The Best Time to Workout

What’s the best time of day to workout? Ok, get ready to be annoyed. It’s the time of day when you’re most likely to workout.

I’m sorry. I know that’s not the answer you really want. But I think it’s true, partly because of experience and partly because of research. (Not like the conducting experiments or gathering data kind of research, just the reading articles on what I consider reliable websites kind of research.) I, at different times since I started exercising, have sought out the best time of day to work out. Like, when are you most likely to get the best results? The most bang for your buck? And, while my research hasn’t been exhaustive, I have come to the conclusion that there’s no one right answer.

Some people advocate exercising first thing in the morning. You’re in a fasted state, you’ll burn off stuff already in your body (glycogen I think?), that kind of thing. You might burn off more fat. I’ve also read that late afternoon is really the optimal time to workout– energy wise, performance wise. Hormone levels might be at a more optimal level in the afternoon, too. I haven’t read that nighttime is ideal, but I bet someone out there says that it is.

The answer I gave above- the time of day when you’re most likely to workout is the time of day when you’re most likely to workout- isn’t my favorite answer for me either. But I’ve accepted it as the truth.

I think the real best time of day for me, as far as how good a workout I get, how I feel during and after, when I have the most energy, is mid-morning. In a perfect world I’d wake up, ease into my day, have breakfast and coffee. Then I’d either relax with my kids and husband or do some chores around the house (though I guess in a really perfect world I wouldn’t be doing chores ever, would I?). About an hour and a half to two hours after I finished eating, I’d exercise. This does happen once in a while, and it really is when I feel best. But it doesn’t happen a lot.

The reality right now is that my time is not really my own. I can’t exercise at that time of day because it just doesn’t work. I have things to do, places to be, other people’s schedules to consider. So I wake up early. Now I’m sure some of you are saying, “I can’t exercise in the morning. That’s not happening. I’m not a morning person.” I said the same things. I didn’t think I could ever do it. I didn’t think it would happen. I am so not a morning person. If anything I’m a night owl….A night owl who has grudgingly become more of a morning person. Thanks to #1- kids and #2- really wanting to exercise and knowing if it didn’t happen then it might never happen.

I think the morning is probably the best time for most people for the same reasons it works for me. Once it’s done you can move on with your day. If you don’t do it first thing there’s a good chance something will crop up during the day that prevents you from doing it. Or you’ll be too tired to do it. You’ll also get that good feeling early, and what a great way to start your day. But it does take some getting used to.

When I first started exercising I did it at night. (Back then I would think I could never do it in the morning, now I look back and think how did I ever do it at night?!) It was what worked for me then. I had an infant I was breastfeeding, who was still waking up a few times a night to eat, plus three other kids, ages 3, 5, and 7. I was so tired and needed that sleep in the morning. Night time was the only time I could get it done. I’d put Danny to bed around 7:00, then the other kids, and exercise in the living room, before Danny woke up for his first nighttime feeding.

There was a period of time between those nighttime workouts and when I started working out in the morning when I had to accept and deal with a more difficult truth. I had to workout whenever I could, and that would change day to day. I would have much rather have had a set time, a schedule, a routine. But things were hectic, mornings were unreliable (usually due to a child or two or three or four who had made it to my bed or lured me to their bed sometime during the night). I was so tired at night, and the kids were staying up later. I had to accept the need for a more flexible mindset. It irked me, but that’s where I was at that time. This transition period might ultimately have made it easier for me to embrace the idea of morning workouts.

