Category: Holidays

A Review of 2016: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2016 was a year full of ups and downs and while overall it was a bit of a rough year for me, there were still some pretty awesome things that happened as well. Some are healthy living related while others are more about my own self-growth. Here in this post, I am going to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. So come along for the ride!

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January Happenings

  • We decided that we were going to move back to our home state of California sometime in the summer… so exciting!
  • Mid-month I fell on the ice at the bottom of our ramp, which resulted in a bruised body from the impact, strained muscles that took a long time to go back to normal, and a bruised tailbone that still flares up from time to time.
  • Just as I started feeling good enough to return to exercise, I got sick.

 

 


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February Happenings

  • I started training for my upcoming half marathon with increasing my steps, walking outside when I could, doing my first interval training sessions of the year, and starting a self-compiled strength training routine for runners.
  • I had a tooth pulled, which was unplanned.

 

 

 


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March Happenings

  • This month I let my Be the Best You (www.journeytohealthyyou.wordpress.com) blog go, not necessarily by conscious choice. However, I didn’t have enough time or energy to keep it going.
  • Mid-month I had a tooth pulled again, this time it was planned ahead. Just when I thought I had the tooth extraction thing figured out, I was thrown for a loop with a long, hard, and more painful recovery.
  • Climbed trees, probably for the first time, with my niece and two young nephews. What a rush! It made me feel like a kid again.

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April Happenings

  • My first staycation started at the end of the previous month and lasted a couple weeks into this one. Such a nice break and I used as much of it as I could for rest and relaxation.
  • I worked to increase my steps 2-3 days a week and hit a new record for me of 25K steps!
  • I had two long training speedwalks in preparation for the half marathon- one 8 mile and one 10.5 mile, the last of which was in the rain for most of it and I persevered.

 


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May Happenings

  • Tinker Bell Half Marathon at the beginning of the month- I finished and had the time of my life! I even spent the next day with my cousin and her kids, whom I hadn’t seen in a few years and we took a light hike.
  • My parents went out to California to scout for apartments.
  • 2-year anniversary of my healthy living journey was on the 28th!
  • New bigger playground was installed in our community- my nephews and I were thrilled!

 


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June Happenings

  • We started packing things up for our move, which was a huge undertaking with six of us in the household.
  • I spent a good chunk of the month working on and struggling to get back on track with my eating, which had gone haywire during the previous month.
  • Started a new medication for my joint pain, which didn’t end up helping.

 

 


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July Happenings

  • There was lots and lots of packing to be done in preparation for our big move.
  • We had a dud of a community yard sale, which I ran mostly on my own but with help that made it a bit easier.
  • We sent out a rental application for the apartment complex that my parents had chosen as their first choice in California.
  • I had to change anti-depressants since the one I had been on before was not helping as much as I, or my primary doctor, had hoped.

 


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August Happenings

  • My parents’ dog, Daisy had surgery to remove a cyst-type thing. She did well with her recovery and soaked up all the extra attention!
  • My brothers and little nephews moved out on the 17th, we finished cleaning out my grandparents’ mobile home for its sale a few days later, and finally moved out of our own house on the 22nd. There was still a couple days of clearing out the remaining belongings. We learned that we always have more than we think we do!
  • We got stuck in a hotel room near where we lived in Indiana for over a week, and the rest of the month.
  • We said goodbye to my siblings, nephews, and nieces. The two youngest boys, my brother’s, were a huge part of my life and I was like a mother figure to them. It was so hard to leave them and I still miss them like crazy!

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September Happenings

  • We hit the road on the first of the month, for our cross country trek that took ten days. We spent a final twelve days in a hotel in our new city due to issues with our apartment that was supposed to be ready but wasn’t. We also had our dog and cat along for this big ride of hotel living and road tripping.
  • We finally moved into the apartment on the 22nd, after exactly a month in various hotels.
  • Then began the settling-in process. We hadn’t brought much furniture along with us, so getting what we needed after moving in was a focus at first, along with unpacking.

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October Happenings

  • I got back on track with my weight loss efforts a few days before this month started. The craziness of moving was finally over and I was able to refocus more effectively.
  • My birthday was this month as well. I am getting even closer to 30, wow!
  • I traveled to my hometown for a few days- reconnecting and visiting with a lot of friends and really enjoying the visit!

