Set a SMALL goal

Set yourself up for success by setting SMALL goals.

Give yourself permission to try the goal out. Make it short term. That’s the S in SMALL — short term. If your goal is to dance to one song a day, set your intention to dance each day for the next week, or the next month. At the end of that time, you can then decide if you will continue, figure out what to tweak if you need to, or try something different if you want. You get to evaluate if it works for you and if you want to carry on.

If your goal is to meditate, you could set your time frame for the next 5 days or the next 5 weeks. Your walking goal could be just for this week. Focusing your efforts over a shorter time period can help you stay on goal. Make your goal SHORT TERM.

The next requirement is to make your goal manageable on the busiest of days. The M in SMALL is — manageable. If your goal is manageable on the busiest of days, you can smile when life happens and say “I did it anyway.” Maybe you decided you wanted to walk. Instead of saying you’ll walk for an hour, set your goal at 10 minutes or more. This way if you’re rushing from one appointment to another, you can fit a 10 minute walk in and celebrate. Or your goal could be just wearing the pedometer every day. Habitually wearing your pedometer is manageable and may even motivate you to park further away or take the stairs see the steps add up. Dancing to one song a day is almost always manageable even if you’re stuck in a chair — wave your arms to the beat. Make your goal MANAGEABLE.

The A in SMALL is — Active. The goal itself is taking the action. Losing 50 pounds is not an active goal as you can’t just walk down the street dropping pounds left and right. It takes many actions and choices to lose the weight. Focus on what actions and activities you want to take to support a healthier weight. A goal of dancing to one song a day is active. A goal of measuring or weighing your food is active. A goal of wearing your pedometer or getting at least 10 minutes of walking in every day is active. What action can you take? Will you? Make your goal ACTIVE.

The first L in SMALL is — lifestyle fit. Make your goal something you might do for a lifetime. Running a marathon might be a lifestyle fit but walking is more likely to be an everyday activity you can do for the rest of your life. Instead of banning all desserts, consider setting your goal at measuring your ice cream, or always splitting a dessert at a restaurant. The goal of weight loss is not to lose pounds but to gain a healthier lifestyle so you can enjoy each day. Make your goal a LIFESTYLE FIT.

The last L in SMALL is — leveraged. It may be hard to change habits so if you can leverage your small goal by building it on or around an existing habit or behavior you’ll be ahead of the game. Remembering to dance to one song in the middle of the day may be hit or miss but turning on the music while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning could be an easy fit. Using measuring spoons and ladles to serve your starches will give you an idea of portion size without trying; after all you have to scoop them anyway, so why not use a tool that measures portions. Placing your pedometer near your watch, keys, or phone can make it that much easier to remember to put it on. Set your goal so it’s LEVERAGED by actions you’re taking already.

Stop setting yourself up for failure. Instead of setting goals that may not work, set SMALL goals.

You could consider making your SMALL goals into habits you want to build or change. A note about habits – it does NOT take 21 days to build a habit. I’m not speaking from personal experience, there is research* that shows, on average, a habit takes 66 days to build. The actual number of days needed to build a specific habit will depend on you and the behavior.

The research found a range of 18 to 254 days (yes! yes! I so agree). Some participants were unable to build a habit as the research ended before the habit was formed (in other words, it can take a really long time). In general, healthy drinking habits (such as drinking water) were easier to build than exercising (running for 15 minutes or doing 50 sit-ups). What I found most interesting was that the eating habits were harder to create then both drinking and exercise. Hmmm, that might explain a few things.

Set SMALL goals:

Short term, for the next week or the next 30 days
Manageable on the busiest of days
Active, the goal itself is taking the action
Lifestyle fit, something you might do for a lifetime
Leveraged, built on, around, or in addition to an existing habit

 

How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science) Huffington Post

Busting the 21 days habit formation myth ‘Health Chatter’: The Health Behaviour Research Centre Blog

*How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world by Lally, van Jaarsveld, Potts, & Wardle, 2010

Dance to one song a day

You may wonder why I started off with dance as your first small step to weight loss.  I could have suggested you start walking or go to the gym or any number of ways to become more active and burn those calories.  But dancing isn’t just for burning calories. Dancing can change your attitude and change your outlook.  Dancing can improve your mood and reduce stress.

Dancing also has been shown to improve memory and balance, strengthen decision-making skills, and increase levels of serotonin (that feel-good hormone that helps emotional balance). Dancing may even spark your creative side.

The studies that have been done on how dance affects are mental and physical well-being have looked at more time spent dancing then just one song a day, but we’re talking small steps here so start with one song.

