January 2017 Goals

I know I’m a little late with the goals this month, I just have had so much to talk about here on the blog! I hope you all are having a great start to 2017. I bought my new planner, and have been busying myself with filling in important dates, birthdays, and events. (Yes I know I am a total nerd, I’m ok with it!)

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Several of you asked about my planner when I posted it on my Instagram story, and I love it. I got it from Amazon.

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You can find the exact one I got here: me & my BIG ideas Create 365 The Happy Planner, Hello Life, 18 Month Planner, July 2016 – December 2017 (I got it on sale because it starts with July 2016 and goes through 2017), or you can get just the 2017 version here: Create 365 The Big Happy Planner, Make Things Happen.

Goals. Goals goals. Ok, so you may have seen my post last week talking about creating goals in general. I hope it gave you something to think about, and maybe now you have created some goals for 2017 for yourself with some action steps. (If you missed the post you can check it out here.) Let’s take a look back at my December goals then move into my January ones, shall we?

December goals:

1.) Get unpacked: B+ While 99% of the boxes are unpacked, everything is not “put away” in it’s proper place. I need to get to organizing now that we have unboxed all the things.

2.) Be intentional and present this Christmas season: B- Eh. I really tried, but moving in to a new house, in a new state, right smack in the middle of the Christmas season makes it tough. We watched lots of Christmas movies, went to EK’s preschool program, Christmas eve church service, and had family come into town. However, it all just felt a little…rushed. I want to so badly do better next year.

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3.) Get into a workout routine: B- Again with the yes/no. I DID join Orange Theory fitness in December (blog post coming next week!) but that is only for two days a week. I also recently got pieces for a home gym (that post coming soon as well!) but now it’s more of finding time since Emma Kate is only in school three days a week. I need to workout more than those three days, so I have to figure something out to make it better. Right now I am thinking OTF twice a week, home gym twice a week, and a long run to make five workouts. Now to just get the timing right so I can actually do this…

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January goals:

1.) Organize my closet: We have an extra bedroom off of our master that I have dreams of making a “dressing room” for me. Since it’s not currently in the budget, Bobby and I are sharing the smaller master closet. We are trying to come up with a temporary solution, and I need to figure it out sooner rather than later, because I am just wearing the same 4 outfits over and over because it’s easiest. Ha.

2.) Fix my workout routine: I am determined to get this figured out and have a solid couple of weeks with it “working” for me. Once I do it I will be able to stick with it, so I just need to figure out what times and days work best for what workouts.

3.) Eat better: I know I’m being vague, but it’s because I’m not sure what I want this to look like just yet. Maybe only eating one treat a day? Only drinking water? Less snacking at night? Still trying to figure out the specifics. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and my clothes are fitting a little tighter. Better eating coupled with a better workout routine should get me back on track, I just need to get the rest of the Christmas candy OUT of my house, and meal plan better. Sometimes convenience wins in our house and it’s not the healthiest choice. Better planning is key.

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That’s it for this month! I will check back in at the beginning of February to let you know how I did.

QOTD: What goals do you have for January? Did you meet your December goals?

Get Paid to Be Healthy

I often hear people say things like “well if I got paid to workout I would do it more often!” What if I told you that there IS a way you can? For doing simple things like walking and writing healthy tweets and getting sleep. Um, yes please! Count me in! This is perfect with the New Year, because hopefully you are already moving more than you were in 2016. I recently stumbled upon an article about a new app called Achievemint that allows you to connect different fitness trackers and social media such as FitBit and Twitter, and it gives you points for certain healthy things you do. The points add up and turn into CASH. Yes, like money deposited into your PayPal account cash. Here is a screen shot to show you what I am talking about:

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So yesterday I did normal things like tweeted a healthy tweet, weighed myself, went to sleep, and walked around (NOTE: I wish I slept 9 hours ha! My FitBit read “laying in bed watching the Bachelor” as actually sleeping. Oops!) and checked my points at the end of the day on Achievemint. I am literally making passive income for just doing my normal thang.

There are so many apps you can connect, like your Garmin, Foursquare, Map my run, My fitness pal, FitBit, and Runkeeper (and lots more!) Connect your Twitter account to get points for tweeting health related things. It really is that easy. If you want to be more active to participate even more in this app you should  learn Modafinilcat closed explanation that will help you keep you alert and more energetic.