So I’d encourage every one to consider morning workouts. Even if you’re not a “morning person.” No birds are pulling my blankets back as I awake feeling refreshed and perky and ready for a fantastic day. Looking radiant of course. There’s lots of hitting snooze and internal dialogue, some of which I can’t repeat here for fear my children might read this. But it happens. Most days. I’m tired and cold and puffy-eyed and crazy-haired and feeling rather grumpy most days. But by the time the warm-up is over I’m usually feeling closer to human and by the time the whole thing is over I’m often feeling like a superhero. A pleasant, life-loving superhero. (Until I try to wake up my middle schooler anyway)

Wherever you are at right now, make it a priority. That’s the most important thing. My crazy-runner-husband used to say all the time, “You have to make it a priority.” And I used to roll my eyes and curse under my breath. But that idea must have nestled somewhere in my brain and eventually manifested itself. Because here I am telling anyone who will listen to make it a priority. It just has to be. And it might be tough at first, but keep at it and one day it will really be like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Just something that’s part of your day. Often one of the best parts of your day.

Have you found your ideal time? Are you struggling to make time for exercise? I’d love to hear from you! Sometimes just venting or chatting about something can help you process things and make things click 🙂

 

5 Easy Ways to Drink Your Way to Better Health

Can you think of an easier way to get healthier than drinking a glass of something? It’s not exactly taxing. So I came up with a list of 5 things you can do each day to improve your health that aren’t much harder than lifting a glass to your lips. Maybe they aren’t as much fun as wine, but they’re easy. And so good for you….

The first one is super easy and you get a choice.

  1. Drink Your Probiotics. You pick- kefir or kombucha. They have similar health benefits, but each has its own special charm. You can read more about kefir here. I drink both most days. The kefir I buy is thicker, so it’s more like yogurt than a drink. I eat the plain kefir with berries, a few drops of stevia, cinnamon, a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut, and pumpkin seeds (or granola). It is so delicious I feel like licking the bowl when I’m done. My son loves the strawberry kefir (no strep, no flu, no antibiotics for him this winter and I swear this is why!). You can find it in the dairy aisle. Kombucha is a yummy, fizzy drink that you can find in different flavors, too. I love the ginger flavor, but the fruit ones are nice too. It is pricey, but you can drink a little bit each day. In health food stores you can also buy it in a big, refillable glass bottle to save some money. I make my own and if you fall in love with it like we did this is a great option to make it part of your life!
  2. Drink Green Tea. Green tea has so many health benefits and may be a great weight loss tool as well. I aim for 2-3 cups per day, but just one cup will surely boost your health.
  3. Start your day with a warm glass of lemon water. It detoxifies your body and stimulates digestion. Add some apple cider vinegar if you’re up for it, too!
  4. Put some coconut oil in your coffee. You may have heard of this, or you might think it sounds totally weird and gross. That’s what I thought before I started doing it, and now when I can’t have my coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil I feel a little sad. I use my Keurig (refillable pods of course!) to make my coffee in a big mug, add a teaspoon of coconut oil, and blend using a stick blender. You could use a regular blender, too. It comes out so frothy and even looks creamy. I sprinkle cinnamon on top and it feels like a fancy latte 🙂 If you’re stuck on sweetening your coffee try adding some stevia before blending, too.
  5. Drink your water. I saved this one for last because I feel like everyone knows it and oh my gosh is sick of hearing about it. But I wonder how many people still actually do it! How much water do you drink in a day? A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 200 pounds aim for 100 ounces. I like to drink more than half my weight in ounces- it’s just how I feel the best. I aim for a gallon, though I usually fall a little bit short of that. There are lots of tricks to get to drinking enough- finding the right water bottle, starting your day with a big glass of water, setting water “benchmarks” to meet throughout the day. You can also try flavoring your water if it’s tough for you to drink. I love lemon slices; you can also add other fruit, mint leaves.

The prospect of getting healthier can be daunting. You hear so many things about it- things you should do, things you shouldn’t do. One day you might hear something is wonderful for you, then read the next day that it’s bad for you. I like the idea of taking simple steps to improve your health. And often I think the idea of giving stuff up just sucks. So maybe start with adding stuff in instead. I hope these 5 easy things you can add to your day for better health are simple enough to implement and easy enough to keep for life. Give them some time to really become part of your routine. You can start with one and add the others when you feel like you’ve got the first one down.

Do you know someone who could benefit from one or all of these? Please share!