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November Happenings

  • Started my Inspire the Best You blog and business, undertaking a little bit of rebranding and starting over in a sense.
  • I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this month even though I was writing a memoir. I nearly finished the book too, which was such an amazing feeling!
  • I managed to get two, back-to-back, colds… lasting into December.
  • I went to my hometown again to visit with another cousin and her family, and had a great time there with her!

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December Happenings

  • Made lots of connections and progress with my blog and business, branching out much more than I could have ever imagined.
  • I continued recovering from the last cold I had.
  • We placed membership at a Church of Christ in our new city, finally.

 

 

The theme of the year was change, perseverance, and learning how to be a better aunt and mother-figure to my nephews. I got them outdoors a lot more than I imagined I could handle, and we did a lot of crafts and fun indoor things as well. As you can see, there were also a ton of big changes and other happenings. I learned to persevere, and push through whatever life threw at me! It has made me stronger and I finally feel like I was thriving as the year ended, which is a great feeling!

What were the highlights or big happenings in your year for 2016? What was your overall theme of the year?

 

~Bonnie~

(Shared on the Welcome Home Wednesdays link up, hop on over there and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

           

Helene in Between

3 Steps to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

The New Year is fast approaching, and 2017 will be here in less than a week now. This time of year tends to be full of reflection, planning, and hopes. Whether this past year has been great or horrible for you, I’m sure you’re hoping that the New Year has some wonderful things in store. I know I personally want it to be the year that I finally make a success with my new business and writing ventures. I also know that believing I can do these things will get me halfway there!

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

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Today I want to discuss with you a few steps that will help you make 2017 your best year yet:

Number one: Create a lifestyle around what you want, not just something that is temporary or that you’re simply wishing for. Think about what steps you need to take to get to your goal. Write them down, as well as the actions and things you need to accomplish in order to get there. Simply wanting or wishing for something to happen will not help you get there, you have to be willing to work at it too!

Number two: Make goals for yourself instead of resolutions. Some may argue that there isn’t much of a difference between these two terms, but I feel there is even if it is just all in our mindset. To me, the word “goal” elicits a meaning of planning and doing. You know that you have to do something in order to achieve it. While resolutions aren’t necessarily that different, the thoughts that come to mind when someone mentions the word are quite different. When I hear the word “resolution,” especially with New Year in front of them, I think of something that gets abandoned when things get too tough or the person loses interest. Therefore, I recommend a goals-type framework for whatever amazing things you want to accomplish this coming year. Here’s my process for the past few years: New Year, New You 2017. Making goals instead of resolutions has helped me immensely!

Number three: Make sure to plan and prepare for success. Like I mentioned in the first point, writing down what you want to accomplish and figuring out how you will get there can be very beneficial. You also should make sure you have any supplies or tools that you might need to get there. For example, if healthy eating is your goal, make a meal plan and a grocery list full of healthy foods that you can consume to help you succeed. If exercising three times a week is your goal, find some workout videos you can do, workout clothes and shoes to exercise in, or join a gym if that works for you. Whatever goal you have for the New Year, figure out what you need and either get it or make a plan for how you’re going to get it so that you can take that step when you get to it!

If you would like help with meeting your healthy living goals in the New Year, please check out my Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching PackageIt’s worth $179, but is on sale for $99 during the pre-order phase. It will go back up to it’s original price soon!

 

So tell me, what are your goals for the New Year and how do you plan on accomplishing them?

 

~Bonnie~

 

(This post is linked to the Coffee and Conversation Linkup and Bloggy Brunch Linkup, hop over and check out more posts on those blogs!)

8 Ways to Relax in the Holiday Chaos

Holidays are chaotic, what with so many things going on and so much to be done in such a short amount of time! It’s important to take time for yourself to relax and reset. Self-care should never take a backseat to everything else. You need to take time for you, especially when things are crazy and busy! Here are some ideas:

#1: Pace yourself!

Number one on this list is to take your time and do not rush. Rushing only makes things more chaotic and stressful! So whenever you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember to slow down! One thing at a time! Also, when we are feeling overwhelmed and rushed, we often take longer to get done anyway because we end up making more mistakes. Pace yourself with all you have to get done. Whatever isn’t vitally important sometimes needs to be forgotten as well.

#2: Take time for morning self-care activities

In the mornings, especially on the busy days, take the time to do things that help you feel more focused and ready to tackle the day. It may help you to feel more relaxed throughout the rest of the day as well because you took the time to take care of yourself before taking care of everything else! Just a few weeks ago, I wrote this blog post on the topic: My Morning Self-Care Routine (That Sets Me Up for Success). I wrote about the top activities I do in the morning to practice self-care, which in turn helped me to have more successful and less overwhelming days!

