Water Challenge: 17 day Wrap-Up

I’ve posted a little about my August goal of drinking a gallon of water a day. It’s 17 days in, and I’m extremely shocked that I continue to be on an almost perfect streak.

To hit the goal, I have been using my bullet journal to track daily the number of Kor water bottles I knock back. To hit a gallon, I need to drink five. The fact this bottle is so beautiful definitely helps me remember to put it to work. I left it at the gym once, and left work early to go look for it because I was so distraught.

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The Kor One bottle that goes everywhere with me.

As I reported in my week one wrap-up, drinking this much water makes you pee a lot. This is not all bad – if I wasn’t getting up to pee, I’d spend my entire day sitting on my butt, staring at my computer. This is not a side-effect that has gone away, but I’m not hating it as much. This is also assisted by the fact my office is conveniently near the bathrooms, so I’m not feeling the eyes of the office on me as I trudge to the bathroom for the one thousandth time.

I’ve dropped a little weight, although I would credit this more to starting the Sweat with Kayla app than drinking water – but all of it counts! Weirdly my skin is still not smooth, but I did take a before selfie and I’m crossing my fingers a face-by-face compare will show more results than my very judgmental eyes.

The biggest change I’m noticing is how I turn to water when I have a craving for something. Craving chocolate? Have some water. Craving a hot bowl of cheesey pasta for lunch? Have some water. Craving a coffee? Have some water. A few minutes later I find the craving goes away, and I’m generally feeling much better for it. This has highlighted to me how much health is a mind-game, and how necessary it is to have tools at your disposal to combat moments of weakness. While I’m definitely not against treating yourself or depriving yourself, I do believe in building self-discipline to know the right thing for you. Learning that drinking water addresses the root of many cravings for me is a really big step in my journey to find better balance. I’m looking forward to expanding on that knowledge and finding other tools to help me address cravings and indulgences when they aren’t what I want in the long term. The other big bonus is this saves me a tonne of money I would otherwise fritter away on the vending machine that’s dangerously close to my desk!

Only 13 days left of this challenge officially, but I don’t see it being a habit I want to give up. While there’s definitely no magic in drinking exactly a gallon a day, drinking more water can only be a benefit, and the concrete goal and internal peace I feel about the number five (completely unexplainable but completely there) is helping me keep it up.

27 by 27

The day I have been reminding the boyf about every five minutes for the last week is here – my 26th birthday! Each year I think I will become less fuss-obsessed but the reality is, I just love birthdays. All birthdays – family, friends, and of course, mine 😉 I love celebrations and a chance to recognise how much someone means to me. I love buying (or making!) thoughtful gifts and writing cards. And I love cake. Duh.

A big part of that birthday fuss love fest is the chance to take stock of where I’m at across the core pillars of personal relationships, professional life, financial life and wellness generally. These categories wax and wane each year, but the key theme is that they are pillars to which I reflect on how far I’ve come and to which I can tie new goals.

I have loved my 25th year. It has felt like a whirlwind, but in the best way. I settled into my baby city apartment. I settled into my first official law firm job, and was admitted to the legal practice. I did my first Ironman 70.3. I went to Trinidad and Tobago for an amazing wedding. I opened my first business in the form of a little etsy store! And created a local fitness program for young lawyers. I found ways to say no to things that didn’t fit into my values. I built up some really powerful female friendships and feel inspired and empowered everyday when I spend time with those women. I did my first set of push-ups on my toes. I competed as a national semifinalist in a mooting competition.I’ve stuck to a budget (well, mostly). I made my first commissioned crochet blanket! I’ve begun to distill that which I love about life.

The boyf and I hiked and bonded and found a really great life rhythm together. We struggled through visa woes and job-related sucker punches. We each said goodbye to a grandparent. We supported each other through new starts and complicated times. We started working out together. We began to seriously plan for the future while recognising our future is forever warping and that our hearts are forever spread across two continents. 

