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:
Keeping an Open Mind
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!
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!
I want to share 20 Happy Things from 2020. If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I love a happy list! And given that this past year has been a *challenging* one I think there’s even more need to celebrate the things that make us happy. So let’s dig deep and find the good in 2020…
20 Happy Things from 2020
1 Releasing Find Your Happy
I’m so proud of myself for creating my journalling workbook and putting it out into the world. You can read more about it here. And I’ll definitely do a happy dance if you buy a copy!
2 Learning with the kiddo
My son spent 5 ½ months at home this year due to the worldwide pandemic. I feel very lucky that I was in the position to drop commitments in order to focus on him and his learning. That unexpected time with him was a gift and I will cherish the memories of us solving complicated maths problems and arguing about spelling!
Ah Reggie. My gorgeous, damaged greyhound. He came home with us in January and it’s like he’s always been here. He was scared of most things and full of quirks – it’s been lovely (& sometimes frustrating) getting him settled in and getting to know him.
4 The Rainbow Fence of Dreams
It has its own hashtag and it makes me smile – especially on the grey and miserable days! It’s my rainbow fence in my back garden. Painted mostly by me with a little help from the husband and kiddo. Reggie supervised.
Putting pen to paper has definitely helped me this year. Journalling, writing blog posts (not as many as I’d like), taking notes, planning, trying my hand at pitching article ideas – I’ve enjoyed it all. I love writing.
That leads on nicely to the next one. I bloody love stationery. I own far too much but I am getting better at using it rather than admiring it and being scared to use it!
I wasn’t new to Zoom and I have been a fan for a while but it feels like it’s been a saviour in the craziness of 2020. We thoroughly enjoyed participating in a regular music quiz via Zoom during lockdown. It kept us connected with loved ones. And I have even taken yoga and other classes with it.
I am a lifelong learner and I’m so happy when I’m scribbling notes and absorbing new information. I managed to do so much awesome learning this year – mostly virtually. Here are some of the things I learnt/courses I took:
Pitching to Publications course with Fiona Thomas as well as some of her webinars and workshops
The Freelance Summit with Emma Cossey and lots of awesome speakers
Various Grow & Glow training such as – productivity, building a personal brand, pitching, content planning, goal setting
Freelance and pitching webinars with Jenna Farmer
Sewing lessons with Beautiful Things
Mindset work, Year End Reviews and 2021 Vision Boarding and Goal Setting with Sophie Cliff, The Joyful Coach
My monthly subscription to Spotify has earnt its keep this year. Music is so good for turning my mood around and also for letting me wallow when I need it. I have so many playlists and use it to listen to podcasts too. During lockdown my husband, the kiddo and I took part in the 30 day song challenge and now we have a family playlist of 90 songs that hold meaning for each of us. Check out my Find the Good Everyday Playlist here.
10 Getting Outside Every Day
Reggie has certainly helped with this one – expecting his daily walks regardless of the weather. And the time spent outside was so valuable particularly during the lockdown periods when we weren’t going back and forth to school or going anywhere else!
I’ve heard that a lot of people completely disregarded their planners and diaries this year and that’s totally understandable. I felt something soothing in continuing to make daily to do lists and update my trackers so I carried on. For most of the year I used my trusty bullet journal but since September I’ve been using a Happy Planner (including Planner stickers – insert lots of heart eyes!). I really enjoy sitting down at the weekend and planning out the following week. But I do miss the daily lists of my Bujo… I might try some kind of hybrid planning system for 2021.
12 Online Communities and Groups
Online communities and groups played a massive part in keeping me feeling connected this year. I love the community on Instagram and enjoy the regular chats with some lovely people there. I’m still a member of Grow & Glow and enjoyed their regular calls and training sessions through the year. And I joined the Freelance Business Lounge back in June and the twice-weekly group coaching calls have been super helpful for my mental health and my productivity!
13 Being near my Mum
There have been many times this year I have dreamt of being back in New Zealand where they have managed the pandemic much better than the UK (helped by closing their borders). And I feel lucky to have lots of wonderful friends based in New Zealand.
(If you don’t know – I lived in NZ between 2005 and 2016. My son was born there and I have dual nationality with NZ and the UK).
But I’ve also been so grateful to be in the UK and near my Mum. We are her bubble and I found it comforting to know I could go to see her, do her shopping for her and other jobs she needed done while shielding.
14 Finally getting Netflix!
We were so late to the party on this but we finally have Netflix. I haven’t made it as far as the Tiger King yet but I am working my way through The Crown and love it! It’s great that we can each have our own favourites list. The trickiest thing is deciding on something for the 3 of us to enjoy!
15 Baby Yoda
My husband (who is likely to be rolling his eyes at my use of the name “Baby Yoda”) is a Star Wars fan so we watched the first series of The Mandalorian back in March when it was released in the UK. We’re currently working through the second series and I just adore Baby Yoda – such a cute character! I’m tempted to buy Baby Yoda fabric and make myself a dress!
16 Cadbury’s Giant Buttons
I love them! Perfect for sharing while watching a movie!
