Archive of ‘Goals’ category

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! 

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! 😉

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.

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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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Happy 2016!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link and purchase the item, I’ll receive a small payment.

2016 Goals Planner Pic

Hello! Happy 2016 (yes, I fully realize it is February, make that March, not January 1!)! 🙂 I hope your year is off to a wonderful start. As you might have guessed by my absence from the blog, 2016 is already going quickly!

I have spent the first part of this year thinking about and focusing on what I want to achieve in 2016. Last year, I had a somewhat complex list of goals, that I reviewed quarterly and tried to post about as I met milestones along the way. While I liked this structure in theory, it proved to be difficult to keep up with. When I posted my end of year recap, I realized there were goals I had identified in January, that I had completely forgotten about by December (“Learn How to Sew Paper” – I am looking at you!).

Last December, my friend Jennifer Kennedy recommended I read The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to set goals, but doesn’t ever quite achieve them all. One of the main concepts of the book is that we should start viewing a year as only 12 weeks. By shortening the amount of time we have to achieve a “yearly” goal, every day, every hour and every minute counts more. This also allows us to adjust goals more quickly than waiting until November and realizing we still have a long way to go and subsequently getting bummed and not working towards the goal any longer. This 12 week concept really resonated with me, since I have previously liked setting quarterly goals!

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End of Year Goal Recap!

Hello friends – long time, no talk! 🙂 Am I the only one who is simultaneously excited for the new year and a little disappointed about not quite getting everything that I wanted to accomplished in 2015? Even though I have these conflicting feelings, I am trying to focus on the positive “clean slate” feel of 2016. Since I missed my 3rd quarter goal review altogether, I wanted to make sure my last post of 2015 was a final review of this years goals.

Sunflower Paperie Cheers Banner

In case you missed them: 1st Quarter Goal Recap and 2nd Quarter Goal Recap. For this end of year recap, I have listed all of the mini goals I started the year with in pink and then a summary of how I did in black. You can click the link following each number to see my full original post about each goal category. You might want a beverage of some sort before you start this! 😉

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Gratitude Catch-up

Would you like to know one of my favorite things about blogging? That I can make my own rules and then proceed to break them – haha! As a first born, people pleaser, breaking rules isn’t really in my DNA, so this “perk” of having my own blog is really quite thrilling. 😉 The most recent example of this is when I introduced a new Instagram “photo-a-day” challenge and then proceeded to go “off the grid” for the long weekend. Never fear, I am back online and ready to play photo-a-day catch-up! As a quick reminder, I am trying to focus on positive things daily this month. You are welcome to play along by using #SPgratitude on Instagram, so that I can see your photos.

Lately I have been grateful for…

Trips planned for the holiday weekend;

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Trying something new (that I have wanted to do for years!);

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Time spent with great friends;

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Cooler temperatures and amazing views;

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Running water and a bed indoors; and reuniting with my favorite canine!

What have you been thankful for recently?!

All photos taken in the Black Rimmed Canyon area of Arizona. 

Welcome September!

Knock, knock! Anyone there?! It’s me – Kate the girl who formerly blogged! 😉

Where the heck did August go?! As you might know, I work in higher education, so August is always a busy time of year. Additionally, I started a new position at work at the end of May, so this past August seemed like it was extra busy, because I had the learning curve of a new position adding to an already crazy month. There were many days in the last month where my attitude was negative and I felt as though I couldn’t get everything done. Knowing that August was going to be hectic, I put the Sunflower Paperie Etsy shop in “vacation” mode, so that I could focus on my full-time job. While this was super helpful for my full-time job, I have found that I miss my creative outlet.

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With the start of a new month, I have been thinking a lot about my business and my life in general. More than anything, I have decided that I need to refocus on being positive and grateful. I also want to refocus on my business and be more intentional with how I move it forward. In support of these efforts, I am going to post something on Instagram daily that I am thankful for. Some of these photos might be part of a longer blog post, while others might just be a quick photo and caption. If you are interested in joining me in this gratitude exercise, feel free to use the hashtag #SPgratitude on your Instagram photos, so I can follow along with you.

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Today I am (extra) thankful for my partner. He also works in higher education as a professor, so he understands August more than most. I honestly couldn’t have gotten through the past month without him. Not once did he complain about me working late or on the weekends and any time I wanted to do something “fun” he quickly lined something up. He constantly listens to me and tries to get me to focus on the positive. He has also become quite talented at taking goals we have talked about and making them a reality (we started kayaking classes this past weekend and booked a fall trip that includes a new state capitol visit!). September is also his birth month, so hopefully I can come up with a gift that is fitting for someone who means so much to me. 🙂

Alright, your turn! What are you thankful for today?! 

P.S. The above photos are from Wyoming – where the landscapes are so perfect, they look fake!

2015 2nd Quarter Goal Review

We are officially half way (plus a week) through 2015! How did that happen?! I found my 1st Quarter Goal Review post to be helpful as I was reflecting on my 2015 goals several months ago, so I wanted to share my progress through the 2nd quarter of this year as well.

My overarching goals for 2015 are listed first and if you click them, you can read my original posts that outlined the mini goals I would be pursuing over the course of the year. The “successes” and “areas of improvement” listed below focus specifically on my progress in April, May and June. 

Sunflower Paperie blog 2nd Quarter Goals

2015 Goals:

1. Growing my business

2nd Quarter Successes: I collaborated with one of my favorite bloggers, Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake for her sons 1st birthday party. This collaboration helped drive some traffic to my shop, plus Tina was super fun to partner with! I also launched a new “Party in a Box” line of products.

Areas of improvement: I am at a point with my business that I get enough orders to stay busy (which is awesome!), but it also means that it is tricky to carve out time to develop new products. Starting a digital product line has been at the top of my “to do” list all year. I have several items started, but I need to focus on finishing and launching them. I also need to start consistently sending out and promoting my “weekly” newsletter. Sadly, these last two items are identical to what I wrote in my 1st quarter review. My first digital product is slated to launch this week (!!!) and then I am going to focus on finishing and launching several other digital products that are almost complete by the end of July. Hold me to this, o.k.?! 😉

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

2nd Quarter Successes: Weighing in here weekly. Although now that I am looking back, I realize, with the exception of June, I only weighed in monthly this quarter (eek!). Let’s call this a half success.

Areas of improvement: Making sure I weigh-in here weekly, the accountability and reflection does help me (even if I am not always posting losses). I also need to stick with my low carb eating. The summer heat makes it difficult to get outside for exercise, so I need to come up with a new indoor plan to get more activity into my days. My current “mini-goal” is to lose 20 pounds by mid-August (I set this goal in June and am currently on track to do this.).

Click to Continue!

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