Episode #173: The 12 Week Year

This week, we are doing a deep dive into a topic that we’ve referenced many times on this show—the book The 12 Week Year. So if you are in the mood to talk about goal setting, then this episode is for you!

Plus, we are going to talk about the High Five Test.

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Show Notes

Why a 12-week goal is better:

-Long deadlines can feel very daunting and lead to procrastination.

-You can break up your goals into seasons so you do more work on them when you have more time and less when you are busier.

The important parts of the 12-week year:

-Making your vision (make sure it’s clear and measurable).

-Develop your plan (break up your goal into a series of small goals).

-Accountability and keeping score

-Checking in

Check out

Elsie’s top 5 strengths:


Emma’s top 5 strengths:

-Focus Expert

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Episode 173 Transcript:

Emma: You’re listening to The Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen. This week we’re doing another deep dive into a topic that we’ve referenced many times on this show. It is the book, the 12 Week Year. So if you’re in the mood to talk about goal setting, this episode is for you. And we’re also gonna talk a little bit about the High Five test, which we’re gonna talk about our results, Elsie’s results, my results, and how you can take the test if you’re interested. 

Elsie: I’ll explain the overall concept of the 12 Week Year. So the 12 week year is a goal setting method that goes by quarter. So 12 weeks is one quarter, right? 

Emma: Yeah, it’s three months. 

Elsie: Yeah. So 12 weeks is every three months. The thing I love about this is when you set your goals just for the new year, the beginning of each year. First of all, it can be like a procrastination thing where you don’t have a super solid January, that kind of happens to me every year. You’re like, I didn’t really achieve my goal in January, so I guess I’m just not going to have a perfect year this year.

Emma: So I guess I’ll just wait, give up for next January.

Elsie: Right. So when you do it every three months, you just have four times the fresh starts, four times more fresh starts than you do once a year, which I love. And the other thing is that most goals that you want to achieve in a year, you actually could achieve or make major headway in just three months. You don’t really need a year for most goals, and even if you do need a year, you can at least do one part of your goal then do the next part. Section them off in your next quarter? I think that the 12th week year was really, really helpful for me, it’s just a mindset shift. And I love New Year’s goals personally. I’m not one of those people who’s like, I’m not a resolution person. I’m definitely a resolution person. I will always take a chance to set a goal. . But I think that this is just more practical and it works better. And the other thing that they do a lot in the 12 week year is habit tracking. So there’s a lot of journaling and a lot of like tracking of your progress. And that’s something that works really good for my personality because I kind of a little bit of a perfectionist thing where if I don’t do something every day, then I feel like that I’ve already failed. And being able to see that doing something three to five times a week is in some ways better because it’s like possible instead of impossible, and it’s just as good as doing something every day. I think that having standards that you can never achieve is probably one of the biggest enemies of success that many of us have. Yeah, I found the book. If you haven’t read it, I would definitely recommend it, but you can probably also just listen to this episode and take like the main high points from it because it’s pretty simple.

Emma: Yeah, it’s pretty simple. And it’s not a long book too. So the 12 week year has like a website where you can also sign up for a newsletter and I’ve signed up for it years and years ago. It’s kind of one of those newsletters where they’ll send like tips and tricks here and there or kind of like check-ins, things like that. So anyway, I like it. If I don’t have time, I don’t read ’em. But if I have time and I do read them, I usually find them like helpful. So anyway, if you have any interest in that, just so you know that’s available, it’s free. Okay. So I was just gonna go ahead and go over a few things that are kind of like the case for a short deadline , because that’s pretty much it. Is the 12 week years like, Hey, let’s have shorter deadlines instead of this year long deadline. Yes, and I think so many of these you kind of already hit on with your synopsis of the 12 week year, and I think that’s kind of interesting. So I’ll go through these kind of quickly, but feel free to elaborate if you want to, but yeah. Okay, so long deadlines can really just lead to a lot of procrastination. If you know you have a whole year to do something and maybe you don’t really need a year to do it, then you’ll end up procrastinating. So you end up being like, oh, I’ll get to it, and then come October you’re like, oh crap, I better really work on this goal because I’m all the way through the year and you could have just done it quickly and then moved on to your next thing. Also, I think long deadlines can sometimes mean that our priorities or our life really changes, and I don’t know about you, but that’s where I get really hung up, is if I’ve made a goal and then my life really does change and it makes more sense for me to change that goal. Sometimes I get it in my head that I’m giving up or I failed, or I’m making an excuse to not finish my goal when the truth is this goal just doesn’t serve me anymore because I made it six months ago and my life was different six months ago. 

