Archive of ‘Self-care’ 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! 

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!

Friday Favorites // 07.24.15

Sunflower Paperie Friday Favorites - Ben and Jerrys

Happy Friday! I inadvertently took a two week vacation from my blog – sorry about that! I cracked up this morning because Facebook sent me an e-mail, and there was a big reminder on my newsfeed, that I hadn’t posted to my business page in two weeks. Facebook is so pushy, haha! Never fear Facebook (and my other 2 readers), I am back today with another edition of Friday Favorites.

I am a history lover and one of the first topics that interested me in the subject was the Holocaust. This article about Nicholas Winton brought tears to my eyes and inspiration to my heart. His sentiment, “Some people revel in taking risks, and some go through life taking no risks at all” really struck a chord with me. This video of Mr. Winton is also touching.

I LOVE Instagram accounts that are used for promoting compassion and empathy towards others (both human and canine!). Humans of New York (HONY) is definitely a favorite account. If you aren’t following Brandon, his account is totally worth signing up for Instagram for.

Susie’s Senior Dogs (who happens to be run by the girlfriend of Brandon who started HONY) is another account that always pulls at my heart strings.

I also respect Mark Bustos and his mission – he is a hair stylist who provides hair cuts to the homeless. His motto of “be awesome to somebody” is inspiring and I love that he uses his trade to bring confidence and hope to the less fortunate.

The Pressbound Etsy shop is having a 50% off sale – I stockpiled a TON of beautiful cards! She is actually closing her shop, so once something sells out it is gone for good.

Have you ever had a speculoos cookie? I actually haven’t, but I am loving this Ben and Jerry’s flavor and this Trade Joe’s candy treat that are speculoos cookie flavored. I highly recommend both!

Alright, your turn! Tell me in the comments what you are loving this week!

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…

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 17

Hello, and thanks for dropping in for my weekly weigh-in! This past week went well! I did a good job of sticking with low carb selections and didn’t have any sweets (!!!). For those of you familiar with Atkins, I am not doing strict “induction,” because I have allowed myself a potato item here and there. I only had one meal that I consider “bad” and that was when I indulged in some tortilla and pita chips and dip. Otherwise, I have focused on veggies and protein. The mindset I mentioned last week of focusing on making good decisions each day is working well! I definitely need to get more exercise into my routine, so that is what I will be focusing on next.

Week 17 weigh-in (May 5, 2015): 

Pounds lost (since April 28): 3.5

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

Total number of workouts: 0

Total number of weekend hikes: 0

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

(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?!

Weekly weigh-in: Week 11

Years ago (before doing a low carb diet), I had some success with Weight Watchers. I remember they always gave you a “free pass” every so often where you didn’t have to weigh in, but could still attend the meeting. This week, I am going to cash in my imaginary “free pass.”

Last week was my birthday and this week I am in a wedding, so I have been pretty busy celebrating! I am logging my stats below, but don’t really have any additional comments, but I still wanted to document this week (so when I look back over the year I can identify my strengths and weaknesses). I am reflecting on my progress (or lack there of) over the first quarter of 2015 and thinking about what I want to change going forward (more on that later!).

Week 10 weigh-in (March 24, 2015): 

Pounds lost (since last week): 0

Total pounds lost (since January 5 start date): 7.5

Total number of workouts: 0

Total number of weekend hikes: 0

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

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