How many times have you decided to get healthy starting Monday? Are you going to write the next great novel “someday”? Perhaps you are a student and “hoping” to pass all of your classes?

All of these dreams are the beginning of a goal, but without more detail they are harder to accomplish. As people, we tend to have a lot of really great ideas. Someday kills them. Hoping to get lucky with no responsibility eradicates our own ability to celebrate without a gnawing suspicion that we may not be so lucky next time.

When you want to set a goal, make sure it is “SMART”!

S= Specific

M=Measurable

A= Achievable

R=Relevant

T=Time-bound

Let’s stick with getting healthy and do some practice.

“I want to get healthy, but I will start on Monday.”

Does this statement answer all of the SMART statements above? Is it specific? No. What is healthy. There is no way to assume that you are over/underweight. It could be that you want to change your diet to feel better/alleviate some ailment. Healthy is too broad of a term to ensure that this goal is Specific.

“I want to lose 20 pounds.”

Better. This one is specific as it provides a precise measurement. Just saying “I want to lose weight” leaves us nothing to measure. This statement has knocked off the first two criteria for setting a SMART goal (Specific/Measurable)

“I (still) want to lose 20 pounds”

Great! Is this achievable for you specifically? This may be an easy answer for you or you may need to seek the advice of a medical professional (which is most definitely not me). Make sure you are setting a goal that is relevant to you. Make sure you and your body will be happier once you start to see these results. You could always alter the amount. “I want to lose/gain 5 pounds”, “I want to have more energy and not feel so bogged down because of my diet”. You can also measure subjectively. If you feel lethargic a lot, you could maintain a journal on your journey to track any changes/improvements. You are not tied to the statements I make. Make them your own. If your goal is attainable, move along. Is this goal relevant to you? Keep tweaking until you come up with something that fits your needs/desires. (Achievable/Relevant)

Now, let us give it some Time.

“I want to lose 20 pounds in six months”

Look at that! You have created a deadline. Now your goal is Time-Bound. You have taken away the dreaded ambiguity of someday and given yourself a block of time to achieve a goal. (Time-Bound)

Time to review the entire thing and make sure we have checked off each of the criteria.

S= 20 pounds

M= You have your starting weight and a measurable goal (20 pounds)

A= You have made sure that this is something that you can do and that it is an achievable goal with your overall health in mind.

R= Looking at whether the goal fits you personally. Relevance has passed.

T= You have given yourself 6 months to reach your goal.

Now that you have created an overall goal, you can start creating mini-goals.

“I want to lose about one pound a week. I will lose 4 pounds in one month.”

Your smart goal has led you to a place where you can seek out the information that you need to make it happen. These are your actionable steps. Each of these should also be SMART.

  • I will exercise for one hour 3 times a week.
  • I will increase my daily water intake to 64 ounces per day.
  • I will decrease my saturated fat/carbohydrate intake by 20%.
  • I will increase the amount of fresh foods in my diet by including two vegetables/ fruits to each of my meals.

Again, you are in no way bound to my example including weight loss. Write a book! Achieve a Grade Point Averge (GPA) you can be proud of on purpose! Clean your house! Take up running! Do whatever you want! Just make sure you are SMART!

I tried to find an origin for the SMART acronym. Here’s a little tidbit I found…

Origin of SMART Goals Acronym (click the link)

Want to read more? Start here:

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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As you continue to read, imagine we are talking. I will be me and you be you. It is perfectly fine as you digest what you have taken in and begin to give it meaning that you change roles. Maybe you are me, maybe you are still you thinking about a time that you have talked to a me in your life. Maybe this makes no sense to you and you are still reading because dammit, you are intrigued.

“How about that weather?” 

-“Weather” never ceases to exist, and at some point in the past, whether it be recent or not, you and I both have experienced it before. What about the jet stream? Or climate change? What about clear skies and starry nights?

“Whew, long day huh?”

-Each and every day is a measurement of time, which is finite. This day is the same in length as other days. Are you tired? Overworked? Underwhelmed? It’s not a long day. Maybe you need a hug, or a nap.

Well, it IS Monday!”

– Yes, every week. Monday continuously happens. I believe Garfield also hated Mondays. Whatever stuggle is being tied to “Monday” is likely unconnected. Commiting a robery? Well, it’s Monday! Thursday and you would’ve been in a real pickle. Stub your toe? Wreck your car? No, you did not succumb to an interruption of situational awareness. It’s Monday!

“The rain! The heat! The wind! The ultraviolet rays! It’s cold! I’m melting! Are my elbows sweating?”

I simply cannot. No, I can. Because like some social psychopath I have studied the ways of the people in an attempt to appear normal when I’m approached with small talk. If you’re at all familiar with my background and think I should have a better, more professional, and possibly concise way of describing that feeling, I do not.

I crave connection. Meaningful connection. A long conversation about the weather, or current projects, or about what joys and troubles the time reminds us of, I can do that. Too often, “How are you?” is uttered in such a rush that it becomes something to say instead of an invitation to empathy. I feel the same way about “I’m sorry.” You can read about that too: I Stopped Saying I’m Sorry

I like “Hello’s”. If the purpose of sharing a phrase is to acknowledge another person, that does just the trick. If you ask me (or someone like me) a follow up question, then a stream of thoughts, feelings, memories, and connections start that I am unable to stop. A little obsessive? Maybe. I would love to share with you a funny anecdote or a great article I read. I could be tired, and maybe in that moment what I need is for someone to simply let me know that whatever struggle is present will pass. There could be no negative, it could be a really great day and what I would love to share is hope. I can have a really great conversation about any number of things.

The interaction is so mechanical. Let’s talk about research and your interests. Ten or one thousand small, meaningless interactions make me tired. Repeated stimulation with no resolve, makes me tired. So that I can avoid being a bother, I shut off.

