First Slide

are you feeling ...

a bit overwhelmed and directionless?

This book is like a candid chat with a great friend. When the last page is turned, you’ll feel fully equipped to: Make better decisions; form better habits; manage your time better; and simply be the best version of yourself you can be.






hour to read


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What you will learn

A different way of looking at yourself

You're no better than anyone ... and no one is better than you.

A different way of looking at time

Time is not your enemy and no one has time to do everything they want to.

A different way to approach decision making

Why are you spending time agonising over two things that will give the same happiness?

A different way to approach bad habits

It's really hard to break a bad habit; easier to replace it with a better habit.

A different way to face your fears

It's time to think about the best things that could happen, not the worst.

A different way to approach your life

The only person who should be writing the story of your life is you.

Sample chapters

You can get a sneak peek of Your Best Year Ever by reading the Introduction and first part of the first three chapters below. 

Chapter 3

A few years ago my husband and I put an offer on a house.

My husband had to be convinced it was the ‘right’ thing to do because he was looking for something perfect (and to him, this house wasn’t perfect).

I figured the only way we’d find ‘perfect’ was if we built something ourselves. Plus, I was feeling the pressure of our second child’s imminent birth and wanted the whole ‘house issue’ to be sorted before she arrived. As far as I was concerned, as long as the price was right, the house we’d found ticked all the right boxes for our soon-to-be family of four.

But in the end the price wasn’t right, and our offer fell through.

One month later we found (and bought) the vacant block of our dreams. We’re currently building our ‘forever house’ on it.

Now, what if we’d managed to buy that ‘imperfect’ house in the end? Would it have been the worst decision ever?

Would it have affected our future happiness?

(Because that’s what decision making is all about—trying to predict the future happiness a decision will give you.)

What if I told you there’s just about no such thing as a bad decision, and that pretty much any decision you make could bring future happiness? (Yes, there are obvious caveats to this, but stay with me.)

In his incredibly popular TED talk, The surprising science of happiness, Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert talks about:

“A system of cognitive processes … that help [humans] change their views of the world, so that they can feel better about the worlds in which they find themselves.” [4]

Gilbert calls this ‘system of cognitive processes’ a psychological immune system. In short, it’s something we all have, something that enables us to be happy no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

With this in mind I have four shifts in thinking to offer when it comes to making decisions …

Chapter 2

We’ve all played the “If only I had more time” game, haven’t we? (Oh, the things we could achieve if only we didn’t have a job, kids, family commitments, etc.)

I certainly played it when I was a triathlete.

When I was at the peak of my powers I was also working full-time. This saw me continually frustrated that so many people I competed against either worked part-time or not at all. It gnawed at me that they had all day to train and recover while I was only able to train first thing in the morning and after work in the afternoons. As for recovery, what recovery? While I was throwing down a sandwich at my desk during my lunch break they were at home with their feet up or getting a massage. Gosh that irked me!

Every time one of these people beat me in a race I felt the injustice of having to compete against people who had more time to dedicate to the sport.
These days I’m playing the same game. My goals may be more writing-centred now, but lack of time is still my main frustration. I’m a wife and a mother. I run a business and a household. And I want to do them all as well as I possibly can.

So I grudgingly fit my writing in where and when I can—at 5am when everyone in my house is sleeping, or in snatched half-hour blocks here and there. You can see why, when Penelope Trunk (mother, writer, entrepreneur) wrote this about a peer of hers, it really touched a nerve.

“Ramit doesn’t have kids. He jet sets between NY and San Francisco preaching to people about fear when honestly, my biggest fear is that I can’t keep up with people like Ramit who have no responsibility in their life except to grow their business. What about that fear? The fear of competing with people who don’t have kids.” [1]

I allowed myself a good few days of wallowing after reading that.

Chapter 1

A significant turning point in my life came when my brother pointed out I had a superiority complex.

At first I was (naturally) indignant. How dare he? He was accusing me of thinking I was better than someone else (him specifically), and I was not the kind of person who thought that way.

About anyone.

But once I got past my righteous indignation, I had to admit he was right. I did think I was better than him.

