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Five Signs You’re In Need of Some Time-Away

This scene from Bad Moms is hilarious.  However, you’d be surprised how many moms I’ve talked to who actually agree with it!  Being mom is a full-time job – and one that comes with limited PTO.  Taking time away from family and kids is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself.

Here are five signs this could be the case for you.

1. You often hear yourself saying (outloud or to yourself) “I just need a break.” 

Girlfriend – Listen to what you are telling yourself.  If you think you need a break: you do!  Things don’t have to be at catastrophic levels to warrant a retreat or mom-cation. Even low amounts of stress on a regular basis can keep you from being your best. 

2. You’ve started to resent certain things (or people). 

Are there some days where you feel that if you have to answer one more question, respond to one more email, fix one more meal, or fold one more load of laundry you will absolutely lose it?  You’re not alone.  Adulting is hard work! Psychologists have proved that time outside of your normal routine to connect with other women helps wonders!

3. You’ve stopped doing things you love.  

Have you found yourself bowing out of chances to hang with friends?  Ditching the morning workout you normally can’t live without? Hitting the snooze button instead of getting up for your beloved morning “me time?”  When you’re in need of some time away, even the things you love doing can lose their luster.    

4. You have lost motivation for pursuing your goals.  

You were on-fire a few months ago: Reading self-improvement books.  Listening to podcasts.  Checking goals off left and right.  But now, you seem to have forgotten why you started them in the first place.  You can get your motivation back with some intentionally planned time away.

5. You just want some time away. 

Have you heard friends talk about time they’ve taken away and want this for yourself?  Are you craving the opportunity to take care of “just yourself and yourself alone?”  You deserve it!  You don’t need to have any other reasons to need time away other than wanting more for yourself.

Did you find yourself in any of the scenarios above?  If you’re a driven, dynamic, hard-working mom, chances are you’re up there somewhere.

That’s okay.  Many of us feel this way from time-to-time.  Regular time away from your regular routine to take care of yourself, relieve tension, and return home ready to take on the world again is so beneficial.  So, give yourself the permission to take some time away…and then schedule it!

And…Here’s What You Can Do About It!

I’ve decided to start offering retreats because I’ve heard loud and clear the need for busy moms to take time away.  A girls’ weekend of drinking wine, sleeping ’til 10, and laying by the pool for hours is great, but in order to come back home ready to take on the world, you need something more.

This is exactly the reason I’ve put together a weekend retreat to provide you with the time, space, tools, and inspiration to do less and be more in your everyday life.
With the backdrop of the beautiful town of Crested Butte and fresh mountain air along with peaceful, luxurious accommodations, I’ll lead you through an intentionally planned weekend where you will:

↠Hit the pause button on life’s demands and commitments with time carved out especially for you

↠Nourish your body with healthy food and learn tips for optimizing your nutrition even amidst the busiest of schedules

↠Feel invigorated through fitness adventures – hiking, stand-up paddle boarding (no experience required), yoga, and plenty of time outdoors

↠Connect with other women for laughter and support in making these new commitments to ourselves

↠Enjoy an opportunity to give back to others through a special art-inspired project 

Save $500…sign up by July 30!

This retreat is a girls’ weekend you don’t have to plan and doesn’t leave you needing a vacation from your vacation!  You’ll be able to reset and recharge to return home an even better version of yourself. Plus, you’ll have new tools, new friends, and new experiences to supercharge your ability to make your intentions come to life.

Valued at over $3,000 per person, you can join me for just $997 if you sign up by July 30 (the price increases to $1,499 on August 1).  Plus – then you’ll have your much-needed time away in the books!

Ready to sign up?  Contact me with any questions or go ahead and reserve your spot now!

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Three Quick Tips to Spring Clean Your Life!

With spring in the air, do you start spring cleaning projects? What if you did the same thing with your habits? Time to clean out that pantry and fridge to make room for clean eating! Dust off the old exercise equipment and bicycle to start getting after it! Here are three quick tips to help you spring clean your habits for a fresh start and healthier, happier months ahead.

1. Take an inventory.

It’s not uncommon for less desirable habits to creep in over the winter months. After all, we spend a lot of time inside, it’s cold, and there’s less daylight. This can lead to more sedentary time, more screen time, more comfort food, and more…wine! Become more aware of your habits for a few days and make a list of those routines you might like to kick to the curb.

When you’re done with your list, prioritize based on what’s most important to you. Then, set goals to tackle one at a time. You don’t have to do it all at once!

2. Save the wine for the weekend.

Ever since the holidays, I found myself enjoying a glass of wine every evening. When thinking of habits I wanted to “spring clean,” this one came up for me. For most of us, the one glass of wine turns to two…or more. And then we need some extra snacks to go with the wine. Then our sleep isn’t as good as it could be…and then we wake up feeling tired (and maybe even with a headache).

Now, imagine if you just have wine on the weekend, and you are able to stick with your healthy eating habits most evenings, can get a good night’s sleep, and therefore wake up refreshed and ready to start the day. Feels better, doesn’t it?

