Word of the Year

2020 In Review

2020 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Well. We did that, somehow. We lived through 2020, the (hopefully!?) hardest year of our collective lives.

The pandemic hit different people differently, and everyone has a different personal code of ethics and risk tolerance. But for me, the lockdowns here in Canada meant that I saw very few places outside of my apartment and immediate neighbourhood this year. I interacted with very few people besides my boyfriend, outdoor time with a couple friends who live within walking distance, and occasionally, with precautions taken, my immediate family. And even those visits were few and far between!

I live alone, and I don’t have a car or any animals, so it’s been a bit of a hard year. There has still been joy and I still have so much to be grateful for, but I’ll admit that it’s been painful and lonely too. I’ve had very little energy for anything outside of work, which I really had to focus on in order to actually make money and support myself during such an uncertain year! So a lot fell by the wayside. Some of my friendships have weakened. I had less time for my favourite hobbies, like reading and writing this blog. My self-care and sleep schedule were intermittent at best. (Caveat: I know I’ve had it so easy compared to so many others.)

And yet we made it through! A few days into January and while nothing really feels any different than it did all of last year (same apartment, same schedule, same same same), I feel somewhat hopeful about what this year might hold. Maybe I can take a trip. Maybe I can hug my friends again. Maybe I can host another in-person retreat. We will see. All of us will see.

Until then, I still wanted to take some time to reflect 2020. As weird as it was, there was so much beauty too, and I want to remember those parts. So here we go! 2020 in review, such as it was.


January

The year started off on such a positive note! I was coaching a lot, making new connections, and prepping to host my first-ever business retreat the following month. I remember life feeling full and vibrant and fun. I started doing food prep and was really excited about that new development! I was taking great care of myself, having coworking dates in beautiful spaces, going to fun concerts, and generally having a very good time. But the most exciting thing that happened in January was meeting my now-partner Mike, who has been my steady, hilarious, generous, cuddly person throughout this wild, ridiculous year.

February

Another juggernaut of a month! I hosted my retreat and it was an absolute delight. I have thought of it often in the months since: how cozy we all were snuggled together in that farmhouse, how delicious the food was, how connected we felt. It’s almost haunting to know how much life changed right after that experience. In February I also gave a workshop to a big corporate client alongside The Birds Papaya, which was a fairly surprising (and cool) development. I also got a really great haircut…and haven’t had one since 😂

March

As you know, the world (as we knew it) ended. The day I was meant to take a beautiful snowy weekend getaway with four close friends, I got a cold. I personally put myself into lockdown, and my province quickly followed suit a couple of days later. I remember almost nothing from March, but a look at my calendar shows that I was still busy. I had a lot of coaching calls previously scheduled, and somehow, I still managed to show up for them fully. But I lost a major client and a major project pretty much as soon as COVID hit. I worried about money. I did not bake bread. I did not do puzzles. I DID get on TikTok and try to cheer myself up by learning a bunch of dances. I did go for a lot of walks, and read Untamed, which I adored. But mostly, I laid on my floor and cried, then got up and tried to serve my (also panicking!) clients.

April

I was supposed to go to see my favourite musical Hamilton on my birthday this year!!! Did not happen. But, I’m lucky enough that instead, my friends Sonja and Stirling came to my house with their guitars and sang to me, 6 feet apart, and my mom stopped by and waved at me from across the parking lot. Also that month, we moved NurtureNurture (our beloved twice-annual life retreat!) online and it was as powerful and fun as ever, despite the distance. I did eventually bake a banana bread, but I had a lot of trouble sleeping and didn’t touch a book for basically the entire month. I have no idea WHAT I was doing with my time, besides surviving. My camera roll shows only photos of walks, stress cleaning, and a lot of photos of me in my romper.

May

I decided to launch “Productivity Parties”, collective work sprints that could bring people together to get their work done in a supportive community. Those were so fun, and a real hit – people were really craving that togetherness, myself included. In May I also visited my mom’s property for some socially distanced quality time on the trails and it was so good for my soul. I walked around the city bloom-spotting and the flowers brought me so much joy. Sonja and I started having regular weekly outdoor dates, and thank goodness. And I got an unexpected job offer which felt exciting and cool, though I ultimately declined it for many reasons. Life got warmer, and life got better.

June

The job offer started to go sour, and I made the executive decision to decline it and continue to do my own thing instead. I decided to re-launch my group coaching program to see what would happen, and enrolled two amazing groups that I adored working with for the rest of 2020. I gave a great online workshop about productivity. I planned a fun COVID-safe adventure day complete with strawberry picking, hiking, and a drive-in double feature (SO fun). I also got a big wake-up call about my complacency and inaction around anti-racism after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests, and started trying to be more vocal and active in the fight for an anti-racist world.

