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?


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lean into wellness

Sometimes it seems as if “my weight” has a life of its own.  I often think “what do I need to eat or not eat” or “what exercises do I need to do to fix my weight.”  I compartmentalize the actions necessary to lose or maintain my weight and I think of them as separate from the rest of my life.  That’s why I love Kathy Freston’s idea, in Quantum Wellness, about ‘wellness cross-training’.  It’s not just about eating and exercising, but rather making small changes throughout my life.  A little meditation here, a little de-cluttering there.  Add a dash of exercise and visualization.  Stir in some self searching and helping others.  Fold in gratitude & eating awareness.  Let sit.  Keep adding small changes, the ingredients necessary to creating the life I want.

One last note about Quantum Wellness.  The book advocates becoming a vegetarian and though I am not a vegetarian and probably never will be, the idea of taking baby steps and leaning into wellness with small changes is just one of many wonderful concepts I took away.

This week:

What small change will you make?
How will you lean into wellness?


Check It Out

Daily Challenge – Baby steps sent to you each day to improve your well-being.  It’s a fun way to take small steps.

What small, baby step have you taken in the past that helped you move forward?  Leave a comment and share your steps.

vacations & exercise, a great mix

Vacations call for new activities: walking tours, site seeing on foot, enjoying local hiking trails, swimming, walking on the beach, or participating in a local event. Time at a resort offers great opportunities to  try new exercise bigstock-Dumbbells-with-towel-isolated--42960595classes, schedule some time with a personal trainer, golf, tennis, enjoy group hikes or bike rides, and even get on some different gym equipment.  But don’t forget the relaxing part – take time for a spa treatment or relax by the pool. My 3 Point Plan for being active at conference:

  • I rearranged my half-marathon training schedule to do the longer walks on the days before the conference starts.  I’m going early to enjoy a mini-vacation filled with resort activities.
  • Take walking breaks between sessions and invite a new acquaintance to walk with me.  A great way to connect and get my steps in.
  • Take a stroll around the grounds before turning in.  It will be a great way to decompress from a busy day.


hiking trail in PA Butler county slparker
This was taken in early spring. I can’t wait to see it now.

The second part of my vacation will be the easiest to get my steps in.  There are  numerous parks with miles of trails within a 20 minute drive of Steve’s apartment & work. Here’s my 3 Point Plan for keeping my steps high:

  • Explore every park, trail, or historic site nearby.  Use ‘easiest access to the best parks’ as a way of narrowing down where we want to buy.
  • Longer hikes on the weekends.  I’ve packed my raincoat, just in case.
  • Explore downtown on foot.  We’ll be site seeing, dining, and shopping in Pittsburgh and various small towns nearby.


Besides I need to check out this trail

duck walk PA hiking trail slparker
Duck Walk in Preston Park, PA


have plans, will travel

packed your bags for vacation and make your plansVacation plans.

We spend time planning our vacations: where we’ll go, what we’ll see, where we’ll sleep, how we’ll get there, and many more details.  But do you make plans for eating & exercising on vacation?

I will be going on vacation this month and am making my plans.  The first week I’ll be at a resort in Arizona as I attend the National Association of Professional Organizers conference (and sit for my exam to obtain my ADD Specialist certificate from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization).  I’ll be spending the following two weeks with my husband, Steve, in Pennsylvania.

There are three main things I need to plan for:  1) what and how I’ll eat on vacation; 2) how I’ll exercise during vacation; and 3) eating and moving on my flying days.   Today, I’m focusing on the air travel plans.

Moving –  This is the easiest thing to plan for. I will:

  • Wear my Fitbit pedometer to record all the steps I take walking the terminals during layovers.
  • Avoid the moving walkways and  take the stairs whenever possible.  Taking the stairs means my carry-on needs to be light and mobile.
  • Wear my walking shoes.  Yes, it requires unlacing and lacing them at security, but that’s one minute’s inconvenience compared to all the steps I can get in.
  • Do my in-flight stretches.