Where would I be without lists? They fit well with planning, writing and stationery too! As you probably know – I love a happy list and it’s fun encouraging others to write their own. This year there have been:
To do lists
Things I enjoy about Lockdown
Stuff that was put on hold because of the pandemic
Things I’m looking forward to when the pandemic is done
My 38 @ 38 list – having this list of fun things to do really helped me to keep seeking joy this year!
I’ve always loved books and reading – they (like a lot of things on this list actually) could easily make the top 20 of most year’s happy things! Some favourites this year have been:
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
And a lot of romances on the Kindle app on my phone!
19 The Dishwasher
We finally got a dishwasher late August after over 4 years without one. It’s made such a difference. I’ve been able to put the time saved from not washing up multiple times a day to better use! And it’s helped my hands and wrists which tend to flare up with aches and pains (thanks Rheumatoid Arthritis!)
20 Documenting Life
Once a scrapbooker – always a life documenter! I enjoyed taking part in Day in the Life and Week in the Life this year and it will be interesting to look back on those projects in years to come. I’ve also collated a video full of 1 second videos from each day this year using an app called 1SE. I did it a couple of years ago and it’s fascinating to see which parts of daily life have stayed the same and which have changed. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to take a snapshot of daily life I’d recommend giving it a go!
It feels so good to have written my 20 Happy Things from 2020 list. I wonder if they’ll be any more additions before the year is out?
What are your happy things from 2020?
If you want to write your own Happy List check out these posts:
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.
Today I want to share three ways of finding time for happy things!
I talk a lot about making time to be happy and doing the things you enjoy. But I can appreciate that sometimes we don’t think we have any spare time and that we are too busy to find the time for fun.
So how can we make room for the things that bring us joy?
I’ve also filmed this as an IGTV video so if you’d prefer to hear me tell you the suggestions hop over there to watch!
Firstly – and this is part of a prompt in my Find Your Happy workbook – why not take a look at the things that you don’t enjoy and that don’t light you up.
How can you do LESS of those things? This will free up time for the things you love.
For me, checking my phone and scrolling too often takes up time when I could be doing more happy things! So if I really focus on not doing that (& it takes a lot of reminding and work to remember not to do it some days!) I magically free up some time for things I enjoy.
Another example is I don’t enjoy sorting the recycling so I pay my son pocket money to do it!
The next thing to think about… what things do you enjoy that you could pair with things you don’t like so much?
For example – I often watch TV shows I like or YouTube or IGTV videos while I’m folding and hanging up laundry. And I listen to my favourite music or a podcast while I’m tidying and cleaning the kitchen.
This has the double whammy of doing more happy things but also making the less fun things more enjoyable!
And one last thing to think about – which things make you happy as well as being important to your health (physical and/or mental)?
I love walking outside in nature. It’s great for getting my steps up and is so important to my mental health. I am usually more productive when I take the time to get outside and walk. So how can I not prioritise time for being outside?
What happy things should you prioritise because they are beneficial to your health?
Finding Time for Happy Things
So that’s 3 things you could look at to try and free up more time for the things that make you happy.
I’d love to know which ones you might try and what happy things you’re trying to make room for! Let me know in the comments below.
If you’re looking for some advice on finding out what makes you happy check out these posts:
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!
This is a new feature for Find the Good Everyday. Every now and again I’ll share an updated list of what’s making me happy! They may not be monthly – I might make them seasonal but it’s great to get started today.
Just think – if you write down 5 things every month for a year you’ll end up with a list of 60 happy things!
August’s Happy List
My Son turned 10 this month and we got to celebrate his first decade on earth! I shared 10 insights from 10 years of parenting earlier this month. He had a low key birthday but really enjoyed it.
Big Little Lies (TV Show) – I don’t watch heaps of TV but I’ve been meaning to watch this for ages. I binged both series across 5 days and really enjoyed it. It’s an amazing cast including Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. I loved the soundtrack and found lots of great songs to add to my playlists.
We got fish! My uncle gave us a fish tank and lots of supplies so we headed to the pet shop to buy some fish. We got 3 little minnows. One hasn’t survived unfortunately but the other 2 are so fun to watch zipping around the tank!
Walking in the woods. I’ve been walking in the woods a fair bit recently. First because it was cooler during the hot days for walking the doggo. And it’s also a great place to go when it’s raining because we get a bit less wet!
We got a Dishwasher! This was on my 38 @ 38 List so it’s good to get it ticked off. We had to reorganise the kitchen to remove a cupboard to get it plumbed in so it wasn’t a straightforward job but such a worthwhile one. Now to figure out how it works!
Tell me – what’s making you happy right now? I’d love to know.
I’ll be back soon with another Happy List! In the meantime don’t forget to check out these posts:
This month my son turned 10. I’ll save you from all the “where did the time go?” cliches and just say the last 10 years went by faster than my previous 28 years combined! I really enjoyed writing and sharing my Insights from 10 years of Marriage last year so today I thought I’d also share 10 Insights from 10 Years of Parenting.
