Talking through our family, health and finance goals. It’s so blooming good to do this. When we first started doing it, we were broke and crap with money. Savings = zip. Debt = a lot. But when you put attention on these things, it starts shifting. You start getting more intentional. Money starts working for you.
We’re far removed from where we once were: we are self-made multi-millionaires, and pretty financially savvy. But we still have a budget, and we still talk regularly about what we need to be doing with our money to be a good financial custodian.
The importance of being a good financial custodian
Financial literacy is probably the reason why most lotto winners are broke in a few years. They haven’t yet built up the skills and mindset on how to keep money. It’s one thing to have a lot of money, but it’s another thing to actually keep it blooming and growing. It’s a process that comes over time, with self-education and experience.
It’s funny the way we think about millionaires: we think LUXURY SPENDING. Cars, houses, fashion.
But in the excellent book, “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J Stanley, research shows that kind of spending behaviour is for people trying to LOOK like millionaires. Real millionaires tend to instead be fairly conservative with their spending, and not look fancy. They get there is an art to being a good financial custodian, and that spending money isn’t something which grows their net worth (or their happiness). They also tend to be far more able to financially support causes that matter to them.
Anyways, this is a really long way round of saying: me + Mr D have been talking about money again as we work through the workbooks. Have you done your financial planning in your workbook yet? It’s so bloody important.
AND in that process, I’ve realised that I’m doing unconscious spending that isn’t contributing to my net worth or happiness.
Somewhere along the way I’ve started thinking that because I am a cashed up boganaire, I SHOULD be spending money. And I’ve gotten really lazy about spending: thinking I should rather than actually looking at needs and what I currently have that I could be using instead.
I’ve decided to do a No Spend experiment to reset my financial barometers again.
For me, the best way to make a resolution is to do it publicly. (Probably because I’m an Obliger tendency according to this fantastic book.)
I also feel like reducing consumption is an important part of environmental conservation.
So here I am. No Spend Leonie.
Funnily enough, as I was writing this, my friend Jen Storer wrote about her Depth Year and I realised that’s exactly what I’m doing!
“What if, for a whole year, you stopped acquiring new things or taking on new pursuits. Instead, you return to abandoned projects, stalled hobbies, unread books and other neglected intentions, and go deeper with them than you ever have before.”
Let’s talk through the details, yeah? This is for me too, helping me plan out the problem parts.
Where do I spend the most?
Books are my favourite thing to buy. I think nothing of dropping $100-$200 in a bookstore or online book order regularly.
And yet: I have an extraordinary number of books that I haven’t read. I also have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. AND I have an excellent local library.
Time to enjoy what I have!
This has been another favourite shopping pleasure of mine. But I have SO much stuff already. And it can get super pricey super quickly. So I’ll use what I have, and get creative!
Mate, the shit I have can fill rooms. I don’t need more stuff.
HOWEVER: I’m giving myself two opt-outs here. I am in dire need of some new canvasses, and have been meaning to get some for a month. Being an artist is kind of my job, and one of my favourite things in the world. So if I need canvasses, I’ll get ’em. Also, I sometimes like to do cross stitch. I’ve used up the kits I have currently, but if I want to do more, I’ll get myself ONE until I am ready for the next one.
Potential problem areas I need to watch out for: I think one of my biggest spending issues is that I usually buy things online. And when I do, I buy a bigger order to make the shipping cost “worth it”. If I really, really need to buy something online, I need to just buy what I need, not aim for the free shipping amount.
I am not much of a clothes person anyway. I just couldn’t give a shit. Everyday wear is a pair of hippy pants and a printed graphic t-shirt. I’ve got a crap tonne of undies and bras.
Potential problem areas I need to watch out for: this is kind of ridiculous, but I can totally forget to wash my clothes. And then wonder why I don’t have any clothes to wear. And then I buy more. I just need to do washing when I run out of clothes! PROBLEM SOLVED!
I’ve got piles of it. Now to just USE IT.
Potential issue: I have one art journal here, and the rest of my stock is in storage. My blank art journals are by far my most important piece of stationery. A couple of years ago, I went a bit nuts and bought a case of 20 of my favourite art journals so I would never be without them. I’ve used the exact same journal type for the last 20 years – since I was 16! Anyways, that stock is in storage now until we find our next house. So I’ve got one journal to tide me over until then. They usually last me about 3-4 months. If the end of the journal comes before our new house does, I will need to get me another one. OR! I could do something COMPLETELY CRAZY and… use a different kind of journal as my art journal. Phwoar. I think I’ve just blown my own mind right there.
We will see what happens. I’m just spitballing possibilities here. If I need to buy myself another $10 journal, so be it! I just want to be really intentional with my purchases instead of unconscious.
In terms of pens, I THINK I have enough stock to get me through at least a few months. If I run out, I need to dig around in boxes: I’m sure there is SO much stationery around!
This one was actually the first thing I started fretting about when I thought about my No Spend Experiment. I like to buy magazines not for the purpose of reading (though I DO read them!) – instead their chief purpose is for collage supplies for my art journalling. I’ve been chopping up magazines since childhood. Ha!
Things I can do to work with this issue: I need to organise my creative space. I found 2 brand new magazines that I’d bought and didn’t even take out of the paper bag from months ago. I also have scrapbook paper I can use instead. And it could create an opportunity for a different kind of journaling/creative experience.
As a last resort, I could get some from a charity or tip shop.
I do like to treat my friends and family! Gift giving is one of my love languages.
I can probably be way more creative though: make thoughtful things for them. Consider other ways I can send love.
