Before I share I’m going to answer a couple of questions that I imagine you may be wondering (& the questions I asked myself when I decided to write this list)…
Why do I need another list?
I probably don’t but I love a list (if you’re new here you can find evidence of that here, here and here!). As the new year arrived I realised there were some things I wanted to do in 2022 that weren’t on my 40 for 40 list. Having these random things floating around in my head is not good – I either forget them or they distract me from other things. So I decided to see if I could come up with 22 of them and make it a thing.
What’s the point of this list?
I think I originally heard about this idea from Gretchen Rubin’s podcast. A list of things you want to do in a year – the number of which is based on the year (so 19 in 2019, 21 in 2021 and so on). It’s a fun way to mark the year and do some of those random things that I might not get around to.
Accountability is so important for me getting things done so I decided to turn the list into this blog post and share the list on Instagram to help me stay on task!
I’ve already completed some of them so I’ve marked those as complete. Here we go…
I have chosen a 2022 word of the year. And that word is SIMPLICITY.
Today I’m going to share why I chose it and what it means to me. I’ve also got some tips for diving deeper with your chosen word, a journal that may help you connect with your word and links to my previous writing about chosen words for more inspiration.
Finding my 2022 Word of the Year
I played around with a few words in December but didn’t feel ready to settle on one. I contemplated something around play and playfulness as well as explore and adventure. And I also added simplicity, simplify, clear space, less and ease to my list of potentials. Then I took a break over Christmas.
In early January I was ready to come back to it and I think, in the end, simplicity chose me. It kept coming up in conversations and online content and I was intrigued by where it could lead me. I did some further brainstorming and research and then made the decision to make it my chosen 2022 word of the year.
What does it mean?
For me simplicity is all about keeping things simple and getting to the heart of the matter. I want to focus on what really matters and make things easier where I can. I’d love to do some decluttering and create some space in various areas of my life and I think simplicity can help me do that.
I have a tendency to overcomplicate things and overthink them and I definitely have too much stuff. I need some simplicity in my life.
Here’s a couple of quotes about simplicity I found that resonated with me:
“Simplicity is the soul of efficiency.” – Austin Freeman
“The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity.” – Sogyal Rinpoche
“Make it simple, but significant.” – Don Draper
“Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
I am excited to see where simplicity might lead me in 2022.
Diving deeper into my word
After choosing a few words over the years I have developed something of a system for getting to know my chosen word. Here are some of the things I do:
Take some time to journal or list what it means to me
I look up the dictionary definition and write it down along with any synonyms that help me understand my word further
Then I look for quotes, affirmations and inspiration relating to my word (usually with a simple Google search or having a look through Pinterest)
I also try and check in with it with some regularity – I sometimes do this with:
journaling about how my word has come up in my life
continually seeking out inspiration about my word
As I was beginning to do this work this year I decided to create a journal to keep me connected to my word throughout the year. It has space for getting to know my word and collect quotes and inspiration as well as 12 check-in pages (each one has a space for observations and a different journal prompt around my word). I’ll be using this journal throughout 2022. And I thought you might find it helpful too…
2020 and 2021 both brought with them lots of uncertainty and challenges and I want to be able to remember the good stuff that happened amongst that.
So let’s get started…
21 Happy Things from 2021
1 Strictly Come Dancing
I am so late to the party on this one…it’s been going since 2004 apparently. But I left the UK in 2005 for 11 years and I don’t think Strictly was screened in New Zealand. I jumped on the Bake Off wagon when we returned in 2016 but it’s taken a bit longer for Strictly. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching it this year and might even dip into some of the archives before the next series.
2 The Isle of Skye
We visited Scotland in the Summer and enjoyed a wonderful few days on Skye. It was incredible. The whole stay was wonderful and we managed to cram a lot in. It’s hard to pick favourites but I have fond memories of a mammoth day where we visited Dunvegan Castle and took a boat trip to see the seals, walked out to Claigan Coral Beach and paddled in the very cold sea and then took a late afternoon hike to the Fairy Pools. I’d love to go back and see even more and visit other Scottish Islands too. I shared a selection of photos here.
