Good Habits Lead to Accomplished Goals

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Well, here we are wrapping up the end to another year and today also happens to be my birthday.  As I reflect upon the 2019 I can say I have definitely learned a lot about myself, becoming more clear on who I am, what I want for myself, and what I need to work on.  This is the time of year when everyone starts considering resolutions to do or stop doing something for the near year.  I prefer to set goals throughout the year instead of just proclaiming a resolution where I am no longer going to continue a bad habit or start a good one.  The true success behind accomplishing the desire is the game plan and action behind it but most of all, making it believable and achievable in your mind.

To state your are going to lose 50 pounds or quit smoking is a big commitment right out the gate.  I find setting small goals is the best way to find bigger success.  Maybe set your goal to lose 6 pounds by Valentines Day and another 4 by St. Patrick’s Day.  So by mid-March you are already 10 pounds down! If you want to quit smoking just steadily cut back when and where you smoke.  Be realistic so you can stick with it, for example, if you want to drink more water and you barely drink one bottle of water a day now…then you probably will not be able to go straight into drinking 7 bottles of water daily and sticking with it long term.  Actually, I highly recommend habit stacking when setting a goal like increasing water intake.  I always drink a bottle of water when I first get up in the morning (I have it by my bedside ready) and then another on my drive to work.  Usually I drink another on the commute home as well, so that is a guaranteed 3 bottles that I just associate with other activities I am already doing.  I have done it for so long that I just automatically have a bottle by my bedside and always grab one when I head out to my car to drive anywhere. Habit stacking is one of the best tools I have found for building productive morning and evening routines. I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear to learn more.

Too often I see people looking for the quick and easy way to success only to end up with more problems than anticipated.  I have a friend who has been on prescription sleep aids for over 30 years and the side effects of those medications are not good.  When I ask him what else he has tried to help the situation I realize it isn’t much, he has just chose to take the pill because it’s easy.  The real work is in the healthy option which would mean, cutting back on alcohol, losing weight, exercising more, removing the electronics from your bedroom, having a healthier night-time routine and not eating or drinking caffeine too close to bedtime.  The easy button is not usually the best way. How bad do you want it?  What would your life look like when you do accomplish this goal?  Being able to fully imagine and believe the positive affects of the success in your life is helpful when trying to stick to the steps of a goal.  However, we are all human and setbacks will occur.

Be gentle with yourself and understand that change is not an overnight occurrence. It takes time to build good, healthy habits and routines.  You may start off determined and strong for a month and then have a whole week where you are tired and just don’t care.  Instead of beating yourself up over that one week and giving up, get back on it and start again.  If you continue to do well three weeks at a time and fall off on the fourth, I promise at the end of the year you will still be better off than where you started.  Our whole lives we have been falling and getting back up again, why is it acceptable for children but not adults?  We are all experiencing each new day for the first time.  I have never been 42 before!  I am navigating my life at 42 years old for the first time today and I can promise you I will probably fuck something up! Hahaha! So give yourself grace and learn to laugh at the learning process, but never give up and never stop setting goals to better yourself.

With love, health, and happiness for the new year,




Habit Stacking

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I often hear people talk about wanting to start a new diet or exercise routine or maybe wanting to make more time for other things like reading or meditation.  Then, on the reverse end of the spectrum I hear people discuss the struggle of trying to quit bad habits like smoking.  Often the discussions involve words like motivation, willpower and discipline, but the truth is it really is not about any of those things, its more closely related to creating a habit through cues and routines.  The best term I have heard used for the process is habit stacking, taking a routine you already have that you like and is working well for you and stacking new habits on top of it to create an endless stream of productivity.   The end result?  A life you love!