Elsie: I have this problem really bad, being able to accept putting a pause button on goals has been very valuable for me. Before that, I really had the mindset that if I wasn’t doing everything right now, like if someone says, how’s your pottery going? Right now, I haven’t made pottery for more than a month, I would feel like panicked in like a failure. But now, that I have my pause button in place and I know that like we’re showing our house absolutely constantly and that’s why I can’t get my pottery stuff out as much as I wanted to, I was leaving it out for months at a time. It’s just not my productive season for that right now and it will be again in the future. There’s a lot of good mind stuff, more mindset stuff in this book, especially for people who can be like very hard on yourself or like an all or nothing personality.

Emma: Yeah, I think that it’s a lot of mindset changes and really positive ones generally. Because, yeah, there’s just a lot of guilt that can come into goal setting and I really think that is not helpful, so finding ways to get rid of that is really good. Okay, so another thing, long deadlines can also feel really daunting. So if you really do make a goal that’s gonna take you a year to accomplish it, it’s probably a really big goal. Unless you break it down into small goals, you’re probably gonna feel overwhelmed, and that might even lead to you giving up. So along those lines, I think long deadlines, when they’re done successfully, they really just are a series of short deadlines. If you’re your goal is, like Elsie loves pottery, I’m trying to write a book. So if I’m like, my goal is to write a book, it’s like, okay, well step one is like outline, step two, chapter one, you know, however many chapters, it’s a series of small goals along the way. And so I think the 12 week year in some ways is just an acknowledgement that in order to accomplish something big in a year or five years or whatever, you’re at the deadline. You’re just gonna have a bunch of small goals along the way, and so you might as well just think of it as, okay, well what’s my 12 week plan here because I got three months to do X, Y, Z. So this kind of ties into all of it, but I like quarterly goals in part because I think, and I especially think this for our work, there’s just different parts of the year. Maybe it’s because I live somewhere with the four Seasons, maybe it’s because I have a kid, and so like school and daycare can be different at different times and there’s holidays. I don’t know. But for me, I feel like I can really go crazy for work in Q1 and Q2 and then Q3 and q4 there’s, there is a lot of work, but there’s a lot more like family time and holidays and things like that. And I like being able to kind of think of things in that way. So then I don’t feel bad in let’s say q4, I’m not working quite as much cuz I have a lot of holiday stuff going if I kind of knew that and I really busted my in Q1 and q2, now I’m like, oh, I’m on track. You know, my goals in Q4 are not as career, they’re more family cleaning the house, getting ready for guests, whatever, they’re more in that range. And I can have that 12 weeks be something that makes sense for my year as opposed to this year long goal that has to encompass all these different seasons, and it almost doesn’t make sence.

Elsie: I think that in Q4 for our business, we kind of do have to go into survival mode every year because it’s usually when we do almost all of our ads, so you don’t get to pick your content as much as you do this time of year. Yeah, I completely agree, which is like ads and family stuff.

Emma: Yeah. You’re like, what’s do and what’s going on with my family? That’s all I have time for. You know, it’s fun, but it’s a certain season and I think if you’re expecting to do a lot of deep work for the future, you’re just not gonna get to do it that quarter, I never do. So anyway, that’s what Q1’s for. So those are kind of my case for the short deadline, so hopefully we’ve swayed you. I feel like we probably did. 

Elsie: I think everyone is swayed, I definitely am, I would never go back. I think that it’s very compelling. There’s really nothing that’s better about long deadlines. No, there’s really nothing.

Emma: No. Yeah, it’s a good method. I agree. 

Elsie: Case’s closed. 