If you’re interested in moving to more than one song, check out local opportunities to move and groove with others.  Your local gym may have a Zumba® (make sure you don’t go deaf while you’re working to get the rest of you healthier though) or a dance exercise class.  My gym has line dancing and even a class to move to the beat in the pool.  Join a community group for ballroom or line dancing.  You usually don’t have to be part of a couple to enjoy, but if you can get your partner to go, that’s another great benefit.

If you’re not quite ready to step out and move your groove thing in public, check out YouTube.  They have instructional videos to show you how and where to step and some good tunes to dance to.

So put this blog down, turn up the music and dance to one song today. Keep dancing to at least one song every day for the next 31 days (or 31 years).

the WHAT of tracking

You want to track. You intend to track. But, what do you track?

Don’t say everything. Unless you’re already tracking close to everything, everything might be too much.  Since tracking helps you focus your attention and energy on changing behavior and habits, consider what you want to change.  Then track that.

You could track…

individuals walking shoes

Your steps: If your goal is to get more steps, then tracking the number of steps you get each day is important.  If you don’t know how many you did yesterday, then how will you know you got more steps in today unless you track it. Check out how 100 more steps add up.

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner10 minutes of activity: If your goal is to move more, you could track your time in 10 minutes blocks of physical activity.  A walk around the block for your morning break could be one check-mark. Vacuuming the house could be another couple of marks. Walking the dog, yet another.  Soon you’ll want to mark off one more block then you did yesterday, or you’ll make the effort to get at least one in today. Change it up.

 

green and red healthy foodYour servings of fruits & veggies: If your goal is to eat 5 or more servings of fruits & vegetables each day, then give yourself a gold star for every serving.  Soon you might be planning your weekly menu around your veggies to ensure you get your gold stars. Increase your plant slant.

 

water with mint, cucumber, and limeYour water: If you’re trying to make water your go-to beverage choice, tracking the number of glasses or ounces you grab each day can help.  Celebrate and mark each time you choose water over soda.  Drink up.

 

use the remote control to change channels on TelevisionYour TV time:  Your tracking goal doesn’t just have to be about increasing the better choices. Sometimes tracking can help you decrease behaviors that you want to change.  With a goal of no more than two hours of recreational screen time each day, you could track your TV time to identify your baseline watching and then make changes from there.  Remember, I may have written TV, but this could include your computer, smartphone, and tablets too.  What’s in your day that shouldn’t be?

 

bigstock woman decision donut fruitYour emotions, feelings, level of satisfaction, or stress:  Tracking creates awareness about choices, situations, and behaviors.  If you track your emotions or stress level before you eat, you could identify a trend that when you feel bored, you reach for crunchy snacks.  After certain situations, you note that you’re feeling extremely stressed, and you go for chocolate.  If you track your satisfaction level during meals, you may find that you stop eating when you feel comfortable and not waiting until you feel full. Make each day delicious.

WHAT will you track this week?

keep, let go, begin in 2016

I love the week between Christmas and New Years.  It’s a great time to dream about what I can accomplish in 2016.  But it’s also a time to look back and see what worked, what didn’t, and move forward.  I don’t set resolutions, but I do choose a motto for the new year.  I also look at what I want to KEEP, LET GO, and BEGIN in the next year.

weight_loss_tracking_for_small_steps

KEEP Tracking — Okay, I did let the tracking go over the last couple of weeks, but I’m going to keep tracking my food, my treats, and my activity.

 

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner, isolated on white background

LET GO of excuses — There will always be more to do in re-establishing my organizing business here in Pennsylvania.  I will let go of the excuse that I’m too busy, or that I’ll just finish this or that before I go to the gym or for my walk.

 

illustration depicting a sign post with directional arrows containing a life choice concept. Blurred background.

BEGIN asking — Whether it’s asking how a meal is prepared or asking for additional support on my journey, this year I’m going to ask more questions and make more requests.

 

What will you Keep, Let Go, and Begin this week?


 

Start 2016 off with a bang!!

GO - Get Organized in January and save 50%.  Keep what you love, let go of the rest.

Join a party and clear the clutter.

make room for the new year with Dhucks Closet Clearing party.  You'll love what you keep.

 

declare your freedom from the piles of paper with Dhucks Paperwork Parties.  You'll be able to find what you keep.

 

 

 

 

Offer expires 1/30/2016.

 Use GO2016! to add a promotional code discount to the total

(right hand box once you begin the checkout process).

you know you should, but you don’t

Are you struggling to do something about your weight or your health you know you should, But you just can’t seem to stick to it longer than the one day?  You’re not alone.  Here are some things you can do:

Turn the should into want toChange the words you use.  It can make a difference in your willingness to take the action.  Instead of sayingI should go for a long walk every day,” say “I want to go for a long walk every day.”

Prevent all-or-nothing thinking –
Add flexibility to your goal.  In addition to “I want to go for a long walk every day” tack on “or as often and for as long as I can.”