And there really is so little more I could ask for. But at my core I am a goal-setter. It is my most favourite of all my hobbies and one of the habits that defines me. As I begin my 26th year, I have set 27 goals to hit (or progress!) before I turn 27. Generally I set hundreds of goals, and life helps me drill down to those that matter most – so it may be that reality gets in the way of some of these. But that’s okay. They reflect my values as I stand here now, freshly 26 and freshly embarking on part 2 of my twenties. 

1. Open an index fund.

2. Open a second facet of my business.

3. Publish another article.

4. Apply to masters at Georgetown.

5. Do a pull up.

6. Finish an ironman 70.3 in 6.5 hours.

7. Maintain this blog and continue to grow my readership.

8. Participate in one handmade market.

9. Make one amigurumi toy.

10. Read 10 books.

11. Go hiking in the Stirling Ranges.

12. Plug in to the Perth female small business community.

13. Write 15 pen pal letters.

14. Learn brush lettering.

15. Volunteer at one big local event.

16. Participate in a national mooting competition.

17. Watch one documentary on a completely unfamiliar topic.

18. Do a handstand.

19. Build a stronger relationship with my family.

20. Save $30,000.

21. Reduce belongings by 25%.

22. Finish project life scrapbooks for 2015 and 2016.

23. Settle as a litigator.

24. Find a flow around our home.

25. Develop my meditation practice.

26. Find peace with food.

27. Embody the spark joy mentality.

There is one secret goal life event for this year I haven’t included – mainly because it is one I have no control over. But I’m positively buzzing for this year of life! Thank you for sharing in it. Now – time for cake.

Introduction to Bullet Journalling

Bullet Journalling is a modern-invented productivity powerhouse. Touted as ‘the analog system for the digital age‘, this brainchild of Ryder Carroll hit the internet in 2013, and has become a foundation stone of organisational strategies for the modern day. The #bulletjournal instagram hashtag has over 100,000 posts, and you can bury yourself in beautiful Pinterest images of creative bullet journals from all over the world.

I’ve been using the Erin Condren Life Planner for the last few months, and really not felt it working for me. While there are a lot of things I do love about it, I just was generally looking for something very different. There’s a whole post in my thoughts on the Life Planner, that I’ll share another time – but after some going back and forth, and debating what I wanted to do (that Life Planner was not cheap, and I was having a lot of guilt around switching) I thought it was time to give the bullet journal another go.

There is an amazing introduction to bullet journalling via the website that is definitely worth a read. My take on it is that bullet journalling is setting up a notebook to be whatever you need – a compilation of a calendar, diary, daily to-dos, dreams, goals, and capturing all that information inside your head down all in to one spot.

I’d tried the system in 2014, and really loved it, but fell back into using the layout as a written journal rather than a planner, due primarily to my life and job at the time. I’d unintentionally used a similar method when writing my honours thesis – I had a simple notebook, and started a fresh page for each daily to do list, which really functioned as a brain dump of everything in my head – tracking how much water I drank each day, what tasks I needed to do for my thesis, random things I wanted to do when uni was over…any thought that floated through my mind so that I could focus on my work rather than get distracted by what was floating past.

The bullet journal functions in a similar way. It is premised upon rapid-logging – getting your thoughts on paper and out of your head, in a simple and easy to read, easy to access and easy to understand format.

I spent a peaceful Sunday setting up my bullet journal. It felt like the right time to kickstart my new bullet journal in June, when I turn 26 and begin tracking my 27th year on this earth (I swear I’m still 20…??). I also feel that I have more of a handle on what my life looks like, and what I want out of it – so I’m not jumping back and forth between planning systems and projects and ideas. I know what I want to record, and what I want to remember.

All you need to get started is a notebook (any notebook), and a pen. I began by going out and buying myself a Leuchtterm A5 dot-grid journal. I used a Leuchtterm last time I tried the bullet journal, and fell in love with the beautiful paper and design, the quality covers and the page numbering (which becomes very convenient). I have used Leuchtterms for general journalling (I’m on my third, and love how they all look stacked together!) and use one for on and off lists at work, which I find to be way more convenient when all in one place.


