How to form new habits by setting goals

Happy New Year, everyone! In my last post I mentioned that I completed a Whole30 last August/September, so in the spirit of the new year and 2017 goal setting, I want to share a bit about my Whole30 experience and what it taught me about goals and habit formation. When reading about the Whole30 many people describe the program as “life changing”. As a seasoned dieter who has probably failed more often than I have succeeded with eating changes, I was somewhat skeptical. However, with buy-in from my boyfriend we decided to give this program a try.

You can read all of the program details on the Whole30 site (which I would encourage), so please know that the takeaways I am going to describe are my own personal “lessons learned.”

Lesson 1: Preparation is key to both short and long term success.

In regards to Whole30, this translated to meal prepping being a time, money, and diet saver! I feel like the phrase”meal prepping” has been buzzing around the internet for years. When I think of meal prepping I picture a long day of cooking on Sunday, with a resulting full fridge neatly divided with pre-portioned meals. For a long time this concept seemed overwhelming and time consuming to me, so I never tried it. When we started Whole30, it became obvious meal prepping was the first step to success.

My boyfriend and I approach meal prepping with a twist. Basically we plan what we are going to have for dinner Sunday and Monday nights and then make enough protein those evenings to get us through the rest of the week. I buy salad fixings for my lunch (adding aforementioned protein) and then throughout the week I make fresh sides to go with our leftover protein for dinner. I still can’t believe how satisfying it is to open the fridge and have several meal options ready to throw together. All. Week. Long.

How does meal prepping relate to setting goals and forming habits you might ask? In short, preparation is the key to success. What area of your life do you feel out of control of? Maybe a process that takes more time than it should or leads to additional stress. Or perhaps a task that takes so much time and thought that you put it off and end up selecting the quick (and perhaps more expensive option)? With that task in mind, what can you do ahead of time to make the task less daunting? 

On November 1, 2016 I set the goal of walking 10,000 steps and climbing 10 flights of stairs daily until the end of the year. This may not sound like a lot, but as an office dweller there were days I was lucky to break 5,000 steps! I knew going through the holidays and into the new year I wanted to commit to being more active during the day.

The steps (no pun intended! ha!) I put into place to make this happen: 1) I asked my Mom to join me in this challenge. We decided to text each other daily when we hit our goal. 2) I placed time on my calendar daily to get away from my desk and walk – 1 slot in the morning and 1 slot in the afternoon.

Once you have identified the steps you can take ahead of time to be prepared, make a commitment to complete these proactive steps for a specific duration of time. In my walking example, this duration was about 60 days (November 1 – December 31). Habit formation research is all over the place ranging from 21 days to 60 days, so pick a time period that works for you.

In the spirit of transparency, there were days I didn’t hit my goal. BUT what was eye opening to me was how focused I was on hitting my goal the next day. Having a friend working towards the same goal was especially helpful because we encouraged one another and my Mom is quite the walker so I knew I didn’t want to let her down. We have continued this goal into the New Year and I haven’t missed a single day. My walking and stair climbing goal now feels like an embedded part of my day and a habit I feel really great about. 

This post has gotten longish, so I will follow-up later with Whole30 lessons #2 and #3. But before I leave you, a bit of encouragement… I was writing this thinking about how some might think it is silly to post a News Years resolution themed post on the 8th of February, but I am here to tell you the date on the calendar doesn’t make one bit of difference in your goal setting / habit forming process! Perhaps you made a resolution that  you have already stopped pursuing (who cares?!). Or maybe you have had your goals floating around your head, but haven’t written down the steps you need to take to accomplish them (you can do it now!). I am here to encourage you to take a minute to write down what you want to focus on in the next 30 or 60 days and to start start doing it. The sooner you start, the sooner you will have that awesome sense of accomplishment! Have a great week, friends! 

Where’s Kate?!

Helllloooo! Long time, no talk! It has been far too long since I updated my blog, so I wanted to pop in with some updates before the year ended. 

As many of you know, my full-time gig is working in higher education. August (and into September) is especially busy, so I made the decision to put my Etsy shop in “vacation mode” which means I stopped taking orders. As much as I love my shop and creating products, it never fails that when I am busiest at work, the number of orders I receive picks up too. You may be thinking, “but Kate, it’s NOVEMBER December, why the long hiatus?!” Great question! Long story short, I realized that unless my business structure changed, it was never going to develop like I wanted it to. I have spent a lot of time thinking about my business and I am just not quite ready to open it back up yet.

In addition to temporarily closing my Etsy shop, I also deactivated all of my social media accounts (except Pinterest, but more on that in a moment) around the same time. I keep saying it had a lot to do with politics (and me wanting to stay friends with people in real life), but honestly I realized what a huge time waster social media was for me. Social media use was also decreasing boundaries between my personal life and work life and I needed a reset before the school year started.

These two updates might lead you to ask…

What the heck of you been doing with all of your free time?! 🙂

Well, initially I used a lot of my free time to mindlessly watch 7 seasons of The Good Wife on Amazon Prime. Hey, I am trying to be transparent here! 