July

As mentioned, I started running two new simultaneous cohorts of my group program, which was such a joy, a delight, and a relief from a business perspective. I also started running my monthly Transparency Tuesday updates, to share my action steps to become a more anti-racist business and person. I tried to take advantage of the beautiful weather by hiking to waterfalls, camping out at my mom’s backyard, reading on the grass at the park, and walking down by the lake. I even ventured to a few patios for a couple of dinners! I love July and though it was different than usual, I still loved soaking up the sunshine and seeing my friends at a safe distance.

August

This was a fun month too! Beautiful weather and much better vibes. I dogsat at a friend’s house which was a very welcome change of scenery after several months stuck in my own apartment. I surprised Mike for his birthday with a park gathering with several of his friends, then took him to an indoor obstacle course which was so much fun (albeit less fun with masks on, lol!). I took a Mental Health Crisis Response course online, went to a few apartment open houses (nothing panned out), and even tried out text banking for the American election. Meanwhile, I was hard at work building out the infrastructure for my online business community!

September

Said business community, The Profoundery, launched! I had actually been working on it, on and off, for most of the year, so it was so rewarding to actually see it come to fruition. And the members who joined (and who have continued to join!) are so incredibly inspiring and thoughtful. The other super fun thing that happened this month was that Mike & I took a camping trip! Such a delight to spend a couple days away from it all, cooking over a fire, taking photos, and exploring. Also in September I carefully visited my grandparents for the first time since Christmas, celebrated a friend’s birthday on blankets at the park, took some excellent workshops through SURJ, and finally got back to reading a little bit more. See also: tried to soak up every moment of the good weather before it got cold again.

October

It got cold again. Sonja and I tried to drag our weekly outdoor hangs out until it was too cold to sit outside anymore, so we switched to walks. October was the month that I really started to feel panicky again about the impending winter. I wanted to move, I wanted a dog, I wanted the pandemic to be OVER, I wanted a break. Nothing really changed, but I definitely felt agitated about it. On the positive side, I started running monthly calls in The Profoundery and it was SO much fun, I was immediately so glad I had created it, and still am. The only other good thing that happened in October was the second NurtureNurture of the year, which again was so fun and delightful. A serious bright spot in an otherwise challenging month.

November

More of the same: work, walk, sleep, repeat. It was hard to stay motivated and hard to stay positive when life just felt cold and dreary almost all the time. There were some dark days in November, for sure. The positive things: I finished the Duolingo Romanian course I’d started in March, I “went to see” a virtual Donovan Woods concert online, and my best friend got engaged! I also launched my first online retreat, which is happening in a week as I write this. I also visited my mom for her birthday, which was a delight.

December

Which brings us to December. We had some pretty snowfalls, which I appreciated more than in previous years because they were at least something visually interesting and a bit different than the grey sameness that Toronto was otherwise bringing! I got my first (tiny) Christmas tree to have at home, and decorated it with my favourite ornaments from years past. I tried to lean into the festivities by making snowflakes, buying Christmas candles, and knitting a festive tree skirt. Mike and I had a dress-up date night at home, just for fun. And I took a full two weeks off for a break, which was wonderful, even if I didn’t get to see as many of my loved ones as I would have liked. It was a cold break thanks to all the standing outside we did, but I was so grateful that we could make those memories. It was special, in its own way.


Firsts of 2020

  • First global pandemic (and ideally also my last)
  • First time running a business retreat
  • First time not hugging my mom on my birthday
  • First time singing Christmas carols to my grandma on her balcony
  • First time camping with Mike
  • First time cooking over a fire for the weekend without a stove
  • First time launching an online business community!
  • First time doing my coaching program fully online
  • First virtual bachelorette party (would not necessarily recommend)
  • First time doing night sky photography
  • First time wearing a mask to the grocery store (and everywhere else)
  • First time making homemade margaritas
  • First time eating outside in the rain under a haphazardly constructed tarp tent to stay socially distanced
  • First time getting TikTok and posting dance videos on the internet
  • First time giving a workshop to a large private corporation
  • First time having a virtual movie night date
  • First time having a virtual retreat
  • First time attending a virtual concert
  • First time learning how to speak Romanian
  • First time trying dance-based workouts
  • First time trying Weber’s burgers
  • First time having white shoes

2020 by the Numbers

  • 70 books read
  • 45 blog posts written
  • 44 Instagram posts
  • 5.25 hours of meditation (or 43 sessions)

Goals & Intentions

You can see my full post of goals & intentions for 2020 right here! Here are my updates.

Wellness

  • Don’t drink alone: HAHAHAHAHA. Let’s put it this way: I literally forgot this was a resolution of mine
  • Walk for 20 for 2020 outsideI did pretty well with this! I don’t have an official count of days, but I did this more often than not.
  • Set up my Alexa morning & evening routines: I did set them up! Then eventually I turned them off and never turned them on again.

