2018, Zita style

This year was one of my most difficult, yet best years in my life so far. Since I live here in Iceland, my typical "resolution" period has shifted to the summer. Buying Elise's planner, that starts in July reinforced this habit, and 2018 had started in July for me.


So here's my half-year summary

In the middle of June I started to walk to and from work, listening to audio books, and also started to exercise every morning by the end of the month. I figured I had about half a year until the end of 2018, so I downloaded Elise's goal tracker (sign up to her newsletter to get it free) and made a promise to myself: I will exercise at least six days a week for a whole year to see what my body is capable of if I don't quit after a few months. These few things have changed my life in many ways, and I'm only at the half year mark (here’s my goal tracker, pictured last week). 

  • 189 days have passed since then.

  • I exercised on 167 of those (roughly 5.640 minutes, or 94 hours of exercise, that averages in 34 minutes per exercise).

  • I have listened to 7 books (will list the worthy ones below).

  • I have listened to 32 podcast episodes (will show you the best ones).

  • I walked an average of 12700 steps daily.

  • I slept an average of 6 hours per day.

What this means


I LOVE exercising, especially in the morning. I'm not a morning person, but I love mornings. I know it's strange. I have a love-hate relationship with sleep. I love sleeping, but I hate how much more I could do had I not needed it. But I started to wake up early, so I can squeeze my 30-minute exercise in before my kids wake up, because I was unable to keep it regular when I waited until they went to bed at night. I more often fell asleep too than not. exercising in the morning was only difficult for a while, then I started to feel more energized throughout the whole day, and felt accomplished already by 6 in the morning. (It turns out I did something very useful without knowing about it, as research shows if you have "small wins" in the beginning of your day, you'll more likely feel great later. I can only agree with this). I have gained stamina, muscle, and what's more important: I'm better at handling our messy life in general. I'm still far from my goals in managing my anger, but I'm on my straight way to them. I started to believe in myself, and realise how much I'm able to do if I'm focused enough.


Though it's only seven books in six months, it's still more than zero. And some of them turned out to be life changing. They are all in the "self-help" category, so if you prefer fiction, skip this part.

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was recommended to me by a very good friend, a long time ago, but I was hesitant. The title is very misleading. It suggests that you have to change who you are in order to win friends and even influence them. (There's nothing I hate more than lies). But this book is much more than the title suggests. It shows you how to turn your attention to others, how not to be self centered, and how important it is to care about people. It still sounds strange like this, because these are more or less obvious things for a lot of people, but it opens up your eyes to your weaknesses and helps you figure out a way to develop them. I'd recommend it to everyone, just as an occasional cleaning and maintenance of your moral compass.

  2. The 5 second rule by Mel Robbins. I heard about this rule briefly in a podcast. It was playing a role in me starting exercise in the morning, and only after a month into that I started to look for the actual source of this rule. What I found was a treasure chest. If you only read one book next year, read this one. Or rather: listen to it in Mel's interpretation. It was soooo inspiring for me, I can't express. It's a simple thing, again. A very simple one. Skeptics will say there's nothing new to it. But Mel has to be considered as the Alchemist here, because this simple thing turns into gold in her hands. For some reason it's very easy to accept things when she says them. Probably because she's authentic and relatable. And we all need some tough love from time to time, because we often suck at parenting ourselves. 

  3. Kick Ass with Mel Robbins: I was listening to it on Audible, but it's not a book. I would say it's a series of podcasts, where Mel plays the role of an interviewer who's quite close to a therapist. You hear about so many great revelations, you can't not review your own life and make changes. I recommend this one too. No secret: I love Mel, like thousands of other people out there. There's a reason for that.

  4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Wow. This book is such a good mixture of (neuro)scientific stories and motivational facts, I couldn't stop listening to it. It explains a lot of things about our behaviours, habits, and it gives you a very good idea about how to form good ones. Along with the 5 second rule this one takes the first place.

  5. Made to Stick by Chip & Dean Heath. Another book about marketing and business. I loved it a lot. It's all about how to make our messages stick, be it a speech or something we want our kids to learn. I will listen to it again soon.

  6. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know anything about it, but it came up everywhere I went, so I stopped resisting. And I'm happy I did. There are many many good advice in this book, especially for women who are raising kids, but I think anyone will find value while reading it. There's a story in the book that was so painful for me, I had to turn it off and then cry on the whole way to work – because it was so relatable and so eye opening. I wish I read this when I was about 19, it would have helped me avoid a lot of situations where I didn't appreciate myself enough to stand up and speak up for myself. If you're in your twenties, read this book right NOW. And learn from it. Even if you don't agree with everything in it, it has a lot of deep and important messages for women of any age. 


I don't listen to many podcasts, because I believe that less is more when it comes to sources for learning online (I use podcasts for learning, mainly about business). At least at the same time. If you enroll to too many things, you end up not doing any of them. So I chose baby steps here too. I already mentioned the Elise gets crafty podcast and the Courage and Clarity podcast. I mainly listened to them. But I have also found Creative Biz Rebellion, and enjoyed a few of their episodes too. Here are my favourite podcast episodes of 2018:

Finding more in less on the Elise Gets Crafty podcast

5 steps to side hustle without wrecking yourself (even with a family & job) on the C&C podcast

How To Stop Fighting Against Your Life & Fall In Love With It Instead this is an older one from the C&C podcast (from 2017), but I’ve listened to it three times already, and you should too.


My new love. It's my me-time every day, and it helps me so much. I'm more productive because of it, my mind is clearer, and I don't care about the weather any more, which comes very handy in Iceland. Try it!


This is something I have to improve in the upcoming months. 6 hours is not enough, so I will make radical changes. This is my only new year's resolution. Otherwise I will just continue what I have started in July. 

Word of the year

Every year I choose a word for myself. In 2017 it was "Now". In 2018 it was "Do". In 2019 it's not only one, but two words: "Love and Patience". Go and listen to Elise's podcast about it, because I like the way she explains how she's using this method. I use it very similarly, and it works so well. She has collected her yearly chats with Ali Edwards on this topic here.

One thing that ties into this one very well is that I've joined #MindsetReset with Mel Robbins, and I'm curious what it brings me in January. If you'd like to know more about it, check out this page. Let me know if you're doing it too! It inspired me to collect all my wins and difficulties from this past year, because we so often just rush to the next one before reflecting a little bit on the past. We have to celebrate our wins, and learn from our mistakes. They help us set better goals for the future, which I think is very important.

Happy new year everyone!