Although January has been long + cold, it’s still hard to believe it’s already coming to an end! We are already into the last of January so I am curious… have you kept up with your New Year’s resolutions?
So many of us enter the new year full of anticipation + determination to make THIS the best year yet! We swear THIS will be the year we lose the weight, THIS will be the year we stop smoking, THIS will be the year we pay off the debit, THIS will be the year…. (fill in the blank). But then a few weeks pass, motivation wanes, we become tired + feel crummy, and before we know it, we’ve completely given up on the goals we were once so excited about. Sound familiar?
If so, that’s okay because you are not alone! Many of us set goals with determination + excitement and then quickly lose motivation and fall off the wagon. Moving towards goals (especially big ones) is hard work! But I am here today to remind you, that it’s NEVER too late to get back to working on your dreams. This is only the first month of the year, we have ELEVEN more to go! As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day and reaching our goals takes time too! We want everything to happen overnight but a lot of time it just doesn’t work out that way.
So how can you get back to working towards your goals + actually make progress toward them in the remaining eleven months of 2019?
Here are 7 steps for reaching your goals + building healthier habits:
It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, but have you taken action to actually get that thing done? What’s one small thing you can do to move yourself in the right direction? Can you have one less cigarette today? Can you exercise for just 10 minutes? Can you add a vegetable to your dinner? Pay $10 on your credit card? One of the goals I want to work on this year is creating a weekly blog post. But that isn’t going to happen if I don’t sit down at my computer and write! Even if it’s terrible, I get started because getting started propels you in the right direction. Taking those baby steps, those small actions each and every day builds motivation and will get you to your goals that much quicker.
Trust the process
Speaking of getting to your goals quickly, you have to learn to trust the process. Sometimes we set out with one thing in mind and as we work towards it, life takes us in a totally different (and often more exciting!) direction. Trust that the universe has a plan for you and that you are on the right path. Everything you need to accomplish your goals is moving towards you in the right time. You are capable and worthy of your goals + dreams. Enjoy the journey, stay open to opportunities, and be grateful for how each and every day you are becoming a better person.
Don’t expect perfection
Hear me when I say this – you are going to stumble along your way and that’s perfectly okay. If we don’t mess up along the way, we don’t learn what works and what doesn’t. No one’s journey towards their goals is perfect (despite what social media may make us believe). In the past, whenever I tried to lose weight I’d go all go all in and follow whatever program I was on 100%. Eventually I’d slip up, get down on myself, and then give up altogether. Now I know that every slip-up or mistake along the way is an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to move closer toward my goals.
That being said, it is important that when you do stumble or fall off track, that you keep on trying! It may mean your path looks a little different or maybe even points you in a completely new direction, but you must keep plugging away. Even if you’ve fallen off track for weeks, months, or years, it’s never too late to work towards the goals + habits that are meaningful to you! Keep trying. Find what works + what doesn’t, but keep working one day at a time.
Let’s be real. As adults, sometimes we have to do things in life that we just don’t want to do and sometimes that involves the work that it takes to reach our goals. Remember when you were a kid and your parents made you do your homework before going out to play? Or forced you to eat your vegetables at dinner? Well, it’s now your job to parent yourself. Do I always feel like working out? Of course not but I know it’s good for my physical and mental health so I make myself do it. Are you going to want to eat a kale salad instead of a burger? Probably not, but what’s going to serve your goals? Is your business going to grow if you watch another episode of The Bachelor instead of answering emails? Of course not. It takes discipline but you’re not going to accomplish your goals laying on the couch eating potato chips (although wouldn’t that be nice?)
Find Your Tribe
This being said, if you’re like me and aren’t that great at parenting yourself, then you need to find a tribe that will keep you accountable. You need a friend (or a group of friends!) that will be real with you and tell you when you’re being lazy or neglecting the work you need to do to get to your goals. For me, my husband has always supported me in this way. It took me awhile to get used to his harsh truths but eventually I came to understand that it’s coming from a place of love + support. I also found a tribe of women through Beachbody that support, uplift, and encourage each other to work out, eat clean, and live healthy lives. I don’t think I’d be on the wellness path I’m on right now, if it weren’t for my tribe keeping me accountable + on the right path!
