Making Goals That Last: Keep Your New Year's Resolutions This Year!

Happy New Year! Hope you have had a wonderful holiday season! I'm here again to share a post about making life goals and sticking to them this New Years. 


As I write this, I update this post this year, I am, yet again, sick. Only this time, instead of being snuggled at home with my pup, I am holed up in my home office, getting work done, coughing, and drinking hot lemon water with honey. So long are the days of Christmas break, I am now an office-bound clinician.

Similar to the last few years, I've been drinking my weight in fluids, and resting as much as possible, given my full-time work schedule. My body obviously is on some sort of cycle of sickness. Not surprising, given the time of year, but oh-so inconvenient. I guess it's more motivation to take continued control of my health and wellness. Which means I guess this is a good a time as any to start thinking about my New Years Resolution.

Thankfully, I am not alone. Many, many fellow bloggers are also thinking of their resolutions for the upcoming year, and many have linked up with others to hold themselves accountable. What a brilliant idea!

Setting goals for myself has always been easy...it's the execution and accountability that is the tough part. I know the things I need to work on. I dwell on them throughout the year. When the times come for New Years Resolution, I dive in head first. However, usually within just a short couple of weeks (if even that!), my fire dwindles and my dream dies. That's it! No long drawn-out goodbye, no preparation, nada. It's just gone, and I feel numb. Numb because it's so darn cold outside because it's still the beginning of winter.

I went to a fabulous Goal Setting Workshop through Lululemon in the autumn of 2012. It had a wonderful grid to help me visualize my goals and write them down on paper. Check out their blog section on goal setting. This workshop has obviously stuck with me because I keep coming back to the worksheets and advice three years later (and counting).

This video may be of interest to you if you are wondering about the power of writing down your goals. It may also be worth a listen if you are nervous about making your goals more real, or concrete. This video comes from the Lululemon blog, and is short (only about a minute).



I love the idea of linking up with other bloggers to help hold each other accountable, but before I link up, I want to really set meaningful, manageable goals for the new year, and I suggest you do the same. Further, we need to be setting goals for ourselves; things we want to achieve, not things others want us to achieve, or things we think we should change about ourselves. For example, you might think I should start drinking apple cider vinegar each day, because I heard it's good for me, but if you hate the taste of it, what's the likelihood that you are going to stick with that? And if you hate it so much, is it really worth choking something down that you despise, when you could be making other meaningful changes to your life that will be just as powerful and not completely suck?

My first step is to identify my values and goals for my life overall. It's hard to make a resolution if it doesn't fit with your life plan and values for yourself. At the Goal Setting Workshop, we were provided with a terrific double-sided worksheet to help define these goals. I have adapted the first page slightly as seen below.


get this worksheet from my Google Docs

This worksheet was downloaded straight from the Lululemon blog. If you download the PDF file from the website and have access to Adobe, you can type directly into the form. I prefer writing down my goals with pencil (I'm sure it's something kinesthetic-related, but I don't know what)


get this worksheet from my Google Docs

I find this worksheet fabulous! Something about the set up, the colors, the font...it's all very enticing. It also helps that it comes from Lululemon, as I love them (as evident from my latest Tweet). If this worksheet doesn't work for you, don't be discouraged! When in doubt, create your own! Whatever works for you! But make sure when you do create something that works, maybe share it? Others would love to see it (I know I would!).

This may seem a little overboard for something as mundane and routine as a New Years Resolution, but let's be real...should changing your life for the better feel mundane? Should it be a chore? NO! The New Year should inspire you to change! Change is good! Opportunities are good! You should feel empowered to make these life changes, not trapped. So please, take this seriously, and I promise you, by this time next year, you won't feel like you've failed last year's "goals", nor will you dread expanding your dreams for the upcoming year.

Cheers to making lifestyle changes that last!

What changes/improvements/goals are you making this New Year? Comment to start a conversation!

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Stash Hash: Delicious Post-Holiday Leftover Breakfast!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday week last week! We cooked the majority of the meal at our house, then transported it down to the MIL's. Because that's practical. While I'm all about someone else cooking and hosting, I do love having the chance to cook such a memorable, large meal. The best part? Having leftovers! When I'm a guest at someone's house, I don't get graced with leftovers, which is honestly, the best part. This year, I brought Tupperware down to the MIL's and divvied it up amongst my household, and...my household. The MIL doesn't eat leftovers. Really!

Now, many people lover making new creations with their leftovers, but I've always felt, if I loved the meal the first time, I want to keep savoring it. Well, I had the chance to keep eating my Christmas meal throughout the weekend AND was able to try something new (I had a lot of leftovers). The creation? A delicious Stash Hash for breakfast (Stash - what you have on hand; Hash - hash).

