Thank you for reading my blog! I’ve compiled a list with easy links to the top six most popular blog posts written in 2016 in case you missed any of them or want to re-read. The comment threads beneath these posts are worth gold. Thanks to everyone who jumped in with their own words of wisdom or shared their struggles. It helps us to see that we’re not alone and inspires us to take action.
I’m over the moon to hear how Project Me has improved mother’s lives in so many amazing ways. I welled up with tears as I read hundreds of responses to my Autumn survey.
I asked permission to print some, like this one from Lisa:
“I do the Life Wheel tool quarterly, and encourage my girlfriends to do the same. A couple years back when I saw that my work area was very low (as a stay at home mom), I made the decision to get my Master’s in Education. I graduated in May and am now working with English Language Learners. I am so very fulfilled helping and empowering my students.” That put such a HUGE smile on my face! GO LISA!
And this from Lauren:
“I had completely lost my voice – I had no idea who I was as a person. The Project Me Life Wheel was the first tool that actually helped me organize my thoughts and my fears in a way that was empowering rather than overwhelming. It helped me pick one thing to focus on improving. Once a month I plan on doing a check in with the Project Me Life Wheel so I don’t get so anxious again.” Well done Lauren! Monthly check-ins are the key to becoming the expert of yourself so you can learn from what’s not working and do more of what is.
There are too many to include here, but I send a huge FIST PUMP to each and every one of you for all big and small steps in the right direction. YES! Keep going!
Now without further ado – drum roll please…[more]
Here I am, turning the big 5-OH and I’m excited to ring in a new decade of life. I’m a firm believer that age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
I’m intrigued to explore what birthday-lovers have that birthday-dreaders don’t.
After all, growing older is inevitable. Getting old is optional.
Much of it appears to be a mindset thing.
I remember several of my friends getting freaked out about turning 30. Those same friends now look back at photos from that time and can’t get over how young they looked! If only they’d appreciated it at the time.
It’s time to start appreciating the age you are now. When you look in the mirror, take a mental snapshot and imagine looking at it again when you’re 80. You’ll think you looked a million bucks – because you do.
About 10 years ago I read Deepak Chorpra’s book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: A Practical Alternative to Growing Old. He lays down scientific evidence to show the mind-body connection to ageing. When you think old, your cells respond and begin deteriorating faster! Doesn’t that inspire you to change your mindset about ageing? Your thoughts create your reality!
Here are my top 6 tips to hep you feel young and stop dreading your birthday.
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]
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]
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?
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.
When’s the last time you had a date with yourself? Just you and nobody else but you?
This isn’t necessarily about booking in for a well-deserved massage or pedicure or treating yourself to a trashy magazine with your feet up. (Although I’m a big fan of this kind of self-care!)
It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day whirlwind of life that you fall into bed at night without any chance for planning or reflection.
Then the next morning you start the whole crazy routine all over again!
Making a date with yourself is an essential part of your productivity and your personal growth.
I’ve got a friend who heads to a cozy local cafe with low lighting and comfy sofas every Sunday evening while her lovely husband stays behind with their two young children. (Don’t you just want to hug him?)
He knows how important it is for her to get out of the house and have some time for herself. She uses this weekly date with herself to recharge and reconnect.
She spends the time getting clear about her goals, journal writing and doodling.
She’s set herself five non-negotiable rules:[more]
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]
When my cousin and I were teenagers, we were hanging out at my grandparents farm in Minnesota, dreaming about how great our future lives were going to be.
My big plan involved living in California with an ocean view, driving a convertible and working in Hollywood.
I’d never even been on an airplane in my life, much less visited California…
He was going to start a business, be his own boss, and design and build his dream house with his own two hands.
Our uncle overheard us from the other room and came in with a suggestion. Why didn’t we write our dream predictions down so we could see later if they turned out? He then taped our predictions to the back of the picture hanging above the kitchen table where we were sitting.
Fast forward several years. I’m in my early 20’s and I’ve just arrived home from work. Sorting through a pile of mail, I find a letter from my grandmother in Minnesota.
She writes to tell me that while the farmhouse kitchen was being repainted, they discovered the notes my cousin and I had written.
I looked up from her letter and gazed out my living room window. An enormous orange sunset was dipping into the Pacific Ocean.
I’d just driven home from work in my Volkswagen Golf convertible. My job? Working as Johnny Depp’s press assistant in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, my cousin had started his own successful heating and refrigeration business and had just designed and built his dream house.
This woke me up to the amazing power of having a dream and writing it down like it’s really gonna happen!
The second pivotal moment in my goal setting journey came along soon after that.
Johnny Depp decided to leave the TV show that had turned him into a teen heartthrob sensation. I thought he was nuts [more]
Happy Birthday to Project Meeeeee!!!! Two years old now!
I pinch myself when I think of what a long way it’s come in that short-ish time and what a loyal bunch of (rapidly growing!) international followers Project Me has.
I’ve decided to run a prize give-away every month to one of my fabulously loyal subscribers!
How would you like to win one of my favourite books from my We Love page?
Here’s how it’ll work.
On the first Monday of every month [more]
Long summer breaks can be a bag of mixed emotions. On the one hand there’s sweet freedom from early morning starts, rushing and routines. Eating breakfast in your PJ’s. Lunch and dinner whenever anyone’s hungry. Letting the kids live in the same swim suit for days on end. (Hey – it saves on laundry.)
On the flip-side, you’re on full-time mama duty. Your normal daily schedule’s thrown totally out of whack and you’re missing that vital me time. One day morphs into another and after a while you’ve completely lost the plot.
A few years ago I decided not to let the summer holidays feel like a roller coaster ride of happiness and hassles. I broke out my notebook and created a strategy for my Best Summer Yet.
And it worked! Getting clear about what I actually wanted was the key to guiding it in the right direction. It’s become an annual ritual and my summers keep getting better and better.[more]
I used to begin each summer with a fresh sense of optimism. But it wouldn’t take long for the novelty to wear off. I got so sick of feeling like the chief entertainer / housekeeper / cook and negotiator. My kids began to tune out my nagging voice, especially my half-hearted attempts to get them off electronics. Or to read, do summer homework or help out around the house.
I finally figured out that I needed a summer strategy. A game plan going in so I could navigate the school break without losing my marbles. And you know what? It works! My summers keep getting better and better. And I’m pretty sure my kids feel the same way. I mean who wouldn’t prefer to hang with a happy mama?!
Whether you’ve got a full summer schedule of plans, travels or activities to organise OR you work and need to figure out how to balance it all OR you want to free-style your summer days and play it all by ear, it’s worth getting clear about what you want out of summer for yourself and your kids.
That’s why I’ve created the Summer Strategy Kit – 24 gorgeous printables to help you cruise through the summer months without losing your cool too often.
Here’s a little glimpse of some of the printables for YOU…[more]
I’ve always thought of introverts as being wallflowers. Shy, quiet and preferring their own company.
I’m certainly no wallflower. I’ve got plenty of friends, have a very loud voice and have been known to dance on tables after a few tequilas.
But I’ve got introverted tendencies that have taken me years to understand.[more]