10 Calorie Counting Mistakes that are Killing Your Diet

Calorie Counting. The most achievable and yet super dreaded diet. It’s simple but it’s far from easy. There are hundreds of apps out there to help you calorie count. Some people shed hundreds of pounds doing, while others struggle. So what’s the difference?

Some of it is the way you are made. We each have body differences that are unique and there’s no one size fits all formula to weight loss. However, these 10 mistakes may be the reason you’re struggling on your calorie counting diet.

My Experiences

I’ve used the MyFitnessPal app since college. Even now that I have a Fitbit that I absolutely love, I still track in MyFitnessPal and sync to my Fitbit app. I do this because I like the way MyFitnessPal breaks down nutrients information.

The 10 Calorie Counting Mistakes that are Killing Your Diet

1. Restricting Too Tightly

Restricting too tightly can do some terrible things to your body. It can shut down your metabolism and force your body to store whatever you are eating because it thinks it may starve.

So what do you do instead? You are meant to eat! So eat! Quit thinking of food as a number of calories being injected and start asking yourself if the food is fuel or not. Meats, vegetables and fruits make awesome fuel. Fried foods, sugars, and junk food make you feel bad and won’t fuel you very well. So make the distinction and stop restricting the fuels your body needs.

2. Not Measuring Amounts

This something I see a lot when people use calorie counting apps. There are so many preset amounts in the apps that some people never bother to change it. Sure a serving of ice cream is 120 calories, but did you see that the serving size is 1/2 cup?? (By the way, who eats just a 1/2 cup of ice cream???). If you logged that one serving of ice cream but you really ate 3 heaping one cup scoops, then you just lied to yourself, even if it’s unintentional.

The same could be said of the creamer in your coffee. I mean who knows if you just put in the recommended one tiny tablespoon or 5? You want it to taste good, don’t you?

So what do you do instead? If you are serious about wanting to lose weight, it’s time to pull out the measuring cups and spoons. It’s time to know how much of what you are putting in your body. Also, it’s time to seriously read some labels. If you are snacking on something, read how much a serving size is. You’ll be surprised that junk food companies have cut a lot of serving sizes down. It may say 120 calories on the front of your soda bottle, but there may be 3 servings in the bottle. Read your labels. Serving sizes matter.

3. Substituting for No Calorie Foods / Drinks

Pretty much the only time this is good for you is water. Once while on a calorie counting kick, I thought I’d hack it by switching my Dr. Pepper to Diet Dr. Pepper. I could drink it all day and it still said 0 calories! Yummy and no calories, a win right? Nope. I felt like crap and I’ll tell you I won’t ever go back to drinking diet sodas like that again.

So what do you do instead? Stop cheating yourself of your results by pretending you get a free pass on certain foods and drinks. There’s a ton of research out there about how bad artificial sweeteners can be for you.

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4. Believing Restaurant Calories are Always Accurate

This is huge. Calorie Counting apps have done a marvelous job of incorporating common restaurant foods into their system. It makes tracking on the go a breeze! But you have to be careful. Eating out all the time may be killing your diet even if you think you’re within your calorie goal.

I once watched a documentary where restaurant chefs were explaining how they pile on extra butter, sugar or salt that wasn’t in their preset recipes to make it taste better for guests. I’m sure the clueless guests enjoyed the taste but their waist was paying the price!

Another television example, I watched an Undercover Boss, where a smoothie barista at a gym added extra syrup to supposedly healthy smoothies to make them taste better. I’m sure it helped, but again it isn’t the set amount of calories your app is telling you that you are getting.

So what do you do instead? Eat at home when possible. And when you have to eat out, choose items that are meant to be healthy and low calorie. Many restaurants have specific sections for low calorie or healthy eaters.

5. Omitting Calories

I am so guilty of this one. Sometimes if I eat something that seems small or inconsequential I won’t log it. Or, if I track some snacks, but then go back later and get more, I won’t update the amount I had. It may not seem like a big deal, but if it happens consistently, you may be eating enough in these small unrecorded bursts to make yourself gain weight instead of losing it.

So what do you do instead? Again, if you’re serious about this, then when you eat it, you have to record it.

6. Not Calculating Outgoing Calorie Measurements

Counting outgoing calories is almost as important as counting incoming ones for two reasons. First, of the same reasons as mentioned in the first point, you don’t want to under eat for your activity level. It’s okay to consume 2,000+ calories a day if you are a serious athlete, work out a lot, or have a labor intensive job. Don’t restrict too much or you won’t have the fuel you need.

Second, you don’t want to overestimate how much you do in a day. Maybe you think you have a super active job, but you only work that job two to three days a week. Make sure you aren’t compensating for your tough gym routine during your off season while you are sitting watching Netflix on your couch.

So what do you do instead? Get a smart watch or activity tracker. When I fist got mine, it was an eye opening experience. I thought I was super active and burned a lot of calories. I was shocked at how few steps I took in a day without working at it. If you can’t get a smart watch, then go ahead and track your workouts in your calorie counting app. Most have the ability to do this.

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7. Believing All Calories are Created Equal

So you have no problem keeping your calorie goal, but you’re still not seeing results? Your app says you should be losing but you’re gaining? It comes down to the fuel versus junk that I mentioned earlier.

Consider this: Both of these are 1,500 calorie days (per MyFitnessPal app)

2 Meals:

  • 1 cup Cocoa Pebbles – 160 cal
  • 1 cup Whole Milk – 150 cal
  • 16 ounces Orange Juice – 220 cal
  • McDonalds Double Cheeseburger – 440 cal
  • McDonalds Medium Fries – 380 cal
  • McDonalds Small Coke – 150 cal

OR for 3 full meals plus 2 snacks for 1455 calories

  • 2 Medium Scrambled Eggs – 150 cal
  • 2 Slices of Ham – 140
  • 1 Medium Grapefruit – 60 cal
  • 1 Black Coffee – 5 cal
  • Protein Shake – 160 cal
  • Chic Fil A 12-count Grilled Nuggets – 200 cal
  • Chic Fil A Medium Fruit Cup – 50 cal
  • 1 Medium Apple – 80 cal
  • 6 ounce Homemade Steak – 320 cal
  • Side Salad with Ranch – 250
  • 1 cup Steamed Broccoli – 40 cal

On the second option, you eat more, preventing yourself from being hungry but fueling your body to get things done. The first option is only 2 normal American meals! But that’s all you get in the day. You’ll go hungry! Remember it’s about fuel not numbers!