3 Opening my Etsy Shop
I opened the doors to the Find the Good Everyday Etsy shop at the end of the May. It’s been a wonderful ride and I’m looking forward to coming up with even more guided journals and items to help you find the good in daily life next year. A BIG thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way.
I took a Learn to Sew course back in Autumn 2019 and since then I’ve enjoyed creating things from fabric and thread! In 2021 I tried sewing lots of new things including clothes for my son. I enjoy the challenge combined with the process. Sewing is very mindful for me because I have to pay attention. And I look forward to continuing to develop my skills and make ALL the things!
5 Turning 40 – Visiting Kent and a Swim in the Sea
20 years ago I am sure that I thought everyone over the age of 35 was old. But now my age starts with a 4 I have discovered I care less about what others think and more about the things that bring me joy. (To be fair – I think I have been working on this throughout my 30’s). I enjoyed turning 40 and we timed it with a few days away in Kent which was an adventure. I even got into the very cold sea for a dip!
6 Hosting Workshops and Lives
It’s interesting to me that these things have made the list as on the run up to them I feel anxious and nervous. Hosting some Self Care Journaling Workshops and some Instagram Lives this year felt like a push out of my comfort zone and they are something I want to explore further and continue with in 2022.
7 Jigsaw Puzzles
It can be hard to find the good amongst the pandemic but I am grateful that it granted me both the inspiration to try some jigsaw puzzles and the time to do so. I’m not sure why they didn’t make the final cut in 2020 but they are definitely one for 2021. I enjoy looking for puzzle images that bring me joy – and that spurs me on to get them made. I find puzzles a great way to step away from screens and it’s fun when the whole family gets involved.
8 A Family Mini Break in Norfolk
We didn’t go anywhere in 2020 after the first lockdown and I felt sad about that. Exploring places and going on adventures is something I love doing with my loved ones. So this year we decided to stay fairly local and short but ensure we got some time away from where we live. Our first trip was at the end of May – to Norfolk. We took Reggie (our greyhound) on his first holiday. It was only 2 nights away from home but felt like a balm after so long without a trip away.
9 My Birthday Lists – 39 and 40
I’m starting to wonder if Birthday Lists are my life’s mission! (Although journaling and documenting life is up there on the list too!) I thoroughly enjoy coming up with my lists of things to do between one birthday and the next. As with any long-term projects – I tend to lose my way somewhere in the middle but I enjoy striving to complete as many fun things as I can. I’m proud of everything I completed whilst 39 and I’m having fun with my 40 for 40 list so far.
10 My Son finishing primary school
This one is bittersweet for sure. It felt like a big milestone for him but I hadn’t realised it would feel like one for me as well. There were some happy moments mixed with sad ones as he farewelled his primary school and made the move to secondary. As someone who loves reflecting (and can sometimes wallow in nostalgia) I am glad I made the decision to enjoy and embrace all the feelings.
11 My Spring Wreath
I like to honour and acknowledge the Solstices and Equinoxes in some way and when I was scrolling through my photo reel from 2021 for inspiration for this list I found myself pausing over the photos of my Spring Wreath. I purchased it from a local business. It’s a willow wreath and completely natural. I was able to plant the primroses and mini daffs into pots when I was finished with the wreath. And I’ve also kept the willow base to use in the future.
12 My Pink Raincoat
I treated myself to some new clothing items (and some help from Sarah at Styled by Susie) as my 40th birthday approached. My favourite new item by far is my pink raincoat! After years of using a raincoat we got free with dog food (we sadly said goodbye to that dog in 2016 but the coat endured!) I am so happy to put something on that makes me smile when I walk the dog every day.
13 My bargain ‘designer’ handbag
We are local to quite a few charity (goodwill) shops and I often peek into the windows as I pass. I’ve found some lovely items in them over the last few years. A few months ago I peered in and saw the bag of my dreams (I’d never seen the bag before but I knew that’s what it was as soon as I saw it!). It’s a navy handbag with a detachable long strap. I think it cost me £20 and was as new (the strap and hardware were still wrapped in packaging). I love it!