Eating – Easy to plan, more challenging to stick to sometimes.  Here’s my plan:

  • Drink water.  I will drink at least one bottle of water on every leg of the flight.  Yes, that means using the on-board lavatory, but that’s a stretch break.
  • Pack my meals as I can.  I’ve found roasted chicken breast is easy and tasty.  Maybe my favorite cold quinoa salad.  Fruit cups (commercially packaged fruit cups are allowed to be taken out of Hawaii but keep the “liquid” limit in mind when going through security).  Remember to take plastic spoons and forks and pre-cut anything that would need a knife.
  • Pack snacks such as almonds, protein bars (low sugar ones), and jerky.  I’ve taken flat bread and spreadable cheese wedges before, maybe I’ll take that again.   All of these can work as a snack throughout the vacation too.
How will you travel healthier this summer?

Check It Out

Airplane yoga: 18 exercises for healthy flying from CNN – great pictures even if I won’t be traveling first class.  I’ve copied this to Evernote and can pull it out on my iPhone app and try them out on the flight.

Finding Healthy Foods on a Road Trip – for those driving

Share your tricks for traveling healthier.

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find motivation, train for an event

I’ve always done better with exercising when I had an event to train for.  Whether it was a 5k walk, a 10k run or a sprint triathlon, creating a training schedule took the guess work out of what I’d be doing tomorrow.  The training schedule also kept me from asking myself if I felt like exercising and changed things up.  Of course there were days that I needed to take it easier than planned, but I had my schedule to help me get back on track.

It’s time to use that tool again – I’m going to train for an event.  In addition, I’ve got several trips planned this year so I’ll look for events that will keep me active during vacation.
I always wanted to walk a half marathon and that’s what I’m training for this time.  Your event can be a walk, a bike, a swim, a run, or a combination.

Now to find an event and to plan my workout schedule…

Here’s the program I will use to train for the half marathon — Half Marathon Training Guide – Walkers Program.  Since I’ve been getting in my steps 15 minutes at a time, I haven’t been walking 3 miles in one shot and may have to start slow.  The 12 week program will be tweaked, rearranged, and extended to fit my schedule and plans, but it’s a great place to start.

Next…find an event.  Sure I can just work up to walking 13.1 miles but I’m more likely to stick to my schedule and keep building if I have a date and an event to train for.  It’s what works for me, so I’ll use it.

There are several places you can use to find an event near you or your next vacation spot (Check It Out below).  I’m looking through these two sites:

  • Runner’s World has walking events also – race finder
What event could motivate you to move this summer?

Check It Out

Find an event:  Check out locations where you will be vacationing and make activity part of the plan.

Other training schedules:

Additional support:

  • Swimming – check out US Masters Swimming Clubs in your area.  U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) is a national organization that provides organized workouts, competitions, clinics and workshops for adults aged 18 and over.

go for 15

What’s the value of 15 minutes?

 Would you like to live 3-years longer?  Reduce your risk of death by 14%?  Reduce your risk of dying of cancer by 10%?

… Then get 15 minutes of walking or other moderate intensity activity in every day.*

Want to live even longer and reduce your risks even more?  Add another 15 minutes to your day.

Is living longer not enough of an enticement?  After all, that’s the future.   How about improving your mood right now, improving your sleep tonight, improving your productivity and your focus tomorrow.

Tell me what your non-weight related goal is and I can find at least two ways (okay, maybe three) that getting 15 minutes of activity in your day can help. (If you want to share your goal and get my thoughts on how exercise could help you specifically, email me at

15 minutes is manageable if you aren’t active now.  15 minutes is better than nothing if you can’t get your “regular” work out in.  15 minutes can easily fit into your day.  Go for 15 and…


  • walk on your break (lunch, morning and/or afternoon);
  • dance to your favorite songs (4 songs should do it);
  • check out a yoga, cardio or strengthening YouTube video;
  • walk the perimeter of the store before you start shopping;
  • walk around the house or in-place during EVERY commercial on your favorite TV show;
  • spend 15 minutes of your next phone call or webinar walking in place;
  • wash the car (driving through the carwash doesn’t count) or vacuum the house;
  • do one of my strengthening routines each day – shoulders or legs; or
  • if walking isn’t an option go for 15 minutes of movement in your chair.  Yes, you can get your heart rate up and get stronger in a chair (or wheelchair).