8. Drinking Your Calories

Just don’t do it! It will cause you to lose valuable calories that could have been used on nutritious food. It may also cause you to under-eat in a day if you count too many calories toward beverages. Besides most beverages with high calorie counts have sugar, corn syrup or artificial sweeteners that you don’t need anyways. Drinking these types of drinks may get in the way of your necessary water!

So what should you do instead? Make a water goal for yourself. If you keep hydrating yourself with water at meals and throughout the day, you’ll lose your need for sugary drinks!

9. Not Paying Attention to MacroNutrients

It was shocking to me when I started paying attention to the macro nutrients that I was consuming on my calorie counting diet. I was almost two or three times my daily sugar allotment! Every. Day. You could say I have a sweet tooth… I began to recognize that even when I was within my calorie goal, I was clogging my insides with more sugar than it was meant to handle. This was throttling my results.

So what do you do instead? Look at your macronutrients and find your weaknesses! Learn what you’re doing well and in what areas you need to improve. Then find recipes that will help you get more of what you need such as vitamins and protein, and less of the carbs and sugars when you are overdoing it.

10. Forgetting to Drink and Track Your Water

You need your water. Period. Drinking water will help you feel full, keep away cravings and help you get rid of the junk in your body that needs to go. Drink and track your water! It’s a must!

What to do when you’re ready to win at your calorie counting diet?

First, you can try Espira by Avon. Espira is a health and wellness line that focuses on boosting your metabolism and cleansing your body.

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Click here to learn more about Espira.

Second, try using our FREE Habit Tracker Printables to keep you on track! Track days without soda, dessert or think of your own habit to build! Subscribe below to have your copy sent to your inbox.

Third, one of the best diet plans I have ever tried is the Whole 30. It is super hard to maintain, but nothing has made me feel better or been so quick with results. It’s not for the faint of heart though!

Click here to learn more about the Whole 30.

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*Note: the author of this article is not a doctor and none of the tips and tricks above is a replacement for sound medical advise from your primary care physician. This is simply me sharing my experiences, hoping to help out others.

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Products to Help Your New Year’s Resolutions

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 Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. To read more about this, please go to our Disclosures page.

New Year’s is Almost Here. Did you make a resolution?

Every year, we are bombarded with statistics about New Year’s Resolutions and how they always seem to fail. So what does that mean? That simply means people want to do and be better, but we just lack commitment, longstanding motivation and determination.

How do we change that? We set good, solid, realistic goals for ourselves. (Read How To Make Goals You’ll Actually Keep). Then we put our money where are mouth is. Figuratively and literally.

What do I mean by this? I mean learn to invest in your goals. Give your goals something that is important to you so that you can prove to yourself that your goals are worth it. This doesn’t always mean money. A lot of it is TIME. Time is one of the hardest investments there is. Is going to the gym more important to you than Netflix? You might say yes, but how are you investing your time? If it’s Netflix 5 days a week and the gym only on Mondays then you’re lying to yourself.

How you spend your time and money matters. I created this post to use finances to motivate you to invest in yourself and your goals. Here are products to help you with your New Year’s Resolutions.

For Your Exercise Resolution

The Fitbit Blaze. There is not enough positive things I can say about this product. I actually dedicated an entire post to it. Read Reasons I Love my Fitbit BlazeThis watch keeps my motivation year round. Right on my watch face I can read my steps taken, my current and resting heart rate, how many minutes i’ve been active, how many miles I’ve walked, floors I’ve climbed and calories burned! This in addition to getting my call notifications and texts straight on it. It also has a ton of other cool features that I won’t cover here, so jump over and read Reasons I Love my Fitbit Blaze. You might be thinking, an Apple Watch can do all that, and if you can afford one, go for it! But the average Fitbit costs between $100-$200, so it is much more affordable.

Click here to shop for Fitbit Blaze.

The INSANITY DVD KitLike the Fitbit Blaze, I personally own an use this product all the time. And can I just say, it is absolutely AMAZING. This DVD kit got me ready and in shape for four college athletic seasons. It will kill you in a good way. You will end up on the floor, sweating and thinking you’re dying, but in reality you are getting stronger and more toned. The best part is it’s all bodyweight exercises. You don’t need any additional equipment. Just the DVDs and some room.

Click here to shop for INSANITY DVD Kit.

Dumbbell Set. The cheapest option so far. Order yourself a dumbbell set that you can easily hide when company comes over. Grab some dumbbell workouts off of Pinterest and get to work on some of those toned muscles!

Click here to shop for Dumbbell Sets.

For Your Financial Resolutions

The Total Money Makeover Book. Lets just go ahead and say that Dave Ramsey is amazing. He knows what he’s talking about and he’s changed so many lives. As I see it, if you made a financial resolution, you cannot afford NOT to invest in some of Dave Ramsey’s wisdom in how to reset your finances.

Click here to shop Dave’ Ramsey’s  Total Money Makeover Book.

Magnetic Cash Budgeting Envelopes. Cash budgeting envelope systems are a system promoted by Dave Ramsey. When my husband and I lived off one salary when we got married and I was in graduate school, this system saved us from overspending and eating out too much. It’s definitely worth the time and hassle once you realize how much of your money slips through your fingers. Etsy has some great handmade cash envelope system wallets. Don’t forget to check them out.

Click here to shop theseMagnetic Cash Budgeting Envelopes.

Financial Peace University DVD Home Study Kit. My life group just did this and it was amazing. Dave Ramsey is an engaging and personable speaker. He made as laugh while also making us think. I was so impressed with this kit that came with a cash envelope wallet, DVDs and a book.

Click here to shop theFinancial Peace University DVD Home Study Kit.

For Your Healthy Eating Resolutions

The Ninja Blender. People rant and rave about Ninja blenders. My goodness, I cannot believe the hype. We personally own a Farberware Single Serve Blender and it has worked great for us. It came with small and large cups and has been a great snack replacement for me. But if you are a total smoothie person, then go ahead and get the Ninja.

Click here to shop the Ninja Blender.

The Whole 30 Book. You may have heard of the Whole 30 diet. If you haven’t, it is quite basically a 30 day Paleo diet challenge that works kinda like a cleanse. It’s crazy and it’s hard but it’s also very good. I did about 15 days of the Whole 30 diet this summer before my need for ice cream drove me to be a quitter. But I have to say the diet worked great for me. I lost 5 pounds in the first week without every going hungry. I was eating constantly and felt more like myself than I had in a very long time. It forever has changed how I will think about food. If you are looking for a new diet plan you should definitely look into this.

