Curiosity – My 2021 Word

Today I want to talk about Curiosity which I’ve picked as my 2021 word. I’ll talk about why I chose it and what it means to me.

Curiosity - my 2021 word (pin image)

This is not my first time picking a theme/focus word…

I do love to collect words! These themes or mantras work well alongside my personal values and my core desired feelings to help guide me when I need focus and as a reminder of what’s important.

Curiosity – Why I Chose my 2021 Word

Curiosity kept popping up for me towards the end of 2020. I saw a few quotes I liked about it and it kept winding its way into conversation around me. I attended (virtually) a couple of different year end review workshops and did some work around vision boarding and goal setting and curiosity popped up each time.

So before 2020 came to a close I decided that it was a good word to guide me in these strange, uncertain times and officially* chose it as my 2021 word. (*wrote it down, saved related images to a Pinterest board and told my husband.)

I think the reason it resonated with me was because I’m quite a curious person anyway (also known as: nosy and enjoys exploring) and it feels flexible. It doesn’t feel at all demanding or set in stone. The word itself allows for exploration, experimentation and an open mind. Which is exactly what I think I need this year when I really have no clue how the year is going to pan out:

  • Will we get to travel again?
  • How long will lockdown last?
  • What will happen next?

The Meaning of Curiosity

Firstly – wouldn’t that ^ be a great book title? That would draw me in straight away!

For me, curiosity is all all about:

  • Exploring
  • Experimentation
  • Keeping an Open Mind
  • Creativity
  • Less Judgement
  • Wonder
  • Joy

Here are some quotes I found that helped me get a feeling for what curiosity means to me:

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse

“The sky tells me there are no limits and curiosity tells me to explore.” – Duncan Sham

“Be curious not judgemental.” – Walt Whitman

“When you replace judgement with curiosity, everything changes.” – Robyn Conley Downs

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

I’d like to display my 2021 word somewhere to remind me throughout the year. And I wonder if it’s time to create some new Word Pebbles for the latest words I’ve collected!

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Have you chosen a word for 2021? If so I’d love to know what it is. If you haven’t and this idea intrigues you it’s definitely not too late!

Remember to stay curious!

My 2021 Word - Curiosity Pin Image

My 39 Before 40 Project

I’m in the last year of my 30’s! And I am working on my 39 Before 40 Project. 

Today I want to share the list with you. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a project or list of activities to complete between one birthday and the next…

So let’s see what I have planned before my 40th! Depending on the state of the world some of these activities may need to be amended. But here’s the starting list…

My 39 Before 40 Project

My 39 Before 40 Project

  1. Blog 25 times
  2. Release 3 FTGE (Find The Good Everyday) paid for products
  3. Mindset Training
  4. 39 Soundtrack 
  5. Document Christmas
  6. Sewing with Stretch course
  7. Take Reggie on “holiday”
  8. Go to Skye
  9. Ride a Horse
  10. Visit Norfolk
  11. Plan an epic 40th
  12. Spa Day
  13. Day in the Life
  14. Take a creative course/class
  15. Instagram growth – reach 1k and grow my community
  16. Europe city break
  17. Grow the FTGE newsletter and mailing list
  18. Visit Bury St Edmunds/Suffolk
  19. Reach my Find Your Happy Sales Target (please consider buying a copy!)
  20. Be Published and Paid
  21. Submit the kiddo’s high school application
  22. Family Movie Night with a Theme
  23. A Me Day for Whatever I like (follow my nose!)
  24. Do some work on the house
  25. Solstice and Equinox adventures
  26. Find fun ways to use glass jars
  27. Host a Crafternoon to raise money for Mind
  28. Food bank donations
  29. Share my RA story
  30. Read Untamed
  31. Monthly RAKs – big and small
  32. Try dairy free (for a week? Or month?)
  33. Bring back a meat-free-day each week
  34. Review this list monthly and make plans
  35. Aim for 30+ rejections and learn from them
  36. NLP Training Taster
  37. Be a guest blogger/tutor/speaker
  38. Make Hot Chocolate bombs with the kiddo
  39. Get kiddo ready for high school (uniform/kit, equipment etc)

What This Project Means to Me

As I’ve talked about before – the purpose of this list/project isn’t to give me more stuff to do. It’s to plan some fun activities as well as ones that can improve my life. And to document it all along the way. Having a project like this can make life feel more meaningful and whimsical. And I will amend and update the list as necessary as the year goes on.