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A few more details:

-You can earn up to 80 points a day for for tracked activity like running, biking, and walking.

-You can earn up to 6 points a day for posting healthy things on Twitter, or Foursquare.

-Points expire one year from the date in which they are earned

-Once you reach 10,000 points ($10) you can get paid! Holla!

**If you sign up for an account using my link, you will get 250 points to jump start you! (This is an affiliate link, but hey, you get rewarded, too!) Good luck and make that money!

QOTD: What apps would you connect? Ok, now go sign up, it’s free!

Dreaming Big in 2017

I have stated this before, but I have a love/hate relationship with the whole New Year’s resolution thing, and tend to veer more towards goals. As with everyone, the Christmas season was very busy, and I have not had a lot of time to sit down, reflect, and think about how I want to move forward in 2017. 2016 was a big year of change for us.

We moved to Florida, Bobby was gone for work for five months, we sold our frozen yogurt shop and our house, I wrote a book, and we now have a very active and talkative two year old. It took all of my energy just to keep my head above water, and I want to get back to some of the strategies I talk about in my eBook for creating more time, organization, and being less stressed out.

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I have a hard time letting go of control, and (I have talked about this before,) get bent out of shape when things don’t go exactly according to my plan (which tends to have a VERY high bar). I really need to learn to just let things go, and go with the flow more. With that being said, I also want to be careful to not sell myself short and just let EVERYTHING go, or I don’t think I would ever get anything done!

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I am a believer in dreaming BIG and believing in yourself, and that’s exactly what I want to do in 2017. I don’t want to be that person that looks at others and says “wow I wish I could (enter cool thing here) like her. She must be really smart/naturally gifted/better than me.” Hhhmmm. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of smart, naturally gifted and talented people out there, but don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do something because you weren’t born with a certain special talent.

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I firmly believe that if you are intentional with your time, dedicated and ready to work hard, you can do more than you ever thought imaginable (as I look in the mirror and say this to myself!) I also believe in baby steps, and not trying to overhaul everything in one day…because that never works.

So let me ask you a question. What do you WANT out of 2017? Like what do you really really want? Like want it so bad it keeps you up at night, and you worry that if you don’t reach this goal you will never forgive yourself. If there were no money restraints, time restraints, etc. If you could do anything, what would it be? Also next, what is ONE THING I can do today to work towards my dreams for 2017? Baby. steps.

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In order to help you with this, I think it’s a good idea to write this stuff down. Goals and dreams work best when they are measurable, so be sure to put timelines, details, and action steps in your plan. Don’t write things like “I want to lose weight”. (how much? by when? How do you plan to do this?) or “I want a new job” (by when? doing what? Where have you started looking? can you make certain contacts to help get you on your way?) Breaking your goals down helps them seem less daunting, and having a plan helps make things more manageable. At least it helps me!

Free fitness and goal tracking printables

Be sure to sign up to receive your free printables to help you with your dreams in 2017. Just click here and my fitness and goal setting printables (for things other than fitness!) will be delivered to your inbox! Friends, I am right there with you with big goals and dreams and figuring out ways to get there. Making a plan is step one. It’s an important step so don’t skip it. Write everything down and let’s get going. We are going to rock 2017!

QOTD: What goals do you have for 2017? Or go ahead and brag, what is something you accomplished in 2016?

December Goals 2016

It’s the last month of the year! (Insert happy and sad face all at the same time.)  Did you make any big goals for the year? How are you doing with them? What about your November goals? Am I asking enough questions? I’m going to be honest, with the move last month, I didn’t have much time for anything else, and my goals kind of got forgotten about.

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As a refresher, here were my November goals:

1.) Get the house ready for moving: A- Ready or not, it got moved! I didn’t get to comb through everything I wanted to and purge/donate/sell, but I did get most of it done and have only had to get rid of a few things while unpacking boxes. Pretty happy with this one, but also wondering how we have accumulated so much stuff over the past ten years?!