It’s amazing what shit I can buy at Big W or Kmart. It’s not even a specific thing… it’s just because they are cheap and accessible, really. I want to be way more intentional about giving Big W my $.
Potential problem areas I need to watch out for: my husband and kids LOVE Big W. It’s next to our local post office and always feels so easy just to stroll on into. Mr D buys practical shit for the house. The kids use their pocket money to buy something. This is my experiment, not theirs. Having said that, Mr D does want to be more intentional as well, so we will probably cut down our number of trips there.
Like all homeschool mamas, I went NUTS on buying books and curriculum for homeschooling. And haven’t even used 10% of what I’ve bought. This year, I want to use what we’ve got and not buy anything more.
I’ve also got an Education.com subscription, and I can also look at Pinterest and make supplies we need as well! Like today I was lusting over some flash cards and realised I could make them super easily, and they would probably be way cuter too.
I order all my skin care supplies and hair care through doTERRA as part of my monthly order.
I make my skin care using their essential oils, and use it for almost everything healthcare, soulcare and bodycare.
I only order what I need anyway, plus I reckon it’s a good preventative healthcare expense.
This one I am not sure on. On one hand, I LOVE encouraging literacy with my kids. On the other hand, we have SO MANY books already. I think the solution is: make full use of the library instead (which we already do). And let them use their own pocket money on books. And if Mr D wants to get books for them on occasion, I’ll follow his instinct.
We pretty much are sorted on this front. The only thing that may need replenishing in their wardrobe is leggings in winter. Still, that’s 6 months away. And there are some there already. Again: I just need to be intentional.
And make sure I JUST DO THE DAMN WASHING when we run out of clothes!
I’ll cover these in my next post… that’s a whole other thing to discuss!
Areas my No Spend Experience doesn’t cover:
Cafes. Mama likes her cafes. I’ve thought about doing a no spend experience on cafes, but honestly, that would cut a huge chunk of enjoyment out of my life. Mr D suggests we only go there on weekends as a treat. WE WILL SEE.
Mr D’s spending. He spends fuck all anyway. He’s the kind of dude that will splash out and buy himself a $6 computer mouse and be thrilled and tell me all about it. He’s super conscious of his spending habits, and I have no interest or need to moderate them. It’s my unintentional spending that is my area of concern.
Car. We will probably trade in our old van for a new car this year. We bought the van second-hand fairly cheaply years ago. I’m wanting to get a new car with better safety features because I am officially middle aged (is 36 middle aged? I’m middle aged in my soul anyway) and I care about things like SAFETY and LAP BLANKETS and RETIREMENT FUNDS.
House. We’ve been saving up for a new larger house for three years. That will probably happen this year.
How long will this experiment go for?
Good question. I want to do as much of this year as possible.
I am also not going to be militant about it. I just don’t have that personality type.
If I mess up, I’m not going to be cross with myself. Just keep turning up and being more intentional and doing better.
The point of this all is to reset my spending barometer.
I’m thinking about maybe keeping track of all the purchases I do make, just so I am super clear to begin with.
Or even writing a list of all the books I do have sitting on my bookshelves and crossing them off as I go. How fun does that sound?
And most of all: enjoying what I have.
There’s so much to love already. I don’t need more.
I’m writing to you from a wooden table at the top of a sand dune.
The water is surging and rushing at the beach below.
The breeze is sweet, the afternoon sun is bronzing my feet.
Here I am.
I’ve escaped the house for a couple of hours.
My kids and husband are designing new “skins” for their Minecraft world.
We’ve already spent the whole day together. Gone to the library, trawled the street for smoothies, wondered whether the helicopters and police and fire stations circling the base of the world’s second largest rock are there for a rescue or just to practice. My husband remarks “Pretty sure it’s just a practice run, not many rescue operations also have a mobile coffee and hot dog van next to them.” I tell him: “Rescuers need energy too!”
By the time it’s 3pm, it’s time for me to run toward solitude.
Sometimes it is easy to do this, like today. I tell my family I am leaving, and my husband sweetly says “Go. Go find yourself a little place to sit at the beach.”
Other times it is harder. Sometimes they’d really not rather I go. Sometimes my four year old is so clingy she won’t even brush her teeth without me in the bathroom with her.
“I will be wonely without you Mummy,” she tells me, eyes brimming with tears.
I go anyway, because if I don’t I will be swallowed up alive, and I will be closing my eyes, hands clenched, becoming the shrieking mother I never wanted to be.
I go because my wholeness relies on it, and if I don’t, I am combustible.
I’m not always as committed to it as I am right now.
I’m committed to self care and solitude so I’m not committed to an institution.
I’m committing, and will continue having to recommit to it for the rest of my life, because a Swallowed Whole life with no space for reflection or creativity is my own kind of purgatory.
I know I’m privileged in this.
But self care is never earned or given, it always has to be claimed. Even when you think you can’t do it.
Especially when you think you can’t do it.
I gave up showering daily when I had kids.
Gave up brushing my teeth twice daily and went down to just one.
Gave up breakfast for a long time there.
All those microscopic time saving methods as a mother.
Giving up basic levels of self-care because I was stretched in other directions.
But my kids are 8 and 4 now, and it’s time for me to claim back more time again. More of me again.
I tell my husband:
“I wonder if I should try and fit in daily showers again.”
“Things aren’t what they used to be hon. We don’t have shrieking babies anymore. These little things can make a big difference.”
Gotta recommit to it, over and over again.
But I’m supposed to be talking about my yearly planning right now.
And all this came out.
But maybe that’s the answer anyways.
That life is busy. And if you parent, life is extra busy.
