Chipping Away At Your Goals + Have You Been To Japan?

Achieving Your Goals

As we enter the last few months of 2013 and I look over my goals and progress, it can be a little overwhelming. I have some big goals on the list I really want to achieve and some of them have stalled.

In these circumstances, I find the best thing to do is to break these goals down into smaller parts. A series of smaller actionable tasks lets me chip away at the goal. Sometimes a goal can seem too big to even start on. A task that you know will only take 30 minutes on the other hand is not so intimidating. I can keep chipping away at my goal and continue to make progress,

The new project I am working on has stalled, mainly I think because I have been feeling overwhelmed by it. So over the next six weeks I am going to take the following steps:

  • I have broken the project into three stages.
  • Create a work plan which breaks the tasks down to 30 minutes blocks to complete stage 1.
  • Make these 30 minutes tasks the first task I complete on my work days – Tue, Thu and Fri.

This will move the project back on track. I am pretty sure it will also bring back my excitement and motivation for the project. I find I need little wins along the way, to keep me going when I am working hard on something. Even if it is ticking something off my to do list, it spurs me on to keep chipping away.

Have You Been To Japan?

Jetstar Osaka 540
One of my goals for this year has been to have a family holiday. I am completely thrilled to announce that through a partnership with Jetstar the Planning With Kids family will be going to Japan for a holiday later this month!

Jetstar flies to a number of cities in Japan. You can see more info here about where and when they fly. We are flying into Osaka for a few nights, then onto Tokyo for a few nights and then back to Melbourne.

Jetstar make travel affordable for families and you can easily keep up to date with sales and special offers by joining My Jetstar. My Jetstar is free to join and super easy to do so as you can sign up with your preferred social network.

And for a small fee ($39) you can join Club Jetstar and receive exclusive access to at least 4 member only sale events including $1 sale fares, each year.

So we have our flights and accommodation booked, but what I would love to hear if you have been to Japan with kids. I would love to know of any:

  • Great places to eat in Osaka and Tokyo
  • Fun and affordable activities with the kids
  • Cultural experiences for families
  • Shopping highlights
  • And any other tips and advice you think will be helpful

Lots of planning to do – time to create some spreadsheets!

My August goal review



Me - I am less rushed and healthier.

Continue to improve my diet: one meat free meal a week, reduce consumption of sugar and carbs.My focus for eating is eating clean. Cutting out processed foods, grains and reducing sugar intake.

I am still experimenting on how to best do this and still be able to perform well at my physical activities.

More reading and testing this month and more new recipes to come!
Read six books by the end of the year.I officially abandoned this goal mid year and my total is 3 books so far. I have just started another one, so who knows, I just may meet this one by the end of the year.

It has been interesting to see how taking the pressure of what books I read and when has had an impact.
Add variety to my exercise regime.Goal met.
Sleep at least 6 hours a night on a regular basis.Still requiring work. Feel like such a broken record when it comes to this goal.

Family - We spend more time doing things together.

Monthly family meetings.Goal met!
Eat out together on a quarterly basis.We actually went out for a meal twice in August.
Have an active family holiday.Will happen in September as noted above! So excited to be taking the kids to Japan courtesy of Jetstar.
Two big bush walks throughout the year.Not applicable this month.

Relationship - We have more time together on our own and support each others interests.

A weekend away in 2013.Investigating options to make this happen in October.
Attend an event in the Comedy Festival, see 1 play, see 1 live music gig and a attend one event at the Melbourne Festival.Have tickets to an event in the Melbourne Festival in Oct.
Mr I will play football, cricket and cycle.Football season has finished. Cricket season will start in October and Mr I is also going to try his hand as AFL 9's.

He is also increasing his running and swimming. Some mornings now are a bit of a tag and run for us!
I will continue exercising 5 - 6 times a week.Goal met! Like my diet I am experimenting with supplements and rest days to make sure I am taking care of myself.

Work - Improved usability and resources on the blog and improved blogging skills.