Click here to shop the Whole 30 Book.

Meal Prep Containers. Need help with portion control? Need motivation to stop going out for lunch? These meal prep containers will get you excited to take your perfectly proportioned lunch to the office. Plus theres so many of them that if you are like me and wait to wash tupperware until the weekend, theres plenty to prep ahead and do so.

Click here to shop Meal Prep Containers.

For Your Organization Resolutions

 

Desktop Storage Unit. Isn’t this desktop storage unit the cutest? Target is seriously amazing at creating the cutest stuff. You can use it to store anything from pencils and paperclips to cords and notepads.

Click here to shop Desktop Storage Unit. 

Gold Desktop Drawer Set. I personally bought this adorable drawer set from Target when I redid some of my office decor this past year. It’s adorable and is the perfect size for holding massive piles of paper. I won’t lie, I use the bottom drawer as an I’ll deal with this later pile. Hopefully you’re less of a procrastinator and more organized than me, but regardless, this drawer will help your desk seem less cluttered.

Click here to shop Gold Desktop Drawer Set.

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Dry Erase Calendar and Cork Board Set. These adorable calendar sets from Target are everything you need to plan ahead! I love the chalkboard look and I love the option of cork board because I’m constantly hanging important pieces of paper up for later.

Click here to shop Dry Erase Calendar and Cork Board Set.

For Your Self Care Resolutions

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A Journal. Journals are a great way to get your thoughts out. It allows you to reflect and sort through all the things in your mind that are just milling around in there bothering you. It’s also a great way to remember what you’re grateful for and who has impacted your life. You can also use it to write down Bible verses and Quotes that inspire or encourage you. (Read 10 Bible Verses for When You Need Encouragement.) If you made self care a resolution of yours, then give journaling a try!

Check out this Target Journal here.

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At-Home Spa Set. What’s better for self care than an at-home spa set? Close to nothing. Grab yourself one of these sets and go for a soak! Take an hour to get away from all those life problems that will still be there when you get back. Pampering yourself is not always selfish, it can be a much needed way to care for yourself when life gets overwhelming.

Shop the at-home spa set.

Kindle E-Reader. Reading was one of my favorite past times as a kid. Now as an adult, I regrettably barely find a chance. Reading is good for the mind and the soul. As a generation, we need to get back into it. (Read the 6 Types of Books You Should Be Reading Every Year.)

I personally downloaded the Kindle app onto a tablet and my cellphone so I can read on the go. You can download the Kindle App onto most smart phones, tablets, computers and more. Try it out here: Kindle App. I used Kindle versions of my textbooks and it got me through college without carrying a million books around all the time. Plus Pro-Tip, some of them are SEARCHABLE. Talk about a time-saver! (Read Keys to College Success From a Straight-A Student).

Click here to shop Kindle E-Readers.

50 Ideas to Put in Your Habit Tracker

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Welcome to JJ Lauren’s Loves! Below we share our 50 ideas to put in our habit tracker! Hope you enjoy!

Why a Habit Tracker?

Habit trackers are a fantastic way to keep track of your daily tasks you want to accomplish. Habit trackers and planners help us to live intentionally. What do we mean by that? We just mean that life does not pass us by because time gets away from us while we binge Netflix or stare at our phones. Yes, this happens occasionally, but with the help of habit trackers and planners we try to spend more time doing the things that matter.

Want to know more about how to choose effective goals? Read How To Choose Goals You Will Actually Keep.

Want to know how to choose habits to focus on to become the person you want to be? Read 10 Steps to Reinvent Yourself.

Free Habit Tracker Printables

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Just for you, our JJ Lauren’s Loves fans, we have made printable habit trackers to help on your journey of self-improvement. Sign up to get them below!

Fitness

1.10,000 Daily Steps

 2. 20 Minutes of Exercise

3. 5 Minute Stretch

4. Walk the Dog

Health

5.  Drink 64 Ounces of Water

6. Stay Within Calorie Goal

7. No Soda

8. No Caffeine

9. Packed Your Own Lunch

10. Cooked Supper at Home

11. 8 Hours of Sleep

12. Daily Amount of Fruit

13. Daily Amount of Vegetables

14. No Dessert

15. Take Medication / Vitamins

Clean House

16. All Dishes Washed and Cleaned

17. All Laundry Put Away

18. Kitchen Countertops Clean

19. Bed Made

20. Bathroom Counters Empty

21. Furniture Surfaces Clean

22. Desk Organized

23. Car Emptied

24. Nothing on the Floor

25. Watered the Plants

Beauty Routine

26. Washed Face

27. Used Morning Cream

28. Used Night Cream

29. Removed Makeup Before Bed

30. Brushed Teeth Twice Daily

31. Flossed Teeth

32. Moisturized

33. Dressed For Success

For Self-Improvement

34. No Spending

35. Tracked Budget and Spending

36. Read Bible

37. Read for 15 Minutes

38. Studied a Foreign Language

39. Practiced an Instrument

40. Did Homework

41. Did Something You Were Procrastinating

42. No Snooze Button

43. No Television

44. Left on Time for Work

45. Journaled

46. Tried Something New

To Make The World a Better Place

47. Prayed for Someone Else

48. Called A Friend

49. Spent Time With Family

50. Prayed for the World

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Free Habit Tracker

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Download these free habit tracker printable when you subscribe to JJ Lauren’s Loves’ email newsletters!

What Else is in the Newsletters?

Be the first to hear about our newest posts, great online deals, and other great content from JJ Lauren’s Loves.

Why a Habit Tracker?

At JJ Lauren’s Loves we are all about self-improvement and we wanted to provide you with a free tool to help you do that. Habit trackers are a good way to measure your daily activities and your progress toward who you want to become.

Read 10 Steps to Reinvent Yourself.

How Do You Use A Habit Tracker?

In the habit tracker we provide, there is a space on the left for you to write whatever habit it is that you want to work on. We provided twenty lines for habits. Then everyday you mark down what you accomplished.

Ways to Mark Your Habit Tracker

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There are many ways to mark your habit tracker, each as individual as you are. My favorite is the diagonal stripes (the one on the bottom of the image to the left). When you use the diagonal stripes, the more you days you fill in the prettier your habit tracker looks! It’s great motivation for those of us that are perfectionists!