It’s 6 weeks since my birthday and I’m pleased to report some of these activities have already been completed or are in progress.

I’ll be sure to provide updates as the year goes on! If you don’t already – follow me on Instagram where I can be found most often online.

39 Before 40 pin

38 Things Final Report

I am now 39 (and have been for over a month – where has the time gone?) so it’s time for a 38 Things Final Report!

38 Things is a list I created of 38 activities I wanted to do while I was 38. Some things on the list were affected by the pandemic and lockdown so were changed. 

You can see the list in its original format here.

I shared a progress report and a plan partway through the year.

So first up let’s look at what I completed…

38 Things Final Report

38 Things Final Report

Completed Items
  1. Visit Hobbiton 
  2. Take my son to the place where he was born
  3. Visit Wellington Zoo
  4. Meet some Kiwi dogs (that belong to Kiwi friends!) 
  5. Look for beach treasures on Wellington’s South Coast
  6. Soundtrack of 38 – I love putting these together and listening to them. I choose a song from each month of my birthday year.
  7. Summarize the decade 
  8. Celebrate hubby’s 40th
  9. Celebrate the kiddo turning 10
  10. Make plans for my 39th (pretty low key but I had a lovely cozy day!)
  11. Figure out Pinterest (as a blogger) – I’m not always consistent but I have an idea of what I’m doing now!
  12. Host Kiwi Xmas 
  13. Visit Harry Potter Studio Tour with friends and see the Gringotts extension – I went twice!
  14. Take part in and record A Day in the Life
  15. Finish reading the Harry Potter books with my son
  16. Spa Day – my spa day is still postponed but I did treat myself to a haircut, reflexology and pedicure over summer instead (like an extended spa day!)
  17. Take a creative class – I did a Valentine’s Mandala Dot Painting class in February
  18. Get a dishwasher (so pleased we got this done finally!)
  19. Spend time outside celebrating each Solstice & Equinox – love this reminder to follow the seasons
  20. Visit Silverstone
  21. Finish rainbow-ing the back fence and gate
  22. Submit NZ Story to a publisher/agent – I did send an enquiry – it was unsuccessful but that’s okay – I tried!
  23. Make reusable kitchen towels
  24. Do some kind of learning/course on writing – I took part in the Freelance Summit in June and took several courses and attended webinars about freelance writing
  25. Take a make-up lesson 
  26. Document our New Zealand trip – I wrote a blog post. Would have loved to make a photo book as well but didn’t get to it. 
Amended Items
  1. Go to the Isle of Skye – this didn’t happen due to the pandemic so I changed it to Get a Logo for Find the Good Everyday
  2. Collage I changed this one to Home-Learning with the kiddo during lockdown. 
  3. Visit the V&A Museum – I changed to Take Part & Record a Week in the Life.
  4. Make candles/soap – I changed this to Learn to Sew with Stretch Fabric and took a knicker sewing class in July plus I’ve purchased a course to continue learning.
  5. Ride a horse – I changed it to Rehome a Dog 
  6. Visit Norfolk – didn’t make it as far as Norfolk so I changed it to Mersea Island instead!
  7. Finish NZ Story – I changed this to Work on NZ Story as part of Camp Nanowrimo
  8. Blog 50 times – I changed this to 35!
Incomplete Items

These are the activities that didn’t get done… 

  • Get Published and Paid (carrying over to the next list)
  • Visit the remaining Tiptree Tearooms
  • Move to a mostly whole foods diet
  • Reach 1k IG Followers (carrying over to the next list)
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This 38 Things Final Report has been a while coming and it feels like such a long time ago. Overall – I am pleased with how it went – especially with the extenuating circumstances that are 2020!