2.) Workout consistently without boot camp: B- Meh. My last week in Mississippi, I did HEAT class and went for a run, but it wasn’t my usual intense 5-6 days of workouts. While I was on the road, I did two hotel gym workouts, and I worked out yesterday in our new neighborhood gym…but I need to get on a schedule and get more consistent. I’m considering starting Orange Theory. Thoughts?

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3.) Get Bella groomed before we move: A+ Bella got a haircut and looks so pretty! One less thing to worry about for awhile. Check!

4.) Change our address on all the things: C- I got our mail forwarded and have changed some of the things, but there are still SO many more things to change address on. I think this will be one of those things I will be constantly doing for months, and doesn’t really get changed at one time (at least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better mmkk?)

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Moving on, here are my December goals:

1.) Get unpacked: Y’all, we have a lot of boxes to still unpack and go through. A LOT. I think they may be growing at night while I sleep. I am trying to not get overwhelmed and take it one box at a time, but it’s hard to not want everything in it’s place right away.

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2.) Be intentional and present this Christmas season: We have a lot going on this month especially with being new and trying to get settled in, but I don’t want to “miss” Christmas. Emma Kate is starting to understand things about Santa, the tree, etc. and I don’t want to fly through this special time. I mean, we still have so many Christmas movies to watch.

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3.) Get into a workout routine: We haven’t decided what we are going to do yet as far as joining a gym (again, maybe Orange Theory?), so for now I will be running and working out in our neighborhood gym. However, I need to get into a routine and be consistent. I have worked too hard to go backwards.

Are you having a hard time keeping track of your goals or reaching them each month? I have found that printing them out and keeping them in front of me either on my refrigerator or mirror helps! Check out my free fitness and other goal tracking printables here so you can download and print for yourself!

QOTD: Did you meet your November goals? What are your December goals?

Novmeber 2016 Goals

Another month! October flew by and we are now in my favorite time of year! I may or may not have listened to a Christmas CD in the car on the way home from Disney #SorryNotSorry. I usually hold out until after Thanksgiving, but since we won’t be getting our tree up until the week after Thanksgiving due to the move, it made me happy to have some Christmas going on right now.

Anyway, I feel like I say this every month but November is going to be super busy! We are MOVING at the end of the month and there are so many moving pieces that I am hoping will fall into place. Before we look at my goals for November, let’s check out how I did in October:

1.) Not gain weight: B+ I am giving myself this grade because I am currently up a pound, but I’m pretty sure it’s bloat and water weight coming off from the trip. I didn’t eat all that terrible to be honest. Best way to not stuff yourself silly in Disney? Bring a 2 year old and you will be scarfing down a small plate of food in less than five minutes before you are off chasing them somewhere. We had breakfasts in the villa, and only did two sit down meals. The rest were shared counter service meals and snacks which we brought from home. I had ice cream twice but that’s really it for junky food! I didn’t even get a dole whip (sad panda) Also, we walked an average of 8/9 miles a day and I ran once on my own, so hopefully that helped keep any extra weight away.

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2.) Get organized for Disney: B+ This also gets a B because I felt super stressed right before our trip, BUT, we made it there, and I didn’t forget anything major, and everything was fine! Our plans ended up changing a good bit but not because of lack of planning.

3.) Sell our house: A+ YES!!!! I am happy to announce we are under contract. This was one of the reasons I was a little stressed before leaving for Disney. We had a showing the day I was to drive down to my parents house, but I had already allocated that time to pack, and they ended up staying at the house for 45 minutes! Thankfully they ended up putting in an offer, but I was in quite the time crunch getting the house show ready and then packing up after they left. Anyway, the inspection went well, just a couple of minor things to fix, and we are scheduled to close the day before Thanksgiving. It’s all happening so fast and I have so much to do, which brings me to November’s goals!

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1.) Get the house ready for moving: This one is going to be a doozy. We have packers and movers coming, but there are things I want to take with us that I don’t want them to pack and fragile/valuable things as well…so I have to sort through everything/throw things away etc. before they get here. We will be at my parents over Thanksgiving and then in a hotel for about three days before we get into our new house, so I need to think ahead for things for Emma Kate etc. for that trip. (Oh did I not mention? We put in an offer on a house in new Tampa and are closing November 28th! Praying the inspection goes well on Monday!)

