Less Things = More Freedom

Less Things = More Freedom
Tell Us What You Think.

In my post Get Rid of Clutter, I promised to share the inspirational story of my mother who got rid of all of her material possessions.

In honour of her 70th birthday….  Here’s some inspiration to have less things and more freedom. 

About 27 years ago my mother sold her big house in Minnesota, all of her furniture and her car and relocated across the country to California. (Sleeping on my sofa until she found a place of her own!)

As a single lady whose kids had flown the coop, she was ready for a new adventure.

She bought a pickup truck and meagrely furnished a small one-bedroom apartment, including mismatched dishes and silverware from charity shops.

She became a true minimalist and loved the freedom it gave her.[more]

Give Yourself a Personal Growth Boost

Give Yourself a Personal Growth Boost
Tell Us What You Think.

Personal Growth is one petal on the Project Me Life Wheel®, yet Project Me as a whole is about your personal development. Life never stands still, it’s constantly evolving and changing. You can either see it as a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride, or you can find ways to make it all less hair-raising.

Focusing on your self-development is far from selfish. When you transform yourself, you transform the world around you including, of course, your immediate family.

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘If mama’s happy, everybody’s happy!’ and this is certainly true from my perspective. Just ask my family.

It’s normal to flit back and forth between your Best Version (the one who’s patient, calm, kind, relaxed and lighthearted) and your Poor Version (you know, that other one who’s irritable, impatient, worried or overwhelmed).

But wouldn’t you love to be the Best Version of You more often?[more]

Get Rid of Clutter: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

Get Rid of Clutter: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying
Tell Us What You Think.

Are there pockets of clutter in your home that are dragging you down?

Do you struggle to downsize your collection of books, DVDs or Tupperware? Just in case those missing lids ever turn up…

Find it hard to let go of clothes in case they come back into fashion or you lose or gain weight? Feel guilty getting rid of things that were given as gifts?

As I prepare for my upcoming move back to London, I’m in major ‘get rid of clutter’ mode. When we packed up and moved to Madrid six years ago I donated dozens of bags filled to the brim to our local charity shops. I gave away piles of books, clothes, baby and household items as I had no time to organise a sale or figure out eBay.

It was amazing to start fresh in a new house. After unpacking I was delighted to find empty shelves and plenty of drawers to spare.

So how is it that just six years later we’ve amassed so much stuff again? 

I’m finally reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo after previously writing it off as being a book about precision folding and talking to your socks. Well, there is some of that, but the deeper underlying message is actually a good one.

Only keep things in your home that spark joy.

This is of course easier said than done, but in the spirit of another fresh start, I’m giving her KonMari Method a go.[more]

Finding Work That Fits Around Family: First Steps to Get Started

Finding Work That Fits Around Family: First Steps to Get Started
Tell Us What You Think.

I hear from many mothers who’ve been out of the workforce since starting a family and now feel confused and apprehensive about if or when they want to get back in.

Many make the choice to be a stay-at-home mother when the kids are little, but later wish they hadn’t let their skills and contacts lapse to the point where they’ve lost confidence in their abilities. Others aren’t crazy about returning to work but need or want to contribute to the family income or would like some financial independence.

A big concern is finding work that fits in with family life. [more]

What To Do About A Lack Of Motivation

What To Do About A Lack Of Motivation
Tell Us What You Think.

I’m normally a positive and energetic person. I talk and move fast, my brain is filled with a steady flow of non-stop ideas and I rarely feel bored. 

So feeling a complete lack of motivation over these past few weeks has been very strange and unusual. 

It started with a horrible stomach virus which morphed into a bad cold and cough. But even 10 days later when I ‘should’ have felt back to normal, I couldn’t muster up an ounce of enthusiasm for anything.

I didn’t want to work – which has never happened since starting Project Me. I didn’t want to socialise, I couldn’t be bothered to think about food or cooking. My poor family.

I wasn’t depressed and I didn’t feel hopeless. I just had a drawn-out case of the Blahs. Yes, it’s happened to the Mama Motivator herself![more]

Keeping A Family Book of Quotes

Keeping A Family Book of Quotes
Tell Us What You Think.