Emma: Case’s closed, so everybody’s on board, good. Okay, so then I just wanted to talk about, to me the important parts of the 12 week year, some things he hits on in the book and things that can help you be successful as you’re making your goals for the next 12 weeks. Okay, so the first one is making your vision. How do you decide what to work on? How do you decide what goals you want? Okay, so I think some things that help is now that you know that you have 12 weeks you can be a little more realistic about what you can get done in 12 weeks. So you’re not necessarily going to be making a goal that’s like, I’m going to read 80 books and go to the gym a hundred times or whatever.You just know that that’s not gonna happen in 12 weeks. So now you can focus a little more on what’s realistic to happen in those 12 weeks. And I would also say as you’re making your vision, your goals, I like to do them in a bunch of different areas. So I like to kind of have different buckets of like, here’s my personal life, which includes like hobbies and self care. And sometimes also like health and wellness stuff, like going to the gym or whatever. Then I think of family, which is mostly stuff with my son, but it’s other things too. And I kind of put friends in there too, so if a friend’s having a birthday or if a friend’s going through a hard time, I wanna make time to be there for them or do something, and I think about career. So what am I trying to accomplish these next 12 weeks at work. Is there something that we’re building? Is there some kind of big deadline? Is there something that I’ve been wanting to start and finish? Or at least start, you know, again, you only have 12 weeks. So what are we getting done in these 12 weeks, that kind of. So I like to have different buckets that’s how I think about it. But something that I think is really important when you’re making goals is to make sure that it’s clear and measurable. I think if you’re like, okay, at the end of these 12 weeks, let’s say you’re working on some mental health stuff, you’ve had a hard time and you’re trying to work on that. Not that that’s necessarily me, exactly and I’m just using myself here’s an example, let’s just say. So if you make the goal, I just wanna feel better in 12 weeks. It’s like, well, Good goal not exactly very clear. Not exactly very measurable yet. What do you really mean by that? And if it’s like, well, I wanna feel better, I wanna have less days where I’m feeling really down. I want to feel more hopeful. So try to define it a little bit more, and then think about what are some things that you could measure in that because measuring a feeling is really hard, that would be very difficult. But instead think about like, I want to make sure I go to therapy every month. Okay, so then you’re gonna go to therapy three times in the next 12 weeks, okay? That’s measurable. Great, you could do that. I want to spend more time with friends. I want to get some sunshine. I want to work on endorphin stuff. So maybe that’s, I’m gonna do some cardio, I’m gonna go to the gym. I’m gonna start running whatever thing that you think is gonna help. This is your goals, but make them measurable things that you can actually know if you achieved it or not, if you did it or not. Because when you get to the end of the 12 weeks, you’re gonna take stock. You’re gonna say, oh, did I make it? Did I get all the things done? And it’s not that you’re trying to make this big to-do list and just go through the motions. But if things aren’t clear and measurable, then it might be really hard to know if your like, if you get to the end of the 12 weeks and you’re like, I don’t feel better, then you’re gonna wanna know why. So is it that you did all the things and those didn’t help and now you’ve gotta try something else? Or is it that you didn’t do the things, you got sidetracked, you got distracted, maybe something happened where you couldn’t, something major changed in your life, that happens. But if it things aren’t clear and measurable, then it’s gonna be really hard to know why it worked or didn’t work. Okay, so that’s kind of about making your vision. Then the next is once you kind of have your vision, develop your plan. So break up your goal into a series of small goals, so things for each month or even each week. And I think when you’re thinking about 12 weeks, this is so much easier than when you’re thinking about a whole year because sometimes I’ll make a giant list that’s for the whole year. Elsie and I do this a lot for blog posts, we’re like, here’s a thousand blog posts I wanna write because we just get excited about ideas. So we always have way too many ideas and I love to make a big list like that. I think it’s really fun, it makes me feel excited. It makes me feel like the future’s full of possibilities. So I think that’s a good exercise for those reasons. But it comes to actually executing, so this week for example, I’m sick. So I had one day where I was basically off cuz I was just really sick and couldn’t really work. So then it’s like, okay, I’m gonna look at my list and I now have these thousands of ideas and only four days to work, what could I get done? Whereas instead, if you had these five things to do this week, is there one that you need to take off the list because you were sick. Then you just get to keep moving forward and it just makes it a lot faster and easier to follow if you know where you’re going and then you can make quicker adjustments as opposed to this giant, giant master plan and you get a slightly off course and now you’re super off course.