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2.) Workout consistently without boot camp: Now that my beloved boot camp session is over and I’m not joining the next one since I’m moving, I need to hold myself accountable for working out. I can still do my HEAT classes at the gym and of course run, but I will need to lift on my own so I don’t lose the muscle I have worked so hard for.

3.) Get Bella groomed before we move: I know this seems silly but I have so many things to do before we go and Bella needs a haircut! It may be awhile before we find another vet so I want her to have a fresh cut right before we move.

4.) Change our address on all the things: This will be our fourth house, and definitely one of the things I dread most about moving. All the paperwork like forwarding mail, changing addresses on all the things, credit cards, auto bill pay, anything I buy online, etc. etc. Hopefully we will be in this house for a good long while!

Free fitness and goal tracking printables

Do you have a hard time sticking with monthly or smaller goals? You can download my FREE printable goal fitness trackers here to help you stay on track for this month!

QOTD: What is a goal you have for November? When do you put up your Christmas tree?

7 Things to Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

There are ebbs and flows in everyone’s life. The past few months have been categorized for me in one word: Overwhelming. Not always in a bad way, but overwhelming just the same. Sometimes I deal with things in a positive way, and sometimes I run around like my hair is on fire. Here are 7 of my best tips for when life gets overwhelming:

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1.) Learn how to say no: I discuss this at length in my book, but learning to say no to every opportunity, social engagement, and freelance job has helped me to feel less overwhelmed. It is simply impossible to be all things to all people, and being stretched thin does not make me a good wife, mother, or productive member of society. I would rather have a few things on my plate and do them WELL as opposed to too many that don’t get done right. One of the biggest decisions I had to make when Emma Kate was born was to step back from a management role at work that I enjoyed. It sucked but I knew there was no way I could do the extra work to the best of my ability while caring for a newborn.

2.) Prioritize: Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the things that are really important to us. If family is important to you like it is to me, then you may need to rethink some of your extra circulars so you can spend more time with them. If you really want to be able to workout more, then going to bed an hour earlier and cutting off the TV may work for you. Sacrifices may need to be made, but if it’s for something you really care about then it is totally worth it!

3.) Pray/devotion/quiet time: This is the most important one for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it is probably because I am not starting my day with quiet time and prayer. It just starts my day off right and gets me in the right mindset as I face problems and anxieties. Does this mean every day goes perfectly? Absolutely not, but I am more likely to respond more correctly when I have started my day with quiet time.

4.) Ask for help: I need to look in the mirror and say this one. I can sometimes struggle with not asking people for help. I know everyone is busy and has their own problems to deal with, so I don’t like dumping on other people or asking them to help me. Sometimes though, its necessary to get back to a good place, and I know my friends really don’t mind, and the issue is with me!

5.) Cut out the time suck: Social media is a wonderful thing, but for me it can also be a big time suck. What starts out as getting online to write a sponsored post for work, turns into scrolling through feeds for ten minutes. That’s ten minutes I could be doing so many other things, and I sometimes do this multiple times a day! I don’t know what your personal time suck is (talking on the phone? TV? video games?) and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but sometimes I know I can tend to go overboard and end up wasting precious and valuable time.

6.) Time blocking/Buy a planner: I am a very visual person, so if I have a million things to do just floating around in my head, I am bound to forget one of them and when one ball drops, several others seem to drop in quick succession! Writing things out in a planner and even going so far as to time block my day hour by house, or in thirty minute increments can help me to stay focused and on task when my mind starts to panic at all I have to do.

Related: 5 Steps to reaching your goals

7.) Release control: Oh so hard my friends. Sometimes, crappy things happen that I have no control over. I get my feelings hurt. Something happens at work that upsets me. I get sick. I have a bad night’s sleep. All of these things can be a recipe for disaster if we try to control them and spend our time worrying about things we can’t change. It has served me well in the past to take  step back and remind myself that I am not in control of everything, and that’s a good thing! I often need to stop worrying and just let it be. Let go of the tight grip I have on situations. It’s not going to change anything except to stress me out and overwhelm me.

So inhale. Exhale. Think about which of these things may help you the next time life gets overwhelming and see if it helps. I hope so!

