A journal to celebrate small steps

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I’ve been writing in journals for a long time, and I’ve been hybrid art-bullet journaling for almost 2 years. Although I don’t normally do well with anything that’s as structured as a daily requirement, I was inspired to try Hobonichi in 2021 because of Penguins Creative’s 13 Reasons Why I Love Using A Hobonichi Techo post.

Here are my thoughts on hobonichi journaling as a first-timer after the first 10 days.

A snapshot is special in its own way

I keep several journals for different purposes, but I write in them whenever I feel like it. Sometimes that means several days in a row, and sometimes it means…


If I only knew then what I know now

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Especially as an inexperienced young person, interviewing for jobs can be scary, and just by virtue of fewer years, you probably have less experience in jobs and in interviews. I also used to be intimidated (petrified might be more accurate) by anyone I perceived as having higher authority than me.

As I got more experience, I developed skills with interviewing, but I still remember the 3 worst job interviews I’ve ever had. For a long time after these interviews, I wasn’t confident in job interviews because I expected to be torn down at each turn. …


Taking a page out of the Japanese handbook with my version of oosouji

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As the end of the year fast approaches, I’m thinking about how I can prepare for the year ahead. I haven’t historically been into celebrating New Year’s Eve or Day — if I’m going to make a change or resolution, I won’t wait for January — but this year is different. Obviously.

A lot of my friends say they are “so over 2020,” but we all know logically that 2021 won’t magically make life rosy again. But I do feel different about the new year, which is why I wanted a new way to greet it.

The Japanese tradition of…


And it applies to everything in life

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In the past, I was too intimidated to try National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) because writing 50,000 words in 30 days seemed like an insane idea. I just didn’t think I could do it. Then this year, I organically started writing a nonfiction book, and after being inspired by my 13-year-old nephew, I set my goal to finish the first draft by the end of November.

I didn’t make this decision until mid-month, though. I set a rigorous schedule to make the deadline, and I stuck with it. Each day, I sat down to write for NaNoWriMo, looked at my…


What I truly wanted grew in its place

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I dreamed about being a freelance writer and editor for years before I took steps to make it happen. Part of me was convinced that freelancing wasn’t the life for me because I’m comforted by the illusion of stability as an employee. Once I got my current job, I didn’t need freelancing because I had everything I’d always wanted in a job, including a mission I’m passionate about, working 100% from home (even pre-pandemic), wonderful colleagues, lots of flexibility, and a future I was interested in moving towards.

But the company is a startup, and I knew that if it…


Kaki’s Minimalist Japanese Kitchen program teaches the Japanese meal template to getting fit without eliminating anything

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When I was a kid, vegetables didn’t get much attention. My mom would cook some meat and rice, then one of us kids would microwave frozen vegetables, mix in some butter and salt, and call it a day. The important thing is that we ate our vegetables, but I inherited the attitude that vegetables are an afterthought: They are not delicious.

Not surprisingly, when I started cooking for myself, I either wouldn’t make vegetables, or I’d prepare them in the same unappealing way.

With the help of my husband and many years of persistence, I finally discovered that vegetables can…


A look at my first NaNoWriMo-esque challenge after finishing early

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I was minding my own business, writing to process thoughts, emotions, and life in general like I always do when it started to take the shape of a nonfiction book.

Over the last few months, I have been doing quite a bit of inner work and felt like I was close to something important. But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t figure it out. So I just kept writing. For months, I wrote and wrote. And in many cases, I thought, Hey, this could be a blog. So I would polish it up and then publish it.

When…


What to do if the gift of nothing doesn’t work

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Spoiling the nieces and nephews is one of the wonderful benefits of being Auntie and Uncle. We’ve enjoyed the fun of planning, shopping, and giving when we could, but now I am more aware of the impact of my purchases and feel accountable for what I buy. As my niece’s Thanksgiving-ish birthday fast approaches with Christmas on its heels, I’m struggling with what gift to buy for her — and for that matter, what to give all our 6 nieces and nephews for Christmas in the context of intentional living.

I would have been glad to buy the kids a…


It can create space for inner healing if you’re open to it

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Although I’m no stranger to decluttering, I’m new to minimalism. So in the last few weeks, I’ve read dozens of minimalism blogs and articles as I moved towards this new intention of creating more space in my life. After a while, the blogs all started to sound the same, preaching the benefits and offering some number of simple steps to start working your way towards the minimalist life that promises the answers to all our problems.

I’m just in the beginning of my journey, so I can’t yet swear by the long-term benefits, but I wanted to dig into 3…


Some items need a little more time and attention

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I have been rigorously decluttering my apartment for the last few weeks in an effort to move towards minimalism, and it’s been tough. I’m no stranger to it, either — I’ve regularly purged my belongings throughout the years. In fact, I had to come up with a new method when joy was no longer an accurate gauge for my possessions. If you want to learn more about my new decluttering technique, check out How to Declutter If the KonMari Method Doesn’t Work For You.

This year has been different, though. I am closely looking at my relationship with things, reasons…

Teena Merlan

Subscribe http://eepurl.com/g6kxFr Expert in my lived experience. Truth teller. Evidence-based writer. Self-changer. Lifelong learner. Employee at femtech start

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