My Passion Project

When I started blogging it was part of a secret mission.  I know that sounds super cool and top secret, but it’s not.  It’s been a personal mission to find my passion.  I know this may not make sense to everyone reading this but I don’t want to just have a job or have a career.  I want to build something of my own.  I want to be proud of what I do.  I want my children to be proud of what I do.  It’s not enough for me to say I make “x” amount of dollars a year. I want to leave an imprint on this earth.  I want to impact others.  My blogging has forced me to look at myself from a lot of different angles.  And in order for my blog to be authentic, I’ve had to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly!  This has all been part of the master plan (insert weird creepy laugh here).

Over the past several months I’ve been thinking about all the things I wanted to be when I grew up and all of the things I’ve actually done. The first thing I remember wanting to be was a teacher.  I was always playing school with my grandma when I was a kid– she was the student and I was the teacher, obvi.  Over the course of my childhood and through my teenage years, teaching was always on my list.

At some point, I wanted to be a magazine editor (not sure if I ever told anyone about this one).   When I was a kid I used to love reading magazines.  You know, like Bop!  And then I graduated to Fitness and Self and eventually Cosmopolitan (because what 18-year old prude wasn’t reading Cosmo?!)  I did this weird thing when I read magazines– I literally read them from cover to cover.  I used to read EVERYTHING in the magazine. Even the credits in the beginning. Even the name of the Mac lipstick I’d never ever wear. EV-ER-Y-THING.  But my favorite part of the magazine was in the beginning.  It was the note from the editor, alongside a very beautiful picture of what I dreamed every magazine editor looked like.  I used to think to myself, I want to be an editor of a magazineI want to be the one to approve the themes of each edition and “yay” or “nay” the ideas for stories for each section.  (I literally decided exactly what the editor did even though I had nothing to base it off of…but that sounds kinda accurate, right?).

But that dream faded pretty quickly.

Next up: sportscaster (I even went to college for this one!).  Although I still love to play sports and be active, my desire to follow sports has dwindled over the years.  But back when I was 17 or 18 years old, I was a big Mets and Knicks fan.  I would watch SportsCenter on ESPN with my brother every morning before school and I thought it would be so awesome to be the next Linda Cohn.  But that, too, fell by the wayside within my first semester of college.  Obviously that dream wasn’t the dream.

Eventually I fell into (and yes, I use those words purposely) working with my dad.  My dad worked for MetLife for 29 years.  I began working at his office at the end of my second year of college.  I was the Recruiting Coordinator.  I was 20 years old and had no idea what I was doing, but the girl I replaced must’ve really sucked because they didn’t even let her stay to train me.  I did get some training from my direct manager, but she dealt more with marketing so the actual nitty gritty of my job I kinda had to learn on my own by making phone calls and asking a million questions.

Three years later my dad brought me over to his new company, National Life Group.  He needed an Office Manager and thought I’d be a great fit for the small agency.  He was right… I totally nailed it.  Haha, just kidding.  Okay, okay, I didn’t not nail it, but I had a ton to learn.  I was only 23 years old and even though both companies were life insurance companies there was a big difference between my roles at MetLife and National Life.  I was running the office at National Life.  Good thing I was getting my MBA, right?  (Ha, I laugh at that only because when it comes to running a business there is nothing better than on the job experience.  You can take all the classes in the world but it will never beat out work experience.)

There are parts of my job I love.  For instance, every day is different.  And, I get to work on all aspects of the business—accounting, financial reporting, marketing, training, recruiting and on-boarding, even a little IT stuff.  I’ve grown A LOT since day one.  I’m not sure I’d be where I am today if I hadn’t been given this opportunity at a very young age.  And I am grateful for the autonomy and flexibility I have.  Even though I don’t own the business, I run the business.  And I take that very seriously (like 98.5% of the time).

So why am I giving you my job history?  Relax, I’m getting there!

I have done quite a few things over the years—barista at Starbucks, Recruiting Coordinator and New Business Processor (at MetLife), Beachbody coach, pure barre instructor, Operations Manager (National Life) and blogging.  And I am truly grateful for everything I’ve done because a) I’ve had the balls to go outside my comfort zone and try new things and b) I’ve learned a lot about myself from each one!