Another cute way to mark your habit tracker is with alternating colors. This will liven up your page as the month goes on!

Always Remember…

You don’t need to be perfect. So please don’t try. We use habit tracker to try to improve ourselves, for our own betterment. If you constantly try for perfection, you’ll end up burned out and frustrated, which isn’t good. Remember to take time for yourself and relax every now and then!

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10 Steps To Reinvent Yourself

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Let’s face it. Life is hard. Sometimes we get down, sometimes we get stuck and sometimes we just need change. We need a cut-off moment, a certain place in time that says I’m done with the old and beginning with the new. So what do we do? We decide its time to reinvent ourselves.

Reinventing yourself is a journey. When we watch videos online we see people lose hundreds of pounds in 60 seconds or accomplish a task in a series of photographs. The truth is, these people took a day-by-day journey, where each day they decided to keep going down a new path instead of an old path. So how do we create a new path for ourselves? How do we say, I’m done with this old me and ready for a new one?

These 10 steps will give you somewhere to begin:

  1. Identify Your Ideal Characteristics

    The first thing you need to do when you decide to reinvent yourself is decide who you actually want to be. No, you can’t change everything. You cannot suddenly decide that you want to be taller, but you CAN decide you want to be well-dressed in a way where you choose clothing that elongates your legs.

    At this point keep it simple. What are you really unhappy with at this point? What would you like to change? Maybe you have a temper problem that has lost you several close relationships and you want to be kinder and friendlier. Maybe you have low self-esteem and want others to see you as beautiful. Take a minute to jot down all the characteristics of your ideal self. Here are some examples if you are struggling: beautiful, put-together, organized, clean, punctual, friendly, athletic, healthy, etc.

2. Specify Your Ideal Characteristics

Now its time to delve deeper into those characteristics. What would those characteristics look like on you? What about that characteristic is different than you are now? Be detailed. You may break down each broad characteristic into three to ten specific characteristics. Lets say for example, one of my broad characteristic choices is beauty, basically I want to change my look. In my example I might then say, I want my face to glow, get rid of my adult acne, my makeup to be flawless and bold everyday, I want my hair to have more volume, I want to straighten or curl my hair daily instead of always wearing ponytails… and so on. In this step it is important to identify each specific that you want.

3. Identify Habits that Create those Characteristics

This step is the most important step for implementing change. Change your habits and you can change your life. The majority of your day consists of whatever your habits are. It’s automatic, you don’t even have to think about it. Habits eventually define who you are. Making your bed is a habit. Not making you bed is also a habit…

For example. If I chose that I wanted to be put-together, and I said, that looked like, keeping a calendar, living on a budget, being on time for meetings, being well dressed and done up daily, then my necessary habits might be: track all spending in a budget app, leave office ten minutes early to head to meetings, lay out business clothes the night before, iron or steam clothes flat before work, lay out accessories the night before, wake up 30 minutes earlier for hair and makeup, etc.

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4. Create a Habit Tracker

Now depending on how in depth you went, or how much you might want to change, you may have come up with two habits or one hundred. Write them all down. My advice is to use a habit tracker, this can be either a spreadsheet, app or handwritten piece of paper. On this you will document what you have been successful at and what you haven’t. You can mark it with a color, or an X, or by tapping a button on your phone. This is not something to place additional pressure on yourself, just a method of learning about yourself and your patterns. Remember this habit tracker portion is meant to be STRESS FREE. Its a learning tool. You will not attempt to focus on all 100 habits at the same time. There’s no way you even can.

Download our Free Habit Tracker by subscribing to our mailing list below!

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5. Create Goals

The next step is to create goals. Goals are something to strive for with a definitive end point. This is different than a characteristic which is more fluid. They may however, line up with a desired characteristic. I’ll explain the difference. Lets say you chose healthy as a characteristic you wanted. You then specified that you wanted to consciously eat, you wanted to walk more, and you wanted to do daily exercise. The habits you identified were then tracking your food in a calorie counting app, making dinner at home 6 nights a week, staying within your sugar range, walking 10,000 steps a day, and spending 30 minutes a day working out at the gym. Now separate than that, you may want to run a 5K or squat 300 pounds. That is a specific goal.

6. Change Goals into a Time-Bound Plan

Now it is time to decide when your goal must be accomplished by. That means pick a specific date. If your goal was lose 60 pounds this year then, you’ll want to lose 5 pounds a month. On the last day of every month you will step on the scale and measure your success. If you want to run a 5k, then sign-up for a race, and then create a running plan that will help you be ready on that day. Adding a time table greatly increases the chances of success.

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7. Identify Habits that will Lead to Goal Success

Its time to focus on habits yet again. I’m telling you, they are important. They will make or break your success plan. Break it down. If you want to run a 5k, then a habit you will want is running three times a week. Another habit you might want is to stretch after you run. You get the gist.

8. Enter New Habits into Habit Tracker

Any new habits you identified go straight into your habit tracker. You might want to type the list first if you are doing this on paper, and then you can categorize all your habits together, whether they are characteristic habits or goal habits.

9. Choose 1-3 Habits to Focus on for 21 Day Cycles

Now, we are going to pick between 1 and 3 (but no more than 3!!) habits that will be our first cycle focus. We will mark change in 21-Day Cycles. That is three weeks to modify some aspect of your behavior. My advice is to choose one time-consuming habit with two not-so-time-consuming habits. For example: 10,000 steps a day may take some time, so I’ll choose it along with 64 ounces of water a day and tracking all food. The last two require more focus than time. Or you can choose one habit you know you need but are dreading with one habit that is more relaxing.

Maybe you want to focus on cleanliness. Choose making your bed everyday, a quick task with immediately gratifying results, and washing dishes after supper every night, a more time consuming and inconvenient task. Or doing your makeup every morning might be your only habit change, but it can be drastic one if you are looking for an instant difference in your look. Be smart in pairing your tasks. If two or three tasks will be too time consuming or daunting, simply choose one task. Changing one area of your life can still be positive change that will set you up for future success.

Track Seperately

You may want to track this habit separately from your habit tracker. That will take the stress off of all the listed habits on your tracker and enable you to focus on your one or two. My advice is track your focus habit in a habit tracking app on your phone, so it is immediate gratification when you finish your habit for the day. Then before bed take out your paper habit tracker and tick off what you did or did not accomplish. Remember, no stress with the habit tracker, its simply a list and data at this point.

