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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Greetings, dear reader! Gretchen Rubin has created a Calendar of Catalysts, “a menu of dates to use as reminders to stop, evaluate, and plan.” According to Gretchen Rubin, July 2nd is Halfway Day. What a great day to spend a few moments reviewing your goals for the year! In my case, I reflected on my 22 for 2022 list.

My one-word theme for the year is CHANGE, and there have certainly been a few changes in my life so far this year. In January, my family and I said good-bye to our beloved 13.5-year-old German Shepherd Sophie. Surprisingly (especially for me), we welcomed a new puppy Luna into our family on 14 February. But, the biggest change this year has been my decision to quit my job as an Instructional Coach which ended this past May. Without a doubt, more changes are on the horizon for the remainder of this year, and I am actually excited about exploring the unknown and seeing where life takes me.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kat’s 22 for 2022 List

1. Time-track in January.

2. Tweak morning routine.

3. Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant).

4. Learn a 30-60 second monologue.

5. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.

6. Get wedding rings resized.

7. Clean out and organize master closet.

8. Plant new garden in front of the house.

9. Purge paper and organize file cabinet.

10. Go paperless (bills and statements).

11. Scrapbook monthly.

12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.

13. Have a Year of King (Stephen King).

14. Update theme (layout) for blog.

15. Research video editing software.

16. Complete a puzzle.

17. Write a will.

18. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.

19. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

20. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.

21. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.

22. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.

As you can see, I have not made much progress on my 22 for 2022 list. What have you been doing, Kat? Well, it turns out a puppy takes up A LOT of time. Luna is wonderful, sweet, and a momma’s girl; however, she is also high energy, high maintenance, and time-consuming. *SIGH* She is also not the only fur baby in the house.

I am reading a ton (35/50 books so far)! Kelsi and I are killing it with our Year of King project, and our book club continues to meet monthly. I have also been participating and exploring other projects that have cropped up since I made my list back in December. These opportunities may or may not impact where I end up at the end of the year, but I feel they are worth pursuing. Currently, I am working on a few of the items that I consider ongoing; they are just not fully completed, yet. These items include: #5, #7, #9, #10, #12, #13.

Finally, I created a Summer Fun List with all kind of activities I have been enjoying this summer. Plus, I tacked on It’s a Charming Life’s Summer Bucket List for more enjoyable summer activities. Clearly, I cannot help myself this summer. HA! The good news is I still have the second half of the year to finish my list. I am hopeful I can complete my list because I am NOT giving up!

There you have it, dear reader! What have you accomplished or not accomplished this year? Any surprises or regrets with how you have spent the first half of 2022? At this point, I can honestly say I have experienced more surprises than regrets. The key is to keep progressing daily towards those goals no matter how big or small the steps. Every step forward gets me closer to reaching my goals. Happiness!

“One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.” ~ Karen Casey

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Daylight Saving Time begins TODAY! I am thrilled, dear reader. Crossing this threshold of the year is the kick in the pants I need to get moving and grooving, especially after the challenges of COVID, Hurricane Ida, and the dark, wintery season. I am ready to tackle the remaining days of this school year, to get back walking on a more regular basis, and to announce some changes in my life that will be taking place soon. Frankly, I could not be more excited about the time change.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Helen and I went to the movies to see The Batman. This is the film where Robert Pattinson plays Batman and has to outwit the Riddler. It was awesome, and I love Pattinson as Batman. Do you know what is more awesome than the movie? Helen has officially moved back to Louisiana after living out of the state for 12 years. YES! In addition, she lives in Hammond, which is super close to where Shelly and I live, so we get to see her all the time. We have all been friends since high school.

This weekend, our area experienced a cold snap after weeks of warmer temperatures. Normally, I would be bummed, especially since I just put my plants back on the porch last weekend. However, it gave us a pleasant opportunity for my hubby to build a fire in our fireplace. This is the first weekend, this entire winter season, that we could enjoy a cozy fire in the fireplace. When Hurricane Ida caused the tree to hit our house, it knocked off our chimney stack. We just got it reinstalled this past Tuesday. What an unexpected treat!

