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).

can small steps really help?

Can taking small steps really help?

Will it really make a difference?


Well…yes, taking small steps does help and does make a difference.  Small changes are less likely to trigger fear, doubt and overwhelm.  Small steps are less likely to use up all your willpower in a day.  Small steps allow you to start down a healthier and happier path.  Small steps can stop the pain of digging the hole deeper.  Small steps are possible.

And yes, there are also loads of stories about individuals who have completely turned their lives/habits/choices around in one huge leap.  But there are so many more tales of people who struggle to make changes and end by giving up completely.  So yes, I believe in and I live by taking small steps.

What small step will I take this week for my health and happiness?  I will take 5 minutes each day to meditate and visualize.


What small step do you want to take this week?


Check It Out

Happify – games and activities to conquer negativity and focus on the positive.  Day 1 was fun.  There is a free track and a paid membership track.

multi colored circle of people icons
You’re not alone!

Get Your Paperwork DONE! PartyMarch 28

If you want to get your paperwork done with other like minded individuals.  The February party goers loved it and made amazing progress on their paperwork.

Closet Clearing Party – March 21

If you want to create a closet that supports you today.


These are online (virtual) parties so anyone can join from anywhere.


challenges, changes, and journeys

I’m still working on getting back to reasonable portion sizes this week.  After last week’s caloric excesses (see oops, I forgot to plan my vacation), my plan, goal, and intention was to get back to reasonable portion sizes, but….  Steve and I have been spending the last week eating his favorite foods and going to his favorite restaurants.  He’s leaving for a job in Pennsylvania and I’ll be staying here in Hilo for another year or so while I get the house on the market and wait for it to sell.

We are starting on our next adventure, and of course the change is a great excuse to eat and drink too much.  But I’m not going to let it take me any further down that path.

Here are the potential challenges I see ahead and, take action on your challenges, changes and journeysmore importantly, here are some strategies I’ll be using:

Emotional eating because I’m missing Steve — we are planning to Skype and enjoy a cooking date.  One or two Sundays a month, we’ll both make the same dishes and freeze the extras for quick and healthy meals.  Time together AND healthier choices!

Less exercise — Hey, anyone in East Hawaii want to meet for a walk on:

  • Friday afternoons & Saturday mornings TBD

Or, does anyone want to try being virtual exercise buddies?

Eating too much of the wrong things — I’m tracking again.  Tracking works. I know this.  We all know this.  The challenge is making it a habit again.  I could track every bite, I could start with tracking what I eat at dinner only, or  I could track all the in-between meal snacks.  I could track using an online tool like Weight Watchers eTools, or go my usual way — paper and pen (and gold stars).  I think this week I’ll try online and see how that works for me.  And, yes, I’m going to track everything.  I need to bring my awareness back to what and how much.

I know you have your challenges, changes, and journeys too.  What do you want to have happen?  How do you want to handle them?

Will you track with me this week?

Check It Out

I needed some new pans and found these – GreenPan.  Cooking and clean up are easy.  They’re a great choice for cooking low fat.  In fact, use only a little oil for taste, as a little goes a looooong way.

Check out Steve’s latest book.  It’s a short story, a fun read and only $0.99

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

less than perfect progress is still progress

Last week I suggested that you walk 100 more steps than you did the day before, and I shared what those steps could add up to over 6 weeks. Almost as soon as I sent it, I realized what could happen if I had an unusually high step count one day.  How would I keep my commitment to take 100 more steps than the day before?  Or what to do if the day doesn’t go according to plan and I get a lower step count than usual. Since the intention behind this commitment was to encourage me (and you) to take more steps and was not an all-or-nothing goal, I chose to set up two Plan Bs.

  • If I have a higher than normal step day then my goal the next day is to continue on from the previous normal step count and add 100.
  • If I have a lower than normal step day, then my goal is to get 100 more steps before I go to bed; the following day continue on with the normal progression of adding 100.

These Plan Bs allow me to keep going even if I’m not meeting my goal perfectly.  This allows me to succeed with the intention of the 100 more steps goal and not just toss my ongoing efforts aside.