Get your head right
By this I mean that you need to work on your thought patterns and your mindset as much as possible if you are going to make any real progress towards reaching your goals. With the right mindset, you can conquer so many of life’s challenges and really accomplish anything! There are all kinds of resources out there right now that help you to get your head in the game whether it’s books, websites, podcasts, videos, webinars, or conferences. I make it a habit of listening to a podcast or reading a personal development book every day to make sure my head is in the right space to get the work done that I know I need to do. The change in my mindset has been the biggest game changer for me. If you don’t know where to start, stay tuned for a future post about my favourite personal development books + podcasts! But in the meantime do a Google search for Mel Robbins or Rachel Hollis. I promise, you won’t regret it.
So, there you have it! Don’t worry if January has passed and you haven’t made near as much progress as you thought you would on the goals you set for yourself earlier this month. You still have the rest of the year to learn, grow, and make progress and I know you can do it! I believe in you and am cheering you on! Also, if you have any other suggestions for accomplishing goals + building better habits, I’d love to hear them!
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
For the longest time, I never considered myself to be either. I liked to go to bed early and sleep in late. But not too long ago, I began working on the habit of having a morning routine and it’s pretty safe to say, I’m already a big believer.
They key to my morning routine is making time for things that are really meaningful to me. Throughout the day, so many people + things need our attention but during the quiet hours of the morning, before the rest of the household is up, I can give my full attention to things that fill my cup.
Keeping in mind that it’s still a routine I am working on, here’s what my morning routine has looked like recently.
First of all, it actually begins the night before and that’s because I no longer bring my phone to the bedroom (shout out to Mel Robbins for inspiring this one!) No matter how many nights I intended to go to bed and read for awhile before going to sleep, I’d find myself mindlessly scrolling on my phone, repeatedly checking the same social media feeds over and over again. Not only is screen time before sleep detrimental to our sleep quality, but I’d stay up later than intended because I’d lose track of time. Now, not only is my sleep not inhibited, but most nights I actually get to that book I’ve been meaning to read!
The second habit I’ve built into my morning routine is that I no longer hit the snooze button (again, inspired by Mel Robbins’ author of The 5 Second Rule which I highly recommend!) Did you know that hitting snooze can negatively impact your energy levels for the first four hours after you are awake? Energy is something I already struggle with so deciding not to hit snooze anymore was an easy decision. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to do when the alarm goes off at 6 AM but I am getting better. Also, instead of using the alarm on my phone I use our Amazing Echo Dot and ask Alexa to set my alarm.
Once my alarm goes off and I’m out of bed, I start to get ready right away by doing my hair + makeup (I usually shower the night before). This helps me feel “ready” to start the day. I often listen to music or a podcast while getting ready. I do stay in my pyjamas for a little while longer because they are just so cozy + I like to be comfortable in the morning!
After my hair + makeup are done , I head to the kitchen where I let out the dog, make myself breakfast + a coffee. I usually eat in my favourite armchair and catch up on social media while having breakfast.
After breakfast, I take the remainder of my coffee to my office. This is one of the times of day I love the most because it’s when I get to do the things that really nourish my soul + give me a positive mindset for the rest of the day. Plus I’m out of the way while my son + husband start getting ready for school/work.
Once in my office, I diffuse some essential oils and set to writing in my gratitude/mindset journal. I always list at least 5 things I am for grateful and then write a list of goals + affirmations that I want to focus on. I always write my goals in present tense as if they are already happening (a tip I learned from my girl Rachel Hollis).
After writing in my journal, I turn to the personal development book that I am reading. I have read so many good ones + and they’ve helped my mindset immensely. I’ll do a post on my top personal development choices but so far my top 3 favourite are:
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, and You are a Badass by Jenn Sincero. Reading personal development in the morning fills my head with positivity which sets a great tone for the day.
(Side note: I just started reading The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma for a little added early-morning motivation! I’ll keep you posted.)
After I’ve read for about 10-15 minutes, it’s time to brush my teeth, get dressed, + head to work. My lunch + bags are always packed the night before so it’s easy to grab them and go. I try to arrive at work about 30-45 minutes before my students arrive so I can make any necessary copies + finish last-minute prep before they arrive. I also sit down at my computer and open all files we’ll be using that day. Having everything ready to go before the kids come in the door makes me feel organized, focused, + ready to take on the day!
So that’s it. I’ve been doing this routine for about two months now and I feel like it’s had a huge impact on my mindset + mental wellness. I feel more content, fulfilled + just generally happy lately. I’d say that’s definitely worth getting up a little bit earlier for!
