Category Archives: goals

Life as I know it

The title may sound poetic but I promise you it’s not. Life has just been busy so I figure the best way to get everyone up to speed is to recap the last month and a half of my life in one full swoop.

Really exciting, I crossed two things off my 30 before 30 list:
1. Set up a retirement account. I feel very grown up having a financial advisor who does everything and anything I need him to. We’ve decided to be “aggressive” in the market and while he warned me I may not like him some months I warned him I would probably never even notice.
2. Be a vegetarian for 30 days. Surprisingly, going vegetarian was really easy. The only difficult aspect was having to plan my meals so far in advance and ensure there were vegetarian options available when I was on the road traveling for work. In fact, now that my 30 days are up I’ve actually decided to stick to the new diet. It’s now been six weeks, which is also the amount of time you need to build – or break – habits.

Going vegetarian has meant spending a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. I honestly can’t think of a meal I made and didn’t like these past six weeks but here are a few recipes I tried and absolutely loved:
1. Spring rolls – I didn’t follow this recipe at all but it was what I started with. I ended up using a basic cole slaw mix and instead of eating it raw with the rice paper, I sautéed the mixture in various seasonings. A very easy recipe albeit a bit time-consuming but they were oh so yummy!
2. Hummus spinach bake – I actually didn’t use a recipe for this. I happened to be using one of those input the ingredients you have into a computer generator and it lists different dishes you can make. Out of that came a plate of hummus and sautéed spinach topped with shredded cheese. I put it in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. It was nice and bubbly and paired well with the pita chips and carrots I already had on hand.
3. Zucchini pizza boats – They don’t make for great leftovers since zucchini contains so much extra water but they were fantastic straight out of the oven. Plus there are a ton of variations for toppings. Variety is nice!
4. Stuffed peppers – I love peppers and anything that goes in them. Quinoa is my new favorite super food and these are perfect for grilling out with friends. I have found that Mexican is the easiest vegetarian go-to dish for me.

I had a few other health related goals for the month. One goal was to complete all of my outstanding health exams and another was to beef up the exercise routine. A few things worth mentioning:
1. $500 later it turns out I am, in fact, still healthy. Go me!
2. I tried two new fitness classes: a hip hop dance class and Krav Maga. Not only can I booty bump with the best of em’ but I also found a socially acceptable way of releasing my inner rage. If Krav Maga didn’t cost $150/month I would definitely get a membership.

So you don’t think I’m two-dimensional talking about health and fitness, I did have a few fun things going on this past month and a half. At the top of my list:
1. A few friends and I spent a weekend in the Old Cabin at Blue Jay Farms, which we all know is my favorite Missouri get-away spot! Of course Miley dog joined us. I love make your stomach hurt bouts of laughing and I have plenty of those moments with my home girl Lizard. See below. We made an oriental themed dinner, played a new card game, swam, read, hiked to a waterfall, and picked blueberries. I love that place!

liz

2. I hadn’t seen my Mom since Christmas so I’ve been missing some quality mother-daughter time. Over the 4th of July weekend my parents decided to come down and visit for about a week. We spent time boating at the lake, visiting family and friends, watching movies, snuggling, and dancing/drinking our butts off at the winery. It was a fabulous time and I’m missing them already!

photo

3. Oh yeah, Dad finally sent me the pictures of our trip to El Salvador. I’ll aim to get those up at some point once I sift through the 2,000+ photos but here are a few teasers.

elsalv

elsalv2

And of course I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a little bit of self-introspection thrown in the mix. A few self-revelations:
1. Attitude up! I wish I could coin this phrase but I actually learned it at a sexual harassment training I went to for work. I say it all the time now. It serves as a good reminder that we all have the power to change our dispositions. When you’re stressed, feeling overwhelmed, and just consumed or surrounded by negativity it helps to keep things in perspective and to remember that you have the power to keep a positive attitude and mind. It’s sort of like Gretchen Rubin’s think happy, be happy motto.
2. How to live a life of well-being. Martin Seligman proposed a scientific model of happiness and well-being called PERMA. Essentially it states that in order for one to live a flourishing life, there are five basic motivations behind any decision or action made: positive emotion, engagement, relationship building, meaning, and achievement. People do their best work and are happiest when these five elements are being met. I could dedicate an entire blog post to this particular concept as I’ve become enthralled with the scientific model so much that I’ve begun incorporating it into my work culture and everyday life. My poor colleagues have been subjected to team building exercises this past week but I actually think they enjoyed them. If anything I can tell it brought us all closer together (R and M – meaningful relationships). Anyways, I’ll save you the rambling – go check it out!

