Ep #249: You Are Not Broken

Hello friends, and welcome to 2023! Like many of you, I have spent years past setting up resolutions for myself that are counter to who I am, what I know I will be successful at, and how my life functions in order to be a “new person.” Well this year, we’re not doing that. Because guess what? You are not broken—and you don’t need to be fixed.

After years and years of joining the diet fads, creating resolutions I don’t keep, and embracing the hustle, this year I’m all about focusing on play. That means at work, at home—and in how you think about the new year.

In this episode, I talk about the things I’ve learned about resolutions, how to really find long-term growth, and why you should be focusing on abundance. I share some examples of the things I love to do and how you can incorporate the things you love into your daily life instead of restricting yourself or focusing on the parts you find negative. It’s time to embrace the things that make you feel good, y’all!

Ready to completely transform your business and finally take the action you’ve been putting off to create your online course? You can find out everything you need to know about the Online Course Incubator by clicking here. We can’t wait to welcome you, friend!

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • Why you should give up your resolutions and instead take the next step.
  • How focusing on a balanced and kind approach with yourself will lead to long-term growth and success.
  • Why finding the things you love will make consistency easier.
  • How adding things in can be more helpful than cutting them out.
  • How to think about your life from a place of abundance.
  • The importance of rethinking your schedule to make sure you’re working at your most successful times and bringing in the things you love.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 249.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey, hey friends, it’s the new year. Happy 2023. I am so excited for so many reasons. And the reasons are so very different than so many new year’s in my past which is so good, or at least I think it’s good. So today’s episode is called You Are Not Broken. And the rest of that sentence is, you are not broken and you don’t need to be fixed.

I cannot even know for sure how many years I started the new year with the thought that I had so many things that I wanted to accomplish and really so many things that I wanted to fix that year. It often had to do with weight loss but not just that. There were so many things about me of course that needed to be fixed, and improved, and developed or so that’s what I thought.

I always had these big, big goals like most of you have had. And they usually were something like work out five days a week at seven in the morning even though I hadn’t worked out more than one to two times a week in months. And I hated working out in the mornings. The new year has a way of making us forget reality, and preference, and personality, and what we love, and what we hate, and all the things that go into making things into a habit.

So before we go any further in this podcast, how many of you listening right now, already have some goals or resolutions ready to roll for 2023. Or if you’re listening to this in a later year, whatever year you’re listening to this podcast, that are based on things that you hate and that don’t work for you, and that are not about working your way up to a consistent approach to something that would make sense, but are rather this all or nothing approach?

Where you’ve been doing nothing and now you’re believing that suddenly and miraculously because it’s the start of the new year, that on January 2nd, or 3rd, or whatever day you’re starting. That, what really is going to happen is that you’re absolutely this time going to follow through on these goals and resolutions for things that are really not aligned with you. Not aligned with the way you work, or think, or when you like to work out, or get up in the morning, all the things. Because you believe that that’s what successful people do. That’s what the world will tell you it should look like.

Statistics show that people are more successful when they work out in the morning, or blah, blah, blah, whatever your reason is. But what we know will really happen is even though you’re starting with this all mentality that you’ll likely be back to nothing as in the other side of the all or nothing equation, sooner than you want to admit. Because you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re setting yourself up to fix yourself, yet you’re not broken.

You’re setting yourself up to suddenly make yourself a different person just because the calendar turned over into a new year. Now, I think the solution to this problem isn’t necessarily in the goals or the way you’ve written them, but rather in the fact that you think you’re broken or something is wrong with you. Or at the very least there’s something that needs to be fixed about you, for you to become the version of you that you like and that you can be proud of. I’m here to tell you that all of that is complete bullshit. I’m not mincing words in 2023. It’s all bullshit.