The day is young, and I am looking forward to accomplishing a few tasks, attending a Baby Sprinkle for my friend Melissa, and going for a walk in the beautiful sunshine. What are your plans on this Sunday, dear reader? Whatever you choose to do, I hope it brings you some joy. Happiness!

“With the coming of spring, I am calm again.” ~ Gustav Mahler

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After SIX long months, Andrew is FINALLY back in his bedroom. My hubby and I moved some of Andrew’s furniture into his room on Thursday while he was at school, so I took a few pictures to send to him. On Friday evening after eating dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, Andrew officially moved back home. I am overjoyed and grateful that he is home. I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Billie for letting Andrew stay with her. I am extremely thankful to my Daddy and my husband for all of their hard work getting the repairs completed on the roof and the bedroom. Kudos to my boys for assisting any time we asked them to help with repairs, clearing debris, and yard work. Last but definitely not least, many thanks to you, dear reader, along with friends and family who offered up prayers and sent positive vibes during this ordeal.

Last night, Barry and I had drink night at Shelly and Kerry’s house to celebrate their daughter Aubry’s 21st heavenly birthday. Aubry was stillborn about four months before Andrew was born. It was a heartbreaking time for us all. I hated seeing my friends hurting at the loss of their angel. I make a point every year to acknowledge Aubry’s birthday. On Wednesday when I texted Shelly and Kerry, I suggested that we have a drink night and toast Aubry on what would have been a milestone birthday for her. Kerry, our bartender, mixed Angel’s Delight Martinis, and Shelly prepared Heaven on Earth (yummy dessert made with Angel Food cake). Shelly’s mom Mrs. Carol and her bonus dad Mr. Mike (my Godson) and our long-time friend Helen joined us for the celebration. Mr. Mike even brought over mini muffulettas and a cheese/meat tray. I thought it was a wonderful way to spend time with friends and remember Aubry.

Barry and I are steadily moving forward in March and continue to make progress on the house. The inspector for our mortgage company came on Friday, documents and receipts have been uploaded to our mortgage company and insurance company, and a fence company has been hired to put up our new fence in three weeks (provided it does not rain a whole lot between now and then). We also need to purchase new gutters and clean up more tree debris in the backyard. I am confident that both will happen in the next few weeks. At this moment, our only real hiccup is getting the roofing company to send someone to the house and fix an error on the roof, so we can reinstall our chimney stack. The roofing salesperson is not great at his job, so I am not sure when and if this will happen any time soon. We have been promised twice that someone would come (Friday and Saturday) to make the adjustment; no one has shown up, and the salesperson has not called with an explanation. I am NOT surprised, and my expectations are low. However, I am determined not to get upset and pray it will get resolved in a timely manner.

My life seems to be settling down a bit, dear reader. Since Andrew is back home, we were able to move a bunch of his belongings out of the living room and other areas of the house. What a wonderful feeling to have more open space! I am excited, yes excited, to do some spring cleaning, decluttering, and organizing. I want to get my house back in order before the end of this school year. I get the stitches out of my mouth (where my tooth was extracted, and a bone graft put in its place) on Thursday afternoon. Daylight saving time is next Sunday (woo-hoo!) which means more evening daylight and a happier, more motivated me. Also, Easter break is six weeks away, and the hubster and I will be on vacation together again. In the meantime, I have all sorts of interesting and enjoyable activities on my calendar to keep me busy until the break. Happiness!