I’ve learned where my strengths are.  I’ve learned where my weaknesses are (brings back memories of my business school days when we talked about SWOT analysis).  I drilled down and figured out what I liked about each of those jobs/opportunities and what I didn’t like.  Here’s a list of the things I love:

  • I love to talk (I know… SHOCKER)
  • I love to listen
  • I love to help people
  • I love to lead small groups and work one-on-one with people
  • I love running a business
  • I love writing and editing
  • I love fitness
  • I love to problem solve
  • I love goal setting
  • I love sharing my experiences
  • I love providing motivation and inspiration to others

It took me 14 years of being in the workforce (18 years old- 32 years old) to figure out what my actual dream job is but I finally figured it out!  I’m in the preliminary stages of my endeavor.  Meaning, I’m researching and doing a shit ton of homework.  But let’s just say it involves ALL of the things I love to do.  For now, I’m calling it my passion project.  But eventually, because I’m going to work real hard at it and be real good at it (don’t believe me, just watch), it’s going to be my baby.  The job that will allow me to create the lifestyle I want to live.  I’m not ready to officially announce anything because I know people will ask me a ton of questions that I just don’t have answers to yet.  So hold your horses! It’s coming!

And while I’m working on MY DREAM, I really encourage everyone reading this to step outside their comfort zone and try new things.  Even if those things aren’t the dream, it’ll at least take you one step closer to it.  And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and actually own your dream.  Because guess what?  You’d be surprised how many people are actually cheering you on versus tearing you down. I’ve never EVER gotten any negative feedback from any one of my blog posts.  In fact, people are encouraging and supportive and rooting for me!  So why wouldn’t people do the same for you!!?!?  They would!! Trust me!  🙂

Food Philosophy 101

When someone says the word “diet” most of us automatically think of the secondary definition of diet—a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.  But today I’m talking about the primary definition, the kinds of food that a person habitually eats.  When I think of the statement “I’m going on a diet” the words that come to mind are restrictive, difficult, stressful, bland, boring, etc.

Don’t these statements sound much better?

“I’m working on improving my diet” OR  “I’m changing my diet to get more in line with my overall health goals.”

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I do not have a degree in nutrition.  I’ve done a good amount of research.  I’ve experimented with many different lifestyles (always for a short period of time because none of them are sustainable for me).  I’ve put in the work. Through all that I’ve come up with the three principles of my food philosophy:

  1. Eat as many of your calories as possible. Powders, vitamins, bars should be used as supplements (when necessary), not as your meal.  Eat real food!
  2. Nothing should be off limits—you can eat everything in moderation. Don’t be a no carb girl… nobody wants to go to an Italian restaurant with you.
  3. Eat in line with your goals.

Let’s dig into each one!

Eating Your Calories

I’ve gone through phases where I’ve had two shakes, two bars and a couple of small snacks per day and guess what?  I was starving (surprise, surprise, right?!).  During that phase I learned that eating as many of my calories as possible is not only physically more satisfying for me, but it’s mentally more satisfying too.  Sitting down and chewing on food takes waaaaaay longer than drinking a shake.  Your body has time to enjoy the eating process.  You chew, you enjoy the flavors, you swallow, you (should) take a second and breathe and then go back for another bite.  Eating becomes more of an event rather than “let me guzzle this shake so I can hustle to my next appointment/class/meeting” moment.

Plus I just think that it’s hard to get all the different vitamins and minerals you need from powders, shakes, bars, and pills.  That’s why they should be used as supplements, when appropriate, but not as a replacement for real food, ya hear?!

I currently use a pre-workout powder and one scoop of protein powder per day.  Snacks include carrots and hummus, string cheese and almonds, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and fruit. I eat real food for lunch and dinner. I don’t take any vitamin or other supplement pills.

Everything in Moderation

I’m a big believer that if you like something, you should be able to enjoy eating it—in moderation.  I enjoy candy and ice cream.  And I can and do enjoy both of those things. The goal is to try to enjoy both of them in moderation (which I’m pretty good at with ice cream) but in the “needs improvement” category for candy.  But I’m better than I used to be so some progress is better than no progress! 😝

I’ve tried to cut out candy completely and all it’s done is make me want it more.  I know that sounds familiar to everyone reading this because it’s a common theme in dieting.  Restrict the bad foods until you cave and eat ALL THE BAD FOODS.  And you start and stop the cycle like a billion times until you either recognize you should be able to have that food in moderation and find a way to do that OR you forget trying to make healthier habits and continue down the same path you’ve been on. Most of us end up doing the latter.

