Monthly Goal Intention: March

Monthly Goal Intention: March

In the spirit of Spring being right around the corner, I wanted to talk a little bit today about the beauty in taking a second, minute or maybe even a few minutes a day to stop and smell the proverbial roses.  I have been thinking about this concept more and more recently, that is the concept of enjoying the journey to the fullest and not being in such a rush to get to the destination.  Quite possibly it’s because let’s face it, I am not getting any younger and well time just doesn’t seem as infinite as it once did but I also think it’s related to how much joy I have found in the everyday process of taking better care myself.  I have fallen in love with eating right and working out and in doing so have realized that there really is no end game for me anymore when it comes to my health and wellness journey.  Oh sure, I still have goals I want to achieve.  I would like to build more muscle.  I would like to run longer races.  I would like to eventually be in a place to help more people find the joy in taking care of themselves like I have.  But there is no stopping point or destination for me anymore.  This has now squarely become my lifestyle and I couldn’t be happier to find myself on this path.

Once upon a time (two years ago) I figured I would cut out the junk food, hit the treadmill a few times a week and lose the ten pounds I had put on and that would pretty much be that.  I would then do just enough to maintain that lower weight by whatever means necessary, which probably meant it wouldn’t be the healthiest way, just the easiest, aka path of least resistance.  What has ended up happening, thankfully, is that somewhere along the way I fell in love with the process.  Which got me thinking…wouldn’t it be great if I could translate that feeling into other parts of my life as well??  And what better time to start doing so than on the cusp of a new season. A new season that brings the blooming of beautiful flowers, warmer weather and new life after a long, gray winter.   So, my intention for March is to be more present in the moment, enjoy everyday to the fullest, and take the time to slow down and smell the roses!

We are all so busy you guys.  Even on days our calendars aren’t jammed packed there always seems like a million little chores we should be catching up on in our “spare time”.  The older I get, the more I realize this is just life.  There will always be something, or more realistically a gazillion somethings we should be doing at any give time but do you want to wake up one day and realize life had flown by while you were busy rushing around checking things off your  to-do list??  I sure don’t!   So, what are some ways we can slow down and fall more in love with the everyday?  There are a few small things that I have started doing more and more since setting this goal that have already made a big difference…..take a look below:

  • Getting outside more – There is just something about being out in nature and getting fresh air that is always extremely grounding and calming for me. And it’s not just me!  Spending more time outside has been shown to lessen anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, ease the feelings of stress and tension, and even boost immunity.  I have always been sort of obsessed with sunrises and sunsets, so I have been making more of an effort to take them in each day.  They are a stunning reminder that beginnings and endings can be beautiful, peaceful and good for the soul.  Maybe get out for a lunchtime stroll if the weather permits.  Walk your dog a bit longer than you normally would or just sit outside for a few minutes a day and take in that sunrise or sunset when you have the opportunity.  Take a few deep breaths while doing so and I bet some of that stress from the day will melt away and the world will seem to slow down even if it’s just for a few minutes!
  • Turning off or putting away my phone more often – My phone automatically tracks how much screen time I put in each day. A few weeks back I got a notification that said I had spent an average of 4 hours a day on my phone during the previous week!  4 hours!!!!  I was shocked and a little disappointed with myself so right then and there I decided I needed to force myself to disconnect more!  I know my problem times are when I get off work in the afternoons and then again at night right before I go to bed.  So the first thing I did was I started silencing some of my notifications after hours just so I was not as tempted to look at my phone as often and I have gradually worked up to really putting my phone away almost completely after work.  And guess what…first of all I didn’t die and secondly I have started enjoying things I used to do before the need to be connected became so overwhelming. I am reading a lot more. I am cooking more.  I started doing puzzles again, which may sound kinda corny but I have always loved sitting down in front of a big jigsaw puzzle and putting it together over the course of a few nights.  I play with my dogs more.  I am going to bed a bit earlier and sleeping better because I am not mindlessly scrolling through hours of social media right before bed like I had been. I am working on yet another professional certification  to try to continue to learn and better myself.  Disconnecting is helping me reconnect to the important things right in front of me and allowing me to work more productively towards achieving some of the goals I have set for myself this year.  And hey, my old eyes are appreciating the break from the screen time as well!
  • Enjoying my morning coffee for an extra 15 minutes each morning – This one has been HUGE for me. What a difference 15 minutes can make you guys!!  Part of the reason I so look forward to the weekends is because I can get up and enjoy that first cup of coffee in the morning slowly and at my own leisure.  I usually just sit down on the couch for about 15-20 minutes and really enjoy drinking my coffee and not doing much else.  During the week it was a much different story. I was up early, getting my MM100 workout in, chugging my coffee as I was half-heartedly putting on make-up and getting dressed then running out the door to sit in traffic on my way to the office.  About a month ago I decided I needed to overhaul my morning routine because it was just too rushed, too frantic and not setting the best tone for the day.  I thought about how much I enjoy my coffee ritual on the weekends and I decided I would simply set my alarm 15 minutes earlier to carve out time to enjoy my coffee the same way during the week.  Wow what a huge difference this small change has made!  Everything that was once so rushed has seemed to slow down a bit and I actually enjoy my mornings now.  I still get everything done, I am still in the office by 8am but I am not frazzled, angry or anxiety ridden when I get there.  It’s been a priceless change….and I am sure my co-workers appreciate it also! 😊
  • Using my commute to listen to a podcastI have about a 30-minute commute each way to and from work which isn’t terrible, but it used to be a part of my day I really didn’t enjoy. I used to always feel anxious to get where I was going as fast as possible and spent almost the whole ride with a slight if not more than a slight feeling of anxiety.  I don’t like being in the car period, so I decided I needed to try to do something to make my commute less painful and maybe even a tad bit relaxing.  I knew I needed a distraction so I thought I would start listening to podcasts to take my mind off the traffic all around me.  I have a few that I have been really enjoying which all serve to keep me focused on my goals, keep my motivation high and even make me look at the world in a slightly more positive light.  A few that I enjoy are:
    • Impact TheoryIf you want something geared toward personal development, which I think is so important to incorporate into our daily habits, this podcast is for you! Tom Bilyeu is at the helm which is what attracted me initially to this specific podcast because he is the very successful CEO of the Quest nutrition brand.  By very successful, I mean it’s a billion-dollar company, so he probably knows a little bit about what it takes to make it!  He focuses on helping people improve themselves and in turn improve the world, which really is what it’s all about, right?  At least I think so!
    • Tony RobbinsI mean, of course, right?!? Pretty much the guru of life coaching, Tony Robbins drops some serious life knowledge in his podcasts.   I really enjoy this one because it covers a diverse range of topics from relationships, to business, to health issues and even finances.  It is geared toward helping you break through all your self-imposed limits, which until I really started listening and thinking about, I didn’t even realize I had.  If you are looking to meet your goals and meet them as quickly as possible, I definitely recommend checking out this one, if you haven’t already!
    • Goal Digger – Alright ladies, this one is for you! This is a great podcast for all the aspiring girl bosses out there!  Jenna Kutcher inspires all us ladies to go after our dreams in the unique way that makes us, us.  She’s super relatable yet extremely inspiring and makes you truly believe that if you dig in and do the work you can accomplish everything you want.  I always get out of my car feeling much more empowered than when I got in which gives me the extra kick in the butt I need a lot of days to keep chasing after my own dreams.
  • Stop multitasking as muchSit down to a meal and just eat. Turn off the TV, put away your phones and just enjoy the food.  Appreciate that you have it.  Chew each bite slowly.  Just walk the dog.  Don’t walk the dog with one hand and be scrolling through Instagram with the other.  Going back to my earlier point about enjoying nature and disconnecting more, appreciate the fresh air you are getting and the steps you are able to take.  Enjoy the time with your dog because for him/her this is probably a highlight of their day (other than eating of course!).  Enjoy their excitement.  Apply this same concept to your daily to do lists as well.  One of the ways I have found to help eliminate at least some of the multitasking we all find ourselves doing each day is to really plan.  Make lists either the night before or every morning of all the things you want to accomplish that day and plan out when and for how long you are going to be doing them.  Then prioritize that list (I usually tackle the easy, quick things first and leave the harder or more time-consuming items for later), and then one by one get them done.  I find that when I unitask (yep that is actually the word for doing one thing at a time…I looked it up!) I not only get my tasks done quicker which frees up more time for me to enjoy an activity I want to doing instead of need to be doing but I also usually get better results because I am more focused, and my full attention is on the one task at hand.
  • Stretch. Breathe. Repeat. – If you had a chance to read my last post, Monthly Goal Intention: February, then you know how important stretching is for our overall physical health.  Stretching does a world of good for our joint health, our blood flow and even things like our cardiovascular health and blood pressure.  For me, I also find it extremely relaxing and a great way to take a few extra minutes out of my day to slow down and be present.  Spending just a few minutes lengthening our muscles does a world of good for relieving tension that might have built up throughout our hectic days.  Practicing deep breathing while you are stretching adds another layer of relaxation to the mix further aiding in slowing down the world for a few extra minutes.  I find that if you really focus on taking equal breaths in and out as deeply and purposely as you can you end up becoming very connected to yourself and present in the moment.  You aren’t thinking about any of the million things waiting for you when you are done, or the ten notifications you just got on your phone, or worrying about what you are going to make for dinner, you are just being.  You’re being present.  You’re being connected to your body.  You’re being calm.  And the world in return seems calm around you.  So breathe in, breathe out, bend one way, bend the other and then repeat as many times as needed to slow down the world and be thankful for the moment you are in right then and there.

