What do I want less of in 2020?

When I start reflecting on this question, the answer is not just the opposite of what I want more of. Instead, I’m challenging myself to really think about things that I can control and take concrete action steps to create in my life.

Stress

Most of my stress this year resulted from worrying about whether the workshops would fill, especially in the beginning, but also stress about work that I absolutely could not control.

Unrealistic expectations

Granted, I placed many of these expectations upon myself, but I also felt that some clients had unrealistic expectations regarding timelines. This is a great time of year to remind myself that I can only control myself, do my best and then let go (here’s where my word’s going to be so useful).

Complicated systems

I generally like to keep things simple, but sometimes in trying out different planning tools or ways of doing things, I have tended to complicate matters that don’t have to be complicated at all. This year I have 1 diary, 1 bullet journal for lists and notes, and 1 master to-do list which I’ll review weekly. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll write more about that.

Weight

I have some ideas where I can change things. I tried a few things this year but they were mostly unsuccessful. It’s clear I probably have to invest in Weigh-Less completely and not just tell myself, “oh, I know how to eat properly”. I do, but doing it by myself is not working as well as I’d like so I need to do something different. There’s a tension between realising that I’m no longer 25 and also not just giving into the middle-age spread. I already contacted the WL group leader and told her I’ll return as soon as there’s a “no rejoin fee” special which should be soon 🙂

Clothes I don’t like

I recorded some instastories a few months ago because I realised that I’m in jeans 4 days out of every week and yet my wardrobe looks like I wear work clothes 5 days a week instead of just 3. I need to fix that and keep only the things that fit well, make me feel good and that suit my present lifestyle. I’ve already made a start – every time I find something in my wardrobe I’m not wild about, out it goes.

What do you want less of in 2020?

{2019 review} What I want more of in 2020

Travel

I definitely want more overseas travel (anything from 0 this year is a good thing!). I haven’t been overseas since 2012 which is a lot of time for a passport to lay idle. I’d be happy if we get this sorted. What I really want is someone to know the inside of my mind, plan everything at the best price and most convenience, and just tell me to EFT money to book tickets 🙂

More time with D

This year we tried to go on a weekend away. Our only babysitter who is willing to do more than one night, my mother, then had a little operation on her hand, so couldn’t do it. Oh well, we’ll try again next year. In addition, I’m adding D to my regular dates schedule, the same as I do with my friend dates, so that we can have a more regular dating schedule.

It might be a good time to set up regular dates with my kids too. This year has felt quite haphazard, which is not really my style.

More walks

I think I need to make a rule for myself and put it in my diary like I do with everything else. Every couple of days, get home, put on my takkies and gym pants, and go for a walk with the kids.

Creative work

I want to create an online course or new workshop, or revamp two existing courses. I do have my Help! I need more time course, which I do still love. It is good content and has helped many people so I should look at that one, and then I’m thinking about doing something around vision boards and goals. We’ll see. If you have some ideas, do let me know.

Fun

I actually want to set aside some money every month for fun. Not to buy things and bring more stuff into my house, but to be generous, and spend on people and experiences, and finally set up a reading prize at the kids’ school.

Coaching

I coached three lovely ladies this year and I’m ready to open up my coaching calendar for about 4 – 6 more hours a month. I really would love to do more Four Tendencies coaching or incorporate it into my current coaching practice. If this sounds like it might be a fit for you, let me know.

What do you want more of next year?

A 2020 list with a difference – a lot more fun

Before we start, I have two questions for you:

This year I’m doing two lists – a standard list with normal (to me) goals and a fun list too, because I realise that I’m very serious and if I don’t intentionally plan for fun, it won’t just happen. I was especially inspired by my friend, Julia, who had a 19 in 2019 list full of super fun things.

I know this sounds crazy to the non-upholders but remember, discipline is an upholder’s freedom.