I bought my journal from the specialist stationery store, which left me with few options when wanting the dot-grid style. If I hadn’t been chomping at the bit to get started, I definitely would have ordered the black from Larry Post, but I’m still pretty happy with navy. There are official Bullet Journals for sale, although every time I look, they’re sold out! Hopefully my second bullet journal can be in an official book…

I have Leuchtterms in blank, grid and lined. I find the grid and lined a bit too definitive, and they generally end up quite messy. I tend to favour blank pages for general journalling, and was going for that option, but after a heavy stalk of the beautiful instagram feed of @bujo.auslife , I figured the dot-grid was the perfect balance of providing some neatness and structure, while leaving space for some creativity in lettering.

I used the first page of my bullet journal to capture one of my favourite life quotes by Thoreaux. It felt like an appropriate choice to kick off the start of a new year of my life, and a new organisational method.


I googled around for some inspiration for setting up for the month. I have borrowed very heavily from the @bujo.auslife instagram, and from the traditional bullet journal method. I started with a two-page spread setting out a monthly log and a habit tracker.

A monthly log functions as a month overview. I’ve seen lots of bullet journals that prefer to draw up or stick in a traditional month calendar with boxes for this page, but the list-lover in me was drawn to this simple list style. I love that it captures just the big key events for that month in one place. I left a column to the side to include little signifiers, so that I can easily see important events or birthdays.
Officially the monthly log is a two page spread, where the left side is the log as pictured above, and the right side is a monthly task list. I prefer to set monthly ‘goals’, and think of my tasks on a weekly basis, so I skipped the tasks page. But the best thing about bullet journals is that this is totally allowed – unlike a pre-printed diary or planner where you’re beholden to what’s on the pages before you.

The habit tracker is something I’ve seen across instagram accounts, and I just love the concept. I had a 108-day duolingo streak going (I was heartbroken when I missed a day!), and loved how it tracked the fact I did my lesson everyday in the app. This habit tracker provides an avenue for doing the same thing within the bullet journal, but all types of goals. I’ve listed my various exercise and gym options, drinking 2L of water a day, meditating, duolingo and reading for now, with room to add more habits that I want to work on as they occur to me. I’ve seen different people record days they completed their tasks in different ways – colouring in the boxes in different ways, or putting in dots. I plan on doing dots, because the minimalist style is really appealing to me lately.

Next I included a gratitude log. There is so much information out there about the benefits of introducing a practice or habit of gratitude into your life. All science and questions aside, there’s no doubt that taking time to appreciate the little things only breeds gratefulness and greatness in your life. I’m planning on taking a minute at the end of each day to populate this log before I go to sleep, so I go to sleep happy, rather than pondering the long list of work or activities I have to do the following day.


I debated a little about what to draw up next. I chose a weekly spread to capture general events happening on each day, including exercise classes and lunch and dinner plans, and any major to-dos that I knew were coming up in the left-hand table. On the right, I started jotting down some general weekly tasks. This spread will definitely evolve as I continue to trial this system, which is why I’ve left it extremely simple.


I do think I’ll end up doing daily to-dos as well – as a chronic list-maker, I can always find something to list down and cross off! But I’m really happy with the pages I’ve chosen as my starting set-up.

One of the best parts of bullet journalling is the concept of collections. I can’t see anything about collections on the official site, but the collections pages are some of my favourite to browse on instagram. They really function as a themed brain-dump – capturing lists of books to read or that you have read, addresses, ideas, dreams, memories…anything that is swirling around your brain, make a collection! I already started three – a list of future ideas for my etsy store, blog post ideas (which I used to just jot down in random notes on my iphone), the list of addresses for my penpals and books I want to read. I definitely see my collections growing overtime as my bullet journal evolves.