QOTD: Have you tried any of these tactics? Did they work for you?

Body After Baby: Two Years

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back another day!

I know it may seem a little odd to do a body after baby post so long after giving birth, but for me personally it has taken this long to really feel good about myself. I wanted to be sure other women know that if it doesn’t happen in 3, 6, 12 or 18 months, IT’S OK. Slow progress sticks around better for me anyway as opposed to a quick fix, and I much prefer lifestyle changes instead of “diets”.

For a quick refresher before we dive into the now, let’s take a look at what I looked like one month postpartum below:

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and then again six months postpartum below:

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and now (2 years postpartum) below:

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Also here’s a shot from the day I had Emma Kate (9/24/14), and then from August of this year:

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When I was 12 months postpartum, I was one pound over my pre pregnancy weight, so I weighed 151. At the time I was happy with that, but what I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant…so getting back to my pre pregnancy weight still wasn’t my “happy weight”. I wanted to be stronger and have more muscle. I wanted to feel better, to be the best mom I could be.

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I am now sitting at 143 pounds, so I have lost eight pounds since probably about mid June (yes I sat at 151 from last September until this June, fluctuating a pound or so here and there). So what changed? Well, a couple of things.

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(The above photo was taken on day FOUR of eating out at restaurants for every meal. If only I had been able to take photos at the beginning of the trip!)

1.) I amped up my workouts. I was doing bootcamp 3-4 times a week and running 1-2 times a week while resting 1-2 days. It just wasn’t giving me results as fast as I would like, so I moved up to bootcamp 5 days a week and running once a week, sometimes twice. I also started running stadiums on Wednesday mornings before class. Some weeks I do take off two days, but I aim for only one day of full rest. My current schedule looks something like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Boot camp

Tuesday: Boot camp

Wednesday: Stadiums and sprints at the track, HEAT class (like Orange theory)

Thursday: Boot Camp

Friday: Boot Camp

Saturday: Long run

As much as I enjoy racing and will continue to do so, it just isn’t working for me right now to run tons and tons of miles to get faster for longer distances. I would much rather be strong than fast, so it is what it is.

2.) I cleaned up my eating. I seriously loathe counting calories, but knew I at least needed an “idea” of how many calories I was eating in a day, so I counted calories for a week or so (as well as macros) just to get a good starting point. What I realized is I don’t get enough protein, and I was eating too many carbs and fats, as well as overall calories. Lots of snacking folks! After counting on My Fitness Pal, I felt like I had a firm grasp on my hunger cues, and about how much I needed to eat a day to still be able to workout hard and not feel weak.

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So what happened? I started eating foods that filled me up more to fuel my tough workouts instead of empty calories. I stopped eating late at night, and I was just more mindful in general. Do I still eat candy and drink alcohol? Heck yes! But for example…if I know I’m going out with friends that night, I am more careful during the day and the day before. It’s seriously all about planning ahead and meal prep these days, and it really does pay off (I talk about meal prep more in my book!)

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing that I could SEE my muscle more in my arms, abs, and legs. It was under there the whole time, it was just hidden. Smile

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I have been able to go up in weight when doing a lot of exercises, and I don’t tire out near as easily. It’s such a good feeling to be able to add that 25 pound plate at the squat rack, or use heavier dumbbells for bicep curls or kickbacks.

The beginning of November marks one year of boot camp, and if you look back and read my 12 month body after baby post, you will see I was just about to start boot camp and had a “we’ll see what happens” attitude towards it. Never did I think I would end up falling in love with it and making great friends at my gym.

I started really PUSHING myself at boot camp this summer, in spite of having been going since the end of 2015. I began not just doing the bare minimum, but really pushing myself to my limits and taking it seriously. I work out way too hard to ruin it with a bad diet or injury, so I am more careful with everything I do now. I have lost fat, gained muscle, and still managed to lose weight in the process. I honestly am not as concerned about the number on the scale though. I just want to feel good in my clothes, and have energy and confidence.

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I want to be a good role model for my now two year old daughter, and teach her to work hard for the things in life she really wants. I want her to learn discipline, self love, and respect for her body. I want to run races with her, teach her how to lift, and help her find her passions.

