This year’s challenge – to rest 22 in 2022

on a photowalk – these are very restful for me

I used Gretchen Rubin’s walk 20 in 2020 to simply track when during the month I got some exercise – around 12 times a month is standard for me as I have a 3 times a week habit.

Read 21 in 2021 was my most successful daily project – I chose to read 21 minutes from a non-fiction book (preferably on my shelves) and I made it. It was a great success and I cleared 32 books from my shelves and will continue until all my non-fiction is done!

I knew when Gretchen announced the rest 22 in 2022 challenge that it would be my hardest challenge yet – I am not given to rest and have battled with relaxing… always.

We are all different people and therefore, rest will mean different things to each of us. If you decide to do this project (some of you have already decided to join but remember, even if you haven’t yet decided, there’s no perfect time to start), just jump in.

Rest does not only mean sleeping. It might mean that for you, but it also might not.

As I thought about this challenge, I thought about what rest looks like for me:

  • lazy mornings in bed reading fiction (!) somehow feels very decadent
  • laying on my bed listening to an audiobook (and doing nothing else to use the time productively)
  • walking around my garden playing with my camera
  • actual napping (rare though this is)
  • going for a walk with my camera to capture things that delight my sense of sight
  • intentional watching TV (I am not a TV person but occasionally I find something I might want to watch, and that kind of watching is restful)
  • afternoon reading with a cup of tea

We’re one month in; how has my #rest22in2022 project been going?

Honestly, but not surprisingly, not as well as I expected.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be familiar with my weekend to-do lists. Here’s another one. These lists have had a section called “relax” on them for years. This is quite intentional because I otherwise would busy myself with work and never give myself permission to “do nothing”.

Therefore, the weekends are easy for the #rest22 project.

As for the weekdays, I have to consciously remember to choose something for that day. I had a week where I put a reminder in my phone to rest and that worked well. Why didn’t I continue? Absolutely no idea – I think it was because I finished the fiction book (Ask Again, Yes) and so I relaxed with the resting 😉

In writing this post, I realised something – rest works well on the weekend because I plan for it. I need to plan for the workday rest too. I’ll put a timer in my phone and report back to let you know how that’s working.

Have you joined the #rest22in2022 challenge?

What have you defined as rest for you?

The week that was… weekly reflections 5

This photo was taken in Cape Town during early December 2021

Wow, that was a week. All four of us said on Friday night that we were completely and utterly exhausted.

  1. We visited a high school expo to gather information for the application process. Yes, that is apparently the phase we’re in now. Also, for my US friends, high school in South Africa starts in grade 8. There was so much information and so many pamphlets…. and so I found that we needed to just discuss what is important to us and how we’re going to make the decisions.
  2. I had a wonderful catch-up with two friends this week – filled my friendship tank. Confession – I completely forgot about the one plan and only realised after I heard the 15-minute reminder. You should have seen me fly into action. We still had a lovely breakfast and I was only a few minutes late.
  3. My father was in Jhb for work and I saw him for literally 10 minutes. He is not a planner like I am otherwise we might have been able to spend more time together, but this has always been our dynamic – life on the fly!
  4. I got my hair cut this week! It feels like such a treat to visit the hairdresser. I have been seeing her since I was pregnant with the twins. Fun fact – I was exhausted during the pregnancy that I couldn’t even lift my arms to wash my hair so I started seeing her every Sunday morning from 9 – 9:30. She is very punctual and I have continued seeing her all these years.
  5. You all know I love yellow (I just realised the photo I chose for today’s post is also yellow!). No surprise when Instagram shows me yellow household items. I’d had my eye on some gorgeous yellow plates so I went to buy some yesterday. I got them home, washed them and they did not fit on either of our two draining racks despite me trying all my tricks. If something annoys me in the beginning, it’s going to annoy me a lot as time passes. So I returned them and bought plates without such a deep rim. Good news – these are just as lovely but also are a pleasure to use.

A coaching thought on number 5… are there things in your home that are annoying you? What can you do to fix them or at least reduce the annoyance?

How was your week?

How I’ll be setting goals in 2022

Before I tell you about the change, maybe I should tell you how I used to set goals.

I have a number of areas of my life and I’d set goals in each of these areas every month, e.g. family, friends, finances/ home, fun/ play, fitness & health, work, Organising Queen/ coaching, etc.

I think you’ve already worked out the reason I’d end up with at least 30 goals every month. Fine in a pre-pandemic world but it started feeling like it was a lot and I was adding extra pressure to my life.