What will you do for 15 minutes a day to live longer and stronger?


Check It Out

My YouTube Playlists:

Chair-Bound Exercise Workouts from [the nest]

* 15 Minutes of Exercise Every Day Reduces Risk of Death from WebMD

dress for success

You’ve heard about dressing for success in the business world, but how can dressing for success help you take those small steps toward a healthier weight?

If you want to walk but you never seem to get around to it, you could make the commitment this week to put on your walking shoes, regardless of how you feel about going for the walk.

If you want to exercise first thing in the morning, you could set out your clothes the night before and put them on in the morning, regardless of how you feel about exercising.

One friend dressed for the gym to increase the likelihood of her going to work out while running errands around town.  Could you?

Don’t let guilt about not exercising derail you.  Remember the small step this week is dressing for success.

Another way to dress for success is to wear only clothes that fit well, that are comfortable AND that make you feel great about you.  Which means, lose the baggies, let go of those items that just don’t feel quite right, and put on clothes that make you feel energized and confident.

Check out a previous edition of  Small Steps — what’s in your closet? to inspire you to let go or pack away those clothes that are too small.  22312968

What’s hiding in your closet?

If you would like The Great Closet Clean Out Quest (questions to help you create a closet you love), fill out the form below to download your copy
[email-download download_id=”1757″ contact_form_id=”1760″]


Since I am once again working from home most days, my commitment is to put my walking shoes on by 7:30 am  (Do you think they’ll go well with my pink, fuzzy bathrobe?)  Actually, I’ve set my alarm to remind me to get out of the pj’s and dress for success (both work and personal).

How will you dress for success this week?

Check It Out

A client shared this 10-minute video that she tried and liked

I just downloaded Rochelle Rice’s Empowering Women Through Movement for $1.99 (Quicktime file – so it’s available on my iPhone when I’m traveling).  I like Rochelle Rice because her message is about being “Healthy not Skinny.”  Here’s a link to a YouTube sample from her video.

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gotta have a plan b

It’s raining in Hilo and 27°F in Butler, PA.  It’s expected to continue to rain in Hilo on Monday and likely on into Tuesday.  As for Butler, snow’s expected on Wednesday.

bigstock-A-metal-toggle-switch-flipped--34032557If your Plan A is walking outside and the weather is providing you an excuse to not get up and get out — you’ll need a Plan B.  Have a Plan B ready to counteract the opportunities for excuses.

You may need a Plan B because you don’t have the usual amount of time.  Remember, a 10 or 15 minute walk is better than nothing.  It will blow the cobwebs away and give you a shot of energy that will keep you going.

Maybe you have company and you don’t feel you can enjoy your normal exercise class.  Include your visitors in a sight seeing tour that has you moving.

If it’s the weather that’s getting you down, take your walk to the nearest mall.  Malls are usually open earlier than normal business hours for walkers and there are often discount programs offered as an incentive.  If  a mall isn’t an option, walk the perimeter of your grocery store or box store.  You don’t have to buy just walk.  The tail-end of the winter season is also a great opportunity to try an new exercise class or start using your gym membership again.

If you need an exercise buddy, let me know.  If you’re not in Hilo to walk with me or go to the gym,  I would love to be a virtual buddy.

For those of you in Cedar Falls, IA — it looks chilly at 40°F with a chance of snow on Tuesday.  What’s your Plan B?

For those of you in Homer, AK — I see it’s in the low 30s with snow forecasted for most of the week.  I’m thinking your Plan B may be for those days that are sunny and warm, but let me know what you’re doing when it snows.

For those of you in Pueblo, CO — grab the opportunity the day offers without the wind.

For those of you in Nebraska, North Carolina and elsewhere — share your challenge and your Plan B with me.

As for my Plan B today…I will be getting my steps in during my shopping trip.  I’ll park further away, carry an umbrella, and walk the perimeter of the stores.

Will you try out your Plan B this week?