#3: Plan ahead

When we plan ahead as much as we can, without going crazy of course, we also help set ourselves up for a successful day. Plan things out so that you have time set aside for each of the various tasks and projects you need to tackle that day, but especially the most important ones. It will help you feel more organized and less hectic!

#4: Do things that are fun and relaxing to you

Find things to do that are fun and relaxing for you each day. What things do you find fun, enjoyable, and relaxing that you could make time for in your days? Reading a book, listening to upbeat music and maybe even doing some dancing while you do so, watching a movie, going out as a family to do something fun, or whatever makes you feel good! This will help lower your stress levels and help you feel more content!

#5: Spend some time meditating

Whether you actually put to practice real meditation, or do your own version of it like I do, take the time to give your mind a break from all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays by meditating. Sit down somewhere, hopefully a quiet space, and meditate however works for you. Sometimes I focus on counting my breaths, breathing slowly and counting each inhale and exhale. Other times I may stare into space and let my mind wander over things that are of little significance to give my mind a break from all the big, important things.

#6: Take a long, refreshing shower

If you can, as I know this isn’t an option for everyone, take a long refreshing shower to help you reset. I have found that taking a long, hot shower helps me relax and clear my mind. It’s like a mini vacation right inside of my own home!

#7: Fit in some exercise!

Physical activity is a great way to give your mind a break from all of the holiday busyness as well. You also get a wonderful rush of endorphins and can feel oh so satisfied after pushing your body to its limits! So go for a walk, take a run, do a workout video if you can’t get outside, or make a visit to the gym. It’s all good for your body and mind!

#8: Run and hide!

When you really need to step away, when things are too crazy, go somewhere to hide from it all for a few minutes. Take a breather as needed and collect yourself. The bathroom can be a good place, most of the time. Although if your a human or pet-parent, they may follow you! Go outside for a second and breathe in some fresh air. If it’s cold air, sometimes that helps you wake up and refocus too so it has an added bonus! If there’s nowhere to go to get away, put some earphones in your ears and listen to a few minutes of relaxing music.

What are your favorite ways to relax, or take time for yourself during the holidays?

 

~Bonnie~

New Year, New You 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, many of us are thinking about the New Year and what it will bring. We usually want it to be much better than the previous years, especially if the past year was particularly rotten. So we wish for the year to be over and start planning for the New Year.

A lot of people choose to make New Year’s resolutions. That phrase has such a negative connotation to it. I know that I, for one, shy away from making any resolutions. Sure, it sounds like a great idea and we start out with such high expectations and we are so motivated at first. However, we know that it’s almost always temporary, because who has actually made it a whole 365 days of a year of being focused on the resolutions they made at the beginning of it? I would hope the number wouldn’t be zero, but I also know that it is a sad percentage of the people that have made resolutions.

So for the past few years, and maybe even longer than that, I have avoided making New Year’s resolutions. Since the end of 2014, I have made goals instead and that has worked out so much better for me! These last few years have mostly been centered around making healthy living or self-improvement related goals.

Check out my Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package, a six-week bundle of support and coaching sessions for the New Year!

Here are some examples of how my New Year’s goals have gone the past few years:

My goals for 2015:

1. Walk 1200 miles, indoor with videos or outdoors
2. Try at least 3 new workouts/exercises
3. Complete at least one 5K run
4. Start looking for a half marathon to do in 2016
5. Lose 75-80lbs

How I did:

1 & 3. Due to a foot issue that popped up in the middle of the year, I was not able to achieve the 1200 miles or the 5K run. However, I did sign up for a 5K run and did the 2-mile walk they were holding instead of backing out entirely.
2. For the new workouts, there was running and using a stationary bike. I obviously didn’t get to the third new exercise.
4. I found a half marathon and signed up for it for May 2016, thanks to the inspiration of a friend who did the race that year!
5. I lost 53lbs, so not quite the goal but this one I was least focused on the actual number. It was just nice to have something to shoot for.

