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?

Declutter update on my projects – 6 months in

stationery

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.

Stationery

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.

Stationery

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.

Libby

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

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)

Daily

  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)

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.

{Money} What to do when you want to break loose from your goals

Two weeks ago I had a meeting that really irritated me. I can’t even remember now what it was about so it couldn’t have been that significant. However, I wanted to do something nice for myself (treat myself, if you want) and went to my nail polish stash to find a fun colour to cheer me up.

There was “nothing” in the same way we have “nothing” to wear.

I then remembered a colour I love (Rimmel’s Velvet Rose) which is discontinued and decided there and then to go to the shops after work for 30 minutes to browse and buy something similar.

Long story short – there was nothing similar but I did find a colour I liked (Sorbet’s Macaroon).

I was home and the colour was on my nails when I realised that I’m supposed to be on a “use up first” mission.

There was another incident where I didn’t even think about it and bought three sets of (admittedly) very well-priced miniature toiletries when again, box 1 was opened and I was like “no, not allowed”. I took the other two sets back.

Sorbet Macaroon

But now it’s finally sinking in – I am breaking loose from my challenges of using stuff up first. Why?

  • Perhaps I’m placing too many restrictions on myself? This is possible as I’m definitely a moderator with money.
  • Perhaps I need to allow myself a treat here and there? Possibly – this is week 16 and I have stuck to my no buying of body, bath and beauty products beautifully except for these two mishaps.
  • Perhaps I need to remind myself why I’m doing this again? Highly possible – I want to get back to my pre-pandemic self where I used to buy what I needed and not treat myself daily due to the “hardship” of being locked down. To be fair, it really was a hardship for me.

This colour is Essence’s Powder Room Party

Where is this going then?

  1. I reminded myself this week while listening to The Broke Generation podcast (search your podcast app – British girl in Australia) that I need to have something to work towards ALL THE TIME. Maybe I should book an overseas trip because the thought of the very weak Rand will focus my spending super quick!
  2. I wrote my goal on a post-it note and am wrapping it around my credit card in my wallet (this has been very successful for me in the past).
  3. But also, R39 on a nail polish is absolutely fine after 14 weeks when I’ve been good with my Clicks/ Dischem spending (I have only spent on boring meds and supplements).
  4. I also set myself a budget for Clicks spending based on actual averages.

Thought for the week:

Where might you be breaking loose from your goals? Why?

Did you enjoy this money post? I’m on a money kick so I’m going to be writing more about this as long as my obsession continues.

Five Senses Portrait of Saturday morning Zumba

In Gretchen Rubin’s latest book, The Five Senses, she talks about putting together a five senses portrait of various things.

Example, as we were driving home on 2 January this year from our week-long holiday in Clarens, I did the five senses exercise with my family.

What are the things that remind us of the holiday in terms of sight, sound, taste, touch and feel?

I wish I’d recorded it because, of course, at the time I thought I’d definitely remember it and then I didn’t.

(This is now my mental note to do the same when we go to Ballito in July)

Meanwhile, I think this is such a great way to remember the other things about an experience and to force yourself to extend your memories beyond what you usually remember.

The other Saturday at Zumba, I thought that I should do a five senses portrait, so here we go:

Sight

  1. My drive to Zumba is beautiful in all seasons – summer, autumn and winter.
  2. Couples walking their dogs, parents pushing babies in their prams, some runners.
  3. The light across the hardwood floors in the studio
  4. Colours of the workout gear and the shoes
  5. Ladies – smiling, confused, impassive, or in their own worlds
  6. Mirrors – one makes me look thinner than I am
  7. Instructor – all eyes are on her

Hearing

  1. The rhythms of the songs
  2. The screech of shoes on the floors
  3. Laughter (usually when we forget things)
  4. Clanging of the barbells on the machines just outside the door
  5. “Hey what’s going on” – the last song of Wednesday night Zumba (I LOVE IT)

Smell

  1. Saltiness of sweat
  2. Sometimes body odour (thankfully this is rare)
  3. Rubber (from the mats outside)

Taste

  1. Ice-cold water during class
  2. Metal taste from my water bottle
  3. Sometimes salt
  4. Tart taste of a Granny Smith apple as I leave class

Touch

  1. Cold from the aircon (delicious in summer)
  2. Warmth of my polar fleece before I’m warmed up
  3. Feel of the beats reverbing off the floor and walls
  4. Sweat on my chest
  5. Satisfied tiredness of sore muscles during stretch time

What do you want to do a five senses portrait of? It definitely makes you pay more attention to your life when you think through each aspect.

Goals update – 24 in 2024 goals, and the secret list :)

I’m writing this goals update 3 months and 1 week into the year.

Summer – beautiful, but I have had more than enough of it.

A few disclaimers before I start the update:

  1. I have two lists this year, the main one and a few more fun, once-off items on a second list, simply because when I looked at the main list, it looked like a LOT of hard work and I didn’t want to feel burdened by a list.
  2. Therefore, when I talk about numbers done, I’ll refer to both of these.

Done

  1. Buy a new car
  2. Try a new stretch class
  3. Read Atomic Habits as a work book club (I have read it, we have met 4 out of the 6 allocated sessions and I got what I wanted from it).
  4. Listen to more music. I have listened to more music in one month than I did the entire year of 2023, so I’m calling it done.
  5. Watch more TV. Same. May I recommend Dance Life on Prime Video? I loved it! I love seeing people in their passion and hard work that goes into making that passion true excellence.