Coming up – I’ll share my 39 Things Before I’m 40 list. I’ve already ticked some things off!

The Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

Hello! I want to share more information with you about Find Your Happy (the first Find the Good Everyday product) which is now for sale.

You can purchase the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook here. It is available as both digital and print editions.

Find Your Happy journalling workbook printed out

What is the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

Find Your Happy is a book filled with 21 journalling prompts. Each prompt should take around 10 minutes and has been included to help you think about the things that bring you joy and happiness… and how you can get more of them in your everyday life. 

There’s space for your writing on each page (if you purchase the digital eBook version you could print the prompts out to complete by hand, fill it in on your device or write your notes in a separate notebook). 

You can also choose how to work through the prompts:

  • Do 1 a day for the next 3 weeks
  • Do 1 section (containing 7 prompts) at a time and allow around an hour & a half
  • Dip in and out when you feel inspired

There are some other suggestions in the book too. I do recommend you do them in order as they are designed to build on each other and take you on a journalling journey.

How did the workbook come about?

I’m a long time journaller. I’ve tried many types of journalling over the years and if you’ve been around a while you’ve probably heard me talking about:

Getting my thoughts down on paper is how I deal with life! I make lists, I write down my thoughts and feelings, I weigh up pro’s and con’s of major life decisions, I keep track of what’s happening in my life. 

Journalling helps me in so many different areas! 

But I know not everyone has had the chance to build a journalling habit. Or perhaps you’ve been a journaller in the past and have fallen out of the habit.

I decided to create a workbook for journalling prompts to help people bring more joy into their everyday lives. I’ve purposely set the workbook up so that each prompt can take 10 minutes. If you want to you can spend more time but I can appreciate how hard it can be to find time for a new habit so I’ve kept it short.

I had a lot of fun putting the whole thing together and I am so pleased with how it’s turned out. Of course – it has a rainbow design (because rainbows feature very highly on my happy list!)

Feedback and Reviews

I’ve already received some wonderful comments about the workbook and I want to share them with you…

“I bought and downloaded your workbook, it is amazing! You’ve done a lot of hard work on it. Can’t wait to print it off and start working on it! Thank you.” – Amy

“Find Your Happy is a rainbow of joy in a bit of a cloudy 2020! I loved the collection of prompts, and Katie has clearly thought out the journey the reader goes through when using them. If you’re looking to get into journalling, or need a refresher, Find Your Happy is a must buy.” – Emma 

Is Find Your Happy for me?

  • Are you keen to give journalling a try?
  • Have you journalled in the past and you’re keen to get back into it?
  • Do you feel like you spend a lot of time making the people around you happy and run out of time for the things that bring you joy?
  • Are you keen to make positive changes to your everyday life to bring you more joy and happiness?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes- I really think you might enjoy Find Your Happy!

If it sounds like it’s something you want to try – you can purchase the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook here.

And please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. The quickest way to reach me is by email using the Contact form or send me a Direct Message on Instagram.

Best wishes for Finding Your Happy!

Figuring Out Your Values

Today I want to share some tips and ideas to help you with figuring out your values. I defined my values back in 2015 and they are still steering me and my life decisions 5 years later! You can read more about my process here.

Values Brainstorm with Questions

Why Do I Need to Know My Values?

  • Values can help give your life meaning.
  • They can help steer your direction and decisions you make.
  • Knowing your values gives you some roots and grounding to help you grow as a person.
  • Making decisions and commitments becomes easier because you can weigh them up against your values.
  • Your values almost become part of your gut feeling – they help alongside your intuition.
  • I wholeheartedly recommend taking the time for figuring out your values – it has changed my life!