Elsie: Yeah, I agree. I think this is a little bit of a good time to mention my post-it method. Oh by the way, Podcast listeners try to diagnose me with h ADHD kind of a lot. I’m like, I know that I probably have ADHD so lI get it. Probably a lot of people have undiagnosed ADHD. So if you have any trouble with focusing, I think the big list, like my blog post list for the year of what I wanna do, it’s stapled together, it’s three pages of typed text it like it is not something that I need to look at every week. So for me to look at a small list of about five things, like small enough to fit on a post-it is what my brain can handle and then I can choose something to actually work on. So I think that if you’re a person who gets easily overwhelmed by a long list, just don’t look at the long list that often. Every few weeks you can go in and pick some things from it and keep yourself on a small list. I think it’s just a trick you can do on yourself that really works. 

Emma: Yes, I agree and I think too, it just makes it where everybody’s busy. We all have limitations in our life, no matter for what reason. And I think that for example, when I’m writing a book, once I have the outline, I immediately feel way less overwhelmed because if I have two and a half to three hours where I can work on this today, that’s all I have. I’m not gonna get to work on it more maybe this whole week,but then I look at my outline and I’m like, oh, chapter four I feel like I really have a handle on that. I’m gonna write that right now, and I do it and then it’s done. And it’s like that is something that now just moved my whole project forward in a meaningful way. Did I finish the whole book? No, but did I write a chapter? Yes I did in the time that I have. And so, and that’s, , you know, sort of it is like trying to break down these big things that we wanna do in life into smaller bite size things so that we can actually get them done. Because life is full of lots of other things that are never gonna be on our list, but we still have to do them, and that’s just what life’s like and it’s okay. Okay, so develop your plan and that will help, break down your goal into very small goals. They can be weekly, monthly, they can even be daily. I would say too, don’t feel like they have to be so rigid because I think if you do have a very, like every single day this must happen. That doesn’t leave you much space for getting sick, or if your kid gets sick or you have a snow day or the internet goes out at your house and you can’t work on the thing you were gonna work on. You have to leave some margin to let life happen, or you’re really gonna stress yourself out, so do that too. 

Elsie: Yeah, focus on the big wins for sure. As long as I can get this part of my list done, then the rest of it is optional. I think is a good way to think of it. 

Emma: Okay, and then the next thing I wanna talk about I think varies so much from person to person. So it is accountability and keeping score. So this is something he talks about in the book and there’s lots of different ways to do it. And I also think it really depends on you and what works for you. So the whole point is to have mechanisms in place to help keep yourself on track. Some people are very internally motivated or externally motivated, or maybe they call it intrinsically motivated, I’m not sure. But I’m a person where I don’t really need a lot of outside accountability. I’m very much like on the inside, if I’ve decided I wanna do something that’s it for me, that’s enough. I do need ways to keep myself on track. For example, my husband, he has a friend who he always goes to the gym with. It’s not that he never goes to the gym by himself, he does, but it helps him a lot to have this friend who he goes with. It’s just sort of an accountability thing. It just means that he knows his friends there. If so, if he’s not there then he’s kind of letting him down or that’s probably too harsh of a wording, but you know, something along those lines. Whereas me, I was trying to get back into the gym this year for my mental health reasons, and so I was considering joining this new gym where all my friends go. I went once and it was really fun to see everyone. It kind of dawned on me thatI’m just not very externally motivated. I’m a very internal, intrinsically motivated person, so I actually don’t really need someone there. I just need to have it in my mind that this is important to me and I need to have bought into the reason why, and for me that’s good enough. And once I have that, then I just have to kind of have my mechanisms to keep myself on track. For me, I’m a little bit more of a reward system person. I think you’re like this too, Elsie. I like to have a little reward at the end of a big goal, like once I achieve it then I’m like, oh, I’m buying myself this probably new jumpsuit or whatever it is. I’m doing something, I’m taking myself out to get my nails done, whatever. I’m a little more of a rewards person and I like to set those for myself. But yeah, you might be a person who you really like to work with others, maybe you like working on teams. Maybe you need an accountability partner for certain goals. Those are great tools and if that’s something that helps you, you should do it. But they’re not necessarily for me and I don’t really think they are for you either,Elise. That’s why we thrive so much at working alone and being alone a lot, but I do like reward systems. 