Do you have a morning routine? I’d love to hear about it!
Recently one of my favourite bloggers, Merrick from Merrick’s Art, shared a post about her daily routine/schedule and it inspired me to create my personal daily schedule. Merrick is a working stay-at-home mom with a super successful blog and three young boys. I am the step-mother of two teenagers (one who lives on her own), a full-time elementary school teacher, and part-time Beachbody coach. Although are day-to-day schedules look very different, I liked the idea of creating a daily schedule.
I was party inspired by my efforts to establish a new morning routine before our return to school in just over a week! For the last few weeks, I’ve been building a morning workout routine and learning to avoid hitting snooze in order to wake up earlier. Eventually, I’d like to have this established well enough that I can get my workouts done in the morning before heading off to school. I know myself, and the longer into the day I wait to do my workout, the less likely I am to do it, especially after an exhausting day of teaching!
I also started thinking about how my day at school is very structured and scheduled. Every year a great deal of time is spent on timetabling, scheduling, planning, and preparing. Why not take those skills and apply them to my personal life?!
Not only am I interested in making a personal schedule to make sure I fit everything into my day, but I also think it might prevent me from over-working myself. For example, if I schedule an hour after school hours for staying and getting caught up on work, then I’m more likely to actually stick to that hour instead of letting it go longer and then running out of time to do the other things I need to get done. Also, it forces me to include time for things like relaxation, self-care, and family time.
I’m still not exactly sure what my personal schedule will look like when I go back to work, but I am hoping it might look something like this if I can continue training myself to be a morning person (still working on that!)
5:30 am – Alarm goes off – do not hit snooze – change into workout clothes, have coffee and check social media
6:00 am – Beachbody workout – lace up those shoes and press play!
6:30 am – Shower and get ready for work
7:30 am – Make healthy breakfast and/or Shakeology depending on time/mood
7:45 am – Leave for work
7:50 am – Arrive at work – prepare for the school day (set-up, photocopies, marking, prepping)
8:45 am – Students arrive and school day begins (use breaks to check things off to-do list school or Beachbody-related)
3:15 pm – School day ends – students dismissed – tidy up workspace and make preparations for next day
4:00 pm – run errands/ check social media / Beachbody work
5:00 pm – prepare dinner
5:30 pm – eat dinner – clean-up and prepare lunch for next day
6:00 pm – Household chores – sweep, laundry, garbage, etc.
6:30 pm – School and/or Beachbody work
8:00 pm – Relax – read, watch tv, family time
9:00 pm – prepare for bed – brush teeth, wash face, pyjamas, read/journal
9:30 pm – Goodnight!
Do you have a daily schedule or routine that you follow? What does it look like? Am I missing anything on mine? I would love to hear from you!
Every year, as the New Year approaches I spend a lot of time thinking, daydreaming, and considering what resolutions I can set for myself that will make the coming year the best one yet. I love the time to think about areas of my life that could use improving and then setting goals to strive for.
This year has been a little different in the fact that I haven’t really been able to come up with clear, cut and dry resolutions. When I look back at last year’s post, I had a very detailed, organized list of resolutions that I hoped would bring good health, peace, and love into my life in 2017. And while, I didn’t necessarily achieve every single goal I had so carefully laid out for myself, I certainly feel like I made strides in most of those areas.
This year, in an effort to release some of the pressure I put on myself, I have decided rather than focussing on the finish line of meeting a goal, I am going to concentrate on the journey of getting there. Achieving goals or keeping resolutions is not a static process with a clearly defined beginning and end; rather it is a fluid, ever-changing process with many lessons, challenges, and celebrations along the way. This year I want to embrace the journey of the intentions I have set for myself so when New Year’s Eve rolls around next year, I can celebrate the progress I have made, rather than think about all the resolutions I did not “keep”.
I suppose in a way, this is my way of going easy on myself. There are so many areas of my life where I place far too much pressure on myself and I don’t want New Year’s resolutions to be one of them any longer. That being said, I’ve always loved setting goals (and writing lists!) so below is a general idea of some of the journeys I hope to go on in 2018. May it be as blessed and wonderful as 2017 and all the years before that.