To make this one easier, try having some sparkling water or other beverage you enjoy on-hand when you would normally reach for the wine. You can even pour it into a wine glass to drink it!

3. Clean out your pantry and re-stock with healthy staples.

While you’re cleaning out your pantry as part of your spring cleaning schedule, make sure to re-stock it with healthy staples. If you have only desirable foods on-hand, it makes it much easier to make the healthy choice.

Here’s another tip: put the foods you want to eat more often in the front and at eye level. If you have snacks for your kiddos that tempt you, put those behind the other items or above eye level (this also prevents mini pantry raiders)!

Keep it simple.

If you’ve got other habits you’d like to spring clean, make sure to keep it simple. Starting new habits or breaking old ones can be hard work! Pick one thing to focus on at a time, and think about how you can set up your environment to support you (aka pantry re-stocking idea above). Enjoy the fresh start you are creating for yourself in time for the sunnier weather.

Want more info on spring cleaning your life? Join me for a free workshop on Sunday, April 28 from 9:45-10:45am at Athleta in the Park Meadows Mall. In addition to more tips, you’ll receive a discount to use on some new workout clothes in the store. Contact me to sign up!

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Find Comfort Outside of Your Comfort Zone with Self Care Rituals

Find Comfort Outside of Your Comfort Zone

I hear a lot from women that they want to get outside of their comfort zone.  In fact, research has shown that if you are completely comfortable you aren’t growing.  I love to witness this ambition and drive to make a difference and succeed.

But, here’s the thing: staying at this level of performance all of the time leads to stress, overwhelm, and burnout.  Certainly not the intended consequence.

The key is learning to find and create comfort outside of your comfort zone…to sustain your glow-getter status with self care rituals incorporated on a regular basis.  

Mindful Living

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Hudson of Mindful Haus, an online shop created with the intention to inspire others to live and give with more light and presence through artisan beauty, sacred self-care rituals and mindful living.  

Julie shared that, for her, a self care ritual can be taking even five minutes every day to honor yourself, slow down, and be a little bit more present.

Establish Your Own Self Care Rituals

Not sure how or where to start?  Here are six easy ideas to try in order to inspire comfort and help you find more joy even in the simplest of things:

1. Savor your morning coffee.  

Pick out a favorite mug. Smell the aroma as it brews and enjoy the sounds that mean the warm cup is almost ready.  Enjoy the flavor slowly and while setting your intention for the day ahead.

2. Treat yourself to fresh flowers.  

Select flowers that elicit a warm and pleasant feeling or that bring up a fond memory.  Place them in a handcrafted vase that suits your style in an area you’ll see often.

3. Light a candle.  

This can be a great addition to other self care rituals or can be one on its own.  Choose an artisan-crafted candle with a look, fragrance, and even crackle that makes you feel warm inside.

4. Take a warm bath with natural bath products.  

Read a book and enjoy a glass of wine or cup of hot tea.  Enjoy the warmth of the water, the fragrance of the products, and the taste of the drink.

5. Take a mindful walk without your phone.  

Establish a regular path that allows you to connect with the outdoors and causes you to leave your thoughts and worries alone for awhile.  Feel your feet hitting the ground, the sound of your breath, and even the beating of your heart in your chest.

6. Sit in stillness and reflection for five minute, do some deep breathing, or meditate.  

Taking even a few minutes to tune into your body’s cues and letting your mind relax does wonders for your soul.

Increase Your Awareness

Take a moment right now and ask yourself, “Am I showing up the way I want for myself? My family? My friends? My life?”  If you’re answer is no, consider investing some time and energy in establishing self care rituals.

I often say, the real secret to feeling energized and thriving is to find that space where your comfort zone and the discomfort of growth intersect…and then learning how to live there.  

Based on my own experience, self care rituals are essential to the “learning how to live there” part.

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5 Tips to Gain Less and Stress Less During the Holidays

stress less and gain less this holiday season

Did you know that 75% of all weight gained throughout the year is gained during the holidays (and the average amount gained is between 7-14 pounds)? 

And, ⅔ of people say they look forward to the holidays, but when asked once the season is over say they didn’t get to do the things they were looking forward to because they were stressed out over too many events, too many gifts to buy, and too many commitments. 

Sound familiar?

How would you like to finish the holiday season without having to squeeze into your pants after indulging in too much of grandma’s famous fruitcake (Does anyone really eat fruitcake)?

Or how about having the time and presence of mind to witness the joy of the season without running from place to place?

This year, you can actually enjoy the holidays and all they have to offer without feeling frazzled and needing to let out a notch on your belt!   

I’ve partnered with my good friend and Life Simplification Specialist Stephanie Sikora of Life Made Simple to keep you from overdoing it this season and finding more balance throughout the holidays.  

Top 5 Ways We “Overdo it” During the Holidays and Get Out of Balance

After some research and surveying friends as well as clients, we’ve determined there are five main ways that most people overdo it during the holidays.

  1. Overindulge
  2. Over-sedentary
  3. Over-schedule
  4. Overcommit
  5. Overspend

We’ve come up with some health and organizational tips to help you enjoy a more balanced season.