Now, does this mean that we can’t start new habits? Of course not. I recently heard someone say that life is just a series of choices, and they were talking about the new year and they were saying, or resolutions, and goals, and that sort of thing. And what people get wrong about resolutions and goals is that they think that they are designed to fix something. But what we really should think about is what choice do we want to make next? And what if we just strung together a whole bunch of next choices that felt aligned with us and who we are, and our preferences, and the things we like?

What if that approach created the results we wanted in our lives? I like this concept. I like this concept of just picking the next choice that’s right for you. Now, I still think there’s a caveat here because if you think you need to be fixed but you want to put a shiny spin on it so you’re like, “Yeah, yeah. Tobi, it’s just a string of choices, so it sounds better but you’re really just hiding a goal or a resolution of fixing yourself up in the shiny new label of choices.” Then that’s really not going to change anything.

But if we truly believe that we aren’t broken, and that we don’t have to redeem ourselves, or recoup something, or recover from all the sins of the holidays, our eating, our drinking, our staying up late. What if we don’t have to be punished or we don’t have to have retribution or redemption for who we are or who we’ve been, how would that change things? For me this is a gigantic shift, I mean a huge shift. There is no starting something for the new year. There’s no getting back on the wagon. There’s no being good. There’s no getting back to the gym.

There’s just me, a human being who’s going to get up every day and make some choices. What choice of food works for me today? Do I want to move my body today? Do I want to rest more and take it easy today? Do I want to get up early and read or paint before work because those things make me happy? Do I want to read or paint instead of work because those things make me happy? Do I want to get some fresh air by reading outside by my pool? And if it’s chilly, lighting up a fire in the Solo Stove to take the morning chill off the air and off my toes?

All of that sounds amazing and all of those are just choices. What choices would I make if I was not thinking I was broken, if I was not thinking I needed to be better this year than last year, or last week, or last month? What choices would I make if I weren’t repenting for something but I was just loving myself the best way I know how moment to moment with my choices? Well, what this would look less like is making a list of shoulds that resemble what we believe high achievers would be doing in January.

A la Brendon Burchard or whoever you follow that tells you what a high achiever’s life should look like. It would look a lot less like that list from Brendan, or Tony, or Mel, or who all, who the gurus are that you follow. And it would look a lot more like a person who knows themselves, who trust themselves and who doesn’t need someone peddling self-help to tell them that they should be showing up differently in the new year or any time.

What I know about my long term results is that when I have a gentle approach, a loving approach, that reminds me of intuitive eating where they talk about gentle nutrition, or gentle movement, not meaning you never get your sweat on, but definitely meaning that it’s not all or nothing punitive mode, but just a gentle, an aligned, a loving approach to making choices for you based on your own knowing, your own truth, your own intuition, listening to yourself, listening to your body. Not listening to a guru outside you.

It would be so much more like a balanced and kind approach to myself, something that I could actually keep up with, imagine that. And this is what I believe creates long term wellness and long term growth, and long term success. Not another start and stop, feast or famine new year approach to goal setting or fixing our personal development. And you all, I’m pretty much an expert in this category because I did the other thing for years, and I mean years. And I would follow all the gurus, and read all the books, and do all the year in stuff, and write these fancy shiny goals, and get myself so hyped up.

And I would lose weight and then a few years, or days, or months, depending on the time period, when the weight had crept back on, it was because I wasn’t really interested in keeping up that other all or nothing approach long term. I had hit the nothing part. I wasn’t enjoying what it took to stay at a goal weight, or to eat a certain kind of ideal diet, all of the things. I wasn’t enjoying the ideal morning routine, or workout schedule or literally insert any lofty goal. There was a moment of hype, sometimes they were longer than others.

And there was a moment when the hype was over, and when I was tired of it, and when I started slipping back into reality and saying, “Screw it, fuck it. I’m going to eat the cheese dip. I’m going to skip the gym today.” Because I was not thinking about this stuff as gentle approaches and loving approaches to making the next right choice for me. I was thinking I was broken and that this other path would fix me. But at some point, the willpower, the motivation, the joy were off if there ever was any joy. And a lot there was never any joy and I was just punishing myself the whole time.