The same way I thought I was better than people who:
– didn’t share my socially-conscious, left-leaning views;
– didn’t eat well or exercise;
– didn’t have the same drive and determination to succeed that I did.

I clearly had a superiority complex about pretty much anything I felt smug about.

And if I look back to my high school years, I can see it there too.

When all the ‘popular’ people were drinking alcohol and taking drugs at parties, I wasn’t. I hated to be seen as following the crowd, and felt in going left when everyone else was going right that I was better than all of them.

This carried through into adult life too. I remember first stumbling across the community of Australian bloggers on Twitter.

At the time it seemed there were four or five popular bloggers at the ‘top of the tree’, and everyone else was clamouring for their attention.

“Ugh,” I thought. “Just like high school.”  …


“So long, farewell, don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out …”

That was a friend’s ‘goodbye to the year’ message a couple of years ago and I can tell you right now, she wasn’t the only one.

Everywhere I looked at the end of that particular year (and years since), I was seeing disillusionment and frustration; people slowly being crushed by the weight of ‘one thing after another’.

Things like: issues at work; betrayal by those they trusted; behavioural challenges with children; relationship troubles. All things that could be dealt with if they arose one at a time but for many people they seemed to be occurring en masse.

In a nutshell, overwhelm seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. I remember one friend saying she felt life was something just happening to her and all she could do was react.

That reactive feeling, it’s horrible isn’t it? It’s also one I was once very familiar with.

The 2010 version of me was running a small but rapidly growing graphic design business, building three houses (because if you’ve never built before that’s the logical thing to do), and experiencing motherhood for the first time.

Each of these things by themselves is a big life challenge; collectively, the stress involved with them all was extreme.

My business, like most small businesses, had cash flow issues. My staff and I were working insanely hard for little financial reward. I was a creative person whose days featured little opportunity to be creative because I was so caught up in the soul-destroying minutiae of running a business.

Meanwhile, I was trying to be a good mum to my little baby, a good wife to my husband, a good friend, sibling, daughter, person—you know the drill.

And for anyone who’s ever built one house before (much less three) … well you know the never-ending issues that go with that.

Life felt completely out of control and before long my mental and physical health started to deteriorate.

Extreme stress triggered anxiety. Anxiety triggered depression. Over the next 18 months I would have four miscarriages. Then, between my third and fourth miscarriage, a close friend, someone I worked alongside every day, committed suicide.

This was the last straw.

That highly reactive feeling I spoke about earlier—it became omnipresent. I was permanently on high alert waiting for the next shitty thing to happen.

There was a definite need to wrestle back some level of ‘control’.

Now I think we all know life isn’t perfect. And we don’t expect it to be perfect. What we do expect is that whatever life decides to throw at us, we’ll be able to cope with it. In other words, we expect a certain level of resilience from ourselves.

When we go looking for that feeling of being ‘in charge’ or ‘in control’ of our lives, what we’re really after is the feeling of resilience—the ability to roll with life’s ebbs and flows.

And after a long, hard slog, I was able to get that feeling back in my life. One of the reasons it took a while was because I have a personality that can’t help but self-sabotage and revert to type. I tend to move two steps forward and one step back, even when determined to effect real change in my life.

Every so often though, I managed to move three or four steps forward. And each time that happened it was because I approached things from a slightly different angle.

I found it fascinating how some of the subtlest shifts in my thinking would have the biggest effect on how I approached (and coped with) life.

Hence this book.

It’s my opportunity to share those subtle shifts in thinking with you; shifts that will work for anyone.

They’ll work for people who feel they’re not in control of their own destiny right now. And they will work for those whose life is great, but are looking to ensure they continue to thrive.


You know how a lot of people say at the start of their books “this book is designed for you to dip in and out as and when you need to?”

Well this book is designed to be read from start to finish (the first time anyway). I know! Crazy!

If you’re the person this book was written for, I know you don’t have a lot of time. That’s why I’ve kept it very short—around 10,000 words. It takes most people around an hour to read so grab a cuppa … and enjoy!

And then please feel free to dip in and out after that! Many people have told me they’ve read it multiple times and each time a different bit resonated.

Regardless of whether this is your first time through or your fifth, however, my hope is the same: that by the time you turn the last page you’ll feel energised and ready to start putting the things that resonated most with you to good use straight away.