Elsie: I like rewards too and for me I think you’re a natural finisher and I am not. So for me, I like to find something to help me get past the part where I failed before, which is usually, depending on what type of project, it’s usually the middle or around like day 10 when things get boring. The point where things get boring, all of the novelty is worn off is usually hard for me to get past. I’m very into starting something. In my life I’ve probably started hundreds of things that I did for one day, which is really funny. So, starting is like my happiest point and then the rest of it I have to keep myself somehow externally motivated. A rewards system is really good for me. I think that I don’t wanna rely on other people because that is just not realistic for my lifestyle. So I think I like the little rewards. Also, the other thing I really like is charts where you color in something for either each day or each milestone, however the chart goes. But I really like the coloring in charts are very helpful for me because once you get to a certain point, it’s like a little bit addictive to keep going and just like get to that completely full point. But yeah, I think that the thing I liked from the 12 year was the part about rating yourself. I think it’s a little weird, but I have done it before and I feel like I am usually a little bit harsh. But it doesn’t really matter if you’re harsh or generous, as long as you’re consistent, kind of doesn’t matter. It’s just a way to keep yourself trying to do better. And I do think that having your own accountability is so much better than trying to get someone else to hold you accountable. I’ve never found another person holding me accountable to be as effective and consistent as something I could do myself.

Emma: I also think like I just have a real, I don’t know a good way to say this, but I don’t really care what other people think that much, if I care what you think, then I do and if I don’t, I don’t. That’s just what I’ve always been like. And I think at times in my life that served me really well and at other times in my life, it’s made it where I’ve been kind of isolated. But it’s just what I’m like. It doesn’t motivate for me because if I’ve decided that’s no longer my goal and my accountability partner or whatever was like we’re still doing this. I’d be like, no, I’m not and I’m just like not motivated by outside forces. But on the rating thing, I think it’s a little weird too, but one thing I like about it is I do think it allows more. I prefer a class that is like, you can get an A or you can get an F and everything in between. I think pass fail is kind of nerve-wracking a little bit. So I like that in, at least in my world, and rating myself, I can give myself like a solid B minus and be like, Hey, it’s not so bad, but you could do better, I like that. So then it feels like you’re not a failure. You didn’t fail, but you could do a little better. You didn’t get an A and I, I like that because then it’s like, all right, I’m gonna keep trying, I’m not gonna give up on this. But I see that there’s some areas where I can improve somewhat. So I like things that have a lot of scale or a lot of gray. I don’t do as well in like black and white situations, I guess. And then really the last thing that I wanted to talk about with 12 week year was a check-in, the check-in time, which is week 13, so at the end of your 12 weeks, it’s time to check in. So a couple things to think about with that. Obviously, It’s good to just take time at the end of this timeframe or any sort of goal setting thing to see how you did to rate yourself to just check in because I think a lot of times, at least for me, maybe this comes natural for others, but for me, I’m a very forward moving person. I feel like I can finish something and I don’t even really talk about it, and it doesn’t even really register and I’ll just keep moving to the next goal. And then I’ll see a friend who I haven’t seen in a couple months and they can be like, Hey, did you finish writing that novel you were working on? And I’m like, oh yeah, I did. Yeah, that was fun, I’m working on this now. That’s what I’m like sometimes and I think it’s cool that you have a lot of goals in life, but you didn’t really take any time to, one, celebrate if you have success, so do that, don’t make that mistake. Celebrate when you have successes, because that’s what life should be full of is getting better and better at goal setting, at whatever it is that you’re wanting to do with your time. So other than celebrating your successes, I also think checking in is a good time, especially if you’re new to the 12 week year to just kind of seeing how it went. Because here’s the thing, you might get to the end of 12 weeks and realize, wow, I made way too big of goals, so I epically failed did not get them done, and not because I didn’t try really hard but because they were too big, they were too much for 12 weeks, and that’s okay, you don’t need to feel bad about that. You just need to adjust for the next 12 weeks. You need to be more realistic and you could also get to the end of your 12 weeks and be like, that was kind of easy. I was kind of done six weeks through and it’s like you could do more. You could add more to your 12 week, to your quarter goal list because yours were too easy and that’s okay too but now it’s time to readjust. As long as you’re taking stock of how the last quarter went, you’re gonna be able to better make goals for the next 12 weeks. And you can also kind of see how did life change? How did you know my goals change or anything like that. I also had this moment, so this happened to me in January of this year I got to the end of the month and I was feeling really down because I had been really sick. I was sick for like two solid weeks. I have a toddler, so I’m sick lot, just sort of part of it. It’s winter, we also had some snow days, which was really fun, but it kind of got me off of some of my goals of getting to the gym and walking more for my mental health. But what I did was I was feeling really down and then I kind of looked at my to-do list that I keep up on my bulletin board in my office and it has all my work stuff and I also put my personal things on there, just because I have it all in one place and it’s bigger than a post-it like Elsie was talking about but it’s small enough that I can look at it and one quick look and so I like that it keeps me on track and I highlight it, so that’s my coloring way of seeing what I got. .And so I was looking at it and I realized that like 90% of it was highlighted. Like I still got a lot done in January, even though I felt really crappy and I was really sick and I had a lot more days off than I was kind of planning on because we had snow days. But I realized like, Hey, actually I’m glad I’m taking this moment to take stock, because actually this month went really well. I got a lot done when I had time to work, I really busted out and when I didn’t get to work because I was sick or we had a snow day, I rested or I played with my son cuz he was home and that was cool too, that was necessary, the resting. Playing with your son’s more fun than necessary, it’s not the word I would use, it’s way more fun than necessary. It’s also necessary, but it’s not same. 