For this year, that feels too much. It doesn’t feel as fun as it did a few years ago to set 36 goals a month and I LOVE GOALS.

I’m an upholder so I started asking clarifying questions, like what makes sense for me to do, and that’s when I arrived at my answer.

I decided to set goals with my word of the year (delight) and my work word (balance), and then another top two things on my mind for that month. For January, this was home (I mentioned before that we’ve had a few changes) and health (getting back to basics with eating and establishing my exercise routines).

With this pared-down version, I ended up with 20 goals for January and I will get to almost all of them.

I now feel more accomplished (we all need motivation) and inspired, and much more focussed!

A note on the mind map – I love starting any planning with a mind map because it gets me out of my head to just “free flow” and when I’m clear on how I want to move forward, if I want, I can then make a list. These days I just leave my mind map as my goals list.

How are you setting goals for 2022? Have you set goals for February yet?

If you feel like you want to aim for a little something, why don’t you consider using just one or two areas of your life to start.

PS I’m available for four tendencies coaching if you want to understand how to make your tendency work for you this year, both to reach your goals or just to improve your work or personal life. Contact me now.

The week that was… weekly reflections 4

Peaches!

I told myself I’m not going to keep saying “can you believe it’s the end of January?” so I’ll say it now and then we’ll just move ahead 🙂

  1. This was the last full week of January and I’m pleased that I managed to get all my work goals done that I’d set at the end of December before I took a two-week break. Look out on Wednesday for more on goals as I’m doing mine a little bit differently this year.
  2. It’s feeling really, really good to have three exercise sessions a week again as it’s been very sporadic since mid-October when I couldn’t move between gyms again as had been the case since the onset of the pandemic.
  3. We had our first book club of the year yesterday. The January 2021 book club was virtual but thankfully this one was in-person. We read a fantastic book called Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. I spoke more about how much I loved it here.
  4. I’m just over 2 hours away from finishing my 13th book of the month for January. It has been an excellent reading month with five 5-star reads: Circle of friends – Maeve Binchy, Mary Jane – Jessica Anya Blau, Untamed – Glennon Doyle, Cosy: the British art of comfort – Laura Weir and Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane.
  5. I can’t wait to tell you about how I’m interpreting #rest22in2022 and another little project I’m working on, but those will have to wait for next week.

Are you also feeling tired?

(as I typed that sentence, I yawned!)

Have a think about the things that give you energy this week. There are the obvious things like sleep, exercise and eating well, but also consider tapping into something that brings you emotional energy. I walked a whole 300m down the street to book club but I stopped periodically to take photos of leaves, flowers and succulents, and I was on such a high from all the delight that it was energy-giving to me.

My 2022 word of the year – delight

Choosing my word this year has taken a bit of work.

This print is from a course called Elevate The Ordinary I took with Andrea Scher in 2012. The poster summarises my life manifesto 🙂

I did a word of the year exercise with my team where we all shared the word we felt “2021 work” had been for us and that we were ready to leave behind, and then we all chose a word we wanted our work lives to be in 2022.

My 2021 work word was stretch and the work word for 2021 is balance.

(for the record, 3 of the 12 of us chose the word balance!)

Then Gretchen Rubin announced the challenge for this year – rest 22 in 2022. This felt like a big exhale because we’re all tired, right? I also knew it would be the most difficult challenge for me as I’m not good with resting which is exactly the reason I’m embracing this challenge.

I then considered having relax as a word which sounds more fun than rest, but then I remembered. “Relax” is something people say to upholders like me all the time, and honestly, it drives us mad. This is therefore not a good way to feel about your word before the year has even started.

I then started thinking about what would make me feel like I had both balance and was resting enough, and my word came to me – DELIGHT!

When I have mental and physical space to play and take pleasure in things, I’m resting enough and I feel balanced.

Delight – great pleasure, happiness, joy; to please someone greatly; seeing people, places, things and ideas as something to find joy in.

What does delight mean to me?

  1. to take pleasure in the small things that bring me joy
  2. to delight in my job, I’m working enough, having enough people time and I have enough time to do deep work where I’m contributing and adding value
  3. to celebrate my family for who they are
  4. to take pleasure in friendships that are wholehearted, affirming and reciprocal
  5. doing exercise that makes me happy, like Zumba and Spanish
  6. to spend time creating with words and photos regularly (like this!)
  7. to finish projects in my home and upgrade/ fix tolerations
  8. to spend money mindfully and with intention on things that make me happy
  9. to get life admin done quickly and efficiently
  10. to say yes to new experiences for connection
  11. to meet more of my health goals
  12. to know that I’m nourishing myself with good, nutritious and tasty food, even if more expensive
  13. to read good books that I know word for me without being swayed by bookstagram

The nice thing is that when you’ve decided on your word it feels exactly right. And delight does exactly that for me. Three weeks into the year and I’ve had so many moments of delight it’s been a pleasure. If you’d like to see, I’ll be adding to this tag on Instagram the entire year.

