works very well to keep things under control, and I love limitations of space as a trigger to get rid of stuff.

Use up 24 in 2024

I really had no idea I had so many speedsticks, soaps and body lotions around. I mean, I’ve been using them up and still I have lots. I want to persist with this one because it’s good to force myself to finish up things and not just buy something on sale. Also, when I truly need something, it feels like a real treat. E.g. I have about 2cm of body wash left and I bought a new bottle last week when I picked up my prescription. Every morning I sniff it and I cannot wait to start using it. It’s the small things 😉 I also find immeasurable joy in the new lipstick I bought.


I actually have too much to use up myself so I’ve been making gifts for others (if they’re into stationery – surprisingly, not a lot of people get such delight from stationery as I do).

More importantly, I’m using my stuff. No more keeping the nice notebooks for “one day”; I am using them now, even if only for boring work notes!

In summary

I will continue with the beauty, body and bath stuff (just so I don’t break loose and go wild) but also occasionally treat myself. The goal here is to not hoard or stockpile but still enjoy a lovely lip or nail colour. And hopefully use up all those darn speedsticks and body lotions. I actually found myself thinking yesterday, “wait, do I actually have to go BUY face wash?” (yes, once the one in the shower is used up, I will check my stash just to make sure)

And I have to remind myself that I do not need any more notebooks or gorgeous pens.

My domestics’ children will be getting a lot of their pens and pencils from me at the end of the year.

How are you doing with your decluttering projects?

Why my reading’s going so well this year

I am having an exceptional reading year so far.

When you decide if a reading month, season or year is good, some people judge that based on number of books, some judge by quality of books and I judge it by these criteria:

  • Am I excited to pick up a book and read? (vs scroll my phone)
  • Do I consistently have something to read next?
  • Am I reading great quality books? (I would rather read fewer books but have them be 4 and 5 stars than many 2.5 – 3.5 star books)

A few things are influencing this year’s reading year:

Quality over quantity

Since first hitting the over-100 books mark (I’ve been reading over 100 books a year since 2017 and in 2016, I read 97, so very close), I’ve tried to observe the point at which the goal makes me chase a number rather than the quality of the book. As you well know, I love a goal but I feel like that number is 100. When I’m chasing more than 100, I start looking for shorter books that I can finish quickly, I start pressing through on things I’m not enjoying and I start choosing books on length rather than the story. So my goal has been 100 or fewer for a few years now. This year my goal is 96 (12 months X 8 books). As at the end of May, I’d read 50 books so I’m well on track to reach my goal. I like keeping it low so that I can enjoy reading longer books and not automatically only reach for 300-page novels.


My Libby (City of Johannesburg) has come out of hubernation. For a few years there were many books I wanted to and did read (2019 – 22; 2020 – 29) but then in 2021, only 6, and in 2022 and 2023, nothing. Not one book on Libby that was something I wanted to read and hadn’t.

Suddenly, this year, on the 1st, I went in and lo and behold, many new buys so I put as many holds as I could and borrowed one or two immediately, and so it started.

I am very good at tagging, so I have whole “shelves” full of “want to read” or “not for me”. I do this second tag because too many books sound the same these days and therefore I don’t want to waste time clicking through and reading a whole synopsis, only to realise, “oh right, that’s the reason I haven’t placed on my “to read” list”.

The good thing about Libby is you have two weeks (in South Africa – I think it may be three weeks in the US) to finish a book so you have to crack on and read. The not-good thing is that the COJ library only buys one copy of a book so there are always tons of people waiting so you cannot renew popular books. E.g. I have borrowed Wintering by Katherine May (haven’t started reading yet!) and it’s due in 11 days, with 5 people waiting. Which means, I need to get reading because that book is disappearing in 11 days and I’ll wait at least 2.5 months before I can borrow it again.

Reading my physical shelves

I decided at the end of last year that I’m tired of looking at the same books I want to read over and over. Why don’t I just prioritise them and get reading?

Hence my goal to read the non-fiction books on my shelves. I have done a great job so far, and when this is done, I am almost never going to buy a physical non-fiction book again. I’ve read 7, am 34% through with one and 70% through with another, have 3 left on my shelves but only plan to read two as I decided devotionals are not for me after ploughing through 1 for months.

That’s it.

In a nutshell, I am reading at a faster pace than I planned (and way more non-fiction) because of Libby (already 17 books for this year), my little non-fiction project and I think I have enough sources of books (let’s not forget my own Kindle shelves – 28 – and Everand, formerly known as Scribd) to keep me reading.

 How is your reading year going?