First – a little back story…
Becoming a Parent
We welcomed our son into the world 10 years ago. We were living in a town called Palmerston North in New Zealand. It was a beautiful Winter’s day (my midwife wrote that in my maternity notes and it’s stuck with me).
My pregnancy had been fairly smooth. We had a scare very early on. And towards the end the health care professionals became worried he was measuring small. I ended up being monitored for the last couple of weeks and was booked in for an induction the day after my due date.
We turned up at the hospital for an induction but it turned out I was in the early stages of labour. They broke my waters at 9am. I held my baby in my arms at 12.40pm. The hospital staff joked that if we had another I should probably book in the night before given how quickly my first had arrived!
Becoming a mother was hard. I struggled for a long time. Being responsible for a tiny human was my biggest challenge in life so far. I gradually learnt to relax and lean in and accept that I was doing the best I could at any given time. And I’ve learnt a lot along the way…
10 Insights from 10 Years of Parenting
Parenting is something you have to learn on the job. No amount of preparation can get you fully ready until you are a parent!
Listen to the advice that many people freely give. But it’s perfectly okay to do the complete opposite. We have to pick what works best for us at the time. As long as you have your own and your child’s best interests at heart don’t feel you have to justify those decisions.
We took a parenting course when our son was 4. Wish we did it sooner. It really helped us work out what kind of parents we want to be and gave us strategies to deal with frictions that arise in families. (If you’re in New Zealand – it was a Parenting Place Toolbox Course for the early years – would 100% recommend).
Build your own traditions. Celebrate them. Get the kiddos excited to be involved. And cherish them. Some of our favourites are:
pancakes for breakfast on birthdays and Christmas
decorating the house with streamers for special occasions
reading all together in the evenings before bed.
Find a way to capture the memories. I’ve always loved documenting life. I was a scrapbooker, I take part in day in the life and week in the life. I collate 1 second of videos from every day (I’m doing this in 2020 and have the full year from 2018 too).
For me – documenting life helps me realise how awesome the season we are in is while we are in it!
We grow in stages – remember the stages come and they go. Even the really tricky stages will come to an end. You will get through it. This too shall pass.
Learn to embrace your child’s personality. Figure out what drives them and work with that. Their personality may be completely opposite to yours!
For me, some parts of parenting have felt like a wild ride and I’ve wanted to stop the ride and get off. What’s been helpful is knowing myself better and knowing what makes me feel rested and refreshed. As an introvert I NEED alone time (something that was so severely lacking in those first years). I’ve learnt to find ways to get that alone time and come back as a better parent!
In terms of making rules and guidelines – we found some advice we were given really handy… it’s easier to start with stricter rules and gradually relax them than it is to enforce strict rules after starting more relaxed.
As a side suggestion here – learn all you can about the online world and how it effects our mental health – this is having a massive effect on kids today. Our school offers an annual e-safety session and I’ve picked up so much useful information through that.
Let them be little! I can’t say this enough. The world of responsibility and cynicism and adulthood will reach them at some point. But let them be little for as long as possible! Let them soak up the magic, the wonder and the whimsy of childhood while they can!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my insights from 10 years of parenting. f you’re a parent I’d love to know some of the things you’ve learnt along the way.
I wonder what the next 10 years will bring? Teenagers and all kinds of things I am far too naive about I am sure!
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.
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.
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.
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)
Today I thought it was time to answer the question: what does Find the Good Everyday mean?
It’s a phrase that I came up with several years ago when I wanted to start a new blog. I thought of all the things I wanted to share and tried to work out the common theme. At the time I was keen to talk about my journalling practices (such as Morning Pages and keeping a Gratitude Journal), the benefits of my daily yoga practice and how we celebrated the seasons throughout the year. I tried to work out what all of these things had in common. And I realised that it was all about seeking ways to feel happier in everyday life.
With my shiny new logo I thought I’d create a video breaking down the name Find the Good Everyday and what each part means to me. You can see the 16 second clip below:
In case you can’t read my handwriting (!) I’ve typed the lists below:
I’ve realised over these last couple of years – while working on the blog – that Finding the Good Everyday is something that evolves over time. Part of it is being open to new ways to bring joy to everyday life. And also learning to let the things go that no longer work.
What does Find the Good Everyday mean to YOU?
Why not think about what Finding the Good Everyday means to you right now?
What are you doing in your everyday life to bring more joy to your life?
What would you like to be doing to bring more happiness into your everyday?
If you’re stuck for ideas I have a couple of suggestions for you:
Take a look at my 30 day series – Find the Good in 30 Days. Pick one idea to try today or this week and see if it helps you find more joy!
Sign up for the Find the Good Everyday newsletter. You will receive a printable workbook to help you Find the Good Everyday plus I create monthly freebies to help you continue to do so. Examples of past freebies have been a Self Care Brainstorm, Happy List templates and a Mid Year Review Journalling Worksheet.
So, tell me, what are you doing (or going to do) to help you seek more joy in your everyday life?