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

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Today is the last day of February, and for the past few weeks (really all month) I have been feeling a bit discouraged. I have not made much headway on my 22 for 2022 list. I have not written a blog post in weeks. I have been struggling more with my house still being in shambles because of Ida. I made the crazy decision to adopt a rescue puppy, complicating my life. My tooth cracked last week and had to be extracted, causing me great discomfort. The pain meds make me tired as well as feeling worthless and weepy. And, sadly, I ended my walking streak (walking daily since 03/23/20) on Friday because I slept most of the day, and quite frankly, I did not have the energy to do much of anything but hang out on my sofa. Welcome to Kat’s Pity Party! Even though I am not a pro at feeling sorry for myself, I feel like it has been my modus operandi lately.

Luckily for me, I came across an article on Facebook today that Gretchen Rubin wrote for Inc. Magazine about turning today from discouragement into determination. Rubin writes, “Instead of Discouragement Day, let’s reframe February 28 as Determination Day–a date that reminds us to reflect, review, and do the hard work of asking ourselves, “If something isn’t working, why not?” If we’re determined to keep our resolutions, we shouldn’t fear failure. We should stop, observe it, and learn from it, so we can keep going.”

Therefore, after reading the article, I took several moments throughout the day to reflect and review on the happenings of this month, and February has actually been better than the narrative I have been telling myself all month. I am making progress with my goals, just not by leaps and bounds. I made a little extra cash this month working the ACT exam at SLU which will go towards future projects. I did fairly well not spending extra money during Frugal February. I continued reading more this month and participated in both my personal book club and Year of King project with Kelsi. I am currently writing this blog post. Yes, I adopted a puppy, for good reasons, even though the timing was not ideal. I helped my friend Helen move into her new place to be closer to Shelly and me. And, although my house is still a wreck due to Ida, my hubby and Daddy are working every chance they get to rebuild Andrew’s bedroom, so he can move back home, and we can finally get our home back in order again. They are making progress, but it is slow going. Honestly, after much reflection, I think the disorder of my home is the root of my overwhelming feelings, the frustration, impatience, and lack of concentration I have been feeling that has bubbled over into this month as discouragement. So many days this month, I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up because I just did not see the point. I am not a failure, but I am burnt out. I still feel like I am on the struggle bus, but my season of sacrifice feels like it is ending soon.

Hope is on the horizon, dear reader. A tree guy came Saturday to remove trees and trim broken branches. My hubby has been installing Andrew’s new floor since yesterday. I am super impressed with his skill set and his determination. Tomorrow, my daddy and my hubby will install baseboards and shoe moulding. Then, we can start moving Andrew’s belongings back into his room. An inspection request has been made and more progress along with it. Discouragement has changed to Determination. Happiness!

“You will reach the destination you are destined for! You just may encounter a few detours or unexpected routes. Allow them to motivate you rather than discourage you!” ~ Christine Hassler

Photo: Flooring being installed in Andrew’s room. Notice crown moulding has been installed as well.

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As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to track my time for an additional week to get a clearer picture of how I am spending my time. Therefore, this analysis is from the week of 17 January – 23 January. During this week, I worked 32.5 hours at school and devoted 54 hours to sleep. This left me with 81.5 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

Therefore, how did I spend those remaining 81.5 hours?

  • Morning Routine (T-F): 5.75 hours 
  • Morning Routine (M/SAT-SUN): 3 hours
  • Travel to and from work (T-TH): 2.25 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 4.25 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-TH): .5 of an hour (pet care for Tooty and cats, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 11 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, washing out litter pan, bathrooms)
  • Walk (20 for 2022 Challenge): 2.75 hours
  • Read (includes #Read21in21 Challenge): 5.5 hours
  • Instagram Post (#yearofjoy2022): 1 hour
  • Goodreads: .5 of an hour 
  • Meals: 3.75 hours 
  • Evening Routine: 3.75 hours (shower; take Tooty out before bed)
  • Blog: 5.25 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • Content Creation: 13.75 hours (collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: 2.5 hours
  • Napping: 0 hours
  • Social Events/Errands: 7.75 hours
  • Hanging out with Andrew: 1 hour

As a result, 74.25 hours were spent with family/friends, walking, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 7.25 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing Trivia Crack, interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

It was an unusual, but gratifying, week since I was off Monday instead of Friday (MLK Day), played Pokeno on Monday evening (as a sub), attended Elton John’s concert with Shelly on Wednesday evening (original date 06/2020), worked from home on Friday (weather day), and did a livestream with Kelsi (Misery) on Sunday.