#1 – No need to overindulge!  You can enjoy holiday treats without feeling like an unsupervised kid in a candy store.

  • Health tip: Pause before you eat and ask yourself what it is you really want.  If onion dip is your favorite, plan to enjoy that at the holiday event.  Then, stop when you are satisfied.  More is not better in this situation.  Also, honor your hunger.  Starving yourself all day so you can splurge later just doesn’t work and leads to consuming more calories and fat.
  • Organizational tipTry to keep your kitchen clean and countertops clear.  Research on eating habits shows that those with clear kitchens participate in mindless eating less often than those with cluttered kitchens.  Take time each day to get rid of papers or other items that might be accumulating in your kitchen.  

#2 – Don’t become over-sedentary: keep your commitment to exercise! 

  • Health tip: Look ahead and plan even small amounts of time for activity.  It might not look the same that it normally does during the rest of the year.  That’s okay. The important thing is that you are making time to be active.  Not only does this allow you to eat treats without the guilt, but it burns off stress. For example, go for a walk at Aunt Millie’s…not only will you get exercise, you’ll get out of a house that smells like mothballs and is full of family talking about politics!
  • Organizational tip: Chaos around us, especially in our environment, triggers a stress response in our brain. This stress response shuts off the part of our brain that allows us to stay focused, optimistic, and disciplined.  Keeping things simple around us and having good systems can help you to keep things on track. Think about your environment – are things a little chaotic? If so, clean off a counter or better yet, have a system for keeping your counter clear. You will find that you stay focused on fitness even during the holidays.

#3 – Instead of over-scheduling, have time to truly enjoy what matters most.

  • Health tip: Talk to everyone in your immediate family to figure out which events or activities they enjoy most throughout the holiday. Set priorities based on these values.  Next, schedule time for other activities including down time, personal time, and family time. By having the most important things already scheduled, you can let go of the guilt from turning down other invitations.  
  • Organizational tip: Clutter can also occur in your calendar. This triggers stress!  Clear your cluttered calendar by setting some boundaries or a system to run your invites through.  Be okay with saying no or combine events if possible to help avoid clutter in your calendar.

#4 – No more overcommitting! Keep a handle on expectations of yourself and those around you.

  • Health tip: Be realistic about your commitments before you make them.  For example, when asked to make a pie for your kid’s classroom, ask yourself “Do I really have capacity for this?” or determine if there’s a different way to meet the need. Many times, we feel pressure to show up in a way that isn’t consistent with our values.  In this case, instead of making a pie, volunteer to lead a game of Simon Says during the holiday party.  This way, there is no prep involved, the kiddos aren’t all hopped-up on sugar, and you are getting to experience the activity along with them.
  • Organizational tip: Keeping things clear in your home and environment can help you to be more aware of what you are committing to and when things are too much.  And – don’t worry about what your organizational system looks like to others.  As long as it is working for you and makes your home feel clear and less chaotic, it doesn’t matter what others think.

stress less and gain less during the holidays

#5 – Resist the temptation to overspend and opt for more intentional spending.

  • Health tip: Focus on experiences over things.  Research shows that those who spend more often on experiences vs. things have less financial stress and worry.  They also enjoy the experiences more and for longer than material items.  Think of experiential gifts you’d like to give as well as receive to make it easy.  
  • Organizational tip: Do an inventory before you purchase.  Keep a simplistic mindset: you don’t have to go over the top just because it is the holidays!  Also, be aware of what you have already stashed away.  Create a good system to store gifts you buy during the year so you don’t duplicate efforts (and waste money).  Lastly, be okay with not buying a present if it’s not necessary.

Doing things differently can be tough!

We know how hard this season can be when it comes to sticking to a plan or doing things differently, so we want to offer support and accountability to have the balanced holiday you want.

This is not about doing more: it is about taking things off your plate or simplifying things to avoid overdoing it.  

We’re here to help!

Stephanie and I have created a FREE calendar with tips and inspiration to stay on track throughout the holiday.  Coupled with weekly accountability emails and healthy recipes, we’re excited to offer this free support to help you find the balance you desire.

Click here to get the calendar delivered directly to your inbox!

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12 Pantry Staples for a Healthy (and Easy) Lunch

13 pantry staples for fast and easy lunches

As a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and human :), I totally understand how busy mid-day can be.  On the days my kiddos are home, it’s easy to find myself eating leftover chicken nuggets and fruit snacks for lunch.  On the days I’m working, it’s not uncommon to still be sitting at the computer at 1:30 having missed my lunch completely.  What does this usually equate to later in the day? Godzilla mom.  No bueno.

Breakfast often gets the most attention as being an important meal of the day, and that’s still true.  But I think lunch is overlooked!  As busy moms (and humans in-general), it’s important to eat a healthy meal mid-day.  What you eat for lunch and the time you eat it can dictate your hunger, food choices, and mood for the remainder of the day.  I’ve found there are a handful of pantry staples to have on-hand so I’m not resorting to leftover kid food at 1:30 on a regular basis.  And, now you can make sure to have these on-hand, too!

1. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are full of fiber (keep you fuller longer), as well as vitamins, minerals, and the antioxidant beta-carotene.  Plus, they have a long shelf-life, so if you buy three or four of them and don’t eat them right away, they won’t go bad.  Also – they require very little prep in order to eat.  When I’m going to work at an office, I pop one into my purse.  When it’s time to eat lunch, I wash the outside and pop it into the microwave (I use the potato setting).  Voila!  I’ve got the base to my lunch in just a few minutes!

2.  Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt has become quite popular over the past decade.  It’s similar to regular yogurt except that it’s filtered so that it has a higher protein content (and it’s thicker).  In addition to being a good source of protein, it contains healthy probiotic bacteria to aid in your gut health.  I prefer to eat full-fat dairy products, so I purchase regular Greek yogurt (full fat products are less processed and have less added ingredients).  However, I’ve found that the lowfat and nonfat varieties still taste good.  I like to put a serving of greek yogurt on top of my sweet potato, or I will add some sundried tomatoes to a small bowl of it with mixed greens on the side.

3. Sundried tomatoes

For some reason, I feel like the addition of sundried tomatoes makes a dish fancy (Fancy Nancy would approve).  But did you know they also contain protein?  A 1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes has 4 grams of protein.  Not to mention the fiber, antioxidants, and yummy taste.  They are easy to keep on-hand, and I throw some in a salad, mix it with canned chicken on a sandwich, or eat them in Greek yogurt (as mentioned above).  Give yourself a little something fancy by stocking up on them!

4.  Canned chicken breast

The quality of canned chicken breast has really improved!  It used to be rather disgusting and crazy salty, but now it’s pretty easy to find a good quality product.  I like to stock up on canned chicken breast at Costco – it’s cheaper that way, and they usually have a lower sodium, organic product available. I used to even store cans of chicken in my cube when I worked at the office full-time.  If you are in a pinch, you can literally open the can of chicken breast, drain lightly, and eat directly out of the can (don’t judge, I’ve done this).  But, if you’re not starving, it’s a great addition to a salad or can be mixed with other ingredients to make a salad of it’s own.  Three of my favorite things to add to it are dijon mustard, avocado, and sundried tomatoes.

5. Dijon mustard

When you are trying to eat healthy, it’s important to make sure you find ingredients that add flavor.  This is what Dijon mustard does for me.  It’s got a little bit of sodium, but it’s low in calories and is super tasty (another Fancy Nancy approved ingredient).  It can be used in a more traditional way – spread on a sandwich – or used as a base for homemade salad dressing.  I love mixing mine with canned chicken or even tuna in a pouch!

6.  Avocado

Need I say more?  🙂  Avocados are known for their healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for the heart and circulatory system.  Including healthy fat in your diet is also important for brain health and keeping you fuller longer between meals.  Avocados are nutrient-dense, so eating even a small amount of them packs a big punch.  I love to mash them up with canned chicken and sundried tomatoes or with tuna from a pouch and dijon mustard.  They are also super yummy spread on whole grain crackers or on top of a salad.  So many different ways to use them!

13 pantry staples for healthy and easy lunches

7. Lemon

Lemon is really on the list because it helps keep your avocado from turning brown and also from breaking down in the fridge.  I like to make sure I keep some on-hand anytime I’m buying avocado (which is always).  Squeezing a little bit into your tuna and avocado or chicken and avocado can help keep it fresh until lunchtime.  Another tip: if you run out of salad dressing, lemon can be added to a small amount of vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil.

8. Tuna-in-a-pouch

I like tuna-in-a-pouch better than canned tuna because it’s more convenient.  While it’s important to watch your consumption of tuna due to mercury, eating one-to-two servings per week has been shown to still be healthy.  Tuna is high in protein and contains healthy omega fatty acids as well as other important minerals.  I have been known to keep a tuna pouch in my purse (right next to some gum…fish breath, yuck!) for a quick protein boost.  As mentioned above, I like to mash mine together with avocado and dijon mustard, but it’s also yummy on top of a salad or on some crackers.

9. Salad greens

Pre-washed salad greens make it so easy to have a salad!  Including more greens in your diet can improve your mood, ensure enough fiber, and keep you fuller longer.  Plus, having a salad for lunch tends to prevent that mid-afternoon slump.  Even if you work full-time in an office, you can bring salad greens to work with you and keep them in the fridge for easy access.  I like arugula when it’s available because it has a nice peppery flavor, but any mixed salad greens will do.  You can use them with canned chicken or tuna in a pouch, sundried tomatoes, and avocado.

