Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mid-Month Goals Update

Yes, that is the state of my bedroom, right now. I am in the middle of painting it--one of many goals for this month.

I had divided them up into three categories: Home, Health, and Hobby.

As far as the home goals go, I've only managed to start on the painting one, as you can see. But truly? That'll be enough. I've had some lovely weeks with less than twenty hours of work scheduled--but that will come to end rather soon.

My main push has been to establish some healthy habits using the MMEW Jumpstart Class to propel me onward. It's working!

I'm exercising.

Making my bed (ever since I read about the relationship between will-power and tidiness.)

yes, pulling up the covers totally counts

keeping a "five minute" journal

--all I have to do is write in it for five minutes before bed. I am finding this oddly comforting. I used to keep a journal....but I found it too cumbersome to keep up once I had kids. It turned into laments and lists. This time, my focus is on small wins.

Isn't it gorgeous? I bought it as a gift for someone--and then decided to give it to myself!
And, here we are, Day 14 of the Whole30.

As for my hobby, scrapbooking, I'm a bit taken aback that I haven't accomplished even one thing, yet. I haven't even taken any steps towards accomplishing anything. This is going to get away from me super-quick if I don't do something soon.

So, that's where I'm at, 15 days into January. How are you doing with your goal(s)?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How I Improved My Mood.

This morning I woke up well rested and eager to start my day.

I came downstairs, walked into the kitchen and immediately, I was irritated. There was a filthy cutting board (we served the falling apart succulent crock-pot beef on it for supper last night) blocking my access to the coffeemaker.

I made the coffee and came into the dining room next door to browse the internet. Fine. My Move More Eat Well prompt this morning was to set "mini-goals." I got annoyed. I am doing my best to keep up with the daily habits I've set. How are they different from mini-goals? I thought. I considered asking that very question on the message board.

When the coffee was ready, I went back into the kitchen and poured a cup. I returned to the computer. I noticed someone had posted a link to a page with 101 mini-fitness goals. Perfect. I started to read it. I started getting annoyed: "I am already doing that. I can't do that, not enough time. I can't exercise with a buddy, I don't have one. What do you mean people lose more weight the more friends they tell?"

I went back into the kitchen to start breakfast. I washed that cutting board in a sink crowded with yet more nasty dishes. I washed the frying pan so I could cook the veggies and set it on the stove. I started looking about for my coconut oil. I couldn't see it. I circled the kitchen a few times. I even went into the living room, careful not to disturb my daughter and her friend sleeping in there. I started to despair. I looked at the counter and the mess, again, harder. I went over to the stove area. Looked there. Looked harder at the kitchen table. Finally!

So, I started the veggies and came back to the computer. I thought about how everything was annoying me. I thought about the girls asleep in the living room and wished they weren't there, so I could work out. I thought about my husband asleep upstairs and wished he wasn't there so I could go up and change. I was in a rotten mood. That was it.

And then I thought--did I wake up this way? Was I grumpy when I got up? Was I really going to have a bad day?

No. It wasn't me.

It was my kitchen.

It has not been truly clean and tidy since before Christmas. OK, things looked good on Christmas Day, but since I was left to do the dishes alone after dinner, there have always been some dirty dishes on the counter, or the stove, or both.

I keep forgetting how much my mood is affected by the clutter in my surroundings.

yes, it's almost exactly twelve hours later

Does it count as "decluttering" when I don't donate or throw anything away?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Menu Plan with Links

I know, today is Tuesday, which means we've already eaten Monday's meal! Usually I do the menu plan (which is really more of a supper plan) on Sundays and shop on Mondays, but this week is 10% Tuesday--that first Tuesday of the month when Safeway takes 10% off the total bill. So, either I'm late--or just in time. I'm going to post this and then go shopping.

As well, I am continuing with the Whole30 I started on January 2nd, so I have done my best to find whole 30 compliant meals. That means, no sugar, no soy, no dairy, no legumes, no grains, and no artificial additives. Just great tasting food! If you're interested, there's more info at the new Whole 30 web-site.

On sale at Safeway this week:

Lean Ground Beef  2.99/lb (or $6.59/kg)
Boneless Cross Rib Roast  3.99/lb (or $8.80/kg)
Chicken Breasts  2.99/lb (or $6.59/kg)
Frying Chicken (I roast it.) 2.99/lb (or $6.59/kg)
Wild Pink Salmon portions 680g for $7.77

The Menu Plan

Sautéed Chicken w/thyme, roasted root veggies (carrots, parsnips, rutabaga), steamed spinach, boiled sweet potato

Roasted Chicken w/vegetables (parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, rutabaga) right in the roaster

 Pad Thai* (if I can find sesame seed butter that is whole30 compliant)

Cinnamon Beef Stew,* cauliflower "rice"

(working 10:00 to 4:30pm)
Italian Ground Beef* (ground beef sautéed with onions, tomatoes, zucchini, black olives and seasoned with Pizza spice mix), spaghetti squash

(working 9:15 to 4:45pm)
Crock Pot Balsamic Roast, (omit white wine) roasted butternut squash, steamed broccoli

Many Herbed Roasted Salmon** (place salmon in baking dish that has been primed with about a tablespoon each of olive oil and coconut oil, top with chopped onions, thyme and basil, bake at 475 about 10-15 minutes or until it is done), roasted acorn squash, spinach salad.