I also feel like delight is beautifully supported by balance and rest. It’s the first year I’ve chosen support words but hey, year 3 of a pandemic feels like it needs three words instead of one 🙂

Won’t it be wonderful if I have 100 extra moments of delight this year?

The week that was… weekly reflections 3

This has been a big week for us:

  1. We’ve made some changes at home and no longer have the 3-times-a-week nanny we had since the kids were 3. I had to arrange transport to collect my kids from school and drop them off at home. I felt a little silly telling the owner of the company that we are a mere 250m from the school gate but the truth is I don’t feel comfortable having them walk home and cross a very, very busy street by themselves and if they have after-school activities that end after 3, then it’s a 20-minute walk across two busy streets.
  2. Additionally, we used a cleaning service this week for the first time ever. It was excellent in terms of set up, payment, and knowing what was expected, but I realised on Thursday night that I hadn’t left enough during the day check-up time. We have booked the same cleaner weekly so I will brief better this week and then we should be good. But she was lovely and open, and did an outstanding job on the house overall.
  3. Work-wise was a bit crazy. I realised that I needed to put some boundaries back into place which I have now done, and by the end of the week, I ended on a good note.
  4. I finished reading two 5* books this week. As I type this, I realise how amazing it is to read not only two 5* books in a month, but in a week! Here’s my Goodreads list for this year. I finished Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Cosy: The British Art of Comfort by Laura Weir.
  5. And last but not least, I went back to Spanish this week. I was astounded by how my body remembered things my mind was sure it had forgotten. I honestly thought it would take me 1 -2 months to get back to where I was as I didn’t go back for the three months Spanish was in session last year (too much work with the promotion).

Do you still feel those New Year vibes? Or are those long forgotten?

How to choose your word of the year

If you’ve been around awhile, you’ll know that I have chosen a word of the year for a long time, in fact, every year since 2008. This is year 15! If you scroll down to the end of this post, you’ll see a list of all my previous words.

Gretchen and Elizabeth, on the Happier Podcast, use either a word or theme for the year. 

It’s all good; the idea is that your word will guide you, inspire you and motivate you.

So how do you chose a word? There are many ways – also, let’s be honest, sometimes my word has come to me in a flash, sometimes it’s taken a few weeks of pondering, sometimes I think I have it and I change it at the last minute when “trying on” my word doesn’t feel right, and sometimes I’ve known months in advance.


Here are some thoughts and questions which I hope will guide you.

  1. Your word can be more than one word; it can be a phrase or even a short sentence.
  2. Your word should call you to something (perhaps you want to create more of something in your life that is currently lacking)
  3. What do you need? What do you want? How do you want to feel? What do you think is lacking in your life? That may be your word.
  4. Your word doesn’t have to be cool or trendy. One year (the year after my twins were born) my word was consolidate (seemingly the most boring word of all) because I needed to get back to basics in myself, home and routines.
  5. Your word might feel like it is the exact opposite of who you are. Go with it. Last year my word was play. Playful is not who I am naturally but I needed some lightheartedness from the pandemic.
  6. Is there an area of your life that could use an extra boost? You might need a word just for your work or for your family.

(at this point, some of you already know what your word is but some need more help)

Here’s what to do:

  1. Reflect on 2021 – what worked, what didn’t, what needs to change, what do you want more/ less of?
  2. Write these answers down on paper.
  3. Look over your answers and see the words that seem to pop out. Or, see if any themes emerge (maybe there’s a lot pointing to health, or to taking charge, or boundaries).
  4. Write down all the possible words. Do you land on one that resonates deeply? Great. If not, keep looking. Check for synonyms in the dictionary.
  5. When it feels like you have your word, share it with a friend. Does it feel right?  Great. If not, maybe sit with it for a few days.
  6. Remember this is a moment in time. You can change your word anytime. A podcaster lost her dad and changed her word in September because she said, “now is the time of restoration for me”.

Please share your word with me; I love to hear everyone’s words!

The week that was…weekly reflections 2

hello friends, please enjoy a photo of stationery 😉 My red Moleskine is in the middle flanked by my current bullet journal on the left and one I’ll use later in the year on the right.