Energy Bites

This is one of my favorite recipes for a clean eating snack. These little guys are filling and nutritious. They also help satisfy a sweet tooth! They are a great little add-on to a meal if you’re still feeling hungry. I have also taken them with me when I know I’ll be out for a while. I’ll have 2 or 3 energy bites and an apple for a mini-meal on the go. Much better than trying to find a healthy snack at the mall or something!

They are a bit of a pain to make, sticky and messy, but worth it. I usually make a double batch. I have seen the recipe in a few places, but based mine on the one I found at Gimme Some Oven.

Print Recipe
Energy Bites
from Gimme Some Oven
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients; stir until thoroughly mixed
  2. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour
  3. Roll into balls (about 1 inch diameter)
  4. Store in refrigerator for up to a week
Recipe Notes

We are a nut-free house, so I always use sunbutter. I'm sure peanut butter is delicious, and imagine almond butter would be great too. To make them even healthier you could omit the chocolate chips or maybe try raisins? I keep planning on raisins and ending up with chocolate chips 🙂

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Sugar Swaps

Sugar is so bad. It’s bad for you, it’s addicting, it’s everywhere. It’s been linked to all sorts of bad things, including cancer and diabetes. It’s also been shown to negatively affect your gut flora and immune system. But finding a sugar substitute can be overwhelming. I gave up on doing exhaustive research and am just putting out there what I have gathered so far…

And when I say sugar here, I am referring to white sugar, not sugar as it relates to the sugar content in food.

First of all I think it’s important to say please don’t consume artificial sweeteners like Sweet ‘n Low, Splenda, Equal, etc. Don’t drink drinks sweetened with them, like juices that claim to be healthier because they replace some of the natural sugar found in juice with chemical sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are chemical nastiness, and to top it off they might even cause weight gain. I am not a soda drinker, but if I were to have a soda I would pick a regular over a diet for sure.

  • So what are some good sugar alternatives? The picture above shows the sugar swaps I use the most: maple syrup, honey, and stevia. They are the most natural, the least processed; they even have some health benefits. Be careful with Stevia- it’s hard to find stevia that’s just stevia. Sweet Leaf is the best I’ve found and it has “natural flavors” on the ingredient list, something I usually try to avoid. If you look at Truvia, for example, I think the first ingredient is dextrose- not Stevia. I’d like to try baking with powdered stevia, but I haven’t found one without additives.
  • Coconut sugar is great for baking. I usually have that around, too. (I did read somewhere along the line that coconut sugar is not sustainable which brings me some Earth guilt. So I don’t use it regularly, and keep meaning to do some follow-up on that. I’ll share when I know more.)
  • I use raw sugar or turbinado for baking, too. It’s from the same sugar cane that white sugar comes from, but is much less processed. The taste is very much the sugar taste you’re used to.
  • I also use organic sugar sometimes. It’s less coarse than raw sugar. It’s not healthy- it’s still cane sugar and it’s processed, but it’s better than white sugar. That’s what I use for my kombucha too, hence the Sharpie-written “kombucha” on the bag.

  • I really like Lakanto, which is made from erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and a monk fruit extract. It’s a bit expensive, though, and I know some people would discourage using erythritol. It is a one to one substitute, though, and the taste and texture are close to sugar. I’ve used it to make baked goods for my own use (like healthy muffins and granola that my kids wouldn’t eat). Another sweetener I’m intrigued by, but haven’t used, is just pure monk fruit, minus the erythritol. Sounds healthy, but it’s very expensive.

  • Xlyitol is another sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. It is derived from plant material, but probably highly processed. It’s questionable from a wholesomeness perspective, but from a fitness perspective probably a good option. Same for erythritol. These have less impact on blood sugar, but may have other side effects that cause concern.
  • Dates are a great natural sweetener, but it’s hard to work with them. I bought them to make some kind of bar once and it was a nightmare. If you are handier around the kitchen than me (or have a higher power food processor) these could be a great option! I recently saw a powdered date sugar; it’s just dried dates ground up to a powder. I might have to try that one day.

