Category Archives: Resolutions

Stellar Reads & Inspiration: New Year Edition!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m actually very cheerful today, despite having a full work week ahead of me for the first time in a while. The reason? It’s sunny outside! After too many dreary, rainy days, I am super-excited about the sunshine.

Here are a few articles to get this week off on the right foot, and the new year! 15 Things To Stop Doing in 2015
Thanks to a few Facebook friends for posting this article! I need to work on all of these things, but especially No. 2 and No. 9. I have a terrible time not comparing myself to other people, and I need to remember that our journey is just that: our journey. No one else’s. And everyone else has their own journey, too. As for No. 9, if I could stop apologizing for things that I don’t really need to apologize for, it’d be a good thing! I Was The New Person At The Gym On January 1st
I’m a huge fan of Tony’s blog, and I love his letter as the “newbie” at the gym. As someone who has started over many times, and needs a fresh start all too often, I get this. Don’t be ashamed of when you start, or how often you restart, the point is, you’re doing it. Love this passage here from his post:

I made a commitment to become healthier on January 1st. While some roll their eyes, I need a New Years Resolution. I need that fresh start. It is easy to say that you can change your life any day of the year, but for some it is not that easy. I am good at so many things; I wish that eating and fitness was one of them.

That’s real talk!

A few inspirations friends on Pinterest have been sharing:



Let’s have a great week, everyone!


Kick-off 2015 With Evolutions, Not Resolutions

Last year, my motto was to DO BETTER. This year, I think I can sum it up by saying that I want to DO MORE.

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But, as I look at the long list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2015, I want to take a deep breath, a step back and tackle each goal with a mindset of creating small, daily “evolutions” — not making any resolutions.

I read this idea in an article by Clinton Kelly in Woman’s Day. In the article, he admits to making resolutions in the past, only to feel like a failure when he didn’t reach his goals. Man, do I feel that!

I love this quote from Kelly:

Let’s be realistic. Just because the calendar says 2015 instead of 2014, you can’t go on a diet, train for a marathon, learn French and start a gluten-free cupcake business by February. (If you did even one of those, I’d be impressed.) Cut yourself some slack.

So, using this article as my inspiration, I will focus on the small, daily changes, “evolutions,” that add up, including:

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1. I will continue the monthly #stellarmiles challenges.
Sadly, I didn’t finish this as I wish I would have in December, only walking/running 7 miles out of the 25 I had planned. Oof — that was hard to admit! I could explain that in addition to this, I did do a couple of spinning classes, a couple of yoga classes, and I was sick with a sinus infection for two weeks of the month, but whatev. The point is, since I started the monthly walking/running challenges in July, December was my poorest performance yet. But I kicked off Jan. 1 with a 1-mile walk, and I plan to redeem myself with #25stellarmiles in January. From July through December in 2014, I walked or ran a total of 170 miles — let’s do better than that in 2015!

2. I will set modest weight-loss goals for myself for each month and weigh-in every other Friday.
I have a big event coming up in June — a family get-together in Florida — and I’ll state right now that I’d like to be 20 pounds down by then (251 now, 231 by June 26). That’s 6 months away, so that means I’d need to lose a little over 3 pounds each month to meet that goal. In November when I started losing weight again, I dropped about 5 pounds in a month — so I know this is possible! I need to focus on the real foods I was eating then (fruits, whole grains, lots of lean protein, very little processed foods or sweets — and very little Diet Coke!) and continue my workouts. I will report in every other Friday to give y’all an update!

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3. I will continue to do a mix of yoga, spinning and walking/running and try one new type of workout this year.
Whenever I get too focused on one type of workout — usually running — I tend to get bored. In December, I started going to spinning each Tuesday and yoga each Wednesday, and that’s something I want to continue in 2015. Last year, I also tried a few new workouts, just to spice things up and challenge myself. I definitely want to do that again in 2015 — this time something in the martial arts! Maybe karate, I’m not sure. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try — so why not?!

4. Work consistently on my blogging and writing goals.
Besides my health and fitness, I have a couple of career-oriented goals outside of my day job that I want to put into action this year. I’m planning to move my blog over to so I can start working more consistently with brands that I love, and I want to look at this blog as a business, while still expressing myself as I always have, and hopefully helping others feel and look their best and lead stellar lives. I plan to make an outline of what I want to accomplish for the blog and work on each one on a monthly basis so I can make consistent progress throughout the year.

I wanted every single item on this display at Saks!

5. Organize my closet — and pursue more fashionable looks!
Just like I became somewhat complacent in my beauty routine by the end of 2014, I was also struggling with my “look.” I don’t have much of a shopping budget right now, but I need to do a better job at working with what I already own and spicing up my wardrobe with a few purchases here and there. I love to write about trends and looks that I love, but actually getting to wear those pieces and doing fun #ootd posts? Definitely something I am working on for 2015!