10. Salad dressing

I sometimes joke that I eat salad for the dressing.  I know I’m not alone.  Here’s the thing: eating a full-fat salad dressing helps you absorb the nutrients in your salad.  Really.  Plus, just like with my full-fat Greek yogurt, there tend to be less added (unnatural) ingredients in full-fat salad dressing.  Just watch your portion (it can be helpful to measure it out until you have a good idea of how much to use).  Make sure you have one you like on-hand as it increases the likelihood that you’ll follow-through with making and eating your salad.

breaking the false nutrition cycle

11. Whole-grain crackers

Something about a good, crunchy cracker seems to be so satisfying!  Including whole grains in your diet is important because they contain B vitamins and many minerals, plus they have fiber.  My family is gluten free due to my daughter’s celiac disease, so I opt for non-wheat crackers.  I look for ones with the least amount of ingredients (less processed) and with whole grains.  I love “Mary’s Gone Crackers,” and have found them in bulk at Costco.  I eat my whole-grain crackers along with a salad, use them as my spoon in the can of chicken, or eat them with some deli meat and avocado.

12. Deli meat

Last but not least, I like to have deli meat from the deli counter on-hand.  I choose deli meat from the deli counter because it is less processed than the pre-packaged stuff.  It also tends to be lower in sodium and doesn’t get slimy in the package.  I buy whatever Boar’s Head deli meat is on sale each week as a way to mix it up, and I choose the low sodium option whenever I have the chance.  Not only do I eat the deli meat, but it has become a quick lunch for my kiddos on many occasions, too (they love it rolled around a cheese-stick).  You can easily put deli meat on your salad, roll up some greek yogurt in the middle (caution: this can be messy), or eat on the side with your sweet potato and greek yogurt for added protein.

Six Healthy Lunches You Can Make and Eat Quickly (even when you’re super busy)

There you have it!  The 12 pantry staples I keep on-hand for healthy (and easy) lunches!

Want some of my favorite lunch recipes to go with them?  You’re in luck!  Click here to get Six Healthy Lunches You Can Make and Eat Quickly (even when you’re super busy) delivered straight to your inbox.

With some pantry staples and easy recipes, you’re sure to fend off the Godzilla mom hangries for sure!


*Disclaimer: I am not a registered Dietitian, and I am not qualified to diagnose or treat food-based illnesses or conditions.  If you have concerns about specific foods and any health conditions (including pregnancy), please work with a Registered Dietitian to determine the best solution for you.

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How Kelly Got Unstuck…Her Confidence…and a 20% Raise

how kelly got unstuck

Kelly first came to me as a consulting client.  She was so overwhelmed and knew something had to give.  She thought that hiring a consultant to take some of the extra work off her plate would take the pressure off and allow her to perform like she used to. And it helped a little, but as we continued to work together, it became clear that what Kelly really wanted was help to get unstuck.

She felt overloaded with the amount of work she had to get done every day.  She loved her team and the idea of her job, but what it had become was unsustainable.  Kelly felt like a failure for feeling like she needed to ask for help.  And she didn’t believe that things would really change if she did.  Plus – she wasn’t sure where to start.  It all seemed impossible.  Kelly was tired of feeling helpless to change her situation and figured the only way to improve things was to look for a new job.  But, that had challenges of its own.  So, she continued to struggle through things and hope that something would happen to make things different.

What It Means to Be Stuck

What Kelly was experiencing happens to a lot of us and causes us to get stuck in the first place.  We start to experience the discomfort that comes from a change in our lives or our routines or even a mindset shift.  In Kelly’s case, it was an increase in demands of her job and the size of her team without a change in compensation or even input into how things were done.  When trying to talk to others about her challenges, she was only able to talk about what was going wrong and how she felt.  Her ability to come up with a path forward was clouded by her fear of being a failure or letting others down.

How Coaching Helped

I approached Kelly with the idea of giving coaching a try to help her get unstuck and see new possibilities.  Like many others, she wasn’t sure how coaching worked or how a health coach would help her job situation change.  But – she felt like it was worth a try.  I started with Kelly as I do with my other clients – establishing a vision for the ideal situation.  She resisted at first because it seemed worthless to envision something that seemed impossible.  However, she was able to bring herself to do it.

Just gaining clarity around what she really wanted – to keep her current job but with credit and compensation for her increase in responsibilities as well as better work/life balance – brought a sigh of relief.

Our next steps together included mapping out the top priorities for attaining this vision and action-oriented goals she could accomplish in order to move closer to it.  This part of the process helped her see how much control she actually had over the outcome and made her feel less helpless in her current situation.  And – by setting deadlines for the goals – she was being held accountable to completing them but also knew there was a timeframe to re-evaluate the situation if the outcome wasn’t what she hoped.

Confidence As An Unexpected Outcome

It took several months, but eventually Kelly devised a new way to tell her story to a leader who would listen.  And, then things started to change for her.  It’s possible that Kelly could have done this on her own over time.  But like many of my clients, she felt that having a coach listen and help her see things from a different and sometimes more objective perspective expedited the process.  It also helped her increase her confidence to a higher level than it was before.

Kelly was also able to use her new skills to tackle some additional areas where she felt stuck.  With her confidence at a new level, she decided she would start exercising more.  She also started a new meditation practice.  It turned out that getting unstuck in one area opened up the opportunity to more easily change in other areas.

You Can Get Unstuck, Too

Where would you like to get unstuck in your current life?  Is it your job like Kelly?  Or maybe it’s losing weight.  Or finding more balance. Whatever the reason, I’d love to help you get started.