This list would be incomplete without a nod to my own form of therapy. I’ve consistently written morning pages and a daily gratitude journal this year and it has such a positive effect on my mindset and mental health. I’ve also taken part in some journaling challenges and programmes. And I thoroughly enjoy coming up with journaling prompts for my newsletter subscribers (sign up for my newsletter here!) and IG community regularly. As well as created my guided journals for Etsy. Even this 21 Happy Things from 2021 list counts as journaling!
15 Reggie & Dog Walking
I’m so grateful for our dramatic and often grumpy greyhound – Reggie! Our daily walks are always good for me and he encourages me (& gives me a very good excuse) to get out the house and move my feet every single day. Getting outside and as close to nature as I can has been a necessity this year more than ever.
16 Making the kiddo some pyjamas
I’ve already touched on how happy sewing makes me but this one deserves it’s own place on the list. I love making things and I enjoy making things for other people. But being able to make clothes? And then feel joyous every time he wears them and thinking ‘I made that!’… that’s priceless! I hope to make some clothes for myself next year. Please wish me luck!
17 1SE Videos
I use an app called 1SE to edit together a video containing 1 or 2 seconds of footage from every day of the year. I’ve done this for a few years now. It’s gotten much easier now with live photos as each photo I take has some video. I tend to collate the clips together in bursts. I share each month’s video to a personal IG account and save the year-long films and share the link with family. It’s emotive to watch and appeals to my nostalgic side.
18 Planning some work on the house
We’ve got some work coming up on the house (hopefully it will start before the end of 2021) which I’m excited for. It’s going to be a lot of work to move everything around in our small house to get it done but I know it will be worth it to have freshly decorated and carpeted bedrooms to relax and rest in.
19 Revisiting Flylady and Routines
A friend reminded me of the Flylady system recently. It’s a system for keeping your space clean and tidy and being kind to yourself along the way. I followed the system years ago and even have the book so I re-read it and was pleased to try it again. There’s an app now which helps you stay on track with what jobs to do when. It’s very early days but I’m taking the baby steps that Flylady encourages us to do.
20 Getting the Home Office organised
Way back in February we gave our home office a bit of a makeover (no decoration but some new furniture and a fair bit of decluttering and sorting out). I’m so glad we did this as my husband continued to work from home for almost all of this year and it’s now a much better space for him to work in. I also use the space often as that’s where our printer is and I enjoy using the standing desk!
21 Seeing Reggie’s Progress
Reggie is quite a nervous fellow (as retired greyhounds often can be) and he’s particularly wary around other dogs. We brought him home in January 2020. With lockdown happening while he was still settling in he didn’t really get the chance to meet people or dogs other than us. It’s been lovely this year to see him warm up to friends and family when he meets them. He’s still wary of other dogs and hates fireworks with a passion but his progress is fantastic!
Ahhh it feels so good to have written that list and reflected on the good parts of 2021.
I feel almost sad to be coming to the end of the year. There are no written rules to say I can’t keep Curiosity as my word for 2022 but I think I’d like to explore the possibility of something fresh and new.
I am sure Curiosity will continue to be an important word to me and help guide me at times of uncertainty. I think the benefit this year (in particular) was that in itself Curiosity isn’t fixed or determinate. And I needed that in 2021 when the world was uncertain and the rules kept changing and we weren’t entirely sure what was coming next or how we would get there. Curiosity gave me a pass to explore and experiment and let it grow as we went along. And as I start to ponder a possible guiding word for 2022 – that’s something I will consider. I want to choose a word that allows me space and freedom. Let’s hope I can find one just as good, if not better, than curiosity!
More on Word of the Year
So that’s my reflections on curiosity. This wasn’t my first rodeo for Word of the Year and I’ve shared previous words in these posts:
I have a year to try and complete all 40 of these things. This year has some repeats of favourite activities (like my annual soundtrack, seasonal celebrations and a random me-day!) and some new ones too. A lot of sewing made the list this year. And lots of fun.
I’ve already made a start and ticked a couple of things off! (Can you guess which ones?).
