Go old school and create a vision board! First you have to identify what your dreams and goals are – go back and read my post on goal setting – then grab a bunch of magazines and a pair of scissors and get to work!
Here’s mine from 2019. It was hanging in my closet so I would see it regularly.
Are you tech savvy? Create a digital vision board instead. Save it to your phone backdrop so it stays top of mind.
NEAT = Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or simply all movement that isn’t sleeping, eating, or structured exercise. You can successfully combine everyday activity with diet and exercise to burn calories and lose fat through NEAT, even when you can’t fit in 3-5 workouts a week.
Why am I starting my blog talking about this and not about my favorite workouts or how I went from couch to half-marathon in little over a year? Because assuming you sleep 8 hours a day (more blog posts on that later!),
1 hour of exercise = 4% of your day
NEAT = 63% of your day
Exercise alone is generally not enough. The goal is to rethink your approach to where and how you burn calories throughout your day.
We’re talking about the things like walking the dog, pacing while you are on the phone, mowing the lawn, gardening, and cleaning the house.
Focusing on increasing your NEAT will
Help with fat loss
Improve overall health
Enhance your mood
Exercise and improving overall fitness is vitally important to your health and wellness, but keeping your NEAT up throughout the day will then complement the exercise we want to do, and not feel like we have to do. So how do you burn more calories with NEAT?
Awareness: Make a list of every activity you do in a normal day. Then note how many are seated.
Reflect: Think of creative ways to modify a seated activity (like talking on the phone).
Challenge: Add new habits that just take small changes.
Take the stairs
Get a standing desk
Park farther out in the parking lot on your errands
Pace the sidelines at your kids’ athletic games.
Carry your groceries instead of pushing a cart.
Walk briskly through the mall.
Walk to a co-worker’s desk or neighbor’s house instead of emailing or calling them.
A 145 lb. person burns approximately 102 calories an hour while working at a seated desk, but burns 174 calories an hour if performing those same office duties while standing. That translates to 18,000 calories or over 5 lbs. a year (250 work days)! By comparison, that same person would need to squeeze in 60 thirty minute runs at 5 mph to achieve that same caloric burn. -National Academy of Sports Medicine
Track your Progress:
Are you committed to increasing your NEAT? Measure your progress with a step counter or fitness tracker. Make sure to set realistic improvement goals. If you are starting out at 2,500 steps a day, shooting for 10,000 will be discouraging. Choose a realistic increase based on what you know your lifestyle and overall health will allow.
I’m a FITBIT fan because they are affordable and simple to use, but there are a ton of great options at all price points! #ad
Some people love goals…New Year’s Resolutions? Yep. Career goals and milestones? Love ’em! I’ve always loved the sense of accomplishment even as simple as making a daily to-do post it note list just to I can check it off. I also thrive on recognition and external praise – ready for my yearly review with my boss? I’m prepared! Up for an award? Awesome!
But if you aren’t motivated by the same feeling, hear me out.
Daily, intentional focus can be so helpful. There is so much power in focusing on the outcome instead of just a mental to-do list.
Maybe you like the idea of goals but get frustrated and beat yourself up when you fail to achieve our goal or give up.
Often, I think it is because we get so fired up for change, we bite off more than we can chew. Too many resolutions, priorities, and things to keep up with and it will rob you of motivation.
Your goals may not be too lofty, just too many.
When everything is important, nothing is important.”
– Rachel Hollis
You don’t have to do it all to see massive change. Narrowing your focus on one goal and work until it becomes second-nature…habit…success. And when you start to grow in one area, you might be surprised that other areas grow along with it.
So how do you figure out what to focus on first?
I absolutely love Rachel Hollis’ 10,10, 1 practice. Regardless of what you think of her rocky last year in the public eye, I still think her method is rock solid.
Ten years. Ten dreams. One goal.
Visualization Exercise: The best of me…
Close your eyes and envision who you want to be in 10 years, like a movie in your head. Imagine your best possible life – no limits on it. Don’t listen to the voice in the back telling you to play it safe. Your dreams should light you on fire and make you a little nervous!
What are you doing? Wearing? Driving? Are you joyful? Energetic? Do you have a home? Kids?
What do you do all day? What do you do for work? Are you a great cook? Love to run? Travel?
Who do you surround yourself with? How do they treat you?
Now open your eyes and jot down or draw all the things you saw in your mind. Don’t worry about being “realistic” – fill up the page!
Now that you know who you want to be, look at that list and what are 10 dreams that would make your vision a reality? A dream is something you obsess over and fantasize will come true. Think what dreams, if they were to come true, would make your future-self real? For example, if you envisioned financial freedom, maybe your dream would be making a six-figure salary or getting completely out of debt.
Some are things you want to achieve, others you can accomplish daily.
I have a million $$ in the bank.
I am a calm & peaceful parent.
Here’s another important piece of the puzzle. Like the examples above, write them as if they’ve already happened. Yep, we’re going to trick our subconscious. It will focus our mind on how to make them real right now instead of just another mental wish list.
What is one thing you can do to get you closer to that 10 year-from-now you the fastest? Which one of the those dreams are you going to turn into a goal and actively pursue first?
A goal is a dream with work boots on.”
If one of your dreams is to get into shape, it becomes a goal when you sign up for a half marathon, join a running club, and start putting in the miles.
And yes it has to be specific and measurable. Turn “I want to do better with my finances” into “I want to save $3000.”
Here’s the twist – don’t set a time limit. It sets a lot of people up for failure. Working on yourself is a lifelong process! What matters in consistency, not perfection.
Start everyday meditating on your one goal. Are you a journal person? Write your dreams down daily. The same 10. Instill in your head where your focus should be. Now you know where your headed and can build your habits around the results you want!