It’s never too early or too late to begin working on the best version of yourself.  Your dreams can be achieved…let’s get started!

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5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals: Tips to Organize Your Ambition From A Project Manager Turned Health Coach

5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Learn how to meditate.  Volunteer more at my kids’ school.  Join the chamber for more networking.  Plan a monthly lunch date with my husband.  Achieve my goals of training for a half marathon and eating less fast food.  Drink less coffee (and maybe wine, too). Listen to a daily self-improvement podcast.  Create a new family budget to allow for more vacations. Plan and book family vacations.  Learn how to make zucchini noodles. Get a promotion at work. Start my own business…

Sound familiar?  If you’re like many successful women, you are not lacking when it comes to ambition.  You have goals and aspirations. Your track record shows that you are able to accomplish what put your mind to.  Yet, you continue to struggle to find time for those “nice-to-have” goals. Things that would contribute to your health and wellbeing.  Things that you’ve always wanted to try…but never seem to have the time or energy to bring to fruition.

5 Steps To Achieve Your Goals

Plan for Success

When an organization wants to ensure success for an important initiative, leaders generally assign a project manager (or several if it’s big enough).  Why? Project managers are skilled at breaking down initiatives into measurable tasks; tracking dependencies, risks, and issues; keeping the team accountable to success; and influencing members of the organization when they are holding things up.  You can use these same concepts to ensure success for your own important initiatives.

5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Five Steps to Organize Your Ambition

As a project manager for over ten years, I find these same skills to be quite handy when working as a health coach. I’m excited to help you achieve your goals in five simple steps:

  1. Write all of your goals and ambitions down.

    Put everything you aspire to do on this list.  This is more or less a brain-dump. It’s an opportunity to get everything down on paper.  TIP: Some of my clients have preferred to do this exercise on a computer in an excel spreadsheet so they can organize it more easily later.

  2. Create categories.  

    Next, take a high-level look at the list.  First, notice any similarities.  Are there some items that can be grouped together into a category?  For example, if you have “learn to meditate,” “take a regular yoga class,” “journal daily,” and “listen to a daily self-improvement podcast on your list,” you could list each of these items under one header such as “Personal Self Care.”  Try to create three to five broad categories so that each task has a larger category it belongs to. Write the category name, then list each of the items that belong to the category under the header. TIP: Most frequently used categories include self care, work/career/purpose, family/spouse/romance, finances/money, health, self improvement, fun/recreation, and physical environment (i.e. home).

  3. Consider dependencies.

     Once you’ve finished your categories, it’s time to consider dependencies.  These are items that depend upon one another in order to be completed. For example, if you have “eat less pre-packaged and fast food” as well as “learn to make zucchini noodles” on your list, you might feel that eating less pre-packaged and fast food is dependent upon you learning new cooking techniques…such as making zucchini noodles.  Consider any dependencies for the items on your list and write them down in a column to the right of the corresponding item.  TIP: Common dependencies include time, money, skills, and personal permission (giving yourself the permission to make this a priority).

  4. Assign support to complete the tasks.

     Now that you’ve considered your dependencies, it’s important to think of a strategy to manage them.  This might be a person reminding you of your commitment, finances to get started, or learning new skills.  Create a new column labeled “support” to the right of each item, and fill in the strategy or support for managing the dependencies. TIP: Outsourcing or delegating can be a helpful support mechanism.  For example, to make more time for tasks, the support you need might be someone to clean your house periodically or a personal chef to help you make healthier meals while you are still learning.

  5. Determine a timeline.  

    Now it’s time to add your final column: timeline.  The most important thing here is not to pick too many items to complete at one time…or you’ll be right back where you started.  When I work with clients, we pick two to three overarching goals per three month period. In this instance, you would pick two to three of your larger categories to work on for the next three months.  Then, determine which of the smaller tasks in each category you’ll complete in order.  Assign a date to have each item completed. When you are doing this, you might notice that some of your items need to be broken down into smaller tasks to make them manageable. TIP: This step can be really helpful in calming your overwhelm.  If you’d like to learn more about how designating a timeline can reduce stress, check out my blog on “creating a when to do list.”

Support is Key

Now that you’ve organized your ambition into a manageable plan and set a timeline to complete your goals, make sure to share them with someone.  Telling someone about your plans will make you more likely to complete them. 

Want more tips on achieving your goals? 

Join my Facebook group for women where I share free tips to be healthy, feel happy, and live well.  Plus – you’ll have the support of others who are striving to do the same!

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“Busy-ness” = More Stress, Less Happiness

Busyness Does Not Equal Happiness

Let’s say you somehow got granted two extra hours in a day.  No one else knows about these extra two hours, so you get to spend them however YOU want.  What would you spend them doing?  I have asked this question of clients who would like to have more balance or less stress.  None of them answered “work more,” “check my email” or “watch tv.”  The most frequent answers are: sleep, exercise, or spend time doing something fun with family (kids) or friends.