Figuring Out Your Values – Getting Started

  • Set some time aside to do this. Ideally you want an hour – maybe longer. If you can – find some peace and quiet. Prepare your favourite drink, maybe light a candle and gather up some paper and a pen.
  • Start with a list of possible values (I’ll be sending a list of values out to email subscribers this week so sign up to receive your copy. If you’re reading this later – drop me an email).
  • Savour the list. Work through each word. Say it in your head and maybe even aloud. Does it mean anything to you? If it sparks a feeling highlight it. If it doesn’t leave it be. And if you’re unsure what a word means look it up. Work your way through the whole list. Try to highlight at least 20 words.
  • Sometimes thinking about the antonyms or the opposites of the words can be helpful. Thinking “I definitely don’t want to be that!” about the opposite of the word may help you figure out if it has meaning to you.
  • And also if there are words on the list that you are turned off by – have a way to mark them – the antonyms of these words may hold value for you.
  • Another thing to remember is that it’s your interpretation of the word that counts! (For example: Understanding is one of my values – and I chose it because of its many definitions. For me it means empathy and also learning/figuring things out. But it may have another meaning to you.)

Figuring Out Your Values – Picking the Right Ones for You

  • Once you get to the end of the list have a look at all the ones you’ve marked or highlighted. Do some of the words mean more? Give them an extra mark!
  • Now write each of your highlighted words on individual slips of paper. Post-it’s can work well or just scrap paper. Add a star to any that really stand out for you.
  • Can you group any of the words together? Do they hold similar meaning to you? If so – which word best encapsulates all of the ones in a group?
  • Try to prioritise or order them in some way. Which ones feel more important?
  • Tips for whittling the list down – take each word in turn:
    • Can you think of examples of when this value has been important in your life and steered you?
    • If you choose this word what would that mean? Can you actively live life according to this value?
  • Remember – these are your values – try not to be influenced by any external judgements of the words you choose. We are all different and how awesome is that?!
  • You can have as many values as you like. I have 5. I’d suggest aiming for 3-6 as more than that may result in less focus on them.
  • Once you’ve got a few picked out – sit with them for a few days. Pin them up somewhere you will see them each day. Do they feel right? You can always come back and tweak.

What Next?

An activity I did to expand on my Values was to create a sheet for each one.

On it I listed:

  • What the word means to me
  • Characteristics of the Value
  • Examples of the Value
  • And Non-Examples (what would be going against the meaning of the value)

I found this helpful to get to know each value even more. You can see my values and the sheets I created for each one here .

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Good luck!

I’d love to know what you come up with – please drop me a message or leave a comment if you find this activity helpful.

And don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list to receive the list of Values and other monthly freebies.

Figuring Out Your Values - pinnable image

38 Things Plans

Today I want to chat about my 38 things plans – how I intend to finish as many of the activities on my list as I can before my birthday in October. Specifically the activities that need more thought and consideration.

Earlier this week I shared my progress with my 38 Things list – the things I’ve completed and others that I am confident will be done. You can read that here.

You can see the list in its original format here.

38 Things Plans image

38 Things Plans

These activities need to be reviewed and plans put in place if I want to complete them by my 39th birthday…

Finish New Zealand Story (Memoir)

The plan with this is Camp Nanowrimo in July – I need to figure out a goal for July to make good progress. I then intend to edit and polish over August and September…

Submit my New Zealand Story to at least 1 publisher or agent

…and submit a query before my birthday in October.

Move to an 80% whole foods diet (most of the time)

At the moment I’m tracking my food using an app. I don’t want to go down the “diet / must lose this much weight every week” route so I’m recording what I’m eating to be more mindful and to collect data. I then hope to start making some swaps (particularly for snacks) to more whole foods.

Go to the Isle of Skye

I want to feel hopeful that this will happen but it’s not looking likely. I may change it to something more local for this year and aim again next year.

Get published (& paid!)

I’ve been doing lots of training and learning around Freelance Writing lately and I now want to start pitching ideas to publications. If you or someone you know needs some help writing newsletters, blog posts or something else – get in touch!

Celebrate son’s 10th

This one will happen (we wouldn’t just forget his birthday!) but at the moment it’s a little fuzzy how we can and will celebrate. I’m thinking a garden tea party – perhaps one with local friends and another with family. There will definitely be cake and presents!

Make plans for my 39th

Again – fuzzy on the details and I think I will leave this until much closer to the time to think about.