I avoid agave and have never even bought it. I know this is one you might hear a lot about. Early on in my clean eating journey I read something negative about it and haven’t read anything to convince me otherwise. Again, it probably comes down to the fact that it’s highly processed and in the end not much better than sugar.

If you’re not ready to get rid of the evil, processed, white stuff, at least go for organic sugar, preferably raw sugar. You’ll avoid some of the harsh chemicals that come along with the processing that happens with regular white sugar.

And all sweeteners should be used in moderation. Honey, for example, is wonderful and natural and wholesome, but eating too much of it can still negatively affect your body.

Again, I found looking at all the different alternatives confusing and overwhelming….I feel like this post might be too! This week I’ll share some links to sites that offer more comprehensive information on sugar swaps. Stop by my Facebook page to check them out!

Is there a sugar swap you use that I didn’t mention here? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

Clean Eating Groups

I am loving the January feeling of this January. Sometimes I get a little case of the post-Christmas blues. My parents leave for Florida right after Christmas and it will be months before I see them again. The festiveness of the season is over. The rushing around and busy-ness is behind us (and it’s a relief, but also a little sad). We’ll see family and friends less again….

But not this year. This year I am all-in to this January thing. Goal setting, vision boards, resolutions, oh my!

 

I am energized, still plugging away at goal setting. (Is it this hard for everyone?!) I made a Google calendar and generally mapped out my time so I feel more purposeful and with direction during each day. I joined a vision board group on Facebook. I started a new personal development book. The Beachbody Health Bet started this past Monday and I started a new workout program- Core de Force. I’m finishing up Body Beast, a program I’ve been wanting to do for ages and have absolutely loved. So I am all geared up. Plus, now I am running a clean eating group with my team. It starts Monday!

What is a clean eating group? you might be wondering. In general, our clean eating groups are private groups on Facebook. We provide some information on clean eating, as well as a meal plan for the week, complete with recipes and a grocery list. During the week, participants are asked to post what they’re eating. And we are all committed to eating clean for the course of the group, usually 5 or 7 days. Basically, no white flour, no white sugar, no processed foods, no alcohol. Hey, it’s only 5 days! Hopefully you’ll continue with clean eating when the group is over, but knowing that it’s only 5 days can make it easier to take this step. After the 5 days, you can decide how “strict” you’re going to be. If you really commit to the group, it can help keep you accountable. You are more likely to stick to the guidelines if you’re feeling committed to the group. What will keep you committed? Motivation, support, inspiration. Maybe even a little guilt! I’d feel guilty eating something that wasn’t allowed. I can do that for 5 days. It can be motivating and inspiring to see what everyone else is eating, too.

What can happen in just 5-7 days? You’d be amazed. Depending on your regular diet before the group started, you might detox. By the end of the group you’ll have reduced your cravings, probably lost some weight, learned a few things about clean eating. It can help you with brand new goals, or help you commit to goals from which you’ve strayed. It might even change your life. Clean eating has changed mine! You would be amazed at what a difference it makes. Clearer skin, more energy, better moods, clearer thinking. And the effects can spill over to people in your life, too!

What makes a clean eating group great? The best clean eating groups are the ones with the most participation. When you really post what you eat, you have a better chance of success with your own goals. It’s like keeping a food journal (shown in studies to be effective in losing weight) that other people can see. People who are like-minded and there to support you and cheer you on. There’s a cycle to it; you post and inspire someone and they post and inspire someone. When the group gets on a roll, it’s easier to stick to your goals and succeed.  Some people might feel uncomfortable posting at first. Maybe they’re shy, maybe they feel silly posting what they’re eating, maybe they’re intimidated by other people in the group who post gorgeous, exotic, super-healthy meals on fancy plates. If you can get past the initial discomfort, you’ll start to feel the camaraderie. I’ve come out of some groups feeling like I’d made some new friends. And it’s uplifting to see someone else doing well!

