Tag: Goals

How to Set Goals and Actually Accomplish Them

Goal setting can be one of the best tools at your disposal, but also one of the hardest to accomplish:

Where do you start? How do you know you’re making goals that are right for you? How can you follow through and keep moving forward when the going gets tough?

My first tip: Think about what is realistic for you!

What someone else is doing won’t necessarily work for you. Your goal has to be something you want and something you can realistically do if you push yourself just past your comfort zone. So first, think about what you CAN do and what you can accomplish and then raise the bar just ever so slightly.

My second tip: Make a plan and stick to it as best you can.

Will you be perfect? No. However, setting a plan that will enable you to reach your goal is essential. If you stray or lose motivation, you can use the plan as a reference point to get back on track. Realize that you are just doing your best and you won’t be completely on your game all the time. It also helps in making things seem doable instead of overwhelming. So break down what you need to do in smaller timeframes, such as by weeks or days.

My third tip: Focus on WHY you want to accomplish this goal.

Never lose sight of the reason why you want to pursue this goal, why you are trying so hard to achieve it. If you remind yourself each day of the why, you will find it a lot easier to feel motivated when things get hard.

My fourth tip: Believe in your ability to reach (or even surpass) your goal.

You sow what you reap, as the saying goes. So a simple belief in yourself to make this happen will actually help you make it happen! Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Whenever you feel doubt sinking in, say to yourself, “I am strong, I am capable, and I CAN do this!” Trust me, it really does help!

My fifth and final tip: Don’t give up.

While you may need to adjust your goals here and there if you begin to realize they are unrealistic for you right now, you must not give up. Adjust the goal and proceed. Change it entirely if you must, but keep moving forward no matter what! Always having a goal to move forward will help give you structure.

 

This obviously isn’t the whole picture but will definitely help you get off to a good start with your goals. These are some of the ones I have found to be the most important in setting goals myself.

~Bonnie~

How to Create a Life You Enjoy Living

This is my life… my story… my book. I will no longer let anyone else write it; nor will I apologize for the edits I make.

-Steve Maraboli

What is life if not worth living?

The truth is, you really can change your life to one that you enjoy living… at least most of the time. No one’s life is perfect but we all have the power to make our lives better.

A lot of this power of change might very well include shifting your mental energy to better things and/or things you can actually change. So fair warning: this isn’t some magical or easy answer to live your dream life. After all, if it were, I would have been doing so in my own life for a while now.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.

-Brene Brown

The good news is that you can OWN your life and shape it to be something you actually enjoy living. Here I will share with you some things that I have personally learned in my pursuit to a better life for myself:

First of all, remember that you are worth this and you deserve a life you can enjoy living.

You are worth living a life you find satisfying and rewarding. It will take quite a bit of work, and a lot of mentality changes, but it is so very possible.

Realize that your idea of a life that’s satisfying and rewarding may be quite different than others’ idea of that life.

This is your life. It isn’t up to them how you live it. Don’t let others’ opinions poison your mind and make you doubt your abilities. You are powerful and a force to be reckoned with. You have so many more options open to you than you can even see right now. Open your mind to them. If other people don’t like it, then they can just deal with it or move on.

Think about what you really want out of life, either long-term or short-term, or even both.

What do you want your life to look like? What do you want your future to hold? Consider what your biggest dreams are right now. Don’t limit yourself to what you feel is possible for you right now. Like I mentioned above, there are so many more options available to you than you can see right now and you never know what you can accomplish until you set out to do it!

Weigh the pros and cons to your decisions. Can you really imagine living your life if you follow through with that decision?

Considering the good and the bad that could result from each decision you make. Is that decision really worth making when you consider the negatives that may come from it? Sometimes the positives actually outweigh the negatives or the sacrifice is worth what you get in return. Thinking in these terms for bigger decisions, and sometimes even smaller ones, can really make a difference. At the very least, it makes you think twice before taking a plunge.

Make goals that are actually reachable and allow you time to pursue them, and then craft a plan to meet the goal(s).

I wasn’t lying when I mentioned that you shouldn’t only consider possible for yourself. However, in order to pursue your goals, they still need to be realistic for you and your circumstances. You can make plans to make some goals fit into your life, while others may be a dream to hold off for another time. Think of the resources you have at your disposal right now or that you could possibly use. Wherever there’s a will, there’s a way!

Take action because none of this means much if you don’t actually take any action to achieve it.

Make plans and prepare, but also take action. All the preparation in the world will mean nothing if you don’t move forward with those plans. You may have to start before you’re ready and that’s okay. Some of it will have to be figured out as you go along because you can’t possibly see the whole path all at once.

Scale back on the negatives… Cut anything out of your life that sucks energy away from you or makes you miserable.