Abandoned

Do Happiness Project Revisited. Towards the end of February, I cancelled – nothing to do with the content but I was bone tired of chasing up on my playbook, nearly 3 months after ordering. The chasing up was worse than work and it was causing unhappiness instead of happiness. (nothing to do with Gretchen’s team; I am not sure why DHL decided to send it to our liquidated Post Office in South Africa – seriously, we have no post offices).

I was trying to take a photo of my favourite new summer pants; clearly I am bad at taking these pics but I still liked how I looked, so there you go

In progress

  1. Exercise going well but I have abandoned the stretch because I wasn’t getting enough cardio and that is very important to me for heart health.
  2. Reading – 30 books in
  3. 10 non-fiction physical books – I have finished 4 of the 10; 2 currently in progress.
  4. Play with photography again and post things that delight me – yes, going well! Also really looking forward to full autumn foliage, the most beautiful season.
  5. Write 24 in 2024
  6. Use up 24 beauty/ body/ bath products – this is going very well. Just this week I had a little relapse (I bought a set of body wash/ body lotions, realised only once I’d got home and opened it up so I kept one of each, and gave some to the kids and Precious). Bonus points for me for returning the other two boxes I’d also bought.
  7. Do many declutter challenges – I have now done 6 batches of 24 (you can see all of these on my Instagram highlights; I post the week’s stuff every weekend.

on my other list, I have to try a recipe every month. this is so easy because of Instagram. Also, StephCooksStuff 🙂

The other list

  1. Finish listening to last few CDs before decluttering them – done (the new car sped things up because I have no CD player so had to listen on Spotify)
  2. Make eye appointment – yay, I don’t need new specs. R10 000 saved!

And that’s it – very happy with my Q1 progress. On my main list, I am tracking at 33,3% for the year, which is ahead of  my budget. Good thing, because it looks slow hereon out unless I actually get around to planning my 50th, booking a weekend away or doing that no-spend month. Hmmmm.

How are you doing on your 24 in 2024 goals?

Whole – how it’s going, one quarter in

I’m really going to do my best with continuing to recap my word of the year throughout the year, hopefully every quarter.

Here’s where I wrote about whole and why I chose it.

On the whole I’d rate myself a 6 out of 10, making progress but not doing particularly great in all of the areas.

Body and health

  • This has been an unbearable summer. Even for people who enjoy summer in Johannesburg, this one has been “challenging”. For me, it has been absolutely horrible. Imagine spending your weekends in the coldest rooms of your house and in bed due to headaches. Yes, that is me. I only felt whole at the office and on cooler days at home.
  • I have lost about 1 kg and I am disappointed that it’s not moving faster.
  • I made and had my eye appointment and… the difference is so slight that there’s no point in getting new glasses made (yay, R10 000 saved!). Apparently I need to make behaviour adjustments like not staring at a laptop for hours on end, make the font bigger on screens (I did my iphone that very day) so that there isn’t such a strain.
  • I had my cholesterol and iron checked and I was honestly despondent until my doctor called me back. Yes, my cholesterol was higher but she is not concerned yet. Apparently the double iron supplement is doing what it needs doing so keep on keeping on. I feel like it’s swings and roundabouts – eat more red meat for iron, but red meat leads to higher cholesterol. Ugh. Perhaps this next quarter will settle things down?

Mental and emotional

  1. I have started the year with great work boundaries. I have a number of hours I’m prepared to work every week to both 1) keep on top of things but still 2) have a life and I’ve been tracking and keeping to it.
  2. I’m still behind on a lot of self-imposed things but I’ve just had to tell myself to focus on the things on my actual scorecard.
  3. I don’t know if the teens have just settled better into school but they are a tad more communicative. I still struggle with “this is not how I envisioned parenthood”.

Financial

  1. I bought a car. Love it, happy with it.  The disciplined savings is worth it every day I get to drive in its deliciousness.
  2. I did some good money thinking while listening to The Broke Generation podcast (I want to write a post about one of the episodes) and had a realisation: I think I’m spending money recklessly in a few places because I don’t have a clearly-defined financial goal. So, am pondering…
  3. Therefore, I haven’t done the no-spend month yet but my plan is still to do one this year.
  4. Until then, I’m spending lots of money on good things like people’s birthdays, gifts and fun things.

Fun

  1. I’m finding fun in music, writing, reading and photography, all of which make me feel whole.
  2. I can’t wait to do more photography in autumn, the prettiest time of the year.
  3. I still need to decide on a celebration for my birthday in August that will be fun and will feel like me. Who are these people who like big parties to celebrate milestone birthdays? (As an aside, I read a book called Are we having fun yet? by Lucy Mangan where Liz, the protagonist, said to her husband something like, “what were we thinking organising a big wedding? We’re both introverts, hate crowds and being the centre of attention. No wonder I was unhappy the whole day)

In summary, I’m thinking about whole enough that it’s top of mind, and I am filtering a lot of my decisions through the lens of “is this going to make me feel more whole? does this look like whole?” which is the whole point.

And that’s how my word of the year is going. How about you?

Do you still remember your word?

Is it guiding your decisions and choices?

PS these photos are all from years past as it is still a few months too early for proper cold weather 🙁

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