I believe in well-balanced meals that include proteins, fats and yes, CARBOHYDRATES!  I secretly cringe when someone tells me they cut all fruits out of their diet because of the high sugar/carb content. Or they only eat 30g of carbs per day because they’re on a strict keto diet.  I only offer my opinion if it’s asked but I know, from trying so many different diets, that none of them are truly sustainable for the rest of your life.

Eat carbs—mostly good carbs.  But also free feel to indulge in the not-so-nutritious carbs every once in a while.  Going on severe diets is not only physically draining but constantly thinking about it makes it mentally exhausting, as well.

Eating In Line With Your Goals

I am not going to tell you not to focus on the number on the scale or losing a certain amount of pounds because I’ve been there before.  I know what it’s like to want to see a number. I get it. And I had to go through that phase before I moved onto the phase I’m in now which is really trying to fill my diet with healthy and nutritious food.  But just keep in mind as you’re going through the process, the end goal should be to improve your overall health.  The immediate goal might be to lose “x” amount of pounds so whatever you do to reach that goal should be things that are sustainable changes for the end result of living a healthier and more energized life.  Make sense?

Instead of focusing on what you want to achieve (i.e. lose 10 lbs or have a six pack), ask yourself this question:

What am I willing to change/improve in my diet and what results will it yield?

The idea here is to consider what you’re actually willing to do.  It goes back to the idea of wanting to want something but not actually wanting it enough to do anything about it.  So think about what you’re actually willing to change, improve, add to your diet, or eliminate from your diet.  Once you know what you’re willing to do and what results in will likely yield you can negotiate with yourself to find a good starting point.

And remember no change, or improvement, or addition, or elimination has to be 100% of the time.  Instead of 5 caramel macchiatos per week, go for 3.  And leave the rest of your diet and exercise regimen exactly the same.  You will be consuming less calories and you will lose weight.  It will be slow but it will be happen if you have patience.

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Once you know what your goals are and you truly believe you’re onboard with doing the things you need to do to get there, DO THEM.  And while you’re at it, do these things too:

  1. Be patient and kind with yourself. Lifestyle and dietary changes can be difficult.  Don’t beat yourself up for the ups and downs you will experience.  They are part of the journey. You’re not going to be your most healthy and fit self every season in your life.
  2. Focus on one thing at a time. When you make one small change it will make you feel good.  And that good feeling will ignite you to make another small change.  And so and so forth.
  3. Take your time. It’s not a race and it’s certainly not a competition.  It doesn’t matter if it takes you 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years to get to where you want to be. Go at your own pace.

I would absolutely love to hear feedback on this topic because it is so so soooo important to me.  What’s your food philosophy?   😉

Be a Goal Getter!!!

It’s the new year and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited for 2019.  I think it’s going to be a great year!  And the cool thing about that is I have COMPLETE CONTROL over making sure that happens.  I know it’s almost two weeks into January so I’m kinda late to the whole “goal setting, vision board, resolution” party but better late than never, right?

But I actually think it’s a good thing that I waited until now to post this.  We’re 10 days into the new year and I’m sure some of you have had moments of “I’m giving up” or “that’s too hard, what was I thinking?!” or “yeah, 2019 isn’t going to be my year.”   BUT, I beg of you not to throw in the towel yet.  First of all, you do not have to wait until January 1 or Monday to start new habits.  But if you decided that January 1 was your time, awesome.  If you decide it’s tomorrow, you go girl!

I don’t have an advanced degree in goal setting (haha), nor do I consider myself an expert.  But I do have to say that I’m pretty good at getting things done when I say I’m going to do them.  Not 100% of the time.  Not even 90% of the time.  But my track record of committing to things and achieving goals is at the very least decent.  Most of the things I’ve learned about goal setting, planning, etc. came from trial and error.  Other tidbits come from podcasts I’ve listened to or books I’ve read.  And of course, I learn from talking to others about what they do that works/doesn’t work for them.

Here are four things I personally do when I’m setting goals (and I encourage you to try them too!):

1. Write ’em down. Come on, people!  This is the easiest one!  The first step is coming up with the goal in your head.  The second is WRITING IT DOWN.  And so many people never even get there!  And be specific when you write down your goal!  Don’t be vague- “I want to eat healthier.”  What does that actually mean?!  Start off with a broad statement like that, but then drill down to what you actually want to accomplish.  For instance, “I want to eat healthier” turns into:

“I want to incorporate more greens into my diet by making sure I have at least 2 servings of greens 6 out of 7 days of the week.  My greens will include kale, spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and brussel sprouts.”