Clearly, the two weeks I tracked were not exactly the same. I had 2.5 extra hours this week than last week. So, on average I have about 6 hours a week to spend on my goals for 2022. Compared to last year when I had 19 hours, that is not very much time. Nevertheless, I am not discouraged. Last year, we had stricter COVID restrictions, so I was home more. After today, I do not have any social events scheduled for February or March. I am also participating in Frugal February again this year since it was a huge success last year. Therefore, my extra hours may increase considerably. In the next few weeks, I am considering keeping track of the time spent on items from my 22 for 2022 list.

There you have it, dear reader. Two weeks of time tracking, and I am a bit wiser about where my time is going, so I can adjust my schedule to be more productive and reach my goals for the year. It is also clear to me that I cannot do EVERYTHING I want to do at the same time. I will need to protect my extra time for the next two months and finish the first quarter of the year strong. In the meantime, I need to get ready to leave for Canton, Mississippi where I am attending an Audition Intensive Workshop today. Happiness!

“We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Note: Photo at the top is by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels.com.

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During the week of 10 January, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. Laura hosts this annual challenge in January, so it is no coincidence that “time track in January” is a goal for this year (#1 on my 22 for 2022 list). I find time tracking beneficial, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed or need to make some changes, and 2022 is all about CHANGE.

My week started with 168 hours on Monday 10 January at 5:00 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were work (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep. 32 hours were spent at work and 56 hours were spent sleeping. This left me with 80 hours to spend on other tasks or activities during the week.

So, how did I spend the remaining 80 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine (M-TH): 7.25 hours 
  • Morning Routine (F-SUN): 2.25 hours

My morning routine consists of pet care for one dog (Sophie crossed the rainbow bridge on 07 January), two cats, and a snake, personal care for myself, making coffee, preparing breakfast (eat at school), preparing my lunch, unloading the dishwasher, posting on FB (Monday/Wednesday). Sometimes, I may transfer a load of laundry that washed overnight into the dryer or do another quick task.

  • Travel to and from work (M-TH): 2.75 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 6.5 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-TH): 1 hour (pet care for Tooty and cats, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 7.75 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, getting my scrapbook room in order)
  • Walk (20 for 2022 Challenge): 2.75 hours
  • Read (includes #Read21in21 Challenge): 5.5 hours
  • Instagram Post (#yearofjoy2022): 1.25 hours
  • Goodreads: .25 of an hour 

Gretchen Rubin created the walking (2020) and reading (2021) challenges which I enjoyed participating in both years that I continue to incorporate them in my daily routine. Both activities increase my happiness, provide a sense of satisfaction, and bring more joy into my life. I am all about more JOY in 2022.

  • Meals: 4 hours 
  • Evening Routine: 3.25 hours (shower; take Tooty out before bed)
  • Blog: 3.5 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: 5.25 hours
  • Napping: 2.25 hours
  • Social Events/Errands: 9.5 hours

My social events for this week included a delightful dinner with my friend Roxanne on Monday evening, Connie Kittok’s art show and dinner in Ponchatoula with Andrew on Thursday evening, shopping and lunch with Andrew on Friday morning/afternoon, and a wedding with my hubby on Friday evening. Before Andrew and I went shopping, I went to the post office to mail a small package to my friend Rita (lives in England) and stopped at PJ’s coffee to pick up a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit and a mocha latte.

As a result, 50.5 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 9.25 hours were spent traveling, and 5.25 hours were spent watching television shows, movies, or YouTube for a total of 65 hours.