One of the biggest roadblocks I hear from moms of littles is that they don’t have time to workout or don’t have childcare to workout alone. If joining a gym with childcare isn’t in your budget or your community, it can be hard to know what step to take next. It’s taken me trial and error to figure out what works for my family and overcoming my own expectations of what I think a workout looks like. And sure enough, just like parenting, as soon as you figure out that age or stage, it will change again – so be flexible! Ha!
If you can, I highly recommend working out alone or with a friend for support. It’s a great mental refresh as well as a physical workout. But it also can be doable to include your kids. It has the added bonus that they see what taking care of yourself and your health looks like, setting them up for their own healthier future.
Here are a few ways that I’ve found to include your kids and still hit your fitness goals:
Get kid size equipment. While I’m doing some arm reps with my 15-20 lb. dumbbells, my 4 year old mimics me with some 3 lb. weights. My 8 year old got an inflatable punching bag for Christmas – we both have a set of boxing gloves to kickbox together. #ad
YouTube exercise videos targeting kids. Search “mommy & me” or “kids fitness.” One of our favorites is Cosmic Kids Yoga – she tailors each episode to tie into a popular kids franchise like Trolls movies or Pokemon and tells the story as each move progresses. It’s a great attention grabber and by the end I’m sweating too!
GoNoodle is a series of web-based videos, games, and activities focused on introducing short bursts of physical exercise for ages 5-12. It was introduced to us because it was used in my son’s public school classroom for “brain breaks.” We were super excited when we discovered they also have an app on Roku and we can dance along in front of our TV!
Join a program that allows you to bring your kids along. In our area, there are great programs like Fit for Mom where everyone brings their infants in strollers. Some even plan activities to keep your preschoolers busy while you work out. Other programs like Camp Gladiator will also allow you to bring your stroller depending on the instructor/format.
Use your backyard! Kids are contained. Grab your jump rope while they run around or setup family obstacle courses to get your heart rate up.
Hiking has become a new family favorite of ours. Start out with a good infant carrier or backpack and then tailor hike length and difficulty to the age of your kids. Sometimes we just go to a local city park that’s a little more on the wilderness vibe and we plan them into many of our travels. Our kids were slow going and the little one needed some shoulder rides but we hiked about 3 miles to see the Grand Canyon! Start them young with the hope they’ll develop a love for hiking as individuals as they grow.
Jogging/Walking: Think you can’t get out and run? That’s what jogging strollers are for. Check online marketplace sites for great deals on resale strollers as well. When they are too big for the jogging stroller, get creative. I’ve let my kids play on the neighborhood playground while I run laps around the perimeter keeping an eye out. It didn’t take me as long to hit 2 miles as I thought!
Lastly, don’t underestimate your kiddos! Include them in your passions, help them set goals, and push themselves to the limits. One of my proudest moments was during the 2020 lockdowns. I started entering and completing virtual races completed with mailed participation medal. My kids were so excited for me so I signed them each up for a 1 mile virtual race, theme specifically selected for their interests. I ran along side them, handing them water often, but they both knocked it out of the park and were so proud of themselves. We have their medals on display and still talk about their accomplishment.
Health is the measure of our body’s efficiency and overall well-being. The health triangle is a measure of the different aspects of health and includes physical, social, and mental health. Created in 1997 as a project for an Alaska Middle School, the Health Triangle creators used an equilateral triangle to represent these aspects of health. Because all sides of this types of triangle are equal, it stresses the equal importance of each of these aspects. Devoting more attention to one particular side, while neglecting the others, can lead to health imbalances.
This blog is divided into the 3 sides of the health triangle and all posts will be categorized as such:
mind (mental health), matter (physical health) and meet (social health).
Matter: Physical Health
Deals with the body’s ability to function
Includes exercise, nutrition, sleep, alcohol & drugs, and weight management
Proper balance results in more energy, maintaining a healthy weight, increased confidence & self esteem, and decreases risk of certain chronic diseases
Mind: Mental Health
Deals with how we think, feel and cope with daily life.
Includes learning, stress management, and mental illnesses or disorders.
Proper balance increases self-confidence, awareness, and self perception. It also deals with the way our bodies and minds deal with life changes and decrease risk for anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses.
Meet: Social Health
Deals with the way react with people within our environment.
Includes public health, family relationships, and peer relationships.
Supportive, loving relationships help eliminate stress, increase happiness and self-esteem, and help celebrate accomplishments, promoting a safe environment.
The three components are dependent on one another. For example, someone who stays out late socializing might not be getting enough sleep. Someone strict about exercise might neglect other aspects of life in order to not miss a workout or a meticulous dieter may avoid going out to dinner because of their self-imposed rules.
It’s important to reflect on your own balance. Use the below Health Inventory tool as a means of evaluating and possibly changing your habits. Do you have excellent physical health, but inadequate social health? This can lead to loneliness, which might eventually compromise mental health. Consider joining a gym and fitness class to meet new workout buddies. Connect with a like-minded group on social media. Your support system can help you adhere to healthy habits.
Want to take it a step further? Think of 5 of your favorite activities (hobbies, interests) and then reflect on what impact each one has on each side of your health triangle, positive or negative. For example, yoga: builds core strength and flexibility (physical), relaxes and reduces stress (mental), and you meet friends there (social). Sounds great on all sides…so make that interest a priority in the coming month!
Let’s not beat ourselves up on where we’ve been or where we are on this journey. Let’s stop letting insecurities tell us who we ought to be and let our future shape us into who we were made to be.
I encourage you to start your journey by setting goals, practicing behaviors that achieve those goals and getting support to do so, and reflecting on what helps or hinders you achieving personal wellbeing. You’re worthy…now let’s get healthy!