My own fitness rules.

So am I right or am I right that there are a million different diet tricks and fitness tips and goal-setting techniques and exercises out there? I honestly can’t keep track. A huge part of my job is to remain current on trends in the health industry, but it is honestly so hard. Instead of telling my clients what other people believe and what is going on in the big corporations, I decided to make a set of my fitness “rules.” Don’t judge me. I swear I’m certified to preach this stuff Smile with tongue out

  1. Drink 100 oz. of water a day. It might seem like a lot, but it is more than possible. Get a 24 oz. water bottle and refill it up 4 times.
  2. Stretch for at least 10 minutes every single day. It will help you from being sore and keep your muscles long and lean. It also just helps you feel fabulous. Too bad guys are typically “too cool” for this.
  3. Set a goal for yourself, no matter how big or how small. Typically I try to say on Sunday how many miles I want to run that week or even just set up my schedule for the week to keep myself on track. Goals help you to have something to work towards and help to keep you motivated when you feel like stopping.
  4. Take a big breath and think before you eat something. Stopping for even 5 seconds and letting a couple thoughts run through your mind about whether or not you are truly hungry will immensely help in stopping you from over-eating.
  5. Make a really good playlist. I swear, good music makes a huge difference in your workout. When I was up north, I of course looked forward to the beautiful scenery I got to run in, but also the new playlist I had made a few days prior.
  6. Invest in a trainer or find one online for at least a few sessions. It is really important to know how to execute movements the correct way in order to avoid injury. It is also nice to have someone to show you the ropes the first time so you don’t have to mess around with machines and weights and look silly.
  7. Find out what time of day works best for you and roll with that. There is no “perfect” time of day to exercise. Different things work for different people, and there is no right or wrong. Typically I stretch and do some toning for 20 minutes in the morning and do my cardio later in the evening. And some random strength training interspersed throughout the day whenever I can. I used to think that if I sweat a drop I had to take a shower, but now I am so over that.
  8. Don’t be embarrassed. I spent too long caring what my family and friends thought about my healthy lifestyle, but that is just silly. There’s no reason you need to be ashamed about getting up early to go for a run or for asking for your salad dressing on the side.
  9. Stay busy. I have found that when you are bored is when you turn back on what you really want. Let’s be real. If you have nothing to do but sit in a house full of food, what are you likely to do? Make your schedule accordingly to serve you the best. You know what works best for your own body.
  10. Love what you do. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you will give up. You should never feel like you have to exercise. Make it part of your lifestyle and it will become second-nature.

This stuff is so simple, but when I went to see Jillian Michaels the other night I realized how un-educated so many people are on how to take care of themselves. I think the more that health and fitness professionals emphasize the simplicity of fitness and nutrition, the more people will jump on board with it. Why complicate things?

I also try to emphasize to my clients to not take themselves too seriously. I really hate when people think they need to do things exactly one way all the time; that is no way to live your life. You need to keep your options open and be ready for whatever comes your way. I have learned in the past to not be so quick to make a decision, in fitness and in life. I want my clients to try a bunch of different things in order to find what works for their particular body and what they actually enjoy. I always try to have personal conversation during our sessions, because who wants to talk about weight-lifting and cardio for an hour? Not me. And doesn’t everyone want to kick back and have a drink once in a while (or every day)? I do.

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Taking care of yourself should be fun. Not a chore. My goal is to help people love their bodies and themselves so they can in turn spread that love into the world <3

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Jillian Michaels: “Mazimize Your Life” Tour

Jillian Michaels is super cool.

Going to see her live made me realize how awkward and naïve I am and how I really need to start standing up for myself and being honest with myself. Maybe it was all the wine I drank during the show, but I swear that she totally inspired me to follow my heart and do what makes me happy and what is best for me, rather than just going through the motions of my life and taking each day as it is: the same.

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I went to the show with one of my best friends, Erica, and her mom. We had an absolute blast. We went to a super cute little Italian restaurant first where we got some red wine, Caesar salads, and margherita pizza. Obviously started the night off on a healthy foot (just kidding). But hey, that’s fine. We’re all in good shape and into health and fitness, so it worked Smile with tongue out

Then we ended up getting super lucky and getting our seats upgraded from the 40ish row to the 3rd row. SCORE. Still not sure why, but I’m sure not mad about it at all. I will tell you that I was surprised at the crowd of people that was there. I had this notion in my mind that it was going to be all health and fitness professionals or all obese people, but it was seriously a mixture of every person and gender you could get. I thought that was fantastic, because it really made me realize that a lot of people want to be informed about their own health and success in life and are taking steps to get there.