While this post certainly doesn’t capture everything that went on the past month and a half, I feel a little less overwhelmed jumping back into the blogging world. I keep waiting for my time to free up and devote to writing again but the truth is I just need to make it a priority again (more on that later).

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June: Health

While May was a whirlwind, exciting month I feel like my overall health took a beating. Really, I blame Sonic’s half-price milk shakes (which I am obsessed with) and my lack of control for the downward spiral but hey, you only live once! It’s a new month now and that means it’s time to regroup and refocus my efforts on health.

After a blah health regimen for the past two months, my mind and body are begging for some much-needed attention. I can feel the constant lethargy, lack of motivation, and poor digestion on a daily basis now which is especially disappointing after treating those ailments through diet (and ultimately succeeding). If I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that health and fitness are hard  and falling back into old routines happens often if you don’t make the relationship with your body a priority. But it does get easier and I’m especially looking forward to my June goals to get my butt back in gear!

Go vegetarian for the month. This particular goal is on my 30 before 30 list. Since I’ve mentioned it, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why I’m choosing to go vegetarian. For the sake of brevity in this particular post though, I’ll just say my decision is purely based on the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and not about the mistreatment of animals. Although, if you’re interested in the latter part, the book Animal Liberation by Peter Singer is what first inspired me to try vegetarianism when I was 18. Disclaimer: it’s kind of graphic.

Keep a food journal. I’ve always been a firm believer that what you eat directly affects how you feel. With my interest in holistic nutrition, I wanted to keep a food journal to document my bodies reactions to various foods. I got the idea after returning from my trip to El Salvador. While there, I didn’t eat any dairy products yet when I returned home, my body reacted adversely. I think especially with going vegetarian for the month, I’ll be trying a host of new foods and spices so the journal will come in handy in building that relationship with my body and understanding what works for me and what doesn’t. Instead of having another hand-written journal I decided to use the MyFitnessPal app. While its intention is to track calories for weight loss, I plan to use it more for recording foods, my bodily reactions, and to track exercise routines. Counting calories is not a priority for me and really, I get kind of bothered that the app counts calories for fruit and veggies. I don’t care how many calories an apple has – EAT IT! I’ll get off my soap box though.

Schedule and complete all of my outstanding health exams. For being health conscious, I tend to always put off my yearly health exams in part because I don’t have dental or vision insurance and in part because health care (even when you have health insurance) is just plain expensive. While I originally planned to use the small amount of money left over from my student loans to travel I am instead choosing to be responsible. In addition to getting my teeth cleaned and eyes checked, I also need to get my ear canals cleaned (I’m prone to ear infections) and schedule my last follow-up exam to a colposcopy I had a year and a half ago (my biopsies came back normal the last two visits, so one more and I’m a free bird!!!).

Set up my retirement account. Financial health is equally important to my overall well-being so I’m reaching out to a local financial advisor to set up my retirement account, a goal which also happens to be on my 30 before 30 list. It’s really not all that exciting, but a task I need to stop putting off!

Beef up the exercise routine. I still maintain at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day (and then some) but my regimen isn’t all that exciting anymore. I used to have a healthy balance between running, walking, Zumba, and hot yoga but for the past couple of months, I’ve stuck mainly to brisk one hour walks a day with Miley or trail hiking. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my walks/hikes (that won’t go away) but I could use a little more excitement so it’s not so monotonous. This month, I’m aiming to take a hip hop Latin dance class, ride my bike more, and get back into Zumba and hot yoga classes.

I could come up with a hundred more health goals, but these are my top priorities for the month as I try to defeat my impending sluggish-ness. Bring it on, June!