And even when I may have been consistent for months or sometimes years there was still that point when the motivation was, especially when it was around fixing me, or making me better, or making me more successful that the motivation eventually stopped working, it stopped being enough. And I stopped doing the thing that I had bought into.

But what I did not fall off the wagon on, when I look at the things that I’ve inconsistent about in my life is the things I love, the things that feel good, the things that I’m doing for me and me alone, not because it’ll make me a better person or more successful in the eyes of the world or fix me in some way. So when I think about those things, that list of the things that I’ve done consistently like my podcast consistent every week for four years, you all. I think there have been less than five times that we have run a rerun, we’ve never missed running a show.

But I literally can count on one hand in four years the number of times that I did a rerun. And even those I did a new intro/outro and ran something that I knew you needed to hear again. I have been so consistent because I love doing the podcast. I do this for me, just like I wrote a blog for myself for years. It’s like my journal. It’s my place to think, and talk, and create ideas, four years. What else have I been inconsistent with over the years?

Well, there’s some major consistency in some of my selfcare, mannies and peddies, talk about them however you want, pooh pooh them if you want. But I have not missed getting a manicure, pedicure from Susan who’s not just my service provider, she’s now a dear, dear friends, for over 15 years every other Monday, for over 15 years. And if I was out of town, or sick, or she was sick then we made up the appointment, you all, because I haven’t missed for over 15 years because it feels so freaking good. And it’s a time for me to decompress. And it’s a way to take care of myself.

Another thing I do really consistently, getting massages every other week and I have been pretty consistent for most of those same 15 years that I’ve been seeing Susan. But I’ve been extra consistent for about five or six years now, every other week. Other things that comes so easy to me. I started a habit a few years ago of putting collagen in my coffee every morning. I’ve probably been doing this for five years now. I tried it, it tasted yummy, I liked it. I put my coffee in the blender, it’s so frothy, it’s good for me.

But it’s not something that someone said I should do, that I’m choking down, that taste horrible. It’s just something that I thought, yeah, I think I’ll try that and I liked it so I still do it every day for over five years. I can also see hobbies that are really sticking these days. Now, my hobbies used to not stick at all when I was in the mode of fixing myself. I was always stopping my hobbies because I needed to be working harder, or working out, or doing something else. But what I’ve found now is that the more consistent I am with my hobbies the better my work is, the happier I am, the nicer person I am.

And so I have been needlepointing consistently for well over a year now, multiple times a week. I do it a lot, it feels so good. I’ve been painting a ton lately. And I can tell this isn’t just a phase this time because I’m actually really enjoying it and I’m doing it just for me, and just for fun. And even if I do something with some of my art, even if I sell it or do something, I don’t want to turn it into a job especially. I don’t want to turn it into a hard deadline or something that I think makes me a better person, or that the world will think more of me.

And the world may hate my art. They may think it’s silly, and ugly, and dumb, but I’m not doing it for those reasons. I’m painting because I want to, because I feel proud of what I create, and it feels so loose, and so enjoyable. I was just telling my daughter the other day when I was getting ready for the table setting at Christmas. how much I love floral design. And she said, “I know you do.” And I was just telling her how creative it is for me. I took a class years ago in floral design.

And so now when it’s time to have a party, or even just make pretty flowers for myself at home which I do a lot, I keep fresh flowers most weeks. I have so much pleasure of just going in, literally walking into Wholefoods and saying, “I think I’ll take some of these and some of this other flower, and some of this other thing.” And coming home and putting them together with no rules but they really light me up and fill me up.

And I’ve been consistently buying flowers, something a lot of people think is a waste of money for years. And surrounding myself with them, which changes my mood, changes the way I show up every day because I enjoy it. I really, really enjoy it. I’m having so much more luck with everything including wellness habits if they feel good. During the pandemic I quit all the things that felt like chores and rules. I quit working out at the gym. I quit exercises I didn’t enjoy.