And we still need time with ourselves and our dreams anyway.
Need to carve it out by hook or by crook, knowing it will make all the difference.
And it has.
Yesterday, I wasn’t up to driving anywhere, so I walked around the corner from my house to the little park that is there.
Took my workbooks with me. Left my phone and laptop at home.
Sat on the ground while the ants crawled all over me.
Shifted around as the sun shifted around.
Watched a scrub turkey stroll by, admired his impossible fan of a tail.
Watched a teen girl stride by me to the swings, headphones on. She swung wildly with abandon for the longest time, listening to that music, staring out at the coastal gums. I felt like she had life worked out, that chick. She knew what she needed to do for her. And she did it.
To set goals in every area of my life and business for the year ahead.
I was pregnant with my first baby back then.
I knew the initiation into motherhood would be tough.
Needed a mast to lash myself too.
The mast of my dreams and goals.
A love letter to myself in the future, to remind me of who I am and what I want for when I get lost in the dark.
The workbooks are my room of one’s own, as Viriginia Woolf would say.
They just also happen to have been the room for 350,000 other people now as well.
350,000 souls lashing themselves to the mast of their own biggest dreams and sweetness.
We will ride out the big waves of life.
I’ve done my yearly planning. Up trees, in cafes, in bed.
It’s usually better to do it outside of my office/usual work space.
I just feel clearer when I remove myself from it.
I’m always fascinated when people worry too much about what pen to use or which binding work betters or the “best way” to fill out the workbooks or if they need to be in a different mood or energy to do it “properly”.
As though everything must be perfect in order to dream a perfect dream.
That it must be imminently Instagrammable.
I must tell you: it’s never been perfect for me.
Planning has always happened in stolen hours. Sometimes I’m in a filthy mood when I begin. There is currently a screaming child near by me. It’s not my own, which is a pleasant change. I use whatever pen I can find at the bottom of my bag. I usually have ants using me as their own personal workout joint. There is frog shit on the bench beside me.
It doesn’t fucking matter.
All that matters is that I DO IT.
In a world that wants to swallow us whole, it’s a reclamation to take time for ourselves. To get quiet enough to know: This is what I want. This is what I will do to get there.
People ask if the Closing Ceremony in the workbooks is that important.
I must tell you: it is.
It will give you healing. And clarity.
From years that are disordered and painful, it will weave the threads into a tapestry.
You will leave that ceremony feeling resolved.
You will see the gifts in the grit, the reason in the random.
Plus: all that life and story and experience? It’s gifted you wisdom that will benefit you for years to come. May as well take the time to mine for it now.
It usually happens in January, this whole planning thing. Give myself a deadline, squeeze in stolen hours until it happens.
It affects my whole year, so it’s time well spent.
Once it’s written down, I keep it close.
Refer to it often.
“A millionaire looks at their goals once a day, a billionaire looks at them twice.”
Everything I’ve created, I’ve written it down in those books first.
And come back to it again and again.
Created what I wanted, even when the winds try and blow me off course.
“If you don’t know where you’re aiming, you’ll hit it every time” – Zig Ziglar
I put it in my diary.
Schedule it all out.
Make it ritual.
Return to it over and over.
And day by day, a year is transformed.
Time for me to head down the sand dune.
Put my feet in the water.
Look out at the blue sky.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
For all this. The beauty and the despair.
And most of all: Thank you, Leonie of two hours ago. For gifting me with the deepest medicines I know: solitude and creativity.
My dearest is the kind who reads Social Psychology textbooks for fun, and who psychoanalyses as a hobby. I don’t mind, because I find lying on a couch very comfortable, and it lets me get undivided attention from him. WIN WIN!
Here’s the convo we had:
“Hon, how many goals do you have?”
“Well, there’s 100 personal goals for this year, and another 150 personal goals for my life… and then 150 business goals I am working on this year… but those don’t include my monthly income goals… or the weekly goals about what I want to create…”
“Right. Okay. Right. I see.”
I can see in his eyes he didn’t really expect my answer to be in the triple digits.
He’s silent for a while. And then:
“Hon, you do realise the average person has 15 GOALS OR LESS???”
At this point, I laugh hysterically.
“15??? HA! HAHAHAHAHA! But you know, when you think about it, I do get a lot more done than most people. There’s probably a correlation there. I’m very discerning about what I want in my life. And I make it happen.”
He is silent for a while.
I think I’ve awed him into silenced. That, or he’s pondering what to make us for dinner. I never really know. He keeps me in suspense, that dude.
But I’ve kept thinking about it.
Kept thinking about the average person’s goals + why I have so many.
And here’s what I’ve come up with:
I’m ding dang passionate about my visions + making them come true.
And I love correlating what works + what doesn’t.
I’m a devotee of my dreams, and thus I’m a goddess of my goals.
And I KNOW that when I write down my goals (aka the map of how to make my dreams come true)… they come true quicker + with more certainty.
So it’s pretty obvious why I’m such a massive ra-ra-cheerleader of the goals!
There’s a certain magic that comes from having goals + writing them down.
If I decide to do anything, I write it down + make it achievable.
It’s the difference between driving from New York to LA with your iPhone maps app in hand… and deciding you want to drive to LA but not even taking a damn map. What’s going to get you there quicker and with less frustration?
The story gets even more severe when you don’t even decide that you want to go to LA. You don’t decide where you want to go at all. So you just get in your car and drive around aimlessly, not really sure what you’re looking for – and not really finding it either.
Goals are the destination and they are the map to get you there.
I reckon ya gotta have them – and what’s more ya gotta make your goals achievable.