Analyse PWK survey and implement changes to the blog by quarter one.Completed.
Develop the calendar to the next stage by quarter two.No longer proceeding with this.
Take course at Australian Writers Centre by quarter three.Not applicable this month.
Release new product by quarter four.Have changed the goal for this from being something short term, to longer term. Unsure of when I will launch it as yet.

Looking forward to reading your tips and tricks for heading to Japan with the kids.


  1. says

    Hi Nic, I lived, worked and studied in Japan for almost a sum of 10 years – 4.5 of them in Tokyo.
    Osaka’s great for electronics – the kids will love DenDen town.
    Also Dotonboribashi (a single street along side a canalwith loads of restaurants, historical spots) is a fun place.
    In Tokyo, Omotesando and the Harajuku area is a lot of fun. If you go to Meiji Shrine, outside there you’ll see the famous Harajuku girls – teenagers dressed up in goth clothes and all sorts of colourful costumes.
    Also in Omotesando is a fantastic restaurant called Toriyoshi. It’s in a traditional sit on the floor kind of setting and the food is just fantastic.
    I’m going to Problogger so let’s have a chat then! x

  2. lisa says

    Hi Nic, I have not been to Japan but Veggie Mama recently went on holiday there. She has published a blog post about travelling there in the last week or two so you could contact her. I have never thought of going to japan with kids but it seems like an interesting place to visit. Have a lovely time x

  3. Mika says

    I’m really curious about what accommodation you have chosen because we are going in November and I’m wondering how Japan can accommodate a family of 6. (I would go to Disneyland or Disney Sea – not cheap, but the kids would love it if you haven’t been before)

  4. Jen says

    You should definitely go to an onsen (traditional Japanese communal baths – usually sex-segregated)that would be really fun for the kids and are a very japanese thing to do. If you can find one that is heated via hot springs that is even better! Also, one thing we did in Tokyo that was lots of fun was to get up really early and go to a Sumo stable to watch the wrestlers train. Some of the stables have a viewing area for the public to come and watch the training – it’s so interesting! Given your family are so into sport it would be great to take them to see a traditional Japanese sport in action.

  5. Jasmine says

    Osaka Castle and surrounding park (the castle is a museum indoors, lots of armour on display and stories about attacks on the castle, defence, weaponry etc). Very cheap to get into the castle.

    Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, and DisneySea in Tokyo. SO GREAT. There’s also a Hard Rock Cafe just near USJ – an experience in itself as you find a lot of American-obsessed Japanese people gathering there in their take on American clothing and behaviour!

    From Osaka you can take day trips out to Nara and Kyoto (Nara city is fabulous and less over-run with tourists than Kyoto, plus it can be done on foot in a day – there’s a beautiful park with lots of deer running around, there’s an ‘old town’ where you can explore traditional Japanese homes etc). Lots of displays of arts, crafts, food preparation just by walking up and down the streets. It’s largely famous for Todaiji – the Big Buddha in a temple at the top of the hill. Nara costs next to nothing, just because most of what you’ll be seeing there is on the street, and the fee to get into Todaiji is minimal – further up the hill is the Wysteria shrine, which from memory is free.

    Might be pushing it for a day trip, but well worth it for the sake of the kids – Iga Ueno. Ninja museum with a fully functioning ‘ninja house’ that displays all the sneaky tricks they used to avoid capture when authorities visited, plus lots of live action displays. In the same area of the city there’s also a castle you can visit, plus a museum/home dedicated to the dude who is credited with inventing haiku. Again, most of it is a minimal fee or free.

    Osaka Aquarium!! AMAZING. Melbourne Aquarium is an embarrassment compared to this place. MUCH cheaper than Melbourne Aquarium, too.

    In Osaka city, Shinsaibashi/Ame-mura for shopping (or just walking around staring in amazement). And this might seem counter intuitive, being Japan and all, but if the kids get bored of the Japanese food, El Pancho is THE MOST AMAZING MEXICAN FOOD.