Elsie: It’s part of life right now, for sure. 

Emma: The number of times I have watched the cars movies this month is too many times, but love you Lightning McQueen. Anyway, so I think sometimes having this check-in time, if nothing else, it can kind of force you to realize that you did a better job than maybe you were thinking, or at least that’s what I notice happens for me a lot is I think I have these grand ideas and I actually get a lot done, but it doesn’t always feel so great in the moment. So when you have these times where you let yourself check in, maybe you do need to adjust. Maybe things went terribly and you need to make some adjustments, but maybe also things are better than you think and you’re just kind of hard on yourself, which is what I do.

Elsie: My first month went terribly. Yeah, you do need to adjust.

Emma: That’s okay, that’s fine too. It’s not the end of the world to adjust. Anything else? Any other thoughts you wanted to share about the 12 week year? 

Elsie: Yeah. I think when you don’t make your goals, I would say I don’t make my goals like most of the time, and I think that’s normal, especially when a lot of the goals are something big that you’ve never done before or you have a tendency of putting too many on each list. So I think for the next time, if you are a goal repeater like me, where you’re like, I didn’t make that, but I’m gonna try again. Then I think making some type of edit to try to address the pain point. So for myself, my pain point is usually it’s hard to get started or it’s hard to keep going once it gets boring, which are both different but it’s gonna happen over and over and over for the rest of my life because you only get one brain. So I think finding little ways to motivate yourself past your pain points, I think can be really smart when. You’re probably gonna have a lot of the same goals, like over and over throughout your years or similar at least. So it’s something you can definitely get better at, like tricking your own brain and putting yourself in your best possible position for success. I think that whatever you have to do for me, the little rewards are good, the little charts, but do whatever you have to do to give yourself that best possible chance.

Emma: I think that should be a T-shirt, you only get one brain. 

Elsie: It’s true. There’s so many times I compare myself to Emma because Emma is like a finisher at all costs. She finishes everything and I don’t finish probably like a 10th of the things that you do, but I don’t have a chance to live life with your brain. So, it’s like it doesn’t really matter, it’s a complete waste of time basically to compare myself to someone who has different methods. So the only methods that I can improve upon are the ones that work for me. So yeah, I think just find the things that motivate you and really use those methods.

Emma: Yeah, I do think there’s not a lot of value in comparing yourself generally, but comparing your brain since we’re on that topic to other people because it’s like you’re not gonna be that person and probably, there’s actually a lot of strengths to being yourself. There’s tons of things that I wish I was like, you more, but I’m not and I’m not gonna be, so I can just admire them about you and I will just value the things about me. Which I do think one of my things is I do like to finish things and I like that about myself. There’s other times I wish I was a little more of a perfectionist, but I’m not and there’s no chance of it. So I just have to know that about myself and just force myself to slow down. Or redo something if it needs to be redone and be more honest about that. Because I’m just not a perfectionist and I think that that’s okay, but it can hold back my work from being better than I think it could be at times. So anyway. Yep, we are who we are. Accept it and grow. 