PS interestingly, I’ve unsubscribed from all but one reading podcast. That might also be a factor – the other two read books I am not even remotely interested in picking up… so I’ve stayed with the one where there’s a definite Venn diagram of overlap with my own reading

An easy trick to help you let go of your stuff

I wrote  on Instagram recently that I had a watch from May 2008 and I finally had to let it go.

Suzanne’s mom reminded me in the comments that I bought it on the same trip to Scotland when I met Suzanne (we’d arranged to meet up half way around the world for the first time – read more here). In fact, we stopped at the Swatch store in Princes Street, Edinburgh, on our way to drive to Stirling, where we were to meet Suzanne.

There are are 3 points to this post:

  1. Some of us are more sentimental than others.
  2. For those of us sentimental people, take a picture so that you have something to remember your item. It is easier to keep a photo than the physical item.
  3. That may be enough to then let it go. If not, you might need a bit more intentionality like giving it to someone who you know will use it.

Bonus – sometimes we all need to take a wide-angled photo of the rooms in our house. When you see the same thing, day in and day out, you forget what it actually looks like. I did the same recently (took a picture of the morning light) and realised there are PILES of books that need to be dropped off at the library again.

Are you sentimental?

Is it easy for you to let go of stuff? If yes, what is the sentence you tell yourself to help you let go?

What are your money standards?

I shared last time that I am on a money kick since I subscribed to The Broke Generation podcast at the end of last year. I am not a millenial and do not define myself as broke – but I love the mindset and behavioural economics stuff she talks about.

Then I read that book in April and re-activated by 22Seven account (it’s an app!).

All this means that my money consciousness is raised. I also have my annual meetings with my non-life and life financial advisors (which I dread at first and then I’m happy to have it over with for another year!) coming up in the next week.

What are money standards and why should we know what ours are?

Emma Edwards says that money standards are “the standards you’re living by with your own personal finances. The habits we engage with create standards that we live by, and interrogating these standards can help us get out of our own way and start living to our full potential”

I see it as the rules I’ve set for my money.

1. I never complain about the price of petrol.

It’s a common thing in South Africa (might be all over) for people to complain about the price of petrol. They hike up the price on the first Wednesday of every month and on that Tuesday evening after work, many people drive by the petrol station to fill up on the old price.

Two things happened for me:

  1. One such month I drove by, saw a long queue of cars, and decided that my time is worth more than waiting to fill up my car. When I got home, I calculated what the difference would be and it was somewhere between R20 and R30 overall for that tank of petrol. My time is worth more than that so I’ve happily told myself ever since that I can fill up my car whenever I want. (granted, petrol is way, way more expensive now)
  2. We went to Ireland in 2008 and even back then, 16 years ago, petrol already cost R25 per litre. I decided right there and then that I would never complain about the petrol price again.

What does this do? It makes me grateful for the ability to fill my tank (and that I have a car!) and doesn’t make me feel frantic on that Tuesday before the petrol price is due to increase.

2. I don’t mix old money with new money

For some reason, when I explain this concept to people, they find it hilarious but in my head it makes sense.

Old money = money from the old salary
New money = money from the new salary

I get paid on the 25th of each month and ideally, on the 24th, I would recon my budgets, and move any “old money” that is left over into my savings account. Of course, life is busy so this never happens exactly on the 24th except maybe once or twice a year, when the 24th falls on a weekend.

What actually happens in practice is that recon still takes place and everything gets nicely tied up before I start spending the new money.

What does this do? It forces me to face facts every month – have I overspent in one area? am I underbudgeting for some categories? (Recently I realised that the app was telling me I’m overspending my eating out budget so I had to think it through properly because I like to take people out for lunch/ supper for their birthdays – might as well admit it to myself with an appropriately-sized budget). It also forces me to make every R do something in my budget. Now this feels rigid for many people but it works for my brain.

3. I don’t “do” sale racks (physical or virtual).

This is a slippery slope because it’s very easy to convince yourself that something is perfect for you or you absolutely need it just because it’s on sale. I love saving money as much as the next person so I started telling myself these two statements:

  1. would you buy it at full price? Most times the answer is no and then I’m happy to leave it. Sometimes if the answer is genuinely yes, then I have a few other questions – is it the correct size? does it make me feel good? – before I might buy it.
  2. you can afford to buy it at full price later if you still want it. Hot tip – I don’t want half the stuff I think I want in the moment as time passes.

What does this do?

Well, because of my little bonus here – I don’t rummage through physical sales racks, the ones stuffed to the gills with things they need to get rid of – I save a lot of money and time.

Now please tell me, what are your money standards?