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A free spirit with a five year plan: my 30 before 30 project

Sometimes, monthly goal setting can seem like just another task on an ever growing to-do list that you lose sight of the end goal – the process of self discovery. When I hit a wall of exhaustion at the end of April, I realized I needed a break. In sum, I really just needed a moment to breathe, appreciate my life, and be carefree, adventurous Lindsay sans every day obligations. At the time, it was hard for me to pinpoint what exactly my theme for May should be but now that the month is nearly over I can look back and say it was rather quite simple: to live and be present in the moment. And I did just that – from dinner parties to birthday extravaganzas to hiking to backpacking in El Salvador (and everything in between) it’s been a whirlwind, exciting month. Letting go never felt so great although (let’s be realistic here) my compulsion to plan didn’t really go away.

Helping Liz brainstorm and then reading her final 30 before 30 list inspired me to make and conquer my own so that my journey to the often dreaded 3-0 is one epic, memorable adventure. After spending the better part of a month brainstorming, adding to, and deleting from my own list, I’m finally ready to unveil the final product (see below!). I guess you could say I’m a free spirit with a five-year plan!

Travel
1. See one of the seven wonders of the world.
2. Visit every county in the state I live in.
3. Travel to every country in Central America.
4. Do a home exchange vacation.
5. Experience WOOFing.
6. Hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
7. Migrate to a state/city of choice.

Health
1. Train for and complete a half-marathon.
2. Take the 30 day Bikram yoga challenge.
3. Be a vegetarian for 30 days.
4. Attend a meditation retreat.
5. Start and maintain a garden.
6. Can my own foods.

Career
1. Volunteer with a new non-profit organization.
2. Write and finish a book.
3. Complete my Master’s program.
4. Find/be a mentor.
5. Attend a non-work related conference (like a blogging or writing conference).
6. Become certified in an area of interest (holistic nutrition, dance, yoga, etc.).
7. Complete a grant application/professional research project.

Be Responsible
1. Pay off my student loans and car.
2. Open a retirement account.
3. Successfully take care of a houseplant (I’ve killed a bamboo plant before…).
4. Train Miley.
5. Get my car detailed and keep it clean for 30 days.

Everyday Adventures
1. Get my fortune told by a psychic.
2. Take swimming lessons.
3. Take a community education class.
4. Master the Spanish language.
5. Participate in a book club.

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April: home

“Of all the elements of a happy life, home is the most important.” – Gretchen Rubin

Always a sucker for a good quote, this is perhaps the best insight I received from reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home. I’ve realized an important element to loving your home is recognizing how much happiness already exists there and then adding elements  of comfort, love, and appreciation to the space. Given that Spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence (lets hope it’s here to stay!), I wanted to devote this month to nurturing my surroundings.

As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for April and how they relate to each over-arching desire.

Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.

  • Read a new book. Every month I choose a new book to read. This month it’s No Place Like Home: A Memoir of 39 Apartments by Brooke Berman. I chose this particular book because I feel a kind of kinship with the author. The book chronicles her journey to feeling settled without actually being settled (one of my biggest fears in life) and her realization that home is about the space you create, not just your address. Considering my bedroom revitalization project, I found this particular reading quest fitting for my month of home.
  • Purge, reorganize, finish projects. It seems Spring is finally here to stay and with it my urge to purge, reorganize, and nest is at an all time high. I have a few unfinished projects around the house I’d like to tackle. In particular, I’d like to tackle the storage areas in the house (closets, the basement, cabinets, and the like). I have yet to touch these areas because they just seem so daunting. But I love to throw things away so I should enjoy the process if I can get my butt in gear. On top of those few areas in the house, I also plan on finishing up the bedroom transformation project and the few craft/decor projects still on my plate. I love my little bungalow home and all that goes with making it feel “homey”.

Give more love.