I told all of you how I sold my Peloton when everybody else was loving theirs. And I was like, “No, it hurts my butt, I don’t like it. It’s like a chore. I have to force myself to do it.” So I sold it. But doing yoga consistently feels so good to me. And so I find myself doing it so much more often. In the past I didn’t even think I had time for those things. And now it’s not about the time I have, it’s about the feeling it creates for me, that makes me want to do it over and over. It’s about pleasure, and play, and joy.

And you heard me talk a little bit about that in the last episode about how pleasure, and play, and joy, and community, and connection are all things that are really important to me now. I remember a few years ago hearing Brené Brown talk about her health. And she said she has walked consistently for years. And I think she did say, and wherever I heard this. And again I’m not advocating anything, any of this that all of us should be doing. This is not a guru telling you, you should do it.

But I do think she said in the same interview or podcast that she has consistently done keto because it feels really good to her, she likes it. But basically I really just remember her saying, “I’ve walked consistently for years and I play pickleball. But I love those two things and I’m consistent with them.” And she said, she gave up starting any new year’s kind of exercise new faddish workouts years ago because she never stuck with any of them. So she just gave them up and decided walking was enough for her.

And so she just consistently does it all the time every day, every week, multiple times a day, I mean multiple times a week. And that makes so much sense to me. You are not broken and you can give yourself permission to be 100% yourself and do what you love. And it’s a completely different approach, and a different place, and a different energy to come from moving your body, or doing a hobby, or being creative, or connecting with friends, or reading something if it’s not because it’s a prescription for a better you.

Another concept I really love that goes right along with this and is something that might help you here in the new year is the idea of adding in versus restricting. And you may have heard me talk about this before but I think it’s really important because so many of us come to the new year with the idea of cutting out all the things we’re going to cut out. We’re going to cut out alcohol. We’re going to cut out sugar. We’re going to cut out carbs. We have been so bad. It’s from that punitive place that we have to redeem ourselves and we have to repent for our sins.

And instead of having to cut out say carbs for the new year, what if you didn’t cut out carbs but you just added in more veggies? It’s so much kinder to yourself and it’s so much more fun. And if you’re doing that often enough, you’re probably going to squeeze out some carbs. You’re probably not going to eat as many carbs as you were eating, I mean starchy carbs we mean because veggies are carbs too. If you’re adding in more green things, or more fruit, or something else that really makes you feel good. But it’s just such a kinder approach.

Instead of being in that mindset of you need to be controlled, and restricted, and constrain. And you can’t be trusted because you’ll eat all the carbs. What if you just allow yourself to be perfectly perfect the imperfect way that you are? And if you know that you feel better when you eat more green stuff then add some more in. It’s so much kinder. It’s not punitive. It’s not restrictive. It’s like giving yourself a gift. And I know my mindset and my joy, my pleasure factor goes up a lot when I give myself little gifts including little healthy gifts like the things that I’m eating.

So what if you did, what if you added in more veggies. What if you add in yoga, or stretching, or meditation, or something that you like, if you don’t like it, don’t add it in, journaling, whatever the things are. I’ve been consistent for journaling for years but not because some book said I needed to journal to be more successful. I just have always loved writing. And I love processing things on paper and getting things out of my head. It’s a gift to me to get things out of my head.

So if you like yoga or stretching, or meditation, or journaling. What if you add more in? And realize to add in things like this you can’t always be in a hurry. You can’t be racing against the clock like you’re already behind and it’s such urgency to make you better by adding any of these things. And this is what we feel a lot at the beginning of the new year. We’re so urgent to repent, and to change, and to fix all the broken things.