I also spent a weekend at a camp with 200+ freshmen and my co-workers;

Completed my first Whole 30 (thus the need for Pinterest – give me ALL of the compliant recipes!);

Traveled back to Kansas for the wedding of a dear friend and visited “the Disney Land of Quilting” with my Mom;

Finally saw Mumford & Sons live;

Spent Fall Break in Seattle, WA visiting not only the city, but also the capitol in Olympia and 2 amazing National Parks (Mt. Rainier and Olympic);

Listened to HOURS of true crime / criminal justice / wrongful conviction podcasts. LOTS more about this in a future post;

Served as a juror for a trial that lasted 15 days (over 5 weeks);

and traveled back home to Kansas for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I keep joking that I am turning into a hippie, but what I really mean is that I have spent the last several months reflecting on my life as it is now and what I want my life to be like in the future. I have also spent the time relaxing and enjoying those around me. 2016 16 was a good year, but I am definitely excited for the fresh slate 2017 will offer!

Happy New Year, friends! See you in 2017! 

Friday Favorites // Oregon Edition

Sunflower Paperie - OR Coast

Last week my boyfriend and I met up with my parents in Oregon for our summer vacation! My folks have been coming to visit us in Arizona annually since we moved out here and last year we hatched a plan to escape the AZ heat and visit my Aunt and Uncle in Oregon (my cousin and his daughter also joined us!). We had such a great time, that I thought it would be fun to share a special “Oregon Edition” Friday Favorites post!

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Friday Favorites // 06.03.16

Sunflower Paperie blog - Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Happy Friday – I hope you are having a great week! The good news? We have almost made it to the weekend, friends! In case you are new, my Friday Favorites posts are where I share products, music, websites, etc. that I am loving currently. I LOVE hearing about your favorites in the comments, so share away! 

In general, I love when pop singers release positive songs! When I first heard this song, I liked it, but I LOVED it after I saw the video. Justin Timberlake is so cute!

I made these treats from the adorable “Sugar & Soul” blog for our pup, Hank, who turned 4 in May. He LOVED them – apples and peanut butter are two of his favs! My batch was pretty moist, so I would recommend refrigerating them.

A good friend (hi Vivian!) recently shared explore.org with me. Have you seen this site?! There are cameras on all sorts of wildlife habits, streaming live, so the viewer can watch the animals in their natural habit. My friend is following along with the eagles in Iowa. I love so many, I haven’t been able to pick a favorite yet!

If you are in Arizona, or planning a trip here, I would HIGHLY recommend visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. It is part botanic garden, part aquarium, part zoo and it is AWESOME! There is so much information about the desert and is fun for people of all ages! The photo in this post is a view from the beginning of the loop around the grounds there!

Alright! Your turn! Let me know what you are loving in the comments! 🙂

Words of the Week – Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Sunflower Paperie blog - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Flower photographed at the Tucson Botanical Garden

Hello again! I don’t remember when I first heard the phrase “Don’t quit your daydream,” but it is something that continues to resonate with me. Throughout my life I have had different daydreams and I think they are important, because they keep me thinking about the future, setting goals and challenging myself to do new things.

The Sunflower Paperie shop will turn 3 years old on May 1st of this year. When I opened the shop, I had no idea how many sales I would make or what customers would think. I remember my first sale so clearly – the customer was a mom from Mississippi and she wanted me to make the decorations for her son’s first birthday. I was SO excited to help her and had so much fun creating the order. After that first sale, I was hooked on helping people celebrate life’s special occasions!

I am constantly thinking of new items I want to make or services I want to offer through Sunflower Paperie. What started as a hobby, has turned into something I would love to be able to do full time. Maybe your daydream isn’t career or job related. Perhaps it is retiring early or traveling abroad each year. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to write it down and make it happen. Share your daydream with friends or family members who will encourage you to pursue it! With a little work, consistency and dedication many daydreams are more obtainable than we realize.

What is something you are dreaming of currently?! What is a daydream you had for years that you made happen?! I would love to hear from you in the comments! 

Words of the Week – Consistency = Habits

Sunflower Paperie

Hello everyone! I am back with another edition of Words of the Week“!

The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about habits (both big and small) and how they impact our lives. This past January, I decided to stop drinking soda. While I had previously stopped for months on end, I would eventually fall back into the habit of drinking soda. This may sound harmless enough, but when I drink soda, that is what I drink the most of over the course of the day. I have always been a diet soda drinker, so calories weren’t the issue, but the more I read about artificial sweeteners, the more I knew I needed to cut soda out.

Prior to the new year, I started drinking more unsweetened iced tea and less soda, so by the time January rolled around, it was relatively easy to stop drinking soda “cold turkey”. The more consistently I drink tea, the less I even think about soda. I have also noticed that the more I drink tea, the more water I drink, because water isn’t the sharp contrast to tea that it was from overly sweet soda.