How do you make goals achievable?
Instead of wishy washy goals of “I want to spend time with my love”, I write down “I want to have 20 date nights with my husband this year.” And when it comes to releasing new programs, I don’t say “I want a successful launch”, I say “I want to find the 300 people who are needing this.”
Wishy washy goals are ones you can’t ever tick off as being DONE. There’s a lack of certainty about whether you’ve arrived or not.
Achievable goals are tick-off-able and doable. That’s what ya need.
Goals keeps my actions in line with my intentions.
Once I know numbers, I can work out HOW to make those numbers happen.
And guess what? Sure as shit, they do come true. When you get so super clear on what you want to create + make those goals a part of your daily practice… of course it’s going to happen!
The point of all THIS is…
Have you written down your goals for this year, this month, this week? Have you started your 2019 My Shining Year goals workbooks yet? Have you got a list of your dreams? Is the path from where you are right now to where you want to be written down, mapped out + on its way?
Put your actions where your intention are…
and see your dreams manifest into reality.
That’s what it takes.
To create everything you want.
Let’s do this, possum. We can make ANYTHING happen!
I think they are the most underrated success strategy ever.
And I reckon if every spirited and heart-centered adult + teenager was using them… this world would change and be healed for the better.
Goals can EMPOWER us to make our biggest dreams come true.
Let’s not forget about what the research says too:
Why is it important to set goals?
We need guidance + advice to propel us into the direction of our dreams.
We need support systems to help us make it happen.
We need to spend time dreaming up our vision.
When we don’t get clarity around where we’ve been and where we want to do, we get stuck in the same old place & same old routine.
We need to let go of all the old past stuff & be grateful for it so we can move onwards.
We need delicious, probing questions to help us get to the soul of what it is we need.
I know we can all get caught up in how to write goals though.
So I wanted to give you some guidance on how to create goals that work. Some tips and tricks that will help you set and structure your goals in a way that will help you actually reach them.
I like to call this…
(drum roll please)
Fuck, that’s handy right?
HOW ON EARTH WILL WE REMEMBER IT???
let’s get started babe!
G: Get Motivated
Absolutely every single goal you set for the rest of your life should be motivating to you.
You may think that goals by their very nature are motivating, but that’s totes not true. For example, saying “I want to quit smoking/lose 3 kilograms/stop picking my nose and eating it,” is not motivating AT ALL.
It focuses on LOSS… not GAIN.
Without a motivational component, it is easy to become frustrated and even annoyed by goals.
There are bunches of ways to add a motivational component to your goals. All you have to do is really get to the heart of why you want to achieve the particular goal.
Maybe quitting smoking really = saving enough dosh to go sit on the beach for a week and no longer hacking a lung up.
Maybe losing weight really = having so much energy you can run after the kidliwinks (or run away from them super quickly so you can go to the dunny on your own #motivational)
Maybe stopping picking your nose = leaving calories for gluten free sticky date pudding. #priorities
Anyways… find the piece that makes you feel like a winner. And remember that. Over and over. In your head.
Coz it will get hard. But you need the good dream to hang on to.
Make your progress observable and rewardable.
This could be as specific as keeping a spreadsheet of your progress as you lose weight, or as vague as taking a monthly progress pic. The My Shining Year Workbooks has ways that you can check in daily, weekly, monthly and/or yearly to make sure you are tracking your goals.
Another way to do this is with a technique called ‘Don’t Break The Chain.’ This involves getting a giant wall calendar dedicated exclusively to your goals. Hang it somewhere prominent and then every day that you successfully work towards your goal, you get to place a big red heart over that day. Plus, another excuse to get some fabulous unicorn stickers with glitter! #winnnnahhhhhhhhh
After a few weeks, the psychological aspect of not wanting to break your chain of success will kick in because you can actually visualize each day of work you put in leading up to that day. You can structure almost any goal in a way that works with this technique.
Another thing I do is create fundraising thermometers for money or numbers-related goals.
You know when a charity is fundraising, and they have a thermometer showing where they are in reaching their goal?
I do the same for me, and hang it above my desk to motivate me.
It’s also awesome for your kids to learn too. My kids get SO invested in my thermometers, and they make their own.
For example, my eldest decided she wanted to save all her weekly pocket money until she had $100.
She worked out it would take 20 weeks (she gets $5 a week), and has been patiently pooling her money away and filling in her thermometer which hangs over her bed.
Today was the hallowed day she hit $100. She proudly took her purse to the toy shop, and told us “I know how to save money up now!” She spent $31 and is keeping the rest.
It’s enormously satisfying to colour in sections of fundraising thermometers. So motivating!
Your goals need to be actionable! Don’t just make vague promises to yourself. This means they need to be specific and highlight targets and ways to get to those targets.
So… for example. Maybe your goals is being able to pretend you are Heidi and yodel in the Swiss Alps with the fam bam? I get it. I understand. I too have this goal. So much so I have been practicing yodelling for many years now. I feel I am becoming incredibly gifted at it. My husband parrrrrrticularly enjoys this hobby of mine. As soon as travelling with kids does NOT make me want to stab myself in the face with a cucumber, I am allllllll the fuck over that Swiss Alp. Like… Swiss cheese on bread. Holy.
So… back on track. The goat track. The one up the mountain that Heidi goes on.
I AM KIDDING.
But seriously. I am sooooooo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ooooooo good at this. #heidipuns #yodelfest
If you… like me… have big hairy (goat) goals like I… break it into an ACTIONABLE goal.
With a Swiss holiday trip?