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6. Becoming even more involved in my city, Birmingham.
I tried to work harder during the last half of 2014 to reach out to new people and cultivate new relationships. Attending events with See Jane Write and fashion outings with Saks, Posh and other avenues. And continuing to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters — my Little graduates from high school this year, so our visits aren’t as frequent. But I want to continue to be there for her when she needs me — and just for fun! So continuing to reach out to others in my community, and embracing all this growing, lively city has to offer, is a major goal for 2015.

Do you have any advice for me for pursuing these “evolutions” this year? What are some of your goals for 2015?

My 2014 Goal: Simply DO BETTER

I feel like I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week or so about numbers. I wrote recently about how I am trying to focus less on numbers and more on how eating well and exercising regularly makes me feel. It’s still true, but I automatically default to numbers anyway.

Every day I think in terms of calories. Of steps walked or miles ran or minutes spent spinning or lifting. Or minutes spent doing nothing. I think about how many weeks it will take me to lose a certain number of pounds, and how many days a week I will work out. I think back to a few years ago when I was at my lowest weight, and to years before that when I was at my highest weight.

I think about the size of my clothes. Of shopping at the Gap when I was in high school and how I’m close to being able to shop there again … only then I was a size 14 or so, and now they make clothes in higher sizes that I can fit into.

With all these numbers swirling around my head, it’s no wonder it can be overwhelming. I can beat myself up about weighing only slightly less on this date than I did on this date last year. I can berate myself for weighing 20 lbs. or so more this year than I did on this date a couple years ago.

It’s why I really am trying to focus on how I feel, as opposed to the number on the scale. I won’t lie. When the scale read 251.4 the day before I headed North for Christmas, I was ecstatic. I may have even done a nude happy dance in my bathroom.

But as satisfying as a great weigh-in can be, I want celebrate non-scale victories — the airplane seatbelt fitting more comfortably was a great feeling! — and focus on that healthy feeling I get when I’m drinking lots of water (no soda!), eating inside my calorie limit and working out regularly.

So as I head into 2014, I don’t plan on making a specific weight loss goal. Or 5k running goal. Or jeans size goal. My goal for the new year is going to be a little more simple: DO BETTER.

Day to day, week to week, from one meal to the next and one workout to the next, I just want to strive to DO BETTER.

I won’t lie. I have a vague number in my head that I’d like to see on the scale around the time of my wedding. But it is vague. And while I plan to track my progress with the scale, taking measurements, etc., to help keep me on track, my focus will be how I feel. And in order to feel my best, I am simply going to strive to DO BETTER in 2014. In all areas of my life: fitness, health, nutrition and with work, relationships, writing, etc.

People are always saying that the person you’re really in competition with is yourself, and for 2014, that’s definitely going to be the case for me.

Are you ready to DO BETTER, too?

It’s The Challenges You Take On That Count

A few days ago, I wrote about my intent to post the things I do well, on a weekly basis, as part of my new Magnificent Mondays series. My thinking is that, while the number on the scale is still important to me and I still intend to track my weight and lose weight in 2013, I also want to focus on other things. Namely, becoming a healthier, happier person. For me, right now, it’s the challenges I take on and conquer that mean the most.

Challenging myself in 2013 may be in the form of running (I just signed up for the 3-mile Resolution Run at Red Mountain Park tomorrow — so I’m starting the year off right!) or taking a class or pushing myself to do #plankaday or increasing the number of push-ups I can do at a time. There are a lot of things I want to do — fitness-oriented and otherwise — that will help me feel more well-rounded, more self-assured.

After reading Javacia’s New Year’s post, and Tanya’s, I know I’m on the right track with this way of thinking. These ladies are both focusing on fitness, but they’re taking on some new ways of thinking. I love that Javacia quoted Mark Twain, who said: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

For me, becoming more fit, and more confident as a bonus, is the main goal that I’ve always had with my weigh-loss journey. Sometimes — many times — I get bogged down by the numbers on the scale and it puts me in either an excellent frame of mind, or makes me depressed. Though I still want to lose 50 lbs. this year, I want it to be as a result of eating well and moving more and pushing myself to do both. Not from becoming obsessive or depriving myself, which is how I believe I’ve failed in the past. I want to try new forms of exercise and cook new recipes. I want to try new foods (sushi … maybe? So scared.) and sweat until my clothes are soaked.

The best I have ever felt about myself is when I have accomplished something that was challenging. I felt like superwoman after finishing my first half marathon. I was exhausted, but grinning, after doing tons of burpees in a row. I was filled with pride when I graduated from grad school, and elated when I saw my name in print for the first time.

Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone — the whole reason I signed up for the Dirty Girl Mud Run — is scary, but extremely rewarding. I’m hoping 2013 will be full of new challenges, and the side effect will be a lighter, and more light-hearted, me!

Coming Up: Magnificent Mondays

I’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s Day and resolutions and how I want to start off 2013. I believe in resolutions, although I’m not always great at keeping mine. In fact, I really didn’t keep any of the goals I set out to complete in 2012 (I did learn more about my new camera and I did try new exercises, but I actually gained weight — boo!).

This year I wanted to try something a little bit different.