This left me with 15 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours. Of my remaining time, I spent 3.5 hours of those hours hanging out with either Andrew or Barry, Jr. at home. My birthday was on Tuesday, and I wanted to read and respond to all of my beautiful birthday wishes, so I spent 6.75 hours of the week reading and responding to texts, emails, and FB messages, opening and reading birthday cards that came in the mail, opening gifts, as well as talking to family and friends on the phone. I absolutely do NOT feel badly about spending my time this way because it brought me so much joy to receive so many kind messages, and it was a wonderful way to enjoy the week. The remaining 4.75 hours was spent playing Trivia Crack, scrolling through social media (mainly FB), texting, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

So, what did I learn during this Time-Tracking Challenge, and how do I use this week’s data?

Clearly, between this being my birthday week and socializing a bunch with family and friends throughout the week, I did not have a great deal of spare time to devote to my aims for 2022. With that being said, I still had 4.75 hours that I could have used to complete a module in my blogging course or complete the journaling for one of the pages in Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I could come up with a litany of reasons as to why I chose scrolling over scribing, but they would be excuses instead of legitimate reasons. Honestly, I did not make that time a priority. And, it is not to say that all of the time was spent on mindless phone play. “Puttering around the house” is not necessarily wasted time. It is the time where I squeeze those little tasks in between major tasks, such as going through the mail, writing a check, putting a book back on the shelf, or taking out the trash.

However, I am only working four days a week this year. Last year at this time, my time-tracking log showed I worked 43.5 hours. This week, I logged 32 hours. Instead of working, I spent Friday of this year running errands and spending time with Andrew (shopping and lunch in Mandeville). Part of the shopping experience was buying a gift for the wedding; however, Andrew was free to hang out and keep me company on the way to the store to buy the gift, so we made it a day with more shopping at American Eagle and Barnes & Noble and ate lunch at La Madeleine. It is a bit of a drive, so we enjoyed lots of conversation on the drive there and back.

Although, I would love for my Fridays to be devoted strictly towards my aims for the year, it is not realistic. That is not to say, I have not used my Fridays to write a blog post or work on content for a video I am doing with Kelsi. The reality is I use my Fridays to schedule doctors’ appointments or other appointments, catch up on household chores, run errands, or deal with the unexpected that crops up that day or I do not have the energy to deal with earlier in the week. Sometimes, I just want to have a day off and do nothing in particular, especially if I have a full weekend ahead of me.

Not surprisingly, I decided to time track an additional week, dear reader. I am trying to get a clearer picture of where my time is going and the best way to schedule my time by adjusting my morning and evening routines during the work week as well as my routines on the weekend. I will be posting that analysis shortly. As always, I am a work in progress and moving slowly, but steadily to making change to live my best life. Happiness!

“Change isn’t easy, it takes time.” ~ Caroline Kennedy

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Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to the beginning of a new year with endless opportunities waiting for us to experience, explore, and embrace. I am excited about 2022 for many reasons which will emerge as this year unfolds.

CHANGE is my word for 2022. I have been craving change for my life for quite some time, and Hurricane Ida has inspired me to engage change. Today, I am enthusiastically embarking on a journey to change several areas of my life.

In addition, I created a 22 for 2022 list with my aims for the new year. Most of the items on my list are new; however, I did carry over six items from last year that I did not complete but feel they will encourage me to make changes this year. Take a look at what I have planned for myself for 2022.

Kat’s 22 for 2022 List

1. Time-track in January.

2. Tweak morning routine.

3. Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant).

4. Learn a 30-60 second monologue.

5. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.

6. Get wedding rings resized.

7. Clean out and organize master closet.

8. Plant new garden in front of the house.

9. Purge paper and organize file cabinet.

10. Go paperless (bills and statements).

11. Scrapbook monthly.

12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.

13. Have a Year of King (Stephen King).

14. Update theme (layout) for blog.

15. Research video editing software.

16. Complete a puzzle.

17. Write a will.

18. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.

19. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

20. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.

21. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.

22. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.