Home & Community

  • Explore one new star per week: Again, this is hilarious considering that we could not explore ANY new shops or restaurants for large swaths of this year. So no, this did not happen.
  • Do an Energy Exchange at Yoga Village: This also did not happen! They actually never answered my email.
  • Capture 1SE: This I did do, and I am so grateful that I did! I will be sharing the video very soon.

Rest & Relaxation

  • Read 111 books this year: I did not read this many books, since the pandemic destroyed my ability to concentrate for a few months there. I did however read 70 books! Which is wonderful.
  • Create a shut-down ritual for work: Did not do, did not even attempt.
  • Take a vacation: I think that my camping trip counts as a vacation! It wasn’t what I had perhaps envisioned when I wrote this, but it was restful and fun all the same.

Self-Care

  • Try acupuncture: Indeed yes! I snuck this one in right before the pandemic happened. I liked it, and would probably go again after COVID life is over.
  • Get quarterly massages: This (perhaps obviously) did not happen.
  • Find a great therapist: This could have happened! But didn’t. I really lost sight of my goals for much of this year and this was among the ones that got totally forgotten. I hope to do it in 2021.

Whimsy

  • Celebrate minor holidays: Not really.
  • Do monthly surprise dates: This started off strong! And quickly deteriorated as the year went on and we had fewer places to go.
  • Buy something that sparks joy each month: This, I actually stuck to! I purchased some very joy-sparking things throughout the year. Here are some highlights: my Always pan, my Airpods, my Smash + Tess romper.

My Word of The Year: Devoted

Funnily enough, this was actually the perfect year to have the word Devoted. This year was hard, and it required a lot of devotion: to my health, to my relationship, to my clients, to my business. I was very grateful to have such an intentional and forceful word guiding me through the year, to remind me to SHOW UP and CONTINUE SHOWING UP, no matter what might be thrown my way.

As I said in last year’s post, there was a fierceness to this word that I was craving, and which I definitely needed to embody. Starting a relationship during a global pandemic, when all of your raw emotions are exposed and on display all the time? Not easy. Very triggering. Requires devotion. Taking care of your body and mind, eating well and exercising and getting outside while you’re in lockdown? Requires devotion. Trying to keep your business going and actually being able to support your clients despite the turbulent conditions? Requires devotion. It all required a lot of me, and while some things certainly fell by the wayside as a result, overall I’m so glad I had this word guiding me through.

And bonus! I also bought a beautiful ring engraved with the word devotion which was the perfect talisman to remind me of my intention. Yes.


Whew!! What a year this was. Reflecting on it in this way is actually quite rewarding, because it forces me to see how much goodness I got to experience this year. I was lucky: my business stayed afloat, I found love, I played with dogs, I spent time in beautiful parts of nature, I helped my clients. I have so much to be grateful for, even if this year was nothing that I could have expected or would have chosen. I tried my best, and my best was good enough to get me through, and for that I am so grateful. I know others were not as lucky as me, and my heart goes out to them.

So as we end this historic year, I am sending you love and positivity and hope. Hope for the vaccines. Hope for the future. Hope for our loved ones and our families and our health. Hope that we can get through these next few months and come out into a bit more light on the other side of this very dark tunnel.

All my love,

Steph

PS. If you’re curious, you can see more of my year-end reviews here:

2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2020: Devoted

2020: Devoted >> Life In Limbo

This will be my eighth (!) year choosing a word to keep in mind as I move through the months ahead. I love choosing a word for the year, because even if I completely forget about it, it still adds some whimsy and an extra dimension to the year. It guides my thinking, nudges me to make more aligned decisions, and helps me interpret things that happen to me through a new lens.

This year, my word feels just a teensy little bit confronting. Devoted. DEVOTED. That feels serious! It feels important. It feels real.

As we approached the end of 2019, I was feeling like I needed to have my own back more. I was tired of being tired all the time. I wanted to be able to set firmer boundaries and have confidence in myself and advocate for myself when needed. At Nurture, I wrote a poem with a line that says “You have your own gravity,” which I absolutely love. I initially thought that my word might be Gravity.

Then I realized that the bigger feeling I wanted to cultivate was a sense of commitment: to myself, to my life, to my relationships, to my integrity, to my clients. I wanted more of my own gravity as a way to stay anchored, grounded, firmly rooted in what I want more of, without distraction. So then I thought maybe Commit might be a better word.

Finally, after clicking around through a bunch of synonym pages for Gravity and Commit, I saw the word Devotion and my ears perked up. Devotion. Devoted. Devote.

2020: Devoted >> Life In Limbo

There is such a quiet beauty to this word, a humility, a steadfastness. It implies being unshakeable. It evokes romance and love. There is a fierceness to it that I am craving for myself. When I compare “self-care” to “being devoted to myself”, the difference rings like a bell in my head.