Instead of saying that I want to drop 50 lbs. this year (which I do) by eating better, moving more and simply becoming a healthier person, I want to focus on resolutions for each week. The things I’m going to do week by week to become a better person. Therefore, I am now going to write a post each week called Magnificent Mondays. On Mondays, I will look back at the week prior and see how I’ve tried to eat more healthfully and exercise regularly and, thus, with any luck, lose weight. I’m still going to post Weigh-in Fridays, but I want to, well, become more magnificent in big ways and in small ways. In other words, I want to focus on each step of becoming a healthier person and not just the “big picture” — the 50 lbs.

Besides eating more fruit and veg, drinking more water, trying a new exercise class or fitting into a smaller size, I believe becoming more magnificent involves other things, too. Did I help someone in need during this last week? Did I finish a new book? Did I make a new friend and take her out for coffee? Did I accomplish something at work, or with my volunteer group United Way Young Leaders Society?

I want to track all these things this year because, to be honest, this past year has had its ups and downs. Weight-wise and otherwise. So I’m trying to focus on the positives in 2013 and self-affirmations, to keep myself from beating myself up and celebrate what’s good, what’s meaningful, what’s feeding my energy instead of depleting it.

Now I have to ask you: How will you be magnificent in 2013?

New Year, New Goals

I took some time off from blogging. Not on purpose, really. I think I just needed some time to think and, well, I’m still thinking! I’m still thinking about last year and the amazing experiences I had, from running my first half marathon, to moving in with my boyfriend, to getting a new job. I had so many wonderful experiences in 2011 that I think I let one little thing cloud over all those amazing things.

I didn’t lose any weight.

At first this thought had me very upset. Then I realized that, well, at least I didn’t gain any weight. At least I kept running and even signed up for another half marathon on Feb. 13, 2012. I continued working out regularly, and rarely a week went by that I didn’t work out at least once or twice. I had my insulin and cholesterol levels checked and they’re still right where they should be.

So many milestones can pass you by when you’re stuck on just one as a sign of your success or failure.

Heading into 2012, I don’t want to have that attitude. I don’t want weight loss to be my only focus. I want it to be a focus, but not the only measurement of success and happiness.

I think I will state a couple specific goals that I have for myself for 2012, but I intend to keep evolving those goals as the year progresses. Maybe I’ll go back to a monthly goal list and try to check long-term items off my list, but I want to have small goals, too, to keep my momentum going.

  1. The first goal is short-term: to continue training for the Mercedes Half Marathon in February. This will mean at least two shorter runs and one long run each week, in addition to other forms of exercise (Zumba, walking and I think yoga could do me a world of good right now! I need to stretch!).
  2. The second goal, more long-term, is to lose one pound a week. My first weigh-in for 2012 will be this Fri., Jan. 6. So by Jan. 27, I would like to have lost 2 lbs. from wherever I start on Fri. I’m hoping it’s close to, if not exactly, my pre-Christmas weight of 231.8. I did indulge this holiday season. I did better than I’d expected over Christmas, but New Year’s weekend I had the munchies and it was hard to control myself! I think a one-pound loss each week is a realistic goal.
  3. Another goal for 2012: Incorporating different forms of exercise into my workout routine. (After the half is over, of course.) I’ve done so much running and Zumba lately, in addition to the strength training I was doing with Ashlee, but I need something new. Spinning, yoga … maybe water aerobics? And once my broken finger has completely healed, I’ll finish out my training sessions and keep up the strength training on my own.
  4. As far as food goes, I have two simple things I want to change that I always talk about, but rarely succeed at. For the moment, I’m not changing anything too drastically. I’ll still count calories and stick to 1,500-1,800 a day (only the higher end while I’m training for the half). I’ll still work on eating less carbs after 5:00 and no food at all after 10:00. But the two most important rules are to bring my lunch to work 4 days out of 5 and cook dinners at home 5 days out of 7. I’ve already been grocery shopping with le boyfriend and stocked the freezer, so that should give us a good start! I honestly thinking bringing my lunch more and cooking more dinners at home will drastically change my calorie intake because I’ll be measuring and cooking my own food, rather than relying on restaurant’s websites to accurately tell me the calories in their dishes. I don’t trust them one bit, but I’ve been relying on them a little to heavily in 2011.

Finally, my fun goals. I don’t have too many of these each New Year’s, but this year I wanted to have something that was unrelated to losing weight to look forward to and strive for. Each of these goals are a little silly, and I’ll have to see which of them I can afford, but I really want to:

  • Ride a horse
  • Go parasailing
  • Hike to a waterfall in Ala. (I hear we have them … up north, maybe?)
  • Take karate or tae kwon do or some type of martial arts classes
  • Learn more about using my new camera! (A Canon Rebel T3!)
  • Learn to play at least one full song on my guitar (YouTube lessons for the win!)

So those are my challenging, and fun, goals for 2012. What are you focusing on this year? My friend Kavitha pointed out that resolutions can be small, but can mean big things. She quoted a NYTimes author who suggested complimenting someone who you cross paths with every day. That sounds like a small way to make one person smile each day! Count me in!