The magic of the Leuchtterm notebook comes with the pre-numbered pages and index. As the bullet journal functions as an all-in-one place to capture your lists, your calendar, your tasks and your future plans, having a functional index allows you to quickly keep track of where you’ve stored different information – your monthly logs vs all the ideas you had for your friend’s hen’s party, for example. Having an index also allows you to effectively ‘thread’ pages – rather than trying to save a few pages to dedicate to a particular project, like I normally would to track all of my etsy store ideas, stats and information, you can record in the index that you put your ideas on pages 2, 7 and 19, and record that information in the bottom right-hand corner of your pages.

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m extremely excited about this system, and I’m really looking forward to putting it to the test. I found myself putting information all over the place – a planner to track my food and exercise, a planner to write lists in, a planner as a calendar, a notebook for work plus a list pad, and it was just all getting a bit much. I never had the right book with me at any particular time to capture what I wanted to, and there was so much information sprawled all over the place so that this complicated organisational system was riddled with inefficiencies. As a result, this streamlined approach really excites me, and I hope to report back at the end of the month still full of enthusiasm.

If you’re thinking of trialling bullet journalling, I definitely recommend reading the official site. Other great resources that I used when deciding how to set up my notebook are Boho Berry and Tiny Ray of Sunshine. If you do check out those links, I highly recommend making a cup of tea and settling in for a good long read – there is so much beautiful inspiration on those blogs that you won’t be able to tear yourself away. Lastly, check out the #bulletjournal and #bujo hastags on instagram.

However, tread lightly when you delve into an instagram vortex. It is easy to get overwhelmed by how creative and beautiful (and neat!) some people are with their bullet journals, which is why I referred to @bujo.auslife before – remember that your bullet journal is yours and yours only. If you want to make it beautiful with stickers and washi and coloured pens and doodles, don’t hold back! But at the same time, the journal still works, whether or not you spend hours drawing beautiful things, or simply jot down the tasks and events that make up your day. I’m definitely a sucker for comparison, so I had to be firm with myself when setting up my journal that I only needed to include what mattered to me, and it didn’t have to be beautiful (which is fortunate, since I’m a terrible drawer). I’ll still be maintaining (read, using up!) a journal for more long-form recording of my thoughts, primarily because that’s usually an extremely messy brain dump of whatever emotional mess I’m in at the time, and I like to keep that part of my brain and life separate from a place where I capture events, activities and goals related to work, life, this blog and etsy, which I think is definitely the system that works for me. But the best part about the bullet journal is that since it is, in the end, a blank notebook, you can just allow it to grow and transform as you need.

Have you tried bullet journalling? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Everyday with Emily: now on Etsy!


Just stopping by the blog quickly on this delightful long weekend to let you know that Everyday with Emily is now an etsy store! The store focusses on icon and quirky word stickers, with the goal of maximum versatility and maximum fun. Each sticker sheet contains a minimum 45 stickers, which are perfectly sized to be used in any medium: Kikki K, Erin Condren, Plum Planner, Happy Planner, Midori, Bullet journal, your standard wall calendar … anything!

Stickers can be purchased in transparent (my fave), glossy or matte, and colours as you preference. Each sheet retails for $1.50AUD, plus shipping – total bargain. Come stop by at http://www.everydaywithemily.etsy.com or click this link, pick up a collection of fun stickers and get organised 🙂

 

Crochet: Commitment and Completion

New projects litter every corner of my shoebox apartment and every corner of my brain. I love feeling inspired to explore and create and stretch myself to try new things. Often this results in more half-started hobbies than time, and a generally dissatisfied feeling that the passion flickered to become only a very underdeveloped skill with the torturous reminders tucked in various boxes that I didn’t have the wherewithal to finish it. But sometimes, the planets align, the angels sing, the sun rises on a new day and I start something and follow it through to completion. The energy and joy I feel upon seeing something through to the end makes me realise my goal should never be more than to finish something.