To all the new mamas out there or mamas about to have babies, I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier said than done, but you can get to where you want to be. Don’t get bogged down in a timeframe. Enjoy your baby, and get back to working out when YOU feel ready. It may take you two years, it may not. Don’t let the amount of time it took me scare you. But just know if it does take two years, that’s ok. Do the best that you can, making small changes one at a time. Make your health a priority, and please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own. We are all in this together, and other moms understand the best just how stressful it can be, so lean on each other. If you don’t have someone who supports you wanting to get healthy, FIND SOMEONE. In real life, online, at the gym, at church, etc. Find your people. You can do this. Be BRAVE! You can have a great body after baby!

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So what’s next for me? Sadly, this round of my beloved boot camp ends November 4th, and then I move to Tampa. I’m sure things will be up in the air for awhile until I find a new gym home. I hope I can find a new boot camp class as awesome as the one I have here, but it’s highly doubtful any group can compare. Smile I look forward to having more racing opportunities in Florida, and making new workout friends. Who knows what’s next? It will be a fun ride to find out.

QOTD: How long did it take you to get your body where you wanted it after having a baby? What worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

October 2016 Goals

Hey guys! Already into another month! I must say, even thought it’s October it doesn’t feel very fall-ish around here. We had a couple of days of temps in the 80’s, but otherwise we are still in the low 90’s with the heat index. This however hasn’t stopped me from using my pumpkin spice coffee creamer and burning my pumpkin candles!

As far as goals go, I feel like the past few months have been difficult to really discuss because I was keeping our big move a secret. But now, I can share more about my goals since the cat is out of the bag! Let’s take a look at my September goals before seeing what I want to accomplish in October:

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1.) Stick to what I have been doing: A+ I am SO proud of myself for how well I have been sticking with my workouts and healthy eating this past month. I went to boot camp 4 days a week, HEAT once a week, ran stadiums every Wednesday (except the day EK was home sick), and ran 2 out of 4 Saturdays. I have been rewarded with feeling great and losing another couple of pounds. I am down 8 pounds since the end of June! I plan to share more about this in a body after baby post that will either be up at the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

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2.) Make cupcakes for Emma Kate’s birthday: F Yall I really dropped the ball on this one. Emma Kate’s birthday was on a Saturday, so that meant I needed to bring cupcakes Friday. That week was super hard for me as we were dealing with some things having to do with our store, and I just did not have it in me to make cupcakes from scratch. I still brought treats for her class, but they were store bought. Womp womp.

3.) Start walking Bella again: B+ On the days it has been cool enough to do so, yes we have walked. As I said before, it’s still really hot here and I don’t want to burn her feet, but we walked twice this past week when the weather was nice. This will become more frequent as the weather changes!

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Oh October. You are going to be quite the challenge for me. This is going to be an odd month because I will be gone 4 days this week, and also a week at the end of the month when we take Emma Kate to Disney World, so I won’t be home as much to do things in my normal routine. But that’’ absolutely will not stop me from trying to meet some goals!

1.) Not gain weight: I am a realist, and I know it will be very difficult to lose more weight this month with two trips. I absolutely plan to indulge at Disney and on my trip week, but I also plan to keep up with my workouts, so I will be happy to just maintain this month.

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2.) Get organized for Disney: We check in the 26th but are leaving on the 25th, and other than some dining reservations and some fastpasses, I haven’t really done any organizing or preparing for our trip. I know it’s going to sneak up on me, and I don’t want to forget anything important especially since it’s Emma Kate’s first trip.

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3.) Sell our house: Yall, this is a big one. We are praying so hard about it. We really, really need our house to sell like…yesterday. I’m starting to get discouraged, because we are running out of time. I know there isn’t much I can “do” for this goal, other than pray really hard and try and spread the word. If you are looking to add to your prayer list, we would appreciate all the help we can get!

Are you trying to reach your goals but struggling to remember them or make them actually happen? Check out my FREE exercise and goal tracking printables!

QOTD: What do you do so you don’t gain weight on vacation? Do you have any October goals?

Difference Makers

Everyone wants their life to matter. We all want to think that we are doing some sort of good in the world, and the one day when we are long gone, someone will remember us and think fondly for our achievements.