And here it is – my 40 for 40 List
Sew myself some clothes
Sew the rainbow quilt
Try stand up paddle-boarding
Something fun with the kiddo
Something fun with the husband
Afternoon tea with my friend Sarah
Try and escape room
Learn to say “um” less when speaking
Keep track of everything I read
Family holiday with Reggie
Family Trip Overseas
40 x Strength and Resistance Workouts
40 x Yoga practices
Try another NRAS course or similar
Visit Saffron Walden
Make the sewing with stretch dress
Wild/open water swimming
Watch 12 new to me movies or TV shows
Read 40 books
More mindset training
Random me-day trip/adventure
Seasonal celebrations – mark each season
Ride my bike
Host a workshop
Go to London
Day or Week in the Life
The elusive Spa Day
Take a creative class
Organise all my craft supplies
Finish my sentence-a-day journal
Sewing Club – finish silver level
Sewing Club – Gold level
Write a letter to 50 year old Katie
Try hot stones reflexology
Get a facial
I’m sure I’ll post an update here at some point and I will also share some of these things as I do them over on Instagram.
Have you ever done anything like this? What would be on your list?
I didn’t quite manage the 25 I originally intended but I’m happy to call this one complete with 18 posts written and published over the year. And that year included a chunk of national and local lockdowns and home learning for my son… I did what I could!
2 Release 3 FTGE (Find The Good Everyday) paid for products COMPLETE
I am so pleased that I opened my Etsy shop this year and have already reached 40 sales! I’d love it if you popped over for a look. And I overachieved here – releasing more than 3 products.
3 Mindset Training COMPLETE
I have realised this year that mindset is a constant work-in-progress and it’s something I want to prioritise regularly going forward.
4 39 Soundtrack COMPLETE
I love this one and recommend you give it a go! I pick one (sometimes 2) songs each month that I’ve been listening to or that remind me of something we’ve done or even shows/films we’ve been watching. Here’s the 39 Soundtrack on Spotify.
I didn’t get to ride a horse but I did do a 20k step day when we were in Skye (visiting Dunvegan Castle, the Coral beach and the Fairy Pools) and I felt that definitely deserved a place on this list!
10 Visit Norfolk COMPLETE
We did this in May and took Reggie.
11 Plan an epic 40th COMPLETE
We had dinner out (with cocktails!) at the newly opened Cosy Club, I treated myself to some new clothes and we went away to Kent for a few days – it was really lovely.
12 Spa Day Personal Shop (With a Stylist) COMPLETE
The Spa Day got cancelled again! (We originally bought the Spa Day package in November 2019. Hoping it will happen while I’m 40.) Instead I got an online shop with a stylist to help me pick some new items for my wardrobe. It was lots of fun.
I was so convinced that I would do this but it just didn’t happen. I found more enjoyment working on items for my Etsy shop than I did pitching for work. So I embraced my word for the year – curiosity – and I followed my nose. This may be something I come back to in the future but it wasn’t the right time this year.
21 Submit the kiddo’s high school application COMPLETE
This was done back in October and we were very pleased to find out he got his first choice school in March.
22 Family Movie Night with a Theme COMPLETE
We watched Harry Potter, made Butterbeer and had HP related snacks! (M&S sell chocolate frogs and other wizard treats!)
23 A Me Day for Whatever I like (follow my nose!) COMPLETE
I originally intended to take myself off for an adventure but instead I read a whole book (that I’d been eagerly awaiting) in a day!
24 Do some work on the house NOT DONE
I had a list of things we wanted to do but it didn’t happen. We started looking into a new kitchen and other things we wanted done but were never quite motivated to crack on with the projects. Hopefully soon!
25 Solstice and Equinox adventures COMPLETE
Winter – made a wreath
Spring – purchased a beautiful Willow wreath
Summer – went on a lovely walk with the family
Autumn – got my hair done and worked on Autumn items for my Etsy shop!
26 Find fun ways to use glass jars COMPLETE
I ended up playing with glass jars for my Crafternoon in aid of Mind.
27 Host a Crafternoon to raise money for Mind COMPLETE
I did this in November. I really enjoyed hosting and would definitely consider doing it again.
28 Food bank donations COMPLETE
I set up a monthly financial donation to our local food bank at the end of last year.