Doesn't that look delicious?

Now this isn't a recipe - more of an inspiration. Basically, I just cooked up some leftovers and other ingredients I had on hand. Check out my Stash Hash "recipe" (more like guidelines) below and try it yourself!


Some more pictures, for good measure...


I had made some green beans for Christmas dinner, and had them for leftovers. I threw these in my omelette - so good! You could make this with other leftover veggies, like broccoli, asparagus, or sweet potatoes!

 This was the star of my meal. The eggs were an afterthought - a great afterthought.

The entire meal took me about 15 minutes. The hash took the longest to cook, but it was so worth it. Especially since I was a bit hung over. This breakfast hit the spot. I added a few strips of leftover ham on the side, because for some reason I don't think a meal is complete unless there are three different categories on the plate. Whatever. It was delicious.

What are you favorite ways to use up leftovers? I'm always on the search for new ideas...

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Tips for the Holiday Season: Smart Tips for Holiday Meals

It’s Game Time. It’s the day everyone’s been waiting for. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, most of us have a big meal planned to share with loved ones. While it’s a fun, heart-warming time, it can also be stressful to say the least. Between menu planning, seating arrangements, awkward or uncomfortable dinner conversations, there’s always something to stress about. I’m here to help alleviate some of that stress. At least with the healthy eating part.


Here are my top tips for maintaining healthy eating for the big event:
  • Eat Breakfast: It may seem counter-intuitive, but eat morning-of. People rationalize not eating by stating they are saving their calories for dinner. Not smart. Since when did these holiday dinners mean engorging yourself with food until you are uncomfortable? Sure, you don’t eat turkey, ham, or stuffing every day, but it doesn’t mean you should be shoveling food into your gullet with a ladle. Be reasonable. I certainly eat more than I normally do on these days, don’t get me wrong. But I care about maintaining my healthy lifestyle more than eating 4 servings of candied yams. Anyway – back to breakfast. Eat it please. Fasting = Overeating. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, yogurt with berries, or a piece of whole-grain toast with nut butter. This will keep you satisfied throughout the morning while you mentally prepare for the arrival of Aunt Bea and Uncle Jim…
  • Socialize: You aren’t entering a competitive eating contest; you are a civilized human being sharing the experience of a holiday meal with your loved ones. Slow down, enjoy your food, but enjoy your company more.
  • Taste Test: I get it. You aren’t going to just have one helping of food. Neither am I, honestly. But at the very least, make sure you are eating the foods that are worthy of more than one serving. Use your first plate as a time to “taste” the spread. And by taste, I mean taste. Take a small dollop of each offering to determine what’s worthy of the inevitable seconds.
  • Save Room for Dessert: For some, dessert is the real main event. Holiday goodies steal the show in our house. After Christmas dinner with the immediate family, we extend the invite to all members of the family (like aunts, uncles, cousins) to join us for dessert. Many people bring their own goodies to share with the crew, so there are plenty of devilish delights to choose from. There’s nothing worse than being so uncomfortably full from dinner that you struggle to fit Grandma’s banana bread in your mouth, even though you’ve been looking forward to it all year. Be proactive and remember last year. Also, use the same mentality with dessert as you did for dinner. If the prospect of all the goodies excites you, do another “taste test”. Try a little bit of several different desserts and share them with others. This is my favorite way to satisfy my sweet tooth.
  • Make it Healthy: if you are tasked with cooking the meal, consider swapping traditional ingredients for healthy alternatives that won’t compromise flavor. So many recipes can be made healthy with simple substitutions, such as whole wheat flour for white flour, applesauce for sugar, or 1% milk for the whole fat version. Click here for more healthy recipe swaps. (greatest.com/health/83-healthy-recipe-substitutions)
  • Bring Something Healthy: If you are heading to someone else’s house for your holiday meal, consider making a side yourself. Not only does this ensure you’ll have a side you love, but you can control how it’s made and what’s in it! I do this every Thanksgiving, as we go to my brother-in-law’s house. I can count on there not being ANY healthy alternatives, and almost no veggies, so I make sure to bring a side I can feel good about. This year, I brought oven-roasted Brussels sprouts and leeks. So delicious –and I got some green on my plate!
  • Share the Love: If you are hosting your holiday meal, consider sharing the leftovers with your guests. “Make a plate” of the holiday meal in containers you don’t mind giving up (maybe pick up some Tupperware just for this) and send them home with your loved ones. This way, you don’t feel obligated to eat all the leftovers in the house. Just make sure to leave some for you.

Any other tips for the Big Day? Let us know in the comments section below!