Other Plans for 2022:

  1. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Rest22in22. Basically, you rest for 22 minutes every day in 2022. According to Gretchen Rubin, “Research shows that rest is an essential element of working well and working smart. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking time to rest can refresh the mind, boost productivity and focus, and replenish mental energy.” Rest will look different to me from day to day depending on my schedule for the day; however, rest could be taking a nap, meditating, reading, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting on my front porch, or talking with a friend.
  2. On Goodreads, I joined the 2022 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. Follow me on Goodreads (Katherine Loyacano).
  3. I will continue reading daily (#Read21for21) for at least 21 minutes per day, so no day goes by without having read something for pure enjoyment. Instead of reading nonfiction books during this allotted time, I have chosen to read children’s literature. This will allow me to track the number of books I read during that time frame and read the piles of unread books I currently own in that category.
  4. I will continue participating in the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.
  5. I will continue doing Collabs with Kelsi. Our collabs can be viewed on her YouTube channel, Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel. Consider subscribing to Kelsi’s channel in 2022.
  6. I will continue my walking streak and walk daily for at least 20 minutes (#Walk20in20).
  7. I will participate in Frugal February again. This is a NO spend month.
  8. I plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2022. This list is for goals or activities that I accomplished throughout the year but were not included on my original list. These accomplishments should be celebrated, too. 
  9. In 2021, I did an Instagram project called #yearofgratitude2021 which I plan to scrapbook. I posted a picture every day of someone or something I am grateful for in my life. This year, my Instagram will focus on JOY and is called #yearofjoy2022. Follow me on Instagram (katherineloyacano).

As you can see, dear reader, I have quite a bit planned for this year. What do you have planned in 2022? Have you made some resolutions or a 22 for 2022 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? I would love to know what your plans are for this year. You can comment on this post or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

“If you are going to reach your goals and create the life you desire, you will have to make new choices that will lead you to new actions.” ~ Debbie Ford

Note: I do not own the image in this post, nor do I claim to own this image. 

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Greetings, dear reader! On Sunday evening, I completed a second round of Fast Burn. On Monday morning, I weighed in at 152 pounds, gaining back 3.5 pounds of the 13 pounds lost in the first round. With that being said, I did lose 1″ in my chest, and 1/2″ in my hips. My measurements stayed the same for my waist, arms, and thighs. Did I meet the goals I set back in June for Round #2 of Fast Burn? Yes and no. Clearly, I did not lose an additional 10 pounds. While I did complete another nine-week round of Fast Burn, I did not follow it as closely as I did for the first round.

So, what did I do? I continued intermittent fasting; however, my TRF schedule changed week-to-week between 16:8 and 14:10; this was based on what was going on in my life during the nine weeks. I walked between 20-30 minutes every day. I started following a run/walk schedule (see sidebar for the schedule). I continued to incorporate the Burner Smoothie, the Sumptuous Strawberry Shake, as well as lots of fruits and veggies in my eating plan. I observed the rule about waiting two hours (sometimes longer based on TRF schedule) after waking to eat and stopped eating at least two hours before bedtime.

So, what didn’t I do? I did not bike very often or incorporate any strength training. I did not eat as clean as I did during the first round (incorporated some added sugar/processed foods back into my diet). I was not consistent with drinking a glass of water before meals. I picked certain weeks in the nine-week plan and followed those weeks instead of following the weekly schedules outlined in the book.

Initially, after weighing in on Monday morning, I felt I should have waited a couple of weeks before doing another round. After reflecting on it throughout the week, I now feel completing a second round right after the first round was ideal for me. Even though I did not follow the Fast Burn plan as perfectly as I did the first round, I still incorporated many of its components. And, we all know that we cannot rely on the scale to tell the whole truth when it comes to weight loss. My body measurements dropped in two areas and stayed the same in other areas. My clothes fit exactly the same as they did when I completed the first round. Additionally, I can see the difference with how I feel when I fuel my body with the wrong foods. I do not like feeling unhealthy.

What’s next?

