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.


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

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

don’t give up, tweak it

Is your small step working? – keep it

If it’s not working then – tweak it

Previously I asked can small steps really help? The answer was “of course!”

But, let’s check-in.  Are you still taking that small step?

YES! It’s easy to do – maybe it’s time to add another small step.

Yes, but I have to work at it – keep going, it’s important to build that habit.

No, can’t seem to make it work – TWEAK it.  It may not be ABCs of motivation footprint small stepa small enough step.  It may not be early enough in the habit cycle to make the desired change possible.  You could change the time of day, how often you commit to doing it, etc.  Tweak it.

Last week I committed to 5 minutes of meditation and visualization.  I had originally thought of taking 5 minutes first thing in the morning and making it a formal meditation session.  Never got around to it.  Instead I found that a few minutes of visualization while I was starting on the treadmill set the stage for a great workout.  I also chose a short mantra that I could silently say along with a short breathing meditation whenever I needed a quick pick-me-up.

I needed to tweak my small step in order for it to work.


How can you tweak your small step?


Check It Out

The difference between acceptance and giving up

PWP colored three benefits info









BOOKS about the power of small steps

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It
by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.



Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently
by Caroline L. Arnold


One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way
by Robert Maurer Ph.D.

make the most of your gym membership (or exercise equipment)

Single purple gift box with silver ribbon on white background.Did you get exercise equipment for Christmas?

Did you ask Santa for a yoga class (or Zumba)?

Did you find a gym membership in your stocking?


Do you have everything you need to successfully use it this year?  Here are some things you can do to increase the likelihood that it gets used.



  • Set it up permanently.  Even if the equipment is made to break down for easy storage, the time it takes to set up eventually will be a great excuse to skip your exercise.
  • bigstock home gym treadmill elliptical Make your exercise spot a destination.  Make your environment welcoming, supportive and motivating.  Don’t put your treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical in the basement or out in the laundry room, unless the view draws you in each time.  Some paint, posters, and other decorations can make your area a destination to enjoy.
  • Define success through smaller goals.  Instead of promising to exercise for an hour every day, commit to starting out with 15 minutes three days a week or something similar.  As my life coach, Carole Billingham, told me years ago – under promise and over perform.



  • Choose something you love to do. Or try out different classes to see if both the activity and the instructor are a good fit for you.bigstock exercise class small
  • Schedule it first.  Enter your classes on your planner/schedule now.  Schedule it for the next three months.  As other appointments come up, schedule around your classes.  Be sure to keep some time before and after the class as a buffer so that you can transition from one appointment to the next.
  • Set your alarm.  Use your phone or an alarm clock to remind you to get ready and go to your class.  If you have a tendency to lose track of time, an alarm will be useful in refocusing for the next activity.



  • Grab a buddy.  Having an exercise buddy can definitely help get you to the gym, especially on those days when any excuse will do to keep you away.  Accountability to someone else, as well as, the support and encouragement that a buddy provides can make the difference.Portrait of a smiling female trainer with clipboard pointing tow
  • Take advantage of any complimentary training sessions offered.  Most gyms have staff who will show you around the machines and may offer a 30 minute personal training session.  Take it.
  • Make it a habit.  Find a spot in your day where going to the gym makes sense for you and stick to it.  Even if your original exercise plan can’t be followed because of an injury or not having enough time, modify your work out and keep going to the gym.  This will build the habit of walking through those gym doors.

I got a gym membership for Christmas and was excited to get back into a routine.  However, because of a chronic back problem I had to go for physical therapy (PT).  For now, I’m restricted to only the PT exercises.  I was worried that I’d lose my motivation if I wasn’t going to the gym regularly.  Then I realized, I can still go to the gym (building the habit) and do my PT exercises.  When I’m ready to get back on the elliptical, it won’t be much of a change — I’ll have the habit of walking through those doors.  Make the most of your gym membership!