So my word is Devoted. I am devoted. I am devoted to myself and maintaining my boundaries. I am devoted to my health, wellness and wellbeing. I am devoted to making sure I give myself what I need. I am devoted to my family and my friends. I am devoted to my future romantic relationship. I am devoted to my rest, my downtime, my relaxation. I am devoted to creating more richness in my life, more whimsy, more playfulness, more delight. I am devoted to my home, my community, my neighbourhood. I am devoted to my life.

Devoted

  • the fact or state of being ardently dedicated, loving and loyal
  • loyalty and love or care for someone or something
  • to give all or a large part of one’s time or resources to (a person, activity, or cause)
  • an act of prayer or private worship

Synonyms: adoring, affectionate, fond, loving, tender, tenderhearted, dedicated, committed

Goals & Intentions

I went in a bit of a different direction this year with my goals. I thought about what feelings I’d like to cultivate, then set goals & intentions to help me get closer to those feelings. My hope is that my word keeps me devoted to these goals!

In 2020, I will be devoted to:

Wellness

  • Don’t drink alone
  • Walk for 20 for 2020 outside
  • Set up my Alexa morning & evening routines

Home & Community

  • Explore one new star per week
  • Do an Energy Exchange at Yoga Village
  • Capture 1SE

Rest & Relaxation

  • Read 111 books this year
  • Create a shut-down ritual for work
  • Take a vacation

Self-Care

  • Try acupuncture
  • Get quarterly massages
  • Find a great therapist

Whimsy

  • Celebrate minor holidays
  • Do monthly surprise dates
  • Buy something that sparks joy each month

I have a good feeling about 2020! It feels like I have some momentum behind me as I move into it in a way I haven’t before. I’m so proud of what I accomplished in 2019 and I can’t wait to put down more roots & deepen my relationships in 2020.

If you choose a word for the year, I would love to hear about it! And if you see any resources, books or posts about the idea of devotion, send them my way. Happy 2020, everyone!

You can read more about my words from the last few years below:

2013: Reach | 2014: Abundance | 2015: Grace | 2016: Light | 2017: Embrace | 2018: Flow | 2019: Energy

2019 In Review

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Some years go by faster than others, and this one feels like a complete and total blur. It’s going to be hard to sum up the year in one blog post because so many things happened for me. Things that feel totally surreal. Things that are still painful to think about. Things that make me feel unbelievably grateful. Things that make me excited for the future. Things that make me baffled about the past. So many things.

I love writing these posts because they force me to pause, reflect, remember, celebrate, and release. I get to think through everything that happened (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and honour it as it should be honoured. And this year in particular, I am especially in need of a pause. Life lately has been hectic, so I’m ready to take stock. Without further ado, here was 2019:

January

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I started off the year strong by launching my first-ever iteration of my group program, The Foundery, with three incredible entrepreneurs. I learned some impressive magic tricks & performed them at a party. I taught my Inbox Zero workshop again! I got sick with a bad cold. My favourite part was when I took a lovely trip to New York for a little working holiday and to spend some quality time with my bestie Katie. I remember feeling so excited about the future.

February

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In February I was interviewed for The Globe and Mail about my love of books, which was a real high point. Business-wise, I created a PDF download for my website and turned my Inbox Zero workshop into an online course. I went up to a friend’s snowy cottage with my book club and read books in the hot tub. I helped launch a book for the company I worked for at the time. Meanwhile, I slowly got better at doing Instagram stories. 😂 I also cried & felt sick to my stomach emotionally. A lot.

March

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

March is when the year started to pick up a bit of momentum for me. I had a lot of firsts! My first interview in a national newspaper. My first time on a blind date. My first Instagram Live. I also booked a big workshop, helped host Nurture: Spring 2019 which was a dream, hit pause on my podcast, and went curling with my family. But I also struggled to walk away from a toxic relationship, my financial life was v. stressful and I was so sick of winter. Not the greatest month.

April

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I love April because it’s my birthday month! And this April was especially wonderful. I did Nurture Nurture (our twice-annual DIY retreat) with Sonja & Moni in Almonte, which was so rewarding & helpful. I threw a concert for my birthday at a sewing studio, and celebrated surrounded by all my favourite people. I started another group of The Foundery, which felt so exciting. And I also went to Ithaca with Katie! We had the most delightful long weekend exploring, hiking, eating and talking non-stop. Plus we had the first signs of Spring, thank goodness!

May

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Okay, May was super fun. I went to Warkworth with a few friends and was very charmed by the town & the beautiful landscapes. And then, most notably, I taught my first masterclass at Make Lemonade! That experience was a huge highlight of my year, a night where I felt exactly like myself and was so proud of what I’d created. It was also the launchpad for several of my other favourite moments of 2019 – see below! Also fun: going to see Bear’s Den with both my sisters.

June

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I am a summer person. I love to soak up every second of the warmer weather since it is so scarce here in Toronto. In June this year I tried to celebrate by going to street festivals, having a beach picnic for the solstice, dogsitting at my mom’s beautiful property, and going for long walks outdoors. I spent lots of quality time with friends, went out for a very fun father’s day dinner with the family, and went to see Dear Evan Hansen with my sister. It was wonderful, exactly the kind of month I long for when it’s cold and dreary outside (ie. today, as I write this!).