So if your most used phrases are things like, I don’t have enough time or I’m too busy you’re never going to believe you can add anything in because you won’t have time for it. You won’t have time to grocery shop for veggies. You won’t have time to have fun ways to cook them. And they’ll be bland, and gross, and disgusting, and there’ll be more punishment. The whole idea of not enough time, really not enough anything comes from scarcity and lack. Adding in is all about abundance. I can add more.

I do have time for massages, or a walk in nature, or yoga, or painting. I do have time to cook more and enjoy making new recipes to add in more veggies that I love. And will consistently make the time, if it tastes really good, and it makes me feel good, and it makes me feel creative, and accomplished and all of the things. But if it is restriction and punishment it’s not going to stick, you all. If you aren’t broken and you don’t need to be fixed and it’s all just a series of choices that we can enjoy and have fun with, what would you have fun trying in the new year?

What would you like to add more in this new year? It’s a completely different mindset and feeling. It feels so good. It doesn’t feel like I’m in trouble. It doesn’t feel like I’m being punished. There’s something about making something feel like a treat that makes you want to keep doing it versus making it a chore or a punishment that you’re for sure going to want to quit. Even if you want to change things about yourself or your life, which you can totally do, how might you want to think about it from abundance versus lack? Let me give you some examples.

You could have the thought, I’ve got to lose weight. I need to work out five times a week. Probably not going to happen for very long. It’s punitive, restrictive, it’s urgent. You’re trying to fix something versus you could think you know what? I’d love to increase my energy this year. And when I walk as a way to move my body four or five times a week, I feel so much more energy, plus I love the fresh air outside. And I really enjoy when I do this in the middle of the day and take a midday break and get out of the office or away from my computer.

And it’s so much better than in the morning because I hate getting up early. And when I go in the middle of the day and I stretch my legs, and I create more energy, and I listen to music while I walk. It is the biggest treat ever. Okay, which one of those do you want, the I’ve got to lose weight, I need to work out five times a week or it is the biggest treat ever, and I love it so much and I breathe fresh air, and I listen to music and I feel like a different person when I come back? I don’t know. Pretty clear to me, pick whichever one you want.

But I’m going to go with the latter because I know that I will be more consistent with moving my body, and getting fresh air, and taking a midday break because I love it than I am at forcing myself to get up and work out because I’m in trouble because I’ve been a bad girl. The second isn’t a guarantee that you’ll lose weight. But let’s be honest, neither is the first because most people quit on that punitive part of the exercise and diet goal by mid-February if not sooner. And the body is so complex it’s not just calorie restriction and exercising that makes you lose weight.

Some people restrict calories too much. Some people exercise and never lose a pound because there’s so much else going on in our bodies. But if we are to just approach life in the way of abundance that we have time for midday breaks, and walking, and getting fresh air, and moving our body, and getting more energy, and listening to music. There is a pretty big guarantee of pleasure. There’s a lot more guarantee of joy. And you might lose weight too, maybe you do. But you’ll feel great whether you lose weight or not.

And maybe you’ll just feel so healthy because you’re giving time to yourself and believing you have that time, and you’re proud that you’re making times for you that you love yourself no matter what weight you are. That’s been an experience that I’ve had. Also notice when you’re trying to squeeze in a lot of wants, and needs, and supposed to’s around the fringes of your day, before work and after work, not during regular workday time. That a lot of times you’re not as consistent before or after work. I’ve found this is the case for me for sure personally.

I’m not consistent before or after work. I don’t like working out in the mornings and I’m too tired in the evenings. So I consistently fight this knowledge, this information I have about myself and tried to keep setting goals and resolutions for years, I tried, that went against all of that information and wisdom that I had about myself.

So what if instead, which is what I do now, I make time for movement, or painting, or my nail appointments, or sometimes even needlepoint between eight and five? Because before eight and after five I’m too tired and I will consistently cancel on myself. So as you’ve heard me say many, many times on this podcast I typically work about five hours a day.