Why join a clean eating group? If you’re looking to learn more about clean eating or get some new ideas, a clean eating group would be a great place for you. It’s also a good way to lose to a few pounds, get back on track after a bad spell of eating (like after the holidays!), or kick some bad habits. Some people join just to learn what clean eating is, some want new recipes and food ideas, some want to stop drinking soda (for example) and need some support.

Why am I especially excited for this clean eating group? Because it’s January! There’s a feeling of freshness and renewal and energy. I’m also excited for the timing with my fitness goals. I really want to commit more stringently to the eating plan that comes with Core de Force. I was not so stringent with Body Beast, and it makes a big difference in your results. When I am part of a clean eating group, I always make better food choices and I always learn something. I also lose a pound or two or three! I feel like I’m feeling so energized and other people are, too; this group is bound to be great.

If you’d like to give it a try, comment here! Or visit me over on Facebook and send me a message. It’s not too late to join!

Autumn’s Italian Meatballs

Meatballs are a favorite around here because everyone heats them. Sigh….

They even eat them leftover for lunch! Is there anything better than that?

I usually just wing it with my meatballs- following a general formula of 1 cup breadcrumbs and 1 egg per 1 pound of meat. I might swap out some of the breadcrumbs for some grated parmesan. And they’re good. But I love Autumn Calabrese’s recipes from her cookbook, Fixate, so I thought I’d give this recipe a try. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, because they would be immediately suspicious. After dinner last night Rose asked me if I did something different because they were “really, really good.” Luke said he liked them a lot, too! And Frances, who usually just takes the leftover whole wheat pasta for lunch, asked for a meatball with her pasta. So I guess this is our new meatball recipe!

Print Recipe
Autumn's Italian Meatballs
(from Fixate by Autumn Calabrese)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly coated with cooking spray
  3. Place bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl. Set aside; soak for 10 minutes
  4. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-low heat
  5. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent
  6. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute
  7. Combine onion mixture, turkey, eggs, parsley, cheese, oregano, salt, pepper, and bread crumb mixture in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands or wooden spoon. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour
  8. With clean wet hands, form turkey mixture into approximately 42 1-inch meatballs; arrange onto prepared baking sheet
  9. Bake for 13 to 18 minutes, or until browned and cooked through
Recipe Notes

I tweaked the recipe just a little bit. I used two pounds of ground turkey and one pound of grass fed ground beef. I also omitted the onion because my bubble of meatball happiness might have burst if just one of my children found an onion.

Serve topped with tomato sauce. Autumn has a great sauce recipe, too! I'll share that soon. In the meantime, try making your own or use jarred sauce. Just check the ingredients; watch out for added sugar. Look for a brand that has just tomatoes and spices. Rao's is a great one, but a bit pricey.

Enjoy 🙂

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15 Minute Chicken & Veggies

This might be my new favorite recipe. It’s so easy, so fast, and so convenient. My sister-in-law recommended it and I’m so happy she shared it! She found it over at gimmedelicious.

What do I love so much? It’s totally healthy. You make it in one pan. There’s little prep. It cooks so fast. It’s delicious. It makes great leftovers.

This recipe is perfect for an evening where you have to pick up the kids somewhere or run an errand or something. I made it on a Tuesday when my kids had religion until 5:30. Pick-up at 5:30 throws a wrench into my dinner plans. With this recipe I got everything ready to go while they were at religion class and then threw the pan in the oven when we got home. It cooks in 15 minutes. If you have some quinoa ready ahead of time or throw a sweet potato in the microwave, you’ll have everything ready for a super healthy dinner.

I haven’t played around with it much, but I imagine you could change up the vegetables in the recipe and try different spices, too.

Pack up the leftovers for healthy lunches!