To make the meals non-paleo or "family friendly," I may add potatoes, rice or noodles as sides.

*From Well Fed, by Melissa Joulwen
**From  Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way, by Leanne Ely.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Willpower and Tidiness

My grandmother was right.

 I really do need to make my bed everyday. But that I need to make it so I can lose weight (or do any other task requiring willpower) is a bit of an eye-opener!

Another simple old-fashioned way to boost your willpower is to expend a little on neatness. As we described in Chapter 7, people exert less self-control after seeing a messy desk than after seeing a clean desk, or when using a sloppy rather than a neat and well-organized Web site. You may not care about whether your bed is made and your desk is clean, but these environmental cues subtly influence your brain and your behaviour, making it ultimately less of a strain to maintain self-discipline. Order seems to be contagious. p. 252, Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney (2011: Penguin)
In Chapter 7, Tierney and Baumeister write, "When offered snacks and drinks, people in the neat lab room chose apples and milk instead of the candy and sugary colas preferred by their peers in the pigsty." (p. 156)

As well, it turns out that once you expend some will power putting good habits into place (and vanquishing bad ones) not only does life go a little more smoothly (avoiding those crises which require self-control to get through well) but it conserves your will power so that when the inevitable storms do hit you, you can weather them better.

This makes intuitive sense when you consider the tenure track professor, as they do. Those who wrote when they had bursts of inspiration tended not to get tenure as much as those who plodded along, writing or researching a bit every day. In fact the correlation between self-control, habits and desired oucomes was strongest for working and study habits--and weakest for dieting and exercise.

However, the idea of establishing certain habits to make the effort easier-- the more automatic something is, the less will power it takes to do it-- is worth exploring.

Some habits to develop (and some to continue):

1. Make the bed every day. (Just 'cause.)
2. Do the dishes before going to bed. (So the counters is clean and making breakfast is easier)
3. Put on my work out clothes every morning. (So I don't have to think about going back upstairs)
4. Tidy the living room before bed. (So there's room to move.)
5. Menu plan. (I could even expand this to include all my meals for the day, not just supper.)
6. Write it down. (I am actually keeping a "five minute" journal this month where I just take five minutes to write down how my day went with respect to sticking with the Whole30. Again, another idea from Willpower. Tracking --of any and all kinds-- is good.)

What habits would you put into place to make it easier to achieve your goals?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Goals: January 2014

Are we back to normal, yet?

You know I like to set monthly goals. A year seems too big, and though I do hope to weigh fifty or more pounds less at the end of 2014 than I do, now, at its beginning, I am not making that a goal. A number on a scale is not in my control--only my behaviours are--and those I need to address daily, for now.

However, in the spirit of expanding this blog to include other aspects of my life, I am going to include goals for my health and my hobby in addition to my home this time.


1. Complete every day of the Jumpstart program by the end of the first week of February--and do what comes from it, thereafter.

2. Start the Whole30 on January 2nd and complete it.

3. Begin working out everyday: develop and establish a stretching routine, a strength routine and a cardio regime.

4. Record my efforts daily, looking for those "small wins."


I made up a list of things to do based on a yearly cleaning and organizing schedule. This is from that list:

1. Take down Christmas decorations and record thoughts about the 2013 season.

2. Paint the master bedroom.

3. Clean and organize the laundry room.

4. Clean oven.

5. Clean Kitchen ceiling


In case it isn't clear: I am a scrap booker. I love putting together photos and stories: perhaps it is the former journalist in me. Anyway, I must organize this year's digital photos and begin again the process of catching up with rating and categorizing my past digital photos. The system I follow is one I learned just this past Spring in the Library of Memories class taught by Stacey Julian.

So, for January, specifically:

1. One layout based on the year long 12 Themes class I'm taking. This month, the theme is Seasons.

2. At least 1 layout based on the Project Life class I am taking (a monthly overview?)

3. Star rate and categorize January to June 2013 pictures (or more.)

4. Finish up Move More Eat Well Layouts for 2013.

As always, I will let you know how it goes.

Have you any goals you're working on?

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