July

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

This was another good month until almost the very last day. I started a new group of The Foundery with women who are absolutely wonderful. I went to the cottage with my coven and it was all kinds of glorious. I had strategy sessions outside in the café in High Park, and did my email workshop for a small company, and went to see the RuPaul Tour, and went to the pool, and watched movies in the park. I also hosted Katie when she came to Toronto for a week and we had such a blast. But a couple days before the end of the month we also found out some scary news about my dad’s health.

August

Inspiration: August 9 >> Life In Limbo

August is usually my favourite month, but it was definitely overshadowed this year by the fears & stress of my dad needing to go for emergency surgery and his recovery afterward. I took time off work to be with him at the hospital, which was such a strange time but also brought us all closer together. I also had other commitments this month, like a photoshoot, filming my class for Make Lemonade, and celebrating a friend’s coming out party. I helped throw a bridal shower for Laura, took over the Make Lemonade Instagram account, and did a lot of strategy sessions. I was sort of on autopilot, but I made it through.

September

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In September we launched Business 101 which was SO exciting. It was very rewarding to work so hard on something that was so well received by the community. I also did a one-day retreat with Sonja to get our heads on straight for the rest of 2019. And the rest of September was pretty much consumed by wedding-related things! My cousin’s engagement party, Laura’s bachelorette, a week of wedding prep, and then of course the wedding weekend itself! It was pretty full-on, but everything was very beautiful.

October

Inspiration: October 18 >> Life In Limbo

October was another fun month: I started a new group of The Foundery and actually continued with my group from April, which was a pinch-me moment and so exciting. I went to Hamilton for a little getaway for Nurture Nurture: Fall with Sonja and Moni. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. I won a pumpkin carving competition. And most importantly, I got tickets to Hamilton, the musical!!!

November

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In November we hosted another Nurture: Fall 2019 retreat, which was so meaningful and powerful. I went to a few cozy showcases and had a lot of client calls. I joined Wandering Aimfully! I started to hibernate for the winter by cozy-fying my house. I coworked with my mastermind group at East Room, which was an utter delight. I had to start charging HST which was stressful but ultimately fine and actually a celebration!

December

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Wow, even in writing this blog post December crept up on me! How is it December already? This month I was in full hibernation mode, but still managed to do some delightful things, like surprise Sonja with tickets to Donovan Woods for her birthday! I also taught my Operations 101 class live to a sold-out group (SO fun) and threw a very cozy & wonderful holiday party as a thank you for all of my clients. And then I gave myself two weeks off! I’ve been spending the time with family, resting and recuperating from what has been a very full year.


Firsts of 2019

I am relying on my memory to create this list, so it’s probably nowhere near exhaustive but still a fun exercise!

  • First time running a group program
  • First time interviewed in a national newspaper
  • First blind date
  • First time solo road-tripping to another country
  • First wine-tasting tour
  • First time as a bridesmaid
  • First time interviewing a stranger I’m a fan of for my podcast
  • First professional divorce
  • First time selling spots in an online course
  • First time being with a family member for a surgery
  • First time planning a business retreat
  • First time being paid to give a talk live
  • First Instagram takeover & Instagram Lives
  • First time being 100% self-employed
  • First time totally rearranging my current apartment
  • First bridal shower, first baby shower
  • First time throwing a client appreciation party

2019 by the Numbers

  • 112 books read and counting!
  • 166 blog posts written
  • 61 Instagram posts
  • 240 days of morning meditation (40 hours!)

Goals & Intentions

You can see my full post of goals & intentions for 2019 right here! Here are my updates.

Physical Energy

  1. Be in bed without technology by 10:30PM every weeknight and 11:30PM every weekend night: Lol, nope. But I did start tracking this on a daily habit-tracking app so I think I was successful a lot more often than I otherwise would have been had I not tracked it! But I am definitely still working on figuring out my ideal sleep routine.
  2. Move intentionally every day: Again, I don’t have the numbers on this (because note to self, you almost always forget to stop filling in your daily habit trackers somewhere around May or June) but I do think it helped to set this as an intention.
  3. Create a binder of fun, healthy meal ideas: I *started* this, but didn’t get very far. Eating healthy & simply continued to evade me in 2019.

Source Energy

  1. Meditate every morning for at least 5 minutes: I managed to meditate 240/365 days which is about 65% of the time. This seems low! But I do struggle to meditate anytime I’m away from home and sometimes on weekends. This is a habit that I don’t notice the benefits of unless I’m NOT doing it, so I plan to keep it up.
  2. Read 100 books: Yay, I’ve read 112 so far! It was so fun to not give myself any restrictions or rules this year and just read whatever the heck I wanted. Turns out: I wanted to read a lot of romance novels!
  3. Write more reflective blog posts & journal entries: Another yay! I spent a big chunk of the year writing a blog post every single day, which was a fun & rewarding daily practice. I’m out of the habit now but it feels good knowing I strengthened that muscle and spent time reflecting on my thoughts and ideas.