Now just to be clear, in writing this post I am not encouraging you to throw your to-do lists out the window and neglect all the things we need to be doing as the responsible adults that we surely are just to go skipping through the sunflower fields. What I am suggesting is we find small ways to be more present in the moment we are in and take joy in the little thing’s life has to offer. Having said that, in the interest of being as transparent and honest on here as I can be, this is whole concept is very challenging for me!  Although the suggestions above sound simple enough, slowing down and “smelling the roses” is kinda tough.  I have to make a conscious effort and remind myself over and over and over again to actually do some of them.  Slowing down and enjoying the everyday, sometimes mundane tasks in life is not something that comes all that naturally, to me at least. I am guessing that is because somewhere along the way after childhood and as we become adults we are programmed to just go go go.  But with enough practice, just like anything else it will become a habit.  Life is pretty amazing if we stop to appreciate it.  Enjoy that first cup of coffee in the morning a little but longer.  Take in that sunrise and sunset.  Spend a few minutes connecting to your breath each day.  Snuggle your pup a little tighter every night.  Enjoy it all you guys, every single minute is truly a gift!




A little R & R this weekend…

A little R & R this weekend…

but not the kind you may be thinking! By R & R I mean Running and Rescuing!  😊 On Saturday morning, I completed another really great race, the “Two Fast, Two Furriest” 5k!  As the name might imply, this race went to benefit a local animal shelter in my area. Not only did all the proceeds go to this amazing cause, but you could actually run the race with your furry friends!  Now my two furbabies are not the most athletic creatures or even close to being suited for running this kind of race so they got to watch from the sidelines but it was a blast seeing all the adorable pups and knowing what a good cause we were all there to support! Pics below…

I am a HUGE animal lover.  Don’t take this the wrong way, but generally I like animals more than I like people…dogs in particular (sorry cat people)!  They are just so pure.  They are little bundles of unconditional love that want nothing from you except for love in return and the occasional belly rub.  I have two rescue dogs at home and they are the best things in the whole wide world.  My two pups are Bean (14 years young) and Frank (2 ½ or so years) or as we like to call them Frankie and Beanie.  They even have their own page on this blog dedicated to their cuteness because they are that big a part of my life.  They are both chihuahua mixes who came to me as rescues but in a lot of ways have rescued me.  I could go on and on about those two, but for now the main point is I am a HUGE advocate for adopting animals over buying them.

There are far too many amazing animals out there who need homes you guys. Please, please, please consider opening your heart and home to one of them the next time you are looking to add a furry bundle of joy to your family.   Even if you are looking for a pure bred, there are tons of pure-bred rescues out there with exactly what you are looking for and most of the time at a fraction of what you would pay at a breeder.  There are a million other reasons as well why adopting an animal is so much better than buying one but here are just a few:

  • YOU ARE SAVING A LIFE! – Believe me you guys, the animal knows it too. They are endlessly grateful and will let you know that every chance they get!
  • Shelter and rescue animal are almost always up to date with their shots and are already neutered saving you big bucks there!
  • Many of them are already house trained as well! That’s pretty priceless if you have ever attempted to house train a pet!
  • You are doing your part to end the terrible cycle of puppy mills. ☹ Puppy mill animals live in horrible conditions, have little to no human interaction ever, spend most of their lives in small cages and are then discarded like trash when they can no longer breed. Profit is put in front of the animals well-being and often the products of these puppy mills have far more long and short term health problems than shelter animals because of how mistreated the mom-dog is. 
  • You are helping more than one pet! When you adopt an animal out of a shelter or from a rescue you are making room for another animal in need to come in and get a second chance!  Our shelters and rescues are so overburdened and filled with animals in need that by taking one into your home you are not only making room to save another little soul but are also contributing monetarily to helping them stay open with your adoption fees (which are still far cheaper than purchasing an animal!!). 
  • Adopting from a shelter or rescue often gives you an un-ending network of support when it comes to acclimating your new fuzzy friend into your home as well as just a great resource for any questions that may come up down the line. Some shelters even often free training classes to help you get started!