May this year bring all that you need to be
healthy and happy!

Happy New Year 2015 colorful triangles

What change do you want to see?

Check It Out

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Gym Membership from ultimate geek girl

I’m trying out the iPhone app – Habit Builder.  Share your favorite health app with me (and I’ll add it to the list next week).  They also make an app for Android.


bigstock-Believe-24514889Courage to Create Your Life on Purpose

Email me to see if lifestyle coaching is right for you.

there’s more to the equation

You’ve probably heard or seen the basic weight loss equation

less food plus more activity equals weight loss

But I’ve discovered there’s a bit more to that equation:

less food plus more activity plus less stress plus more support equals weight loss

(& maintenance)

This week, I will be working on less stress and better ways of dealing with the stress (going for a walk, taking time with friends, getting the next step of the project done, setting more realistic expectations, saying ‘no’, making a self-care appointment and keeping it,  etc).

Which part of the equation would you like to focus on this week?

Check It Out

Personal request:  If you’re on Facebook would you like my page — Your Own Slice of Paradise — and share my posts.  We’re selling our home in Hilo, Hawaii and moving to Pennsylvania.  Steve has actually been there since March and it’s time for me to join him.  Your Own Slice of Paradise is my way of getting the word out about the house (plus guest cottage) and sharing what I’ve loved (and will miss).

PS – I will continue to write (and live) Small Steps and my Tips & Tricks.

Leave a comment and share part of the equation you’ll focus on. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.


Do you ever mention that you’ll do something once you lose the weight?  Do you put off doing X until you can fit in a size Y; delay learning how to do X until you’re at goal weight; or think you don’t deserve X until you lose those 5 (or 50) pounds?

Well I’m here to tell you — stop!  Stop waiting for tomorrow.  Stop waiting for someday.  Start living, doing and experiencing today.

I can’t count how many memories and experiences I missed out on because I didn’t feel that I could do it, try it, or experience it because of my weight.  But when I got down to the right weight, I still didn’t do most of the things I said I would “if I were only thin.”

It’s okay to choose not to do or experience something but don’t use your weight as an excuse or a reason to hold yourself back.  Sure if you’re 50 bigstock-A-metal-toggle-switch-flipped--34032557pounds overweight then the challenge of running a marathon, skydiving, or zip-lining might be a bit more, but train and plan for it now.  That can be motivation.  If  you’re waiting to ask for that raise, make that presentation, or dress with more flair; take steps now to build your confidence in your skills, abilities, and style.  They’re needed at any weight.

This week, observe and be aware of any comments or thoughts you have that delay experiencing life until you lose the weight.   Do you want to wait or can you start now?

What will you choose to experience now rather than later?

Check It Out

Health At Every Size® Approach from The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH)


Leave a comment and share how you are balancing, prioritizing, or multitasking. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

keep going

I was asked by a reader (I’ll call her Jessica) to give her “some tips on staying motivated or diet plan ideas”. Her situation may be different than yours but apply and tweak the ideas to what’s happening in your life.  Jessica has a full time job which requires her to be on her feet most of the time, she’s going to school and she’s pregnant.  She wants to make sure she “find more energy to make sure I’m taking care of myself properly.”

Here’s my advice to Jessica:

First – Congratulate yourself on achieving your degree, moving cross country, starting a new job and all the other things you’ve been juggling. You’ve taken on a lot, achieved a lot and now you get to put you back on your priority list.

Second – I know you’re energy is low and you’re tired. Have you been able to take your morning and afternoon breaks and go for a walk outside or even down the hall? I know your job seems to limit your break time but maybe a 15 minute walk before your shift. If walking is out (since you’re on your feet all day and pregnant) is there a pool you can tread water or walk in? That will take more than 15 minutes but it might feel like play instead of exercise. Maybe the YMCA has mommy & me classes.  What I’m trying to say is — look for some activity that you might be more willing to do than doing nothing.