Writing down concrete, specific goals is going to increase the chances that you’ll stick with the goal.  How do I know this? I don’t know, it sounds obvious and it works for me.  Few more examples, shall we?

“I want to eat healthier” vs. “I am going to bring my lunch to work 4/5 days of the week.  That lunch will include a lean protein, a whole grain, and vegetables.”
“I want to get fit.” vs. “I am going to sign up for a membership to XYZ gym and go 4 days/week. I will do 20 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight training most days.”
“I want to be better with money.” vs. “I set a reminder in my calendar for the 30th of each month. At that time if I have excess funds left in my bank account I am going put half of it towards my credit card debt/student loan and the other half in my savings account.”
“I want to have a better relationship with my mom/dad/brother/sister” vs. “I am going to call my dad twice a week so we can catch up more often.”

 

2. Don’t make goals for the sake of making goals. I know the new year is a good opportunity to jump on the “I’m going to get healthy/get fit/lose weight” bandwagon, but if you’re not truly committed to reaching a goal, don’t bother.  And I don’t say that to sound like a jerk, I’m saying it because it might just not be your time to tackle that goal (whatever it is).  Work on the things that are important to you now. And if those things change in 6 days, 6 weeks or 6 months from now, that’s fine.  Plus, when you don’t achieve that goal that you weren’t actually committed to, you feel like a failure.  And there’s just no need for that because you’re probably doing a million other things simultaneously and kicking butt at them.  And you’re also never a failure.  Just do you, girl.  DO YOU when the time is right FOR YOU!

3. Set obnoxiously large goals. This is another cute little trick I learned over the years that I am putting my own cute little spin on.  There’s what I call achievable goals and reach goals.  Achievable goals are goals that are, duh, achievable!  Meaning, you know you can do it.  So whether it’s saying I’m going to run 3 races this year (when your ran 2 last year) or I’m going to increase my sales by 5%, these are goals that achievable… or very, very modest goals.

Reach goals are exactly what they sound like too!  They are going to require you to plan the work and work the plan.  They are going to be extremely tough to accomplish.  But that’s the point.  Setting goals that are achievable is basically giving yourself a break.  But setting reeeeaaach goals is like pushing yourself to 95% of your fastest pace.  And even if you only get to 80%, or 85%, or 90%, it’s still way more than your achievable goal that only brought you to about 50% of your fastest pace.  You have to PUSH YOURSELF!

Personal example… last year I ran 0 races, completed 1 Beachbody program and averaged about 10 classes per month at pure barre.  A little weak for me.  This year’s goals?!  Eeek, I’m nervous at the thought of them, but here goes:

  1. Run 1 5K
  2. Run 1 10k or 15k
  3. Run 1 ½ Marathon
  4. Run a Spartan Race
  5. Take 15 classes/month at pure barre
  6. Complete Transform20 (Beachbody program)
  7. Do a MF pull-up

That’s a shit ton of stuff… like for real.  How did I come up with these 7 things?  I figured out what I can pretty easily do (my achievable goal) and wrote it down.  And then thought about what I reeeaallly want to accomplish and wrote it down.  Unless something crazy happens, I can guarantee that I’ll do more than my achievable goal.  I might not do my reach goal… but damn!, it would still be amazing if I did 5 or 6 of those things, right?

fitness goals

4. Don’t take on too much at once. That sounds like a load of bull when I just listed 7 things I want to accomplish (and those are just my fitness goals).  But hear me out.  Those 7 goals are not going to be worked on simultaneously.  For example, I’m not even thinking about the ½ marathon yet.  That’s not something I’m doing until the fall most likely.  Right now I’m focused on making sure I get my 15 classes in at pure barre, adding in one more day of running, and starting Transform20 next week.

I’m not saying you can’t work on doing a two or three things at the same time… I’m just saying you can’t expect yourself to put 110% effort into 6 or 7 different things.  There’s not enough time in the day or pre-workout (or coffee for you normal folk) in the world to do that.  Just focus on the highest priorities RIGHT NOW and move on, or take on more, when you’re ready.

I hope you found this to be helpful and apply some of these principals when you are setting your goals.  Remember: be specific, write them down, only commit to what is really important, go for the gusto and don’t overload yourself.

#getitgirl