Archive of ‘Health and Wellness’ 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 – 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! 😉

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!

(more…)

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! 😉

(more…)

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!

Weekly weigh-in: Week 23

Sunflower Paperie blog - weekly weigh in

Having this weekly post has made me realize how fast 7 days fly by! It feels like just yesterday, I was posting my last weigh-in. This week was a bit crazy in the weight loss area. I have stuck with eating within an 8 hour window. Additionally, if I am not hungry around a traditional meal time, I haven’t eaten. This may sound like common sense, but my schedule is such that I eat at pretty regular intervals (3 meals a day). This change has been good for my mindset, because now I am noticing when I am truly hungry (and then I will eat something). If I am not hungry at dinner time, I don’t eat. I continued to focus on low carb selections, but also allowed myself a treat or two.

This strategy is seemingly working, because I am down 4 pounds since last week! A bigger milestone for me is that I am in a new “decade.” What’s a decade you ask? Well it’s how I think of 10 pound increments. My weight hasn’t been this low in 2015, so I am pretty pumped! In fact, I just realized that I am down 10.5 pounds since January 1! I definitely started the year out slower than I would have liked, but I am very happy with my recent progress.

Week 23 weigh-in (June 16, 2015): 

Pounds lost (since last week): 4.0

Total pounds lost (since April 28 re-start date): 7.5

Total number of workouts: 0

Total number of weekend hikes: 0

I am headed to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks this week, so I know I will have some beautiful hikes to report about next week!

How are your goals for 2015 going?! Are there any you wish you could re-start?!

Previous weekly weigh-in’s can be viewed here! 

Weekly weigh-in: Week 22

Another week, another weigh-in! This week I am pleased to document a loss! I have continued to focus on low carb choices for lunch and dinner (within an 8 hour window). I am also consistently going to the third floor for each bathroom break (those stairs really add up!), even though I didn’t get any formal workouts in last week.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Weekly weigh-in

As I mentioned last week, I want to lose 20 lbs by mid-August, and my loss this week keeps me on track to accomplish that. This week I am keeping up the momentum and focusing on portion size too. I have also considered having one meal (most likely on the weekend) that is a “treat.”

Week 22 weigh-in (June 9, 2015): 

Pounds lost (since last week): 2.5

Total pounds lost (since April 28 re-start date): 3.5

Total number of workouts: 0

Total number of weekend hikes: 0

Previous weekly weigh-in’s can be viewed here! 

Weekly weigh-in: Week 21

Hmmm… Perhaps I should start calling these “monthly weigh-in’s”… 😉 Thanks for sticking with me through this process! Have you ever heard the sayings, “you can’t out train a bad diet” or “abs are made in the kitchen”? I have heard (or read) these phrases more times than I can count, but the sentiment never really sunk in. Until last week. My boyfriend and I had worked out a couple of times, I was trying to take the stairs regularly at work and yet my weight wasn’t decreasing at all. I think far too often I use exercising as an excuse to “indulge” in edible treats. Of course when one “indulges” regularly, it stops being a treat and turns into habit (that often continues on days when there is no exercising!). Ha.

Beginning - Tom's Thumb hike

The rock outcropping straight ahead is Tom’s Thumb!

This week I am focusing on eating low carb foods and eating within an 8 hour window of time. The time frame method was first mentioned to me by a good friend and is kind of like “intermittent fasting,” if you are curious. So far I have been doing Noon – 8:00 p.m. or 12:30 – 8:30 p.m. and it is working for me (I am surprisingly not hungry in the mornings). While at work, I am walking outside to another building and going to the 3rd floor for my bathroom breaks, with the goal of going to the 4th floor each time next week and the 5th floor the week after that. I am trying to take small steps daily (both literally and figuratively!) that will add up to the results I want.

Continue here…

(Not So) Weekly Weigh-in: Week 16

My goodness, where did the last 5 weeks go?! If you remember, my last weigh-in was week 11 and I was taking a “free pass” because of all the celebrating I was doing. I didn’t mean to not check-in for 5 weeks (eek), but that seems to be what happened. I am checking in today with some good news. This week I have re-focused my efforts to eat a low carb diet and honestly, I am already feeling better.

I am also approaching my health with a little different attitude. As evidenced by my opening sentence, time flies by so quickly. Instead of focusing on my long term weight loss goal (which can be depressing and overwhelming), I am going to focus on making good and healthy decisions each day, with the confidence that those days are going to add up to weeks, months and years and that over time I will see the results I want. I am going to keep logging my weight daily and checking in here once a week with an update.

Week 16 weigh-in (April 28, 2015): 

Pounds lost (since last week): 0

Total pounds lost (since April 28 re-start date): 0

Total number of workouts: 0

Total number of weekend hikes: 0

Click here to check out my previous weigh-in’s.

Anyone else have weight loss or health and wellness goals they are re-focusing on?!

1 2 3