Do you have a diary or a bullet journal to show me? I’d love to see!

  • I went back to work! It was not bad considering there was a bit of a deluge of emails as there always is after a break. Still, my word of the year for work, balance, is serving me well and I worked reasonable hours.
  • The kids went back to school on Wednesday. This is their last year of primary school 😮 Of course, there were books to cover but… I delegated the easy books and worked with them on the hardcovers so we were done in 40 minutes on night 1. No-one is more surprised than I am.
  • Speaking of back to ______, I went back to Zumba on Wednesday night too and was reminded once again why I never miss class. It’s awful getting fitness back after any time away. Thankfully, yesterday morning’s class felt much, much better so I’m hoping this Wednesday all is back to normal.
  • I finished reading a fantastic book this week called Mary Jane. This was the first book I read by this author and I can’t wait to dive into her backlist. If you like reading, I highly, highly recommend reading Mary Jane on audio – 5 fantastic stars. My reading goal this year is 100 and I’ve read 7 books to date. Here is my instagram post about this book.
  • I realised on my first morning back to work that a crick in my neck is actually from my laptop being too low on my desk. I have now raised it and bought a gorgeous wireless keyboard which I’m hoping will help.

How was your week?

My word of the year recap for 2021 – play

My word of the year for 2021 was play and for the most part it was a good word in that it invited me to hold things loosely and to choose play over work sometimes.

Let me share what play looked like for me in 2021:

  • I redid a photography course from 2012, Superhero Photo, and loved it. I also brought my big camera with me on holidays and intentionally played with it a lot. I also found some old cameras which I also used – sometimes it’s freeing to only have to focus on composition and how pleasing framing is to the eye, and nothing else.
  • I went on intentional photo drives during autumn and winter, my favourite seasons.
  • I read 152 books, 43 of them audio, which is a particularly playful way of reading for me as I so enjoy a well-narrated book. The question, “what sounds like play?” became very important.
  • On that note, I did Gretchen’s #read21in2021 and cleared 32 books from my non-fiction bookshelf. I’m going to write some more on this because I learned so many useful things about my project style.
  • We went on four holidays – Drakensberg, Clarens (twice) and Ballito.
  • I brought back 1:1 dates with the kids.
  • I watched the most TV I’ve ever watched in my entire life – Nine Perfect Strangers, Kim’s Convenience, Marriage Contract, Lula Rich, Mare of Eastown, and Grace and Frankie for the second time, amongst others.
  • I went to Zumba at three different gyms, chasing the most fun classes.
  • I did Susannah Conway’s three photo challenges – April Love, August Break and December Reflections, and Laura Tremaine’s May photo challenge too.
  • I went to the ballet with two friends – one of the highlights of my year.

All in all, a good year of play.

I have chosen a new word for this year and I will tell you all about it next week 😉

How was your 2021 word? Do you feel like you lived it out enough? How can I help you more?

(I am planning to write at least one more blog post, maybe two, on how to make your word real to you in a practical way).

How to use the one-minute rule at work

We’ve spoken before about the one-minute rule. We also talked about ways to use this rule at home.

What about at work?

Here’s how you can use the one-minute rule…

with your emails

  • if you’ve opened and read the email, and don’t need to refer back to it, delete it 🙂
  • if you need to delegate, forward it so that other people can work on it while you go through the rest of your inbox
  • decide there and then on your next action step and quickly type into the beginning of the subject line READ/ MEETING/ TALK TO ___ so that when you’re ready to work, you know exactly what to do next

in meetings

I like to write my meeting notes on the top 70 – 80% of the page and leave the bottom section for actions, OR sometimes there’s so much being said, I just write notes and later as we summarise, I allocate actions and I write the initials of the person in the margin. Now for the rule…

  • do your quick actions in one-minute bites immediately after a meeting
  • many actions are multi-step actions but you can always do the very first step even if that first step is just to allocate a block of time to work through the actions (“actions from XYZ meeting”)

with daily or weekly planning

  • if you’re a daily planner, start the next day’s to-do list page and keep it ready
  • as things pop up, add them to your list so you don’t have to keep it in your head or on random sticky notes in your notebook
  • the same principle works for weekly planning but since I don’t know if I need two more pages to close off the week or eight, I use a long post-it note for next week’s actions. When I’m then ready to make my actual weekly list, I have all my priorities in one place.

How do you already use the one-minute rule at work? Can you think of where you could use it?

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