Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

3 Tips for Reaching Goals

Use Your BrainWell here it is, a new year.  Kind of exciting, don’t you think?  It’s like a clean slate, just waiting to be written all over and packed full of great ideas.  What?  You don’t see that?  I never saw that before, either, but I’m seeing it this year.  Vividly.

Having finished the shitty first draft of a book, I’m now energized to get a second draft and editing done.  I had four readers along on my crazy thirty-day journey writing the book, and all of them said the same thing at the end, “Didn’t see that ending coming!” and “There’ll be a sequel, right?”  Sequel…huh, hadn’t thought about that.  But now I am.  In fact, two of them.  Except, how will I get that done on top of working, freelance writing gigs, and family obligations?  By having very detailed goals.

I’ve mentioned in past posts that it drives me crazy when people say they don’t have time to do things that they really want to do.  Well, if they really want to do it, they’ll find a way to do it.  If it’s not that important, they’ll find an excuse not to.  Yes, most of the time it is that simple.  Which brings me to my first tip on achieving goals:  find the time.

Everyone has the same 168 hours in the week.  On a 24-hour calendar, start by blocking out the time you spend sleeping, commuting, and working.  Next block out the time you spend on family obligations that are necessary.  And when I say necessary, that is your interpretation.  If that is sports events/practices, family meals, whatever, it’s up to you to decide and block them out.  Now block out time for yourself—exercise, meals, even personal quiet time, whatever you need to keep you balanced and focused.  Then, take a highlighter and block out all the remaining time on your calendar.  What have you been doing– television?  Internet?  On the phone?  These are the hours you have to accomplish your goals.

The next tip is to write out specific goals you have for the next year.  Don’t just say you want to lose weight or make more money.  How much weight?  How much more money?  Write down these goals as headers of a column and assign a date to each one.  Next write out the smaller steps necessary underneath each big goal, giving you a series of smaller (and more palatable!) goals to accomplish.  Give each of them a date as well.  For example, if you want to sew a quilt in the next year, your list might look like this:

Research patterns and make selection  1/15/15

Select/purchase fabrics                            1/17/15

Cut out pieces                                             1/31/15

Sew two blocks/month                             7/31/15

Assemble the quilt top                             8/31/15

Sew all pieces together and tie               9/30/15

Now, we know all things don’t work as we planned.  So make sure to leave yourself time to assess your progress along the way and make adjustments as needed.  Better to extend a date and reach your end goal than to scrap it all together.  (Scrap it, sorry, couldn’t resist a quilting pun!)  By having your calendar, you’ll be able to see where you can block out that time to work on your goals.

And my final tip is to keep the list where you’ll see them and share them with others.  Whether you’re looking for encouragement or need someone to hold your feet to the fire, people can’t help you if they don’t know what you’re doing.  Keep the list visible so you see it multiple times a day.  And if you fall off that horse for a day, week, month, whatever, just climb back on.  Better late than never!


Eat Your Vegetables!


It’s the start of a new year and many people have made resolutions for 2014.  Along with quitting smoking, losing weight/eating better is probably right up at the top of the most wanted list.  I did not make any resolutions this year, but last year I made one to eat more vegetables.  So I thought I’d share some tips in case you made a similar resolution this year.


  • Frittatas are a great way to start your day with a ton of veg.  Sauté onions, peppers, hash browns, and garlic in a little olive oil in an oven-safe pan.  Wilt in some greens like spinach or kale, top with beaten egg and cheese, and pop in the oven until the egg is set.  Awesome!
  • No time for cooking breakfast?  No problem; smoothies to the rescue.  I buy my produce in bulk (because I am cheap!) and then wash/peel/chop so it’s ready to be bagged and frozen.  Throw whatever you’d like into a baggy—cucumber, melon, banana, berries, greens, whatever!  When the time comes, just put yogurt or a little liquid in the blender (I like almond milk or juice) and empty the baggy.  Move it from chop to mix to blend, no ice needed since the contents were frozen.


Broccoli Salad

  • Experiment! Like broccoli and dip or artichoke dip?  How about making it broccoli salad or artichoke pasta bake?  Make a dressing with ¾ C mayo, 2 T vinegar, and 1 ½ T honey and pour it over broccoli mixed with crumbled bacon, green onion, raisins, sunflower seeds, etc.  Even kids will love this.   Chop your artichokes, onions, peppers, and greens like you were making a dip.  Instead, sauté them in a pan, add some cooked pasta, a little wine and some cheese, top with Panko crumbs and bake it until the top is golden.  Veggies and delicious!

Artichoke Bake

  • Think you don’t like Brussels sprouts?  Try this before you give up; slice ‘em up and toast them in a pan with a little olive oil, salt/pepper, and a tablespoon or two of butter.  Cover them and let the steam cook them for about five or ten minutes until fork tender.  They’ll get all toasty brown and the butter does wonderful magic!  Hit them with a little parmesan cheese if you like or add onion and garlic powder while they’re cooking.  Amazing. I promise.

BS W melted cheese

  • Last but not least, never underestimate the power of salsa.  I use the term lightly because it may be salsa, it may be guacamole, or even a chutney.  Whatever you call it, it’s a great (painless!) way to get more veg into your diet.  I like to clean out the fridge for this and use up what’s on hand—onion, peppers, avocado, garlic, mango, cilantro, jalapenos, and a lime.  Chop everything up fairly fine, hit it with a little salt and pepper, the juice from half the lime, and you’re done.  Simple, healthy, and super flavorful.  Great on fish, tacos, wraps, or just with chips.  YUM.

Guac Vegies Chopped

Besides adding greens and extra vegetables to soups, these are my top five ways to get more veg in your diet.  And one last tip, try swapping out Greek yogurt for mayo, sour cream, heavy cream, oil or cream cheese.  It’s one small step that will be easier than a major resolution.  Happy 2014!

Grilled Mahi Mahi with mango salsa and quinoa with Brussels sprouts, green beans, and onion

Grilled Mahi Mahi with mango salsa and quinoa with Brussels sprouts, green beans, and onion