My preference is to work from eleven to four. And I do most important things that I need to do for work during those times so that I have another four hours between eight and five to do other things, to go for a walk, to do my hobbies, other selfcare. Honestly, I take a nap a lot these days with my teenage daughter when she gets home from school, about four or four-thirty in the afternoon. I come in, I put on my sweatshirt and my leggings, or my PJs usually if I’m being perfectly honest.

And we get back in bed under the covers in my cozy, cozy bed. And we literally take an hour nap and it is so luxurious. And we do this multiple times a week because I believe I have time for that. And I’m still running multiple million dollar businesses. And I’m still creating all of the new businesses I’ve told you about with my mom and other people. My brain used to say I couldn’t possibly just work five hours a day. But I tried it and I’m so effective at this schedule. So think about it.

Do you really think that working eight to ten hours gets you so much more done in your days and you accomplish so much more than you see me accomplishing in my life and my business? There’s that law of diminishing returns. And studies even show that five or six hours is about the max for true productivity for the human brain. Yet once upon a time Henry Ford and other people said we should work eight hour days. And a lot of our businesses, and workplaces, and to-do lists make us believe we should work 10 or 12.

And you’re really often getting very little done that you could not have done in a five or six hour day because you get tired. You get distracted. You’re not really effective. So I don’t say any of this to start the comparison game in a bad way like do you get more done than me in a day? Are you really that more successful than me in a day? It’s not about that, it’s what I want you to notice is that you can hear these insights for me and see if it might work for you. I’m not one of those people that says, “Well, if it works for me, it’ll for sure work for you.” Who knows? We’re all different.

We’re wired different. We like different things. Some of us are morning people. Some of us are night people. Some of us are both. Some of us are neither. Some of us change over time. But what I do know is that if it works for me it might work for you. And what we know is that your eight to ten hour workdays probably are not leaving you any time for yoga, or naps, or workouts, or painting, or reading for pleasure. And I find that all of those things make me so much more effective in the hours that I do work.

I tried the hustle. I tried the not enough time in a day mentality. I tried the mega goal setting in January. I tried the feast or famine approach, the all or nothing, the start big and burn out and quit. I tried it all for years. And I did create a lot of success or outward looking success in those periods but with a side of exhaustion and burnout. Or really it was kind of like a lot of exhaustion and burnout with a side of outward looking success. I create a lot of outward looking success now but with a side of inward feelings of success now too because I make time for adding in.

And now that I don’t think I’m broken and that I’m not always in a rush or a race to make a better version of me then I have a lot more time to do things that really bring me pleasure and joy. You all, I’ve done enough self-help for 10 lifetimes. In fact I’ve spent years reading books, tons of books to learn things, and to better myself. I would say at one point I was probably even addicted to that betterment of myself. And I’m at this very moment so completely over self-help books.

And I know that might even be a shocker to some of you because I’m always telling you all about the latest and greatest books I’ve read. And the only things I’m reading these days right now, and this may change later but at this very moment the only things I’m reading that fall into self-help or personal development are really things like the book, Rest as Resistance by the creator of The Nap Ministry, or Jadah Sellner’s book, She Builds which is about a loving approach to life and work.

But if its not about pleasure, and rest, and play, and creativity, I’m just not into it at all right now. So instead of self-help, now I’m trying pleasure, and play, and self-love, and being in community with people instead of consuming, consuming, consuming all of these books by all these gurus that are telling me why I’m broken and why I need their book and their solution. And none of these things, pleasure, play, self-love and being in community with others really ever fit the narrative that I had for all of those years that I needed to be fixed.

It’s no surprise looking back that on each of those things, pleasure, play, self-love and selfcare and really community never ever, they never made the cut consistently when I needed fixing and neither did creativity. There wasn’t time for creativity. There wasn’t time for pleasure, or play, or hobbies, or self-love, or selfcare, or naps in the middle of the day or the afternoon or walks in the middle of the day or the afternoon because the voice in your head when you think you need fixing sounds something like you’ve been a bad girl, or boy, or person and now you need to get serious and get to work.