Check It Out

Prince Kuhio Mall is just finishing up the 1st quarter 2014 Mall Walkers Program.  Check out for more information and watch for the second quarter start.

Check out the walking program at your local mall.

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organize for weight loss

This week I’m sharing the recording and handout from the Organize for Weight Loss teleclass I gave on Thursday.  Some of the strategies may be familiar to you as I’ve written about them here in Small Steps.  Other ideas may be good reminders and still others may suggest whole new options for you.  Enjoy the teleclass, it’s about 50 minutes.  The handout has even more ideas and strategies, so make sure to download it.


Download the Organize for Weight Loss HANDOUTS  – please provide your name and email below to get the link. [email-download download_id=”1506″ contact_form_id=”1766″]

Additional resources and program offers:

My Kindle books are only $0.99 to download from Amazon:

 31 Small Steps to Organize for Weight Loss

31 Small Steps to Organize Your Life

Also available in paperback for $4.99 from Amazon:

31 Small Steps to Organize for Weight Loss

31 Small Steps to Organize Your Life

Interested in support and focus?  Try my Stop Dieting and Start Organizing: 6 Weeks to Organize for Weight Loss (and Health).  Click Here for more details.

What organizing idea will you use to help your weight loss this week?

Check It Out

My partner on the calls this month was Amy Tokos of Freshly Organized.  She presented organizing strategies for the family.  If you would like to listen to her teleclass or take a look at her handouts, go to


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keep, let go, begin in 2014

Teleclass January 2014 pic


Organizing Your Health, Your Family, and You

January 16 & January 23

Simplify your life in 2014 with tools & strategies for organizing your family and your weight loss.

For more information and to register…


As I mentioned last week, I don’t do resolutions.  I do New Year’s mottoes and this year my motto is will this help me? 

The next step in my New Year’s re-focusing is to identify what I want to Keep, what I want to Let Go of and what I want to Begin.

KEEP:  I know I’m doing some things in support of my weight and health that are working.  So what will I continue to do in 2014?  What will I keep?

I will continue to stay sweets-free. I am not suggesting this for everyone, but sugar is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.  I’ve spent years trying to control my consumption of sweets, chocolates, desserts, etc.  I was able to limit it while losing weight, but during maintenance, I’d start adding it back in.  Then more and even more.  I’ve gone sweets-free several times and only in this last year have I been able to make it a natural part of my lifestyle. And though I have fallen off the wagon (the pecan pie for Thanksgiving), I’m now back to what helps me feel better –no sweets!

BEGIN:  I knew my begin would have something to do with exercise this year because I’m ready to take it to the next level.

I’ve got the basic 30+ minutes of walking in for general health and now I’m looking at what’s next.  Yes, I definitely should increase my aerobic exercise but, besides not being big on shoulds, I believe yoga would be more beneficial for me.  It would give me flexibility, strength, and help me quiet my mind and reconnect me to my body.  So yoga it is.

LET GO:  Normally I look at what to let go of before I decide what I’ll begin, but sometimes in order to bring more into your life you need to open up the space, the time and the energy by letting go of something else.  If I want to begin yoga, what will I let go of in order to fit it in my life?

I will let go of my expectations that in order to start yoga today I have to make time to go to a 75-minute class across town.  Instead I’m going to try out some 20-minute yoga videos on YouTube in the morning, when I get home or before I got to bed.

I will let go of my belief that I have to go to a class.  I get bored and usually turn off the yoga CDs, so a class is usually the only way to keep me going.  But a 20-minute video should be short enough to keep my attention.

I will let go of my all-or-nothing thinking.  Since I don’t have the time to fit in a 75-minute class right now, I’ve been putting off getting back into yoga at all.  But by taking small steps like a 20-minute yoga video now, it will allow me to start.  Then as my schedule opens up I can add a class here and there.

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

Check It Out 

Here’s my YouTube playlist of yoga videos I’ll be trying out.  I’ll delete the ones I don’t like and keep adding and trying more.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

31 Small Steps to Organize for Weight Loss by Shawndra Holmberg

31 Small Steps to Organize for Weight Loss

by Shawndra Holmberg

Giveaway ends January 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win



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