There is no space in your life for the negatives. Those people, tasks, or things in your life that suck energy away from you and leave you depleted… whatever you can let go of, do it! It’s not worth holding onto those things if they are keeping you from the life you want (and sometimes need) to live. Some of these things will be okay without you and some of them may not. However, your wellbeing is more important than most of them if you truly consider it. I’m not saying chuck important things from your life, by any means, but dispose of anything that you can that causes you misery.

Grow the positives- focus on any and all positives.

Along the same lines as the point above, focus on any and all positives and elaborate on them. Make those positives the center of your life and your life will begin to take shape around them as if they are the most important thing. It takes time but it certainly helps!

I wish to live a life that causes my soul to dance inside my body.

-Dele Olanubi

So I ask you, what do you really want from your life? Do you think it’s possible?

~Bonnie~

Interview with Exercise and Nutrition Coach Esther Avant

Today I am sharing an interview I had the honor of holding with Esther Avant, an exercise and nutrition coach at estheravant.com. She has a lovely website, and I highly recommend you checking it out and seeing what she has to offer there and reading some of her blogs! I really enjoyed our conversation the other day and learning more about what brought her to do this line of work. We all have our own unique stories and yet we still have a lot in common!

I would love for you to check out her social media pages here: Facebook | Instagram

Inspire the Best You: What is your job as an exercise and nutrition coach?

Esther: I work with women to help them lose weight, revamp their lifestyle and overall live happier and healthier lives. I use a client-centered approach where we prioritize making one change at a time and expanding upon it once it starts to feel like a habit.

ITBY: What do you find most rewarding in your work?

Esther: The most rewarding thing in my work is when a client tells me I’ve made an impact in her life. When someone sends me a text or email, or call me, to let me know that they’ve had a mental breakthrough or that they had more confidence to do this because of me. Their progress is the most rewarding thing as a coach.

ITBY: Why did you decide to become a coach?

Esther: I majored in exercise science in college and part of my college curriculum was becoming certified as a personal trainer. I got my first full-time personal training position right out of college and while working there, I realized that exercise wasn’t the issue for most people but how little they knew about good nutrition, so I expanded into that arena, as well.

ITBY: How do you help your clients with their goals and healthy living? I realize you already touched on this question earlier, but I would love to hear more!

Esther: We take a habit-based approach, and I like to help them simplify their efforts. There is just so much information out there that we become paralyzed by it and end up doing nothing. There really is no best way to go about it. My primary focus is to simplify and take action, to assess where they’re starting and prioritize what steps to take. Do you know what foods contain protein, why it’s important, and are you getting enough protein? Are you eating enough vegetables? Then we expand on those steps as they get the hang of it.

ITBY: What do you feel is your biggest struggle in your own healthy living journey?

Esther: When I started college, I was in the best shape of my life. I was very active and thin and able to eat whatever and whenever I wanted. However, during freshman year in college, I was thrown way off course; I had this super challenging curriculum and I felt like I was studying nonstop. The result was that I wasn’t making time to workout and wasn’t eating well, and ended up gaining a lot of weight without realizing it. When I got home that summer, I kind of realized what had happened. I felt hypocritical since I was majoring in exercise science, so I spent that first summer eating in a way that made me feel good and finding the time for exercise. I had to figure out how to prioritize it and make it work when I went back to school. It was a transitionary period where I realize that it was important to prioritize my health and having gone through that allows me to empathize with my clients more now.

ITBY: What is the biggest piece of advice you can pass along to those reading this?

Esther: It’s never too late to make a change. You deserve to make time for yourselves. Start with one small thing at a time.

 

Don’t forget to check her out on her social media sites: Facebook | Instagram

36 Tips for Winter Weight Loss

“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”
-Ben Aaronovitch

Winter time, when it’s cold and dreary, is a difficult time of the year to stay on track with your healthy living journey. Some of the things that have helped me along the way in various aspects are:

COMFORT FOODS:

  1. Hot cocoa- try with marshmallows or some homemade versions.
  2. Coffee
  3. Hot tea
  4. Hot cereals such as oatmeal or cream of wheat- these are often low fat and low calorie, and healthier than some other breakfast options.
  5. Soups- as long as you’re careful with sodium and focus on low fat soups, you can fill up on it and stay within your goals.
  6. Grilled cheese sandwiches- make with whole grain/wheat bread and minimal butter and you’re good to go.
  7. Chili- try cooking your chili with ground turkey or lean ground beef, beans, and even some veggies mixed in to bulk it up and add fiber.
  8. Baked sweet potatoes- try with cottage cheese and cinnamon for protein and flavor. It tastes way better than it sounds!
  9. Healthy lasagna versions- whole grain or veggie pasta, ground turkey, and other healthier ingredients.
  10. Meatloaf- made healthier with lean ground beef or ground turkey, and whole wheat crumbles.
  11. Crockpot meals- there are so many choices of healthy meals to cook in the crockpot! They are hot and tasty, and perfect for winter time!
  12. Popcorn- as long as you’re careful with the butter, fat, and additives… or make on the stove with fresh kernels.