Turn it into these actionables:
Calculate how much money you would need to save.
Create a saving plan with a deadline (you could use the Don’t Break The Chain or Fundraising Thermometer ideas that we talk about).
Research which tour/agent to go through.
Book it in and pay it off!
Please also make sure yodelling is on your agenda. #IMPORTANT
You’re going to fuck it up a little as you go.
You are going to fall off the path sometimes.
So babe… you really do need to give yourself room to momentarily fail on your road to success. It happens to the very best of us! But that doesn’t mean you lay down beside the road and just die… you get right back on that magical unicorn and keep moving towards your goal.
The reality is that over the course of a year you will make a lot of mistakes. I mean fuck guys… I make a lot of ’em. That’s part of doing business, part of “being in the arena” as Brené says. Part of Daring Greatly. Part of Rising Strong after a fall. (SUUUUCH A BRENÉ FANGIRL)
You need to understand this and not let them discourage you. Taking everything in stride and not allowing setbacks to permanently take you of the path to your goal will make it much more likely you reach the finish line of your success!
So… follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to reaching those big beautiful goals of yours (whether they include goat herding or not.)
If you are truly ready for 2019 to be your most incredible year yet, in life or in business (or gasp! in BOTH?) I’m here to help you do just that… easily, cheaply + powerfully.
It’s time to make a decision, gorgeous soul.
You ready to make magic happen with powerful, proven and popular goal workbooks?
I’m immersed in my closing ceremony reflections for my 2019 goals workbooks, so I thought I’d share a yearly review with you.
The good, the hard, the big decisions + the results.
From depression to moving to homeschooling to signing a publishing deal and closing down a business.
I’m going to share with you a life + business review.
My goals this year were pretty simple: find the place to move to and be near the beach. When I look at my 2018 workbooks, the word beach is written frequently. Spend my birthday at the beach, have family adventures on the beach, go for walks on the beach.
We’ve done plenty of moving over the last 8 years. We were in Canberra for nearly 3 years and most of that time was spent wondering where the fuck we should go. I adored being around my oldest, dearest friends again, but living in the suburbs of an alpine city just wasn’t cutting it for us lifestyle wise. It was the hardest moving decision we’d ever made for so many reasons.
I had a painful fall into depression, but emerged out the other side with so much clarity. Living all over the country has been a grand adventure and has taught me what I really need to thrive: warm weather and the ocean. And so we leapt!
It’s a real relief to get to the end of the year and to have finally gathered the momentum and clarity to have moved. We live two minutes from the beach, and feel like we’re part of nature again, and are so glad we don’t have to struggle through 8 months of winter again.
High fives, past Leonie. I know it was hard yakka, but you got there. I honour your patience and persistence and faith!
I wrote all about our journey to moving in some epically long blog posts.
Because life is the most important thing before all else.
My daughters and love are where my world begins and ends.
I don’t share my husband and children online as much as I used to. It used to feel really comfortable and groovy for us, but now it doesn’t, so I don’t. They are still the thing I revolve around however.
My girls are 4 and 8 now, long limbed and sweet-natured. I found pregnancy and parenting babies (and toddlers) way, way, WAY harder than I do this age. I’d take 6 of these kids over one baby! (I won’t be having any more kids however… I’m spayed! I think history has proven that my body is prettttty fucking craaaaap
We’ve been homeschooling since April 2017. It has been SO awesome to be living in a place with a thriving, active homeschool community. We’ve made so many friends and been apart of some amazing co-ops. Some beautiful, beautiful times have been had. Even if we don’t always homeschool in the future, I will always be SO grateful for these magic memories we have together.
Our road trip across the country. Ginger Factory. Big Pineapple. Sea Life. Noosa Spit. Hastings St. Noosa Botanic Garden. The Wonder Dome (a magical homeschool co-op in the forest). The beach. All the beaches. The beach beach beach. This is a pretty magical place.
My favourite meme of the year:
Eerily, this even LOOKS like my soccer mum van. HOW DID THEY KNOW IT’S A TRAVELLING TRASH CAN?
I became a gamer
Well, a very specific kind of gamer.
I got obsessed with Star Stables which is basically a quest game on horseback.
My kids originally started playing it, but then I fell in love so hard that I joined too.
If it was on anything but horses I would not be interested. But HORSES? SIGN ME DA FUQ UP STAT.
I read 500 books
I bought myself this phone case at the start of the year to remind myself to get off the fucking phone already.
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know my hair meanders around all over the place, from Full Mermaid to Super Pixie and back again.
From Peak Mermaid to Peak Pixie.
I went full power chop a few weeks back. I needed some extra personal power, courage and lightness in my life, and this gives me just that. Plus, Pixie is perfect for tropical life.
One of my goals is to nourish myself with self care.
This year, I gave myself LOTS of solo mama retreats in bed.
Almost every weekend, I would take an afternoon to head to bed to BE. I read, art journal, do e-courses, listen to audiobooks, write. Anything I want to do… I do! It’s very intentional filling of my own cup.
I don’t care what my kids do during that time… they can watch a movie or play Star Stables or whatever.
As long as I get my solo mama retreat time… my weeks are sweet.
I turned 36 this year, and the losses… they keep racking up.
That’s the thing: we can have all the goals under the sun, but it doesn’t save us from loss or being human. I can only hope to honour their lives with grace and gratitude. And to stay soft, open.
Best Day Of The Year
This year’s best day was the most magical experience. It fulfilled one of my oldest goals and dreams… to go for a long horse ride with my daughter. My eldest took horse riding lessons for quite a while, and then one sweet, serendipitous summer day we went on a long sunset trail ride through the alpine mountains.