It took me more than a year to feel I’d regained control of the direction my life was heading. More than a year to feel I was doing more than simply coping with whatever life threw at me. To feel like I was thriving.

I want it to happen a lot quicker for you.

I want your best year ever to start now, whether you’re reading this in January or July. And I want each subsequent year from this point on to be your best too.

So, are you ready?

Let’s do this!

Choose a chapter

  • Chapter 3

    - A different way to approach decision making [...]
  • Chapter 2

    - A different way of looking at time [...]
  • Chapter 1

    - A different way of looking at yourself [...]
  • Introduction

Messages from readers

Below is a sample of reader feedback. You can read more reviews on Amazon here.

Can I say just one thing: thank you! As someone who has always been a high achiever and is currently struggling with anxiety and the pressure I place on myself to be “perfect” in every facet of my life, I really loved your down to earth, normal words. As a 23 year old med student, with a boyfriend, job and other normal family commitments, I can now feel that my coping strategies are slowly building up, I can take some of the pressure off and be happy, content and calm.

The bit that I loved which made a wave of relaxation go through my body was “Tried it, didn’t work, what’s next.” The possibility of being able to throw off perceived failure so easily is a tantalising one. I’m going to try to keep this phrase in my mind.

Many thanks – I just finished your book. The 7 little thought shifts you outlined really resonated with me. A gentle butt kicking reminder to get out there and start living again!

This was wonderful and you were right, you can read it in one sitting, which is great. I really enjoyed the part where you highlight the more time we have the more we waste, it is about using the time we do have productively! I’m always resentful of my lack if time and this is a good reminder I can still achieve what I really want to.

As a rule I do not like self-help books but Lord, I’m loving every one of @kellyexeter’s sentences #yourbestyearyet

I think @kellyexeter was reading my mind when she wrote her new book.

The best half an hour you can give yourself this year. Read this book. It will change the way you think. It will make you want to be nicer and kinder to yourself and make you believe that you really are capable of having your best year yet. And the best rest of your life. Simple and sound advice written in a very easily digestible format. Love the blueprint to keep.

WOW!! Kelly I am speechless. Are you sure you are not reading my thoughts? Going to go back now and re-read it to burn all the very important messages in my brain.

Loved it! So easy to read…like talking to a wise friend…and so “now” and current. Thank you…will adjust my thinking!!

Just wanted to let you know I read your book this morning and thought it was fantastic. I found it really made me think about how important my mindset is to each and every day. When I finished reading it, I felt like standing and ‘Woop Wooping’ like Julia Roberts!

I am identifying well with everything you’re saying. And I like the fact it is short and punchy – I really struggle to get through long books at the moment.

You are amazing – this advice is gold and I love how you’ve made it easy to read (took me 30 minutes by the way!)

Thanks so much for this book. I really enjoyed reading it. Each and every chapter was so relevant to me. You have some excellent tips in there, and I can see myself putting your advice into action, starting now!

You were right – I finished it in no time at all and loved it – especially the little one page reminder at the end which I am going to put in front of my face in my office.

Parts of it had me literally saying, “Yes! Yes!” out loud as I read it, and I’m quite certain there were fist pumps. What you’ve created is really, really wonderful and I know it’s going to help a whole lot of women who have found themselves in that dark, rutted place. I’ve been there myself and could see so much of my own struggle on the pages of your book – and so much of my redemption too.

Well, thank you. It is very timely that your book has come out right now. I am determined to have the best year yet and a lot of the points you raised are things I have struggled with myself. I started this year with a positive mindset and the fear, giving permission and time factor are some of the main ones for me. (Heck, the whole book has main points for me!)

Your book is fantastic, amazing! I’ll be reading it again before I go to bed tonight. And I’ve forwarded it to my sisters and a couple of close friends. Love it. Thank you.

About the author

Kelly-BW-HeadShouldersKelly Exeter is …

A mother of two, wife of one, writer, designer, blogger, runner, business owner … the list does go on. After many years on the hamster wheel she’s finally figured out how to live A Life Less Frantic®. She writes about this and more at

Follow her on Twitter at @kellyexeter and join the conversation at

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