Print Recipe
15 Minute Chicken & Veggies
from http://gimmedelicious.com/2016/03/22/15-minute-healthy-roasted-chicken-and-veggies/
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F
  2. Place chopped chicken and veggies on roasting pan
  3. Add the olive oil and seasonings; toss to combine
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender
Recipe Notes

I found the chicken was cooked perfectly in the 15 minutes, but you may need to adjust time slightly.

Enjoy!!

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Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s been about a month since I posted 🙁

 

December kinda kicked my ass this year.

Kids home sick from school, a nasty case of strep throat, my mom’s birthday, and of course Christmas with all the fun things that come with it…going to see the Nutcracker, two Christmas concerts and a Christmas play, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas with family we don’t see on Christmas.

We also decided to take a little road trip to Arlington, VA to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and niece. We drove down on Wednesday (the drive was torture- 6 hours of volume and traffic) and just got home today. We went sightseeing in DC and spent a lot of quality time with them. It always amazes me how close my kids are with my Virginia family. They all enjoy each other so much. In between sightseeing and out-and-about stuff, there was painting and jewelry making, games, cooking, watching movies, walking the dog, going in the hot tub. It was a non-stop party. We even stayed up past midnight last night! Unfortunately, we also have two new cases of strep and some general colds and crustiness. Ugh. Who else but family would welcome a germy family of six for four days in December?

That was a ton of fun, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just feeling like tomorrow might really be my January 1st. No workout today, no food shopping, no prepping for the week ahead. We picked up a pizza on the way home and I scratched out a meal plan somewhere in New Jersey. Luckily we made it home in about 4 hours, but we’re all still wiped out. We have enough milk to get through breakfast, so I’m just looking forward to a shower and pjs.

But I am so excited for the new year. And I don’t think I have ever been this excited for January. The fall is a busy time of year, and then from Thanksgiving to Christmas things just pick up speed. The week between Christmas and New Year’s feels like a limbo land. The bulk of the craziness is over but you can’t really settle back into routine. New Year’s Eve is coming, the kids are off from school, the house is still crazy from Christmas, there’s still more family stuff going on…I will be so happy to do a big, normal food shopping and settle in for a little winter downtime.

I’m also itching to get at some planning and organizing. I have a new planner and calendar I haven’t touched yet, and hope to sit down tomorrow to work on those. (I’m sure organized people have this done already!) I have been reading up on and practicing setting goals and that kind of stuff. I feel the excitement of a new year and a chance to refresh and recommit. In my wonderings I stumbled across the idea of a bullet journal. It sounds like something I need to explore….Have you ever heard of a bullet journal?

I’m also looking forward to settling down to my regular workouts and nutrition. Too many “treats” have me feeling pretty gross. Time to reboot!

I am a week behind in Body Beast. I was supposed to finish up on Saturday, the 7th, but being sick and the holidays and then being away have me off schedule. The timing had been perfect as I was going to start Core de Force on the 9th as my program for the Beachbody Health Bet. But, things aren’t always perfect and don’t always go as planned. I’ll have to overlap the two for a week or so. I am excited to complete Body Beast, and even more excited to get going with Core de Force! I think it will be a nice change. The Health Bet couldn’t come at a better time. I love the added accountability and motivation.

Are you hatching plans for 2017? Making resolutions? I’d love to hear some!

Savory Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash

I found this recipe in my Country Heat eating plan and it’s become a regular. It’s something different, it’s super easy, and it’s protein-veggies-carb all in one pan. We will have it for dinner paired with a salad. Or I’ll make a big batch on Sunday and use it for lunches during the week.

savory-turkey-and-sweet-potato-hash

Print Recipe
Savory Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash
(from Country Heat Eating Plan)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
about 3/4 cup each
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
about 3/4 cup each
Instructions
  1. Heat onion in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes; cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, or until onion is translucent and sweet potato is tender-crisp.
  3. Add turkey; cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through and sweet potato is soft.
  4. Add garlic and thyme. Season with salt (if desired) and pepper (if desired); cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
Recipe Notes

If you're looking for 21 Day Fix container counts, one serving (3/4 cup) counts as 1/2 green, 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1/2 teaspoon.