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I didn’t take any notes during the show, since it was really dark and I would have rather held my glass of wine than a pen, but here are the main things that I took out of the night:

  • If you want something, do it now. Right now. Don’t wait any longer.
  • You can do absolutely anything you want in the whole world, and the only thing stopping you is whether you will do it or not.
  • As long as you’re not an ass, you’re doing something right in life.
  • People need other people to thrive, and you need others that lift you up in order to succeed and be happy in life.
  • You are completely, 100% responsible for where you are at in your life right now.
  • If you are a cynical person, you are setting yourself up for failure. You are going into a situation with a negative attitude and have a much lower chance at coming out on top and/or successful.
  • It is totally okay to fail in things in life, and in fact, it is a good thing. That means that you are doing something right by taking chances and risks and trying different things.
  • Find the source of the problem rather than trying to cover it up or make excuses for yourself or someone else.

I am surprised at how long I could go on with this! I am also quite surprised at how I was able to pull all this out of my head at 11:40 p.m. at night when I am exhausted. Jillian just inspires me like that apparently. Bottom line is that she is adorable and brilliant. She tells you stuff that you already know, but preaches it in such a way that makes you want to go after all your dreams and be happy and run around in the flowers forever.

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I am determined to get up with a positive attitude, put myself out there, and take steps towards leading a happy, productive life that I am proud of. I work all day nannying my girls and then am going to a Tigers baseball game; yay! Hope you all enjoy this last day before the wonderful weekend <3

What is one of the best motivational quotes you know?

Monday recap

I think I mentioned this before, but I have the week off work! WOO! So yesterday was an unexpected day off for me, except for training a few clients at the gym. I got a lot of random little things done and am actually planning on doing some productive things today. We shall see how that goes. Anyway, here’s what I got done.

  • An awesome workout. 30 minutes of strength training (Summer Arms, Bikini Booty, and Long&Lean from the Beach Babe DVD for anyone else who follows TIU) and this 40 minute cardio routine, except I substituted running for biking. Intense! Left me a sweaty mess and like, crawling up the stairs. This was actually a collage of my friend Sarah and I preparing for the “Bikini Series” yesterday!

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  • Playing catch-up online. Many of you know that I am a Beach Body coach. A LOT of the work I do for that is online (most of it!), so I actually had an opportunity to respond to e-mails and facebook messages, follow up with some new members, and other random stuff like that. I didn’t get to work on the blog as much as I would have liked to, but hopefully that will get done today!
  • Watched some talk shows. Of course including Ellen. Okay, seriously, how cute are Sophia Grace and Rosie? I posted on twitter that I want to be them when I grow up. They rapped Thrift Shop yesterday and it was seriously almost better than the original. Ellen talked about how many people get famous and noticed off of YouTube now, which gave me hope that she will see one of my videos! I also watched Rebel Wilson on The View, which was absolutely hysterical of course.
  • Cooked some awesome things. I made a yogurt bowl for breakfast, a protein pancake for lunch, shakeology for a snack, broccoli and muesli for dinner, and a protein shake after working at the gym. Solid. I need to work from home every day. Or just work for Ellen and live in California and then people won’t judge me for eating healthy, because it’s normal out there. Isn’t it sad that people are chastised for NOT eating burgers and fries all day long in Michigan? Ridiculous.

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  • Decided to start online personal training! I already develop online plans for people if they ask (mainly clients I already have and friends/family), but I am going to soon have a tab on the blog where people can purchase fitness, nutrition, or a combination of both plans from me! I already have all the documents on my computer, so why not put it out there on the Internet and see if anyone is interested? This will require some technical knowledge on my part, so this will most likely take me days. Bear with me.
  • Brainstormed ideas to get to California and work for Ellen. Okay, I know that I am getting annoying with this whole “work for Ellen” thing, but it is truly all that has been on my mind since April 10. That’s almost 3 weeks. If you know me at all, that is an eternity in my book. I lose interest in something after approximately 5 minutes, so it is huge that I have wanted to work for her for YEARS, and even more so in recent weeks. I have some ideas up my sleeve that will go into play over the next couple of weeks Smile with tongue out Say a little prayer for me!