This summer at church, we have been going through a series called Difference Makers. We have had pastors from all over the world come and speak, and it has been an amazing learning experience. Yesterday was the final day, and the speaker did an amazing job of wrapping up the series and bringing the main points home.

He talked about the mustard seed, and how small but mighty it is. I had never seen a full grown mustard plant/tree, but wow they can be HUGE! When you think about how small a tiny mustard seed is, it is quite a feat that it can grow to be so large. Just like that little seed, if we can make one tiny difference in someone’s life, we may never know the huge impact it can have on others.

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Over the years I have said time and time again that with this blog, I am to inspire, encourage, and motivate. It may seem so small and insignificant, but if it helps someone become a better version of themselves, then it has all been worth it to me. That is also what prompted me to write my book, in hopes that I could spread my message even further.

Don’t ever think that you are too small, too average, to insignificant to matter in someone else’s life. You may never see tangible evidence of your work in this life, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying or that what you are doing doesn’t matter. Some days are harder than others, but what I have is hope. Hope that we can together make the world a better place. Hope that I can somehow make someone’s life easier, more full, or a better place. Hope that leads others to smile, and that it will become contagious. Some days life is just plain hard, but you, me, all of us, we CAN make a difference, but we have to actually START.

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So, how can you make a difference, today, with something as tiny as a mustard seed. Can you speak a kind word to a bully at your workplace? Can you pray for someone who has wronged you, bring a meal to a single mom and her family, or pay for someone’s lunch? It may seem simple to you, but it could truly mean the world. All you have to do is take a step of faith and get a little uncomfortable, then take the next step and the next. I encourage you today to think of a way you can make a small difference in someone’s life, and then DO IT! I truly believe if it is something you are supposed to do, that God will give you the strength, courage, and words.

The world could use more difference makers, so let’s all join ranks and do it together. Who knows who you will end up helping, touching, or saving.

QOTD: When is the last time you felt called to do something nice for someone? A simple act? What happened after that?

5 Tips for Unplugging from Social Media

Ah, social media. I have quite the love/hate relationship with it. As a blogger, social media is a part of my job. It’s not realistic for me to never get on it all together, but I do realize that I spend way more time than necessary randomly scrolling, liking, and planning my next photo. I don’t ever want to look back and say I didn’t heed any tips for unplugging, and I missed out on life because I was too busy looking at a screen, so I have decided to put some parameters on my social media usage to help me not get sucked in all the time.

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Check out these tips for unplugging:

1. Turn off notifications: Yall, I have so many notifications on my phone that I have to put it on do not disturb at night. I have slowly been turning off notifications so that I am not constantly checking things every time I hear a notification alert. Also, I have turned off the pop up notifications from Facebook on my laptop. I realized these were really a time suck for me while I was trying to do work on my computer.

2. Move apps away from your home screen: If it’s too tempting to click on your social media apps every time you look at your phone, maybe you need to move them off of your main screen, or put them in a folder so you can’t see the little red notification icons on each one.

3. Set limits: I don’t think it’s necessary to completely rid myself of social media all the time (and I wouldn’t be able to do my job!). I plan to try giving myself breaks during the day where I am allowed to check on things. Maybe while I eat lunch, and a 10 minute break in the afternoon before I get my daughter from daycare, as well as a few minutes in the evening after she goes to bed.

4. Stay busy: I feel that I often find myself defaulting to social media sites when I am bored. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do, it’s when I am procrastinating that I find I am the most likely to get distracted. If I have a list of things I need to do and stay busy, I am less likely to check social media.

5. Keep it out of the bedroom: My biggest downfall with social media is using it endlessly in the evenings, especially when I am laying in bed before going to sleep (c’mon I know some of you do it too!) I always complain I don’t have time to read more books or magazines, etc. but the reality is I just waste a lot of time on social media. I am going to try keeping my phone out of the bedroom in evening when I have time to read or do other things.

I have already started with some of these steps, and plan to implement the rest today. I hope they will help me have a more balanced life. You can still enjoy social media and your online friends while not neglecting your family, home, or job.

RELATED: Download the FREE Social Media Manager Checklist

QOTD: What is another tip you would add?