Figure out Pinterest as a blogger

I did some good work around this late last year following an awesome training day with Grow & Glow but I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit. I might need to do a refresher and try to get a routine in place to be consistent with my pinning!

Blog 50+ times

I got behind with this with no posts in January or April. But this post is my 26th since my 38th birthday. I’m hopeful I can get another 25 published before my 39th…

Reach 1k IG followers and aim for 2k!

This is a slow one. I’m currently sitting at just under 650 followers. I’m not sure that this one is still my aim. I think I’d like to look at increasing my engagement instead. I’ll make some notes of what my engagement is right now and try to increase this over the next few months.

Come and give me a follow to help me achieve my 38 Things Plans!

Visit the Essex Tiptree tea-rooms I haven’t been to yet (Billericay, Colchester and Saffron Walden)

Lockdown definitely affected this one! And I think the Colchester tea-room may have shut down because of it. I hope to make it to the other 2 as they reopen. We did order in an afternoon tea from Tiptree when they were shut so that can be in lieu of visiting Colchester!

Make my own candles and/or soap

I’d asked a friend who makes soap to give the kiddo and I a lesson but that hasn’t happened due to lockdown. I may see if I can find a simple kit so we can try it at home over Summer.

Have a spa day

This was scheduled for March but got postponed due to lockdown. It’s currently rescheduled for November which is after my birthday. Instead this will change slightly and be completed once I’ve had my hair cut, brows done and pedicure appointment after lockdown!

Visit Norfolk

I’m still hopeful for this one – it’s only a couple of hours from us so may be possible as lockdown eases. The original intention was to stay overnight but it may end up being a day trip.

Do some kind of course/learning on writing

I’ve been doing bits and bobs with this but don’t want to mark it complete and then stop learning! So I’ll be keeping this on the to-do list and making a note of all the training I complete.

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It’s been great doing this review and coming up with my 38 Things Plans. I think it’s important to review goals and plans regularly to make sure they are still appropriate and achievable.

What I’d like to do this year is have 38 things completed (not necessarily the original items). And then think about what I will carry over to my next list…which may be 40 before 40 rather than 39 at 39.

What would be on your list? How have you dealt with plans and goals that have been affected by lockdown and COVID-19?

38 Things Progress

I’ve been meaning to share my 38 Things progress for a while now. Today I want to share what I’ve achieved and the items still in progress.  I will also have a follow-up post sharing my plans for the remaining items. 

38 Things aged 38 is a list of activities that I want to do while I am 38. My birthday falls in October so I have 4 months to go. Some things on the list have been affected by lockdown so I need to decide if they are still achievable. 

You can see the list in its original format here.

39 Things Progress Report

So first up let’s look at what I’ve managed to complete and tick off…

38 Things Progress – Completed Items

  • Visit Hobbiton – this was one of the many highlights of our NZ trip
  • Take my son to the place where he was born – we saw friends from our antenatal group too!
  • Visit Wellington Zoo – a firm family favourite
  • Meet some Kiwi dogs (that belong to Kiwi friends!)
  • Look for beach treasures on Wellington’s South Coast – we were able to stay right on the coast which was amazing!
  • Summarize the decade (I did this in my Bullet Journal rather than as a blog post)
  • Collage I changed this one to Home-Learning with the kiddo during lockdown. I wasn’t excited to collage when I had time to do it so I changed it
  • Celebrate hubby’s 40th – there was cake, presents, decorations, singing and videos of his nearest and dearest wishing him a happy birthday!
  • Host Kiwi Xmas – we‘ve been doing this annually since 2016
  • Visit Harry Potter Studio Tour with friends and see the Gringotts extension – loved it!
  • Take part in and record A Day in the Life – you can see that here
  • Visit the V&A Museum – this one was unlikely to happen so I changed to Take Part & Record a Week in the Life. You can see the blog posts about it here and I also completed a paper scrapbook for a keepsake as well.
  • Finish reading the Harry Potter books with my son – we did it!
  • Take a creative class – I did a Valentine’s Mandala Dot Painting class in February
  • Ride a horse – I don’t think this will happen this year – I might carry it over to next year. So I changed it to Rehome a Dog (which we’ve done and he’s settling in)
  • Visit Silverstone – husband had a (running) race there in November and we all went
  • Make reusable kitchen towels – and we are using them!
  • Take a make-up lesson – it wasn’t a ‘formal’ lesson but my lovely friend Liz gave me lots of pointers and I’ve been watching some online videos as well. 

