What could be harder than the first day of a new routine? We all know how difficult it is to start a new routine and create a new habit. I found my inspiration with Life In Focus, if you need some inspiration check out my Enlightenment by Email subscription service and the REAL Women's Night Out events in Torrance, CA. I think the first step always seems to be the most difficult. It is daunting to look into the future and see only the unknown. Will it be as difficult as you think it will be? Will you be successful? How will success feel? What if you "fall off the wagon" again? There are so many unknowns that can elicit fear and anxiety in a person. Even after you take that first step, continuing on your new path can be difficult. Studies have shown that it takes 21 days for a new habit to take hold. So how do you stay motivated until that habit forms?
For me, the best defense is a good offense, and my offensive strategy for staying motivated lies in planning and organization. Planning my menus ahead of time, organizing my time to make sure that the refrigerator and pantry are stocked with healthy foods and making sure to plan my meals away from home carefully and with intention toward achieving my goals.
Day 1 Action Plan:
1) Cleaned out the refrigerator and the dry goods pantry of old foods, as well as foods that are not in line with my goal of a reduced calorie, lower carbohydrate, and higher protein diet.
a. Foods that are needed for my husband and children are put on the lowest level of the refrigerator. This makes them accessible to the other members in my family, but keeps them out of my direct line of sight and as the old saying goes "out of sight, out of mind."
b. For the dry goods pantry, i put my husbands foods in the upper cabinet. It is too tall for me to easily access, but easy for him to reach. For my children, i moved their dry goods to a separate cabinet away from my regular foods. This allows them to still be easily accessible for me to make lunches and other meals for them, but keeps them out of my general view.
2) Meal planning and purchase of appropriate foods
a. Prepared meal plans for Friday, September 16th through Thursday, September 22nd, which includes planned breakfasts and lunches for myself only on weekdays, and includes all dinners and weekend breakfasts and lunches for my whole family. Starting a new diet plan when you're responsible for feeding other people can be challenging, what have you done to overcome these issues? Comment on this post in our Community Forum.
b. Accountability is a foundation of success, and in order to keep myself accountable, i will be using a dual prong journal procedure. I will be using an app for my phone to track my food and drink intake, and i will simultaneously be keeping a bullet food journal to write down my meals, as well as my emotions prior to and after each meal or snack.
c. In an additional effort to maintain accountability, i have scheduled myself to post a blog update no fewer than every 7 days for the duration of the 30 days challenge. I look forward to comments, and tips from my readers!
c. Dinner tonight will be all thanks to my wonderful crockpot! I love crockpot cooking. You can put almost any combination of ingredients into the pot, add some liquid and walk away. After a few hours a tasty meal will be waiting for you. See below for the recipe I snagged from TheFrugalGirls.com. Additional recipes can be found on our Pinterest page, and are sometimes features in our subscription service and workshops. The chicken will be served with steamed veggies a la Green Giant. Choose your favorite, it all tastes good with the chicken.
Author: The Frugal Girls
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 Jar (~18 oz) Peach Preserves
5 oz Catalina Dressing
1. Cook chicken in crockpot on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours (covered)
2. After 3 hours on HIGH or 6 hours on LOW, drain juices from the crockpot
3. Mix together Peach Preserves and Catalina Dressing
4. Pour mixture over chicken, and cook on HIGH for 30 more minutes (covered)
3) Time management and scheduling physical activity. I have set aside time for the next week to exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3 times. I have scheduled a neighborhood walk with my dog after work today followed by some yoga stretches designed to relieve tension in my lower back, an afternoon bike ride with my son this weekend, and a family swim mid-week at a local pool.
a. I have always found it easier to get more exercise when i have company, and with 2 little ones and a dog, i'm almost never alone anymore! :-)
b. I am going to start off integrating more physical activity with my family, and build up to getting back to the gym which i haven't seen since i was 8 months pregnant with my youngest child.
4) Challenges and Victories for Day 1.
a. Challenges: starting a new routine has put some stress on integrating my regular routine tasks into my new routine. I feel a little anxiety about potentially failing in my goals.
b. Victories: I have managed to set-up my home with good food within arms reach and to plan my meals and physical activity for the next 7 days.
I feel like i am off to a good start on this new challenge that i have set for myself, and i am happy to have you all along for the ride. What can you do to bring balance to your life? Please feel free to contact me to share your stories, your goals and any tips you have for our community. You can email me or join our online Community Forum. Looking forward to reporting excellent progress in the next installment!