When each 21-day stint is up the habit you are working on should be more automatic and take less time and energy than it did previously. Pick one to three new habits to focus on from your list. You should be able to look at your habit tracker and see which habits you are most lacking or inconsistent with. Maybe now choose one that you are inconsistent with, and one that you almost have down already. Place these in your app and move forward.

10. Try Something New

We’ve now identified all the habits that will create your re-invented self. Now its time to do something that will show a definitive changing point in your life. Maybe its a haircut or new look that will help motivate you and make you feel like you are getting a fresh start. Maybe you need to try something you’ve always wanted to but have been to scared to, like join a cooking or yoga class or book group. Do something that will create an immediate change, even if just to your time, friends, or look and give you the spark to follow through.

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Keys to College Success – From a Straight-A Student

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College is hard! Figuring out how to study and when to study is one of the biggest challenges you will face. I survived, and you can too! Whether you are an incoming freshman or struggling with senior-itus, or your goal is the perfect GPA or just better than last semester, I’m here to help! These 5 things got me through college and they can help you too!

1. Buy a planner

For some people this is a hard habit to get into. Not for me, I freaking love planners. They’re cute, they’re organizational, they make me feel like I have my crap together, even when I really don’t.
The trick to planners is set them up at the beginning and then it won’t be work to keep up with them. You’re first two days of classes you probably won’t have anything major to do, so take a break from the dorm organizing and parties and take a few minutes to write out all the assignments in your syllabi in your planner. Then in either () or a different color pen, indicate what chapters need to be read by certain dates.
JUST DO IT. Please don’t skip this step. Putting assignments in a planner allows you to visually see how much time you have until assignments and major exams arrive and allow you to prioritize your time. Without a planner you run the risk of forgetting about assignments altogether and getting a 0, having a friend remind you at the last minute about an assignment that you now have to rush on and therefore get a bad grade,  or you forget you have multiple assignments in multiple classes around the same time/date and run out of time for all of them.
Don’t get overwhelmed by all the fancy, gorgeous planners on Pinterest. I simply used a typical academic planner and wrote in the assignments in no fancy way other than to use different colors on occasion.

2. Go to class

If you are an incoming freshman, this sounds stupid. But there will come a time when you realize you don’t have to go. No one is looking over your shoulder. A nap sounds so nice. That professor is so boring. I’ll just learn the material on my own. All of these things pile on and we last minute decide to skip. I’m not going to lie, I’ve missed some classes in my day. But my attendance was always between 80-100%.

Listening to professors and taking notes is probably the easiest way to study. Having read and heard the material means you’ve now absorbed the material in two different ways making you that much more likely to recall the info on the exam. Also, some professors test off lectures rather than book materials. Missing class could mean missing future test answers, changed exam dates, clarification on assignments, and a whole slew of things that lead you down the path of slipping grades.

3. Read the books

I’m not joking. I know you think nobody reads their college textbooks. Nobody. But here I am to tell you that some very few people read their books. I’m also here to tell you that some very few people get through college with straight As. It may be a coincidence that sometimes those are the same people, but I think not.
I’m not telling you to read every textbook cover to cover. But if you have tests or assignments over certain chapters, make sure to read them in entirety.
Yes, this will take a lot of time. It may seem like you’re doing so much more work than your counterparts, but you will also reap more reward. It will also save you time and energy when it comes to study time and working on assignments. Having already read the chapter allows you to write papers more freely with the knowledge in your head. It also saves you time by familiarizing yourself with where to find certain things in the chapter rather than playing the ever so common search-and-find in the textbook.
If you’ve gone to class (point 2) and read your book, you’ll be surprised to find how prepared you are without cramming, all-nighters and stressful pre-exam studying.

4. Make study guides for exams

Most professors will give you hints as to what to expect on an exam. They might even tell you some of the questions. Have a certain OneNote or Word document open on the side when you take notes, where you collect all of their helpful hints and points.
If you’re teacher does a review day or hands out a study guide then that’s even better. They may give you a study guide with questions, if so, take the time to answer all questions just as if it was an assignment.
If they simply do a review and tell you general topics to expect on the exam, write them down. Then go to your textbook or lecture notes and copy the most valuable information over into your document.
Once you have built your study guide, make your questions or topic headings one color and the answers a different color and print it off. Then read through it once a day until the day before the test. Then the day before read it a few more times. And right before the test, read it through as many times as possible before the professor starts the exam.
I cannot tell you how prepared I felt for exams this way.
Bonus tip: If you use Amazon Kindle for your textbooks then you can copy and paste sections of your textbook directly into your study guide!

5. Find Balance

After everything I just said you might think that’s impossible. I said read your textbooks, go to class, write in a planner AND do extra work to make study guides?? How can you find balance with that? But I’m here to tell you, you can. And you need to. You still need a social life in college. You also need time for healthy activities (working out, playing sand volleyball, going for walks) and sleep. If you don’t take care of yourself physically, then your mind won’t be able to function as well as it should. You need this.

Social life:

To key to success in a social / study balance is finding friends who are just as driven as you are. The ones that want to get into med school or a graduate program, or at least want to do well. Create study dates. Go and try out all the local coffee shops to study in. Bribe yourselves, if you do homework for three hours Saturday morning in the library then you can go get dressed up and go into the city for dinner or to a party. You don’t have to work hard alone. Just find friends with goals other than being known as the “life of the party”. Don’t miss out on college to be successful. I’m here to tell you, you can do both. Just make sure to use your planner so you’re prepared.
Just be creative to make it work. I dated a piano performance major in college (and married him shortly after). He had to spend hours playing piano every week. During hectic weeks if I didn’t join him in the practice room then I didn’t see him at all. He would play piano and I would sit in a corner with textbooks and laptop strewn out working while he played. That was a very typical night for us. But at the end, I got to spend time with my boyfriend, got some free classical background music, and got stuff done.

Health Life:

If you’re body doesn’t feel good, you won’t be motivated to do anything. Take care of yourself. Eat well. And workout, even if that just means walks. I tried to make time to go to the gym everyday. I would use it as a way to break up long days of homework or study sessions. Rather than sit for 4 straight hours on a paper, I would do 2, go to the gym for 1 and come back for the last two. I always seemed to come back with renewed focus and motivation.