  • Started writing a book. Yup, that’s right. You’re probably like, “But Allison, you’ve never mentioned that before?” True; I haven’t. Because it’s a super surprise! That reminds me when I take my girls to gymnastics and they have to do a “super stop” after any move to keep the kids from running around like animals. Anyway, I figured that I should have a project and keep up my grammar skills now that I’m not in school anymore! It’s mainly for me, but if it just so happens to actually be read-able, I wouldn’t be mad.
  • Read quite a bit of The Compound Effect. This book is seriously great you guys. I am going to leave you with a couple of quotes from Darren Hardy:

“You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.”

“Eliminate all of your excuses. Embrace the fact that you are freed by your choices, as long as you assume personal responsibility for them. It’s time to make the choice to take control.”

“You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.”

“When your actions conflict with your values, you’ll end up unhappy, frustrated, and despondent. In fact, psychologists tell us that nothing creates more stress than when our actions and behaviors aren’t congruent with our values.”

What is the best book you have ever read? I need suggestions!

Get It Done.

Hello friends! First of all, I want to wish a very happy 17th birthday to my little sister! She’s a gem. Here’s us skipping around Disney a couple of years ago.

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I am in just about the best mood ever typing this right now. I just had a fantastic Sunday filled with relaxing, working, time with friends, and wine. That makes me super happy. No big St. Patty’s Day partying for this girl; I’m way too lame for that. Tell me what you did though! I love to live vicariously through others that are more adventurous than me Smile with tongue out

As I said before, I’ve been participating in Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Challenge in order to give myself a kick in the butt. So far it’s fantastic. She is super cute and motivational and makes me want to get up and do something with my life. Score. So far she has had participants evaluate goals that you want to accomplish within the next year, tell someone about goals to keep yourself accountable, narrow it down to top 10 goals and one “push” goal, and start making detailed, yet simple, to-do lists. You can learn more about all this by signing up on her website!

Here is just a brief overview of some tips she has for powering through your to-do list:

  • Categorize it into things that need to be done “today,” “this week,” and “soon.”
  • Don’t write it on paper; keep in on a mobile device that you have with you everywhere you go for easy reference.
  • Write your “push goal” at the top of each list (this is basically what motivates you to do everything you do).
  • Anything that pops into your head, write it down.
  • Do 2-3 small tasks each day that move you closer towards your “push goal.”

Most of this is stuff I already know/do, but it’s nice to have a concrete outline to follow and reinforcement that what I’m already doing will pay off sooner or later. I did download a new tasks application on my iPad to get away from my planner that currently holds all my to-do lists. I find myself writing down lists for the week at the beginning of the week on Sundays and then adding in certain tasks to the list on my phone to complete during each day while I’m out. Why write it down twice? I’m wasting time that I can’t afford to lose! Although my Vera Bradley planner is super cute….

You guys, my life has seriously been so much happier and easier this past week since I’ve been consistently practicing yoga. I can’t say enough good things about it. Tara Stiles has really opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and I wish I could thank her in person! I love not only her sense of ease with yoga, but her way of thinking about life as well. She is just so chill and healthy and happy and peaceful; everyone’s goal I think! I am so proud of people who found out their passion in life and went and made it happen. I will make that happen for myself one day. Hopefully this 30 Day Challenge will help a bit with that!

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On a completely different note, let’s talk about food for a second. As I mentioned before, I signed up for Fitfluential’s March DietBet. I’ve already lost 33% of what I needed to lose in order to “win,” so yay for that! I honestly haven’t been dieting at all. I’ve just been simply eating the foods that make me feel good and staying away from the ones I know make me feel like crap. That’s it. Once again, I haven’t been exercising like, at all, lately. So ya know I haven’t been burning calories in that department. It’s all the food! I always knew what you ate played a big role in your weight, but I’m starting to actually believe it now. And I gotta credit yoga and breathing/meditation techniques for allowing me to have the control to say no to those crappy foods. Here’s what I had yesterday (Sunday):

  • Oatmeal with cinnamon, a diced apple, and coconut granola (breakfast)

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  • Strawberry Cheesecake quest bar (snack)

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  • Protein shake (lunch)
  • Popcorn + green apple sucker (snack)
  • Olive Garden minestrone soup, salad, breadsticks, and Cabernet (dinner)

Pretty good for a weekend day if I do say so myself! And you know what? I feel great. Now I just need to remember that this week when I’m tempted with little kid food constantly.