Get specific – Include the where, when and who.  “I want to go for a three-mile walk every morning before 8” or “I will walk at 4:30 pm on Tuesdays with Janet and we’ll meet at the park.”

two women walking

 

What will you change or add this week?

 

Stop living life for what’s around the corner & start enjoying the walk down the street. 

Grant L. Miller

if you want more potassium, grab this instead

When I get leg cramps I tend to grab a banana, but there are more ways to get potassium than you may have realized.

Forget the sports drink after a hard work out – grab your fruits and vegetables.  They’re a much better source of the vitamins and minerals you need.

But, why is potassium important?

Potassium is a mineral that is found in most foods. It helps your body in several ways. Potassium helps to balance fluids and minerals in your body. It also helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure. Potassium helps your muscles contract and your nerves function normally.  http://www.drugs.com/cg/potassium-content-of-foods-list.html 

 There is also indication that increased fruit and potassium consumption is associated with stronger bones.  A diet rich in potassium may decrease the risk of stroke and kidney stones.   It can also help with keeping blood pressure down.

It’s recommended that an adequate intake of potassium for men and women, ages 19+ is 4,700 milligrams (mg), but with the average American diet, we’re not getting enough.  This doesn’t mean take a supplement, this means eat more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of potassium (unless your doctor has specifically told you to stay away from potassium rich foods).

Foods such as:

  • 1 cup cooked beans (more on dried beans)
    • white beans (1189 mg)woman shopping for vegetables
    • edamame (970 mg)
    • lima beans (707 mg)
  • 1 cup steamed greens
    • Swiss chard (961 mg)
    • spinach (839 mg)
    • beet greens (1300 mg)
  • 1 cup baked, cubed acorn squash (899 mg)
  • 1 medium baked potato with skin (751 mg)
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato with skin (542 mg)
  • 3 ounces of cooked halibut  (449 mg)
  • 1 medium banana (425 mg potassium)
  • 1/2 papaya (390 mg)
  • 3 ounces of baked or broiled salmon (319 mg)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (312 mg)
  • 1 medium raw tomato (290 mg)
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms (280 mg)
  • 1/4 of a medium avocado (245 mg)
  • 1 small orange (240 mg)

Various sites provided differing amounts of potassium in the foods above.  That’s okay since you’re not necessarily trying to add your potassium up to reach 4,700 milligrams exactly.  The goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Reach for these foods to get the vitamins and minerals you need to get and stay healthy & happy.  Also keep in mind, how you cook it is important.  Stay away from boiling.  Instead bake, broil, grill or lightly steam them.  Of course, some you won’t even need to cook.

Here are the sources I used for my list:

Huffington Post – Foods With More Potassium Than a Banana

Drugs.com – Potassium Content of Foods List

WebMD – Are You Getting Enough Potassium?

Get the Facts_ Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines - Sodium_Dietary_Guidelines

When you find information about potassium there is usually a link to information on sodium.  If you’re  interested in learning more about salt in your diet?  Check out the CDC’s Get the Facts –  Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines.

 

 

 

What potassium rich foods will you reach for this week?

 

Organizing Ideas for Getting Your Potassium

Make a meal plan this week around the foods listed above.

Put 5-7 of the foods listed above on your shopping list now.  If you don’t have a shopping list, start one.  You can use:

  • sticky note on your refrigerator – Your family as well as you can add to it, and you can grab it when you’re headed out the door to go shopping.
  • white board on your refrigerator –  Again you and your family can add to it, then you can take a picture of it before you head out.
  • there’s an app for that.  I use ShopShop which allows me to email or text or share with another app user.
  • if you’re using a meal planning app or program, there’s probably a shopping list feature built in.  Use it!
  • join the Paperwork Party on Saturday (May 30th) and make the time to finally create that master shopping list you’ve been meaning to.  Click here to register.
  • What do you use for a shopping list?

Pre-cut, -chop, -wash, and prepare several snacks from the foods above.  You’re more likely to reach for the healthier snack if it’s ready to eat.  If you have to fix it, it’s probably too late.

don’t let yesterday’s dreams get stuck in your closet

Your Closet BEFORE word cloud

Your closet reflects your thoughts, beliefs, hopes, dreams and opinions of yourself.  Make your closet a reminder of how great you are right now.

Do you have clothes in your closet or stored away that you’ve kept for that someday when you’re back to a size…?  Did you keep some “fat” jeans just in case you gained it back? Get rid of them.  Start living in the present. Face each day with a closet full of clothes that fit and make you feel great about you.  Get out of the past and don’t worry about the future. LIVE TODAY!