I want to read Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian and complete the 30-day plan in the month of September. My original goal for 2021 was to try intermittent fasting for one month using the Clean & Lean book. However, when Dr. Ian published Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance in April and created the Fast Burn Challenge Facebook group, I could not pass up that opportunity. And, I am so happy that it has worked out the way it has because the Fast Burn Challenge group is both inspirational and supportive. It also helps me with accountability. The Cleaner Get Leaner group also provides inspiration and support. Therefore, between the two groups, I’ll continue to receive inspiration and support.

Additionally, I will continue my fitness plan that will include the run/walk schedule and as many of the exercises outlined in Clean & Lean. Maybe, just maybe, it will give me the nudge I need to put strength training exercises back into my fitness regimen on a regular basis. I do not want to slip back into bad habits. I now have plenty of resources to hold me accountable and keep me on track to live my healthiest life.

Kudos to everyone trying to eat better, getting back into shape, and improving overall health and well-being. There are so many benefits to eating well and exercising daily. It makes me happier, healthier, more energetic, and more creative. Thanks for reading, dear reader. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Happiness!

“It takes time to see wholesale changes, so don’t obsess on a scale or a mirror. In fact, it’s a lot more likely that someone else will notice physical changes before you do.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D., Clean & Lean

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In order to get back on track and reFOCUS on my goals for the remainder of the year, I tracked my time for two weeks (week of 02 August and week of 09 August). Both of these weeks started out with 168 hours on Monday at midnight. Since school has reconvened after being on summer break for the last two months, my day job (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep take up the bulk of my time. However, the hours at my day job have been reduced this school year; I am currently working four days per week as opposed to five days when I tracked my time back in January. The reduction in work hours will ultimately allow me to spend more time on creating content and embarking on a new career path.

Week 1: 02 August – 08 August

During this week, I worked 32.5 hours at school and devoted 52.75 hours to sleep. This left me with 82.75 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

That being so, how did I spend those remaining 82.75 hours?

  • Morning Routine: 11.25 hours
  • Travel (to/from work; to/from other places): 4.75 hours
  • Family/Fur Babies/Friends: 9.75 hours
  • Chores: 7.25 hours
  • Exercise: 5 hours
  • Errands: 4.5 hours
  • Read: 3 hours
  • Meals: 5 hours
  • Content Creation (blog; collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube): 20.75 hours
  • Evening Routine: 3 hours

Therefore, 74.25 hours were spent with family/friends, exercising, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 8.5 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing games (Trivia Crack/Words with Friends), interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, watching television/movies/YouTube videos, or puttering around the house.

Week 2: 09 August – 15 August

During this week, I worked 33.5 hours at school and devoted 51 hours to sleep. This left me with 83.5 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

In that case, how did I spend those remaining 83.5 hours?

  • Morning Routine: 11 hours
  • Travel (to/from work; to/from other places): 6.75 hours
  • Family/Fur Babies/Friends: 8.75 hours
  • Chores: 6.5 hours
  • Exercise: 4.5 hours
  • Errands: 8 hours
  • Read: 3 hours
  • Meals: 3.5 hours
  • Content Creation (blog; collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube): 8.75 hours
  • Evening Routine: 2.25 hours

Therefore, 63 hours were spent with family/friends, exercising, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 20.5 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing games (Trivia Crack/Words with Friends), interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, watching television/movies/YouTube videos, or puttering around the house.


Clearly, no two weeks are exactly the same. And, all the banked hours are not entirely spent on effortless fun. Some of that extra time gets spent on small tasks that just take a minute or two, such as writing a grocery list, a message in a card, or a check for a bill. I may be purchasing an item or researching ingredients for a meal online. I might spend a few minutes clearing off the kitchen table, reshelving books that I recently finished reading, or snapping a picture for my Instagram gratitude project. With that being said, if I take the average of both weeks, I realistically have 14.5 hours that I could be using to complete courses that I have purchased, scrapbook, read more, or strength-train (fitness). It is now up to me to prioritize my time which will ultimately help me achieve my goals. Additionally, I must adhere to that scheduled time that also includes built-in wiggle room.