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So here’s my very loose goals for this week:

  1. Practice lots and lots of yoga.
  2. Eat lots and lots of clean, whole foods that make me feel fantastic.
  3. Complete tasks on my to-do list each day and stop putting them off.
  4. Spend some time with friends and stop being such a loner.

Good enough for now!

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And of course, a quote to start off your week in the right way:

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” –Albus Dumbledore

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What was the best thing you did this weekend?

My Favorite Snacks

Typically I post a recipe for you guys on Fridays, but I’m just not feeling it today. I’m exhausted and not feeling one bit so creative. So instead, I thought I would talk about one of my favorite things: food. I snack all. the. time. Since I don’t eat meat, I’m hungry a lot of the time, even with the extra protein I try to take it. Hence why I’m always eating. Recently, these are some of my favorite things to eat:

  • Clif bars

  • Apples

  • Hummus and carrots

  • Fruit snacks

  • Protein shakes

  • Popcorn

  • Trail mix

  • Pop chips

  • String cheese

  • Juice

I was honestly trying to sit here and think of other things I eat on a regular basis (not including meals), and that’s pretty much it. Very rarely do I eat snacks other than those things. What’s funny is that popcorn and string cheese were the only things I ate prior to about 2009. My taste buds have really changed in the last couple of years. Want to know how I know I’m getting old? Anything over a little bit of sugar makes me feel sick. Do I still eat it? Of course I do. I also feel old when I drink my large black coffee. And when my knees crack when I go up or down the stairs. And when I go to bed at 8:30. Oh well.

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Yesterday was really hard for me. I recently signed up for Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Push. I would highly recommend it if any of you are interested in figuring out what the hell you want to do with your life; and it’s free! The past few days have been focusing on goals that I want to accomplish in the next year. It makes me really sad to look at my goals list and see all the wonderful things I could do if I just stopped making excuses and did them already. For some weird reason I have been feeling really bad for myself lately and I gotta snap out of that. Why would I sulk around when I could get out there in the world and make shit happen? I’m also trying really hard to stray away from the misconception that I have to do what I feel like I should. Why can’t I do what I want? Tara Stiles says, “Who made the rules?” I support that.

I really believe that things will be easier once I’m out of my parents house. It’s very difficult to do what I want without being judged, because what I want to do with my life is not “typical.” I understand how that can cause some uneasiness with my loved ones, but people have to trust me (and I have to trust myself!) that I can be successful if I really set my mind to it and dedicate some serious time.

Just so you guys kind of understand what I’m talking about, here’s the 10 goals I would most like to accomplish in the next 12 months:

  1. Open my own online health business.
  2. Start writing a health book.
  3. Have 10 steady PT clients.
  4. Meet and/or speak with Ellen DeGeneres and Jillian Michaels.
  5. Stop my crazy eating cycle.
  6. Practice yoga 1 hr./3x/week.
  7. Lose 10 pounds.
  8. *something I can’t say because I would get in trouble!*
  9. Move out of parents house.
  10. Run 1/2 marathon.

Chalene encourages you to “go crazy” on these goals. Put yourself out there and don’t make goals that are “comfortable,” so that’s exactly what I did. My problem is that I tend to forget about what I really want in the moment. My thought process goes something like this:

I want that cookie.

*eats cookie and feels like crap*

10 minutes go by

I should have some ice cream.

*eats ice cream and feels like crap*

later that night listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast…

Why on earth did I eat that stuff? I feel terrible and I don’t even like it!

Everyyyyy day. This happens to me all the time. I think I just get so caught up in what I’m doing for other people, that I forget to think about myself. I’m a personal trainer and a nutritionist; I need to live up to what I am preaching! Hopefully the rest of Chalene’s challenge will help me to get my shit together.

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Update on my Tara Stiles obsession: it’s increasing by the minute. I kind of love her.

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What is one goal you have for yourself this year?

Learning About Life

I think that as you go through life, you don’t so much as learn what you want to do, as what you don’t want to do. I find that I am continuously eliminating things that do not interested me or that I am not passionate about. Sure, I know that I have a huge love for health and fitness and children, but do I know exactly where I want to take those skills? Nope. However, I do know that I don’t want to be a nanny for the rest of my life and I don’t want to train in a gym for the rest of my life. I’m starting to think that I just want to be a mom and have nice enough equipment to train out of my home eventually, or travel to other people’s homes. I also want to work from home during the day, writing freelance work, doing blog stuff, and potentially writing a book. I’ve always wanted to do that, so why not now?