Guard Energy

  1. Say no to things that aren’t aligned or that feel forced, tiring, or sticky: Oh boy. This was a tough one. I was NOT successful in this all the time, but I definitely walked away from several things and relationships that no longer felt aligned. Sometimes I absolutely had to do things that I didn’t want to do, but I usually learned a lot about myself in the process.
  2. Have one ‘mevening’ per week: This has become enough of a habit that I was actually surprised to see it on my goals list! I think that’s a sign that I’ve successfully managed to carve out a bit more time for myself to think, rest and reset each week. It’s still not perfect, but I’m glad that it’s now my reflex to take more time for myself at home.
  3. Do an activity audit monthly: I haven’t done this every single month, but I’ve gotten a lot better at intuitively knowing what I need to pump the brakes on and step away from each month. I feel good about my current commitments and am generally working on leaning into the things that light me up and away from the things that drain me.

Follow Energy

  1. Create a list of what lights me up most: Did this! Then promptly never referenced it again. But I’ve made similar lists throughout the year and I’m getting better at remembering them when I’m in low moments.
  2. Create a daily energy reminder check-in on my phone: I had this set up for a big part of the year but eventually turned it off because the alarm function would interrupt me in the middle of important meetings, haha!
  3. Only take inspired action as much as possible: I would say this was successful. It wasn’t always possible, but I was FAR more conscious of whether I was doing things from a place of alignment this year. It’s becoming easier for me to tell, which I am grateful for.

Restore Energy

  1. Be leisurely & luxurious in my everyday life: Haha, definitely not. Unfortunately, this year felt like one long rush from one thing to another. I did not have as much downtime as I would have liked! I could have used more buffer time, more vacation, and more rest than I had.
  2. Schedule one special fun thing a month: I didn’t do so great at *scheduling* these things but I got better at going with the flow and noticing when they were happening to me! I did at least one special fun thing a month, which is a good reminder to me that I don’t need to worry quite so much about forcing things to happen. They’ll happen, Steph!
  3. Buy one thing per month that feels luxurious or pleasurable: You know what won’t just happen every month? Me buying myself something nice. I am such an underbuyer, so I was really grateful for this intention. There were months where my “something luxurious” only cost a few dollars because of cash flow, but the intention itself was really wonderful and led me to purchase several items that bring me a lot of joy.

Creative Energy

  1. Do 1 Second Everyday: Yes! I did this and it was so fun. I am still working on finishing up the final video so it’s not ready yet, but I always love having this visual record of the year. I only missed a few days overall, and was able to fill them in with videos from other days or by recording footage that would fit. Live photos were a lifesaver!
  2. Create two seasons of the Life In Limbo podcast: Technically I did this! I sort of petered off halfway through the fourth season when life got crazy and I was really into daily blogging. I’m really glad I stopped when I did – it would have been too much to continue. And I’m also really proud of the episodes I created this year! So much good stuff.
  3. Take more photos of my everyday life: This was a natural result of doing 1SE! I am happy to have more of a record of my life this year, though of course there were definitely a lot of days where I basically forgot or didn’t have time to use my phone. Lots of boring days spent working or on the computer. But in general, I did better.

My Word of the Year: Energy

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

As usual, I lost track of my word about halfway through the year, and recovered it in November & December. This always happens! I’m realizing that it’s super normal. The beauty of setting a word for the year is that it doesn’t have to be top-of-mind every single day. Instead, it becomes a lens through which you can see your year, a tool for analyzing how things went.

My year of energy was extremely tiring. I spent a lot of time feeling drained, exhausted, harried, stressed, rushed and anxious. I had to fight to walk away from relationships that were toxic to me. I spent a lot of time hibernating in my house away from the chaos of the world. I poured so much of myself into my work that I didn’t have a ton left over for other things.

But I also learned a lot. Calling in a word always calls in its opposite, because the lessons you have to learn around that theme tend to rise to the surface to be examined. My year of energy made me take a very hard look at all the things that were draining my energy, draining my potential, draining my spirit. Energy made me realize some difficult things about the ways I have been living. It forced me to rest, to leave, to cry, to try new things. I learned more about human design, and recognizing what brings me energy was an important practice for me. And the theme of energy also helped me turn towards the things that light me up: my family, my close friends, my work, my home.

I am ready for a new theme, but I am so grateful for this word. It carried me through some hard times, quietly present in the background. I love this practice and I am so grateful to have had this guiding word.


As always when I write these, I am struck by how much is not captured in this blog post. I worry I haven’t added in enough of my innermost thoughts or how I was feeling. I worry I haven’t put in enough detail. But if my theme of energy has taught me anything, it’s that I can afford to do a bit less. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I can give it my best shot, and then move on.