29 Share my RA story NOT DONE
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in March 2020. I’ve had a blog post drafted about this for a while and I had planned to share it around the time of RA Awareness Week in September but I don’t feel quite ready to share yet.
30 Read Untamed COMPLETE
I read it, loved it and recommend it!
31 Monthly RAKs – big and small COMPLETE
I didn’t always do these monthly but I did at least 12 over the course of the year. I really enjoyed this one. It was fun coming up with different ideas. I did giveaways on Instagram and through my newsletter and chose someone who purchased from my Etsy shop to win a £5 voucher.
32 Try dairy free (for a week? Or month?) Try Second Nature COMPLETE
I changed this one to trying a 12 week programme around nutrition and mindset. It was good – I learnt a lot and have recently started a repeat of the 12 weeks to build on what I learned the first time around.
33 Bring back a meat-free-day each week Try More Meat Free Recipes COMPLETE
I didn’t keep track of this so I don’t know if I managed a meat free day every week. But we did try more Meat Free Recipes and make sure we add some to the meal plan every week.
34 Review this list monthly and make plans COMPLETE
I didn’t use any ‘formal’ way to review but I regularly checked the list to see how I was getting on. And this 39 Before 40 Final Report counts right?!
35 Aim for 30+ rejections pitches and learn from them NOT DONE
As I said for Number 20 – this didn’t happen. I did send some pitches and followed them up. But in the end I found more enjoyment and satisfaction from working on items for my Etsy shop so I focused my time on that instead.
36 NLP Training Taster COMPLETE
NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I did this in January. It was interesting and something I would consider exploring further in the future.
37 Be a guest blogger/tutor/speaker COMPLETE
I was a guest on the Creative Productive podcast and also did an Instagram Live with the host Sarah (@stationerymagpie). I was a guest tutor for the Bring Back Paper membership. And I did an IG Live with Alexis all about Instagram and how I use it.
38 Make Hot Chocolate bombs with the kiddo COMPLETE
This was fun and we’ve made more since. Maybe we should make some for Christmas presents this year?
39 Get kiddo ready for high school (uniform/kit, equipment etc) COMPLETE
We did this and we are continually working on getting him set up for success.
So that’s my 39 Before 40 Final Report. In summary:
I’ve completed 35 items on the list – really chuffed with that.
Of those 35, 7 were changed from the original list for various reasons and I am okay with that.
4 were not completed but I’m at peace with that.
I’ll be back soon to share my 40 for 40 list which I’ve already made some progress with!
The first daddy-long-legs have made their way in, the leaves are turning and I’ve started wearing extra layers – Autumn is here! So today I thought I’d share 5 ways to embrace Autumn days.
5 Ways to Embrace Autumn Days
Get outside as much as you can – it helps to have layers and raincoats handy with the changeable weather! Enjoy the Autumn scenery and the crisp air. And take advantage of any sunshine and blue skies we get before the darker months of Winter.
Make a list of things you want to do to celebrate the season. You could:
Cook/bake with seasonal ingredients
Create a nature table/tray/display filled with conkers, acorns & multi coloured leaves
Have a pyjama day
Watch some Autumn themed TV or movies
Try a new hobby or craft…you could learn to knit/crochet and make yourself a scarf ready for Winter!
Make a list of all the things you LOVE about Autumn and make time to enjoy those things.
Think of something you’d like to focus on this season (like a goal or intention) and schedule some time regularly to work on it. Imagine how good it will feel at the start of Winter if you’ve committed to it over Autumn. Examples include:
A new exercise schedule
Keeping a gratitude journal
Having regular ‘me time’ to do what brings you joy
Reading up on a subject that interests you
Getting back into a favourite hobby
Which of these suggestions will help you embrace the Autumn days? What are your favourite things about the season?
Helping you Embrace Autumn Days
I’ve just released some items in my Etsy shop which are designed to help you make the most of the season:
The Autumn Days Guided Journal is available in paper and digital format and provides lots of prompts that build on the suggestions above to help you celebrate Autumn.