When I'm looking to woo a child, I omit the peppers 🙁 One day they'll eat them, I'm sure of it. But in the meantime...

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December: New Month, New Goals

December doesn’t seem like a really good time to set goals for some reason, does it? It’s a busy month. Lots of shopping, running around, decorating, baking, socializing, class parties, winter concerts, etc….

december

And you don’t need a new month to set goals. I love that I have learned (and really believe) that any day can be a fresh start, a good day to start anew, a time to set goals. That said, there’s something about a new month, a new year, a Monday, that feels like a fresh start. So, don’t let a Tuesday or March or the 4th of the month keep you from making a new start, but take advantage of those days that just feel like a natural time for it.

I’ve been in a goal setting frame of mind lately. I think it’s an area I neglect. I don’t really set goals, and if I do they’re usually vague. A vague idea of what I want to do. But a lot of the reading I’ve done lately, and things I’ve listened to in podcasts and stuff, has emphasized the importance of clarity. It makes sense to me. So it’s an area I’ve chosen to work on…

This month’s goals are…

  1. To set goals (haha!). Clear ones.
  2. Run 2-3 times a week.
  3. Decorate more for Christmas.
  4. Enjoy the season and avoid the stress.
  5. Read books that will help me grow (at least 10 minutes each day)

www-stayathomefit-com-1

#1 Well, I talked about goal setting. I want to really work on the vision I have for my life. I’m not sure where I’m going. Does this sound crazy? I’m 41; shouldn’t I know? This might be because I’m approaching a time of transition in my life. Next year my youngest will go to kindergarten. Full-day kindergarten. I feel like a phase in my life is coming to a close. (I will not cry right now, I will not cry right now, I will not cry right now) So this raises some questions. What will I do? Will I go back to work? I don’t want to go back to teaching full-time, not yet at least, maybe not ever. I don’t want to get into too much detail here, but this is on my mind. I need to figure out what I want so I can better go about making it happen. I think having a bigger picture kind of goal will help me with goal setting in the different aspects of my life.

#2 I think I need to run more. I love my at-home workouts and I will never give them up. They are my base. They make me feel good, I enjoy them, and they get me the best physical results. But running is good for me in other ways. Mostly it’s good for me because it gets me outside. There are benefits to exercising outside that you just can’t get at home. Fresh air and sunshine are so good for us; even when it’s cold air and clouded sunshine. So I’ll be happy to roll out of bed and go work out in my living room on all those cold winter mornings. But I know I need to get out for it too sometimes. I have house-cat tendencies and I need to make sure I don’t become a full-on hermit sometimes 🙂

#3 This is not to impress anyone but my children. I am low maintenance when it comes to holidays and home decorating. But my children love decorations! I have overheard several conversations over the years between kids about what kinds of decorations kids have at their house. Danny, he’s 4, was especially disappointed at Halloween time. He brought it up again yesterday, and I said, “Well, we put out some pumpkins….And a scarecrow.” The pumpkins are the size of baseballs and they were plopped lamely on the mantle. The scarecrow is about a foot tall and I stuck him behind the piles of crap on the dining room table. I felt guilty even as I said it. So, I have decided to up my game this year to make them happy. They are also easy to please and very appreciative, so I know it won’t take a killer light show or anything.

#4 Again, this one is inspired by my little ones. I don’t want to be stressed or overtired this holiday season, because I hate when I get snappy with them at happy times. I also want to watch Frosty with them and bake with them and have fun with it all.

#5 This is a topic for another day. But I think reading books that are thought-provoking and/or positive and/or encouraging can only be good. Some people might find the idea too touchy-feely or silly or whatever. But I think it’s important to put time into developing as a person. Reading or listening to positive stuff with this intention is an easy step in the right direction.

I’m sure more goals will pop up as I go along, but this is my new month mindset for today.

What are your goals for December?

Do you set goals for yourself?