I gave 2019 my best shot, and it gave me back so many beautiful things. It humbled me. It pained me. It raised me up. It excited me. And now, I’m moving on. It’s time for a new year, a new theme, a new perspective, a new outlook, a new focus. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for us. Let’s go!

If you’re curious, you can see more of my year-end reviews here:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2019: Energy

If the first couple weeks are any indication, it feels like 2019 is going to fly by just as quickly as the last few years have felt! I’ve always read that as you get older, time starts to feel like it speeds up, and now I’m starting to experience that for myself.  Funnily enough, a lot of the goals I’ve set for myself are, upon reflection, ways for me to counteract the year going by so rapidly by bringing more fun, joy and richness to my days and by capturing their sweetness.

2019: Energy >> Life In Limbo

My word for 2019 is ENERGY, and all of my goals relate to my word in one way or another. Throughout 2018 I felt tired and a bit scattered, like my energy was being drained by certain responsibilities and relationships in ways that weren’t healthy for me. I was left feeling like I needed to protect my energy more carefully, as well as find ways to restore and re-energize after stressful situations.

Practically speaking, this year I chose my word and then centred all my goals around that word, finding various facets of the word energy that I wanted to embody over the next 12 months. I ended up with six different categories that each have three goals or intentions within them – which is a lot of goals! But for this year, it feels good, and I have systems in place to make them happen. If you’re curious to learn more about how I set goals this year, I also talked about the process on my podcast a couple weeks back!

Physical Energy

I want to feel more rested, more limber, and more energetic throughout the day. I want to really take care of my body and make sure I’m giving it the fuel and sleep it needs to feel good and healthy. And most importantly, I want to feel more attuned to my body and its signals and make sure I’m giving it what it needs.

1. Be in bed without technology by 10:30PM every weeknight and 11:30PM every weekend night

I want to make this habit a lot stronger, because the truth is that if I don’t get off my phone by this time of night I wind up staying up way longer than I know I should. Instead, I want to establish a firm technology bedtime, go to bed, and start reading instead. That way I’ll read more books and get drowsy at an appropriate time.

2. Move intentionally every day

This can look a lot of different ways: a long walk in nature, a quick run after work, a dance party in my apartment, a yoga class…anything that represents me specifically and intentionally taking time out of my schedule to move. Walking to the grocery store is great, but it doesn’t count for me in this resolution.

3. Create a binder of fun, healthy meal ideas

One of the tough parts of living alone is needing to prepare every single meal for yourself! I often run out of good ideas and get tired, meaning I wind up making a sandwich or tacos five nights of the week. No bueno! By putting some fun ideas into a binder, I’m hoping I’ll have more inspiration for meals that are easy but healthy.

Source Energy

I want to spend more time tapping into my source through the kinds of reflective and introspective activities that I know light me up and make me feel good. The goals and intentions in this category are designed to reconnect me to myself and to that well of wisdom within me (just like the one within you!).

1. Meditate every morning for at least 5 minutes

This is a continuation of a habit I’ve kept up for the past several years: last year alone I meditated for more than 50 hours!! Even though I rarely feel enthusiastic about my meditation practice, I know it’s helpful so I want to keep it up.

2. Read 100 books

Since 2013 I’ve read 75 books a year, and I think I’m ready to take it up a notch! This year, all bets are off and I’ll be reading lots of audio, lots of fiction, and lots of anything I want. No rules for me! You can track my progress on Goodreads here.

3. Write more reflective blog posts & journal entries

This is an intention rather than a goal, as I won’t be monitoring or tracking it. My hope is that by putting it on the list, I’ll turn to writing more often as a tool to help me work through things or process my thoughts. It’s such an invaluable part of my life, but one that I’d love to be accessing a bit more often.

Guard Energy

The biggest issue I faced in 2018 was keeping my energy safely protected from energy vampires: and I was not always successful. This year, I won’t let that happen again. Instead, I’ll be finding ways to protect my time and space and ensure that I’m only using my energy on things and people that really light me up.

1. Say no to things that aren’t aligned or that feel forced, tiring, or sticky

Another intention, because I’m positive I’ll slip up on this one and have to readjust as I go. Guarding my energy is a constant learning process and I don’t always get it right the first time, but giving myself grace with this means that I can hold it in my mind and not feel apologetic for taking my time and meeting my own needs.

2. Have one ‘mevening’ per week

I love the term “mevening”, which was coined by my friend Moni – it basically refers to any night you take intentionally for yourself to experience all your favourite solo activities. Having a name for it instantly reframes it in my mind and makes me want ALL the cozy mevenings to myself! Some weeks are crazy, so I want to put mevenings in the calendar and actively track to make sure I’m getting one weeknight mevening each week.