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Tips for the Holiday Season: Healthy Eating on the Go Part 2

Okay, so you’ve read the tips on healthy eating on the go. You know you should pack some jerky in your bag, along with your water bottle. You know to avoid Wetzel’s Pretzels and that gourmet cupcake stand. And yet, here you are: You forgot your snacks, you haven’t eaten in 7 hours, your stomach is growling, and you’re staring at the Burger King menu. You need a new set of tips; tips on what to eat when you can’t avoid the food court, food truck, food-some-other-establishment. Well don’t fret. I’m here to help.

Here are my top tips for eating healthy at the food court:
  • Wherever you choose to eat, pick options that include lean proteins (chicken, fish) with healthy carbs (whole grains, brown rice) and healthy fats (nuts, olive oil).
  • Remember to curb your cravings by trying a sample. ONE sample.
  • Sharing is caring people. If you are shopping with someone, consider splitting a meal. Serving sizes are not considered in the food industry. You are generally given three times the appropriate serving size when eating out, so either split the meal with a friend, or ask for a to-go container, and save the rest for later.
  • Save your calories for your food, not your beverages. Order a low-cal option to have with your meal. The best option is water (duh).
  • Some meals options include:
o   Lightly seasoned stir-fry veggies with lean chicken, beef, or fish. NOT drenched with sauce and oils. Try with steamed brown rice.
o   Salad with grilled chicken. Pair with a side of non-creamy dressing, such as a vinaigrette. And go easy on the dressing, you want to be able to taste the actual vegetables!
o   Some places offer a soup and sandwich combo, in which you get half a sandwich and a cup of soup. Ask for whole-grain bread for the sandwich. When choosing soup, opt for a broth-based soup.
o    If you can’t avoid it and MUST have something like pizza, look for opportunities to be healthy. Order a thin crust pizza and load it with veggies.

It’s not always easy maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the go, especially during an already chaotic time like the holidays. However, with some simple tips, you can persevere! Save those calories for what really matters, like Aunt Jo’s brownies.

If you missed Part 1 of this post, check it out here!

What are you favorite,  healthy places to eat on the go?

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Tips for the Holiday Season: Healthy Eating on the Go Part 1

If you’re anything like me, you’ve barely made a dent in your holiday shopping list. Now, it’s crunch-time! I’ve been heading to the mall or downtown shopping hubs several times in the past few weeks. Sometimes, I’m “shopping” for hours at a time (I use the term shopping loosely. I tend to wander around overwhelmed and bewildered longer than I actually shop). As you can imagine, I get pretty hungry by day’s end. However, with all the fattening, delectable food choices tempting us throughout the food court, it’s hard to find the healthy choices we know we should be reaching for. 

So what’s a shopper to do?

Here are my top tips for maintaining healthy eating while you are on the go this holiday season:
  • Eat Before You Go: Before heading out to the mall or shops, eat a filling meal. Eating beforehand will keep you energized for the day ahead, while helping to curb cravings. If you eat a nutritious and filling meal ahead of time, you will be better able to avoid those unhealthy options strategically sprinkled throughout the shopping areas.
  • If You’re Hungry, Eat: You’ve been shopping for hours. You are crabby. You are tired. You are famished. Eat and be done with it. Your body needs energy and nutrients to keep going. If you are in between mealtimes, stick with a filling snack that will tide you over until your next meal.
  • Hydrate: Staying hydrated is important while you are on the go. Not only is increasing your water intake important all the time, but this also helps curb your appetite. So often, we think we’re hungry, when really, we are just dehydrated. Don’t let the confusion happen to you!
  • Preparation is Key: Pack yourself some healthy snacks, like a piece of fruit, whole-grain crackers, or a small bag of nuts (serving size people!). If you have snacks on hand you’ll be more likely to reach for those than a bag of chips or cookie.
  •  Avoid Temptation: If you are trying to avoid the food court, don’t go near it! Just the smell of Panda Express is enough to complete derail me. If sweets are your weakness, avoid walking past Mrs. Fields.
  • Or, Give In: If you plan to eat healthy at the food court, but really, really want that teriyaki chicken, walk past the stand and grab a sample. If you are able to satisfy that craving by having a taste, then by all means, curb that craving! Then, get yourself back on track.
Holidays are stressful enough! Employ some of these ideas to keep the stress-eating to a minimum.

Do you have more tips to add? Comment below!

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Cyber Smile Sale!

Happy Cyber Monday Eve! Hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic (US peeps) and your Black Friday was inexpensive and injury-free (US peeps still). In preparation for the mother of all online shopping days, TPT has decided to throw a sale - The Cyber Smile Sale!

From Monday 11/30 through Tuesday 12/1, my entire store will be on sale! And if you plug in the promo code SMILE at checkout, you will receive an additional discount which totals 28% savings on all items! 