This is your mind and body trying to tell you something.

The Busy-ness Cycle

The last time you asked someone how they were doing, what did they say?  9 times out of 10, people say “busy.”  Do you answer this way? So many of us – especially women – feel we need to be busy as a badge of honor.  If we are not busy, we are not proving our worth.  But, this constant “busy-ness” is a fast road to burnout, chronic stress, and missing the best of what our lives have to offer.

Busyness Does Not Equal Happiness

Your Body is Telling You Something

I have had many successful female clients tell me about their “wake-up” calls as it relates to their stress and busy-ness.  Some had some serious health scares themselves or ended up with symptoms of illnesses that have no real explanation.  Others find themselves turning to food or more to do in order to stay awake or make it through their day.  So many of us have stopped listening to our body’s cues to slow down.  We just keep pushing forward until our body makes us stop.  This is not a healthy or happy way to go through life.  But you already know this.

It Starts with What You Say

In her book You are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life, Jen Sincero writes “Stop talking about how busy you are.  Focus on what you enjoy about what you do and the spaces in between the doing instead of feeling weighed down by it all.”  Reading this allowed me to change my own perspective and increased my awareness.  If I stopped talking about being busy, what would I say?  It turns out that the simple act of changing this perspective allowed me to reexamine my priorities. Give it a try the next time somehow asks you how you are.

Busyness Does Not Equal Happiness

What Are Your Priorities?

In her book The Sweet Spot: How To Find Your Groove At Home and Work, Christine Carter suggests that we aim to spend 95% of our time on our top priorities and saying “no” to virtually everything else.  She writes “Spending 95% of my time on my top priorities left only about 5 hours a week for other things.   Something often had to give; for me, it was my health.  Like many working mothers, I had put my own well-being on the back-burner, never exercising and rarely getting enough sleep.  I was sick all the time.”  But once she started looking at her time from a place of sufficiency (there is enough time), understanding that “more is not better,” and realizing her power to change things, she was able to shift her time and focus.

So, get really clear about your priorities.  YOUR priorities based on YOUR values.  Not the ones you think you should have or that someone else thinks you should have.  Try picking three to five top priorities and use them as deciphers when starting or stopping an activity.

Listen To Your Body

Our bodies are pretty amazing if you consider all they do (and all we do TO them).  It’s important to honor this and start listening to your body’s cues.  For example, do you find yourself in a mid-afternoon slump – having to push yourself to finish one more thing?  Or – maybe you reach for things like food (or wine or coffee) to help you feel comfort or even to push through the day.  I’m not saying all of this is bad.  I’m just asking you to take a deep breath and decide if your body is trying to ask for what it needs.  For example, maybe you’re actually dehydrated in the mid-afternoon.  Research shows that many people feel much more alert after drinking 8-12 ounces of cold water when this happens.  And, if you couple this with a quick walk around the block, researchers have found that many people come back to their work or tasks more productive and with a new perspective.

Time for You

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our routines and forget about the priorities and goals you’ve set for yourself.  Sometimes the best place to start is to stop doing something.  Take a good look at your time spent on different activities each day.  It might even be helpful to keep a running tally for a week.  You can create different categories: taking care of kids, work, housework, self-care, sleep, social media/email, cooking meals, driving. Keep a running tab of how much time you spend in each category.  If you have new goals, like starting to exercise, cooking more meals at home, or even finding more time to rest, take a look at the different categories and decide what you can stop doing to make time for your goal.  This might require that you outsource, ask someone else to help you, or stop doing it altogether for a period of time.  Creating systems to group certain activities for efficiency (like meal-prepping) can also help.  The trick is – once you’ve created the extra time for your new goal – you have to make sure to not fill it with something else.  Use it as time for you!!!

Fall Into Healthy Habits

Happiness Instead of Busy-ness

Let’s all make a decision to start focusing on our happiness or productivity instead of our “busy-ness.”  It starts with each of us deciding to do things differently to shift this new norm.  And – maybe you’ll even end up with the extra two hours to spend the way you want without having to call upon your fairy godmother. 🙂

If  you’d like more tips on how to make the time and energy for your goals, follow me on Facebook or Instagram!

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Make This the Year

I love that the beginning of a new year inspires people to start resolutions.  It is refreshing to see the desire to accomplish something on so many faces.  And – here’s the thing: this can be the year you accomplish the resolutions you’ve set for yourself!  It just takes a little know-how and support.

I have a background in health promotion and public health.  But it wasn’t until I embarked on becoming certified as a coach that behavior change really “clicked” for me.  One of the key skills I learned was how to REALLY set goals.  I am going to share three of the main components of “real” goal-setting with you.

#1 – Establish your vision

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Paint a picture of where you truly want to be one year from now.  Get as specific as you can.  What will it feel like?  What will you be able to do differently?  How will it affect certain areas of your life?  

For example – let’s say Susie really wants to lose weight.  As her health coach, I help her to imagine herself one year from now after she’s lost the weight.  I ask her some really specific questions to help her tap into what it will feel like.  As she paints the picture of her vision, she says:  

“She is able to wear any outfit in her closet.  Her energy is consistent throughout the day because she is eating well and exercising regularly.  She feels strong and confident in her body.”