Onto the list…

  1. Have a lime milkshake
  2. Go for Milky Lane waffles (I have not had either of these two for more than 10 years) with all the syrups!
  3. Have a tea party for my friends (I’m not having a birthday lunch this year)
  4. Take Connor out for a supper date
  5. Take Kendra out for a supper date
  6. Make 3-ingredient scones with Kendra
  7. Pay for someone else’s groceries
  8. Volunteer to take someone’s photos
  9. Take a holiday outside South Africa
  10. Take the red city bus tour
  11. Teach a workshop using photography as a coaching tool (that sounds very boring but it would be super fun!) and then host a photo walk
  12. Go watch a fun, girly movie completely by myself
  13. Go play with my big camera on a walk once a month
  14. Go see a concert with Dion
  15. Time away with D
  16. Run a Four Tendencies workshop, for children
  17. Buy a dishwasher
  18. Go to Simply Asia with Angie
  19. Organise Dion’s desk (let’s be honest; this is going to be the MOST fun of all)
  20. Get a carpenter to do a cupboard/ shelf for the tumble dryer

Are you inspired yet? I know people who have made lists of places to eat in their city, other people have made lists of books to read or movies to watch, still others have made lists of friend dates. All of these are excellent ideas, or you can go the old-fashioned way of normal goals. I’ve done the best of both with two lists 🙂

What will you do? Care to share a couple of your goals with me?

PS I have done some fabulous start-of-year coaching sessions to help people strategise and set goals for the year. Contact me if you’d like to book a once-off 45-minute session for $50, or you can book a coaching package that suits your needs.

{2019 review} What didn’t go well in 2019?

As important as it is to celebrate the wins of the year, it’s also important to look at things that didn’t go well so that you can either fix them going forward or go in a completely different direction.

So, what didn’t go well for me in 2019?

Weight and weight loss

I’m aware from my Oprah-watching days that even if nothing changes in terms of eating and exercise, we will put on 5 kg every decade because our metabolism slows down steadily as we age. I haven’t put on 5 kg this year but probably 2 kg, and these have been a very uncomfortable 2 kg. Before you get very confused, I’m a full 12 kg overweight but I’d be over-the-moon happy with losing 4 kg, and then another 5kg.

I’m currently trying to get into a regular habit of “eating for only 12 hours” and want to then move to 11 hours and hopefully rest with eating only within a 10-hour window. I heard a scientist on Dr Chatterjee’s podcast who made a lot of sense, so we’ll see.

Headaches

It might be the case for recency but it feels like I had more headaches from the heat this year. It is just not at all fun once it sets in, so I completely live inside my cold house for any temperatures of 28 C and above. I’m like a reverse cat, looking for cool places in my house to work.

Walks

I’m not even sure I went on 30 walks. For the last 4 years I’ve done 52 – 60 walks a year. There are a couple of reasons why: this has been an incredibly hot year and even thinking about getting outside makes me tense. I manage my 9am Zumba class by getting out, keeping well hydrated and getting straight back if the day is very hot, but anything in addition to that just feels like asking for (headache) trouble.

Photos

In 2019, we moved to a monthly family photo instead of weekly photos of the kids and occasionally of all of us. This was at Dion’s and Connor’s request and yes, there has been less moaning but it has honestly been quite soul-destroying seeing only iphone photos and very little photos of the kids, especially after we’d developed such good habits. Also, there has been a correlation in that because I’m no longer picking up the big camera on a weekly basis, I’m no longer picking up the big camera at all. I have already put a new goal on my list for next year – to schedule at least one photowalk a month with the big camera.

Care to share? What didn’t go well for you this year?

{2019 review} What went well in 2019?

I never used to like reflecting on anything really but it’s a part of my life I’ve really started to enjoy, not only having it done, but also the introspection part of it.

I particularly like monthly reflections, my birthday review and this, my annual review. I share that so that if you’re the same, you can take comfort from my initial discomfort and know that it’s a good thing to look back (however fleetingly!) and see how far you’ve come.

So, what went well this year?

Work rhythms

I’ve been in an excellent work rhythm for years now and I know how to manage the stressful parts of my job together with my personality. I do still have those moments because I’m human, but these days it takes me a day or two to get back to my preferred way of being rather than weeks like it used to.