Work habits and routines: monthly, weekly and daily

I shared some stories on my Instagram highlights many years ago (certainly, pre-pandemic) that still get comments and questions regularly. I’m not sure what to make of that – is it strange? is it helpful? – either way, I want to write it all down here too.

I have a few things I do as part of my work – some of these will not apply to everyone, but if it strikes a chord, do try them out and let me know how it goes with you.

Our performance discussions happen at the end of each financial year. I like having this set time to reflect and think about what’s working, what’s not, and where I need to change things. It is also fun/ scary because the budget resets to R0 so we have to start putting money on that income statement all over again.

At this time I also think about some broad goals I want to set for myself and my team for the year ahead. I hold these goals loosely because things sometimes change quickly.

However, from these goals and projects, I set monthly goals. I also do a review of the month that’s passed. Yes, exactly like I do in my personal life.

My work goals are much more out of my control than my personal goals are, because I’m largely dependent on my team. Still, they are there – I like to at least know which direction we’re steering in and where I need to put more effort.

Now for the parts that most of you will actually find more interesting 😉

Weekly rhythms

I firmly believe that a good week starts before the week actually begins.

That means I plan my week on a Friday afternoon.

  1. I look at the week that’s been and wind up any matters that need attention. This is not always possible as some things may need to move to the following week.
  2. I write a ta-da list. It is rare but it does sometimes happen that all that is on that list is “I survived”. Mostly I can think of a few things that went well.
  3. I add in focus time if I haven’t already done so.
  4. I check for upcoming meetings – do I have everything I need to run them? I might have to prompt people, put in prep time or complete a piece of work.
  5. I write my “goals for the week” list – these are things that must move along. The things I work on are not one to two step projects so are hardly things I can complete in a week, but I at least want to move things forward every week. Sometimes there’s a work event like a client lunch or workshop. I think about what I want to get out of these events and write a loose plan.
  6. Lastly, I write my to-do list for Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a public holiday or I’m on leave)


  1. I love the idea of using your actual calendar and rewriting it so that you feel with your body if there is actually space for all the things you want to get done. For example, if I have 7 hours of meetings, probably nothing else is going to get done, so I don’t even add anything.
  2. Some days, usually on my work-from-home days, I block out focus time in the morning and take meetings from 11 onwards. For these days, I write my “frogs” right at the top of my list. These are the top 3 tasks for that day.
  3. The bottom line is: I rewrite all my meetings in my notebook and if time allows, I write 3 things that need to get done.
  4. I almost never (I started saying never, and then I realised that on Friday, I had a splitting headache so didn’t do my full routine for Monday) end one day without having a to-do list written for the next day.

Do you do monthly, weekly and daily planning as part of your work habits? Share all your tips 🙂

(Next time we’ll talk about other habits which I am worse at than planning! For some reason, 4 years after lockdown, I still haven’t developed good in-office work habits)

Raising your money consciousness… with the 3 As

A little preamble before we start…

1. I stumbled upon an instagram account late last year; I don’t even remember her name but it was a very young girl in the UK (max 26 years old) who was a budget-influencer. Can we call them that? She inspires people to be wise with their money.

Anyway, as you do (as I do!), I went solidly down a two-hour rabbit hole reading everything she’d posted and watching plenty of her reels. In one of them she suggested a few money podcasts that had some year-end reflections.

2. I love end-of-year reflections so I popped over to Apple Podcasts, downloaded all four of them and basically listened to less than 5 minutes of them all before deleting except for The Broke Generation by Emma Edwards. I love her breezy, very practical way of looking at money and it absolutely helps that she’s a British woman now living in Australia, which always feels like a sister to South Africa.

3. I also read a fantastic book in one sitting on 1 April that my husband was decluttering (without reading!) called Manage your money like a f*cking grownup. Yes, it is a bit sweary but more for effect here and there – I didn’t let that put me off at all because the book was fantastic.

4. In the book, I was reminded of 22Seven, an app that helps you track your spending, manage your money and identify gaps. I was on it about 10 years ago and then I stopped (it was still a website when I used it) and now it is even more fabulous. It has the most beautiful dashboard and you can generate reports. Very exciting for nerdy people like me. It had huge changes in my life way back when and I’m also gaining valuable insights this time around.

All of these things happening in such close proximity has made me be very conscious about money, for good and bad.

So where do we go from here?

There are three parts to raising your money consciousness and here is where I’d like you to join me:


Are you happy with how you’re treating your money? To quote Suze Orman from the early aughts, if you treat your money with respect, money will flow to you. Do you know your numbers – how much you bring in, what your monthly expenses are, and what’s in your savings account? Do you know if your retirement account is red, amber or green? Are there some bits you’re avoiding in the hope they just go away? (they’re not)


Here’s where you’re honest with yourself. Actually go look at your payslip, bank account (s), statements and start making notes. Do you know what each item means and why you have it there?