It has plenty of space for:
setting seasonal goals
exploring what you love about Autumn
helping you make the most of and find the good in the season
creating an Autumn playlist (of seasonally themed music, TV, movies and books)
The Find the Good Everyday Gratitude Journal is a handy A6 sized journal printed in rainbow colours with space for 31 entries.
This is a great starter for developing a regular gratitude practice. Why not try it every day for a month and see how it feels?
Each page offers space to write the date and list 3 things you are grateful for (feel free to squeeze even more in!). There is also a prompt on each page to help you if you’re stuck for ideas – flick through the prompts until something resonates.
Seasonal journals – I created Spring Goodness as a practice run and then Love Summer to sell in my etsy shop. An Autumn version will be coming soon!
Creating my etsy shop – trying not to get to hung up on what’s right and just experiment
Looking at nutrition and wellbeing from a curious perspective to try and lessen my all-or-nothing mentality
Getting back into sewing and making new things – I took a Learn to Sew course Autumn 2019 and loved finally being able to use a sewing machine. Over lockdown with a focus on home learning and not having enough space for sewing it fell by the wayside but I’m gradually getting back to it now
Trying different planning methods – it’s good to try new things but in this case I realised bullet journalling really suits me and I started a new bujo last month (I’ve previously blogged about bullet journalling here and here).
I’m more aware of the word Curiosity and tend to notice when it comes up in conversation or discussion – it helps me tune in and learn more about curiosity!
I do wonder if I use the excuse of curiosity to keep exploring new things rather than cracking on with existing hobbies. And if sometimes it lessens my focus?
But all in all I think it’s been a great word for me and I am glad I chose it.
Plans for curiosity for the rest of the year
I want to continue to use it as a lens and theme for the year. Something that I think about when new opportunities arise and also when issues and challenges come up in daily life… looking at things from a point of view of curiosity rather than judgement helps me to be more open minded about how I deal with problems. At least that’s what I hope!
Did you pick a word for 2021? If so – how’s it going? Has it had an impact on your life?
Today I want to talk about Seasonal Self Care and how planning and thinking about our self care seasonally can help us take better care of ourselves.
What is Seasonal Self Care?
So many people I chat with say that making time for self care is hard and it’s often the first thing to fall by the wayside when life gets busy and routines get changed up.
But what if we looked at our self care on a seasonal basis? For both the seasons of our life and the seasons of the year.
We know that self care isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and that we have to work out as individuals what taking care of ourselves means (Hint – it’s not always about the bubble bath and pampering!). Different times in our life call for different ways to take care of ourselves. And I know that my self care in Winter looks very different to the Summer.
Perhaps part of our commitment to self care should be sitting down at the start of each season and working out how we can take better care of ourselves? It’s also a great opportunity to review and reflect on what’s been working and what hasn’t… to help us determine the self care that feels right for us every day and what works at certain times.
For me – journalling is a constant… every morning (about 90% of the time!) I write morning pages and every evening (99%) I write in my gratitude journal. Getting outside in nature is also a constant for me… but where I choose to go is dependent on the weather and the seasons.
Take a moment to think about the things you do regularly that contribute to your self care and figure out if they work every day or change up depending on the season.
Examples of Season Specific Self Care
Here are some examples of seasonal self care but remember – it can look different for everyone.
Summer Self Care
Wearing SPF daily
Meditating or doing yoga/exercise outside
Creating and listening to a Summer playlist
Visiting the beach or seaside
Making salads that use plenty of in-season produce
Autumn Self Care
Making crumble and other Autumnal recipes
Starting/getting back to a hobby that suits Autumn and Winter (like knitting, crochet etc)
Buy a new sweater or jumper to keep you cozy
Treating yourself to a new candle
Go for a walk somewhere where you can see the Autumn colours
Winter Self Care
Making sure you have warm layers to wear including hat, scarf and gloves
Trying out new hearty recipes for the slow cooker
Putting up fairy lights to add some twinkle
Have a regular early night where you cozy up with a book or to get more sleep
Spring Self Care
Visiting your favourite spot to see Spring flowers
Getting outside in the garden
Decluttering your space
Trying something new (a hobby or activity)
Use the extra evening light to walk in the evenings
If you have any season specific self care activity suggestions please do share them in the comments below.