You don’t have time for hobbies, or napping, or girlfriend lunches. You’ve got to be serious about this. And a lot of that narrative continues to be the narrative I see around me, the narrative I see in the US, the narrative I see in entrepreneurs and workaholics. You’ve got to be serious but guess what? The voice of play, pleasure, creativity and being in community with others sounds totally different. It sounds like curiosity. It sounds like permission. It sounds like experimentation on anything and everything that sounds fun, or relaxing, or exciting, or that might feel like building or creating something.

And it also feels like connection and collaboration. Urgency to fix doesn’t allow room for curiosity, or experimentation or even collaboration a lot of times because by nature both curiosity and experimentation are all about the possibility of failure. I’m curious if this thing will work.
I’m going to try this thing and see what happens. You do that when you’re creating but when you’re urgent to fix something you don’t believe you have time to fail your way to success. Urgency to fix or change feels desperate. And there’s so much pressure to get it done now and to not waste time.

There’s so much fear baked in and there’s so much perfectionism. How many people do I hear all the time, believe that they have this extreme urgency to be fixed. or to be more successful, or to make more money, or to change right now? And all of these things, this urgency, the pressure, the fear, the perfectionism, every single one of those are enemies of play. They are enemies of pleasure and they are enemies of creativity. You cannot be a perfectionist and play or be creative. They don’t go together, they don’t work.

Yet when you think about what really lights you up, I bet it’s the things that are more in the areas of play, and pleasure, and creativity, really, right? It’s in those zones. So by all means let’s for sure engineer all of those out of our lives when we’re urgent to fix ourselves. Let’s engineer out the play, and pleasure, and creativity that light us up so much in 2023 because we are being serious and we’ve got things to fix. It makes no sense.

For me when I ask myself what lights me up or fills me up, a whole big list comes to mind. Building new creative ideas and businesses, being in nature, sitting by a firepit, journaling for long luxurious stints without a deadline, sleeping in, drinking juice, green juice or chai. And sitting and enjoying my house, or my backyard, or looking at the pool while I leisurely sip on these things that taste so good to me. Travelling to places I’ve never been or going back to favorite places that I love. Going to spas, growing things, gardening, doing puzzles, getting massages.

Singing and dancing even though I’m not good at either of them. Watching TV series, binging TV series. Shopping for fun things especially in local stores in my town or in other towns. Just kind of getting out and not being on a deadline and just looking and seeing what’s out there when you’re not on a tight schedule. I love looking in shops and stores and enjoying pretty things. I don’t even have to buy anything. I also really am lit up by eating fresh delicious food and nice restaurants and having culinary experiences. I love it when really good food is made for me by other people.

I love going on long drives with my daughter in the country and singing at the top of our lungs with the windows down. We did this so much during COVID. And then I noticed when I accidentally tried to ‘get back on the wagon of work’, that’s one of the things we cut out. And that’s one of the things that was feeding our soul and that I really miss. And I’m going to make sure we add a lot of those back in, in 2023.

I love picnics, sometimes she and I on those drives will stop and we’ll go into say into Fresh Market or somewhere and we’ll get some cheeses, and some baguettes, and some grapes, and we’ll literally just stop on the roadside somewhere, sometimes we pull on a parking lot of a little country church and we have our picnic on the back tailgate of the car while the music’s still playing, so much pleasure. I get pleasure out of burning candles. I get pleasure out of pouring a big glass of sparkling Topo Chico water with a fresh slice of lime in it.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on and I know you could too. But usually the things I’ve just listed are not the kind of lists that we’re making for the new year. Instead we’re making an even longer to-do list than normal mostly full of what we would consider work, or productivity, something to make money, or something to fix ourselves, but rarely end up making money. So often they don’t even happen.

