Well hello there, blog. Give me a minute to pick you up and dust you off, why don’t you?
Today I’m here to discuss my goals for the month of August. As you probably know by now, I use the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal planner which helps me come up with monthly goals that are divided into 3 categories: monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily action items.
August always makes me think of back to school season and that fresh start feeling I always had with the new school year. While school looks very different for a lot of people this year, I’m trying to keep the momentum that I usually get from back to school flowing, even if I haven’t been in school since 2009. With that said, here are the goals I plan to schedule and achieve this month.
Monthly Action Items
• Use the Clean Mama Planner
I purchased the Clean Mamma Homekeeping planner at the end of last month because it was the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things: planners & homemaking. I am making it a goal to actively use it because it is very easy for me to set up planners and then not use them. Call it planner overwhelm or just my rebel-obliger tendency, but that’s how it is, so my goal is simply to use the thing. If you want to see a walkthrough of the planner, here’s the video I put out when I first got it.
• Complete Unit 1 of My Nutrition Course
Surprise! In case you missed the announcement, I’m in the beginning stages of getting a nutrition certification! The course is divided up into several units, and my goal is to complete the entire first book (unit 1) this month. I’m already 40% of the way done, so I’m optimistic.
As you may or may not know, I am a firm believer in all things planning. The more you plan (and actually stick to the said plan) the more likely you are to succeed. That being said, I want to try something new and start planning my workouts to help me stick to it even more. I won’t lie, I’m actually doing a pretty stellar job of sticking to my workout routine as long as it’s already planned, but on the days I have no plan I find it is too easy for me to either half-heartedly sneak my movement in or make an excuse to not do it at all. Thus, “my week of workouts” was born.
Will I share it every week? No, probably not. That’s not because I’m not planning them out, but simply because if it’s the exact same week to week, do you really want to read about it again?
I’m realizing lately that I am starting to feel a bit..what’s the word? Anxious? Uneasy? Unsettled? Maybe unsettled! I’m feeling a bit unsettled about my movement as of late. It’s not that I don’t love my current workout plan, because I do! I just feel like quarantine has taken away a lot of the unintentional movement that I am used to. After Bodypump (or really during any visit to the gym) I get on an elliptical and just go for 30-45 minutes. It’s a great way for me to burn off that extra energy, break a sweat, and even burn some extra calories. I just don’t feel like my legs have bee doing everything they should be doing and it’s giving me a very dissatisfied feeling, despite reaching step goals and such. As I mentioned in my goals for this month, the theme of May is “Level Up” and I want that to include my movement.
This Week’s Workouts
Liift 4: Week 3 Day 1- Chest and triceps. This was half weight training, half HIIT training.
May is here and I am pretty pumped about it. This month the theme of my goals this month is “level up,” which means I really want to hit the ground running and make some serious progress towards my big picture goals. Last month’s theme of “refresh and renew was nice and necessary, but now it’s time to shake off this quarantine (even though we’re still in it) and really take big steps forward in achieving my goals.
Monthly Action Items
Single tasks that I need to accomplish only once this month.
Bust out of my current weight decade
I have been here for far too long, and it is time to see a new middle number in my weight. Now, I am well aware that this actual goal is centered around something I can’t control (the number on the scale) but the thing I am working on is my effort towards getting there. If I achieve nothing else this month but I see a new decade on that scale, the month will be deemed a success.
Get this blog up and running again
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve actually posted a few things on here as of late! My goal is to take the deep dive into resurrecting this poor little blog of mine.
Stick to my content schedule
I have a super fun content planner and in the said planner, I put up the blank slate for a rather ambitious content posting schedule this month. My goal is to stick to it. Plain and (not so) simple.
Music is a powerful thing. This is a fact I’ve known my entire life and a tool that I don’t use to my advantage nearly as often as I used to. It has the power to make me feel every single emotion, and there are days that if I start down the rabbit hole of listening to specific songs, you can consider me gone the rest of the day because I get wrapped up in all of the joy and wonder that music brings me.