This whole post is about to be a ton of rambling, so bear with me. What is bringing all this random-ness on today you may ask? Well, it’s because I’ve been losing my mind lately. I have way too much going on, and a lot of it I’m just not interested in. I want to look forward to my days rather than dreading them. I want to be excited to get out of bed in the morning rather than feeling like crawling under my comforter all day. I want to want to see my friends rather than wanting nothing more than to come home at the end of the day, crack open some wine, and watch reality TV alone all night. I want to have my passion for exercise and healthy eating back for myself, rather than just preaching it to my clients (*Side note* I’ve heard about personal trainers who completely let themselves go once they get into the field because they’re focusing so much on their clients that they forget about themselves. I never understood this until I actually experienced it. It is SO easy to do.”) I want to love my life and live each day rather than just going through the motions. I need a change. Let’s rewind a little bit to see how I got here.

2009:

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I was graduating high school.

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Had just started dating Luke (well, in September 2008; close enough).

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Having a graduation party.

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Started having a blast at college.

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And met my best friend, Audrey<3

2010:

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Saw The Ellen DeGeneres Show in Los Angeles with my mom.

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Had a great first summer back at home after living on my own for 8 months on my own for the first time.

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Moved into my own apartment!

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Went out. A lot.

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Joined a sorority.

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Had a great Christmas home with my family.

2011:

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Went to a Lady Gaga concert.

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Studied abroad in Italy and had the time of my life.

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Family vacation to the Jersey Shore…and a pit stop at Hershey Park. A wonderful, wonderful place.

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Had okay seats to a Taylor Swift concert.

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Christmas with the fam.

2012:

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Hung out with Luke. A lot.

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Went up north to help my grandma with a huge garage sale.

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Turned 21!

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Saw Kip Moore, Justin Moore, & Eric Church with my best friend Mike.

And here we are today.

Now looking back at that, you can obviously see that I’ve had a great life. I’ve experienced different parts of the world, held many different jobs, lived in many different places, and gotten to know many different people over the years. I am so thankful for all those experiences and lessons, but it’s time for me to be done with that. My life has been so go-go-go up until this point, that it’s time for me to have some consistency and settle down to start my own life.

I’m going to be totally honest: I have been very unhappy lately. I’m getting back into the rut of not wanting to do anything, and it’s been this way for a while. I don’t want to go out with or see friends, I don’t want to do anything that I don’t have to do, I love spending time alone in my room, my exercise and eating schedules are whack, and I constantly feel tired and/or sick. I have a lot going on, and am not loving all of it. Looking back on my life, I find that the times I were happiest was when I was in one place doing something consistent:

  • high school, living at home with my parents dating Luke
  • last year of college, living with my grandparents
  • summers, home from college

I notice that I like things calm. I like to be on top of things and have time to do what I love and see whom I please. Right now, I can’t do that. I have a schedule that requires me to do many things a week that I do not enjoy, leaving me with minimal time to exercise, eat right, see Luke, see my friends, and do anything else for just me. I need to change something before I lose my mind, my health, and all the people in my life. I’m fully admitting that I have pulled away from a lot of people recently. I’ve lost great friends in the process and regret some of the bad decisions I’ve made.

I think that a large source of my problems comes from living at home. I love my family and am beyond grateful for them taking care of me, but I just don’t feel like I can live my own life here in my parents’ home. I need my space. Hopefully this will change in the future and fix a lot of the issues, but Luke and I will not be financially stable enough until at least the summer, so I need to make some immediate changes in the meantime. Here’s what I’m going to try to do to make things a little better:

  • Cut back my hours at the gym. I hate to do it, but I am not going to be able to work behind the desk at the gym AND train my clients. Some people can work one job from 8am-5pm and then go to another one from 530-930pm, but I am not one of those people.
  • Learn to say no to babysitting jobs when they come up. I am a “yes” person. I say yes to everything. I need to learn to schedule time for myself to work on client training plans, study new materials, write blog posts, and just have a little bit of a life of my own.
  • Exercise at the same time every morning. For me, this is going to have to be 6 a.m. This week is going to suck, but I’ll get over it.
  • Start food prepping and meal planning on Sundays. I have such busy days that I end up eating crap, simply because it’s there and I have no other food. This is an easily changeable problem; I’m usually just too lazy to do anything about it.
  • Start applying for freelance writing jobs online and start writing the book I’ve wanted to write for years. Also start my personal training website. The one thing I have determined is that I want to work from home whenever possible. I need to start taking steps in that direction, rather than just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Wow. That was a lot of stuff. I really think I’m going to print out this post as a constant reminder that I don’t need to live this way. I can be happy again like I used to, even now as a grown adult. I’m old enough to make my own decisions and point my life in whichever direction I want it to go. I need to stop being lazy and complaining about things, when I’m taking no steps to fix them. Today is a new day and one I am going to use to be productive and prepare for the upcoming week.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I’m able to get my head on straight this week and start this new chapter of my life. Anddddd, if you’re still reading this, you rock<3

What has been the happiest time in your life so far?

Spice Up Your Life, Week 4

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that it’s a Friday night at 9:30 p.m. and I’m home, drinking wine in bed, typing a blog post. Some people call that pathetic or boring, but I call it happiness. I am so freaking content right now. Let me be people. Sorry that I’m not a typical 21 year old, out partying, blowing all my money, and getting wasted. Sorry that I would rather be in the comfort of my own bed with no pants or makeup on and my $10 jug (yes, I mean jug; it’s huge) of Cabernet. If this post is all over the place, bear with me. I’ve got a lot on my mind.

Yesterday rocked my socks off. Literally. A 7-month old pulled my socks off. I babysat for two new families and in turn fell in love with 3 new children. Total, I was with the kiddies for 10 hours. Whew! Then Luke and I went out for a super nice dinner, where I ordered like a 5 year old and got minestrone soup and Caesar salad, light on the dressing. But I did get a significant amount of wine, which made me seem a bit more my age. Luke wasn’t any better. He gets penne with meat sauce anywhere we go. Oh well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Last week I challenged ya’ll to read a classic book. I got Wuthering Heights on my kindle, got through approximately 26% of it (my kindle said), and shut it down. I can’t stand it. I just cannot get into it. Oh well. I tried. That’s all I have to say on that. Anyone have more success than me?

We’re going big this week.

49. Conquer a fear.

Here’s a list of my biggest fears:

  • throwing up
  • police officers
  • someone breaking into my house
  • a child I babysit choking
  • my wallet being stolen, more importantly my planner being stolen
  • locking myself out of my car
  • flying in airplanes
  • butterflies (don’t laugh, they’re creepy as hell)

My goal this week has nothing to do with any of them. My goal is to run 6 miles without stopping. I know, I know. To most of you that’s nothing, but it’s huge for me. I am more than capable of doing it, but I always second guess myself and tell myself I need a walking break or to hop on the sides to get a drink of water. All I want is me and the treadmill (my only choice right now Sad smile) and 6 miles. The end. I need to prove to myself that I can do it. I’m hoping to bust this out on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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I have a pretty big post coming tomorrow if I can be balls-y enough to post it. Stay tuned friends.

Any big goals for this week? Are you going to conquer a fear?

The Happiness Project: Aim Higher

Hello all! So as some of you know, I’ve been reading my way through The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Time for the March goals!

This month Gretchen wants to focus on aiming higher in your career to help achieve ultimate happiness. Her main points are to:

  • launch a blog (fancy that!)
  • enjoy the fun of failure
  • ask for help
  • work smart
  • enjoy now

I agree. You go Gretchen. Especially “enjoy now.” That’s definitely what I struggle with the most. Typically I am not afraid to fail. My issue is that I am just sometimes too lazy to even try. I have NO problem whatsoever asking for help, and I’m usually good at managing my time and working smart. But enjoying the present? That is an area where I could use some serious help.

Here’s some lines I really enjoyed from this chapter:

“Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness.”

“People who love their work bring an intensity and enthusiasm that’s impossible to match through sheer diligence.”

“Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.”

“The chief happiness for a man is to be what he is.”

“The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction.”

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

“People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think.”

“One reason that challenge brings happiness is that it allows you to expand your self-definition. Research shows that the more elements make up your self-identity, the less threatening it is when any one element is threatened.”

“The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth” in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”

Wow, Some heavy stuff right there. Here’s what I took away from all that:

  • Love what you do, and life will be grand.
  • It’s better to be passionate about what you do than good at it. However, if you’re good at something and enjoy doing it, you should probably be passionate about it. Life will be easier.
  • In the words of Pauly D, “You do you.”