Elsie: For sure. I think you really have to embrace what your natural strengths and weaknesses are, and then use this to get a little bit more done. But I felt like it made a big difference for me. I love the chance to have more fresh starts and yeah, I really don’t see why starting a big goal only every January, it doesn’t even make sense because January is not even the best month. It’s definitely not my prime for like anything. And it’s like also for people like us with little kids, it’s like you’re recovering from the hangover of putting on a magical holiday for your kids. Which is a lot if your home a lot. 

Emma: I think too, like most people I think, identify with this like the beginning part of any project and the goal setting time is really fun. It’s exciting cuz it’s the dreaming part, like you’re dreaming of all these things you wanna do and so you get to do that four times a year instead of just one time a year if you do the 12 week year. And that’s, I think, more fun. It’s three times as fun, it’s way more fun. Okay, so I think that’s about it on that. The next thing I wanted to talk about was the high five test. So if people haven’t heard of this maybe just tell ’em like how you heard of it, because you sent it to me, you were like, take this test, I was like, okay. So how did you even hear about it? It’s kind of like strength finder, but it’s not, I don’t know. 

Elsie: So a listener requested that we do like strength finder test and I found this test just by Googling free strength finder test. What is the actual website? 

Emma: It is high five

Elsie: And it was with a number five, high number five. Okay, so we did this, these tests, it is free. I could not get my husband to do it, but I got Emma to do it. So , that was half of a win. It gives you a top five strengths and Emma and I had like several of the same strengths which I was not expecting, but then it did make a lot of sense. And then the ones that are different also make a lot of sense. So anyway, should we read what our strengths were? My top one is Catalyst, my second one is Optimist, my third is Filo Math, which means someone who likes to learn. The next one is Thinker, and the last one is timekeeper. This was really interesting, I was not surprised that I had optimist up really high. I do think that’s one of my strengths and my whole key to success of my whole life is like believing you know, like the girl from TikTok who says, How hard can it be syndrome, I kind of have that and I’ve always felt that I could do anything that I want to do in life. And I think it’s a way my brain was born. And then a love of learning I definitely think that’s something we share. That one’s on your list too, right? Yeah. F 

Emma: Yeah Filo math was my number one.

Elsie: Were there any other ones that we were sharing? Thinker? That makes sense too and then timekeeper. This one was interesting because it said that I basically liked to race myself, which is true. My only way of getting things done, it’s almost like a little kid when you set the timer for them to clean their room, that is still how I am to this day about any goal. If I’m not on an aggressive deadline, I’m probably not even working on it. So that’s like my whole method.

Emma: I was filo math, timekeeper, focus expert, deliverer, and thinker. Focus. 

Elsie: Focus Expert is like the perfect way to describe you because I don’t think very many people would relate with how well you focus because you just like don’t get on your phone. You just don’t have a distractable brain the way that most people do. 

Emma: Well, I don’t know if that’s wholly true. I definitely get on my phone sometimes. But Yeah, I do think one of my strengths is I can focus on things. I always chalk it up to that we had to sit through so many boring sermons growing up, and I just got really good at focusing during anything. 

Elsie: We were trained in high school, during our church years, we were trained to be note takers during the sermons that was like basically the way that you show that you’re being polite and listening and I do think that was an extremely good habit of learning how to get the most out. Sermons are at least in our church, were extremely boring. I think we got the most out of it that we could, at least you can remember, like something from what your favorite part was and things like that. 

Emma: Yeah, mine also was love of learning.

Elsie: Wait, read them again. 

Emma: Basically do filo math, which again, I don’t know how to pronounce that either. That’s what I’m gonna go with filo Math, timekeeper, focus expert, deliverer and thinker and I think deliverer was not on your list. 

Elsie: Deliverer, I think this is why we’re such a good team together because I have like the catalyst and the optimist that are different and you have deliverer and focus expert that are different and I think that that’s like a lot to offer each other. 

Emma: Yeah. So I think you’re like, how hard can it be? And I’m like, well, I guess we’ll just finish

Elsie: I love it. Yeah, I hope that some of you take it. I think it was extremely accurate and interesting. I’m gonna push my husband again to take it because I just wanna understand that little brain. I wish I could push, mine’s a screenshot, so I can’t push on what catalyst means. I wish I could read what it meant, maybe I’ll look it up real fast. It means you cannot wait to start your project, you start it right away, you love starting. That sounds right. 