Then go deeper. What’s making you feel squeamish? Where do you need to do some work around money? When you find yourself reacting in a weird way, ask yourself, what’s really going on here?

I shared one such incident with a colleague recently – my husband asked if he could take my car somewhere far and I barked out a few sentences and then realised, hey, something’s going on. I honestly don’t mind anyone (licenced) driving my car so what was going on? It was a “filling up of petrol” trigger – not even the price of petrol, but the whole schlep of detouring from my route, doing the whole oil/ water/ tyres check. All that. We’re sorted now – we’ve agreed that he also has to do it once a month so I still do the chore the exact same amount of times (once!).


Then you take action on all the steps you’ve identified. This is a work in progress because just the awareness step results in about 5 action steps. E.g. I knew what I earned but I had to recheck exactly what the monthly outgo was. 22Seven also told me what my top 5 spends every month are. I was horrified when I saw exactly how much “non-grocery grocery spending I was doing”.

That’s enough for now – more in two weeks time.

For now, how is your awareness of your money?

If you haven’t done any analysis in a while, I highly recommend an hour or two (don’t say you don’t have time; most people spend 4 – 5 hours on social media every DAY) where you objectively look at your numbers and maybe start taking additional action.

5 steps to get back on track when life tries to derail you

We’re four months done with the year and things are getting a little bit boring in respect of pushing through with your goals, right? We’re all churning along with the same old goals we set in December/ January, still striving to figure out some stuff, and if you’re in South African, no loadshedding but plenty (PLENTY) of power outages, water pipes bursting and depending on solar like it’s your lifeline (it is!). Or you’re being majorly derailed. I wrote a few weeks ago about me breaking loose with my decluttering projects.

I had some very clear health goals and guys, I’ve lost only 1.3 kg in 4 months. That’s it. My iron meets the doctor’s expectations but the cholesterol still needs work (my view is it’s the red meat I’m forcing myself to eat two to three times a week because I hate kale and spinach more…).

These two examples are not unusual, by the way; I just conveniently forget about the slump every year until I notice the pattern. You see, it’s not a matter of if you will be derailed, but rather, what will derail you.

I like to think like this – if you know that on the way to your goals, you will encounter 5 obstacles, then in your head, your expectations are managed, and it’s a “oh right, here’s obstacle 1, and here’s obstacle 2” instead of “oh my gosh, I’m a failure, why did I set this stupid goal, why did this happen to ME, I can’t do it, etc.”

5 steps to get back on track

  1. Identify the symptoms

Are you feeling tired, demotivated, frustrated or overwhelmed? Great! These are the indicators that you need to be aware, notice and most probably shake things up.

2. Get very clear on the why for your goals 

Do you still want to go after your goal? Why? (my health kick – yes! but maybe I can let loose a little on the decluttering since I have done a lot and it’s been a way of life for years so I am unlikely to stop at this point)
If you don’t want that goal anymore, here’s your big, fat permission slip to stop and change things.

3. Get clear on your derailers

Here’s where James Clear and his Atomic Habits book shine.
If you can’t seem to make progress on your goal, it’s time to analyse your behaviour. Are you derailing your efforts because you don’t pack a work lunch? Or you can’t seem to do your monthly savings goal because you’re out for a long and boozy supper every week with friends? Should you rather change into your gym clothes at work (yes, at work) and drive straight to gym instead of going home first? Which micro steps can you take to put you back on track? If you’re not sure, or you need someone to brainstorm with you, I can be that person.

4. Pivot

Expanding on 2 above regarding your permission slip, maybe you don’t want to stop your goal entirely? Maybe you just need to tweak the goal? I have slashed some things off my list (one – instead of 24 fun nights away/ in Jhb, I’m adjusting it to 12 as that seems to be the rhythm after the four months)

If you wanted to study and you missed the first semester deadlines due to finances/ couldn’t get everything to align, etc. maybe you sign up for the semester starting mid-year? If you’re not making good strides with something (me, the weight loss), change something (I am having a call with the Lovely Maureen, my Weigh-less group leader, who is the perfect combination of Compassion and Kindness, to bounce some ideas around).

5. Celebrate your successes

We all tend to look at what we have not done rather than what we are doing. Don’t forget to stop every month (better if you can do so every week) and count the things you did get done, whether they were on the list or not.Remember: we are not the things we do.

Have you done your goals review for April yet? Here’s a quick way to get that done using your Tendency.

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