38 Things Progress – I will get these done!

These activities are in progress and I am confident they will be done…

  • Soundtrack of 38 – I’m adding a song each month
  • Get a dishwasher – we are in the process of getting quotes for the plumbing and electrics to be done
  • Spend time outside celebrating each Solstice & Equinox – 3 down, 1 to go
  • Finish rainbow-ing the back fence and gate – Have you seen the rainbow fence of dreams hashtag on IG? It’s all been painted once – some bits need a second coat
  • Document our New Zealand trip – I wrote a New Zealand Happy List. I also want to create a video made up of 1 second snippets (I’ll use the 1SE app in Freestyle mode). And I’m keen to get a photo book 

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That’s 18 things complete and another 5 items in progress. I’ll be back soon to share more about my plans to complete the remaining 15 items. 

My 2020 Themes

Today I want to share my 2020 themes.

In the past I’ve set goals. I’ve had guiding words for the year (2016 and 2017, 2018) and last year I picked a different word each month (see the words HERE and HERE). Plus I have my Core Desired Feelings and Personal Values to guide me in my daily and life decisions (sometimes I need a reminder though!). I think it’s safe to say I enjoy collecting words and using them to help me shape my life and make decisions.

This year I do have some goals which all fit within the three 2020 themes I have set this year.

I had 3 themes in 2019 as well – they were Wellness, Writing and Home & Family. They worked well but I wanted to tweak them a little this year to make them more inclusive.

My 2020 Themes Pin with Post-It’s showing words Wellbeing, Creativity and Connection

My 2020 Themes

The three words I have chosen are:

  • Wellness
  • Creativity and
  • Connection.

So what does each word mean to me? And why did I choose it?

Wellness

For years I used to set myself goals to lose weight or reach a certain clothes size. (Spoiler – I never quite reached any of these goals. Many times I came close and yet I still thought I was failing.)
Over the last few years I’ve realised that I want my focus to be on WELLNESS rather than a number on the weighing scales or in a clothes label. This year I want to focus on eating nourishing foods, moving my body in ways that I enjoy and other activities that contribute to my wellbeing. And I want this to be one of my top 3 priorities.

Creativity

I changed last year’s theme of Writing to CREATIVITY. I wanted to include other activities that I enjoy and that allow me to try new things and create.
For example – I learnt how to sew last Autumn and I’ve been enjoying being a beginner and getting lots of practice in. This wouldn’t fit under writing but it fits under creativity.
I have realised I am very much a creator. It fuels me. It inspires me. And it makes me happy. So this year I intend to embrace my creativity – whatever form it comes in!
I usually share what I am creating on Instagram – come over for a peek!

Connection

When I used the term CONNECTION in my Core Desired Feelings I used these words to try and define it: Mindful, Loyal, Engagement, Collaboration and Love. And these are the things I want to focus on this year. I want to stay connected to myself, my family, my friends, nature and the bigger picture.
Connection (or Love) is the thing, for me, that makes life great.
Of the three – this is possibly the most ambiguous theme but I have tried to set some more concrete goals around this to steer me in the direction I want to go.

So what now?

I will be referring to my 2020 themes often. They will form the focus of goals I set both short and long term over the course of the year. I’ve got them noted down in my Bullet Journal and I’ll be trying to check in with them at least monthly to see how they are working to help steer me where I want to go.

Do you have a word for 2020? Or themes? Or goals? I’d love to hear about them. Please do share in the comments.