What does all this have to do with this weeks “Words of the Week” you might ask? Well, I am using my success with eliminating soda as motivation for developing other positive habits in my life. The soda example is also motivating to me, because I have a tendency to see the “big” end result and feel overwhelmed, but with giving up soda I am now able to look back over the months and see that the small, consistent decision to drink tea or water has led to me no longer drinking soda. Small, consistent changes I can handle!

What examples do you have of becoming consistent and developing a habit? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments!

P.S. I am sure there is some lesson about consistency and the Saguaro Cactus (pictured), so feel free to comment on that too! 😉

Friday Favorites // 04.08.16

Sunflower Paperie - T-shirt Quilt Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I hope you had a nice week! I am back with another edition of my Friday Favorites. I would love to hear about what you are loving – leave me a note in the comments!

On of my favorite Creatives, Artist & Illustrator Lisa Congdon, is having a pre-Mother’s Day sale in her Etsy shop (enter MOMRULES at check-out for 15% off through April 12th). I have been loving this archival print for months, so I might get it for myself!

Last weekend I was home in Kansas working on a t-shirt quilt with my Mom. My Mom has been quilting for several years now (and sewing most of her life), but this is only the second quilt I have worked on. We watched the t-shirt quilt tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company several times before we started my first quilt last December (pictured above). We have since ordered fabric from them and my Mom subscribes to their magazine publication “Block“. I could go on and on about what an awesome company MSQ is – all sewist’s should check them out!

I don’t know why it took me so long, but I have recently gotten really into podcasts! I listen to them when traveling (flying), commuting (no headphones, just the speaker) and when working on Sunflower Paperie orders. My current favorite is The Way I Heard it” with Mike Rowe. Mike is crediting Paul Harvey (who I also loved) as his inspiration for the program. All of this, plus the historical nature of the stories and short length make this series perfect!

Other favorite podcasts include: “Build a B@d@ass Business” with Diane Sanfilippo, “Serial Season 1” with Sarah Koenig (I know I am SUPER behind the times on this one!) and “Undisclosed” with several attorneys looking at all of the evidence from the case introduced in Serial. If you are an iPhone user, look for the purple “Podcasts” icon – it is SO easy to search topics and subscribe!

Happy weekend, friend! I hope your days are filled with love and fun! 🙂

Sunflower Paperie (Re)Launch!

Hello friend! I hope you had a nice holiday weekend and a solid Monday. I have some exciting news to start the week with… I am officially “re-launching” the Sunflower Paperie shop today! This might be somewhat confusing, because my shop never officially closed, but frankly, I have been feeling unmotivated and, dare I say, uninspired the last several months.

purple kit assembled

Sunflower Paperie – Mini Banner DIY Kit

 

Let me back up… After a couple of years in business, I had multiple items in my shop that sold well, but weren’t that fun, or fulfilling, to create (confetti, I am looking at you!). Since one of the major goals of my shop is to help people celebrate, I thought I should be having fun while making my products!

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Words of the Week – Start TODAY!

South Mtn - Sunflower Paperie

Happy Wednesday everyone! This weeks Words of the Week is a phrase that I have found myself repeating frequently this year – “Start TODAY or Start NOW!”. The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. My boyfriend gives me trouble, because I frequently say “I feel like it is either a Monday or a Thursday, the rest of the days just fly by!”

Start Today resonates with me in several areas of my life currently. As I indicated a couple of weeks ago, I am trying to lose weight this year. Start Today, may seem like a strange mantra, since once I start losing weight, I should just need to “continue” losing weight. I find these words motivating when I consider each day a fresh start towards my goals. Since I can’t go back in the past and prevent myself from gaining this weight, I find it more motivating to focus on the single day in front of me.

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Friday Favorites (Sunday Edition) // 03.19.16

Birthday Sunflowers - Sunflower Paperie blog

I am a little late sharing my “Friday Favorites” this week (oops), but for a good reason… Yesterday was my birthday, so I have been busy celebrating! In the spirit of birthdays, I thought it would be fun to share a bunch of things from my birthday wish list. 🙂

I have admired theses Concrete Cacti for quite a while now! Gore Design Co. is based right here in Tempe and does larger scale concrete pieces too.

This item is going to seem SO random, but I want a set of Yoga Toes! A massage therapist once mentioned that I curled my toes under and ever since I have noticed that I do! Even while sitting or standing, my natural reflex is to curl my toes – which is not good at all! The reviews I have read about this product seem like they would help my overall foot health.

I have gone back and forth about whether I wanted a fitness tracker for a couple of years now. With my goals for this year, and my specific action items, I have decided I want one and have done some research. I would like the Fitbit Charge HR, now I just need to decide on a color!

Seriously, how cute is this cactus phone case?! I have been checking it out since I got my phone last November and I still think it is super cute!

This choice might show my age, but I really want a new pair of glasses from Warby Parker! I like these, these and these! The company lets you select up to 5 pairs to send to you to try on at home, but one of my students recently told me there is a store in Scottsdale, so my plan is to go there soon, so I can try on more than 5 pairs!

What have you been loving lately?! I would love to check out your picks, so leave them in the comments!

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