3. Do an activity audit monthly

I want to make it a habit to re-evaluate my commitments and obligations on a monthly basis, to upgrade or downgrade anything that might need adjustment at any given time. I will be using Modern Planner’s Activity Audit exercise for this, most likely on post-its or on a special Asana board I’ll make for the purpose.

Follow Energy

I recently found out that I’m a Generator in the Human Design framework, which essentially means that my superpower is noticing and responding to things that light up my energy and following those things as much as I can. I find this idea very inspiring, since any time I’ve done this in the past, it’s led to big positive shifts and a lot of inspired action on big projects that suddenly feel so easy to launch. If it works so well, why not follow it more carefully?

1. Create a list of what lights me up most

This can be added to over time, but just like Jess Lively has her alignment time, I can use these things as prompts to bring me back into a place of more energy and excitement.

2. Create a daily energy reminder check-in on my phone

I’ve set this up and it’s going off every day at 3:30PM, a time of day that typically is a lower point in terms of my energy. Two weeks into the year, it’s been interesting to have that brief touch point to see how I’m doing on any given day and to simply notice how much it can vary from day to day based on what I’m doing.

3. Only take inspired action as much as possible

Obviously this is an intention, because this would be fairly hard to measure or track! But I think that intending to take inspired action as much as I possibly can is a fairly good resolution for 2019. To me, inspired action feels like things are flowing, exciting, interesting, and like there’s a conveyor belt under my feet. Not always possible, but when it hits, it’s magic.

2019: Energy >> Life In Limbo

Restore Energy

I’ve realized that I’m very good at spending my energy, and often do so on things, people and projects that I find fun and rewarding. What I’m not so good at is taking the time to replenish and restore my energy in ways that don’t necessarily feel “practical”. I have a hard time sitting down to watch TV or a movie, because I constantly feel guilty that I should be doing something more productive! The goals & resolutions here are in direct opposition to this not-so-nice part of my nature.

1. Be leisurely & luxurious in my everyday life

I find that I’m often racing through my days like I have someone timing me with a stopwatch. I want to counteract this with the intention to be more leisurely in my days: when I’m eating, during my morning routine, when I’m reading, when I’m relaxing. I want to take the time to light the candle, dim the lights, put on some nice music and chop up herbs to put on top of my food. Doesn’t that just feel more pleasant? Because the truth is, I do have time, I just don’t always take it.

2. Schedule one special fun thing a month

In the spirit of the bucket lists I used to create, I want to get one special, out of the ordinary activity on the calendar for each month of 2019. This could be something like taking a new hike, or going to an exhibition, or even just going to the movies, since that’s something I don’t normally do. I love that I have the flexibility to choose the activity, but the structure to make sure it’s monthly.

3. Buy one thing per month that feels luxurious or pleasurable

I’m a notorious underbuyer, which means that I’m not very good at spending money, even when money would make my daily life more pleasant or enjoyable. To combat this tendency of mine, I’m giving myself the “goal” of spending out on one thing (big or small!) that feels like a luxury – a want, not a need. Since this doesn’t come naturally to me, it feels very fun to start brainstorming the types of things that might fall under this category – and most of them are not even that expensive!

Creative Energy

Last but certainly not least, I want to make time and space for my creative energy to shine through in 2019! Being creative is one of the best ways I know to feel more energetic and fulfilled, and yet I don’t always give it the time I know it deserves. I’m hoping to change that over the next 12 months with these resolutions.

1. Do 1 Second Everyday

This is one of my favourite projects because it’s so easy but brings so much more mindfulness and whimsy into my daily life. I regretted not doing it in 2018 so I’m excited to have re-started for 2019 and already it’s bringing me so much joy.

2. Create two seasons of the Life In Limbo podcast

This is well underway and I’m loving it! Starting this podcast was a long-time goal of mine and it’s felt so good to actually launch it and make time for it each week. I also love that I’m giving myself breaks from the show when it feels like an overwhelming season of life. I can’t wait to see what comes of the show in 2019 – I already have some very fun ideas for guests and topics in store!

3. Take more photos of my everyday life

I don’t know another way to say it: I’m just happier when I’m taking more photos and capturing more of the details of my daily life. In university I was blogging more, so I was taking more photos of my life and apartment, and I treasure those memories so much. I love where I’m living now, but I don’t take photos to commemorate this season and I know I’ll regret not having them if I don’t start now. More photos in 2019!


And there you have it! All my goals and intentions for 2019. I’m tracking most of these in Asana, which is the project management software I use for both my personal and business goals. I’m also making use of Elise’s daily habit tracker for all my daily goals, because it’s fun to watch those little circles add up over time. I can’t wait to see how these goals affect my year, and whether or not they make me feel more aware of my energy in 2019. Here’s hoping!

You can read more about my words from the last few years below:

2013: Reach | 2014: Abundance | 2015: Grace | 2016: Light | 2017: Embrace | 2018: Flow

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