Choosing Theme Words for the Year Pinnable Image showing someone journaling outside

Choosing Monthly Mantras

Monthly Mantras Post-It’s Pin

Back in July last year I shared a blog post about the Monthly Mantras I’d been choosing in lieu of a Word for the Year.

Today I want to share the words I picked for the remainder of last year and what they meant to me.

If you haven’t picked a word for the year why not choose a monthly mantra to steer you for the next month and see how that goes? You may decide to stick with it for the rest of the year or choose a different one each month depending on what’s going on in your life.

Monthly Mantras – July to December 2019

July – Connection

July was a month of social engagements and networking. I also set up the FTGE Facebook group. We had a family holiday to Scotland and I wanted a reminder to use every opportunity to form connection.

Connection is one of my Core Desired Feelings.

August – Balance

When I was throwing around ideas for August I quickly skipped past Balance – which is one of my Personal Values – as it didn’t feel achievable! But I quickly realised as I threw other words into the ring (adventure, routine, celebration, relaxing) that Balance was exactly what I should be focusing on that month.

August meant it was the Summer Holidays in the UK so my son was home. And he celebrated turning 9. I wanted to get to the end of the Summer break and be able to look back knowing we had fun and spent quality time together but that I also kept other things (the blog, social media, house work, creativity, food & exercise) ticking along as well.

And that’s where balance came in. As a Libra I am intrigued by balance and it’s something I often struggle with. In certain aspects of my life I can be All-or-Nothing…and Balance doesn’t get a look in.

I wanted to be mindful of balance. I wanted to remind myself that:

  • days spent at home can be just as much fun as days out
  • this introvert needs to seek out quiet time amongst the noise
  • I can enjoy an ice-cream AND the homegrown lettuce
  • we can do things on a whim and not have it all planned out.
September – Fresh

September makes me think of Fresh Starts. I used to love pencil-case shopping for back to school (& still use it as an excuse to look for new stationery)! When I thought of Fresh it led me to:

  • Start,
  • Ideas,
  • Food and
  • Air
  • plus Freshen Up.

In September I wanted to freshen up my routines so that I was putting more time and effort into my writing. I also wanted to make the most of the sunshine and summer vibes and get outside and eat lots of fresh salad and fruit while it was still available.

October – Magical

For October I chose MAGICAL for my monthly mantra. I’ve always found Autumn to be magical plus it’s my birthday month and there’s Halloween right at the end so it felt like a good choice! We also returned to New Zealand for a visit in October and I knew that I wanted that trip to be magical. I was ready to look for magic in daily life.

Magical is one of my Core Desired Feelings.

November – Adapt

I didn’t choose November’s word until a little bit into the month. We returned from our New Zealand trip on the 9th of the month full of jet-lag and feeling discombobulated. Adapt seemed to be the right fit. I wanted to get back into the right time-zone, guide us all back into regular daily life and get back into the swing of things. I was also adapting to the change of seasons and light levels as Autumn took hold. Plus I had some recent changes to my health that I needed to adapt to.

December – Peace

I chose this word in retrospect right at the end of the year. It took longer to adapt then I’d expected and December snuck up on me. I ended up needing to relax and rest and let things go. I made a conscious decision for less stress, rushing and busy-ness. And most of all I needed to make peace with the year and everything that had happened (I’ll be honest and say that in February 2020 I’m still working on that! And hope to share more soon).

Peace is one of my Core Desired Feelings.

Did Choosing Monthly Mantras Work for Me?

It’s interesting to look back at the words I chose over the course of the year.

5 of the words chosen (Nourishment, Spark, Connection, Magical and Peace) are my 5 Core Desired Feelings and I think this has helped me realise that those words are still very important to me. Two of the words (Love and Balance) are Personal Values of mine.

Towards the end of the year I felt less connected to this project. I was late picking the words each month but I did still continue. And I think there was value in selecting words midway through the month and even in retrospect. I’m glad I did it. I enjoyed having a different theme each month and I’d recommend giving it a go – particularly if choosing one word for the whole year is daunting.