  • Give back to the community. As most of you know, I am a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run – a program I am extremely passionate about. I’ll be sub coaching a few practices this month at various elementary schools teaching lessons in healthy eating habits and building self-confidence. I’ve gotten to sub coach a few times and it’s certainly rewarding to see the energy and excitement in the young girls but I also want to reach out to other parts of my community. I have a few ideas up my sleeve for the month (Earth Day will be here soon and so will the festival) and I am so looking forward to the opportunities. Giving love often makes me feel more loved in return.
  • A squeeze in the morning, a squeeze at night. Self-admittedly I need to practice more patience with Miley. Particularly when my schedule is hectic, I don’t take enough time to give her a pat or kiss on the head. I’m quickly out the door and she usually sits there staring at me with those “Why are you leaving me? I’m going to chew something up!” eyes. Even worse, I hardly give my cat the attention I used to since getting Miley two years ago. So, I resolved to give more love to my animals this month. Not just in practicing patience (oh, you want to smell the flowers for the 15th time in a row on our walk!? Okay…) but in making sure I give them a few undivided moments of attention. For this reason, I resolved to squeeze, kiss, and smother both the Milers and Nanners in the morning and before bed.

Live a balanced life.

  • Use the dining room table. The only time I ever use my dining room table is when I’m hosting a potluck dinner or family gathering of some sort. I love communal gatherings because it promotes conversation and together-ness, but since I live alone you can usually find me eating my meals on the kitchen floor or in the living room. While I may not have a roommate to share in the festivities with, I am making it a goal this month to have only home-cooked meals (no eating out, at least on my dime) and eating those meals at the table.  I’ve gotten out of this particular habit and I want to re-instill that practice in my everyday regimen.
  • Use a quiet day. This is the one goal I did not complete last month not because I didn’t have time, but because I forgot (oops!). Similar to my technology-free day, I’m looking forward to the solitude and quality reading/journaling time I’ll get.

April seems rather basic after looking at my goals for the month but I’m feeling simplistic at this juncture. Considering I’m still carrying on previous monthly goals like the one sentence journal, meatless Mondays, potluck dinners, and flossing I think I’m all set!

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March highlights

If you haven’t been able to gather from my absence in the virtual world, life has been a bit hectic in the Wallace household. I feel like this entire month passed by with the snap of a finger and yet surprisingly for having felt completely exhausted almost the entire month, I still managed to accomplish the majority of my goals.  Here are some of the highlights of my month of well-being:

  • I loved reading Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs. Not only did the book make me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, but it reminded me that being healthy isn’t just how you look on the outside, but how your body functions on the inside. It also served to remind me that health is holistic. While exercising and eating right (when I’m not in cookie monster mode) is a big part of my life, I also need to give equal attention to my mental and emotional health. If anything, I got a few ideas from the book on what to include in my own health regimens and I’m excited to start incorporating them into future monthly goals.
  • The inspirational bedroom transformation is not complete but is certainly coming along. Not only did the room get a complete paint re-do, but I’ve been working on some decor projects as well. I bought a bright, cheery, and super fun rug that adds a healthy dose of spunk to the room. I also started a craft project that turns wooden block letters into yarn art (sounds weird, but looks way cool). I will admit I have yet to finish this particular project particularly because my loathe of crafting gets in the way of me actually finishing it, but considering some of my goals for April I figure I can carry this process over into next month. I’m also teaming up with a painter friend of mine who does phenomenal, original work for a reasonable price. The room needs a little bit of art in it and she’s my go-to girl so this particular item will be another thing I carry into next month as well. I keep having to remind myself that evolving is about relishing in the process and not always marking things off my to-do list. But while I like this rule of thumb for my year of self-improvement, I sometimes think I use it as justification for procrastination (more on that later).
  • Between all the hustle and bustle, I still managed to carve out a lot of friend time this month. In particular, I hosted a couple of girls nights, a St. Patrick’s Day themed game night dinner party. and a few Skype dinner dates with my friends who aren’t close by. I have to say the friend love (and booze) was definitely overflowing this month for which I am extremely grateful.
  • Also super exciting in the name of friend love – since I started writing more hand-written notes to my friends and family, I’ve been getting letters in return. This month alone, I’ve received four letters and I LOVE getting mail.
  • Meatless Mondays have been my new favorite health regimen and something I’m going to continue to do. It usually means I end up going meatless for most of the week (no wonder there are health benefits) but I love that it makes me get outside my comfort zone and experiment in the kitchen a bit. Plus, it adds content for the blog and I can’t complain about that, especially considering my lack of other substantial content lately.

So there you have it – another month bites the dust! I almost feel like I could continue well-being part deux into April, but now that Spring is finally in the air I’m getting into nesting mode, which means I need to take advantage of the organizing and purging mood I’m in. Stay tuned for April goals!