Crochet has filled this rare void in my life. I began with the vague idea one lazy Saturay afternoon I’d teach myself to crochet. A brief trip to Spotlight for some yarn and a crochet hook was followed by some frustrated hours in front of various YouTube clips trying to make a granny square when all of a sudden- a granny square appeared in my hands. I spent the following weeks practicing and practicing, making piles of the things and seeing them gradually become uniform in size – after many of them being lopsided confusing bundles of nothing. And tonight, I completed this: 

  
Making crochet blankets has become an unexpectedly important part of my life. I often make them for babies using 8 skeins of yarn – big enough so the blanket has some weight, but small enough that the project can be completed in a couple of weekends. It is a hobby that has brought some mental peace to watching hours of Netflix, and I’m also being mindlessly productive. It is also a hobby that has greatly benefited with an unhurried approach to improvement. Where my first granny squares were the definition of odd couples, my blankets now have a consistent tension and feel across the whole project.

 And best of all: I finish them, and immediately gift the blankets away. There is something deeply rewarding about gifting something you’ve made, with commitment and dedication over much time, and knowing that you thought of that person with each stitch. The blankets feel filled with a special type of love and joy because I make them with a purpose; and theit purpose is fulfilled upon completion and gifting. 

I am midway through an epic blanket project at the moment – one I’ve now been given the motivation to finish after more baby news and the desire to learn to make an amigurumi toy. While it is always a balance between embracing the journey and having the discipline to work towards the special accomplishment at the end – I hope you are able to find something that brings you joy. 

Steps to KonMari-ing the crap out of my bathroom

A year later and I am on board the KonMari train to tidying and magically transforming my life into a world of unicorns and rainbows dancing around all the newly freed up space in my home!

I got back to the land down under on Saturday and, after watching all the crap spill out of our suitcases, adding to the stuff already filling up our little home, I was itching to get discarding. I defied the KonMari laws and started with the bathroom, because I embarrassingly harbour very strong emotional connections to my clothes (I know, I’m insane), and wasn’t ready for that horrible process of saying goodbye.

With jet lag waking me at the delightful hour of 4.50am, I got up, got to work, and “discarded” (aka got rid of a tonne of sh*t). Below is a step-by-step guide to my first foray into performing magic upon my bathroom.

Step 1: Take a before photo or two ( obviously )

   

  

Room deets: combo bathroom/laundry. Contains 3 drawers, three cupboards under the sink, and one long cupboard with 6 shelves. Laundry sink is also full of random items. There is an additional box hiding in the bedroom containing nail polishes.

Step 2: Does it spark joy?

Every item got lovingly held, interrogated about its ability to bring me joy, and put either into the bin (see ya exploded lip gloss I never dealt with), the throwing away box or the keep box. This was quick, as a lot of the stuff was embarrassing (shimmery Ed Hardy body lotion? Seriously, why).

Step 3: Get tracking

I sat down with a clear coffee table, notebook and pen, and wrote down every item and tracked whether it went in the discard purgatory or the bring-me-joy-baby keep pile. (This step was motivated by Cait Flanders, and an intention to start a shopping ban).

(PS – want to see what 73 nailpolishes looks like? I know. I too am mortified with myself. When the heck was I thinking I could use up 73 polishes? The total square meterage of my finger nails is like 0.05.)

  
Step 4: Wet wipe the world

The adventures of my rank bathroom cupboards required a massive wipe down of every single item and all containers. Apparently my foundations like to randomly squirt out of the bottles and cause havoc when I’m at work. Surprisingly, that process served as a second-round cull, as it did not bring me a single speck of joy to look after some of that stuff and I never wanted to wipe down hundreds of items again.

Step 5: Order boyfriend to take out rubbish to avoiding risking the “temptation” of hanging on to any of the non-joy-giving-devil-items.