I was SO proud of her for managing through such difficult mountainous terrain, and she did it with such joy and grace. It made my heart so happy to be out bush, on a horse’s back, sharing the miracle with one of my kids. And then we ate dinner on the floor of an old shed, and drove home long after it was dark, sore and smelling and smiling.
Lots changed for me this year as I continue to shift my businesses so they fit me and my life beautifully again. That’s the thing with businesses… as you grow and they grow, you need to prune so they are custom fit for you!
I closed down one business and shifted production models in another. In 2019, I’ll probably add another business into the mix as well.
After manyyyyy motherfucking years of hunting + searching + wishing + wanting, I signed a publishing deal with BenBella. BenBella will now be publishing the My Shining Year goals workbooks from now on (including this years!) It’s been a joy to work with them and I’m so excited to take them out into the world on an even bigger scale. And YES! BenBella WILL publish my diary/planner if this year’s workbooks sell out. So if you haven’t yet, order them now!
Since signing the publishing deal in June, it’s been a kind of mad rush.
First up me and Chris edited 2019 workbooks to get them off to print ASAP so we could do a quick release this year. Then a major revision of 2020 workbooks so my publishers can promo to local bookstores for next year’s release. After ten years of producing these books together, we are a bit of a well oiled machine. He does all the Indesign laying out and date updates, I rewrite + create illustrations, and we hodge podge it all together. He freaks out that we won’t get it done, and I gently remind him we will. I freak out that we won’t get it done, and he gently reminds me we will. We try to take it in turns to have our freakouts!
AND then on to promoting the 2019 workbooks now as well to help them get into as many hands as possible.
I was completely STUNNED when they hit #1 and #3 on Amazon AU for ALL FREAKING BOOKS.
And #1 in its category on the US Amazon site. HOLY MOLEY!
I haven’t talked much about it this year, but I still have my side project of a doTERRA business. Last year I broke the world record in building to their highest rank in the fastest time possible. This year has been about continuing to nurture it and enjoy the residual passive income. It’s been a joy to see my team achieving their own goals in it too.
I’m in my bedroom, locked away in my weekly retreat.
Each weekend, I seize some hours of my own. Escape to solitude while my kids and husband play Minecraft together.
Go build your animal-riddled contraptions, I encourage.
Mama needs herself.
I could outline all the educational benefits of Minecraft: how incredible it is for STEM and design and collaboration and coding.
But the main benefit is this:
Mama needs herself. She needs her solitude with herself to be okay with the world.
I lay in bed. I read books. I do e-courses. I art journal. I do whatever the fuck I want, without being needed.
My own sweet company is my greatest healer, the conduit to the divine.
My husband just gently knocked on the door.
I’m ordering some things on Amazon, he tells me. I noticed you’ve got things in the cart already. Did you want me to order them for you now?
Yes, thank you my love. Thank you for thinking of me.
Then I close my door and lock it again.
This morning, in our tiny library that really should be a bedroom but we couldn’t bear to be without great piles of books.
He looks at me and says:
What are you most afraid of?
The emptiness, I say.
Empty boxes? Empty holes in the ground?
For a man with a phobia of hole-riddled objects, his mind jumps to the physical.
No. No. The emptiness… in me.
I find it hard to answer him. The feeling comes up, and my throat swells, and tears spill hot.
You know. If I stop doing everything, and just… sit. Then I might see there’s nothing in me. I’m terrified of the emptiness in me.
Oh, that emptiness, he says. We all have that.
Really? I thought it was just me.
No honey. It’s all of us. It’s called being human.
While we are here, I might as well go all in.
I feel like I’m getting more human as the years progress.
How do you mean?
I feel like I used to be close to the divine when I was younger. I could hear the wisdom clearer. I could remember why I am here. I feel like I’m losing it as I age. Like a spiritual glaucoma.
He looks at me, blue eyes bright.
Me too. I thought it was just me. I used to feel so intuitive, and it’s not as loud anymore.
And amongst the clammer of our children wrestling on the floor between us, we look into each other’s eyes, truly look, in the way we can forget to. The past and the future flash together into the here.
Looking into his eyes for the first time, the shock of recognition, two magnets turning toward each other.
Looking into his eyes as we wed, that translucent day when nothing else mattered but he and me and our tiny daughter.
And the moments that I didn’t see, or have yet to come.
Looking into his eyes as we age, grey and softly timbered.
Seeing his eyes when he was a teenager, bright and alive with knowing.
Love spreads across the timelines in all directions.
When I look truly, I see what I’ve always known:
That we see ourselves in each other. That our base core, we are the same. And that we adore each other, intensely.
I love him when I see him.
And here’s the thing: sometimes I don’t see him. I often don’t see him. Even when he is sitting right in front of me, I am looking inside only my own head. This being that I have loved throughout time is the same one I am regularly pissed off with. Who I misunderstand, and give the finger to behind his back.
That’s the thing: 17 years of love and life. Of children wrestling on the floor between us. Of endless discussions about what we need to do, what groceries we need next, what we will do with ageing parents, the pets and the mortgage and the cars that need servicing. The endless and of life, keeping us from the long looks and the simmering love.
I don’t know why I so easily forget: how much we adore each other. How everything is right here. But I do.
I am human. As is he.
Stumbling our way back to each other just as we stumble toward the divine.
I don’t know what to do with the ever growing space between me and the divine, us and the divine.
Life got intensely hectic lately, with homeschooling and moving and all the rest.
I wonder if the connection will ever come back.
Does it need quiet and solitude? Creativity and music?