Remind me again why it is so hard for me to sit down to find time to sing?… 🤔
Anyway, one of my favorite ways to use music is as a tool for energy and productivity. The way I do this is with my “get pumped” song or playlist. This list is songs that psych me up and give me the energy I need to conquer the day. Today I wanted to share that with you. These songs bring me joy and a motivational kick in the rear that I need. I use this in the morning to jazz myself up or as a mid-afternoon pickup to dance around for a few minutes to bring the energy back. Either way, it works.
What songs would go on your “get pumped” playlist?
In my home, we are coming up to day number 50 in quarantine. 5-0! I can’t even comprehend how this whole ordeal has been going on for that long. That’s a significant period of time, so much so that what used to be the weird, new routine with my husband working from home, no gym, church, or regular shopping has now become our new normal. This feels like it just simply is how life is now. The end. I’m not saying that I like it, but that’s what it feels like.
Anyway, this means that my husband and I have not had much more than a few hours of one of us running errands to being in different places, and I am proud to say we have not killed each other yet. As a matter of fact, quarantine has not impacted our relationship in any negative way whatsoever, and I feel like that is a massive accomplishment. We have figured out how to have him work from home and have me being able to do my own thing, whether it’s work in my office or do the cleaning or other homemaking, all in the same house at the same time. It’s a miracle.
Seeing other people complain about their spouses during this time got me thinking about how the heck we actually managed to make this work, and I think it came down to a few things, which is what I want to share with you today. Here are 5 things that my husband and I are doing that are making being quarantined together a piece of cake.
Spoiler alert: Constantly having an open line of honest communication is KEY here. That has to go without saying.
1. Set Boundaries and Expectations
As soon as we knew my husband would be working from home we sat down and talked logistics. It was important for us to make sure we understood our needs throughout the day so we both could get things done. He has a desk and office set up in our guest bedroom and I have my own office. General rules we live by include:
If one of our office doors are closed we can’t be interrupted. This typically happens when he’s on a call or when I am filming content. This is also a signal that being a little quieter would be appreciated.
I set a rule for dinner time. My husband eats on a weird schedule and sometimes doesn’t come down for dinner until 7:30 or 8. I can’t wait that long, so I set the expectation that if I was doing to the cooking (which I happily will do daily), it needs to be at a time that works for me. So to compromise, I told him dinner will be around 6:30. Not as early as I prefer, but not as late as he prefers. A happy medium that allows me to schedule my day and allows him to know when to expect dinner to be on the table.
Who does what chores. I do most of the chores around here, but my husband is willing and able to tackle a list on the weekends, or maybe even a few weeknight chores like cleaning up the kitchen after I cook, taking out the trash, or tidying up whatever whirlwind of a mess he might have made during the day. Don’t start to get bitter towards your spouse because you didn’t set clear expectations of who is in charge of what around the house.
Work hours: I know that as a general rule my husband is unavailable for roughly an 11-12 hour window daily. My husband knows that I have a filming day and two one-hour live streams I’m committed to during the week. These are times when we are 100% not available unless we communicate otherwise. Do not expect your spouse to be available if you predetermined what times they’re unavailable
Once you set your boundaries and expectations, you need to stick to them.
2. Get Some Alone Time
I know, you’re quarantined at home so it’s hard to technically be alone, but this needs to be one of your boundaries. Making sure you’re taking the time to do things alone and just for you is super important. Go for a walk or a run, read, spend an hour watching your favorite TV show. I journal first thing in the morning and it’s just me and my coffee and it is glorious. Making sure to take time out for a little bit of self care is essential. Plan it!
3. Intentional Date Nights
Just because we can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean date night isn’t still an essential part of our lives. It is very important to schedule time to be intentional about spending time together. Get creative with your at-home date night ideas. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you’re making the intentional choice to spend time together just the two of you.
4. Have Fun
Take the time to goof off. Laugh. Be goofy. Have a 2-second dance party. Take an hour to turn on your favorite show to watch together or enjoy a quick coffee break. Remember that just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play.
5. Have Plenty of Grace & Patience
At the end of the day, there will always be challenges and frustrations. It’s really important to have a littleton of extra grace and patience for both your spouse and yourself. It’s a weird time we’re living in right now. A lot is uncertain, many people are on edge, and whether you realize it or not, this is taking a toll on you. Be patient with one another. Treat your spouse the way you hope they’d treat you if you have a bad day, get grumpy, or leave the extra dishes out instead of putting them away. This is important always, but especially important now.