Choosing Monthly Mantras BuJo Pin Image

Forward into 2020

In 2020 I haven’t chosen a single word for the year and I’m not currently choosing a monthly mantra. Instead I have some themes for the year and I am setting goals relating to the themes. I’ll be sharing more about this with you very soon.

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Do you have a theme word this year or this month? If so do let me know. I love seeing what other people choose.

Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020

Today I’d like to share some inspiring book recommendations for 2020. Why not add some of these to your Christmas Wishlist? I have read each of these books and can happily recommend them. There’s a bit of a mix here but I think each of them can help you Find the Good Every Day in their own unique ways. 

Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020

Big Dreams Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe
Inspiring Book Recommendations - Big Dreams Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe

I’ve been a long time fan of Elise. I read her blog for years, purchased from her Etsy shop and took some of her scrapbook online classes. I was excited to see her news on Instagram a while ago that she was writing a book! She shared a lot of the behind the scenes planning and writing of the book which I loved.  

I requested a copy of the newly published book for my birthday in October and took it with me on our recent trip to New Zealand.

The Tagline is “Set goals. Get things done. Make time for what matters.” The book is divided into sections which help you step out of your everyday routine and look at the bigger picture. From the start Elise walks you through what a goal is, how it’s different from a to-do list item and WHY you should set goals. She suggests how you can make room for the things that bring your joy, how to set big goals and break them down to daily actions and how to stay motivated. 

I gleaned many useful tips and new ways to look at planning and goal setting from this book. If you’re keen to start the decade off with some planning and goal setting and you want concrete advice on how to turn dreams and goals into reality – add this book to your Wishlist!

Depression in a Digital Age by Fiona Thomas
Inspiring Book Recommendations- Depression in a Digital Age by Fiona Thomas

I’ve followed Fiona on Instagram for a while now. Back in the summer I was lucky enough to win a 1-to-1 call with her to discuss all things freelance. Fiona had lots of great tips and advice. I’ve now got lots to think about in terms of earning money from my writing (watch this space in 2020!). 

Fiona has written a memoir about mental health and technology and I finished reading it this week. 

Depression in a Digital Age is an honest and interesting look at how technology and social media can affect us in both negative and positive ways. I could relate to Fiona’s story and it’s helped to give me a better understanding of anxiety and depression. 

There’s a lot we can learn from this book. Fiona writes about the importance of taking a break (from both our daily lives and our online lives), how we should work towards our goals at our own pace and when we share our vulnerabilities it can help other people and ourselves. 

This is a great book to pick up and read to get an understanding of living with anxiety and depression. As well as how technology has a part to play in our mental health. 

Other Inspiring Book Recommendations

As well as these most recent books I’ve read and loved I have some older favourites to share with you as well. I’ve blogged about these books before and would recommend you consider adding them to your Christmas Wishlist. If you click through on the title you can read how they’ve worked for me.

The Desire Map
the desire map by Danielle Laporte

If you’re looking for an alternative way to think about setting goals (based on how you want to feel) this is a great place to start. There’s plenty of inspiration in the front section and a workbook in the final section.

The Artist’s Way
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

If you want to explore your creativity and embrace your inner artist (as a writer, poet, painter or any form of creative work) please read this. If you don’t think you are a creative person DEFINITELY read this!

Big Magic
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is another recommendation for those interested in their creativity. This book looks at the link between our spirituality and creativity. It’s also got some great advice for working with your fears rather than letting them stop you going for what you want. 

Better Than Before
better than before by Gretchen Rubin

If you’re keen to stop bad habits or encourage good habits next year this is the book for you. It helps you work out how you react to inner and outer expectations and suggests strategies for habit building and breaking. 

The Goddess Revolution
The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells

This book provides a refreshing look at the diet industry and the importance of taking care and loving yourself.

The 4 Pillar Plan
The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

The 4 Pillar Plan is written by a doctor. It offers advice you can follow at home to make improvements to your health and wellbeing.

Other Book Related Posts you may enjoy

Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020 - pin

I hope you’ve found my Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020 helpful and added a book or two to your list!

I’d love to know which books you’d recommend to help Find the Good Every Day?