Most of our lives are built on little habits that are triggered by cues that we may not even be aware of.  At noon you may eat lunch even if you are not hungry, when watching a movie you may eat popcorn even if you are not hungry…brand name companies have become experts at connecting fun activities like socializing with friends, going to the movies or going to a sporting event with their hot dog, beer or soft drink.  Even in the grocery isles we can see how the store is set-up and product placement in order to boost sales of the more expensive items.  So knowing this about our world around us and knowing that this process works why not use it in other areas for your own advantage?

I have been habit stacking for a few years now and the results have been amazing for me.  I have also become more aware of certain cues or triggers for bad habits I had created in life, once you are aware you can modify.  I arrive home from work and instantly want to put on comfortable clothes, get some food and relax on the couch in front of the TV after a long day.  I allow myself one hour of whatever show I am currently in to and then the goal was to shut the TV off, clean up my dishes and head down the hall to my bedroom for my nightly routine.  However, in this process I already saw bad habits starting to creep in.  I would get really interested in a show and decide one more episode was okay but I had also created a habit of eating while watching so I would reach for ice cream or a cookie if I would continue to watch.  I am in a current job that is a lot of sitting at a desk all day and so my activity level has greatly reduced in the last year.  With no activity and more snacking in front of the TV it was easy to predict what the future would hold, so changes had to be made.

Goals are easy to have, the steps on how to get there are the keys to success.  This is where habit stacking comes into play.  My goal is to get more active and make sitting in front of the TV and snacking less rewarding.  When I drive to and home from work I always take a bottle of water and drink it on the drive.  That way I know I am getting at least 34 ounces of water automatically.  This is a healthy choice that feels automatic and like a reward, so I have tried to stack a new habit of health onto that.  As soon as I get home instead of changing into my comfort clothes I already have my workout clothes laid out and I change and go for a walk before I head for the kitchen for food.  As part of my nightly routine I lay out workout clothes for the next day.  When I get back from a walk I am more likely to choose a healthier meal and less likely to reach for the sweet snacks when watching TV because the desire to keep the healthy stream of choices going is greater with all the work I have already put in.  In my morning routine I lay a new book I am excited to read on my bed after I make it so that I am less likely to spend extra time in front of the TV in the evening.  Looking forward to reading before bed makes the reward of reading after TV a better reward instead of doing more of the same.  This process may not work as well for someone else, but everyone’s cues, routines and rewards will be different.

I already had a habit of drinking coffee with too much french vanilla creamer on my way to work each morning and I knew it wasn’t healthy.  Now, I get the same sweet flavor without the caffeine and sugar in a vanilla chai black tea. All of these little changes by themselves do not seem like much but when you start adding them together, over time if I stick with them and build upon them it will add up to some pretty awesome results.  Less calories in my coffee, a walk every night, more time reading instead of being in front of the TV, choosing healthier dinner because I already put in the effort with my walk…this creates a natural stacking of great habits that will spill over into even more areas of life.

I have a love of getting manicures and pedicures, I also love getting my teeth cleaned about every six months (weird I know).  When I have pretty fingers and toes and nice white teeth I am more likely to put the effort into myself in other ways as well.  This domino effect is natural for everyone and if you use it to your advantage it can get you where you want to be.  The time of day, the environment and other good habits already in motion are good keys to stack upon.  When considering a new habit pick the time, place and what habit would be the easiest to stack on (before or after) in order to make it stick.  Time of day and environment we are in often set the tone and give cues for how we respond without us realizing it.  Ask yourself what habits you perform in certain rooms of the house.  Maybe you have a favorite reading chair or maybe your couch is where you are lazy, binge watching TV and playing video games.  Sometimes moving the furniture around and redefining your space can make it easier to create a new, healthier habit.

Also, just like placement of products at a grocery store or creating mental associations in advertising, we can change our environments.  Place bottled water on the top shelf of the fridge for easy access and put sodas or beer in the bottom drawers or out in a fridge in the garage where it is harder to access than the healthy stuff. Place a bowl of fruit on the counter for easy access instead of a plate of cookies.  Every little change will add up to big results over time and small changes are more likely to be lifetime changes than if we attempt to start a whole new diet and throw away everything in the pantry.  Small steps lead to bigger and lasting results so get stacking!