I’m not one for sex, drugs and rock’n’roll as a combo, but I could do sex and folk music. Would that work?
Or is it a timing thing? Caught in the grasp of hands-on parenting, will it return with spaciousness as they get older?
It’s that time of year… my yearly book review post!
This has been an annual tradition for the last 7 years… to share the books that I’ve read for the last year that have deeply affected me. It started as a fun way for me to document and give gratitude for the book friends I’d made that year. And then I started hearing from readers who would order books based on my recommendations, and would adore them too! So it’s officially a Thing now!
As always, this is not a list of the best books published for the year – just the books I read in that year. As they say in High Fidelity, the records are organised autobiographically.
This year I have read more books than ever… close to 500 (!!!!!!)
So this will be the best of those 500!
HOW I READ THAT MANY
About 100 of those were my own books, and the remaining 400-ish were books that I read to my kids (I kept tallies – about 200 of them were picture books, 200 were chapter books. They are at an age where they can sit still to listen for an hour or more, and they absolutely adore it. We read every night in bed for at least half an hour, and have spent hours curled up on the couch together during the day to pour through library books together. It’s been part of the joy of homeschooling that we’ve had this amount of time to love books up.
I used to have a pretty flimsy readaloud voice – it would hurt my throat pretty quickly. I’ve consciously practiced becoming a belly speaker instead of speaking from my throat. It’s worked really well and I’ve built up much more longevity.
To make myself devote more time to reading, I bought a phone cover to remind me to read books instead of a screen. I also kept a reading list on Goodreads to keep an exact number of how many books I was reading, and that was super helpful.
About 60% of those books were borrowed from the library, and the remaining were bought. After I read my own books, I give them to friends. With my kids’ books, we keep and add to our home library.
WHAT FORMAT I CONSUMED BOOKS IN
90% of the books I read were paperbacks 5% were Audible audiobooks 5% were Kindle books
My brief obsession with Kindle-only reading has officially died up the ass, reflecting global trends. We all go nuts for digital books, then swing back towards physical books.
I like having audiobooks to listen to while cooking dinner or doing art.
And I only read Kindle when books weren’t available in other formats, or I just wanted to read it straight away.
Holy moley, this is an incredible book. The true story of a woman who decides to walk the English coastline with her husband after they become homeless and he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Raw, profound, deeply loving. My husband bought it after reading its stellar Goodreads reviews, and then I snaffled it because I liked the cover. I couldn’t heart this book more.
This is officially a Young Adult novel… but it ripped me open profoundly. It’s the story of an Aspie teen (Grace) navigating her life in all her Aspie-ness. I remember reading it, slack jawed on our red couch. I felt so vulnerable and seen and understood in a way I hadn’t before. Here was a character, finally, that was one hundred percent me… not just what neurotypicals are like! I messaged Rachael (the author): Maaaate. How did you do it? You wrote the inside of my head. It’s actually quite startling to see my innermost thoughts on paper. I feel less alone now.
If you’re an Asp, or have loved ones who are… this book. THIS BOOK. My gosh.
Thank you Rachael, for writing our stories. We need more characters we can see our neurodiversities in.
This book is like sitting with a friend and hearing them pour out the pain of what it is truly like to live in a black body in America. I could feel my heart hurting and opening as I read it. She teaches so poignantly about her experiences and how we can do (so much) better.
This is a non-traditional book (it is a free ebook) but I felt it was important to include here. This workbook is a deeply transformative educational experience to help you unravel and identify where you have internalised white supremacy beliefs. Spoiler alert: if you’ve grown up in a predominantly white culture (and even non white), you will have them. Especially if you don’t believe you do. It’s like breathing air… we didn’t consciously choose to take them in, but it is there nonetheless. And we have to consciously choose to unravel and unwind it out of us so we don’t cause further harm.
Another graphic-ish book… stunningly designed and perfectly distilled.
Note: I know these books are US-centric books (with one UK book thrown in). Racism is not just in the US – it’s a worldwide issue. I definitely need to learn more about Australian-centric racism as well, so my Christmas present this year is a big stack of them for next year’s reading.
Oh maaaaaaate. I read this one in one sitting in the bath. It’s Lisa’s story of struggling with and eventually shutting down her magazine business to pivot in a new direction. Having made lots of changes in the past in my businesses where things weren’t working or driving me crazy, it was SUCH A RELIEF to read another entrepreneur going through the same thing. We need to talk about failures and fuckups and disappointments more… they are such a normal part of life and business!
This got re-released through Hay House this year, and I’ve recommended it to so many peeps over the years. It’s an exceptional book, and DDT is a top quality chick. We’ve been mates for years, and she truly walks her talk.
It’s funny – when I posted about reading this book on Instagram, it became one of my most popular posts of the year. Basically, it’s a book about being a messy motherfucker and being the antithesis of Marie Kondo. It favours humanity and creativity and rest instead of having a tidy house. I am fully behind this as a fellow mess-lover. I love my clutter! And yes, I WILL read this book and make art instead of cleaning shit up!
There’s a big freaking difference between living in a unhygienic hovel and just having a messy, normal house. I honestly reckon we’ve all gotten waaaay over the top house/cleanliness expectations thanks to renovating shows and perfect Instagram styling. I MUCH prefer when I walk into a friend’s house and they have to clear a little space on the table for us to have a cup of tea because the rest is covered with life detritus. It’s intensely homely. GO MAKE ART! GO REST! JUST FUCK ALL THIS CLEAN NONSENSE!