In my limited time, I have learned a few ways to combat the way small talk makes me feel.

  • Make eye contact. Acknowledge that someone exists. If you’re shy (and I mean that in a way that someone is shy and experiences a real fear when interacting with people) maybe try it once. Let it happen and see how it works. 
  •  If you’re going to engage in small talk, see it through. Don’t say something for the sake of making noise.
  •  (THIS ONE IS ME!) If silence makes you uncomfortable, practice. I’ve worried myself countless times wondering if the silence wasn’t filled would somebody spot that I am a person that lives with depression or anxiety or due dates or I haven’t folded the laundry that I washed 3 whole days ago. I engage in public speaking more than I would have told you I was willing to 10 years ago. It has taken a long time to learn how to just hush instead of using fillers like “like” and “ummmmmm”. Pause is ok.
  • You love small talk. Don’t get irritated when you say something and the recipient wants to engage. Otherwise, pause.
  • I am inspired by people that make other people feel important. The key ingredient is time. Giving someone your time is a gift that cannot be replaced.

How do you feel about small talk? Any additional tips or thoughts?

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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“Consider the daffodil. And while you’re doing that, I’ll be over here, looking through your stuff.” – Jack Handy

Multi-Faceted Personality Dis-Order….

The idiom “wear a hat” is far too simplistic for the inner turmoil associated with adjusting your personality and skillsets throughout the days to fit in various functions. I picture all of my “hats” on my head in some Dr. Seuss-esque fashion, and I am doing everything I can to keep them balanced before they tip over.

It is possible to be loving, funny, humble, ambitious, logical, and kind. For each of your desirable attributes lurks the polar opposite, don’t-get-out-of-bed, conspiracy-theory-loving animal. *Cue the circus music* I have an ambitious and addictive personality. There are times when ideas become so robust that I can spend hours in focus on one single thing. The rest of the hours are a mad dash to pick out the one thing I need to accomplish the task at hand. Does my mom-brain lead, my work-brain, my student-brain, friend-brain, leader, follower, partner, etc.?

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Venn diagram *image for illustration*

Each circle on the Venn diagram represents an area of your being. It is the “hat” you wear. We can name these 3; self, family, and work. Self is where your passion is cultivated. This is the area where you pray, meditate, exercise, eat healthy, and sustain happiness. Family are the people closest to you. Family could even be modified to include  an umbrella for friends where the highest knitting between individuals are family, because sometimes the people we choose become our family. These are the people that are proud to know you whether you follow your dreams or support you because they know your value and want to see you thrive.

Work is what you do. The circle where you earn money, advance knowledge, and develop marketable skills. In the midst of being three separate and defined areas, you begin to find overlap creating four brand new areas including one all-inclusive confluence…..of hats.

I picture each circle as a bubble. The bubbles have the ability to grow and to shrink, but never fully detach from the others. When the bubbles are balanced, the confluence is steady and reliable, a comfortable place to stay. In the middle of self and family, I am a mom.

Stop-&-Prioritize

1)Self

2) Mom

“How can you put your self before your own children? Those sweet angels deserve everything and the whole world and ….”

” How do you pour from an empty cup?” How much time did I spend neglecting my children’s needs because I did not take care of their mom? They get the best of me, not what’s left of me.

Even out your bubbles! A dear friend just asked “What is it that you’re missing”? Take yourself back to that area where you keep passion and drive and ambition. Look at how you are operating every single day and verify that is in line with a goal. Make sure that what you tell yourself energizes you and does not hold you back. Make time for the people that care about you regardless of the return. Own each and every one of your hats. If they fall, there are too many, different sizes. Secure your foundation and build up. Let what you bring in to those overlapping areas feed your soul, not your pocket.

Be gentle. Be selfish. Be balanced.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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January 1, 2018 I made the decision to actively practice self-care in its many forms particularly encompassing mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Ideally, in the space I am now, the optimal intersection of the three would be within finger’s reach. Realistically, it doesn’t work that way, and if it were to be obtained with so little effort, the duration is surely fleeting.

Insert: *Something Inspirational, yet simply profound*

There has been no such moment, but a ton of baby steps and results. I began with diet; reduced refined sugar intake. Nothing crazy, just maybe don’t hydrate solely with Coca Cola. Easy enough. I joined the next challenge when presented by a friend: be active one hour a day for the first 60 days of the year. Motivational mini-goal: Complete a 5k in 30 minutes. For consistency in measurement, I used 3.2 miles.

Day 1: #5kin30

5kstart

February 11:

5k30

Concurrent Challenge: #100m30d

100 miles in 30 days. To make this a little clearer, here is a photo of the distance from Murray, Ky. to Nashville, Tn. (117miles)

100m30d

One step, two step, 100.39 miles…….

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In the first 60 days of 2018 a lot of things happened. The time on the treadmill, with the weights, doing cardio workouts, and dancing gave me time to reflect. I had time to check out and analyze what I had done, how anything and everything affected me, and how I could most appropriately move forward. My “next step” became the focus of the challenges and improved me -physically, mentally, and spiritually.

*I lost 23 pounds!*

weightloss

PhotoCred: Degreesearch.org

Why yes, 23 pounds is a healthy pug and three hamsters. 🙂 Measuring that in sticks of butter? 4 sticks= 1 lb. 23lb=92 sticks of butter. 92 less things I have to carry around with me every day.

Today, March 6, I am on day 4 of clean eating for 21 days. Through challenges and taking risks, I have met amazing people, formed new bonds, and have the opportunity to achieve goals with family I do not see often solely because of geography.

Day 4:21 update 

This is where I am today. Take what you need. Leave what you can.

**MWAH**

Eve