Archive of ‘Happy New Year’ 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! 

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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If You’re Happy & You Know it… Keep Doing it!

Why these post titles have taken on a lyrical theme, we may never know, but what I do know is that I sure am enjoying sharing my 2015 goals with you! Thanks for sticking with me (goofy titles and all!)! A quick recap… Monday I shared my business goals, while on Tuesday I focused on health and self-care.

Today’s goal is going to focus on having fun and doing more things that make me happy! This may sound like a complete no brainer to some, but I often find myself enjoying something and thinking “I should do this more often!”

Sunflower Paperie blog - Having more fun!

Read from a book DAILY. Alright, I love reading, always have and hopefully always will. However, I always start out the year with grandiose plans of “reading 26 52 books a year!” And then I pick long books, get busy at work and with my Etsy business and before I know it, I am terribly behind. This year, I am going to be more realistic and focus instead on making sure I read from a book everyday. Some days it may be several chapters and some days it may only be several pages – and I am o.k. with that.

See more live music. I love music and I love concerts! I am lucky to live in a metro area with tons of concert venues. The trick is keeping up with who is coming to town.

Travel more. Again, I am super lucky to have a manfriend that enjoys traveling (and more importantly trip planning!). In 2014, we actually averaged 1 trip per month (we didn’t realize this until we were chatting on New Year’s Day!). A lot of our trips are simply long weekends out of town or built around a professional conference in a fun location, so I definitely want to continue these types of trips.

Watch more movies. I love going to the movies, but am notoriously bad at watching movies at home. This year, I want to catch up on some titles that interested me when they came out, but I missed in the theater. This goal also includes supporting our local (really nice) $3 theater.

I am sure this list is incomplete, so I will add to it as the year goes on! I am also a little behind on my daily posts, so I will be sharing my last two 2015 Goal posts over the weekend. Until then, don’t forget to check out my interview with illustrator Madison Lytle and enter to win a set of her darling cards! 

Happy 2015!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Cheers to the New Year!

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but there is something that seems extra exciting about 2015 (perhaps it is my preference for odd numbers?!) or perhaps it is just the general excitement that comes along with the idea of “starting fresh”!

Overall, 2014 was pretty great, but I am definitely excited to see what 2015 holds. As I grow my blog, I would like to develop some common content themes. It dawned on me the other day, that perhaps my goals for 2015 could also help guide the content of my blog. Since these will be the items I am focusing on (and would like accountability in achieving), it seems like a pretty natural fit. Below are the 5 major areas I am going to be focusing on this coming year.

1. Growing my business

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

3. Having FUN / doing things that make me happy

4. Re-connecting (or staying connected) with family & friends

5. Being more creative

Next week I will be sharing longer posts about each of these goals and how I plan to achieve them. In the meantime, I am going to break out of my brand new paper planner and start sketching out the year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, what are your goals for 2015? I would love to hear about them in the comments!