Useful and fascinating. Tim, a teacher dude from the US, goes to teach in Finland to understand why it has the best educational results in the world. The reasons are often surprising, but common sense: less is more. Less homework, more holidays. More outside time, more individual projects. It correlates quite well with homeschooling possibilities too.
Gosh, this one I just ATE UP. It was stunningly good and beautifully written and heart breaking and ALL THE THINGS.
I like to use graphic memoirs to understand other humans better. There’s something about that visual storytelling that leaves a big impression on my heart. I think graphic novels have helped me become more compassionate and with a better understanding of what life can be like for other people experiencing physical and mental illnesses, racism and homophobia. Plus all the other human condition stuff: families, childhoods, travel, natural disasters, grief. I actively buy graphic memoirs on all the topics I can to educate me and open me.
This is so beautiful and tender. The story of a young girl who is deaf, and her experiences at school and making friends. I’ve since seen it is in a lot of recommended reads for kids around 10+, so a good one for them too!
These are 11 stories of Darryl’s time working as a psychiatric nurse. Chapters cover dementia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, suicide, antisocial disorder and more. Holy moley, it was eye-opening and just BRILLIANT.
This one was another one in the running for my best book of the year because of how much it affected me. It’s not my usual favourite style of graphic memoir – instead it’s more like a university read on queer history and theory that just happens to be illustrated. I had to work harder to understand everything, but mate, it blew my head off. It totally transformed how I look at gender and the binary, and how I see myself. Highly recommend!
Roz’s Can’t We Talk About Something Pleasant? was the book that got me hooked on graphic memoirs two years ago. It was pretty much perfection on a stick, and she opened a whole delicious book genre up to me, so I will always feel a glorious weeping soft spot for her. This is her notes on what it’s like to live/visit New York, and I just thought it was the bomb diggity.
I found this in a fantastic second hand book store in Eumundi. It tells the stories of five different people who lived in New Orleans for the hurricane. The stories are catastrophic and gave me a whole new understanding and compassion. Well worth a read.
Need to be honest with you: I read this back in Jan. I marked it as five stars, so it must have been good. I just can’t remember shit about it, apart from it being beautiful and about cancer. So… there you go.
I continued to whore my way through as many Victorian/Regency romance novels as I could. They really are the best brain candy ever… I try to read one each weekend. I read stacks this year, but the one author who is just unfailingly brilliant is Tessa Dare. If you want to start somewhere, start with her.
So many recommendations on this front that I’ll highlight a few + just link the rest!
My eldest daughter eats up vast quantities of audiobooks on top of the reading we do each day. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that her ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE audiobook series is by Jen Storer… who, by a delicious twist of fate, is a fan of my workbooks! Not just that: but she uses the workbooks to plan out the Truly Tan series! HA!
Here’s her workbook page planning one out:
But anyways: back to Truly Tan! Starry tells me they are funny and adventurous and smart and always make her want to keep going!
Waaaaay back in 2019, pregnant with my first baby, I decided to give myself the gift of making a wee book for myself to help me plan out my goals for the coming year. And I didn’t want it to be all grey and masculine and black and white and BLERGH… I wanted RAINBOWS! UNICORNS! COLOUR! GLORIOUS GLORIOUS LIFE! As an afterthought, I offered the PDF online, thinking maybe 10 other peeps might like to make goal setting fun and magical too.
Since then… over 350,000 incredible souls worldwide have used the goals workbooks with HUGE results. It brings me to grateful tears that they work so well for so many. This year, they hit #1 and #3 simultaneously on Amazon AU for ALL FREAKING BOOKS WTF!
For me personally, my workbooks have helped me birth so many miracles in the world: we’ve been able to live our dreams of quitting our jobs to raise our children and travel around Australia for the last 8 years. I’ve been more creative and productive than ever, won business awards, broken a world record, built serial 7 figure companies, deepened my marriage and continued growing into the biggest, brightest version of myself. That’s the power of goals. Know what you want and you too can create miracles.
They’ve been the powerhouse behind creating multi-million dollar companies, why I still do it while working part-time, why I’ve been a finalist for myBusiness Australian Business Woman of the Year and Ausmumpreneur of the Year.
And I’m not a ding dang anomaly here guys…
Not just me and Dicky B… but the stats back us up too.
16% of them have goals, but they don’t write them down
Only 3% actually have written goals, but they don’t review them regularly
Only 1% has written goals and they review them regularly, and these are among the highest achievers in the US
Or for those of who you read in images like moi:
or in pie charts:
OK, so whether you’re in the US or anywhere else in the whole wide world, if you’re one of that 1% that’s writing down your goals and reviewing them, HOLY FORKING SHIRT! You’ve just raced to the front of the line, haven’t you?!?
And, I mean, for what? For making a doodly little list!!!
That’s part of the reason why the My Shining Year workbooks have been such a huge best-seller… because they guide you through that exact process… creating gorgeous, inspiring goals for every part of your life (and business if you have one!) There’s a reason why over 350,000 peeps have used these workbooks – simply because once a person uses them… they see HUGE results in their lives, and they will use them every single year… AND they’ll tell other people about them as well because they want to share the joy along! It’s been so magical to witness… and to hear their stories of success and dreams come true. All from such a simple, powerful thing.
3 STEP SOLUTION TO YOUR DREAMS COMING TRUE!
So if you really want your dreams to come true… here’s your three step formula to success. Around here I’d make some fancy dance reference, but I am really fucking uncoordinated and can only dance The Running Man and The Leonie Crazy Dance. But pretend I’ve made a punny dance reference, and we can both pretend to be cultured normals, okly dokly? HIGH FIVES!