Now, just because I’m saying that we’re doing pretty darned well in quarantine doesn’t mean it’s not difficult at times, because it is. We do things that gets on the other’s nerves, work stress causes tensions to be high, and not 5 minutes ago did a change in how my husband’s day is going effect something for me that was frustrating. This time is trying and hard and sad and many other things, but I firmly believe as long as we have that list above and a whole lot of love, we will come out of this the strongest our marriage has ever been.
This week in the Next 90 Days challenge with Rachel Hollis the theme is joy. Joy is something I work to cultivate in my life daily, so I love this topic. One of the homework assignments we had this week was to create a “Joy List.” Simply put, this is just a list of things that bring us joy. True, honest to goodness joy. The second part of the homework is after making your list, schedule time into your day for joy every single day. Yes, schedule it. Every 👏🏻Single👏🏻Day👏🏻
Now, your joy list will look different from mine, which is great because each of us has our own set of things that bring us true happiness. For a little bit of inspiration, I wanted to share mine.
Brianna’s Joy List
The first sip of a really good cup of coffee.
A fresh manicure
Listening to my perfect playlist for whatever mood I’m in at the moment.
Getting into bed and under the weight of my weighted blanket at the end of a productive day.
A facial or a massage
Makeout sessions with my husband 😉
When the morning sun shines through the window
Eating a really good dessert
Reading a good book
When Gracie (my dog) cuddles up on my lap
Fresh and hot roasted broccoli or brussels sprouts (seriously!)
When I finish a big task (think “monthly action item” level in my goals planner)
The smells of the different seasons
Hitting my step goal for the day
Laying out in the sun
An emotionally satisfying ending to a show or movie
Feeling confident in my makeup 💄 and clothes
A good hair day
Good, full-fat cheese
A little bit sparkle
A completed to-do list
The smell of fresh laundry
The feel of the foot warmer when I slide into bed
Putting on PJs or a sweatshirt just out of the dryer
My evening skincare routine
Lighting a scented candle
Workout clothes that make me feel like I look amazing
I will not lie to you. I am definitely starting to feel the quarantine blues or whatever it is you want to call this feeling. I’m sure you’ve had this feeling too. I’m on day 19 of self-quarantine. I’ve generally been super positive, productive, and motivated throughout this new normal…up until 2 days ago. That’s when the total lack of energy to accomplish things accompanied a complete lack of desire to do anything, and it’s a feeling I have not been able to shake yet. The quarantine blues also came with an insatiable appetite. If all of this had come a week earlier I could have blamed PMS, but alas, the timing is wrong so there is no good reason as to why I feel this way.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, to put it simply, I believe the way to overcome this is to do what I can anyway. I’m finding that there is definitely a balance that needs to be achieved between total normalcy and quarantine specific changes. Examples of changes I’m making to adapt to the what quarantine is making me feel are things like sleeping in a little bit (7:30 instead of 6:30), allowing myself more time to sit and read or take more breaks to just hang out, and making my step goal a weekly goal instead of a daily one to accommodate for days I just don’t have the energy or desire to get up and go.
There are also things that I am still doing every day, no exceptions. This is primarily to keep me on track with my weight loss during this time when everyone is joking about gaining the “quarantine 15.” My first goal of quarantine will be to NOT gain the q15, but maybe lose a little bit in the process.
That being said, among the weirdness that is life right now, here are 5 things I still do daily to make sure I am on track even while in quarantine.
This is the most fundamental component of any weight loss plan (that works) pretty much anywhere. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I will likely be tracking my food in some way, shape, or form for life. When I keep track of what goes into my body, I lose or maintain. It’s only when I stop tracking my food that the scale starts to creep up and I lose control. Tracking (and staying within my calorie/Points/Bites budgets, obviously) is the number one key to keeping myself on track and headed in the direction of success. I will continue to track what I eat each and every day. Good days or bad days. Whatever comes my way. Track all the things!