Click the button (created by Erin from You Aut-a Know!) below to head directly to my store. For my most popular products, continue below!







   



   

    

Happy first week of December!

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#ThankfulThursday: What Are You Thankful For?

As we get closer to The Big Day, we are constantly being reminded to give thanks. Maybe you've created a list with your kids of all the things you're thankful for. Maybe you've considered volunteering at a homeless shelter the morning of Thanksgiving, to give back to people who don't have as much as you. Maybe you are running a race sometime this week to celebrate and be thankful for your health. All of these are great ways to show how thankful you are. I am here today, to offer you another story for which to be thankful.

#ThankfulThursday is about how we should honor all the things for which we are thankful. During the holidays, this may be especially challenging. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of holiday planning, cooking, traveling, and of course, shopping. But instead, let's reflect today on a story of true courage. A true story of what it means to be thankful.

This is the story of Heather. In 2005, at only 36 years old, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. This diagnosis came just after she gave birth to her daughter, Lily. Without treatment, Heather was given just 15 months to live.


About 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Those with the diagnosis are given, on average, 10 months to live. As a young girl, Heather was exposed to asbestos through fibers carried home by her father's construction work jacket. Asbestos is a material found in consumer and construction products and exposure to this material is believed to be a cause of pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos is still not banned in the United States and Canada.


After her diagnosis, Heather sought treatment from Dr. David Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women's hospital in my city of Boston. Nine years later, Heather continues to thrive. She is an inspiring writer, blogger and advocate for a global ban on asbestos. She has started a blog series Beating the Odds: My Decade of Survivorship to chronicle her past 9 years of treatment, survivorship, and advocacy work. In February 2016, Heather will be celebrating a huge 10 year anniversary since her live-saving lung removal surgery called Lung Leavin' Day. Mark your calendars and check out the link to participate!



To find out more about Heather and her amazing, powerful story, check out her story here.


I want to thank Heather for allowing me to share her exceptionally inspiring story. Being a part of something devoted to encouraging others to share their stories is humbling. Now I turn the initial #ThankfulThursday question back to you... 

What are you thankful for?

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Quickie Post: TPT Sale!

Hard to believe it's already Thanksgiving this week! Then, next week is December!!! Where does the time go?

Starting today, my Thanksgiving-themed goodies are on sale through Tuesday! Check them out below by clicking the image.

     

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Saftey Tips for Trick or Treating

Can you believe it's already mid-October?! Crazy, right?! I'm so unprepared for autumn, it's ridiculous. We still have out ACs in and our summer clothes on. I'm so not ready for the prequel to winter to begin, but alas. 

I'm sure many of you have already started think about Halloween: what your children will be dressed as, what you will be dressed as, how you will (or already have) decorate for the holiday, how to up your pumpkin-carving game, etc. Here's yet another thing to think about: Safety Tips for Trick or Treating.

The following infographic was created by the folks at Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram 24, a dealership around here in Boston (Brockton, MA to be exact). Pin the image below to reference this and share with others!


Here's to a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!

Any additional tips and tricks you'd add to ensure a safe and healthy Halloween? Share below!

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White Trash Tuna Noodle Cassarole

This post is not meant to be offensive, but rather, humorous. My mom used to make this for me as a kid and lovingly called it the same thing. All jokes aside, this is one of my guilty pleasures. I LOVE this meal for dinner after a long day at work. It's quick, it's easy, and it's delicious. What more could you possibly want?

The Basics


You'll also need the ingredients used for the macaroni, according to the box.

Seriously, the easiest dinner ever. Talk about a one pot meal!

The Plan

Start process according to package directions. After the water starts to boil, add the macaroni AND the frozen broccoli. Once the macaroni is cooked, again, according to package directions, complete the box's instructions. After you add and mix the cheesy goodness to the pot, add your canned tuna (completely drained) directly to the pot. "Chop" up the tuna, using your wooden spoon or whatever you're using to mix it, to disperse it evenly. Make sure everything in the pot is mixed thoroughly and serve warm.


I usually eat this as the main dish, sometimes with an additional side of veggies. You could omit the tuna (but why would you?) and serve this along side another dish, such as meatloaf or hot dogs. You can also use other veggies instead of frozen broccoli like peas, or edamame. Depending on the veggies, you may need to cook them beforehand, to ensure they are cooked through. I've found, with most frozen veggies, 7-10 minutes in boiling water with the macaroni is more than enough time to cook.

What's so great about this meal is that I almost always have all the ingredients on hand. So when I run out of dinner options, am too lazy too cook anything elaborate, or need something unfussy, this is my go-to. If you try this recipe, I'd love to know your thoughts!

I'm also linking up with the following link-up.

What are you last minute dinner recipes? Any "white trash" favorites of your own? Share below!

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