Third – Find ways to add veggies to everything. Spaghetti sauce (shred some carrots and chop up some kale and add it in). Easy to cook and great left overs. Do you have a slow cooker? I have several slow cooker recipes on Spaghetti isn’t one of them but it’s usually just what we have in the house and spices. Slow cooker meals can be healthy with lots of veggies and provide great lunches for several days. TAKE your lunch break.  Don’t work through your lunch hour.  Take it, own it, enjoy it.

Next – Put your fruits and veggies at eye level. Don’t leave them in the produce drawer. Buy pre-chopped fruits & veggies so that you don’t have one more thing to do.

Finally – Are you eating enough protein at breakfast? I know that if I don’t get protein in the morning, I’m snacking like crazy at 4pm. So eat eggs, Canadian bacon, and even my Frittata recipe (I make that on Sunday and have quick breakfasts to go several days in the week).

Bottom line — have some fun with the movement thing (dance around the house), find easy ways to get more veggies, fruits & protein.  Give yourself a hug. If nothing else, just give yourself a hug.

As for staying motivated.  Motivation is not a constant thing.  Motivation rises and falls.  It’s natural.  I find motivation in taking small steps to change, enjoying the journey and acknowledging just how far I’ve come.

What will you do to keep going this week?


Things that remind me to keep going…

Finding the warmth and the light within each of us
dr pepper cap soda last 7 1998
My last soda (July 1998)









a rainbow at Liliuokalani park Hilo
The beauty around me
I Resolve
I resolve








Leave a comment and share how you are balancing, prioritizing, or multitasking. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.


yes, I will be eating on vacation, I’ve got a plan

Travel & Food

Part of the pleasure of traveling is the food.  We have the opportunity to experience new foods or old favorites.  New and different restaurants beckon us.   

Part of the challenge of traveling and maintaining a healthy weight is the sense of freedom and wild abandon that draws us to ask for that second exotic drink or order appetizers in addition to a full meal.     

As I mentioned last week in have plans, will travel, I will be at a conference in Arizona for my first week of vacation.  No buffet lines but there will be socializing over drinks, conference food (veggies swimming in butter) and continental breakfasts (no protein and lots of pastries).  Here’s my 3 Point Plan for eating healthier at conference.

  • For every alcoholic drink, I’ll have two glasses of water. I’ll stick to red wines because I’m less likely to order a second.  It really is about the conversation.
  • I’ll get up in time to have a real breakfast and make sure I have enough protein.  No continental pastries for me.  
  • I’ll spend the money and buy fruit for snacks.  Fruit always seems to be outrageously expensive in hotels, but I’m worth it.

The second part of the vacation is probably the more dangerous to my waistline.  I haven’t seen my husband in three months and the last time we went on vacation I gained 5 pounds in 3 days.  It ain’t going to happen again!  Here’s my 3 Point Plan for vacation with hubby.

  • Restaurant meals are shared.  I’ve got to try the french fries on the sandwich that seems to be a signature dish of the Pittsburgh area, but I don’t need to eat the whole thing myself.bigstock-Little-boy-spending-happy-time-43429318
  • The rule of two glasses of water to every alcoholic drink is extremely important to continue here.  I’m sure we’ll be visiting some micro brew pubs and spending our evenings watching the sun sink below the horizon with a glass of wine in hand.
  • No eating in front of the television.  The only exception is our ‘pizza and a movie’ tradition on Fridays.  Maybe the rule should be: no television, let’s enjoy the sunsets.
How will you eat healthier on vacation?

Check It Out

Though it’s not Thanksgiving, the 5 small changes to make on… apply to vacations as well.

Finding Healthy Foods on a Road Trip – for those driving

Have you ever wondered why being organized, getting organized or staying organized is so hard for you?  Check out my article on chronic disorganization, Why can’t I get organized?.  Includes resources that can help.

Share your tricks for traveling healthier.

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.