Don’t let yesterday’s dreams get stuck in your closet, reminding you of what you thought you were going to do.  Focus on the clothes you enjoy wearing now.  The clothes that feel good on, that fit when you move, that give you a spark of joy & energy when you wear them–those are the clothes you should create the space for today.  LIVE TODAY!

 

Are you willing to create a closet that supports you?

Organizing Ideas for today’s closet

Create a wardrobe capsule – check out:

A great tool to help you choose your wardrobe a step at a time – My Wardrobe Genius: a personal clothing management assistant

 

closet clearing - is this your closet - join my virtual closet clearing - image

 

Schedule a date and time to go through your clothes and unstick those dreams

Join me and others on Saturday August 1, 2015 at 2 pm – 4 pm Eastern (use a time zone converter to find your local time).

I’m hosting a Closet Clearing Party and I’ll be there to offer motivation, encouragement, and answers to your questions.

Commit to living TODAY!  Register and make your closet a priority.

why try

Why keep trying
to make the better choices?

Try because:
You want to walk, run, fly, dance
You still have places to go and things to do
You have people you want to enjoy
You have work you want to do
You have gifts to share
You’re alive

Keep going!

What are your reasons for making better choices?

Organizing Ideas for motivation

Post a picture(s) of your answer to the question — What are your reasons for making better choices? — in a location where you’ll see it every day.  Make this a positive picture or at the very least non-judgmental.   Don’t post a picture of yourself, if every time you look at it you say something negative about yourself.

Journal about your reasons.  Find your reasons that you want to make the healthier choices.  Not why you should or why someone else wants you tobut your internal reasons for making the changes.

Make it a game.  Draw out the path you want to take, just like a board game.  Draw in those spaces where you wait out a turn (or choice), make a harder choice, go back a few squares, get an extra reward, or whatever your imagination can come up with to positively move you forward.

eyes still bigger than your stomach?

Small Steps grilling potatoes of a reasonable size - DhucksWe got our new grill!!!

Grilling is a great way for Steve and I to make healthier choices and simplify summer eating. We (all right, it’s usually Steve) throws lots of veggies on the grill (sometimes even fruit). Enough vegetables to add to a slow cooker dish or as a flavorful side in a meal later in the week.

On our first night as grill owners, we chose steak and baked potatoes. Steve brought out two small potatoes as our bakers and my first reaction was “not enough”. They in fact were enough and very tasty, but my eyes are still bigger than my stomach. My inner five-year old still yells for MORE, but here are some strategies I use:

  • Acknowledge that I feel/think I want more, but the smaller portion is really sufficient and enough.
  • Give permission ahead of time to have a second helping if I’m still hungry afterwards.
  • Measure! Using measuring cups, spoons, and the scale, helps keep portion creep at bay.
  • Use smaller plates and glasses. Check out my YouTube videos on 3 ways to lose 10 pounds:

What strategies can you use to keep your eyes smaller than your stomach this week?

 

Organizing Ideas for reasonable portion sizes

Move your larger dinnerware up to the top shelf and keep your smaller plates, bowls and glasses within easy reach.

Keep your food scale out on the counter and easy to use.

Serve your food buffet style instead of family style.  Use measuring spoons and ladles for serving utensils.

quote if at first you don't succeed, find out why - stephen covey

revisit & revise

collection of forks with vegetables and fruitLast week I talked about putting your fork down, which then led me to revisit the concept of not putting food in my mouth when I have food in my mouth (if there’s food in your mouth).  Sometimes we’ve made changes and found strategies that worked, but over time, we may have drifted away from using them.  It’s now time to go back and revisit one strategy, change or idea that worked for you.  Put it back in play this week.

In addition to focusing on putting my fork down and finishing my food one mouthful at a time, I’m looking at my habits around what and when I drink.  In the morning, I drink coffee, and that’s not going to change (at least this week), but I do want to revise what I reach for in the late afternoon.  As the days transition into summer, it’s time to make water more exciting than my other options.  I could drink more water by:

  • Adding mint leaveswater with mint, cucumber, and lime
  • Adding fresh or frozen berries, cherries, or other favorite fruit
  • Choosing mineral water with a slice of orange
  • Adding cucumbers
  • Making flavored ice cubes from fruit juice (I miss my lemon tree!).

 

What change or strategy will your revisit?
What habit or behavior could you revise?

 

Organizing Ideas for choosing water

Pull out your favorite pitcher and fill it up in the morning.  Either place it front and center in the refrigerator (blocking your previous beverage choices) or put it on the counter with your best water glass.

Prep the mint, cucumber, or fruit ahead of time so that’s it’s easy to add.

Challenge family and friends to find refreshing and tasty zero-calorie ways to liven up your summer beverage.

Track the amount of water you get each day or gain awareness of what’s in your other options — drink up.