FITNESS IDEAS:

  1. Exercise videos- DVDs or online videos through a video subscription service, YouTube, or anywhere else.
  2. Dance around the house- this is such a “fun” way to exercise! Dance around on your own or with loved ones, and burn a ton of calories!
  3. Walk in place- walk in place in the house, challenge yourself to walk in place for a certain amount of time, or walk in place during the commercials of your evening show.
  4. Strength training- there are quite a few pieces of strength training equipment that are small and easy to store in any space: dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, and more!
  5. Small cardio equipment- hula hoops, mini trampolines, step-up stools, compact stepper machine, and foot and arm cycles.
  6. Clean and organize- winter is the perfect time of year to do deep cleaning or an organizational overhaul, both of which can torch the calories!
  7. Mall walk- a warm place to walk with plenty of interesting scenery. You can walk around the perimeter of the inside of the mall quite a few times in one go.
  8. Join a gym- only do this if you feel like you can make the commitment to it and can afford the monthly fee, otherwise gym memberships are overrated.
  9. Simply increase your activity throughout the day- get up and get some exercise in once every 1-2 hours, even something as simple as walking in place, stretching, etc.
  10. Workout outdoors- make sure to layer up and be careful of the ice if you do! Even though it’s cold, it’s still possible to get out and take walks, sometimes go for a run, or get in some other form of exercise that’s perfect in the snow.

STAYING MOTIVATED:

  1. Keep your eyes on the prize- remember why you’re doing this and what you’re working towards as you go about your day.
  2. Think about events coming up ahead- whether it be a party, birthday, wedding, or something else entirely, think about those events to stay motivated and pumped up!
  3. Stay focused on your goals- your goals are still important during the winter. So do your best to remind yourself of what they are and why they are so important to you!
  4. Find quality support- being surrounded by people who support you and/or understand what you’re going through, is really beneficial and can help you feel more confident.
  5. Search Pinterest for inspiration- there are so many inspiring and motivating quotes, pictures, or blog posts to read on there. Use them to get pumped up and ready to do what you need to do when your motivation is waning!
  6. Listen to upbeat/motivational music- find your favorite music to listen to that’s upbeat and motivational. It usually has a way of getting you pumped up and excited to workout or live life better!
  7. Watch fun videos or listen to podcasts- anything that is funny, positive, or motivational in whatever way you need it to be, is great to watch or listen to when you’re not feeling motivated!
  8. Make a motivation board- put together quotes, pictures, and words that represents your goals or helps you feel motivated, and use them to decorate a poster board. Pretty it up and put it where you will see it often.
  9. Create or work on your weight loss journal- in a notebook or binder, record your weight loss journey highlights and accomplishments. Add quotes, pictures, words, or anything else that has helped you along the way.

COLD WEATHER SELF-CARE:

  1. Curl up with a good book- reading is an excellent way to de-stress and to take care of yourself.
  2. Cuddle with loved ones- the interaction and contact is good for you all around, leaving you feeling warm and loved.
  3. Watch a fun movie- watching a movie that entertains you in some way, is a wonderful way to rest and relax.
  4. Admire the beauty around you- the cold may not feel good to be in, but there is a certain beauty to winter, no matter where you live.
  5. Stay warm- staying warm makes most of us feel better!

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus

P.S. Get your free Getting Started Weight Loss Workbook when you sign up for the Inspire the Best You Newsletter!

 

What is your favorite way to work on losing weight or simply being happier in the winter? 

 

~Bonnie~

To Cheat… or Not to Cheat

To cheat… or not to cheat. That is the question.

Cheat days in a healthy living journey is a bit of a controversial topic. Yes, no, maybe… who knows? I think it depends on the person as well as how they use the “cheat” day. I’ve put together some pros and cons of using a cheat day in your plan here…

PROS:

It changes things up. 

Instead of things getting stale in your nutrition plan, or eating the same things all the time, you are able to change things up from time to time. This can be good for your body as well, as there will be less of a chance of hitting a plateau if you’re not eating the same amount of calories every, single, day!

It allows for occasional indulgences.

With a cheat day scheduled occasionally where you are allowing yourself controlled indulgences, can be beneficial by helping you stay on track the rest of the time. We all need to enjoy a treat once in a while and this allows us to do so.

It gives you something to look forward to.

On those especially hard days, when it’s super difficult to stay on track, cheat days give you something to look forward to where you can eat things you want so badly! Then in the moment, you can tell yourself, “I can’t have this right now, but I can have it another day.”

It eliminates the rigidity of “dieting:”

While I don’t view healthy eating as dieting, necessarily, I’m using this term here as a reference. If you use a cheat day, then it can break up the rigidity and monotony of eating only healthier foods nearly all of the time.