Why is wiggle room important? You just never know when something unexpected will require your attention, such as getting a call back for a play you auditioned for earlier in the week. Yep, I auditioned at the Columbia Theatre for The House on Haunted Hill this past Monday evening. Surprise! I got a call back for Wednesday evening. I auditioned strictly for the experience since I had a conflict the second weekend of the show. While it would have been terrific to be a part of this production, I did not get cast which is fine because Kelsi and I have oodles planned for September and October. Happiness Boost!

Thankfully, I have only one commitment after work this week, and it is to spend a wonderful evening with my fabulous book club friends to discuss Mexican Gothic. Therefore, for the remainder of today, I will schedule my upcoming week and create a to-do list of the tasks that I need to accomplish before this weekend. As for my running schedule, I’m on Week #4: Walk 10 minutes (warm up). Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute (repeat this 3-minute session 5 times). Walk 10 minutes (cool down). My goal for this week is to follow this routine at least three days this week. On the other days, I will walk at least 20 minutes to keep up my walking streak and try to incorporate some strength training and biking. I did not strength train or bike this past week.

Life is unpredictable, dear reader, but that is what makes it so interesting. My hubby, Andrew, and I enjoyed breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel, and I treasured every minute we were together just being together. I’m excited to start a new week, especially one that is practically a blank slate. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon by spending your time doing something that boosts your happiness and adds value to your life. Happiness!

“When you feed your soul by spending time on things you love, that you are excited about, your enthusiasm becomes contagious.” ~ Rita Davenport

Top photo by Juan Vargas on Pexels.com

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For the most part, I consider myself a patient person. However, I recently learned that I am selectively patient. I had a few days where I was in a sort of holding pattern that forced me to play the waiting game. Initially, it caused me stress, worry, and unhappiness, but then it necessitated several days of quiet reflection. The universe was telling me to slow down and rest. So, I listened and took a break for a few days. I watched several episodes of The Good Place, read, spent time in prayer, reflected, watched a couple of horror movies, read and reflected some more when I realized that I have been in a state of impatience for the last couple of months.

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

~ Saint Francis de Sales

When I started this year with my 21 for 2021 list and a schedule to accomplish the goals on that list, I was optimistic and energetic because I had a plan. I quickly realized a couple of weeks into January that decluttering and organizing each room in my house was not going to happen. It was difficult finding the time to devote to that task with everything else I wanted to accomplish on my list, so I nixed it in February and planned to revisit it later in the year. Unfortunately, I have not revisited that task since I put it on the back burner and have not even attempted to start many of the other ones on my list.

I really thought that once I wrapped up commitments in April and returned from my trip to Colorado, I would hit the ground running and check items off my list left and right. Instead, I modified one of the items on my list that took more time than was allotted (intermittent fasting), added new activities for the summer (summer fun list), and abandoned some items altogether (completing courses) which led me to becoming distracted, overwhelmed, frustrated, and unproductive concerning my goals. Ultimately, I grew impatient with myself because I set too many goals that required a huge amount of time and commitment and veered off course by creating more options. This epiphany finally hit me when I got sidelined days after writing about my mid-year checkup on my 21 for 2021 list.

The silver lining is I can recuperate from this bout of impatience since I now know what I have been dealing with these last couple of months. I must take the time to re-evaluate my goals for the year, make a few decisions, adjust some of my goals, and restructure how I plan to spend my time for the remainder of this year. I want to have a new plan in place before school starts again in August.

In the meantime, dear reader, I leave for Utah tomorrow morning to visit my Aunt Carolyn and my cousins for a week. I look forward to spending time with family while enjoying a change in scenery. This trip will be a nice way to change my mindset, gain a little clarity, and recharge my batteries. Happiness!

“Patience is power…it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ~ Fulton Sheen

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