So it’s odd, isn’t it, that we think restricting, and punishing ourselves, and redeeming ourselves, and paying retribution for the bad, bad people we’ve been by doing the things that light us up, and fill us up, and connect us to others is going to be the way to create success? It’s the same thing as trying to hate yourself thin or punish yourself rich. Work, work, work some more to be rich, or hustle to create success and believing it’ll work this time even though we have so much evidence even in our own personal lives, not from other people, but ourselves.

We have years of evidence that it doesn’t work. It’s just like looking at all the staggering information about how diets don’t work, yet we keep trying them. And you all, postponing pleasure, it doesn’t work yet we keep doing it and we keep hitting burnout. We’re tethered to our devices. We’re not really connected to people and that doesn’t work, yet how many of us can be away from our phones for 10 minutes? Many of us can’t even do it for that long, much less, hours.

So which approach will you take this year? I want you to really think hard about that. Are you going to tackle all the things about you that are ‘broken or not good enough yet’ and try to force yourself to fix them and to change them so you can finally become that person that you know you’re capable of being long term? Which again as I said at the beginning of the episode is bullshit. Or will you take a more abundant, loving, curious, creative approach for 2023 and see what happens? You all, I don’t think you have anything to lose. I know I don’t.

I can already tell you I’m taking the loving, abundant, curious, creative approach. I don’t have any goals this year but I’m excited about a lot of the choices I’m going to make. I’m especially excited about all the play in my future, since that’s my 2023 personal word of the year, play. And I’m excited about being in community with so many of you while I’m doing work differently and playing so much more this year because that’s our team or company word of the year.

So, many of you who also are willing to believe you’re not broken and that you don’t need fixing, and that you don’t have to punish, or constrain, or restrict yourself into success. You’re going to have so much fun being in community with me and my team. And we’re going to create so much opportunity to build, and create, and have a hell of a good time doing it together in 2023 in community together.

Now, that my friends makes me more excited than any false promise of goals, or resolutions, or fixing myself ever did any of the years I tried it. I feel so free and so full of promise. So let’s get to play. Remember last week, I said, I no longer say, “Let’s get to work. I say let’s get to play.” Let’s get to play and tag me on Instagram, or wherever you are on social with all the things you’re doing to play this year. I would love to see it. And play doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s also not work because so much of my work these days feels like play.

I did about, I don’t know, eight hours of interior design selections with my mom yesterday and we had the best time, it was so much fun. So really do tag me with all the things you’re doing to play this year. And if this episode about not being broken resonates with you. DM me on Instagram and tell me all about it. I want to hear more. I think this is such an important, important message.

And one more thing. If you’re listening to this when it comes out live and creating a course, or a program, or something to sell alongside my team and me feels like the ultimate way to play this year. Then join us before our very first ever Course Incubator starts. We’re going to handhold and walk alongside you to create something. And we’re going to have fun. It is not going to be some hardcore, full of deadline, miserable, cracking the whip approach to doing something so that you’ll be more successful.

Because even things like courses that we create take a long time to build and a lot of people, or a long time to build the following and the marketing of them. And a lot of people think they’re going to be this get rich quick thing and they never have success with them. And that’s not the approach we’re taking. We’re going to tap into things you love, to things that light you up, to things that feel like play. And we’re going to create stuff together in the online Course Incubator.

So if you want to create a course, or a program with me this year and have it ready and finished by summer, then check out Because that’s one of the ways we’re playing in community with people this year. But especially just reach out and tell me whether it’s creating something like that or not, how you’re going to play more this year. I hope to hear so many more of you are taking naps, or painting, or playing tennis, or trying some other new hobby, or something that you couldn’t possibly believe that you had time for in 2022 or 21, or 19, or five years ago, or seven years.

But now you’re going to trust me and you’re going to get your play on and see what happens. I want to know how you’re going to play this year. Okay friends, that’s what I have for you now. I’ll see you back next week. Happy 2023. It’s going to be a good one. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to The Design You Podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So, join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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