CONS:

It can possibly lead to self-sabotage.

Sometimes allowing ourselves enough wiggle room to have a cheat day can cause us to be in a mental place where we think it’s okay to continue doing it. There’s also the chance that it will spill over into the next day, which can often lead to multiple days in a row of being off track.

You can end up eating way too much.

Even in just one day, you can end up eating way too much. Allowing yourself to eat what you want for a whole day can give you the attitude that you can eat anything and everything you want, without limits.

One day of “cheating” may lead to many of overeating.

This goes hand-in-hand with the self-sabotage point above. Giving yourself the freedom to eat more or simply other kinds of foods that you don’t normally have, even for one day, can lead to it lasting into tomorrow and many days to come.

It messes with healthy eating streaks.

If you’ve been on track or eating according to your plan for many days in a row, a cheat day can interrupt that streak. You will need to start over with that particular streak.

MY PERSONAL VIEW:

I think that cheat meals are better than a whole cheat day. For example, I have used a cheat dinner once a week in the past, and that worked well for me. A cheat meal limits the indulgences to one meal and then results in less calories being consumed over your normal plan. Plus it narrows your focus and excitement to one meal, sort of like a really amazing event, that you are anticipation for. Then when that meal is done, it’s done, and you get back on track.

Another option, and one I more recently put into practice, is to allow myself to indulge one or two days a week. In this instance, I allow myself to go over my calorie range by 300-500 calories total throughout that day. I plan ahead for the day and indulge carefully. This might work best to keep more control over our indulgences.

In the end, I believe that this is a personal choice that only you can make. No matter what you decide, remember to always do your best!

What is your view on cheat meals or days? Do you use them in your own healthy living journey and how does that work out for you?

 

~Bonnie~

POWERFUL: My Word of the Year

Choosing a word of the year has become more and more popular lately. Last year was my first year to participate in this idea and I chose the word UNSTOPPABLE for 2016. That is where I wanted the new year to lead me as a focus and a reminder to myself.

What unstoppable meant to me at the beginning of 2016 was that I was going to take the world by storm and not let anything get in my way! I was on a roll, feeling strong and confident, and ready to move forward. Now that the year has ended, I feel like the word wasn’t necessarily lived up to as much as it could have been by me. However, there was a lot that was beyond my control, and that’s okay!

did not give up and that is what unstoppable means to me now that the year is over. I may have taken a break in the middle of the year, for a few months, but after things calmed down to a more normal chaos level again, I was back at it! The most important thing is that I ended the year on a strong note- back on track with my eating for a few months, my blog and business moving forward, and looking forward to upcoming races in the year ahead! Therefore the word worked for me and I’m looking forward to my word for this year guiding me as well!

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I put my word up on the wall to constantly remind me: “I will be POWERFUL in 2017!”

There were quite a few words that I considered for this year: warrior, survivor, persistence, relentless, spirited, resilient, and finally… POWERFUL! It was more difficult to choose a word for 2017. Last year, I spent some time thinking about it and the word pretty much came to me. Then this year, I had to actively search out a word! I googled words, I googled “word of the year,” and scouted out what others were picking in hopes that I would find something that fit what I wanted the year to embody, as well as what I had been through.

Powerful

What does “powerful” mean to me for 2017? I want powerful to represent me and my various journeys this year. I have a lot going on and coming up soon, and I will be powerful as I accomplish each one. Here are some things I’ve got in the year ahead:

  • Half marathon for the second time in May.
  • Full marathon in November.
  • Publishing my first book in March, if all goes according to plan.
  • Writing other books and workbooks.
  • Serving others through my weight loss coaching.

I’m going to use my power for pouring my passions, skills, and enthusiasm into each task and activity. I am ready, I am powerful, and I will have a great 2017!

 

So, do you have a word of the year for 2017? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

 

~Bonnie~

(Shared to the Think Tank Thursday & the Welcome Home Wednesdays link ups, hop on over to those posts and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

 

Mulling Over My Morning Coffee

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

31 Day Better You 2017 Challenge

I would love for you all to hop over and visit Tiffany from tamberdi.com‘s Better You 2017 Challenge. It will help you get off to a great start during the New Year and is full of ways for you to be able to build new habits and work towards your goals! So be sure to check it out and sign up if being a better you in 2017 is something you’re interested in!

“With many of the winter holidays over and the new year about to begin, what better way to start fresh than with a plan already made for you by me?? I’ve created a 31-day challenge to kick start your year off in the best way, leaving you prepared to create new habits and achieve your goals.”
-Tiffany

Her full post, complete with the link to join the challenge: Better You 2017: A Challenge to Be Your Best Self This January. You know this is one of your goals, so why not join and see how much progress you can make in a month!

 

~Bonnie~