(Love you babe xoxo)

Step 6: Give everything a home

I really wanted to go to IKEA to buy the perfect storage, but I held strong to the Oracle (all praise Marie Kondo) and used what I had around the home, since the solution isn’t buying more storage, but having less stuff. I even put my iPhone 6 box to work, since the book had specifically recommended apple product boxes. I took this extremely seriously. 

Step 7: Get grumpy

This takes frickin forever. I got grumpy and had a nap.

Step 8: Resume finding shoe boxes in which to neatly stack your stuff after refreshing nap.

Step 9: Take after photos

  
* ta da *

  
And finally – my review of the process in point-form:

  • Discarding items is awesome and eye-opening. I had SO MUCH MORE junk that I even fathomed – see you later high horse of “I live in a small apartment and hardly have anything”.
  • Tracking your items is tedious but very rewarding. I made up a spreadsheet afterwards so that I can continue to track what comes in and out of my life, and share the total stats below.
  • Don’t ever subscribe to makeup subscription boxes. They increase your Total Crap Percentage (or TCP) by a factor of a zillion, and it’s extremely unlikely you’ll use any of it.
  • Clean or wipe down everything before putting it back – this step really made me appreciate what I had and inspired me to want to look after what I have better so I don’t have an urge for shiny new stuff all the time.
  • Shoeboxes as storage is awesomeeee.
  • Marie Kondo knows her stuff. While I didn’t thank all my items out loud for taking care of me at my worst and loving me at my best and whatever, I did generate a very deep appreciation for what I have, and mentally engaged in some serious gratitude (alongside a little self-berating of why-did-you-ever-even-think-it-was-a-good-idea-to buy-this-you-idiot questioning and avoiding mentally calculating the money I wasted).

So without further ado, the numbers:

Total items owned: 369

Items discarded: 155

Percentage discarded: 42%

See you for round 2 – Clothes, otherwise known as the Era of Activewear Confrontation.

[De-Clutter] Trying my hand while on vacation 

So as I mentioned, I read The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up, and I’ve really got the itch to give the method a go. But in true first world problem style, I am on a month-long vacation and can’t possibly de-clutter (although my boyfriend would disagree, since I am known to be a chronic over-packer, but on the other hand, he’s now acquired two tennis racquets to bring home to Australia. Things are equal). 

But the itch still needed scratching and I decided to apply the “does it bring you joy?” test to my Instagram account at 3 in the morning, when another bout of insomnia had me staring at the ceiling. I’m a passionate consumer of social media, and, tragically, reality television shows (amongst other things such as cute clothes). I follow a lot of irrelevant people  and stores who I don’t know on Instagram, and from the book, realised that bloated number of followed accounts and feed full of crap was most definitely not bringing me joy. 

I had done a similar cull in November, after I spend $180 on clothes from an online store who only advertised on Instagram. I was pretty mortified at myself, and immediately went about an extreme cull of brands that caused me to feel inferior and as though I needed to purchase more and better to be happy. 

But letting go in this way can be such a process. Last night I culled every Bachelor and Bachelorette Australia account (it seems like the former “contestants” just go on to a career of mediocrity, unsubtlely advertising miscellaneous irrelevant brands on their Instagram after the show ends), all brands, every celebrity (save for Kayla Itsines, whose #fitspo life I truly can’t get enough of and, pardon my wilful state of gullible-ness, seems not to advertise anything but her own workout app regime anyway) and any other person who I actually didn’t feel “joy” at seeing their account.

The celebrities (real and faux) weren’t too hard since honestly, who cares. I found it trickier to click the unfollow button on people from high school who I wasn’t even that close to back then, or others who at one stage I did care about but truly have nothing in common with any more. I really felt the battle between my instinct, which was surprisingly ruthless, and my brain saying “what’s the harm, sometimes it’s nice to check in and anyway it’s just Instagram, it’s not like you’re clearing out your closet?”