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My goals for 2016:

1. Complete the Tinker Bell Half Marathon
2. Lose the last 45-50lbs
3. Start making a livable income from my business
4. Write and publish my first book
5. Work on a more steady and consistent strength training routine
6. Develop a closer relationship with God

How I did:

1. I completed the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. It was, by far, my biggest fitness accomplishment so far! It was so hard, but so amazing at the same time.
2. Gained weight back instead of losing it. It’s all a part of my journey though and I will still continue moving forward. I will get the weight gained back off and then some!
3. I made income from my business, just not “livable.”
4. I wrote, and am nearly finished writing, my first book. It should be released this spring!
5. I put together a strength training routine which I managed to stick with for a couple months and was the most conducive one for me.
6. I developed a closer relationship with God and with reading His Word.

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The end of 2015 was rough, considering that we lost my uncle and I ended up getting sick with a nasty infection. Then 2016 was full of chaos with a cross country move and what felt like a million other things going in all kinds of directions. So I may not have achieved all of my goals for either year, but I did achieve more than I would have if I hadn’t made the goals in the first place. They gave me something to aim for and thus provided me with more direction than just winging it.

My goals for 2017:

1. Lose 50-60lbs, which is 4-5lbs/mo and totally doable!
2. Complete the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the second time this May, as well as a full marathon in November.
3. Start making a livable income off of my business- $1500 per month or more, ideally, by the end of the year.
4. Publish my current book that’s nearly finished and another book, whether it be a short eBook or a whole novel.

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My suggestion to you is to focus on actual goals, instead of resolutions that you will probably give up on within a few weeks. Specific and measurable goals are always best because they allow you to track your progress and see where you’re going. Another piece of advice is to create a motivation/vision board for your goals to place somewhere where you will be consistently reminded of your goals. Here is an article about making one from the Huffington Post: The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One.

Check out my list of 25 Top Gifts for Healthy Living for some ideas on what might be handy for reaching your weight loss and healthy living goals in the New Year. They don’t even have to be a Christmas gift, you could just get them for yourself!

You can also make a FREE 30-minute weight loss coaching session with me between December 26-31 about how you can make this coming year the best year yet with your healthy living goals. Check out my calendar and make an appointment here: Inspire the Best You Calendar. Be sure to set up your session before the slots are all booked up!

I also have a deal going on with my coaching package: Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package. It’s on pre-order for $99 right now, which means you won’t be charged until the package is released on January 1st. The package will be going up to full price after the New Year!

So tell me, what are YOUR goals for 2017? Are they healthy living related, career or education related, or just for life in general? I’d love to know what you’re aiming for in the New Year!

~Bonnie~

25 Top Gifts for Healthy Living

Do you have someone in your life who would love a fitness or healthy living gift for Christmas? Here are some fun ideas for them:

1. FitbitThese fitness trackers are just wonderful, I know so because I own one myself. They track steps, distance, fitness minutes, floors climbed, calories burned, and much more. Some of the models are quite expensive, but even the Zip ($50-60) and the One ($100) have many benefits! There are also other fitness trackers that would make just as wonderful of a gift for your friend/loved one. Check out them out here: Fitbit.com.

2. Dumbbells or resistance bands: Strength training is an important component to weight loss and fitness efforts. Being strong and working on building strength is a point of pride. The kind of dumbbells or resistance bands that you should get for someone else depends on their level of fitness. Here is a great article on how much dumbbells should weigh for various fitness levels: SparkPeople: How Much Weight Should I Lift? It may be difficult to tell, but I would say definitely no more than 5lb dumbbells for a beginner. Even if they’re not there yet, they can certainly use them when they work their way up!

3. Coffee mug with healthy living quote: There are so many places selling coffee mugs with cute sayings or pictures on them that will inspire your friend/loved one to workout and continue with their healthy living goals. So if they like drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, then this could be an awesome gift idea for them and also very meaningful!

4. Gym membership: Gym memberships can be a big commitment that an individual doesn’t want to make but when someone else is helping and motivating them simply by initiating the membership, it might just be what they needed. For better success, choosing one near where they live and one they can afford the monthly cost would be a great idea!

5. Running or sports goods store gift card: A gift card to their local running store or sports goods store will allow them the freedom to choose a custom gift for themselves, one they really want or need for their journey.

6. Workout clothes: Workout clothes are almost always needed, or at the very least can be used in the future if they’re not needed right away. Quality workout clothes with drymore or wicking away moisture capabilities are best. Be sure to include a gift receipt in case the size isn’t right, so they can exchange it for one that fits!

7. Cookbook: A book full of healthy but also tasty recipes that they can try can be a huge asset for someone trying to lose weight and live healthier. It gives them more ideas and choices, as well as some good things to try. Cookbooks with simple recipes might be best for someone who doesn’t like to cook or prefers those simple recipes over others that are more complicated, but someone who loves to cook might want more complex recipes. Weight Watchers and Biggest Loser have great cookbooks with healthy recipes inside!