#2 – Focus on the feelings and behaviors in your vision

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 The feelings will keep you motivated.  The behaviors will lead to habits.  Habits will get you to your goals.

In the same example, Susie and I work together to clarify the feelings she wants to achieve.  I ask her questions and reflect back what I hear from her.  This allows her to get really clear on what she wants for herself.  The feelings she is after are consistent energy and feeling strong and confident in her body.  Additionally, she would like to make a habit of eating well and exercising regularly.   

#3 – Break your behaviors into smaller steps that will achieve the feelings you desire

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Make sure to make these steps “SMART” (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound).

To continue the example, I help Susie recall times that she has been successful at eating well to have consistent energy.  She remembers how great she felt when she packed salads for lunch. Having a healthy lunch kept her on track for eating well in the evening and exercising after work.  We set a goal for her to research some recipes for lunchtime salads and try at least one new salad recipe in the week.  She is going to keep track of her energy level four times each day using an app, too.

Susie also mentions that she felt the most strong and confident in her body when she took indoor exercise classes that mixed both cardio and weight-lifting.  She not only felt strong in the gym, but the strength was evident in her abilities outside of the gym – helping lift her confidence.  She decides to set a goal to research gyms that offer classes with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) at times convenient for her and determine one option to try in the next week.  

Support is Key

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One other component that is woven throughout the example above is: support.  Susie decided to enlist my support as her health coach (excellent choice, Susie! :).  Support can be a friend to exercise with you; a challenge group at your gym; or a virtual support group via social media – anything that is going to help hold you accountable and celebrate your successes.  

I am excited for you to make this the year you accomplish your goals!  And – I would be happy to support you any step of the way.  Please contact me or follow me on Facebook for live events to help you get started.

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My Journey to a Life with More Intention

My journey to a more intentional life

Summer break with my kids has been full of joy. I feel like I’ve really embraced the idea of living with intention and mindfulness. I had a mix of time with each of my children individually, as well as together.  We also spent time with friends. I even had some time for myself to work, exercise, and rest. Today, I reflect on this accomplishment and how far our family has come. It hasn’t been perfect (and sometimes downright unpleasant).  I am really proud that we have started living out our values and putting time and energy into the things that truly matter to us.

Spinning Out of Control

I’d like to say that I woke up one morning and just decided to embrace the idea of living with intention. But – that is not the case. Almost three years ago, things in our life felt like they were more than I could handle. My son had been hospitalized and in the ICU for almost a week due to RSV at the age of 10 months. Then a couple of months later, we learned that my daughter had celiac disease. This diagnosis caused us to re-look at everything we consumed and change the way we experienced food. All while we were both trying to manage two full-time careers in the corporate world. Weekends were being spent trying to run a household – groceries, yard work, laundry, and hopefully a little time to spend having fun. It was a very difficult time for our family.

Something Had to Change

It was at that moment that I realized something had to change. I felt like life was “happening to me” instead of me making my life happen. I had fallen victim to our routine. I was stuck.  Not to mention – it just seemed like something was missing.  I knew it was time to step up and make some changes. But I was scared. I had thoughts of changing my career to something that fueled my passion years before. I also knew I wanted something that was flexible so I could do more of what mattered to me as a mom and wife. And I knew that I needed the time and energy to devote to our family’s health.  This was not sustainable in our current situation.

Trust the Process

The process I went through required me to look at different aspects of our life and get really clear about what I wanted for myself and my family. I had some tough conversations with my husband, and our ideas of health and happiness were not always the same. However, we stuck with it in pursuit of something different for our lives. As I’ve embarked on my journey to have my own health coaching practice, I get to witness inspiring stories about others who are embracing the opportunity to do things with intention.

Impact on My Health

My Journey to a More Intentional Life

My change to living with more intention had another result. Slowing down and taking stock of what was important really impacted my health.  Reprioritizing my time and energy towards my values allowed me to take care of myself. I no longer felt so anxious each evening when I put my kids to bed. My evenings spent eating bowlfuls of cereal or sleeves of cookies in front of the tv to ease my anxiety started to dwindle. I reconnected with fitness in a way that was really rejuvenating. And the weight I’d been trying to lose for years finally started coming off. I realized the “weight” was a lot more than I ever imagined it was.

Brave, Afraid, and Alive

My Journey to a More Intentional Life

I am truly grateful that things are coming together as we hoped they would. It hasn’t all been easy or even fun, but I feel like we are shaping the life we want. I still get scared of what is to come or if I’ll rethink my decisions in the future. However, I think Brene Brown sums it up best in her book The Gifts of Imperfection:

“One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that’s how I feel most of the time…brave, afraid, and very, very alive.”

What’s In Store For You?

Are you ready to take that step into something different but aren’t sure where to start?  I’d love to help.  Schedule a free discovery session to learn more.  Sometimes feeling more alive means being brave enough to take that first step toward the life you’ve been dreaming of.