  • Conflict is okay. It will make you a better person.
  • If you’re ever doubting yourself, the right solution will always find a way to appear.
  • Don’t stress about being perfect. You see yourself completely differently than everyone else does.
  • Be into a lot of things. Love your life and everything you do.
  • Stop waiting around for a life-changing moment to happen. That moment is now.

My March goals?

  1. Do what I want to do and stop worrying what other people will think about it.
  2. Have some me-time to focus on little things I love that no one else may understand, like blogging, exercising, reading, and organizing.
  3. Start working on my health coaching business that I’ve wanted to start for forever and a day.
  4. Stop just letting the days fly by and actually appreciate and enjoy each moment. I’m applying this one to food, too. I want to enjoy what I eat rather than just eating to put something in my mouth.

The end Smile

Spice Up Your Life, Week 1

How many of you just thought of the Spice Girls right there?

spice girls

That’s okay, I did, too. Was anyone’ else’s Favorite Baby? My neighbor and I used to fight about who got to be her when we would play Spice Girls when we were little. Oh the days….. Don’t you wish it was still acceptable to “play” with your friends without being creepy? Just me? Okay.

idiotwhy

Let’s talk about really spicing up your life. About a year ago I bought a book called The List by Gail Belsky. I bought it in serious hopes that I would work my way through the whole thing and have a totally exciting, exhilarating life and have all my dreams come true. That didn’t exactly happen. The tag-line for this book is, “100 ways to shake up your life.” I need some shaking up in my life. I’ve really settled into a routine: babysitting, exercising, personal training, TV watching, and hanging out with Luke. Besides running occasional errands, that’s just about all I do. I need something more. So here’s my challenge:

Every Saturday for the next 100 weeks (that’s like, 2 years! I guess I’m going to be blogging forever….) I’m going to post a goal from the book. I’m going to do this goal that week, and I’m hoping some of you will join in and do it with me! These are definitely going to be putting me out of my comfort zone, and I would prefer not to be alone Smile with tongue out

Ready for the first one?? What I’m going to do is just open the book each week to a random page. I’m going to be posting the number that it is in this post, just so I can keep track of which one’s we’ve done already. This is the face I make when someone expects me to remember something that happened more than 5 minutes ago if I don’t have it written down. It’s basically impossible.

sassy

93. Live With Less

This one could not have come at a more perfect time! This week we’re going to organize and donate. A quote from this goal says, “Maybe if you got rid of the baggage, you could figure out exactly what is important to you.” I love that. I believe that we hold onto things that we don’t need, just because it’s safe.

Here’s what I challenge you to do this week:

  • Go through your clothes and make 4 piles: keep, store, donate, toss. In the keep pile goes things you wear on a regular rotation. In the store pile goes things you haven’t worn in a very long time, but don’t want to get rid of. Put these clothes in a safe place out of sight for 6 months. If you haven’t wanted to wear any of these clothes or took them out of storage after this time, get rid of them. In the donate pile goes things that don’t fit you or that you don’t think you will wear again. Take them to the Salvation Army and help out a good cause! In the toss pile goes anything that is super worn out or has holes in it.
  • Go through your magazines. If you’re anything like me, you have TONS of magazines you have accumulated over the years piled up in the corner. Take a quick flip through these when you have a few hours free one night while you’re watching your shows. Rip out recipes, workouts, hairstyles, makeup tips, etc. that you may use in the future, and recycle the rest of the magazine. I have a couple of folders in a backpack in my closet that hold my recipes, workouts, style tips, etc. that I can easily pull out when I want them.
  • CLEAN OUT YOUR CAR. Luke and I did this the other weekend, and I feel like a whole new person. Laugh all you want. It changes your life and makes you feel like a bada$$.
  • Go through all the papers you have thrown in your junk drawer and get rid of anything you don’t need any more. Chances are, you don’t need most of it.
  • Throw out any makeup you don’t use anymore or that is old.
  • Biggest challenge of all: Stop making mindless purchases. I am known for buying something, “just because.” We have enough stuff in this world. If it isn’t essential, you don’t need it. Sure, splurge on what you want once in a while, but save your hard-earned money! Save up for a fun trip or to get ahead on your retirement account. You’ll feel better than if you bought the cute sweater “just because” it was on sale.