A large part of this being on top of things is having my work from home day every week. There was a week recently where I had meetings the entire week and wasn’t able to work from home, and I could see how my deep work piled up.

My word of the year

I’ll talk properly about it in a post dedicated to the word, but I will say that BOLD has been an excellent and very timely word for me.

Book clubs and reading

I’ve always been a voracious reader and aside from a short reading slump this year (which I recognised because the same thing happened to me last year – could it be the time of year???), I’ve had a great reading year. Some months I abandoned all my rules and my sleep was interrupted as a result, but I read some great books, which I will also share in a separate post.

As for the book club, gosh, how I love my book club. We are in such a good place three years in. Dion suggested that it was because we are mainly obligers but actually we are the perfect ideal mix – 1 upholder, 1 rebel, 2 questioners and 4 obligers. We have good systems that work for proposing and veto-ing books, for hosting, etc. We’re reading good, discussable books and even if I don’t enjoy the book, I enjoy the discussion so much because I learn about the others’ points of view. It’s a truly life-giving intentional friend date that works really well and is still the highlight of my month.

This year, we also celebrated the first anniversary of Kids Book Club (such a creative name ;)). We are also in a good rhythm where this one is concerned. We have a core group of 3 sets of kids and another 2 sets of mostly regulars. I have a spreadsheet (of course!) for hosting so that we don’t always rely on the same people. The kids seem to like sharing their books because most of them want to go first and another mom, who was my kids’ amazing grade R teacher, came up with an excellent idea – first photos, then food 😉

Workshops

This year I ran 10 workshops with 75 people total: 8 Four Tendencies workshops, and 2 Five Love Languages workshops.

5 of those workshops were run at my home and 5 elsewhere: corporate offices, a hotel and someone’s home.

All were So Much Fun!

I can’t fully express how amazing it is to see people have realisations about their Tendencies and Love Languages right in front of me. It is amazing to have the privilege to be part of that and I can’t wait to welcome another 75 next year.

It would be remiss of me not to let you know that the first workshop date for next year has already been set: Saturday 8 Feb 2020. Mark your calendar, pay your deposit and come, let’s have some fun together.

One of my goals for next year is to run a Four Tendencies workshop for kids – I’m thinking April, so let me know if your want your schoolgoing child to attend. There will be student pricing available.

Friends

My scheduled friend dates are still working out well as is my friends spreadsheet. I got to see 3 Cape Town friends I’m not usually able to see on a Cape Town trip in October and it filled my love tank. I’m already on 90 friend connections for the year; could I make 100?

Workouts

I have a very regular habit going on of Zumba every Saturday, my Spanish dance class every Monday and Barre 180 on most Tuesdays. The Barre class is the one I’m most likely to miss if I need to, due to work, but still, I’ve already clocked 101 workouts, and hope to finish the year close to 120.

Sleep

My sleep has also been excellent this year. I will definitely end off higher than last year’s average of 7 hr 35 and am hoping for my best sleep year yet 🙂 Only I can get excited about that because my sleep used to be much less when I first started tracking it.

What went well for *you* this year?

{2018 Annual review} What went well this year?

This is part one of my annual review, where I start with the question I always use:

What went well this year?

  • I read a lot of books (the year is not over and I think I’ll end on around 110). In fact, I read more than I thought I would read, especially since my Goodreads goal was only 80. Many of them were great books, but that’s another post.
  • Book club was so much fun this year. This is year two for us and I think we’ve ironed out almost all of the logistical issues around choosing books, deciding on hosting, bringing eats, and so forth.
  • I had great work rhythms. I should write a post about my end-of-week work routines, but it’s in my Instagram Story highlights if you want to take a look. I’d venture to say if I didn’t have good work habits, things could have been even more overwhelming.

