The one phrase resolution

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I know I haven’t been keeping this blog updated recently. It’s not that I’m out of ideas. My head is usually full of half-baked ideas that if you tip it over, many of them will spill onto the floor and make my room look like a child’s nursery with toys all around. I don’t usually know where to start, but I’ve got to start somewhere. So here it goes; the one word (or one phrase) resolution. You know how productive people tend to make resolutions at the beginning of every year. Well lazy people like myself tend to enjoy a new spin to this whole resolution business. We make a one-phrase resolution. As mentioned earlier, a resolution is like a promise you make to yourself. In the footsteps of those who made the 2 in 1 hair shampoos, many people mix their goals and resolutions in fancy phrasing and add them to a list – that eventually gets lost somewhere. To emphasize, goals are targets that you are supposed to reach. While resolutions are decisions you resolve to make. So losing 5 kg would be a goal, while exercising frequently would be a resolution.

But the one-phrase resolution is a brilliant idea. It’s just a motto that you decide to live by for that entire year. Or month. My friend’s motto last year was ‘healthy lifestyle’. Sticking to it made her eat more proteins, and less carbs. It made her exercise more and eventually lose weight. What it did not do is put walls and confine her. And since it was made of two words only, and was as generic as it could be, it was easy to remember, and more importantly, to live by.

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin had a motto for each month, and while she did have a list of resolutions to achieve under each motto, lazy people like myself could just skip that part. So for instance, some of Gretchen Rubin’s motto were:

-January: Boost Energy

-February: Remember Love

-May: Be Serious About Play

Possible one-phrase resolutions to live by could be: “Take more risks”, “Do it scared”, “Journal More” and “Build Self-Esteem”. And while it is true that self-help experts would emphasize on setting up more SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based) goals, but if that has never worked with you, you could give the one-phrase resolution a try and start from there. The ultimate goal is to look back a few months from now and realize you’ve grown and become better (smarter, braver, healthier, kinder)….

That’s all folks!

Bring Your Own Sunshine

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There are times when we think our happiness is dependent on other people. If only “other people” would show up more in our lives, or show their approval of us or just make us laugh then we will be happy. But you can’t really control “other people”, what they do and what they don’t. It really isn’t their job to make you happy. Unless you signed them to a contract and you’re paying them to make you happy. You’re responsible for your own happiness so as the quote by Anthony D’Angelo goes, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”


About the image: This is my favorite image from JJ’s blog, “Castle of Words” taken from, “Photoblog: Sunrise at Tiwi“. In the midst of trillions of words published online, somehow JJ found my blog and not only did she follow it, but she was also inspired to start her own blog. Now, I have to admit that the student has surpassed the teacher. With all the different forms of JJ’s creative expression (especially the images taken of beautiful Kenya), I find it really amazing to watch JJ’s journey unfold.

Start with a list

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So a blogger friend of mine sent me a message the other day saying, “I’ve lost my writing mojo.”

I replied back with, “You’re not the only one,” considering I haven’t been as consistent on my blog as I usually am.

But then she said she had to write an important report and couldn’t even get that done. So my suggestion was to start with a list. Just bullet points. Incomplete sentences. Grammarless English. Or Sheng.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of lists. Whether you’re trying to break out of writer’s block or a prolonged procrastination period, lists usually do the trick because they’re so simple.  My personal favorite list is one I saw spreading on social media. It fools you into thinking you’re so productive.



Joking aside, there’s no rule of where to write your list or how it should look like. You may write it on a post-it note and stick it on your laptop screen to increase its visibility (though that doesn’t always work because your mind gets trained to ignore it).

However, the single best advice I’ve heard about daily to-do lists is “Limit your to-do list to three tasks.” No less, no more. Having more than three items on your list can be a bit overwhelming especially when the tasks take hours. Also, finishing the day without crossing out everything on the list makes your mind think it’s okay to put off today’s work until tomorrow and that enables the procrastinator in you.

So what type of lists are you used to writing? Leave your comments below and feel free to share.

A Couple of Words about Writing

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So the other day I spent close to four hours on a story. I only stopped to move to another place with better lighting. And to order food, which I ravenously wolfed down with one hand while the other was on the keyboard. It’s a story I’ve been working on for ages (the first draft was written back in 2006), and the more words I add to it the more I realize I wouldn’t want it published. Unless I want to be sued by the real people who inspired it. It’s supposed to be ‘fiction’ with enough details close to life to make people point fingers and speculate. And in a small town like Mombasa, you seriously don’t want to set the ball of speculation rolling. Trust me.

Writing can be an emotionally draining experience. That’s the main reason why I tend to write in ‘spikes’ and things like nanowrimo never work for me. I might stay away from a work-in-progress for a long time and then spend four hours in a single day writing. Not only can writing be time-consuming, it can also be unsettling. It’s how Natalie Goldberg once said, “Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.”

And sometimes writing may result in insomnia. We cannot sleep until we’ve put those those words on paper (or an iphone note). I actually kept an insomnia notebook one summer. Before smartphones came along.

And you know the worse part about writing stories?

It’s when you actually go to sleep and end up dreaming an upsetting scene. It happened to me once, but I still haven’t had the emotional capacity to write down the story around that one scene because it was too sad, thinking about it makes me tear up occasionally, I just imagine the disastrous effect  writing about it would have. 

But you know despite all its downfalls, writing helps us understand people, understand ourselves. It helps us figure things out things about life in general. In one of the scenes I wrote yesterday, my protagonist’s friend tells her, “Sometimes our secrets define us. No matter how much time we spend together you can never really know the true me because the things I choose to hide are as much a part of me as the things I choose to tell. Does that even make sense?” 

Last but not least, it can  be therapeutic.

Explains why I’m here. Good night.