Also for me, the gym sometimes helped me clarify my thoughts on whatever I was working on, getting me out of the haze of books and screens and giving me a new perspective. Sometimes just thinking clearly while working out cut down on the time that I would have had to spend thinking of what to write in my papers.
Some people master the reading books and studying while working out. That never worked for me. Bouncing on machines was never conducive to me reading and I just liked to move too much. I found just working out and letting my mind wander worked best. Sometimes I would think about my workout, my sport, my friends, and sometimes I would think about my assignments.

If you find yourself in a rut, staring at a screen for a long period of time, go for a walk! Fresh air and a change in scenery can help refocus yourself.

Conclusion:

You might think I am ridiculous now, but I did and so can you! I hope this helped! For more tips and tricks and future posts, sign up for email newsletters below!

 

 

5 Legitimate Ways to Earn Money Online

money, work from home, avon, makeup, surveys, online, earn, direct sales, home

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read our Disclosures page.

Just so you know – I HAVE TRIED ALL OF THESE. I’m only sharing things I know you can be successful at!

Who doesn’t like the idea of making money from home? Haven’t we all researched how to make money on the side with just our computer? I know I have.

Maybe it’s just for fun, maybe it’s to cover a bill here or there, or maybe you want to completely replace your full-time income. Whatever you’re hoping for, I want to share with you only money-making ventures that I have tried.

I will caution you, you can make money with all of these different methods, but all of these require some type of time and effort. I’ve noticed for me the more time and effort put into each of these, the more the reward. It’s easy to give up when things don’t go your way immediately, but I encourage you to look at people who are successful in each of these. They did not become successful overnight. Sometimes it takes a long time and hard work to build the customer base needed for success.

1. Direct Sales Marketing

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Direct Sales Marketing sometimes receives a bad reputation, simply because you probably see a lot of this clogging up your Facebook feed. It seems that someone is always trying to sell you something. There are, however, some classy ways of selling through Direct Sales Marketing.

Direct Sales Marketing is actually my favorite thing I have tried. I, personally, sell Avon and LOVE IT. I sell it because I love the product and use it myself.

Avon is one company that allows you to completely sell products online. Your investment for your starter kit can be as little as $25. Then Avon gives you your own website through which your customers can buy products and you receive the commission. A lot of people in the past had a bad experience with Avon because they invested so much into brochures and samples with little profit, but now depending on how you choose to run your business, you can simply share the free online brochure. No brochures or samples = no cost to you. Simply share your website link and allow everyone to go through it to buy your products. Learn more – Read Selling Avon – The Facts.

Interested in this opportunity? I’m always willing to answer questions if you email me at jjlaurensloves@gmail.com . Or ready to sign up? Click here and put your reference code as JJLAUREN . That reference code allows you to become part of my team so that I can help you and guide you along the way.

2. Blogging

Do you have something special you are good at and would like to share with others? DIYs? Fashion? Make-up?

There are so many ways to make money through blogging. You can do ads, affiliate marketing or promote your own products. Blogging is definitely one of the ones I warned you about earlier, as far as you get out what you put in. It takes time and effort to become successful at blogging. Very few become an overnight success, but I do believe that if you work hard you can make it.

My site is self-hosted through Bluehost and use their free WordPress Install to run my site. Being self-hosted allows me to own my own site name and run my site as I see fit. Some of the free sites do not allow you to use ads or affiliates and therefore constrain your money making ability. They also sometimes put obnoxious words in your domain name such as “.blog” or “.wordpress”. Self-hosting through Bluehost can be as cheap as $3.95 a month. Check it out through my link here.

3. Etsy

Are you crafty? Do you make DIYs that other people will want to buy? Do you make cute printable items on your computer? Then Etsy might be the place for you. Etsy is an online marketplace of all things handmade.

My journey with Etsy started with beaded bracelets. They are a hobby for me to make. Read why I have my Etsy shop here. I treat my Etsy shop like a hobby, and just make a few bucks here and there. For some people though, Etsy can be way more than a side hobby, it can be a full time job!

Etsy has a very low cost of $0.20 a listing. But they also take a 3.5% of any sales made.

Ready to start your own Etsy shop. Click here to receive 40 free listings through my link.

4. Surveys

You would have to put a lot more effort into surveys than I do to make a full-time income. They are good for a $5 gift card here or there, if you want a little extra in your pocket.

My favorite is the Swagbucks app. This app constantly has surveys for me, and there are other ways of earning money on this app too, such as watching movie trailers and trying products. I’ve already earned more than a $5 gift cards worth and I spend very, very little time on the app. Want to try it out? Click here and receive 150 free Swagbucks (equal to $1.50) just for signing up.

Another app I’ve used is Surveys on the Go. It has not been quite as profitable for me, but the surveys are sometimes shorter than Swagbucks; however, there are not always surveys available, whereas Swagbucks almost always has some way to earn a little.

5. Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is really popular right now. Many people do it in conjunction with blogging, but it can be done solely through social media outlets (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). Affiliate marketing is basically promoting products for other companies. This can be done through link sharing or through relationships you form with companies.

I, personally, use Amazon Associates and Target Affiliates and promote their products on my blog. Why? Because I actually own and use their products! Promoting things you believe in goes a lot further than just trying to sell people products. These two programs are known accept newbies. Other programs may require you to have an established audience before acceptance. Amazon and Target allow me to view clicks and purchases and keep up to date on how I am doing.

There is no cost to sign up with either of these programs. Depending on how you choose to advertise products you may or may not buy the product beforehand.

Home Decor Spring / Summer 2017

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This post contains affiliate links for more information, please visit our Disclosures page.

What’s New?!

The verdict is in! There are some new and exciting colors in for Spring 2017. The blue color family is taking over! And some greens are splashing in as well.

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The Base!

My husband and I keep our home extremely monotoned with a touch of modern. Some people might ask why all the grey, white and black? You want to know why? So that we can change colors with the seasons! I love having the “it” color in my home! But at the same time, I’m not willing to buy all new furniture or paint walls with every passing trend. Instead, we redid an entire room for just $200 in accessories.

If you follow us on Facebook or sign up for email newsletters, we’ll keep you posted on home decor changes with the season!

How we did Spring / Summer 2017

For the spring of 2017, we picked ourselves up and went to Target. It was not that hard of a sell, we love shopping at Target. (See Related: 5 Ways To Save Money at Target). Target allows us to buy a lot for a little amount of money, so we really can change out the decor every season!

Overall, we went with a bright, ocean themed color scheme, but we left out any cheesy ocean decor, and focused mainly on the colors.