  • The kids were happy at school and with their teachers, and they both still love being active and reading. I also started a kids book club which has been one of the most fun things I’ve done this year.
  • We had 3 family holidays which is perfect. Dion and I would obviously prefer 4; – in 2014, we managed to go on 4 holidays and that was the absolute perfect rhythm…. and was also the last year we didn’t have kids in Big School.
  •  I did awesome with my sleep. This is a strange thing to put down but it’s something to celebrate for a night owl like me. I’ve been tracking my sleep since 2015 and it’s now a reliable 7 hrs 40 ish with good, uninterrupted, restful slumber.
  • I had a great week of prayer in October. Prayers that were answered (that I know about) – jobs!
  • I did all my 18 in 2018 goals. I did scrape in those last two but there you go.

  • I’m up to date with my photos. I also devised a system for school (see Instagram Story highlights) and holiday photos. A project for holiday photos will go onto my 19 in 2019 list because I’m only up to 2017 with regard to holiday photo printing.
  • I took an Enneagram coaching course which was amazingly insightful and best of all, I think it brought me closer to God.
  • I also took the Four Tendencies deep dive course which was so much fun I will be taking my accreditation early next year to run live, in-person workshops. Isn’t that fun? If you’re local I’d love to have you.
  • As far as the house is concerned, we painted three of our rooms upstairs, one of them navy. We also bought two new couches and a new armchair (these were so overdue – we replaced furniture we’d had for 15 years, and we received those as hand-me-downs from an uncle who was upgrading). And we put in a shower in the kids’ bathroom which was probably the best money decision since we now have our own bathroom completely to ourselves again. It’s hard to believe we’ve already been in this house 2.5 years.
  • I exceeded my personal savings goal (I just throw a stretch number out at the beginning of the year and see if I can hit it).

  • My system for tending close friendships is also working great. This is also for another post.
  • I took more than 60 photowalks this year and many drives to look at autumn leaves, winter branches or jacaranda trees.
  • I also decluttered another big stash of books I don’t plan to read and donated those to our local library, I decluttered bags, shoes and scarves (but I know this is ongoing) and gave away more than 60 notebooks. I was not allowed to buy more than 10 – readers, I confess I failed!
  • I put myself out there and ran two blog projects – Spring into Organising and this current project, to write for 15 minutes every day in November.
  • My core is stronger because I’ve now been doing my barre180 class for 16 months.

Over to you.

What went well in your life this year?

My annual birthday review

I started doing a review of my year that was a few years ago. This typically happens on the first free weeknight after my birthday.

I make a cup of tea, grab my bullet journal and sit down at my desk to do some actual writing.

It’s actually not important how you do it; just that you do.

I prefer to write so that I’m not distracted by the internet, notifications, etc. but if you don’t have that problem, by all means just type out your answer.

An aside – there’s no magic time to do a life review; I just happen to think my birthday’s a good time to take stock, but you can do it tonight! Tomorrow! This weekend 🙂

Here’s a post I wrote about this before.

Me, at 43

Again, here are some of the questions I used this time, but listen to your heart and write the questions you feel you need to explore. If you don’t have a clue where to start, start with these questions:

  1. what worked well for me this year?
  2. what didn’t work well?
  3. what do I need to stop doing?
  4. are there any relationships I need to let go of?
  5. how am I living out my word of the year? do I need to choose a new word?
  6. how am I living out my values?
  7. what do I want to focus on in the year ahead?
  8. what am I grateful for?
  9. how do I want to feel this next year?
  10. what do I want to give myself this next year?

A few notes from my birthday review:

  1. I’m very happy with my current work rhythms because I mostly feel on top of things.
  2. Some of my biggest joys this year were from learning my enneagram number and taking the Discovering You and Exploring you courses with Your Enneagram Coach, and from doing the Four Tendencies deep dive course with Gretchen Rubin.
  3. I’m happy tending to my current friendships while leaving enough space for spontaneity.
  4. We’ve had three amazing family holidays this year.
  5. I read 111 books from one birthday to the next 😉
  6. I’ve chosen to let go of situations that I normally wouldn’t, because it just didn’t feel worth it any more.

And now I’m ready to tackle 44!