Kids say the funniest things.

Once your child starts talking, they never cease to come up with questions and comments that crack you up.

You might think you’ll remember this stuff, but there’s a good chance you won’t.

My boys are teenagers now and I’m kicking myself for not keeping a family book of quotes much earlier.

I used to say, ‘I’m going to write that in my book of quotes!’ as a joke, but I never got around to actually doing it until they were six and nine.

Better late than never! Our family book of quotes is a source of great amusement to me and I turn to it whenever I could use a good giggle.[more]

Exploring Happy Habits With Gretchen Rubin

Exploring Happy Habits With Gretchen Rubin
Tell Us What You Think.

I’m thrilled that Project Me has made a great list of 25 Must-Read Personal Development Blogs, especially given that I share the bill with one of my personal faves, Gretchen Rubin.

Gretchen first came onto my radar several years ago with her book The Happiness Project. She’s as fascinated with happiness, human behaviour and habits as I am!

I once spent five consecutive days sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surreptitiously observing and writing down where people chose to sit and which magazines they shuffled through. The following week I did a similar same thing in a cafe.

Before you assume I’m some kind of weirdo, It was for my sociology class at university.

Gretchen’s latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives, explores how habits affect your life in both good and bad ways. She uses herself, her friends and her family as guinea pigs to test out various theories, which makes it more fun to read than the other books on habits I’ve delved into – and never quite finished…

I especially love her Four Tendencies framework to help people understand how they tend to respond to expectations, both inner and external.

As a productivity and goals coach for mothers, it’s useful for me to understand if the person I’m working with needs my accountability (ie: a kick up her backside to make sure she follows through!), or if she’ll rebel against that and needs to do things her own way. Others respond better to lots of useful information. Once they have the facts, they make decisions they trust.

Since we’re all different, self-understanding is the key to reaching our goals and mastering our habits.

You can take Gretchen’s online quiz to find out [more]

Recommended Meditation Apps for Mothers

Recommended Meditation Apps for Mothers
Tell Us What You Think.

Feel like you ‘should’ be meditating, but never really manage to get into it?

Have a monkey mind and can’t stop the endless chatter running through your head?

I hear you!

For years I tried to develop a meditation practice. I’d heard all of the amazing benefits, including less stress and anxiety, the ability to manage emotions, unwind and be more present.

Yet all I seemed to accomplish in a session was mentally scanning my to-do list or pondering what I should make for dinner.

Now I’m using guided meditation apps. They give my mind something positive to latch on to so I won’t automatically go off on a wild thought tangent.

I’ve been experimenting with several meditation phone apps. Here are some great ones and in the comments below, please share any you like too.[more]

Arianna Huffington’s Personal Advice for Busy Mothers

Arianna Huffington’s Personal Advice for Busy Mothers
Tell Us What You Think.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an inspirational talk in Madrid by Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and author of the wonderful book ‘Thrive’.

The subject of her talk was one very close to my heart: Balance & Mindfulness.

When she asked if anyone had any questions, my hand shot up. Before I knew what was happening, a microphone was thrust into my hand and I was told to stand up and introduce myself.

I’m a huge admirer of Arianna, so my face burned and heart raced, but I believe it went something like:

Hi Arianna, I’m Kelly Pietrangeli of Project Me for Busy Mothers and I help women find a happier balance between the kids – and everything else. (Whew! All of those months of memorising my ‘cocktail line’ paid off!)

My busy mother readers and clients all say the same thing:

‘My to-do list is never ending! There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done.’

They go to bed feeling exhausted and guilty for everything they haven’t managed to get done.

Arianna, what would you say to the mother with the never-ending to-do list?

Her answer:

There’s always going to be your to-do list. But you also need a gratitude list. Every single day, write at least three things you’re feeling grateful for.

The more gratitude you have for all of the people and things you have in your life, the more grace you’ll extend yourself for not ‘getting it all done’. Focus on what you achieved each night before bed, not on what you didn’t manage to do.