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March: well-being

After a tough February and what I know will be a trying March, I wanted to focus on my overall well-being this month – both emotionally and physically. Achieving overall well-being is an ongoing process (I mean, you are constantly at the whims of life) but I do know what good well-being feels like and I don’t feel like I’m entirely there right now. Knowing that though keeps me motivated to keep at the practice – which also happens to come at the start of a new month.

As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for March and how they relate to each over-arching desire.

Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.

  • Read a new book. Every month I choose a new book to read. This month it’s Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. I chose this particular book because it’s about the ultimate pursuit of health: a well-lived life. I found that fitting for my month of well-being and it comes highly recommended by Miss Liz.
  • Transform my bedroom into an inspirational haven. I carried this particular goal over from February as I still want to put my creative energy into creating a space that reflects the things I love, desire, and want in life. I want my room to be a source of inspiration to me so I’m hoping I can carve out more time to actually work on this project this month. And if I don’t – well, I’ll carry it over to the next month!

Give more love.

  • Write hand-written letters. I always enjoying getting mail and I know my friends do too. Considering I now have a pen pal and several other friends scattered across the states, I plan on sitting down and writing some old-fashioned hand-written letters. Not only does it get you back to basic communication, but hand-written notes seem more personal and heartfelt than a quick email to say hi so I’m really looking forward to writing these.
  • Host a holiday brunch. I usually aim to host a potluck dinner every month, but I want to switch it up this time and host a holiday brunch. In particular, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and I’m dying to host a breakfast gathering where everything is GREEN. Not only is it cute, but it seems fun too. And I really love breakfast food.

Live a balanced life.

  • Meatless Mondays. I originally planned on doing a weekly health challenge but I really didn’t want to set myself up for failure considering everything I have going on this month. Instead, I opted to choose one aspect of the health challenge and incorporate that into my weekly health routine. Meatless Mondays sounded the most appealing not only because it means I get to try out new recipes in the kitchen but also for the many health benefits it brings. In particular, going meatless once a week can reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Given my fear of cardiovascular disease and cancer, I’m game.
  • Use a quiet day. While at some point I would love to try a meditation retreat, I can’t quite carve out the time this month so instead I plan on using a quiet day. Similar to my technology-free day, I’m looking forward to the solitude and quality reading/journaling time I’ll get.

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February highlights

To be honest, I accomplished about a third of the goals I set in February but surprisingly I feel like I went through more personal growth than I did in January. It’s been a tough month for me but there were definitely some great highs. Like last month though, I don’t want to bore you with the details. So, here are some of the highlights of my month of singlehood:

  • When I began looking at my schedule for the month of February, I knew I’d need some time to recharge so I ended up booking a trip to visit a friend of mine in Saint Petersburg, Florida for an extra long weekend. While I didn’t get a chance to write about the trip, it was a relaxing and invigorating time. Some of the highlights were spending the day at a farmer’s market and listening to local bands, exploring, playing giant jenga at the bar, skinny dipping, doing a little life planning (I talked TJ into moving to Belize in May!), and making new friends. Perhaps my favorite part of traveling is always the people I end up meeting – I even got a pen pal out of the trip!
  • One of the ways I wanted to challenge myself this month was to praise singlehood rather than reject it. So, I decided to make a list of all the things I love about being single. While I put this particular goal off for the end of the month (mainly because I thought it would be hard) it actually turned out to be relatively easy. I found I rather love being single and that the idea of being alone doesn’t really scare me. If anything, I’ve learned I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I thought and I find that kind of confidence sexy.
  • My effort to reach out, forgive, purge, and let go brought more heartbreak than I bargained for this month but overall I felt like I made a lot of progress in moving forward with my life. I will admit I was not 100% successful in this venture (old habits die-hard). What was particularly hard for me to accept at a time where I was trying SO hard to overcome one of my weaknesses was realizing there are instances where it’s okay to put up some walls for a bit and focus on yourself. If anything, this particular venture brought more self-awareness and personal growth than anything else and I am grateful for that.

It seems as if February has flown by and while I wish I would have had more time, I’m kind of looking forward to a new month. As you know, a new month means new goals. Stay tuned!

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