Have you done a birthday or life review lately? What were some of your highlights/ insights?

Word of the year recap and new word for 2018

Happy New Year, readers.

My wish for you is to live intentional lives that matter, and to be at peace with the path you choose this year.

My word of the year for last year was give. It was a good word that served me well. Here’s my first quarter recap and here’s my half year recap.

  • I gave to myself by going to one more class each week at gym, I went on walks and I slept really well. My sleep average went up to 7 hrs 38 min from 7 hrs 32 min in 2016.
  • I gave at work through helping colleagues, giving my best to clients and even being patient.
  • I gave to my family energy (even when I didn’t feel like it) and time.
  • I also gave to friends and family by making more calls and sending more texts/ whatsapps than I felt comfortable with, and I was purposeful in giving gifts and paying for more things than is my standard.

And it felt really good.

Before I dive into my word for this year, I want to tell you a quick story.

In October, I asked on social media if anyone wanted prayer. Some people commented on my feed but one friend messaged me privately. She then asked if there was anything I wanted prayer for. Such a novel concept as she was the only one who asked how she could pray for me. I told her about some feeling things.

The very next day a work colleague sent me a link to an enneagram test. I’d taken two of these before and both left me doubtful about the whole thing as I didn’t feel like it quite got me.

This time I took the test because this colleague takes all the tests I send him (!) and lo and behold, it said I was an enneagram 1. I read the write-up and it finally rang true. I downloaded this podcast on type 1 and listened on my way home. It was perfectly me. (I recommend going to look for your type on this podcast – it’s amazing) It was also an answer to some of the feeling things I’d been discomfited by for the last couple of months.

Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the enneagram but I still feel weird about it because I’m not a perfectionist (or am I protesting too much) anymore. I even say on my instagram profile that I’m a recovering perfectionist.

However, I’ve bought a course from Your Enneagram Coach and she calls it The Moral Perfectionist, which rings more true for me.

Back to the word of the year…

This year my word is fun.

Enneagram 1s move toward Type 7 when they’re in a healthy state, and the 7 is all about fun. On another of those podcasts, they specifically mentioned that 1s need to be very conscious about planning for fun. Yep, that’s me.

I’m not unfun but I do have to remind myself to do fun things before work. This is why I have a relax portion on each of my weekend to-do lists. Otherwise I’d just go and go, and never relax.

and I believe God answered my prayer because those feeling things were answered by the enneagram.

I’ll be asking myself these questions a lot this year: what sounds like fun? does this sound like fun? would it be more fun to do x or y?

It sounds frivolous when I write that down but I’m so serious and intentional (and intense!) about my goals already that I think I could do with a year of lightness.

I’ve already mapped out for each area of my life sub-sections of the questions above over two (!) pages in my bullet journal.

I’m going to include, as a part of my monthly review process (sign up for my list – I made a new, very cute monthly review form which I’ll send out at the end of January) a section where I ask myself questions like…

  • what was fun this month?
  • what was not fun?
  • how can I create more fun?

If you like (tell me) I’ll share some of that here with you.

So that’s it – my very long and drawn-out story of how I chose my word of the year, fun, for 2018.

What was your word for 2017, and how did it work out for you?

What is your word of the year for 2017 ?

What is your enneagram number?

Yay – it’s annual review time!

The week between Christmas and New Year is, hands down, my favourite time of the year.

That’s because it’s the time I prepare my diary for the next year but, most of all, it’s because I finalise my year-end review and goal-setting for the next year.

Of course, you can do an annual review whenever you feel like it.

I do a review when it’s my birthday in August, and at the end of the year. The birthday one is more about my feelings and other such introspective things, while the end-of-the-year one is about all the other areas of my life.

A colleague of mine paid me the biggest compliment recently (she doesn’t even know it!) when she told me that of everyone she knows, I’m the only one she’s ever met who is this intentional about my goals.

It’s because I firmly believe that if you drift through life, there will be tons of things left undone simply because of lack of intention.

I don’t want that to be me.