Emma: You love starting and I love finishing, so we’re a great team. I also thought it was funny. So it kind of has four different strength families and your things can be in any of these four families and the families are thinking, doing, feeling, and motivating and all of mine are in the thinking and doing. So I have no strengths in feeling or motivating, so if you want someone who can motivate you, I am not that person. And if you want someone who has a lot of feelings, I guess I’m not that person either. I don’t know. Obviously I do have a lot of feelings, but I don’t know I just thought that was kind of funny. I do think when I’m working or when I’m trying to accomplish, which doesn’t have to be work related like career, it could be whatever. I do think I’m very, let’s do things like I have a list. Even in being a mom, it’s not that I don’t tell Oscar how much I love him or how proud I am of him, I tell him every single day how proud I am of him. But I also think very much in terms of, okay, it’s Saturday, what are we going to do? We’re going to go get a donut. Don think that’s what we’re going to do.

Elsie: I don’t think that’s what it means though, I don’t think it means that you’re not an emotive person.I will stop in the middle of a project just to cry and you don’t do that. You know what I mean? 

Emma: Yeah. I mean, I might honestly, but I think it’s more of, how do you. I don’t know how to explain this. How do you like go through life? Because to me, it’s not that I don’t emote or have feelings on things, I just don’t think in terms of my feelings as far as like, what am I going to accomplish this weekend? Or what is my life about? I don’t really think in terms of feelings or I think of it more in what I’m gonna do and accomplish. I don’t know, but I think a lot of people do that, so I’m not really sure. I just thought it was funny that all of mine were very concentrated. I’d like to meet a person who has one strength in each of the four families, and they’re this like perfectly balanced person, but probably that’s not really even how it works. 

Elsie: Yeah, mine has four colors. 

Emma: Oh, you’re a balanced person then. 

Elsie: But I don’t feel balanced either. I don’t feel more balanced than you.

Emma: Mine is like all two colors, none of the other two . 

Elsie: Well, I’m grateful for your strengths and I think it’s sort of like Enneagram or anything. It’s just like good to know. So that you can understand other people better. So I think it’s very helpful. 

Emma: Yes, I like anything that helps you understand yourself or the world better. I don’t really like things that put us in boxes. I like to make jokes about being a certain way or whatever, but to me that’s just me being a little bit self-deprecating for fun. I actually don’t really view it that way, I think it’s just a tool for self improve because I don’t have strengths in those other two areas, I can’t be that way. I don’t actually believe that. I like to say a joke about it but that’s not actually my belief. 

Elsie: Yeah. No, I don’t either. I just know I don’t take joy in finishing, but I still know that I can, and I think that that’s just the only difference. It’s like, for sure I can do it, you know?

Emma: Yeah. How hard can it be? Like it’s hard, isn’t that what Elwood says? Yeah. I got into Harvard, like it’s hard. 

Elsie: Yeah. I wanna watch Legally Blonde, let’s do that movie. 

Emma: Yeah, we should do that for a week we watch. It’s a good one. 

Elsie: Okay, now it is time for everyone’s favorite, a joker a fact with Nova. Here’s Nova. 

Nova: A joke is, what is a polar bear in the rain? A drizzly bear? 

Elsie: Oh, I like that one. That’s a good joke. Okay, thanks Nova. 

Nova: Bye everyone. 

Emma: Thank you so much for listening, we truly, deeply appreciate all of you and all the emails that you send us every single week. If you wanna support A Beautiful Mess here are two free ways, I like to just give these at the ends of episodes. Number one, you could leave us a podcast review, it really does help us grow. They show up in the Apple areas or wherever you listen to podcasts, so it means a lot and two on our blog, either a Beautiful Mess or Childhood Magic. Anytime you see a recipe, if you could leave a five star review, assuming that you’ve done it and you know that it’s good, that also is a way that helps us grow and helps our blogs grow. So those are just two free things you can do and we would appreciate them. And if you do neither, that’s okay too. We still love you and we hope that you have a great week.

Elsie: I see all those reviews though, and I know that they’re from our podcast, listeners. So thank you so much.We’ll be back next week with a, you’ve got mail rewatch, so if you want to give yourself a little treat this week in preparation, there is your warning.


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