- Find a nutrition plan that optimizes my health (heals my gut and IBD, helps me to lose weight in a healthy way, gives me lots of energy, a clear mind, and clear skin)
- Do at-home workouts (BOD) on a regular basis
- Establish an early morning workout routine
- Stop hitting snooze on the alarm clock
- Make sleep a priority
- Spend more time outdoors (hiking in the woods, cross-country skiing, walking the dog, camping)
- Socialize with friends more often
- Learn calligraphy & lettering
- Be creative – find new creative outlets (art classes?)
- Push myself harder in some areas (exercise) and less hard in others (work).
- Complete a Learn to Run program (again)
- Do more yoga (at home and at the studio)
- Continue writing and journaling
- Live more slowly — pause & think before reacting — prioritize
- Cut back on hours at work – let go of the perfectionist mindset
- Keep a positive mindset at work – one day at a time
- Drink more water (from a reusable bottle)
- Continue to be positive and to notice the beauty all around us (snow on evergreen trees, sunshine on freezing cold winter days, students who have a desire to learn and be loved…)
- Continue to show gratitude
Wishing you all the happiest of New Years!
Over the years, I have tried many different types of exercise ~ running, Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, rollerblading, walking, biking, cardio classes, dance, cross-country skiing, soccer, baseball, plyometrics, home DVDs… the list goes on!
But when it came to why I exercised, I only ever saw it as a means to an end – a way to lose weight. For most of my adult life I have battled my weight and I learned early on that exercise is a key component to any weight loss endeavour. So throughout all those years, and many different types of exercise, I always had one goal in mind – If I do this, I will lose weight and if I lose weight I will look better.
Sure, sometimes I also told myself that exericse would make me feel better too, but I don’t think I ever truly paid attention to what that meant.
This past winter was the first time in my thirty-six years of life that I ever realized there is far more to exercise than simply being a tool to lose weight (nevermind the fact that there are far more important things to our health than simply losing weight – that’s another blog all on it’s own) This past winter was about the third year in a row where I noticed a marked difference in my mental state. As late fall/ winter rolled around, along with it came a dark cloud over my head. I lost my normal ambition and positive mindset, and felt unmotivated, anxious, and very, very exhausted all the time. I hated how I felt and it dragged on for months – until summer rolled around.
At one point though, it started to become clear to me that just as my mood and mental state could be linked to the poor weather, it could also be linked to my lack of exercise. Since then I’ve been doing more research and am reminded again and again that there are myriad reasons to exercise – and that some are far more important in our lives than the size of our waistline!
A couple of the people I have learned this from best are my former Beachbody coach Melanie Watson and a wonderful lady I follow on Instagram (Check her out: moms.can.be.fit – she is such an inspiration!) Both of these incredible woman are constantly preaching the real reasons to work out ~ not just to lose weight (although that can certainly be a positive side effect) but to have the right kind of mindset that will get us through life! Plus, so many other reasons that help us to achieve overall vibrant health.
With this, I started to consider my own personal reasons for working out. Although I still have weight to lose, this alone hasn’t been enough to motivate me to exericse lately (yes, I’d like to lose some weight but at the same time, I’m sort of comfortable with the weight I am now. Also, I’ve been trying really hard not to focus on my “weight” and to focus on my health so this could be why too….).
But what got me started back to exercising this morning, after being off again for a couple of weeks, was the realization that just around the corner is back-to-school/ work! Whether I like to admit it or not, I am about to enter a season where the lazy days of summer are going to come to an abrupt end and our days will be filled to the max with schedules, work, and responsibilities. (I’m also preparing myself for a challenging year as I will have thirty sixth-graders which is the most kids I’ve ever had in a class!)
I know that the best way for me to handle the upcoming challenges of back-to-school/work (combined with some other challenges happening in our personal lives), is to get into a regular workout routine. That led me to start thinking about all my personal reasons for working out. You’ll see that losing weight is on the list but there’s now so much more to it than that. I hope that when I feel the urge to skip a workout or fall off the wagon next time, I can look to this list to keep myself on track!
My Personal Reasons To Exercise
1. Happy endorphins!
2. Mental clarity and focus!
3. To feel proud of myself!
4. Mental strength!
5. Positive mindset!
6. To gain physical strength and to feel strong!
7. So I don’t feel lazy! (A feeling I loathe)
8. It motivates me to make better food choices!
9. It gives me way more energy ~ I hate the feeling of constant exhaustion!
10. To lose and/or maintain weight
11. To overcome challenges (see: mental focus!)
12. To prove to myself that I can do what I couldn’t do before ( physically and/or mentally)
13. To make some things in life easier (ie. climbing stairs, walking long distances on hot/humid days)
14. To be overall healthy, vibrant, and positive!
15. To have confidence!
16. To look good in cute clothes!
17. To like what I see in the mirror!
18. To feel accomplished!
19. To be an inspiration to others!
20. To be an inspiration to myself!
Are there other reasons you would add to this list? I’d love to hear them!