I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant” and know that I’ve fulfilled my purpose in life.

Anyway, back to the process…

Some of the year-end thinking can be done as you go about your life (in the shower, while driving, etc.) but there comes a point when you actually need to sit down with a gorgeous pen and notebook, or with your laptop, and make the time to write things down.

There’s tremendous power in creating a sacred space for your thoughts, dreams, intentions and goals.

It’s also the perfect time to start the New Year with a clean slate – isn’t that appealing?

I book out a half day every year for exactly this purpose. If that’s not enough time (these things sometimes take a lot longer than you plan), I’ll take another half day.

For my birthday review, two hours is usually enough time for me to do the process justice.

Some of the things I’ll be thinking and writing about are:

  • my biggest accomplishments this year
  • things I definitely don’t want to repeat
  • the things I need to let go of – commitments, relationships, emotions
  • my word/ theme for next year
  • what my definition of success for the New Year will look like
  • and finally, the actual goal-setting

and so on

What about you? Have you created your sacred space yet for goal-setting?

PS remember to grab your free Let’s Do This workbook. I’ve also put a goals mindmap page and a lovely things to do list for all possible types of people out there – those who like their intentions more free-flowing and those who don’t want to think of it as goals.

{Annual review} What went well in 2017?

If you’ve had a rough year, you may be tempted to just scroll on by but hang in there – there are things in your life that went well this year.

I know this because even in my worst years, there were things that were good about it, and so it will be for you too.

Step one of any annual review process for me is to note down what went well about the year.

This year, I wanted to get going and build some momentum before working through my Let’s Do This workbook, which is free if you’ve signed up to my list. If you haven’t yet signed up, go here and I’ll send it out again on Friday, and then I’ll take off all the old freebies and put up this guide for the whole of next year (remember there’s no rule about when to start working on your goals!).

I get my best momentum with thinking things when I start mindmapping. So I wrote in my bullet journal “what went well” and made some spokes for God, family, fitness, fun, friends, house and word of the year. And then I let myself loose and under each spoke, I wrote whatever was on my mind.

Try that and let me know if it works to get you loose with your thinking because sometimes the getting started is the hardest part.

That’s my tip for you 🙂

A post shared by Marcia Francois (@marcia0608) on

As for my 2017, what went well?

  1. I’m hearing God better this year than I did last year. I started journalling and am really enjoying that process too.

2. The kids had great years at school and loved their teachers, we had two lovely family holidays and because they’re a bit older, we’ve been having more family lunches out because they can now behave 🙂 Dion and I have also had date afternoons most months. This month we went to see Bryan Adams so we’re ending on a high!

3. This has been a great year of reading – I will probably end up with about 120 books for the year, and it’s definitely the most non-fiction I’ve ever read in one year (I’m trying to finish on 40 so that it’s nice and neat :)). This alone deserves its own post but do leave a comment if you want to know something specific. These days, I get more questions about reading than I do about anything else

4. I also had a great year of sleep. I track my sleep to keep myself on track (strategy of monitoring works great for Upholders) and I will end the year over my goal of 7 hours 30 per night. It still amazes me that one has to actually be in bed much longer to get real and good sleep of 7:30.

5. I finally started a barre class and will probably end the year with about 60 walks. I’ve tried something the last two months on increasing my steps but let me work on it for another month and I’ll share next year. It’s really working for me though and if you’re not one of those 10 000 steps a day people, it may work for you too. I’ve just started back at Weigh-Less to lose some weight (I do have an actual number but I’m not putting it on the internet).

6. This year I started a book club with a friend and it has been so much fun for me. I still mostly read books no-one else reads but at least once a month, there’s something I can talk about with friends.

7. Speaking of friends, I haven’t had the best friend year but things that have worked really well is scheduling recurring meet-ups/ phone calls (again, the strategy of scheduling works great for upholders), my internal rule of always saying yes to out of town/ country friends, and I’m realising as I write this – this should probably be a post too 🙂

Now tell me, what went well for you in 2017?

Please feel free to leave me questions in the comments.



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