This list is back to the bare basics, my friends. Like it or not, drinking enough water is a major part of your body’s health. When you’re dehydrated, the list of problems goes on and on. Drinking water is easy (yes..you CAN do it, you people who claim you can’t) and it’s so, so, SO good for you. Keeping my hydration up is one thing I’m doing with a daily goal of drinking a gallon of water (128oz) a day. Yes, it’s a lot, but my body feels great when I do it. Bonus: I’m running to the bathroom all the time to pee which means lots of handwashing. Take that, COVID-19!
3. Pre-Track My Food
If you’re having an issue staying away from the kitchen, this is gold. I’ve been starting the day figuring out what all of my meals will be for the day and tracking them in the morning. After my meals are tracked I can figure out what I want to do with the remainder of my daily budget. Then, I stick to the plan! It’s such a simple little thing, but it makes it so much easier to stay on track,
You had to know this was coming. I am committed to working out each and every day that I’m stuck in quarantine. I’m test-driving this idea for the month of April with the goal of moving my body for at least half an hour every day. This could be an “official” workout from the Beachbody app (currently my method for working out) or simply going for a walk for 30 minutes. Whatever the case may be, the goal is an intentional time of movement and not just movement related to cleaning the house. Even if you don’t have access to any streaming workouts or even all that much space, there is still something you can do to move your body. Get creative, but don’t tell me you can’t. You absolutely can!
5. Use My Intermittent Fasting Timer
The reason this post is getting written now and not later today is honestly that I needed something to pass the time while I wait for my IF timer to complete its 14-hour run. I use the app “Zero,” which is a free intermittent fasting timer, and I love it. Last night was the first time I turned it on in 16 days, and I can’t even tell you how empowered I felt last night clicking that “start fast” button once I finished my ice cream. I’m not a hardcore intermittent faster, but I like to do a 14 hour fast to give my body a break from food. If I can get to 16 hours (the standard fast is 16 hours fasted with an 8-hour eating window), I do it, but if not it’s no big deal. The purpose of using this timer is just to keep me from evening snacking and to encourage me to wait until I’m actually hungry to eat my breakfast rather than simply eating because it’s morning. Having a shorter eating window rather than the freedom to eat any hour of the day really helps me stay on track. This will be a key tool in my staying on track during quarantine.
All 5 of these are so basic but they truly are game changers and are going to be essential components to my staying on track during this weirdness that is life right now. Having a plan, whatever that plan may be, puts you back in control of the things you can control, so why not do just that? Take control and find success!
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I firmly believe that being in this weird season of uncertainty is not an excuse for us to let go of our goals, but instead, it is an opportunity for us to lean into this new normal and embrace the chance to accomplish our goals. This month, I curated my goals specifically through the lens of quarantine so I can take full advantage of this month of social distancing.
As you know by now, my goal planner is the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets. While the dated 2020 Powersheets are no longer available, a 6-month undated version is still on sale in the store.
The Powersheets have a tending list every month that help you curate action items that should help you work towards your big picture goals. There is a section for monthly, weekly, and daily action items. Monthly items are “one and done” tasks that you set out to do within the month, and they have a progress bar you can shade in as you make progress. Weekly items are tasks that you want to accomplish every week of the month. Daily tasks are items you want to check off every day.
Let’s dive into my goals for the month!
Monthy Action Items
Cultivate healthy and productive habits
Since I am home exclusively, this is the perfect time to put extra effort into focusing on how I use my time and refining my time management skills.
The plan: utilize timers and a set schedule for pretty much everything, including how many breaks I get and how long I can poke at my phone.
Office closet reorganization & declutter
The closet in my office is our home’s “Monica Closet.” It just happens to be where all of the stuff without a place ended up.
The plan: Purchase some drawer storage space and create homes for all of the random crap currently floating around in there.
Bathroom storage reorganization & declutter
My bathroom cabinets have become all cluttered up and unorganized. The plan is to clean them out, put things where they belong a get rid of random trash that has accumulated.
Kitchen cabinet reorganization & declutter
As you can see, reorganizing and decluttering certain areas of my home has become a priority, which is great because simplifying and organizing my environment is one of my big picture goals for 2020.