I have a confession: I have not been taking care of myself lately and now I am paying the ultimate price. As I sit here and write this, I am in a lot of discomfort and some pain that could probably have been avoided. Here’s why:
Several months ago, I visited my naturopathic doctor who gave me a nutrition plan to help heal my ulcerative colitis. The plan is very Paleo-like and was developed after I had food sensitivity and blood work done. Basically, according to her instructions, I am supposed to eliminate all eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, peanuts, corn, white potatoes, legumes, and sugar from my diet. This, along with some supplements she’s prescribed, are supposed to help repair the damage done to my intestinal wall, decrease the amount of bad bacteria in my gut while increasing the amount of good bacteria, and get rid of the inflammation that causes the terrible symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
I followed the plan for a few weeks (with a few minor cheats and treats here and there). But over the course of the last month, I’ve pretty much gone completely off my nutrition plan. I’ve been eating whatever I want and if you know me, that’s nothing healthy. There’s been ice cream (and lots of it), bread (and lots of it), fast food, chips, crackers, diet pop…. the list goes on. And because, up until this point, it didn’t seem to be having too much negative effect on me, I kept it up.
Over the last couple of days in particular, I have eaten very poorly. We got some upsetting news the other day and I’ve been using that as my excuse to eat junk. And now I am paying for it…
Last night when I went to bed, I felt the old familiar pains of indigestion (a tight, painful squeezing feeling in my upper abdomen) and was also a tad bit nauseous. I prayed that these pains would not send me into a full-out stomach attack like they’ve done in the past, where I am crying on the floor in cold sweats and excruciating pain caused by severe indigestion. Fortunately, I was able to fall asleep and slept pretty well throughout the night.
This morning when I woke up though, I could still feel tiny hints of the indigestion although it wasn’t nearly as bad as last night. I went about getting my day started. Then all of a sudden, I got terrible stomach pains and a bit of nausea and had to hurry to the bathroom. Without going into too many gruesome details, let’s just say it was not a fun experience. It was very painful and when finished, the toilet bowl was full of blood (sorry). This has not happened in a quite some time and I was devastated. Now the bottom end of my digestive tract is very sore and irritated, not a pleasant feeling.
As much as I hate to admit this, I had this coming. I was foolish and had myself convinced that since I wasn’t really experiencing any of my typical UC symptoms, I could eat whatever I wanted. Having a “treat” here and there led to a full-out free-for-all. And now, my UC symptoms seems to be back (at least for now) in full vegeance and I am paying the price.
I am writing this for a couple of reasons. First, I want to be able to look back on it to give myself that much-needed reminder about why it is so important for me to stick to a healthy eating plan. I know I will get too comfortable again, but hopefully by coming back to this, I can more clearly remember the awful physical pain that it puts my body through and prevent myself from going too far off track. It is so important for me to track my foods (something I have stopped doing recently) and to pay better attention to the physical and mental reactions to the foods I eat. This isn’t just about trying to lose weight to look good anymore, this is my health, and I don’t know why I keep playing with fire….
Secondly, I want to spread the message to others that what we put in our bodies really does affect us in so many ways! Sometimes, we may not see or feel the physical results of feeding our body unhealthy foods, but they are there! Don’t be like me and wait until your body is unhealthy and you are in pain to make the change. We need to start getting people everywhere to nourish their bodies. Too many of us (myself very much included) eat for pleasure or to comfort ourselves. We only choose our foods based on how they taste and not on how they are going to affect our body and our overall health.
As painful as it was, I think this is the wakeup call I needed this morning. Unfortunately, I need to remember this feeling so that I can have a constant reminder of how important it is to follow the food plan that is going to help heal my body. I need to be patient enough and to trust that when I make these changes, I will feel a positive effect (more energy, clearer skin, healthy bowel movements, slimmer waistline, etc.) It’s hard to be patient when you’re making these changes, but if we don’t do it, we end up back where we started, which in my case, is painful and unhealthy.