With love, happiness and health,


Changing Your Mind

I joined the Beachbody program and my new coach, April, has been very supportive.  I started a very beginner level workout yesterday and did a little more advanced today.  Funny how the most basic moves can make you sore the next day.  I am definitely not using all my muscle groups as often as I should in my day to day life.  I am sure I will be even more sore tomorrow.

I find myself looking for ways to stay motivated and determined in this process.  I don’t want to make excuses and skip a day of exercise or allow myself to eat something I know I shouldn’t.  I am realistic and know this will inevitably happen at some point in this process and probably more than once.  So I have started research, because my psychology brain knows this is a mental obstacle.  Our minds and bodies revert back to what it knows when times get tough.  Well, my body knows that eating tacos and chips with cheese dip with an ice cold beer is what I normally do when times get hard.  It also knows that curling up with a good book or watching a movie is more my jam after work than getting in front of the TV for a workout.  So how do we change our mind and condition ourselves to revert to new norm?  How do we create better habits?

I believe this is where phrases like, practice makes perfect, or stated facts like, it takes 21 days to create a habit, come in to play.  My research has brought me back to a book that I bought on audio a few years ago and never started.  I recently completed Girl, Wash Your Face and loved listening to it on my way to work each morning.  So now I am going to start The Power of Habit:  Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg.  Maybe in this book I can gain some new knowledge that I can apply to my current attempt to get healthier.  I am always looking to learn new things to apply to my life, and I need all the help I can get when it comes to creating healthier eating habits and exercising more regularly.


How have you stopped bad habits and created more healthy habits in your life?

With love, happiness and healthy habits,






Fasting 21 days

I have decided to do a special fast for the next 21 days. In this fasting period I plan to spend more time meditating instead of eating.  There are multiple issues I plan to battle in taking on this fast.  I feel that I have become too dependent on food in my life to bring me comfort.  I feel in order to be happier and healthier I need to remind myself that food is simply to fuel my body and not a hobby.  Since I am very busy working two jobs I cannot go completely without food.  My plan is to eat very minimal with fruits, vegetables, and water.

My hope is that I will not only change my dependency on food for more than just fuel, but also become happier and healthier mentally & physically.  When the hunger or cravings become strong or I feel tempted I plan to turn to meditation and prayer.  I hope this process will also help me realize that I can be strong enough to overcome my stress, worries or fears on my own, without turning to habits like eating to self sooth instead of actually being hungry.  Just like some people may depend on smoking, drinking or medications to overcome boredom, stress, or anxiety.  Usually when we can identify a bad habit we can monitor ourselves and each time we turn to the habit ask why?  What is going on in that moment that made us reach for the snack, cigarette, drink, or Xanax?  Once you can identify the trigger then you can reroute yourself.

I realize that I often reach for food out of habit and boredom.  When I am at my desk working on my computer, studying for school, or watching TV I find myself reaching for food even if I am not really hungry.  Keeping healthy snacks is not the goal here. Eating only when I am hungry is my goal.  Letting my body feel hungry is not a bad thing. So I have decided to stop the habit by being more aware of how I am feeling when I am working, studying or watching TV and not allow myself to just zone out.  By fasting for 21 days I will be more aware of what my body really needs and when it really needs it.  Turning to prayer and meditation creates an inner peace within us.  With practice we learn that we can naturally sooth ourselves.  Being able to self sooth is like a muscle that needs to be trained in order to get stronger.  If we constantly reach for other methods that muscle begins to atrophy.  Stop turning to food, cigarettes, alcohol or medications & drugs to help you cope.  Learn to depend on yourself.  Join me in this 21 day fast and rid your life of some unhealthy habits.

In Happiness, Health, and Strength for a Better YOU