8. Mini trampoline: Trampolines are a fun way to get exercise in and make an excellent gift! They also have a great bonus of reminding the person jumping on them of what it was like to be a kid!

9. iTunes gift card: A person can never have enough workout music! An iTunes gift card would allow them to download specific music that they can listen to while they workout, music that helps them feel motivated and inspired to exercise. The gift of music is never wasted! Check out options here: iTunes gift cards.

10. Gym bag: A gym bag such as a small duffel bag or a backpack, can be mighty useful if they exercise outside of the house. It allows them to carry what they need simply and easily with them, like water bottles, towels, gym clothes or after workout clothes, workout shoes, power snacks, etc.

11. Bike maintenance gift certificate/card: For the bike rider in your life, get them a gift certificate or gift card to a bike repair shop. Bikes need maintenance from time to time and it can get expensive. Gifting them with something that they can put towards that would likely be very appreciated.

12. Exercise ball: Exercise balls are simple but useful things. They can be used for core work to strengthen one’s abdominal muscles and can be used as a chair to strengthen one’s back and abs as well. They are multifaceted.

13. Roller blades: These would make a fun choice as a gift since they provide an entertaining and enjoyable way to get exercise in. They will even help the user to gain balance, endurance, and strength!

14. Pedal cycle: The compact exercise pieces that are great for those who need low impact exercise options or simply who can’t stand for long periods of time to get activity in yet. Some choices include: Gold’s Gym upper and lower body cycles and Stamina InStride cycles. They can be used with the lower and upper body to gain strength and cardio health.

15. Reflective gear: Do you know anyone who runs, walks, or rides their bike in the dark? Reflective gear is very important in those cases to keep them seen by drivers and as safe as possible. There are many different options for reflective gear as well: tape, paint, jackets and other clothing, hats and gloves, shoelaces, and much more!

16. Fitness or accomplishment related jewelry: There are race distance necklaces and bracelets for that person who does races. There are also run shoelace tags, charm bracelets that they can add charms to that represent their personal journey, and inspirational quotes or words on necklaces and bracelets. All are good choices and help symbolize all their hard work! Here are a just a couple options: run shoe tag “Keep running” and “She believed she could so she did” necklace.

17. A hat or sunglasses: Those who exercise outdoors could certainly use a hat or sunglasses to protect them from the sun and help them stay focused on their exercise sessions without getting blinded!

18. Workout DVDs: Workout videos can be insanely useful for those who exercise at home. There is always a need for variety because for someone who works out at home, things can get boring or stale very easily. So having many to choose from and change things up from time to time is useful.

19. Phone armband: This is handy for taking their phone with them while they exercise and being able to listen to music easily while they workout. It frees up their hands and they don’t have to worry about the phone dropping from out of their pocket.

20. Bluetooth earbuds: Earbuds that connect to their phone without cords are so very helpful for listening to music without the cord getting tangled up in their hands or arms while they are exercising!

21. Nordic walking poles: These poles are used while someone is walking to add intensity and muscle work to their exercise. They may also add a level of stability that isn’t there without them! Here are some: Nordic Walking Poles.

22. Edible Arrangements bouquet: An Edible Arrangements bouquet is a beautiful, pleasing, and healthy gift for someone focusing on their health. Not only does it look pretty and make them feel special to receive, but it is also meant to be eaten and is like a treat! Here’s their website: Edible Arrangements Bouquets.

23. Running medal display: For that race lover in your life to display all their medals in one place, to showcase in pride and style! These come in a bunch of different styles and arrangements as well. Trust me, nearly everyone who loves doing races would enjoy a place to hang their medals for all to see! Here’s a cute one with a place to write their personal records for each race distance as well: PR race bib and medal holder.

24. Top with workout inspiration: There are so many different choices of tank tops and tee shirts with workout inspiration on them. Some have a quote or saying on them that inspires the feeling to just get out there and do it, and some have pictures or funny sayings on them. There are also shirts that have special designs when they get wet with sweat, which can be awesome!

25. Punching bag: A punching bag is a great gift because it allows them to get exercise in and also workout any tension or stress they may have, win win! There are standalone ones as well as ones that can be hung.

 

If you’re focused on losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, what are some gifts that you would like to receive that would help you reach your goals?

 

~Bonnie~