Archive of ‘Life 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! 

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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State Capitol Series – Phoenix, AZ

It’s hard to believe that almost two years ago we moved from Kansas to Arizona. Having lived in Topeka (the state capitol of Kansas) for almost 10 years, I was excited to move to another state capitol! We technically live in Tempe, but Phoenix (and the state capitol building) are only about 20 minutes from our house. Of course it took us almost a year to visit and tour the capitol.

Arizona capitol exterior 3

The capitol only does guided tours for groups of 10 or more, so we opted for the self-guided tour. I should clarify that the part we visited is technically the “Arizona Capitol Museum.”

Click HERE for the complete tour!

State Capitol Series – Madison, WI

As many of you know, I am a history nerd and more specifically an American history nerd. For quite some time I had an unofficial goal of visiting all 50 states. Then in 2009, shortly after visiting state number 38, I got hung up on the fact that I hadn’t done a consistent thing in each state (like buying a spoon, haha!). This “concern” led me to restart with a more specific goal in mind – visiting all 50 state capitol buildings!

In November, I met the lovely Sarah Shotts from the Love Letter to Adventure blog. Sarah challenges her readers to share their adventures on her blog and through a Facebook page. The more I have thought about “adventure,” the more I realized that I wanted to document our state capital travels (thanks for the prompt, Sarah!).

I have decided to start with the most recent capitol we visited and work my way back. My boyfriend (and household trip planner) has the goal of hiking in all 50 states, so I will post a bit about those adventures as well!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Madison, WI capitol exterior 2

Click here to read MORE!