Of course, this made my heart sing, and if you’ve been following Project Me for any length of time you’ll know that I’m always banging on about gratitude as a daily practice.

There’s even a place to write gratitude at the top of my Design My Day action sheet. Never leave that box blank to just focus on your to-dos. [more]

Why You’ve Lost Your Sex Drive and How to Get It Back

Why You’ve Lost Your Sex Drive and How to Get It Back
Tell Us What You Think.

Do you find yourself hoping your partner’s already asleep when you crawl into bed? Finding it hard to muster up even a whiff of desire to make love? Worried your sex drive has dried up and disappeared forever?

This is a very common problem (one I’ve experienced for myself after the birth of each of my children), so I’ve invited Maj Wismann, a leading Danish couples therapist and sexologist, to give you some sound advice on this often sensitive subject.

Maj helps women and men to have a better sex life, as well as incorporate more love, closeness and intimacy into their relationships.

Here are Maj’s words of wisdom when it comes to identifying why you’ve lost your sex drive – and how to get it back. [more]

How to Plan a Project Me Date With Yourself

How to Plan a Project Me Date With Yourself
Tell Us What You Think.

How often do you sit down with a pen and paper, do a little assessment of the different areas of your life and see what needs some planning or figuring out?

Maybe you need a strategy for organising your home, getting into a fitness routine, having more fun with your partner or friends, or doing more things just for you?  Family life may flow easier if you spend a little time creating some written rules or charts so you can stop the nagging. Perhaps you have a business idea swirling around in your head, but you never take the time to explore it properly?

When you’re constantly caught up in the day to day whirlwind of life, you fall into bed every night without any chance for planning or reflection. Then the next morning you start the whole crazy routine all over again! That’s why this date with yourself is so important.

Here’s How To Plan a Monthly Project Me Date With Yourself

  • Schedule it in. Ink a time and date into your calendar as if it’s an important appointment you can’t miss. Because it is.
  • Find a quiet spot, either at home or in the corner of a cozy cafe.
  • Use the Project Me Life Wheel® to do an assessment of your 8 Key Life Areas. This will flag up any areas that need some focused attention.
  • Grab other Action Sheets like the Challenge Solver, Magic Matrix, Fitness Planner, Meal Planners, or Chores Chart. These tools make it quick and easy for you to get started.
  • Use a dedicated Project Me notebook or journal to capture your thoughts and hash out those plans. Out of your head and onto paper!
  • Schedule in your date for next month so you don’t forget. Once you get into a habit of it, it’s a date you’ll never want to miss.

It’s too easy to spend your downtime getting sucked into social media or mindlessly surfing the web. Having a monthly Project Me Date With Yourself will help you feel more organised and on top of life. You’ll become a pro problem solver and the expert of you and your family.

Once you get on top of the day to day stuff, you’ll have more headspace to dig deeper into your goals, dreams and future plans. You’ll get to know yourself better and understand what brings out your best version of you.

So, when’s that first date with yourself going to be?

In the comments below share your take-aways from this post. When are you going to schedule it in that first hot date with yourself?

To receive the Project Me Life Wheel®pop your name and email into the box below. (I’ll never share your details with anyone.) 

  •  

The results of your wheel will give you a starting point for what steps to take next.

I’m passionate about helping you find a happier balance. Take this free gift – and let me know how it works for you.

Choose Your Word Of The Year

Choose Your Word Of The Year
Tell Us What You Think.

If you could choose one word to sum up what you’d like out of your year ahead, what would it be?

Maybe it’s a word that describes how you want to feel? Or something you wish to accomplish?

I’ve been choosing an annual theme word for the past few years. I usually just go with my gut instinct – whatever seems to be calling me.

Then I write it down and hang it somewhere visible, as a steady reminder. I also write it in my journal and put it on a sticky note next to my computer. I’ve sometimes made a bookmark featuring my word of the year which I transfer across to whatever I’m reading each month.

And you know what? I really think it makes a difference! Here are some examples.[more]


Say YES to Monday Motivator newsletters and also get your free Project Me Life Wheel