For the walls:

It’s important to have a splash of color at every height. Especially higher on the walls. If you have  a basic color wall, you will end up looking like you’re in a prison, when you don’t have color. If you only have color on furniture or the floor, your eyes will be pulled downward in the room. Your guests might miss how tall and beautiful your ceiling is. Wouldn’t that be a shame?!

Agate Framed High Gloss Canvas – Target

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We chose this piece of artwork from Target. It incorporated a variety of shades of blue that gave us flexibility in matching. It also had grey tones to tie our couch and walls into the whole picture.

For the furniture:

For me, pillows and blankets are the cheapest and easiest way to tie in a color scheme. In most rooms, couches, love seats, and chairs take up a majority of the room. If you strategically place pillows and blankets on it, then you have pretty much covered your whole room in your colors!

Suede Blue Room Essentials Toss Pillows – Target

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Pillow Tip!

Aside from varying your colors, try varying your sizes and patterns! This will keep the eye entertained! The last thing we want is a boring room! But, be careful not to go too crazy on patterns. Try choosing one pattern to go with multiple sizes of solids, to avoid clashing or busy eye pictures.

White and Blue Striped Lumbar Pillow – Target

We chose these pillows from Target! These lovely, long patterned pillows that nailed our blue color we wanted, but also brought in some greens to help us tie in our green decor.

Micromink Blanket Solid Room Essentials – Target

We chose two different sizes of solid blue pillows from Target. We were also able to snag the matching blue blanket on sale!

For the accents:

Accents are what put your home apart from the rest. They are the little pieces that make you unique. Think about it! More people will comment on your pictures and trinkets than on your furniture. They’ll say, “I love this!” or “Where did you get that?” Why? Because while most carpet, paint, or furniture is some variance of the same thing, your decor is much more custom-tail0red to you.

spring decor, summer decor, vase, blue, ombre, kirklands
We chose this large vase from Kirklands. It immediately drew our eye because the color was so perfect! The ombre touch incorporated both the bright blue we had chosen and the soft white of our trim and pillows.

Artificial Grass in Rectangular Ceramic Pot – Target

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We also chose this interesting tall grass piece from Target. It brought a hint of something different into the room, while still staying in our ocean colored theme.

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Tell us what you think! Comment below on your favorite pieces or how you decorated your rooms for the Spring / Summer of 2017!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates on our always changing house!

 

One Year Reading Challenge

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“I used to love to read”

I’ve said it. My friends have said. You’ve probably said it at one point. Somewhere between school, work, and adulting we’ve all lost the time and energy to read. This year, I’m challenging you and myself to read. Not a lot! But enough to re-engage in this wonderful pastime and also improve ourselves.

Benefits of Reading

Reading has many benefits. Mental stimulation and memory improvement are among many of the well known benefits of reading. Reading is also a stress reducer. Not to mention it can be a completely free past-time. Many libraries now allow you to check out books straight to your IPad or phone, eliminating the trip to the actual library.

Set a Goal Number

Mine is 6. I’ve chose six books for the entire year. That’s only one book every 2 months! That definitely seems obtainable.

 

Set Apart Some Time

Reading takes time. And effort. That’s why so many more people watch movies based on books rather than read the book themselves. With my goal of only 1 book every 2 months, I should be able to obtain my goal by setting aside about 1-2 hours a week. Seems easy enough. I know it will get harder along the way, but I also know that if I start the first few months out strong while motivation is high, the last few months will be easier.

The Challenge

So the challenge for this year is to read from at least six different genres. You can set a goal number of how many books, but I encourage you to read at least one in every category. These categories were chosen, to improve, educate, and entertain the self all in one year.

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The 6 Book Genres Included

1. Self-Improvement Book

A lot of people cringe at this. They equate self-improvement to cheesy, pseudo-psychology, self-help books. That does not have to be your choice. It can be! But it doesn’t have to be! Think more along the lines of a book on organization, time management, clean eating, working out, finances, budgeting, or parenting. Something that will help you grow as a person!

 2. Non-Fiction Book in Your Career Field

This is for EVERYONE! And I mean EVERYONE! I know some of you just tried to scroll past this, thinking it doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you are still in  school. Or maybe you are working retail or as a barista with no plans to stay in your current career field. Then choose this book wisely as a book in the career field of your dreams. This may very well be the most important thing you do all year. Think of it as educating yourself to put your best foot forward in the future.  No one knows everything there is to know about their current career field, there’s no telling what you could learn in one simple book. There are books out there on every topic. I guarantee it. If you aren’t interested in an information book in your career field, then look for a memoir, biography, or autobiography from someone who has been in that field. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll learn something from them.

3. Non-Fiction Book on an Interest of Yours

This is a fun one. If you have a side hustle this is perfect for you. But everyone has a hobby. And who wouldn’t love to know more or be better at their hobbies? You might choose an informational book about planes, working out, history or electronics. Or you might want an instructional book on woodworking, fashion or basket weaving (hey I’ve seen it!).

4. Fiction or Nonfiction Book Written Prior to 1950

This is where the fun begins. I love fiction. So I could not just spend an entire year reading nonfiction books. So read a classic! Pick up one of those books you were supposed to read in high school but didn’t. There are so many gems in older books that I believe we do a disservice to ourselves if we only read from our generation.

5. Fiction or Nonfiction Book Written Post-1950

Read that book you want to read!! And if you haven’t read Harry Potter, start there! Pick out a bestseller from the New York Times Bestseller list. Or go to your local bookstore and look at the titles they are promoting now! You can pick any fun genre. This category is designed to make you fall in love with reading again. It’s designed to make the rest of the reading easier to do because you’ve rediscovered your childhood love of fantasy, mystery, or romance.

6. Book on Christianity / Religion

I recognize that not everyone reading this is going to share my religion. If you don’t then pick something in your own spiritual interests. But for those of you that are Christians, this may be the most inspirational or life-changing categories for you. This might be a Christian living book, a historical study book or a Commentary on a book of the Bible. No matter what you choose, I guarantee you’ll learn something that will affect your life eternally!

 

Want to join me in this challenge? Comment below what books you plan on reading this year!

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How To Make Goals You’ll Actually Keep

goals, resolutions, new you, self-improvement

 

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information click on our Disclosures tab.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a lot of things you want to accomplish in life. Goals for work, my house, and my health. So I set a lot of goals. I love setting goals. Writing them down, thinking about how great life will be when I accomplish them. BUT, I’m not actually very good at following through on them. In fact I can be very bad at it. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help at all. Instead, I end up putting a lot of pressure on myself and stressing myself out!