Purchase a jewelry armoire
This is for organizational purposes. I have so many accessories and my itty bitty jewelry box is not cutting it. Owning an armoire would allow for so much more organization of all my accessories.
Okay, so obviously 2020 is not going how any of us imagined it would be going at this point. If you’re like me, you decided back in December that 2020 was going to be the best year of your life. Big changes were going to be made. Big goals were going to be achieved. You would enter 2021 your best self having lost a few pounds, become an amazing homemaker, and achieved a few major career goals to boot. (okay, so those might be my personal goals, but you get the point) Yes, everything was all planned out perfectly… then COVID-19 took the world by storm and all of our routines, goals, habits, and motivations seemed to get swept up in the storm right along with it. Suddenly, 2020 was not looking so bright and filled with possibilities. Instead, it is filled with fear, change, uncertainty, and more fear. I know, I’m right there with you, my friend, but I’m here to let you in on a little secret.
We can STILL make 2020 the best year yet!
I know about 60% of you rolled your eyes just now. “Shut up Brianna..you don’t know what I’m dealing with here!” No, I don’t, but what I do know is this: our perspective dictates our reality. If you decide that this situation is going to sabotage all of your goals and just leave you a lifeless shell of a miserable person, well then guess what? That is exactly what will happen.
However, if you are able to switch this narrative around and decide that while this is not an ideal situation, you can still use it to continue to have that best year ever you promised yourself, well then guess what will happen? That’s right! You still can have that best year ever.
2020 isn’t doomed. It’s just different. I foolishly had myself believing that my goals were tied to everything I was able to do outside of the house. Being a homemaker, we all know that is just a bald-faced lie. Almost everything I do takes place inside the walls of my home, save errand running and going to the gym. I knew this, but I still felt totally blindsided by this quarantine and wanted to use it as an excuse to throw in the towel and take a few months off of making any progress on any of my goals, just like everyone else.
Then I looked at my goals for a second. I have a card with my goals written on them taped to the desk so I can see them every single time I look up. All 8 of them are right there in my face ALL the time. As I started to consider what my 2020 goals actually were, I realized that no matter how much I wanted to accuse this whole situation of preventing me from being able to achieve my goals, the reality is this: every single goal I have this year can be achieved exclusively at home, while in quarantine. There are zero exceptions.
Our world is very, very strange right now, and that’s putting it way too lightly. The world, not just our country, but literally the entire world is in a situation that hasn’t really been seen before. We’re all in lockdown, self-isolated, self-quarantined, forced quarantine, the works! It feels like breaking the law just to run to the grocery store to buy food, and that’s not even possible in some cased because grocery stores have been picked over and much is out of stock. Restaurants are takeout only. Schools are shut down. Jobs are work from home or for many have disappeared, causing much financial stress about how families are going to survive in this time of uncertainty. All because of this virus that is so easy to catch and less easy to manage for at-risk individuals. It’s scary.
I’ll be honest, I seriously debated whether to say anything in my content about COVID-19 at all, but there is no hiding from it. We all are experiencing this craziness together in real-time, so I feel I have to say something, but it’s not going to be negative. There’s too much negative in the world right now. Too much fear, panic, and quite frankly too much of people being horrible people. Granted, there is also a ton of humanity being great to one another, which is an encouraging thing to see, so don’t think for a second that I’m not acknowledging that as well.
In the spirit of trying to keep things positive, I want to just take a minute to encourage everyone, not in the “this too shall pass” sort of way, but in the “we all have a crap-ton of lemons, why not make some epic lemonade?” kind of way.
The truth is, like it or not, employed or not, embracing self-isolation or panicking about it, most of us are stuck in a situation we’d rather not be in. Yes, I am fully aware that there is a gigantic financial impact on many, and I’m not trying to downplay that at all, but if reality isn’t going to change we might as well embrace the situation we’re in and do what we can with what we’re currently given, right?
So, let’s make lemonade!
How can we fully embrace the opportunity we’re being given to slow down a little bit? What ways can we spend our time that will leave us coming out on the other side of this not feeling like we wasted the (maybe) months we were isolated? How can we make the world’s best lemonade out of these crappy lemons?