Bottom line:

do 100 more than yesterday,

do 100 more than you think you can, or

do 100 more than you have now.

Repeat tomorrow.

I resolve never to quit, never to give up.

100 more steps add up

In preparation for my teleclass on January 23, when I’ll be sharing some simple organizing strategies and tools for weight loss (Organize Your Health, Your Family and You), I was writing a blog post that included three challenges for the week.  One of which was to walk 100 more steps each day.

That is — today, walk 100 more steps than you did yesterday.  Tomorrow, walk 100 more than you did today.  And keep going for six weeks.

But you may think, “100 steps?  It only takes me a minute to get 100 steps.  What can 100 steps do for my weight loss?  What can a hundred steps do for my health?”  As you know, I’m a believer in small steps but I wanted to know what a hundred more steps each day would really mean.

After one week, 100 more steps each day would get you 2,800 extra steps for the week.  So?!

Well… 2,800 extra steps is approximately 980 calories burned.  That could almost cover a Burger King Tendercrisp® chicken sandwich and small fries (no drink other than water), or it could mean a loss of 0.3 pounds.

After six weeks of this ‘100 more steps’ habit, you would get an extra 90,300 steps (which, if you’re 5’6″, is approximately 39 miles).  But those extra steps also burned 31,600 calories which could lead to a 9 pound loss.

Check out what 100 more steps looks like over six weeks.

Adding 100 more steps each day builds your daily step count:
total daily steps

100 more steps burns calories:

100 more steps lead to 31,600 total calories burned

Adding 100 more steps will help you lose…

total pounds with scale

I have to add the disclaimer that the scale may not show all your hard work, but it’s not just about the scale.  After six weeks, your clothes will feel loser, you will have more energy, you will be stronger and it’s only 100 more steps.

Whether you add 100 more steps just for this week or challenge yourself to keep adding over the next six weeks, celebrate each step on your journey.  Let me know how your steps add up — post a comment here or share on Facebook.

Will you add 100 more steps today?

Check It Out

Looking for a pedometer?  Check out my favorite pedometers.

Another fun opportunity to get your steps in — walkadoo from MeYou Health– a daily step challenge.

Get Organized in 2014 with Shawndra & Amy — Organizing Your Health, Your Family, and You

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

taking a look back

I always thought January was my month.  It’s my birth month and the New Year has arrived – new beginnings. But I’m seeing a trend where December is actually the month I start those beginnings.

I spend November thinking about what I want from the next year and what changes I need to make.  Then December comes along and I find my motivation has increased and I’m moving forward already.

This week, I thought I’d look back and see where I was last December (weight and small step wise).

My weight – pretty much the same.  So my efforts at losing hasn’t made a dent in my weight.  But wait…it actually means that my efforts to keep trying, to keep starting again, to never give up on myself WORKED. most of the important_dale carnegie Even after those moments where life went crazy and I used old (i.e., less than effective) coping skills (i.e., eating more and exercising less), I was routinely getting back to my healthier lifestyle.  I wasn’t chucking it all and giving up.  I was trying one more time.  I was trying something new.  I was trying something that worked the last time.

I was trying again.

Small Steps – Last year I was writing about motivation, different strategies, positive self-talk, acknowledgement and celebrations.  Click on the various links to see if any of those ideas can help you this week.

  • Reading success stories kept me motivated in read for success.
  •   if  — a reminder to deal with your emotions and feelings in ways other than eating.
  • Negative self-talk just drags you down, so I used a tool from my Hilo Toastmasters group and began using an eval sandwich to change my self-talk in order to encourage my efforts.
  • Acknowledging, celebrating and rewarding your wins, no matter how small you think they are is key during the holiday season.  So what’s one small win you can celebrate?  What’s the reward?  Find your small rewards for your small steps.
No matter how far you think you have yet to go, will you acknowledge just how far you’ve come this week, this month or this year?

Check It Out 

Picky Eaters’ Finicky Habits May Start in Womb:  New Study

My latest video:


Teleclass January 2014 pic