Again you guys that was just a few reasons to adopt instead of shopping!!  Saving an animal’s life is an amazing feeling and what that animal will give you back in return I promise will change yours.  Frankie, the second little bundle of joy I adopted came to me from a rescue who was desperately looking for a home for him because he was scheduled to be put down in a matter of a few days.  I took one look at his sad little face sitting in a cage and I knew I had to have him!  He was skin and bones and terribly afraid of everyone and everything when I took him home but with a little patience, some hearty meals and a whole lotta love he transformed into a happy, thriving and hilarious little bundle of fun!  Watching that transformation happen was truly heartwarming and I am SO SO glad I got the opportunity to give him a second chance…

Speaking of transformations, the second reason the race on Saturday was so special to me was also due to another transformation of sorts.  I ran this race with my very first “client” aka a friend of mine who I have been coaching for about six months now.  He saw what changes I had been making and the results I was getting from the workouts program and nutrition plan I had started following and about six months ago reached out to me to see if I could help him with his own “get healthy” journey.  I wasn’t really planning on getting into the “coaching” biz but I figured if I could help someone else live a better life and get in shape that would be a pretty cool thing to be a part of.  So I happily said yes and have been working with him ever since.  He has to date:

  • Lost a total of 22 pounds!
  • Gone from being pre-diabetic to having a perfectly normal A1C level
  • Dropped his PSA levels from 8.5 to 5.0 (no longer precancerous!)
  • Dropped his cholesterol levels from high to normal range
  • Completed his first 5 K EVER with me on Saturday!!!!

I signed him up for this run without asking him first because I knew if I gave him the option, he would say no, that there was no way he could do it.  I knew he could.  I was him last year. I had lost some weight and been working out and eating right for about six months when a friend of mine suggested we sign up for a 5k that she liked to run every year.  My first reaction was “Are you crazy?! Me?? A 5k??.  I hadn’t run a 5k since I was in high school and all I remember about that experience was how painful it was. Besides the fact that my friend who suggested this race is a runner.  Like a completed an actual marathon runner.  I thought about it for a few days, put my ego aside, and hesitantly told her I would do the race with her.  At that point I figured I had completely lost my mind and I was going to make a giant fool of myself because I would probably only make it like one mile but I figured better to make a fool of myself trying than continuing to sit on the sidelines of life letting opportunities to better myself pass me by.

Well I ended up finishing the entire race and even ran almost the entire time (expect for that last uphill that was just a bit too “uphilly”)!  I definitely surprised myself because it wasn’t all that painful of an experience and I was so proud that I actually completed it and got that shiny medal that I immediately went home and found another race to sign up for!  The feeling of being proud of yourself for accomplishing something you thought there was no way you could do is just about one of the best feelings in the world and one that I wanted my friend/client to experience for himself at this point in his own journey. So I signed him up and told him the good news and just as I suspected I was met with a look of something I can only describe as a mix of panic/fear/disbelief that I had done such a thing and determination to talk me out of making him actually go through with it.  Like I said, I knew he could do it and deep down inside he knew he could do it too.  So after a few weeks of gearing up for the race, several comments about how much he hated me for making him do such a thing and a new pair of running shoes later, Saturday rolled around and he actually showed up.  Ok, I drove him there myself to make sure he showed up, but he got in the car willingly, nonetheless.

It was a beautiful morning, about 65 degrees which is pretty close to perfect running weather, the race was held in a really large park with a gorgeous lake right in the middle of it that we got to run alongside and a whole pack of adorable rescue dogs that both ran the race with us and cheered us on with excited barks from the sidelines. We showed up, got all stretched out, got our race bibs and lined up at the starting line ready to take on the trail ahead of us.  There was a ton of nervous energy coming from my friend who still had that “I hate you for making me do this” look on his face as we got ready to go but I told him I would run with him the whole time and before we knew it we were off an going.  About 40 minutes later we approached the finish line to loud cheers and the promise of a big breakfast waiting on the other side of it (which of course I had promised him before we got going as part of the bribe), and I looked over to see he had the BIGGEST smile on his face as we were handed our finisher medals. I was so happy for him I literally teared up. Again, I am not much a crier, but seeing him so happy and knowing how proud he was of himself in that moment was I think even more special to me than when I had done it for myself!

He gave me the biggest hug and thanked me repeatedly for forcing him to step outside of his comfort zone and I still have a smile on my face several days later just thinking about how happy I was to be a part of that moment with him.  You guys, you can do anything you put your mind to.  I know that sounds cheesy and a little cliché but it really is true.  The two of us never thought we would ever be able to run 3 miles let along 1 mile and here we are today both with medals to prove otherwise. I have my sight firmly set on a 10k at some point in the near future and my friend is already talking about the next race he wants to sign up for.  Decide you are going to do something, whether it be losing 10, 20 pounds, running your first 5k, or even just eliminating something like soda from your diet in an effort to start getting healthier and don’t let anyone, least of all yourself, talk you out of accomplishing your goal.

Also, if you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, please please please adopt don’t shop!!!!  Frankie, Beanie and I thank you so so much!





Another passion close to my heart – PLEASE READ! Adopt Don’t Shop: Why it Matters — By The Vegan Homesteader

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘adopt don’t shop’ at some point in your life. It’s a stand alone statement that many feel requires no further explanation. The implication is that adopting an animal is clearly a good thing, but shopping for one through a breeder is not good or ethically neutral, but is in fact […]

via Adopt Don’t Shop: Why it Matters — The Vegan Homesteader