What I’m going to do this week:

  • Do the first challenge with my clothes! I have WAY too many and seriously need to do something about it.
  • Take everything out of the drawers and cabinets in my bathroom and only put back in what I actually use.
  • Organize my recipe and workout binders into something more manageable.
  • Donate old books to my local library.

 

So next week, let’s all recap what we did and look forward to a new challenge! I think this is a really good way to have a focus for your week and remember that it’s important to do things that make yourself happy. You need to take you time. I’m telling you from someone with OCD that organization and cleanliness really does improve your mood and productivity levels. It helps you to remain more focused and sane. It even lowers stress levels. So what are you waiting for? Tackle that closet Smile with tongue out

swagga

I hate when people get on my case for liking things organized and a certain way. I also hate when people tell me what to do about important life decisions. It’s my life friends, get over it. BUT, I do love when people make little decisions for me, like where to go out to eat or what movie to watch. That rocks.

hell

With that being said, do what makes YOU happy this week. Ignore anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.

 

Are you going to join me in this challenge?

Please say yes so I don’t look like a fool and have to do it alone Smile

It’s the Freakin’ Weekend..

..finish that song.

 

Before I say anything at all, I need you guys to appreciate this:

You guys. Oh my goodness. This was from Thursday night’s episode of Glee. I’ve watched this scene approximately 7 times already. I already loved this song, and this performance just blew my mind. I want to walk down the aisle to this song when I get married. Moving on….

 

The other day in my post I discussed a new topic for each day of the week. I’ve been doing pretty good with it so far, so let’s keep the streak going! I said Saturdays I would talk about a healthy activity to do with your boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, workout buddy, sister, brother, etc. This topic can apply to any of the above, plus just about anyone in the whole world, so give it a shot!

 

I’m currently reading a book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project. It’s all about this one woman’s journey for contentment. She organizes her book into 12 chapters for each month of the year. My goal is to work right along with her each month in making small changes to my life to see big results at the end of the year. January focused on boosting energy. Her main points were to:

  1. go to sleep earlier
  2. exercise better
  3. toss, restore, organize
  4. tackle a nagging task
  5. act more energetic

exercise

I did this by starting to hit the snooze button for the first time in my life (1), getting in some form of physical activity every single day since January 1 (2), getting rid of a bunch of old clothes (3), clearing out my computer (3), taking the leap to pursue my personal training career (4), and just trying to have fun and not stress so much about the little stuff (5). I did a decent job.

 

Here’s February’s mini-goals to remember love:

  1. quit nagging
  2. don’t expect praise or appreciation
  3. fight right
  4. no dumping
  5. give proofs of love

love

Personalizing these to pertain to me, they essentially mean to:

  1. stop bugging Luke about every little thing that I don’t agree with (sorry babe; I’m a gem)
  2. I already do a really good job at this one, but I guess I can do things that I really only want to do for me, no one else
  3. learn to communicate with the people in my life, rather than backing away whenever a situation gets difficult
  4. stop blaming people for my faults or my bad days (when I’m stressed or upset I tend to take it out on other people; Luke points this out to me all the time)
  5. hugs, e-mails, mini-gifts, quality time, surprises, etc.; basically making people feel good

 

Okay, okay, so what’s the point? This brings me to my fun activity! I actually just finished up February’s chapter and Gretchen talked about implementing a week of Extreme Nice. She did this with her husband in particular, but I want to do this with everyone I come in contact with. Gretchen basically said that she implemented her 5 mini-goals to the extreme for one week. One thing that I found particularly interesting is that she said her husband really never commented on her change in behavior, which she took to be a positive sign, because that meant her behaviors that week weren’t that far off from her “regular” behaviors.

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m literally known for cursing at drivers that upset me, storming away from someone like a 5 year old when I don’t get my way, using the silent treatment way too much, talking behind people’s backs, and putting myself first when I should really concentrate on the best interests of those in my life that treat me so well. Now this sentence made me sound like a bad person; I swear, I’m not. I’m normal. But for this next week, guess who’s going to be the nicest freaking person in the world? This girl right here.

We’ll see how this goes. I nag Luke, a lot. Hopefully he’s reading this and laughing right now, because I’ve probably already screwed up, but I swear I’m going to try really, really hard not to :p

So my challenge for you? Join me in a week of Extreme Niceness! Leave a comment below on who you’re going to be extremely nice to and how you plan on doing this. Let’s make the world a happier place during this month of loooooove :)