Across the total last two culls, my estimate is I unfollowed 80 accounts which I deemed as not bringing me joy. This was a timely reminder to me to try keep track of some numbers, although I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I undoubtedly feel lighter, calmer and happier when I scroll through my Instagram account (which I do far too often, but that’s another issue). I’m definitely looking forward to applying the method to my apartment when I get home. 

[Podcast Review]: ‘When Willpower Isn’t Enough’

Like most of the universe, I became hooked on podcasts because of the Serial story. I have a great desire to generally learn more, but I don’t engage well with “non-fiction” book reading. However, reading blogs and listening to engaging podcasts has accidentally resulted in imbuing some more knowledge, and I’d like to keep that up. TED talks are definitely something I’d like to engage with more, but I have had a tonne of finance and behavioural economics podcast subscriptions gathering dust on my phone that I’m finally uncovering and listening to. One that really resonated with me was an episode of Freakonomics titled ‘When Willpower Isn’t Enough’. 

The episode basically involved interviewing a behavioural economist on her work into temptation bundling and the fresh start effect. “Temptation bundling” is where you restrict the time when you can do something you love, such as watching an episode of a favourite TV show, only when doing a particular activity or after you’ve done an activity you struggle to make yourself do, such as going to the gym. The “fresh start effect” is that boost in motivation or willpower upon a perceived restart of a cycle, such as the new year, or a birthday, or even the start of a month or week. 

What I took away from the episode is that temptation bundling and the fresh start effect are devices available to people to self-harness and form the basis for the creation of new habits that result in achieving personal goals, such as losing weight. I found the concepts pleasant and interesting, and generally easily applicable to my own life. However, the nature of the devices makes me wonder how they’d apply to more complicated or emotive changes than simply going to the gym more (so you can find out what happens next on your show). I feel as though my position is that these concepts are a bit of a stop-gap for those”nice to have” type of activities, such as gym-going or maybe writing consistently (possible temptation bundle: only purchase a coffee when you sit down to write for a half an hour?). That is, when you think”I’d like to do that thing”, but often find you just do something else, you can combine them. But say you’ve been told you’re pre-diabetic, or your debt is so massive that you absolutely must pay it down or face bankruptcy, then these pleasant devices are most likely insufficient? I also don’t think that your trigger has to be quite as drastic as the ones I listed above, but if it’s something you intrinsically believe you should do, there perhaps isn’t a place for the devices.

Then again, I’m on a constant mission to find a balance between guiltlessly enjoying myself and choosing to hustle in the right areas. These devices definitely play an important role in mixing and matching activities that fall under those two categories. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the podcast, and as you can see, it has definitely made me think. I am definitely not immune to the fresh start effect (coming back on board to this blog at the start of 2016!) and definitely am employing it with my finances on this vacation, where each day is a fresh reminder to “start fresh” with making the choices that will get me where I want to be. 

[De-Clutter] Trying my hand while on vacation 

So as I mentioned, I read The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up, and I’ve really got the itch to give the method a go. But in true first world problem style, I am on a month-long vacation and can’t possibly de-clutter (although my boyfriend would disagree, since I am known to be a chronic over-packer, but on the other hand, he’s now acquired two tennis racquets to bring home to Australia. Things are equal). 

But the itch still needed scratching and I decided to apply the “does it bring you joy?” test to my Instagram account at 3 in the morning, when another bout of insomnia had me staring at the ceiling. I’m a passionate consumer of social media, and, tragically, reality television shows (amongst other things such as cute clothes). I follow a lot of irrelevant people  and stores who I don’t know on Instagram, and from the book, realised that bloated number of followed accounts and feed full of crap was most definitely not bringing me joy. 

I had done a similar cull in November, after I spend $180 on clothes from an online store who only advertised on Instagram. I was pretty mortified at myself, and immediately went about an extreme cull of brands that caused me to feel inferior and as though I needed to purchase more and better to be happy. 