So today I’m going to talk about 5 Don’ts of setting goals and then how to set goals you’ll actually keep.

Don’t

1. Try to accomplish too many things at once.

When it comes to goals, this is my biggest downfall. With so much to accomplish in life, it may be tempting to try and choose a goal in every category of your life: learn a language, read x number of books, workout every day, master a clean eating home cooked diet, grow wealth, get that promotion, keep a clean house… It’s super easy to overwhelm yourself. My first attempt at a habit tracker about sent me nuts. The entire page was a long list of things I wanted to get done every day. I barely made it five days before I was exhausted and gave up.

Instead:

Choose one to two things each month to focus on. If you do those one to two things every day for a month, they will become a habit. Once it’s a habit after weeks of focus, you can somewhat put that one thing on autopilot, and move your attention onto a new goal.


2. Set goals that will eat up all your time.

This is another pitfall of mine. As a very ambitious person, I choose to go big in a lot of areas of my life. And I know I can achieve it. But at what cost? I could put that picture of the newest body-sculpting supermodel up on my wall and decide I want to look like her by the end of the year. And I could probably very well achieve it. If I slaved at the gym for three hours every day…

One of the fastest ways to reach goal burnout is to choose mega time consuming goals. I’m not saying don’t go for it, if it’s your dream. By all means, we’ve seen transformation stories of people who jumped in with both feet and came out shining stars. But if you’re like me, and your goal can be met by just being healthy and losing those stubborn last 10 pounds, then chose a more moderate, achievable goal. Going to the gym for 1 hour, 5 times a week is both healthy and will allow you to enjoy other past times as well.


3. Live with an all or nothing mentality about goals.

This is by far the hardest thing for us perfectionists. We set that goal. Let’s say that goal is to not drink soda for a month. You make it 3 days. Great! You make it a week straight. Awesome! But then you get to that friend’s birthday party. It’s been a hard week. They’ve got soda all around. You need the caffeine to get you through everything you have to do after this. You do it. You have that soda. It’s amazing. Then you feel bad about it. You lost your streak. You gave up on your goal. It’s over. So the next day you have a soda at dinner because what the heck? By the week after, there’s nothing left of the original goal but that habit tracker paper you printed off the Internet with those first seven days ticked off and now it’s buried on your desk somewhere to be thrown away in a couple of months. Sound familiar??

Instead:

Lose that all or nothing mentality about goals. So you slip up. Fine. Get over it! And get back with it the next day. Or hour. So what you drank that soda? That’s 260 calories that you weren’t intending on drinking. So what? But if you suddenly gave up and had a soda every day for the rest of the month (3 weeks), before restarting your goal the next month, that’s 5,460 calories. If you got back on your goal bandwagon the next day you could have done 5,460 calories less that month. Same thing with going to the gym. If you are busy and can’t make it Wednesday, don’t give up on Thursday and Friday! That’s two workouts that are valuable even if Wednesday wasn’t.


4. Double Up Your Lost Time. 

Don’t put pressure on yourself to double up when you miss something. This gets back into time consuming goals. If you wanted to study a language for 30 minutes a day. However, you miss a day, and decide to do an hour the next day, fine. But what happens when the next day is busy, and the next? Then you keep stacking up time against yourself with the feeling that you need to do it all. You suddenly have two to three hours to make up. Eventually you’ll give up just to make the pressure go away. Instead just count that day as a loss, and start again tomorrow with its own thirty minutes. If you have extra time, Great! If not, let it go. Just keep moving on toward your goals with each new day.


5. Feel like you can only start at a specific time (New Years, the first of the month, Sunday’s)

Admit it. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We wait for a specific time to start. We think “I’ll have that ice cream now, but on Sunday, I’ll start dieting.” And then that becomes Monday, because Monday is a good day to start too. But not Tuesday. Oh no, I can’t start a new workout plan on Tuesday. It’ll have to wait until Sunday again.

Instead:

Jump in with both feet. When you decide to go for something do it. If you’re on your lunch break planning the goals you’ll start Sunday, throw it away and start today! Go to the gym on your way home on a Thursday if that’s what it is! The best day to start to change is today! No time like the present!

How To Make You’ll Actually Keep With Smart Goals:

The best way to set goals you’ll actually keep is the SMART acronym. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound.
I’ll walk you through it. I’ll use health as an example since it’s one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.

First, choose a SPECIFIC goal.

Be healthier may be a good general goal. But it’s not specific. What EXACTLY do you want? Say, for example, I want to lose weight. That’s more specific.

Second, make it MEASURABLE.

Easy. That means attach a number to it. So now say, I want lose 50 pounds this year. It’s measurable, you’ll know exactly when you reach your goal.

Third, make sure it’s ATTAINABLE.

Choose a number you can see yourself doing. This goes back to what I said earlier about making sure you don’t choose goals that will eat up all of your time to achieve. Sure you can lose 200 pounds in a year. But are you prepared to give up your social life too? You might get a month in and realize, you’re not. Choose a more attainable goal. Once you make it, you can always set a new goal!

Fourth, choose a RELEVANT goal.

This goes back to what I said earlier about choosing too many goals. I have a lot of goals that would be nice. They would improve my life, but they’re not a necessity. Some goals, like finances or health may be more pressing. Choose the one that’s always on your mind. If you stress about money, make this year, the year of financial peace. Get your finances in order. Or, if you dread the mirror, tackle that weightless goal this year. De-stress that part of your life. Then next year, choose the next most important thing to you.

Lastly, put a TIME limit on it.

If there’s no deadline, you’ll procrastinate it. For me, the shorter the deadline, the more likely I am to achieve it. Going back to our weight loss example. 50 pounds in 1 year is a great goal. 1 year is a good time limit. By December 31st, I want to weigh … BUT, making it shorter is even better. For example, I could choose that I want to lose 5 pounds by February 1st. It’s closer, more urgent and I’m more likely to get it done. If 50 pounds in a year was my resolution, I’d make it a goal to lose 5 pounds every month for 10 months, then I would maintain the goal weight for 2 more months (November and December, besides holiday months are tricky)! The more time bound you make your goal, the more focused you will become.

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Want a stylish way to keep track of your goals this year?

Click on any of these adorable planners to head on over to Target.com and pick up one out. I personally have the black and white striped one and love it! Remember, you can order online and pick up in store to avoid the hassle!