    Osaka is mostly famous for takoyaki (fried octopus) which you’ll be able to get anywhere along Dontonbori (near Shinsaibashi), but also okonomiyaki (fried pancakes).

    STRONGLY recommend brushing up on some basic Japanese etiquette (don’t eat while walking, shoes off on tatami and inside most shrines/temples etc, don’t blow your nose in public), depending on your chopstick skills you might want to bring your own forks for the kids as you won’t be able to request them in most restaurants, and be prepared for the fact that most public toilets – especially those in train stations or parks etc – won’t have toilet paper (you need to buy it or keep a packet of tissues in your handbag).

    • says

      Amazing tips, cannot thank you enough Jasmine! Did not know the fork or toilet paper issue so will no be prepared thanks to you.

      So many great places to visit Ninja house and the deer park sound fab. I am getting very excited now.

  6. says

    Hi Nicole, I lived near Osaka for 2 years, and have been on 4 trips in the last 4 years to Japan, including 2 trips with my young children so I hope I can help!


    Spa World in Tennoji should meet the balance between Japanese naked on send and fun, normal kids outdoor/indoor pool with water slides. It has separate floors for men, women, restaurants, gym and the pool. Pyjamas are provided for the communal floors, bathers required for pool, so only naked in women’s only spa area.
    It costs (I think) about roughly $15 each for a day pass, but can’t be sure. Just be aware though that Tennoji is not the greatest area, but it is still quite safe.

    Osaka castle & park surrounds definitely, great historical info, but very interesting and beautiful too.

    Nara park with deer, and ninja museum both highly recommended.

    Karaoke! A great, unique cultural experience – and fun if no one takes themselves too seriously!

    Ame Mira/shinsaibashi is definitely a unique cultural spot, with great, varied shopping. From daimaru & Zara, to anime, to Apple Mac.

    Good in Osaka: must try takoyaki (balls of octopus), okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes-savoury), ramen (delicious meat & noodle broth), and sushi. Ootoya is a good restaurant with a variety of good options that are relatively inexpensive. Actually, eating out in Japan is comparatively cheap.


    Studio ghibli in mitaka is apparently amazing! You have to book in advance though.

    There is a park nearby in mitaka, but I can’t remember what it is called. It’s beautiful with a lake & paddle boats etc.

    Getting up a baseball game (not sure of season) is a great experience too! You can buy tickets online, or in some of the many “conbinis”, convenience stores.

    Capsule hotel: staying one night in a capsule hotel could make for a unique experience!

    Japanese tea ceremony: gives great insight into the culture.

    Tips: not being too loud on trains & generally in public; be prepared to stand out; have a great time! Japan is an amazing place! If you have any questions etc, feel free to email :)

  7. says

    I posted this on the Y Travel Blog facebook for you, but I’ll put it here as well.

    I used to live in Osaka.

    1. Anywhere to Dotonbori, like Bikkuri Donkey or Kani Doraku.

    2. For kids? Universal Studios Osaks is great, and for adults too! Or the Kaiyukan aquarium. Depending how long they have in Osaka, a 30 minute trip out to Nara to see the deer is nice too.

    3. Osaka Castle has some nice activities.

    4. Shopping in Osaka is mainly around the Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori area.

    5. Stand on the right side of the escalators! Try some regional specialties like okonomiyaki or takoyaki.

    As far as Tokyo, take a trip to Tokyo DisneySea, it’s well worth it. I have a lot of information about all of these places and more on my website, so feel free to give it a look if you’d like or feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

    Have an amazing trip :)

  8. Helen says

    A couple of ideas from a resident of Japan (my brother’s mother in law)

    Tokyo: Disney Land (Disney Sea), Sky Tree in Asakusa, Boat Ride from Asakusa to Hama Rikyu

    Osaka: Osaka Castle, Kaiyukan (huge aquarium), Kyoto etc.

    I’m sure you will have an amazing time.