But letting go in this way can be such a process. Last night I culled every Bachelor and Bachelorette Australia account (it seems like the former “contestants” just go on to a career of mediocrity, unsubtlely advertising miscellaneous irrelevant brands on their Instagram after the show ends), all brands, every celebrity (save for Kayla Itsines, whose #fitspo life I truly can’t get enough of and, pardon my wilful state of gullible-ness, seems not to advertise anything but her own workout app regime anyway) and any other person who I actually didn’t feel “joy” at seeing their account.

The celebrities (real and faux) weren’t too hard since honestly, who cares. I found it trickier to click the unfollow button on people from high school who I wasn’t even that close to back then, or others who at one stage I did care about but truly have nothing in common with any more. I really felt the battle between my instinct, which was surprisingly ruthless, and my brain saying “what’s the harm, sometimes it’s nice to check in and anyway it’s just Instagram, it’s not like you’re clearing out your closet?”

Across the total last two culls, my estimate is I unfollowed 80 accounts which I deemed as not bringing me joy. This was a timely reminder to me to try keep track of some numbers, although I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I undoubtedly feel lighter, calmer and happier when I scroll through my Instagram account (which I do far too often, but that’s another issue). I’m definitely looking forward to applying the method to my apartment when I get home. 

The ‘big events’ of 2016

I’ve been plugging away at my iPhone calculator, messing around at a high level with the figures that need to guide my life this year. I always get caught up in the nitty gritty of what the numbers look like, and forget that this is a guide to my actual life – the life that is made up of a thousand facets of interests, of love of clothes, of health problems and bills, or girls nights out and brunch. And that all those things can be monetised, or, as I have preferred to do for the last 25 year, close my eyes at swiping the credit card, and open them only to the experience. 

Anyway, to give me some visuals to what is going on this year, in my life, I wanted to set out some of the big events. ‘Big’ is defined as anything that I know I’m going to be doing that is going to cost money, outside of a standard budget. This process is to allow me to incorporate those events  during our budget and basketball date (more on this later), so they do become part of the standard budget, and I can eliminate some of that wilful blindness. 

2016 – the big things 

1. 4 week challenge through my work out group. When: February 2016. Costs: 50/ week plus 2 body scans at $35 each. Total: $270

2. Attending the wedding of my oldest friend in December as maid of honour. This will involve flights to Melbourne for me and the boyf, dress costs, shoe costs, hair and makeup, accommodation, a wedding gift, general travel costs of being in a different city such as taxis, buses, food and other miscellaneous things that will inevitably come up.  Total: My estimate for flights is $450/person, so the totally cost is a likely minimum of $1,000 just for me. However, with wedding tax and the like, it would be prudent to set aside $1,300. 

3. Laser eye surgery. This isn’t set in stone, as I’m petrified of the concept of having lasers at my eyes. However, I’ve been wearing glasses since I was nine, and full-time since I was nineteen. While I’m extremely fortunate that my eye care costs nothing thanks to a combination of Medicare, private health cover and family connections, it’s been suggested I’m becoming a prime candidate for laser. Also, the idea of waking up and immediately having sight, not groping around for my glasses, really appeals to me. Cost: upon consultation. 

4. Triathlons. I am doing my second ironman70.3 in May, and I know I still have the bug to want to do a third in November. This is literally the most expensive hobby in the world. While I have already out laid some of the killer costs, including a road bike, helmet, cycle shoes, cycle sunnies and Tri suit, and the entry fee to the May event (a cool $450), the protein bars and gels, new shoes and socks, further entry fees, pool fees and travel costs all add up to absolutely decimate your savings account. It would be prudent to set aside $1,200 for ironmans/triathlons this year. 

And I’ll leave it at that. The years always throw out insane surprise expenses, and I’m already feeling an odd mix of fear and excitement looking at that list I’ve created. Articulating these ideas and concerns that whirl around in the back of my head on those sleepless nights where I panic about whether, at 25, I have only set myself up to fail, brings a sense of calm to the chaos.